USING THE KNOWLEDGE OF CITIZENS TO SPUR ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Community development is strongest when it involves a broad base of community environmental action.
Community mapping is the difference between doing expensive large-scale studies by outsiders or asking people in the community about what’s going on. It is how to find out what’s going on in any given community and what is the priority in terms of environmental issues. A community-mapping workshop captures that knowledge.
Community mapping or asset-based community development (ABCD), is at the center of a large and growing movement that draws upon existing community strengths to build stronger, more sustainable communities for the future. Much of the thinking behind the process of community mapping comes from John McKnight at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
ACER is at the tail end of a 3-year pilot study in the Niagara Region (in partnership with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and Greening Niagara, funded by OTF). During the community mapping sessions, the desire and need for citizens to understand the local impact of climate change was made loud and clear to us. The sessions also put local impacts of climate change on the radar of local municipal authorities.
We know we are going to need knowledgeable and engaged citizens taking action to mitigate and adapt to the
local impact of climate change.
The Niagara pilot will ultimately result in local reporting on the probability and consequence of a range of local climate change impact for 75% of the populated area of the Niagara Peninsula. These impacts range from crop changes, roofs blown off, wind damage, loss of trees, emerald ash borer infestation, development, flooding, culvert obstructions and culvert sizes.
To complete the pilot, we will be holding the last of three community-mapping workshops, a Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (HIRA) workshop in February 2016 to identify top ten risks in terms of their probability and consequences. Marianne Krasny, Chair of the Civic Ecology Lab at Cornell University will be our speaker at that workshop.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Alice Casselman, Founding President