I’ll be presenting at the COCE 2019 in Vancouver
Communicating Climate Change to Alberta’s Youth: Lessons Learned from the AB Narratives Project
Climate change and the future of energy has been a divisive, polarizing topic of conversation within Canada, but no more so than within Alberta. The Alberta Narratives Project (ANP) seeks to address this challenge. Using intimate roundtable discussions, the ANP engaged with various Alberta stakeholder groups, including farmers, environmentalists, conservatives, business leaders, and youth. The ANP undertook to understand and engage with participants’ values in order to facilitate open conversation among roundtable participants with the goal of finding effective narratives with which to discuss climate change within the various demographics as well as the broader community. At MacEwan University, we hosted a roundtable discussion for youth ages 18 to 34 to answer the question: how do youth in Alberta engage with the topic of climate change? Our roundtable included nine youth participants from a variety of backgrounds. The first part of the discussion grounded the conversation in the participants’ values. The second moved into a subjective discussion about climate change that explored attitudes to policy and campaign narratives. We then collected participants’ responses to common climate change narratives and finished by discussing those responses. We found that the youth group was receptive to government regulation, while being sceptical of absolutes and slogans. Youth valued government and corporate accountability along with the opinions of scientists on subjects like climate change. These findings are significant because they grant us insight into how we might approach climate change communication with this demographic in the future.