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Introducing the Adaptation Inspiration Podcast for RbD’s Inspiring Climate Action Project: BC Professionals Adaptation Network

Research in Action: The RbD Lab

ResiliencebyDesign Lab Leading $2-million Inspiring Climate Action Project

Professionals in BC who care for the province’s infrastructure and resources are preparing for climate change’s consequences, but what further training do they need to meet the challenge?

A $2-million project, led by the ResiliencebyDesign (RbD) Lab and including a range of BC professionals and post-secondary institutions, will explore those needs and design training to address them, thanks to funding from Natural Resources Canada’s Building Regional Adaptation Capacity and Expertise (BRACE) program. BRACE is working with provinces to support training activities that increase the ability of organizations, professionals, businesses and communities to adapt and accelerate their climate resilience.

Inspiring Climate Action: BC Professionals Adaptation Network is a partnership between the RbD Lab and the BC Climate Action Secretariat, with the BRACE program committing almost $1 million to the project.

Working with six BC universities and six BC professional associations, the network will deliver in-person and online courses custom-made to professionals’ training needs.

“We need to make BC and Canada as resilient as possible to the impacts of climate change even as we continue to work to reduce those risks through mitigation efforts,” says School of Humanitarian Studies Prof. Robin Cox, project lead and director of the RbD Lab. “Professional organizations in BC have made it clear they are committed to ongoing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also building the necessary capacity to effectively adapt to the unavoidable risks posed by the changing climate. This project will discover where specific knowledge and skills gaps exist, and design practical training to help professionals meet these challenges and increase regional adaptation uptake and capacity.”

“Canadians know that we need to improve Canada’s resilience to climate change. That is why we are supporting Royal Roads University’s Inspiring Climate Action: BC Professionals Adaptation Network project,” says Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi. “Through professional training, this project will support the efforts of B.C.’s professionals to adapt to the impacts of climate change.”

“Certified professionals are making project decisions every day that will be affected by climate risks. It’s important these professionals have the knowledge and tools to be able to advise about climate risks with confidence,” said Dr. Johanna Wolf on behalf of the Climate Risk Management team at the Province of BC’s Climate Action Secretariat. “The courses we’re helping develop will be offered through various post-secondary institutions, and will better equip professionals to manage risks associated with our changing climate.”

“The work of the RbD Lab, and in particular this latest climate change adaptation project, is a perfect example of the dynamism of thought and action displayed by the researchers at Royal Roads University,” says Royal Roads University President Dr. Philip Steenkamp. “Royal Roads’ researchers like Dr. Cox and her team are committed to discovering, exploring and sharing evidence-based information that can be applied to solve real-world problems.”

Participating universities include Royal Roads University, the University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, Capilano University, Vancouver Island University and University of Northern BC.

Professional organizations supporting the network project include the BC Institute of Agrologists, Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC, College of Applied Biology, Engineers and Geoscientists BC, Planning Institute of BC and British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects.

Climate change organizations and experts in BC, Canada and worldwide support the network project, including: international climate change expert and former deputy executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Richard Kinley; the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium; the Stockholm Environment Institute; and Student Energy.

ResiliencebyDesign Open House

The Lab is excited to announce our Open House event and you are warmly invited to attend!

The ResiliencebyDesign Lab’s Open House event at the Royal Roads University Library will run on April 17th, from 11:30am to 2:30pm, with opening remarks at 12:15pm. We will be showcasing the Lab’s work in areas of climate change, youth resilience and transformative learning through active displays, including a gallery walk through. The Lab’s work includes projects working with youth in crisis in communities from Wood Buffalo, Alberta to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

Faculty, staff, students, and the public are welcome. There will be snacks provided. We look forward to seeing you there!

If you cannot attend the Open House event, you can visit the exhibition at any time the library is open from April 16th to May 31st.

Theory of Change Workshop

Mid-February, the ResiliencebyDesign Research Lab ran a one and a half day Theory of Change Workshop at Royal Roads University to launch their new project, Youth-Centric Social Innovation: Gen Z and Climate Change. The session brought together a diverse group of youth and adult movers, shakers, change makers, and innovators who are invested in imagining what enlivening, inspiring, and transformative engagement and learning with youth might look like. Participants collectively explored the vision for the project, and discussed strategies, processes and activities that would support youth engagement in Climate Change Adaptation (CCA). Desired changes (outcomes) for the project were identified and captured using the Theory of Change framework, and the project team will take these away for refinement and further development of a Theory of Change model for the project. The team intends to keep workshop participants informed about the research process as it unfolds, and hopes that many will choose to stay engaged as knowledge mobilizers, influencers, advisors, and active partners.

Elder Shirley Alphonse from the T’Sou-ke    Nation welcomes participants.

The workshop was opened on February 22nd with a welcome and prayer from Elder Shirley Alphonse from the T’Sou-ke Nation. Participants then began getting to know each other with an an affiliation exercise, where they gathered in designated areas of the room according to criteria they most identify with (i.e. the primary context you work and play in – youth engagement/ climate change/ transformative learning/technology and innovation), and had a conversation with others who identify similarly. Afterwards, pairs engaged in dyad conversations about why youth engagement and transformative learning are important, and what inspires them to contribute. The group then reconvened in a circle and introduced their partner and shared highlights from their conversations.

Following this, Robin Cox the Director of the RbD Lab and Cheryl Heykoop, an Assistant Professor in School of Leadership Studies at Royal Roads University and RbD Lab member, gave an overview of the ResiliencebyDesign Lab approach. Then Brian Belcher, Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Research Effectiveness, introduced the Theory of Change process and outcome mapping framework, which will be used to design the project.

Participants reflecting on the the future of youth engagement and what transformative learning means to them.

Later that day, participants were asked to reflect on what the future of youth engagement and transformative learning means to them, and choose an image (from a selection of visual cards laid out in the adjoining room) that represented the future they were envisioning. In breakout  groups they had conversations about the images, and created posters that reflected this future. Each table then described their vision to the larger group with poster presentations.

                 Visual map of the participant’s overnight reflections.

Day two of the workshop commenced with a moment of silence for Tina Fontaine and her family, in recognition of the not guilty verdict delivered the previous day in her murder trial. Elder Shirley Alphonse then welcomed participants and shared a prayer that was filled with appreciation for the connection between the land and people. Participants were then invited to share their overnight reflections by creating a story at their table, inspired by Story Cubes. A gallery walk of the graphic recordings followed, which prompted a meaningful discussion about the importance of emphasizing ancestral knowledge and communicating with youth on their own terms when designing project activities.

Next, Brian presented the emerging Theory of Change for the project, with potential project outcomes in the model under Sphere of Control (the operational environment), Sphere of Influence (people the project works with and through) or Sphere of Interest (social, economic and environmental benefits). He also outlined the emerging impact pathways for the project:

Brian Belcher presents on the emerging theory of change.

  • Direct Engagement;
  • Research/Learning from Experience;
  • Policy/Engagement/Influence;
  • Education

 

With the information about the emerging Theory of Change for the project in mind, participants broke out into groups, based on the impact pathways, to discuss what types of activities the project can do, who we should involve, and what knowledge and relationships can be fostered through the project.

In closing the workshop Robin invited participants to write an action they are committed to taking on a postcard, which will be mailed to them in a few months as a way of connecting them back to the inspiration they felt in the session. Robin discussed the steps to follow the workshop, then the group gathered together in a circle. Tossing a ball of yarn from person to person, a web was created as everyone shared their parting thoughts, and appreciation for the significant connection and learning that had taken place in their time together.

                                            Remarks shared in the closing circle.

The RbD Lab worked with Get the Picture and specifically, Visual Map Maker/Graphic Recorder Lisa Edward to create the powerful visual maps throughout the workshop. Get The Picture is a leading visual facilitation and recording consultancy that partners with organizations around the world to help them visualize and launch into their desired futures. The rich, engaging communication experiences Get The Picture provides result in highly productive dialogue, shared understanding, alignment and high-quality decisions. Learn more about them here: http://getthepicture.ca/