A public outreach project to study the impacts of climate change in small cities and rural communities in BC is underway at Thompson Rivers University.
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) recently announced that TRU’s public outreach proposal in the Canadian Environmental Issues category won a grant of $49,810.
Principal researcher Dr. Julie Drolet’s proposal, “Community level adaptation to climate risk”, aims to improve the resiliency of small cities and rural communities in BC to the impacts of climate change by sharing knowledge, increasing awareness, and developing a toolkit of strategies to help communities adapt. The experiences of affected communities in four regions in the BC Interior, including Kamloops, Quesnel and Prince George, Clearwater, 100 Mile House and Merritt, will be shared as part of a knowledge mobilization plan.
The public outreach project arises from an earlier community-based participatory research project by Dr. Drolet, and will continue the partnership with the Kamloops Women’s Resource Group Society.
The findings from the previous research include community narratives of climate change impacts, information needs at the community level, impacts of a changing climate on natural-resource livelihoods, gendered impacts of climate change on men and women, and the status of sustainable development plans.
Four student researchers will assist with public outreach and knowledge transfer, including two undergraduate research assistants from TRU.
University student involvement will also build future leadership and capacity in climate change, disasters and sustainable development.
“Our outreach activities will network affected communities in BC, providing a community-level forum to share the innovative ways that small cities and rural communities are adapting to climate change,” said Dr. Drolet. “This research will lead to support to build their capacity and deal with the challenges that lie ahead.”
The project will provide a range of perspectives on community-level adaptations in BC, demonstrate community actions to implement practical solutions, and deliver outreach activities to promote disaster risk-reduction in vulnerable small cities and rural communities.
The knowledge gained, developed into a toolkit, will inform emergency service volunteers, emergency management policy makers, planners and managers, health professionals, affected community members, educators, public and private sector executives, emergency responders, the academic community, and the general public.
The public outreach project will present on the knowledge and information exchange activities at several Canadian and international conferences such as the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences to be held in Waterloo in 2012.
Julie Drolet, Ph.D. M.S.W.
TRU School of Social Work & Human Service