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Advancing a Community's Conversations About and Engagement with Climate Change

Description: The goal of this project completed for the Greater Northfield Sustainability Collaborative (GNSC) was to understand how Northfield, Minnesota citizens are experiencing climate change. Thirty individuals were interviewed to find out what they know about climate change, what actions they are taking, what they think the solutions are to the problems, and what barriers they have to more fully engaging with climate change issues. The interview results are intended to promote and advance the community's discussion on climate change via social learning and community engagement activities such as town hall forums and community surveys. These activities encourage citizens in the community to have direct input into the development of the community's climate action plan (CAP). Analysis of the interviews showed that the interviewees are witnessing climate change, that most are taking at least some action such as recycling or lowering thermostats, that they can name barriers to their own inaction, that they say communication about climate change remains confusing and is not widespread in Northfield, and that they are able to provide numerous suggestions for what the local and broader leadership should be doing. The analysis also showed wide individual variation within the group. Interviewees who were less knowledgeable about climate were less likely to be taking action and do not participate in social groups where climate change is discussed. Conclusions are that the whole group would like more and better communication and education from our leaders, that they also expect our leaders to be part of creating solutions to climate change, and that the solutions the interviewees suggested provide a very thorough initial list of mitigation and adaptation strategies for the city's future CAP.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Hansen, Carla Grace
Partner: UNT Libraries
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