Visualizing Climate Change: A Guide to Visual Communication of Climate Change and Developing Local Solutions [1st ed.] 1844078205, 9781844078202

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Visualizing Climate Change: A Guide to Visual Communication of Climate Change and Developing Local Solutions [1st ed.]
 1844078205, 9781844078202

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  • Not visualizing the abolition of private property and commerce of course.
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Visualizing Climate Change Carbon dioxide and global climate change are largely invisible, and the prevailing imagery of climate change is often remote (such as ice floes melting) or abstract and scientific (charts and global temperature maps). Using dramatic visual imagery such as 3D and 4D visualizations of future landscapes, community mapping, and iconic photographs, this book demonstrates new ways to make carbon and climate change visible where we care the most, in our own backyards and local communities. Extensive colour imagery explains how climate change works where we live, and reveals how we often conceal, misinterpret, or overlook the evidence of climate change impacts and our carbon usage that causes them. This guide to using visual media in communicating climate change vividly brings to life both the science and the practical solutions for climate change, such as local renewable energy and flood protection. It introduces powerful new visual tools (from outdoor signs to video-games) for communities, action groups, planners, and other experts to use in engaging the public, building awareness and accelerating action on the world’s greatest crisis.

Stephen R.J. Sheppard is Professor in Landscape Architecture and Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and Director of the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP). He is an internationally recognized expert in visualization, and has over 30 years’ experience in research and practice in landscape planning, public involvement, environmental perception, and, since 2003, in planning for climate change. He is a Fellow at the Institute for Sustainability Solutions Research, University of Plymouth, UK, and Adjunct Professor at the Nanjing Forestry University, China.

Visualizing Climate Change A Guide to Visual Communication of Climate Change and Developing Local Solutions

Stephen R.J. Sheppard

First published 2012 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2012 Stephen R.J. Sheppard The right of Stephen R.J. Sheppard to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Sheppard, Stephen. Visualizing climate change : a guide to visual communication of climate change and developing local solutions / Stephen Sheppard. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Environmental chemistry. 2. Environmental health. 3. Carbon dioxide mitigation. 4. Health risk assessment. 5. Climatology. I. Title. TD193.S52 2011 363.738’74—dc22 2011003837 ISBN 978-1-84407-820-2 (hbk) ISBN 978-1-84977-688-2 (ebk) Typeset in 10pt Avenir LT Std by Saxon Graphics Ltd, Derby

This book is dedicated to my dear wife and partner, Cecilia, for living this with me.

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‘Psychologist Joseph C. Pearce once said, “Seeing within changes one’s outer vision.” Could the reverse be true as well? If we saw without, created tangible visions of what cannot yet be seen, might we change deep within? This book – based on solid science and plenty of practical experience – starts from this affirmative premise: Yes, we visual animals do change our minds and hearts when we see for ourselves what is or could be. Nowhere is it more important to use the power of visioning and visualization than in the context of climate change. This book shows why this is so, and how it can be done effectively and ethically. We must learn from Stephen Sheppard how to use the power of visualization, and then harness the power of seeing, to facilitate the necessary changes toward a responsible, life-affirming, and sustainable future.’ Susanne C. Moser, Consultant and Researcher, University of California at Santa Cruz, and co-author of Creating a Climate for Change

‘It’s of course hard to picture climate change, because carbon dioxide is invisible – if it were brown, we would have stopped producing it long ago. Here, in a sense, are dozens of ways to make it brown – to allow people to see the most important thing happening on our planet.’ Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

‘For most people, climate change remains an abstract problem, something that isn’t tangible or that doesn’t relate to their life. Visualizing Climate Change shows how imaginative imagery can help us to understand the problem, but can also allow us to bring solutions to life, to imagine a world that has successfully tackled this challenge. Its insights are vital.’ Rob Hopkins, founder of Transition Network and author of The Transition Companion

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Contents Preface

ix

Acknowledgements

xi

List of abbreviations

xiii

PART I Setting the scene on climate change

1

1 An invisible truth? Perceptions and misperceptions of climate change

2

2 Limited vision: Understanding perceptual problems with climate change

21

3 A new climate change lens: Principles for shifting perceptions of climate change

41

4 Learning to see: Reframing community perceptions of carbon and climate change

PART II Knowing, seeing and acting on community carbon and climate change

72

99

5 Right before our eyes: Seeing carbon

101

6 Hot in my backyard: Seeing the impacts of climate change

136

7 Cutting the carbon: Seeing mitigation solutions to climate change

165

8 Being prepared: Seeing adaptation solutions to climate change

209

9 Seeing the big picture on community carbon and climate change

PART III Switching lenses: Changing minds with visual learning tools

238

281

10 Landscape messaging: Making climate change more visible in the community

285

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Contents

11 Visual media: Knowing climate change when you see it – in pictures

319

12 The modern crystal ball: Visualizing the future with climate change

352

13 Local climate change visioning: Better processes for planning community futures

PART IV With new eyes to see: What the future looks like with climate change

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437

14 Realizing future community visions: Getting to low-carbon, attractive, resilient communities

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439

Appendix: Code of ethics for landscape visualization

470

Illustrations credits

473

References

490

Index

502

Preface Do you know what global warming might look like in the community where you live? This book sets out to show you, in pictures, photographs and visualizations, what the science of climate change means in a local context, how we perceive and often misperceive it, and what solutions are available to communities dealing with it. Using compelling graphic imagery, this book explores new ways to make carbon and climate change visible where we care the most: in our own backyards and local communities. It seeks to shift people’s perceptions about their society, seen through the lens of climate change and the human carbon use that drives it. Using 3D and 4D visualizations of future landscapes, community mapping, and iconic photographs, we revisit communities across the world, to discover not only the impacts of climate change where people live, but also the local causes and the possible solutions: reducing carbon emissions and dealing with their consequences. The imagery clearly exposes how we often overlook, misinterpret, or conceal the evidence of carbon usage and climate change impacts. It also demonstrates ways to make current and future realities, together with practical solutions, more tangible and vivid for ordinary people. Along the way, we will encounter personal stories and glimpse many everyday scenes that illustrate what climate change means for you and me. The book is also intended as a practical guide to visual communication of the various aspects of climate change, as a dialogue-starter and a catalyst to deeper community engagement. It provides communities, action groups, practitioners and scientists with techniques to engage people and help them make this perceptual shift. It provides guidance on powerful new visual tools for looking into the future, and ways to build awareness and promote community action through visual messaging strategies, including outreach and planning processes for local climate change visioning. This offers every community the chance to visualize alternative future scenarios brought about by climate change and other trends, and for us to design our own path towards a low-carbon, resilient and attractive future.

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Acknowledgements Any tome this ambitious represents the work and support of a lot of amazingly long-suffering people. First and foremost I must thank a succession of wonderful people who dedicated countless hours in helping me assemble and write this book. In rough chronological order: ◆

Laura Cornish, for review, research, and cheerfully digging up images



Hilary Dennison, for the colossal task of meticulous editing and for her constant encouragement, regardless of which country she was in at the time



Cecilia Achiam, for review of all chapters and substantial revision when I was wandering off track, not to mention her graphics and the love and cooking that have sustained me through the years of writing this book



Adelle Airey, for her work on copy-edit text, her level-headedness, and so many other things



Angelique Pilon, who took on the vital but unenviable task of documenting the sources and permissions of the 600 or so graphics in the book



Johanna Schlereth, who magically popped up right when I was at my wits’ end and efficiently tracked down so many graphics from other sources.

I am indebted to Jamie Myers of West Third Design and Inna Olchovsky for their lovely graphics; to the many graphics providers identified in the credits within the List of Illustrations; and to Tim Hardwick, Ashley Irons, Sarah Mabley and the crew at Earthscan/Taylor & Francis/Routledge for their civility and patience. Big chunks of this book and many images reflect the innovation, talents, and hard work of the staff and students over the years at the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP), UBC: David Flanders, Ellen Pond, Kristi Tatebe, Alison Shaw, Sarah Burch, Jon Salter, Cam Campbell, Duncan Cavens, Nicole Miller, John Lewis, Howie Harshaw, Paul Picard, Ken Fairhurst, Caitlin Akai, and Siobhan Murphy. I am deeply grateful for all their efforts, patience and support, and feel privileged to have worked with such a team. I also thank the many students in various courses in Landscape

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Acknowledgements

Architecture and Forestry whose enthusiasm and innovation contributed much to the development of the book. I would like to thank the sponsors of the research, visualization work and new graphics featured in this book, including: Nick Chrisman, Scientific Director of the GEOIDE Network Centre of Excellence, which funded the lion’s share of the underlying research; Diane Newell and her excellent staff at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at UBC, for providing funding and the space to think and write; and UBC’s Spotlight program on sustainability teaching and learning. I have gained much from the collaboration with our partners: Dr. Stewart Cohen with Environment Canada; Dr. Phil Hill, David Mate, Sonia Talwar and Murray Journeay with Natural Resources Canada; Ben Kangasniemi and Jenny Fraser at the BC Ministry of Environment; Cathy LeBlanc at BC Ministry of Community, Sport and Community Development; Angela Danyluk, Marcy Sangret, and Hugh Fraser at the Corporation of Delta, BC; Ken Bennett and Susan Haid at the District of North Vancouver; Ingrid Liepa and Troy Pollock from the City of Kimberley, BC; and my friends in and around West Vancouver’s Climate Action Working Group. I have benefitted substantially from the advice and help of my academic colleagues along the way, especially John Robinson, Jeff Carmichael, Arnim Wiek, and Rob Kozak. Deep thanks go to Susanne Moser for her crucial review and comments on an earlier draft. I am also very grateful for the time and enthusiasm contributed by Herbert Brandner in Vienna, Jorgen Hartwig in Freiburg, and Jacinta Thorley in Surrey, UK, in educating me on how they do things sustainably in Europe. I could never have started down this path if not for my role-models and early mentors at Berkeley and elsewhere: R. Burton Litton Jr., the grandfather of visual analysis; renaissance man Donald Appleyard; environmental psychologist Kenneth Craik; stalwart landscape architect and good friend, Bob Tetlow; Rob Thayer, first critic of the ‘sustainable landscape’; Joan Nassauer and her ‘cues to care’; Tim Tetherow of Wirth Associates who quietly taught me so much; and Paul Groth, wittiest and most-insightful of bus-riders. Lastly, I must thank my family and friends: my parents, for instilling in me appreciation of light in the landscape and a love of country ways; my sisters, for their unflagging support, love, patience, and good humour; my sons for putting up with my endless late nights on the book when I should have been trying to learn from their guitar skills; and my old friends for bringing me down to earth in numerous beer-soaked conversations in obscure London pubs. I have been lucky indeed. Heartfelt thanks to all, and to any others I have unwittingly left out. Any errors are my responsibility alone.

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Abbreviations ASLA American Society of Landscape Architects BC British Columbia CALP Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning CAVE Cave Automatic Virtual Environment CEEI Community Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory CIMA causes, impacts, mitigation, adaptation CIRS Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability C2A Framework Community Awareness to Action Framework FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency GCM general circulation model, or global climate model GDP gross domestic product GEOIDE Geomatics for Informed Decisions GHG greenhouse gas GIS Geographic Information System ICLEI International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change LCCV Project Local Climate Change Visioning Project LiDAR light detection and ranging LoCAR low-carbon, attractive, resilient MACC Mothers Against Climate Change NGO non-governmental organization PCIC Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium PICS Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions PPGIS Public Participation Geographic Information System ppm parts per million RCP representative concentration pathway (scenario) SRES Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (by IPCC) SUV sport utility vehicle UBC University of British Columbia UKCIP UK Climate Impacts Programme VOC volatile organic compound

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Warning signs

PART

I

Setting the scene on climate change

Have you ever thought about your own future with climate change? Difficult, isn’t it? Complicated, uncertain, disconnected from our present reality. Most of us now live in cities or towns, so we seldom see the changes happening in more natural environments that are less controlled by mankind. Our vision, individually and collectively, is limited by our busy lifestyles, our culture, the media (which focuses on the here and now), and our cities themselves. But massive changes are afoot. Is climate change already here? Should I care? Never mind the polar bears, how will it affect us where we live? What should we be doing about it? What do my family, friends and neighbours need to know? Part I sets the scene on climate change and how we perceive it, or fail to. It introduces some of the basics of climate change, framing the urgent challenges and potential solutions facing local communities. It explains problems with the way community members perceive climate change; and why it is important to see and express the realities more clearly, aided by powerful visual media: visualizing not just ‘doom and gloom’ scenarios but also the practical stuff that ordinary people in any community can do to make things better. We explore a new way of looking at our communities through a climate change lens, and set out the main principles that structure the examples, stories and recommended visual media techniques illustrated in the rest of the book.

CHAPTER

1

An invisible truth? Perceptions and misperceptions of climate change

One July day in 2009, my sisters and I were strolling with our 92-year-old mother through the sunlit churchyard of Witney Parish Church in the English Cotswolds. We were enjoying the beauty of the ancient steeple, and the shade of the massive beeches and cedars dappling the headstones beneath. My sisters were wondering how ‘the book’ was going. “Too slowly”, I answered. When asked “What’s it about again?”, I told them it had to do with climate change, about seeing it from a community perspective, and helping people sort out what to do about it. After a brief pause, one of my sisters said: “I just don’t understand; if climate change is so terrible, why does everything look so normal and so lovely?” She had hit on the essence of the problem that this book tries to confront. How can we get across the new reality to everyday people who have lived, loved, worked and played in towns and communities like this all over the world, throughout their lives? Why would this scene not go on forever? What is wrong with it? Why must it change?

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Perceptions and misperceptions

Carbon dioxide is invisible, and the prevailing imagery of climate change is often remote, abstract and scientific, or else so fantastic and catastrophic that we doubt it can be taken seriously (Figure 1.1). Climate change is often presented to the public in the form of melting ice floes, scientific charts and global temperature maps, or, at the other extreme, in science fiction movies such as The Day After Tomorrow. Unsurprisingly, few people have much idea how climate change will affect them personally. No one knows what 2° or 6° of global warming might actually look like in the area where they live. (a) Polar bear on ice floes melting in the Arctic: eye-catching, but outside the experience of the vast majority of the world’s population.

(b) Carbon emission graphs used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:1 abstract, complex, couched in indecipherable abbreviations, and even more remote to non-scientists than ice floes and icebergs.

Figure 1.1 Climate change as commonly presented, reflecting how it is perceived by the public.

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Setting the scene on climate change

(c) Scene from The Day After Tomorrow movie: spectacular special effects but hard to accept as scientific or to identify with day to day (unless perhaps you live in New York!). Credit: Twentieth Century Fox. Figure 1.1 continued

Are there better ways of thinking about climate change, of communicating it to each other, of visualizing how it might alter our lives and how communities might respond? This book explores new ways to make climate change imaginable and visible where we care the most: in our own backyards and neighbourhoods. It offers a new lens through which people can perceive their own society affected by climate change. I believe there are practical ways to make climate change more tangible and compelling for ordinary folk, through improved understanding and observation of our local communities, and by using powerful new visual tools for looking into our own future (Figure 1.2). If we can learn how to see the problem of climate change more clearly and how to visualize potential solutions, would that not help us to set aside our doubts, develop more effective responses and put them into action? In this book, we tap new research that suggests more promising ways to inform community perceptions and engage people in meeting the urgent realities of climate change. 4

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Perceptions and misperceptions

(a) Existing community conditions in a high-carbon world – how it looks now.

(b) Possible future – how it could perhaps look if redesigned to cope with climate change. Figure 1.2 Example of virtual reality techniques to ‘paint’ pictures of community futures with solutions to climate change.

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Setting the scene on climate change

1.1 Purpose of the book The principal purpose of this book is to change how we see the world around us, and to help us to better envision our future, drawing on both science and experience in the community. New ways of seeing and visualizing climate change can be learned, widening our horizons and clarifying our perceptions, thus improving our ability to plan for an uncertain future. Specifically, the book aims: ◆

to improve our vision and our insight: changing how we perceive carbon and its local effects, to open our eyes, make climate change tangible and shake us out of our complacency;



to improve our foresight: making it easier for communities to look into their own medium and long-term futures, to make explicit what climate change may mean for them and what collectively can be done about it, thus empowering them to make better choices.

Along the way, we will discover intriguing research findings from social scientists, and explore powerful new technologies for visualizing the future and building people’s awareness. A second purpose of the book is to improve how scientists, campaigners and others can communicate the many faces of climate change to the general public, using compelling imagery and a variety of different visual techniques to engage and motivate people. This can help translate the science and make it easier for laypeople to interpret. It also encourages the spread of good ideas and success stories from other communities that have already implemented climate change solutions. With virtual reality techniques, we have a new ‘crystal ball’ to help us examine not one but many possible futures for our communities. Practical guidance on the appropriate use of visualization techniques (provided in Part III) offers communities and their local champions a new and powerful tool to help others open their eyes too. We need to re-envision how we communicate and explore new approaches to fostering action. As described by a researcher at Yale University: The facts of climate change cannot be left to speak for themselves. They must be actively communicated with the right words, in the right dosages, packaged with narrative storytelling that is based rigorously in reality, personalized with human faces, made vivid through visual imagery – and delivered by the right messengers.2 6

CHAPTER 1

Perceptions and misperceptions

The ultimate goal is to accelerate collective behaviour change and help bring about effective action on community climate change solutions (Figure 1.3).

Concepts and examples in this book Behaviour change Purpose 1: Perception change (new ways of seeing climate change)

Purpose 2: Better communication/engagement methods to help others

Social norms change

Policy change

Figure 1.3 Ways in which the book may help shift perceptions and encourage action.

I have written this book as someone who wears several hats: scientist, teacher, practitioner in environmental and landscape planning, concerned community member, and often a ‘middleman’ between various perspectives, along with my colleagues3 in action research with local communities. We will need a lot more scientific input in charting our course through an increasingly uncertain future, but I argue that we need much stronger and more effective links between communities, scientists and other experts to solve unique local and regional problems. Our experiences have taught us to pay attention to the visual and perceptual aspects of such issues, as ways to build bridges between different groups. I believe that neglecting this angle ignores one of the most powerful arrows in our quiver in the fight against global warming. This book is intended for a spectrum of readers, from laypeople to educators and decision-makers: in other words, anybody who wants to understand climate change at the local level and what actions they can take to deal with it. It is designed first and foremost for concerned community members, the interested public, and those who influence decisions in our communities: town councillors, local government staff, community activists, environmental organizations and businesses. Scientists, teachers and

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Setting the scene on climate change

Figure 1.4 These before–after photo simulations accompanied a student’s design proposal to convert nine holes of a prestigious golf course (with productive soils) into a community farm to reduce residents’ food miles and carbon footprints. Together, they stimulated considerable interest, discussion and some dismay among West Vancouver stakeholders.

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Perceptions and misperceptions

students from high school to university, who are seeking more effective ways of connecting their studies to the real world, may also find something useful here. Finally, politicians and communicators at the international, national and state levels can draw on the local stories and illustrations to make policy discussions and outreach programmes more compelling and meaningful to their audiences. I hope that the visual evidence, pictorial examples and new media approaches shown here will stimulate community-level dialogue and action plans on climate change (Figure 1.4), helping to shift our norms and practices away from disastrous consequences towards actions that will eventually halt climate change. I hope that the ideas in this book can stimulate others to adapt and improve our ways of engaging communities in planning for climate change. Ultimately, the purpose of this book is to make itself redundant. If people start to see their world in a more informed and realistic way, finding their own path to wiser patterns of behaviour, then books like this will no longer be needed.

1.2 The three big problems of climate change Why should communities care about climate change and how people perceive it? Many scientists, as well as organizations such as Oxfam and the renowned medical journal The Lancet, suggest that climate change represents the most serious crisis that mankind has ever faced.4 I see this crisis in terms of three linked problems: ◆

Problem 1 is climate change itself, a huge and urgent threat to our societies and supporting ecosystems.



Problem 2 is the lack of effective action to curb Problem 1.



Problem 3 arises from the social and perceptual barriers that prevent us from seeing Problems 1 and 2 as serious or requiring urgent solutions.

I argue that we need to overcome the barriers in Problem 3 first in order to help solve Problem 2 and thus take care of Problem 1.

Evidence for Problem 1: Man-made climate change What causes climate change and how serious is it? Why the urgency? Climate change, often referred to as global warming, technically refers to changes in longer-term trends in weather patterns, not the day-to-day variability in our weather. Global warming is characterized by higher

9

PART I

Setting the scene on climate change

average surface air temperatures globally (Figure 1.5), changes in precipitation, more extreme weather events and myriad other effects (Figure 1.6).5

Figure 1.5 Graph of average global temperatures over the past 130 years.

Figure 1.6 Tilting houses, uneven roads and ‘drunken forests’, as seen here in northern Russia, express the effects of global warming in melting permafrost.

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Perceptions and misperceptions

Man-made (anthropogenic) climate change is caused primarily by the buildup of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere.6 These additional accumulations arise mostly from the way in which we use carbon in our societies. We now have an unbalanced or warped carbon cycle, very different from the natural cycle that prevailed until recent times (Box 1A). Its impacts, such as sea-level rise and flooding, have already ravaged communities in many of the 184 nations that signed on to the 350.org campaign for the 2009 Copenhagen talks, aimed at lowering carbon concentrations in the atmosphere. As shown in Box 1A, in a very real sense, the fossil fuels we burn collectively in our cars, houses and factories ultimately cause the floods, fires and droughts that we are increasingly experiencing in our own communities. That is why this book focuses on both carbon use and climate change. In addition to the scientific evidence, common sense suggests that it would be very unlikely for the massive quantities of carbon being dumped into the thin atmosphere of Earth over two centuries not to have a major disruptive effect.

Box 1A The link between carbon and climate change Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides and halocarbons, play a major role in preventing the Earth’s heat from escaping into outer space, much like the glass in a greenhouse that causes heat to build up inside. Many of these gases contain carbon, which is continuously cycled between the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere. This is a natural phenomenon that helps regulate the Earth’s temperature. The natural carbon cycle involves various stocks of carbon such as biomass ‘sinks’ in soils and vegetation, in solution in the ocean, and gases in the atmosphere. There are flows of carbon ‘up’ from the Earth system and ‘down‘ from the atmosphere. These flows are generally kept roughly in balance through photosynthesis, wildfires, growth and decay of organisms, etc. However, human activity continuously liberates huge additional quantities of prehistoric carbon that has been previously locked away harmlessly in underground reserves of coal, oil and gas, in old-growth forests, and in soils. Carbon is a basic element that is not destroyed by burning; it merely shifts into another state (e.g. solid hydrocarbons to gaseous carbon dioxide). The carbon cycle modified by human activity releases a nett flow of greenhouse gases of about 8 to 9 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC) per year into the atmosphere from: fossil fuel burning in power plants, vehicles and buildings; industrial processes; land-use changes (such as clearing and burning forests, draining peat bogs); and new releases of carbon from natural stocks (e.g. melting permafrost). Roughly half of this extra amount is reabsorbed into biomass and into the ocean as carbonic acid. Climate change is a chain reaction. Unnaturally high levels of carbon emissions from human activity accumulate in the atmosphere and act as a blanket, trapping more of the sun’s heat on earth. The increased temperatures lead to rising sea levels, more extreme weather, loss of freshwater supplies stored in ice, massive ecosystem changes, and impacts on most aspects of the natural and man-made world, including land use, food supplies and population distribution.7

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PART I

Setting the scene on climate change

The clock is ticking on our ability to stabilize global warming at a ‘safe’ level. Climate change is getting worse. The projections released by the thousands of scientists who make up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are supported by growing evidence measured from the planet itself, which is changing even faster than the scientists’ models projected.8 These projections show that realistically we have less than 10 years left to reverse the continuing growth in total carbon emissions each year and to start reducing them, in order to avoid dangerous levels of climate change9 (Box 1B).

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Box 1B The urgency of action on climate change Dangerous climate change is thought to be inevitable if we pass the threshold of 2°C warming over pre-industrial temperatures.10 Even in the restrained language approved for publication by the IPCC, this means the risk of 20 to 50 per cent of species becoming extinct, hundreds of millions of people facing reduced water supplies, and declining global food production. Some respected climate scientists believe that the risks are significantly worse than that. If we stay on the world`s current path, we will reach concentrations of carbon emissions expected to cause catastrophic climate change, with likely loss of land-based ice-sheets11 and major planet-wide perturbations. We are already at about 0.8°C warming above pre-industrial temperatures, with GHG concentrations of about 390 ppm CO2 relative to the pre-industrial level of 280 ppm. Holding to the 2°C warming level requires stabilizing the concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere at somewhere between 350 and 450 ppm CO2 in the twenty-first century, requiring global carbon emissions to begin dropping steeply by about 2017, according to the IPCC.12 The figure of 80 per cent reduction in GHG emissions by 2050 (from 1990 levels) is increasingly accepted by national governments as the required pathway, as shown in the bottom curve of the following graph.13

If you got to the bottom of this box on the science, congratulations! I suspect many readers’ eyes will have glazed over on seeing such abstract numbers and charts. “What do they mean to me?” you may ask.

13

PART I

Setting the scene on climate change

Most scientists agree that the world must cut carbon emissions by at least 80 per cent over the next 40 years in order to stabilize global warming at 2°C.14 I call this the ‘carbon plunge’. An 80 per cent reduction will require a very serious rethink of the way we live our lives and run our communities. Even stabilizing global warming at 2°C means massive and essentially irreversible changes to many of the Earth’s vital functions, such as weather systems, marine ecology and water resources. This is, however, better than the catastrophic disruptions of run-away climate change that are likely at higher levels of carbon emissions if we continue on the current path.

Evidence for Problem 2: The lack of effective action to curb climate change How has society responded to the threat of climate change? So far we have squandered more than two decades in failing to take heed of the scientists’ warnings. Global carbon emissions are rising every year. The gap between “the mainstream political rhetoric of sustainable development and reality of change on the ground is ...scandalously wide”.15 According to Vermeulen and Kok,16 “The gap is widest in the sphere of food, mobility, and purchasing behaviour…actual consumer behaviour is still unaffected.” While many countries are bringing in targets and policies on climate change mitigation (i.e. reducing carbon emissions) and a few of these have actually seen reduced overall carbon emissions to date, in practice we are still for the most part going in the wrong direction with overall increasing emissions. Many learned scientists, authors, rock stars and enlightened politicians have warned us of the severity of the problem and the likely mayhem that will ensue. Yet, for all their heroic efforts, in general climate change has not caught the public’s sustained attention or led to much effective action.17 As the statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke is reputed to have said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” It took the double act of Al Gore and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to start waking people up, but until now there has been little official action at the community level, even in countries such as Canada that originally signed on to the Kyoto Accord.

Evidence for Problem 3: Social barriers and perceptions that prevent us from solving Problems 1 and 2 Why has there been so little effective response to date? Why has the information provided not made us collectively change our ways?

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CHAPTER 1

Perceptions and misperceptions

It is often said that we have the necessary technology to fix climate change: the real problem is in people’s attitudes and the failure of governments to act decisively on incentives and penalties. For example, in many countries the rate a person pays for electricity actually goes down as their consumption goes up, instead of the reverse, and the installation of water meters is optional instead of obligatory. This encourages continual waste with no visible and little financial consequences to the careless consumer. Germany and Austria adjusted their economies some time ago to offer guaranteed prices to reward renewable energy production by homeowners and communities, but many other countries and regions have failed to follow suit. Other types of barriers (discussed in following chapters) stem from people’s perceptions and misperceptions of the facts. Climate change gets confused with the ozone hole, global warming is thought to be part of a natural cycle, or a cold winter ‘proves’ it isn’t happening.18 Even if we are informed about climate change, our personal concerns, worldviews, lack of comprehension and our past experience can all get in the way, and thus scientific knowledge is not translated into action19 (Box 1C).

Box 1C Examples of problems with perceptions of climate change in our everyday world, and their consequences In the media: ◆ Until very recently, the media has routinely given equal airtime to the small and vocal minority of scientists – generally recognized to be less than 3 per cent – who reject the arguments on climate change of the other 97 per cent, in an attempt to provide ‘balanced’ coverage. These dissenting views have been influential in sowing doubt in people’s minds and delaying serious action on climate change, despite the long-standing consensus of scientific opinion.20 Result: Confusion.



Conflicting scientific explanations, multiple forecasts and uncertainties allow people to justify inaction: “I will do the right thing once I know what the real facts are...” In other words, they think the jury is still out, even though many things are known for certain (e.g. sea levels will go on rising for centuries, regardless of what future path we travel). Result: Complacency.

In our communities: ◆ Evidence on climate change at the local level may still be subtle or not apparent in many parts of the world, limiting its public profile. Result: Ignorance of effects and lack of preparation.

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Clear local evidence of climate change may not be associated with the actions that cause it (e.g. Arctic communities suffer from melting permafrost, which damages city streets and destroys buildings, but welcome increased oil and gas production as a source of employment and income). Result: Disconnect between cause and effect.

On our holidays: ◆ Tourists go to destinations such as Mt Kilimanjaro or the Alps to see the shrinking snow or glaciers before they are gone, but fly or drive huge distances to do so. Result: Disconnect between cause and effect, and lack of personal accountability.

What difference do such disconnects and misperceptions make? Perceptions are real: they drive policy, prices, the law, behaviour and carbon emissions. Get the perception wrong, and the reality is likely to go wrong also. Failing to see something important or to distinguish it from all the competing messages can be disastrous. One of the major disconnects is between scientific knowledge and the evidence visible to the man or woman in the street. My sister’s comment on the paradox of how the world can be in such peril when everything around us looks fine, reflects the confusion felt by millions of honest, caring people. It is hard not to be complacent and adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude in the face of such powerful apparent contradictions between the scientific information and the ‘real world’. There are many reasons for these disconnects, as we will see in Chapter 2. For example, to this day, national and local government policies on airport expansion, development of out-of-town shopping centres, or oil and gas production routinely fly in the face of both climate change science and common sense (Figure 1.7). They send the wrong signals to society. These perceptual disconnects are therefore a major factor in slowing down the move to action on climate change. We need to fix the perception problems; that means changing people’s minds and helping them to see more clearly. Brenda Boardman at Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute has referred to the need to build ‘Carbon Consciousness’ among the population21 so that people understand the central role of the carbon they are using in causing climate change. Academics call this widespread building of a new awareness ‘social learning’.22 This can sometimes lead to a ‘paradigm shift’: a sea-change in how society thinks, what it values and how it acts. Such shifts have occurred as a result of outlawing smoking from public buildings, for example, or making racial discrimination illegal. This is what happens when most people finally ‘get it’ and start doing things differently.

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New North Sea tax regime aims to boost production By Garry White AN extra two billion barrels of oil, which otherwise would have been left under the North Sea, may be extracted after measures unveiled in the Budget. Oil and gas companies operating in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) are to receive tax breaks to encourage exploration in smaller, more technically challenging fields, which otherwise would not be viable. Currently, companies that produce oil and gas from the shelf are subject to corporation tax of 30pc plus a supplementary tax of 20pc. New fields given development consent will have a “field allowance” which can be offset against

this supplementary tax charge. Once this is exhausted, the company will revert to the full tax regime, with the speed of exhaustion of allowances depending on the company’s profitability. Industry body Oil & Gas UK welcomed the move, but said further action was needed to help existing fields with production. Malcolm Webb, OGUK chief executive, said: “We now need to direct our attention to sustaining and promoting investment in and around many of our older fields to prolong their lives, to stimulating exploration activity and to opening up the frontier areas west of Shetland.” The Government also plans changes to the ring-fence corporation tax

rules that will allow decommissioning costs to be carried back against profits to 2002 – even if the oil and gas field’s use is being changed. The move is intended to encourage the development of gas storage and carbon capture facilities under the North Sea. Under previous rules, these losses could only be carried back for three years. Energy group Centrica welcomed the changes. Nick Luff, finance director, said: “The announcements complement HM Revenue & Customs’ clarification on Tuesday of additional support for the development of new gas storage in Britain.”

UK agrees to slash emissions by 34pc By Garry White IN the world’s first “carbon budget” Alistair Darling committed the UK to a revised target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 34pc of 1990 levels by 2020. The UK is the first country to bind itself into a long-term framework to limit such emissions. As well as encouraging alternative energy sources, the £1.4bn of new green measures are seeking “dramatic improvements” in energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage (CCS), as well as switching energy demand in the heat and transport sectors to cleaner fuels. Up to four CCS demonstration projects,

which store carbon produced power stations, will be funded by the Government. Mr Darling also announced £405m in new funding to encourage the development of low carbon energy and “advanced green manufacturing”. A total of £425m was allocated for energy efficiency measures in homes and public buildings and said the exemption combined heat and power operations from the Climate Change Levy would extend beyond 2013. Operators of landfill sites, will not be celebrating, as tighter regulations could lead to an additional industry tax burden of £150m.

Figure 1.7 News clipping reveals a major policy disconnect between measures to boost oil and gas production and those to slash carbon emissions, with no mention of the conflict or the massive and inevitable climate change implications of additional carbon emissions

How do we make this happen? After 20 years of solid climate change science, it was Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth that began to get the IPCC’s findings across to the man and woman in the street. It was no doubt the first PowerPoint presentation ever to win an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize. There are many lessons to be learned from this engaging and personalized presentation, using charts, narrative and powerful graphic imagery to translate climate change science into a form that people could understand and identify with. This book applies and extends some of these ideas, but the perspectives and techniques described here call for much more than simply presenting scientific data more clearly. Rather, we shall explore ways to make climate change apparent and meaningful at the local level to the average community member, from London to Lagos, from Vancouver to Vladivostok. We need to move beyond the big generic blockbusters like An Inconvenient Truth, and to put the message in the specific local context of each audience, to make it relevant and reveal whatever evidence is already there within each community. We need local pictures. We also need improved local climate literacy, a new climate change lens through which to see our world, so that we can recognize what we are doing to our communities and the planet; and, just as importantly, how people are starting to modify their behaviour and plan for an uncertain but better-thanworst-case future. In particular, we need to focus this lens down the path into the future, where we can glimpse our own fates and available community choices, and the potential consequences of our actions (or inaction). If we 17

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can find plausible, science-based ways to do what one of my colleagues calls “time travel”, through devices such as virtual reality,23 we may make the future seem closer, more real, and the consequences of acting on climate change more attractive. Then perhaps, we can make better plans for protecting and adapting the communities that mean so much to us. When we look at the world, our street and our future through a climate change lens, will what we see shock us or reassure us? Will it turn us off in disbelief and despair, or empower us to take action? Let’s find out. …

1.3 How to use this book The remainder of Chapter 1 lays the groundwork for the book, dealing with the perception of climate change. In Chapter 2 we explore the perceptual problems and possible solutions, as informed by social scientists and psychologists. Building on these findings, Chapter 3 develops three fundamental principles that underlie a new approach to helping communities see their world through a climate change lens. Chapter 4 introduces a new practical framework to identify perceptual barriers within a place-based community, where local interventions can help foster clearer vision, foresight and action. Part II (Chapters 5–9) charts a pictorial journey of discovery, guided by the three principles, for those who wish to look more carefully at carbon and climate change, seen from the perspective of local communities. What does climate change look like? Is it really invisible? What makes it so hard for people to see and believe in? Part II provides a ‘photo album’ of typical communities, as a visual primer on what climate change evidence can be seen locally. Along the way, it reveals not only examples of local perception problems with climate change, but also potential solutions from other communities. Its goal is to open our eyes to the reality that already exists in our own backyards and the things that can be done to deal with it. Part III explains various techniques that communities can use to make climate change more visible and to reveal possible futures. Chapters 10–13 include technical information to help motivated citizens, community leaders, computer-savvy youngsters, artists, community planners, engineers, landscape architects, architects, environmental consultants and other practitioners to develop better community engagement and future planning. It reviews practical techniques and visual examples of community designs, climate change graphics, 3D visualizations and visioning processes to help build local awareness, develop the needed skills, support decisionmaking and shift behaviour on climate change. 18

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In Part IV, Chapter 14 pulls together various climate change issues described in the book to reveal how a given community may look in the future and how it may evolve as a result of human choices, locally and globally. It provides a ‘close-up and personal’ view of alternative pathways into the future, in two different community settings. It suggests how we can make a positive difference by mitigating climate change at source and adapting to inevitable impacts, working with our neighbours and other stakeholders to develop a low-carbon, resilient, attractive community.

Summary In Chapter 1, we introduced the conundrum of climate change being largely ‘invisible’ in everyday life. We reviewed the three big problems of climate change that need to be dealt with: man-made climate change itself; the lack of effective action to curb it; and the critical social barriers and perceptual disconnects that constrain the required serious action. The purpose of this book is to help improve how we perceive and communicate climate change in order to accelerate action. We have explained the book’s intended readership, how it is structured, and how it should be used. The next chapter describes perceptual problems in more depth and possible ways to deal with them.

Notes 1 IPCC (2000). 2 Abbasi (2006, p. 97). 3 Researchers and students at the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP, www.calp.forestry.ubc.ca), from whom I’m sure I learn more than they learn from me! 4 Costello et al. (2009). 5 Many more climate change impacts are illustrated and discussed in Chapter 6. 6 In this book, we shall refer to GHGs as ‘carbon emissions’, because of the simpler language and clearer connections to the primary source of the problem (e.g. fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas). 7 Stern (2007). 8 Raupach et al. (2007). 9 Metz et al. (2007). 10 Bramley (2005). 11 O’Neill and Oppenheimer (2002). 12 The stated level depends on scientists’ estimates of the sensitivity of the climate to GHG concentrations and the probability levels defined. Hansen et al. (2008) and the former head of the IPCC, Rajenda Pachauri, have called for

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13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

350ppm CO2 (see www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/aug/26/pachauri350ppm-breakthrough-climate), while various modelling studies in IPPC reports suggest 450ppm CO2. (Note also that CO2 equivalent takes into account the effect of other GHGs such as methane, so 450ppm CO2eq is about the same as 350ppm CO2). IPCC (2000). Scientists and authors such as James Hansen and George Monbiot call for even deeper, faster cuts than this. Foster (2008). Vermeulen and Kok (2002, p. 48), citing Couvert and Reuling (2000). Monbiot (2006). Pike et al. (2010). Moser and Dilling (2007). Weaver (2008). Boardman and Palmer (2003). Pahl-Wostl et al. (2008). Schroth (2010).

Further reading Gore, A. (2006) An Inconvenient Truth, Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA. Hansen, J. (2010) Storms of my Grandchildren, Bloomsbury USA, New York. Henson, V. (2008) The Rough Guide to Climate Change, Penguin Press, London. Stern, N. (2007) The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

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2

Limited vision Understanding perceptual problems with climate change

If you have never been to the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada, you have missed an extraordinary landscape and an equally extraordinary example of a mass perceptual disconnect. The Parkway consists of 230 kilometres of high-elevation roadway running alongside the crest of the Rocky Mountains, with their jutting rock battlements topped by the glistening ice-cap of the vast Columbia Icefields.

My son and I travelled the Parkway in 2007, fulfilling one of my lifelong ambitions. At age 14, Justin was unenthusiastic about hiking up to the alpine meadows to look down upon the massive glaciers, but he thought it was cool to go in the big tourist buses that take you on to the Upper Athabasca Glacier. The pleasant young tour guide told us about how the glaciers were formed, described the features we passed as the huge bus wobbled over the hard ice and outwash gravel, and even talked about the buses. Their wheels as high as a person, they are made by the

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same company that builds the enormous trucks that excavate the Athabasca tar sands downstream in eastern Alberta. The guide did not, however, mention climate change.

Historical pictures at the nearby Columbia Icefields Visitor Centre show the extensive shrinkage of the glacier over the last century, and it is obvious from looking at the landscape that there are large new areas of exposed terrain between the moraines left behind by the glacier. However, the scale of the climate change reality here made fully visible, and the short length of time over which it has been happening, were powerful messages that were not delivered, and I suspect not recognized by many visitors. The key connection was not made, in a place that is primed to produce life-changing moments. But the biggest irony of all, and the saddest perceptual disconnect, lay in the failure to recognize the role of us tourists in helping to cause the glaciers’ retreat. The Parkway is accessed largely by fossil-fuel-powered vehicles: it can only prosper as a national park if we at the same time cause additional climate change. People drive thousands of miles to get here and see the Icefields. Many visitors come in recreation vehicles (RVs) that rival the glacier tour buses in size, often towing a sport utility vehicle (SUV) or a motorboat behind them, with motorbikes on the roof. Nowhere is there any reference to the fact that such holidays, along with our lifestyles back home, drive the production of oil from places like the tar sands and contribute to the climate change that will completely destroy these glaciers! If we go on like this, at some stage the tour guides will be saying, “We are now standing where the Athabasca Glacier used to be.” Perhaps then we should call it the ‘Oilfields Parkway’.

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In order to open our eyes and promote action on climate change, we need to understand the full extent of the perception problem and look for possible solutions. This chapter explores the gaps and barriers in our perceptions of carbon and climate change, to help understand why they occur and how to tackle them. We map out some of the major disconnects, paradoxes and inconsistencies that still exist in our thinking about climate change and our part in causing it; in the policies and norms that our cultures reaffirm daily (e.g. airport expansion, building in floodplains); and in our understanding of the avoidable versus unavoidable consequences of climate change. For example, community members with whom I speak are often not aware that substantial sea-level rise is now unavoidable and will continue for many centuries, but nor do they know how much additional sea-level rise we can avoid if we drastically cut our carbon emissions. In this chapter, we explore why so much fundamental information is not widely understood, and why we find climate change (and making it worse) acceptable in so many areas of our lives. We look first for possible solutions from the social scientists and psychologists who study people’s perceptions of climate change. In this book we use the term ‘perceptions’ broadly to mean a whole range of attitudes, opinions and ways of understanding the world. However, we will focus in particular on the visual perception of things: the role of vision and visibility in affecting how we respond to climate change in real life and in visual and mental imagery.1 We all tend to link the more general meaning of perceptions with the visual meaning anyway, through expressions such as ‘seeing is believing’, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ or ‘taking a view on an issue’. In this book, we intentionally use these simple verbal truisms about seeing to get important points across and make sense of technical items.

2.1 Common types of perceptual problems How do we know if we have a perceptual problem? How are they expressed and identified? There is a wide range of opinions, concerns and levels of awareness out there: the sceptics’ approach that it is not happening or it is a purely natural cycle; the scientists’ belief that it is a more serious problem than that of terrorism or the global economy;2 or the views of people in the street who are starting to become concerned but who are bewildered about what will happen or what to do about it. There have been many research studies and opinion polls carried out in recent years that ask people what they think

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about climate change. A recent American Psychological Association report summarizes the situation as follows: Many people … are unaware of the problem, unsure of the facts or what to do, do not trust experts or believe their conclusions, think the problem is elsewhere, are fixed in their ways, believe that others should act, or believe that their actions will make no difference or are unimportant compared to those of others. … They … believe that external factors beyond human actions or control will address the problem.3 Various academics have put together frameworks and theories to describe the different ways in which people perceive their environment and the risks to society in various countries. Psychologists talk, for example, about the Six Americas which hold different views on climate change4 (Figure 2.1). Such studies commonly address learning and understanding about an issue (cognition), how we feel about it (emotion), and how we act in response to this knowledge and our feelings (behaviour).5

Figure 2.1 Researchers have classified the USA population into ‘Six Americas’. As recently as 2009, 19 per cent of Americans were ‘cautious’ in their belief in climate change, 12 per cent were ‘disengaged’, 11 per cent were ‘doubtful’ and 7 per cent were ‘dismissive’,6 meaning that about half of those surveyed remained unconvinced.

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Social studies show that the public’s general concern over climate change is quite high in many countries. In a mail survey conducted in 2005 by 2750 residents in British Columbia (BC),7 over two-thirds rated themselves as somewhat or very concerned about the effects of climate change; this was before the film An Inconvenient Truth hit the box-office. On the other hand, opinions recorded in the polls have fluctuated in recent years, with several polls showing a decline in the number of Americans who believe in climate change since the cold winter of 2008. These studies shed light on the disconnects or gaps in people’ perceptions, where we fail to see things in their full context or to make logical connections (i.e. not ‘connecting the dots’; see Box 2A). Other problems may be defined as misperceptions, holding a view, belief or understanding that is inaccurate or misleading relative to hard evidence and probabilities based on the best available scientific information. Common misconceptions, for example, associate climate change with other aspects of air pollution8 or the ozone hole.9 There are of course many reasons why we should not expect people automatically to understand and believe everything covered by scientific knowledge (see Section 2.2).

Box 2A Research findings on people’s views of climate change in their everyday lives, revealing various types of disconnects and misperceptions: we can all identify with some of these Awareness and cognition ‘It’s not happening’: Denial remains a common attitude in response to what, if acknowledged, would be an uncomfortable and uncontrollable risk. One reader responded to a news story about climate change as follows: “It figures that a bunch of psychologists need to mess with people’s heads to get them to fall in line with this ‘eco-friendly’ nonsense.”10 ‘I’m not sure about it’: There is much confusion over climate change as to whether it’s a natural phenomenon or not, or how it works. Over 35 per cent of people surveyed in the south of England in 2003 agreed with the statement: “There is too much conflicting evidence about climate change to know whether it is actually happening.” One participant put it this way: “I would be doing more things to prevent this, and I would be speaking more about it [climate change] if I could get some clarity on it. The cause and effect of it all.”11 ‘It has little to do with me’: Often there are few clear links between normal community life and climate change, resulting in a lack of immediacy: Up to now, the climate issue plays scarcely any role in day-to-day behaviour and there are clear signals that it isn’t given a high priority.12 The evidence shows that lack of a widespread sense of urgency is not the result of people not knowing about the issue … or lack of information … What such surveys … find is that while many judged the problem to be serious or very serious … only about a third of Americans find the issue personally concerning or worrisome.13

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Climate change simply does not resonate deeply with the general public; it remains disconnected from people’s daily lives, from their more immediate concerns.14 ‘It’s not a problem in my community’: Explicit disconnects between climate change and local surroundings are common: Their examples and imagery of climate change described by participants mostly related to people in other locations or in the future … only a small minority of our respondents, even flood victims, tended to frame change in terms of their local surroundings. Some respondents also explicitly recognized the difficulty of visualizing the consequences of their current activities (e.g. energy use) and linking them to future climate change.15 ‘I don’t see it’: There is a simple failure to see key things in our world: Most people do not connect driving their cars or flipping on a light switch with emitting CO² into the atmosphere. As a social problem, then, it is just not visible or experienced directly (yet) in the same way that job losses, obesity, or traffic congestion are.16

Emotional responses ‘It‘s too scary to think about’: Fear and anxiety, though normal responses to a threat, often ‘get in the way’ of clear thinking and inhibit action. Attempts to encourage individuals to act through fear of disaster may backfire by instead inciting feelings of mental paralysis or apathy.17

Behaviour and action ‘Nothing I can do about it’: Some people feel overwhelmed and powerless to act, or that their individual efforts will make no difference. This state of mind is what academics call ‘lack of agency’. Feeling that our actions are insignificant means we are much less likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviour.18 ‘It’s somebody else’s responsibility’: We often fail to accept personal responsibility on environmental issues: Public opinion increasingly holds industry responsible and individuals are less inclined to see themselves as being responsible. This perception of personal responsibility may be the most important gap between attitude and actual behaviour.19

This overall disconnect between perceptions and the reality of climate change persists despite (or perhaps because of) the dominant focus in the media on the impacts and risks of climate change. Of particular relevance to communities, we find it difficult to connect the dots between: ◆

the causes of climate change and the resulting impacts, linking local causes and distant effects, or current habits with future conditions



everyday community environments and global climate change, linking local landscapes to climate change science, or urban lifestyles to changes on the land beyond the city.

What also generally seems to be missing is a sense of outrage: even fairly high concern levels do not get translated into unacceptability of climate 27

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change. There are exceptions, as in regular protests from youth and activist groups, non-government organizations (NGOs), or threatened communities such as Pacific islanders seen on television during the climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009 (Figure 2.2). Generally, though, the evidence suggests most people just don’t care that much about climate change at this point in history, even though it represents a massive and potentially catastrophic risk for billions of people.20 There is a gap in our risk perception between the dangers of climate change (‘how much harm is it likely to do?’) and the level of outrage (‘how upset does it make you?’).21 This is a risk manager’s nightmare, where long-term hazard is high but outrage is low.

Figure 2.2 Underwater event organized by the President of the Maldives to dramatize the islands’ vulnerability to sea-level rise for the cameras prior to the Copenhagen summit.

We can summarize the problems with people’s perceptions of climate change as twofold: poor sight and poor foresight. We seem to have limited vision in terms of perceiving what is already happening on the ground with the carbon cycle and the changing climate. We are also notoriously bad at looking ahead to foresee the consequences of our actions, as the barren slopes of the once-forested and now-impoverished Easter Island silently attest. The massive use of new products from DDT to natural gas, without serious consideration for the likely global ‘downside’, provides ample further proof.

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2.2 Causes of perception problems on climate change Why are these disconnects and misperceptions so common? We need to understand their underlying causes if they are to be overcome. Box 2B sets out some of the key perceptual barriers and filters in our heads that influence and impede our seeing, thinking and beliefs about climate change in the community.

Box 2B Why perception problems occur: key research findings on perceptual blocks and filters in mentally visualizing climate change Basic psychological defences There are a number of inherent psychological responses that humans exhibit to protect ourselves mentally against possible threats and enable us to keep going, even in the face of bad news such as massive future flooding in New York, as visualized in the 2004 issue of Vanity Fair. These responses include discounting the future and generally discounting concern: “Things in the future, in far-away places, things that can’t be known for sure, that can’t be experienced with the senses, or that do not affect a person directly, are generally taken less seriously than their opposites.”22 Outright denial or simply ignoring the problem conserves personal energy in the short term, reducing some stress and permitting routine behaviours to continue with minimal disruption.

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Cultural cognition and framing It is well known among psychologists that people selectively take in information that is available to them, picking the parts that fit their pre-existing framing of an issue. Our values, beliefs and worldviews precede our uptake of knowledge and direct how it is interpreted. People with one view on climate change may take in information and strengthen their beliefs, while others with an opposing belief interpret the same information to support their perspective. Recent work demonstrates that culture and social connections can strongly influence our understanding of scientific evidence on risks such as climate change: “People endorse whichever position reinforces their connection to others with whom they share important commitments.”23 We tend to filter out information that does not fit our cultural frame because accepting it could alienate us from our peers, an unattractive prospect for most people.

Lack of knowledge and flawed mental models Surveys suggest that people’s knowledge on climate change is rather poor. One survey in the Netherlands found that: “73 per cent of the participants were able to give a cause of climate change correctly … but only 31 per cent could give a correct solution. However, looking at the full chain of causes, effects, and solutions, only 25 per cent could piece (together) a proper combination.”24 In workshops with local residents on the west coast of Canada at risk from sea-level rise and other impacts, less than one-third of participants indicated that they were quite or very knowledgeable about the effect of climate change on their local area.25 “People absorb new information through pre-existing frames of reference or cognitive structures (so-called mental models), to order information.”26 For example, climate change is often seen inappropriately through the more familiar frame of weather, which confuses day-to-day weather variations with long-term climatic trends. The public’s mental models of carbon emissions and what is required to stabilize carbon concentrations have been shown to be faulty, erroneously supporting ‘wait-and-see’ policies on climate change mitigation.27

Lack of direct personal experience Most people in developed countries have yet to encounter a vivid personal experience with climate change, and therefore do not have any strong emotional connection to it. Emotions and feelings play an important role in reasoning: analytic reasoning cannot be effective unless it is guided by emotion and affect … in situations where the threat is not (yet) directly perceived – as in the case of climate change – we may misleadingly believe that there is no danger at all.28

The research findings outlined in Box 2B describe some of the perceptual blocks inside our heads, helping to explain the limitations of our species in being uninterested, easily distracted, biased, or resistant to unwelcome information. However, some of the barriers to clearer perception are out there in the environment around us: in the media, in the community, in cultural norms, or in the findings released by climate scientists. For example, it is hard to be knowledgeable if no information is provided; inadequate information is often cited by people as a reason for their perceived inability to act on possible solutions. In addition, there is a need for a person’s environment to reinforce a more constructive way of thinking or a desired

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behaviour pattern:29 without positive messages, affirmation, or other visible precedents and actions by others in the community, people’s motivation to act sustainably fades. Contradictory signals from government or business can also weaken people’s beliefs or support for policy change. Together, these internal and external factors influence our vision, our understanding and awareness, and ultimately our action on climate change. We may be uninterested in the whole issue of climate change, but a compelling presentation or a personal entreaty from a son or daughter may overcome our internal barriers and make us think more seriously about it. Conversely, we may be predisposed to do something good for the environment, like driving a small electric vehicle, but discouraged from doing so for fear of being seen as a nerd or an oddball by our neighbours with big cars and SUVs.

The influence of information on perceptions Many of the external perceptual blocks identified above are related to information and the evidence of climate change. It is important to understand how these particular barriers work. Studies by Lorenzoni and colleagues30 highlight the need for good information in improving knowledge about climate change and affecting people’s perceptions and behaviour. However, there is a long-standing debate among psychologists and social marketers on the role of information in affecting behaviour on sustainability issues such as climate change. There have been many experiments and real-life programmes showing that providing ‘information’ on its own has not resulted in any effective behaviour change.31 For example, the US energy efficiency programme, which gave residents detailed information on what to do and demonstrated significant cost savings, was largely ineffective.32 Such findings show that the ‘information-deficit model’, which argues providing information leads to action, is not enough on its own. Some might therefore suggest that presenting detailed facts on climate change is not that important. But in most walks of life we rely on credible, up-to-date expert information: for stocks and shares, weather forecasts and traffic reports, medical diagnoses, etc. Why would climate change be any different? So, we need to look more closely at these results. There are a number of reasons why valid information on climate change made available to the public may simply not get across: ◆

The information or its providers are not believed or trusted.



Abstract or complicated scientific information is not clearly explained or absorbed by laypeople. 31

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Figure 2.3 Climate change has to compete with other types of ‘crisis’ information.

32



The information available is not relevant or specific enough for people’s needs.



Information may not be interesting enough to hold people’s attention and may be out-competed by more immediate or compelling information, such as an unusually cold spell of weather, a cool videogame release, or other breaking news (Figure 2.3).



Information may receive only brief exposure rather than full and sustained engagement in its implications, and so is quickly forgotten.

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Given all the potential obstacles, it is perhaps not so surprising that climate change science has been ineffective to date in bringing about the fundamental shifts in society that are needed to redirect our increasingly dangerous behaviours. Not all information is equally powerful. The kind of information and how it is delivered may make a difference in whether or not it will be effective. Information can take many forms: it is much more than just conventional scientific or technical data delivered in reports or announcements. For example, when we look outside our window, we receive massive quantities of information on the weather, the season, ecological conditions, traffic conditions, our neighbours’ behaviour, etc. How we perceive climate change is influenced by many sources of information, including other people’s opinions, media coverage, advertizing, our surrounding landscapes and community activities. As explained above, these types of information are then interpreted or processed inside our heads via our pre-existing knowledge and mental models, which can be derived from our education, family, culture, and also our common sense. Box 2C explains some key concepts on how information comes to us through our senses and how we process it. Perception and learning involve many factors beyond the cold, hard information itself, including framing the messages through the setting, presenters, media, and even the target audience.

Box 2C Information processing People’s sensory perception of information, an environment, or a phenomenon such as climate change, may be thought of as a process of data-gathering, transfer and interpretation in the brain,33 influenced by various external and internal factors.

Setting: where it happens ◆ Room (e.g. village café, cinema, town hall, bedroom) ◆ Outdoors in the community (e.g. park, community festival, trails) ◆ Physical arrangement affecting viewing (e.g. big screens, pop-ups on a laptop, posters on a wall, etc.)



Presence/activity/number of other members of the audience.

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The Landscape Immersion Lab at University of British Columbia (UBC)

Stimulus type (signal) ◆ Audio (e.g. radio, podcast, verbal presentation) ◆ Text/numbers (e.g. report, magazine article, email) ◆ Charts and graphs ◆ Pictures (e.g. videos on YouTube, figures in a book, photos, etc.) ◆ Maps (e.g. Google Earth, city street maps, land-use plans) ◆ Real-world landscapes and streetscapes. Stimulus content ◆ Information type (e.g. climate change impacts versus adaptation options) ◆ Sources of information (e.g. trusted, scientific, fictional) ◆ Relevance to audience (e.g. local versus global). Display (channel or filter) ◆ Medium (e.g. animated, interactive, static, etc.) ◆ User interface (e.g. navigational controls) ◆ Mediated by a presenter or facilitator, versus direct access or experience.

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Receptor/audience ◆ Type of audience (e.g. experts versus public, rural or urban, old or young, etc.) ◆ Pre-existing knowledge/education ◆ Attitudes, values, concerns ◆ Focused versus distracted ◆ Brief encounter or lengthy interaction. Desired response type ◆ Cognition (knowing/learning) ◆ Emotion ◆ Judgement/decision-making ◆ Behavioural motivation and action. Current information sources on climate change have been dominated by two streams: climate science, supported by those who believe that humans are responsible, and the climate change denial lobby, supported by those who claim the opposite.34 Both viewpoints are conveyed to the public, filtered, and sometimes exaggerated by the mass media, politicians and interest groups. Both streams have problems. The first has massive factual and scientific evidence, is held to very high academic standards, but is not easy to ‘get next to’: it is heavy with information that is often abstract, complex, remote, depressing, and at times overwhelming. The second is not supported by the vast bulk of evidence, meets no standards of defensibility, is given media exposure out of proportion to its numbers, is sometimes funded by the fossil fuel industry, and only needs to create doubt and delay in order to succeed.35 Neither stream of information usually permits meaningful interaction with or querying by the audience. With a few exceptions, science on its own has not been able to paint a clear and complete picture of the effects of climate change on society. There are at least two reasons for this: (1) the emphasis of modelling being placed on global rather than regional or local effects, distancing the information from everyday life;36 and (2) a general inability to translate the data into a more meaningful, attractive and accessible form of information for ordinary folk. There are good reasons why the bulk of climate science has focused its efforts as it has, but it should come as no surprise that, without better engagement techniques and collaboration with other disciplines, it can be out-competed by the sophisticated media expertise of those on the other side, as well as the demands of everyday life with its more real and pressing obligations.

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It is clear that science has a huge role to play in providing the best possible information for all those considering needed actions on climate change. Individuals and communities cannot get very far in such planning if they do not have good information. The lack or inappropriateness of information and resulting weak knowledge about climate change remains a fundamental barrier to intelligent action. We need to find new, better and complementary ways to engage people in the issues and the reality of climate change if we are to change perceptions and promote action.

2.3 What the social scientists suggest as possible solutions to perception problems There are many ways, in theory, that promise to overcome perceptual barriers on climate change (Box 2D). While they focus mostly on better ways of communicating, they represent much more than a traditional one-way, top-down flow of conventional scientific information from experts to laypeople. They recognize the key role of social context, human psychology, group dynamics and collective social norms. They seek to lower the perceptual barriers while increasing the motivations for action.

Box 2D General recommendations for communicating climate change and fostering social change (summarized from social science research referenced above)

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◆ ◆

Provide understandable, scientifically credible information.



Employ experiential learning (learning by personal experience), not just descriptive or scientific information, in order to engage people personally through active social involvement.37 Such involvement may become a prime motivator all on its own,38 as in 350.org’s campaign in October 2009 and 2010 where people in places all over the world enthusiastically got together to endorse and display the number ‘350’, the level (in parts per million) at which some say CO2 concentrations need to be stabilized.



Connect with emotions (carefully): affective responses that are personally relevant, inspiring and motivating are the most influential and long-lasting. Real engagement requires “a personal state of connection with the issue of climate change … It is not enough for people to know about climate change in order to be engaged; they also need to care about it, be motivated and able to take action.”39



Balance negative and positive information: messages which emphasize environmental losses and alert people to the risks of inaction are consistently more persuasive than those which only emphasize benefits of action; however, such threats should be combined with positive implications of action to avoid a sense of helplessness or numbing.

Use novel, vivid, and concrete imagery and goals to attract and hold attention, and to provide clarity of information and purpose.

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Apply information to the regional or local level: contextualizing climate change impacts at the regional and local level, allowing people to imagine them more easily and make them more meaningful.



Tailor the communications to the audience, framing information within an appropriate context to resonate with participants and make it more accessible.40



Co-production of knowledge: engagement of stakeholders needs to occur through an engaging, accessible, collaborative process to create ownership, accountability and a joint willingness to act.



Employ social support, positive reinforcement, peer pressure and modelling of perceptions and behaviour by others who are trusted or looked up to.



Appeal to people’s self-worth and broader deeply held values: “tap into … empowering values and personal aspirations such as innate goodness, responsibility towards others and the Earth, leadership, innovation, respect, caring and stewardship.”41

Unfortunately, with the exception of some social marketing techniques, practitioners at the community level often seem unaware of these social science research findings. Many of the suggestions in Box 2D go well beyond the conventional methods of public outreach and communicating scientific information. These recommended approaches need to be tested more widely in practice. What simple principles and practical methods can we use to implement these approaches broadly and effectively in communities? We will explore some ways to apply these approaches in the next chapter and in more depth in Part III.

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Summary The key message here is that there are many disconnects and misperceptions in the way we perceive climate change, both in our sight of the world around us and our foresight into the future. Most people’s basic perceptions of climate change are incomplete at best, and sometimes misguided and damaging. In Chapter 2, we have identified a range of perceptual problems and discussed how they arise. There is a skewed focus on the impacts and risks of climate change, relative to its causes and solutions. We have seen that perceptual barriers arise partly from internal preconceptions and knowledge in our heads, and partly from the external information and context that surrounds us. There are however many ways that seem promising for reducing these perceptual problems. In practice people can learn new attitudes and behaviours, and change does sometimes occur. We have outlined recommendations from social science research on overcoming perceptual barriers as a basis for further exploration of solutions in the next two chapters.

Notes 1 It is not just visual sensations that are important in affecting perceptions; sound, smell and touch can be powerful too, and relevant to carbon or climate change (e.g. traffic noise, methane from farming activities such as muck-spreading, etc.); but the visual sense tends to be dominant in everyday life, and the easiest to embed in the communication media. Non-visual perceptions and phenomena are however included in the book where relevant. 2 For example, Sir David King, BBC News (2004) ‘Global warming “biggest threat”’: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3381425.stm, accessed 3 May 2010. 3 APA (2009, p.133). 4 Maibach et al. (2009). 5 Lorenzoni et al. (2007). 6 Maibach et al. (2009). 7 Harshaw et al. (2009). 8 Kempton (1995). 9 Bostrom et al. (1994). 10 APA (2009, p.127). 11 Lorenzoni et al. (2007, p.450). 12 Vermeulen and Kok (2002, p.49). 13 Moser and Dilling (2007, pp.3–4), citing Stamm et al. (2000). 14 Moser and Dilling (2007, p.15). 15 Lorenzoni et al. (2007, p.452).

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16 17 18 19 20

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

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Moser and Dilling (2007, p.5). Moser and Dilling (2004). Kollmuss and Agyeman (2002). Vermeulen and Kok (2002, citing Couvert and Reuling (2000), and multiple authors). For example, two billion people in Asia are at risk of losing traditional water supplies through the melting of the Himalayan snowfields (Clare Martin, CBC Radio 1 Broadcast (28 August 2009), from WMO Conference, Geneva, Switzerland). Sandman (n.d.). Moser and Dilling (2007, p.22), citing Hannon (2005); Hendrick and Nicolaij (2004). Kahan (2010, p.296). Vermeulen and Kok (2002, p.48), citing Couvert and Reuling (1999). Tatebe et al. (2010). Moser and Dilling (2007, p.10), citing Kempton (1991). Sterman and Sweeney (2007). Slovic et al. (2004, p.311). Savelson et al. (2005). Lorenzoni et al. (2007). Kollmuss and Agyeman (2002). McKenzie-Mohr (1994). Craik et al. (1980). In this book, we distinguish between the organized climate change denial lobby (with considerable funding and a predetermined position) and the much larger number of genuinely sceptical members of the public who lack the resources to evaluate the scientific evidence for themselves and remain to be convinced. Hoggan (2009); Weaver (2008). Sheppard et al. (2011). See Weber (2006) and Maiteny (2002). Jamie Henn of 350.org, 2010, personal communication. In PICS Social Mobilization workshop, 11th March 2010. Lorenzoni et al. (2007, p.446). CRED (2009). Moser and Dilling (2007, p.501).

Further reading American Psychological Association (2009) ‘Psychology and global climate change: addressing a multi-faceted phenomenon and set of challenges.’ Report by the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on the interface between psychology and global climate change. Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) (2009) The Psychology of Climate Change Communication: A Guide for Scientists, Journalists, Educators, Political Aides, and the Interested Public. Columbia University, New York.

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Hoggan, J. (2009) Climate Cover-up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming. Greystone Books, Vancouver, Canada. Moser, S. and Dilling, L. (eds) (2007) Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Pike, C., Doppelt, B. and Herr, M. (2010) Climate Communications and Behaviour Change. Climate Leadership Initiative, Eugene, OR. Whitmarsh, L., O’Neill, S. and Lorenzoni, I. (eds) (2010) Engaging the Public with Climate Change: Behaviour Change and Communication. Earthscan, London.

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3

A new climate change lens Principles for shifting perceptions of climate change

One of the delights of being a professor is that you are often caught unawares by the innovative ideas of your students. Sometimes you learn more from them than you can teach them. One of my first landscape architecture students did his thesis work on the Silver Valley area outside Vancouver, a lovely wooded ridge with scattered homes and horse paddocks among the trees.1 He had spent time there as a child and was worried about local government’s official community plan to develop the area for new suburbs to accommodate expected growth. It was a relatively suitable place to develop, being above the floodplain and outside the good agricultural land. However, the typical style of development called for sprawling single-family homes, which we would now recognize as contributing to climate change through car dependency and energy inefficiency (this all took place before we woke up to the reality of climate change). Duncan was sure that there was a more sustainable way to develop the area and keep some of its distinctive character.

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He started working on different plan layouts, comparing the business-as-usual development patterns with more clustered development that protected trees on steeper slopes and some paddocks near village centres. He put the plans (proposed buildings, streets, remaining trees) into a computer program which allowed him to visualize the scenarios in plan view and as seen from the ground. We invited members of the city council into our lab to discuss his results. Duncan talked them through his careful planning sequence and they were quite interested, but I clearly remember, as soon as he showed the sequence of views simulating what would be seen from the nearby areas, how their jaws dropped. The visual contrasts before and after conventional development made them lean forward in their seats and begin an earnest debate about what they should do about it. They had had no idea what their official plans really looked like. That ‘aha’ moment led to several studies on more sustainable development patterns building on Duncan’s early work, and eventually a new greener, official plan for the area. The simple step of making the local scene visible, and pulling all the pieces together in a recognizable picture, changed everything. I have witnessed other such turning points over the years, but that one stands out, coming seemingly from out of the blue.

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In order to reframe our perceptions and stimulate more action on climate change, we need a new lens for clearer vision and foresight. This chapter lays out three core principles that advance this goal, fleshing out the recommendations from the social scientists while making them simple to apply in practice when engaging the public. The principles are: 1 Make it local: focus on the local community perspective in dealing with climate change. 2 Make it visual: harness the special power of visual perception and imagery in thinking about climate change and making carbon visible, because “seeing is believing”. 3 Make it connected: look at the whole carbon cycle and multiple aspects of climate change, to see the big picture and not just climate change impacts. These core principles interpret the research findings in Chapter 2 in the light of our experience with case study communities which are grappling with the new complexities of climate change. The principles address issues which I believe have often been overlooked or under-emphasized in communicating climate change and stimulating informed dialogue on what to do about global warming. They provide a foundation for developing practical solutions and techniques for changing minds, policies and behaviour in everyday communities. For each principle, we explain its rationale based on common sense and research findings; examine why the principle is not more widely followed; and outline what is needed from various players to advance these principles in the community, illustrated with successful examples.

3.1 Principle 1: Make it local Make climate change more salient and immediate by bringing relevant information down to the local level, putting it into a community context that people care about, using the local landscape to express climate change issues, and engaging citizens in developing local solutions.2 In this book, we use the term community to mean both the physical locality or settlement, and the people who live there.

Why the local community perspective matters While communities contain many social barriers to spreading the message on climate change action, as discussed in the previous chapter, there are 43

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many pragmatic reasons to focus on engaging them more. Virtually everyone on the planet belongs to a local community. People are placebased. As Spike Milligan’s Goon Show character Eccles famously said long ago, “Everybody got to be somewhere.” Unlike other groupings or subdivisions of people such as professions, special interest groups or internet users, everyone in a geographic community shares a common bond and identity, from executives to paper-boys. This gives us a way to reach nearly everybody where they often care the most: in their own backyards. But ‘making it local’ means more than just providing conventional climate change information at the local level; it may also mean opening people’s eyes to climate change all around them. Perhaps the most important rationale for the community perspective is to provide a third way for people to learn about climate change. In Chapter 2 we noted that the dominant streams of information on climate change in developed nations have been from the scientists and from the opposition – the ‘two sides of the debate’, mostly filtered by the media.3 Figure 3.1 shows these streams of information, and the potential role of a powerful third channel that is largely independent of the others: the evidence of our own eyes.

Figure 3.1 Key ways in which climate change information reaches us, including potentially from our local environment (the third way).

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I argue that we need to rise above the claims of the professional denial lobby, but also to go beyond the conventional science information on climate change: scientific reports and data are insufficient on their own to motivate the average Joe, Jill, business or government decision-maker to take radical action on climate change. We need as well to tap into what people experience around them: the local face of climate change. What people experience in their familiar surroundings provides powerful opportunities to connect with them on their own terms, and to get them to think more carefully about climate change as it affects their community. It is by definition local, visual and holistic. Looking at the real world represents a vital way to ‘triangulate’ and contextualize the evidence from scientists and the headlines in the tabloids. The community landscape,4 our shared biophysical and social context, is potentially the best way for people to get climate change information directly, unfiltered by the media. This is already obvious in many communities, outside the more developed temperate regions which have the largest carbon footprints but where, ironically, climate change impacts have been much less evident. However, this is beginning to change as climate change gets worse. Realistically, the local area is where sooner or later everyone will be affected. Hurricane Katrina affected all of the one million residents of New Orleans personally (Figure 3.2). This is one community that has already learned the hard way about the high costs of not heeding the warnings in planning for climate change.

Figure 3.2 Photographs from the community of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina clearly show the kind of community disruption that can be expected more widely if hurricanes increase in frequency and/or intensity.

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Of course, we cannot yet attribute a single extreme event to climate change: one swallow does not a spring make. Caution must be exercised not to jump to conclusions without solid background knowledge. However, we can note the frequency and intensity of events and major changes in weather patterns, attributing these trends to climate change where consistent with scientific monitoring and projections. We can also observe the spatial distribution and frequency of weather and related events outside the natural range of variability under recent climate conditions: just how many ‘100-year floods’ should we now expect in one region in one decade? But we are not limited to weather and climate observations: we can talk to people such as farmers, fishermen and engineers who are already adjusting their practices and schedules in response to real changes on the ground. We will explore this issue in greater depth in Part II. In my experience of working with communities, there is actually a hunger out there for practical information on climate change and its solutions. Local scientific data are still scarce. However, some useful information relevant to the subject may already be there, namely from people with a close connection to the land who see how the old patterns are changing. Communities often have embedded within them knowledge and stories of past storms, floods and shifts in land use, information that can be highly useful in planning for climate change in the future. 5 This is particularly true in native societies with rich oral histories 6 and communities that have kept detailed records for decades: a good friend of mine, for instance, regularly counts birds at local wetlands in a highly organized but totally voluntary scheme involving thousands of English bird-watchers. The community is not just ‘ground zero’ for climate change problems; it is also the source of their solutions. Communities are rich storehouses of local knowledge, common sense, resourcefulness and skills. Regardless of background or education, people become very attached to the places they live in and their community, and often seek to protect and nurture them. Local residents notice things and regularly report problems in their surroundings to local authorities. My mother used to write zealously to Witney Town Council to remind them to empty overfilled waste bins, unplug blocked street drains or cut back the ivy overhanging the street signs. Defending the community against the effects of climate change could be a powerful motivator. Consequently, there is often considerable capacity and motivation for collective action beyond the level of the individual or family, where people work together for the good of the whole community (Figure 3.3). 46

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Many communities breed civic-minded grass-roots organizations capable of sterling efforts, year in, year out, whether maintaining the churchyard, fundraising for a local school, or organizing energy audits for low-carbon retrofits. These existing social networks can be recruited to mobilize collective action on climate change, if the threat, the need and the vision are clearly revealed. Often, community responses to climate change may also bring about other significant improvements (or co-benefits) in people’s lives.

Figure 3.3 A blue-bin community clearly expresses the social values of recycling, now embedded in the culture of cities like Vancouver.

Social pressure for certain kinds of pro-community behaviours can be very strong at the neighbourhood level (Figure 3.4). ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ (whom we now recognize as ‘early adopters’) can be good if it means increasing energy efficiency of the home, as opposed to installing more patio heaters. Our neighbours can be a powerful force, either speeding uptake of climate change solutions or representing a critical problem to be turned around. The ‘eyes on the street’ effect means that many practical actions taken by neighbours to fight climate change can be immediately seen, helping to establish new social norms.

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Figure 3.4 Cycling as a family recreational activity and way of commuting is a cultural norm in several countries in Europe and elsewhere.

The community level is also critical in another way. Between 45 and 75 per cent of worldwide carbon emissions are controlled by or attributed to urban areas.7,8 The community, neighbourhood, block and backyard are where most people can effectively do something about climate change. As individuals, we cannot directly stop the Greenland ice shelves slipping into the ocean, but we can leave our cars in the garage more often or install solar thermal water heating, which collectively has the same effect, if we only realized it. Local government, which plans and regulates land use, is where ‘the rubber meets the road’ (to use high-carbon terminology) in delivering climate change solutions: by implementing mitigation policies or installing adaptation measures to deal with the local impacts of climate change, such as raising flood barriers or changing farming practices. Some argue that major changes in the use of carbon can only be driven by top-down leadership from national governments, for example, by implementing carbon pricing. But it is on local government decisions, such as siting run-of-river power plants or wind farms, that many possible climate change solutions depend. If good projects are not to be stalled due to NIMBY-ism, there has to be enough grass-roots support (a constituency for change) to embolden local politicians to take tough decisions. History and experience (from the French Revolution to ‘flower power’ in the 1960s) show that collective local action can be a powerful mechanism for policy change. It

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was cities such as Seattle and Toronto that first set aggressive carbon reduction targets, in the absence of responsible government action at higher levels. Many of these practical arguments for going local are borne out by social science research. As is shown in Box 3A, information has been proved to be more meaningful and compelling when linked to local issues that people can identify with and care about. The community is where people learn experientially, whether about the latest fad or early signs of climate change.

Box 3A Selected research findings on why the community level is so important in changing behaviour ◆

“Local threats are generally perceived as more salient and of greater urgency than global problems.”9 “The impacts of global warming are typically perceived as remote. Images of ice receding in the Arctic and sea-level rise affecting distant tropical islands … while dramatic, do not personally affect most of the world’s population.”10



People respond best to those they can trust and feel comfortable with: local people, neighbours, friends, etc. “Generally, personally familiar sources are more trusted than more distant and less familiar sources: those coming from similar circumstances are believed to understand one’s situation better than those coming from very different backgrounds.”11



“Often, it takes observing the actions by a neighbour, a friend … to spur action.”12



A US government effort in the 1970s to promote cost-effective energy efficiency failed because it overlooked the important role of “cultural practices, social interactions, and human feelings that influence … behaviour.”13



Psychologists confirm that “people have a deep altruistic desire to live a ‘good’ or ‘meaningful’ life, in which they derive gratification from exhibiting their strengths, talents, and virtues, and use these skills to belong to and serve a larger purpose.” 14



Community endorsement of climate change solutions such as windpower tends to be high where some form of local control and ownership, with local economic benefits, is provided, as in the majority of wind farms in the Netherlands and Germany, which are owned by individuals, farmers or local wind co-ops known as Wind Guilds.15

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Our research on local perceptions of climate change in Canada revealed a high level of local motivation and desire for action. In several forestdependent communities in BC, participants generally rated ‘managing forests to reduce global warming’ among their highest priorities for sustainable forest management,16 and significantly higher than maintaining economic benefits from forestry and wood products. In other communities, such as the flood-prone neighbourhoods and farmlands of Delta, BC (Figure 3.5), we again found high levels of concern over climate change,17 and some frustration with the slowness of government responses to it, even though local policy-makers felt the community was a leader in the field through its proactive adaptation planning. Studies like this can reveal differences between the perceptions of citizens and those of local government: the locals are often ahead of the politicians in desiring and accepting actions on climate change.

Figure 3.5 People involved in visioning studies in this flood-prone area of south Delta near Vancouver expressed a desire for mitigation and adaptation policies to tackle climate change.

Mismatch: How we currently relate climate change information to the local community In my reading of the scientific literature on climate change and its communication to the public, I have been amazed at the gaping hole where dealing with the local level of climate change ought to be. Until very 50

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recently, the local community scale and the role of place-based collective action has been neglected in climate change communication and policy initiatives. The science and policy dialogue has usually focused on the global or national levels. At the same time, the popular interpretation of the science, and even practical government attempts to improve energy efficiency, for example, have focused on the individual person or household. Where the local scale has been considered by social scientists, it often focuses on the institutional role of local government, and less on the informal place-based ‘grass-roots’ initiatives and social networks that often actually drive changes in policy and behaviour. Climate change scientists, understandably, tend to look at the world in terms of their knowledge base, using models and projections which are international in scope with very limited spatial resolution. It is a massive and complex task to produce locally specific projections of future climate change effects. It is therefore no surprise that the local data currently available are often inadequate. Such information is frequently scanty or hard to acquire, or unclear and difficult to understand for non-experts. Different sources of information on climate change and carbon are sometimes wildly at odds with each other. With such uncertainty, the cautious approach commonly adopted by scientists can be frustrating for non-experts, and may lead to delay, inaction or apathy. Where does this leave communities? Can we really expect busy laypeople to wade through IPCC or national reports, make sense of the scientific jargon, and interpret what they read for local significance? We cannot ask local people to make the changes and possibly the sacrifices needed to save the planet, if they cannot relate those actions to implications for their community. We should acknowledge that some climate scientists have been struggling heroically to ‘downscale’ their modelling and forecasting work to make climate change projections more useful and available for regional users. Pioneering efforts have been made by groups such as the UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP).18 However, as discussed further in Part III, this science is still in its infancy. Scientists are only now beginning to model local socio-economic implications such as ‘How viable will the farming be in our area in 20 years’ time?’, or ‘Will Whistler Mountain ever be able to host another Winter Olympics?’ As more and more communities wake up to the local threats of climate change, the clamour for better local data is likely to become a deafening roar. In the meantime, the regional trends for climate change in the short term are reasonably well known. If more resources were provided, communities 51

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would be able to translate and build on that knowledge (see Chapter 13). This is why local involvement is so important. However, the ‘top-down’ nature of the science and policy information is not the only problem. There are many disconnects between local government policy and climate change. Despite the decades of scientific evidence on the serious consequences, local planners and other professionals in many parts of the world have yet to build climate change into their routine procedures and land-use/development decisions.19 Many countries are still in the situation reported by researchers in the Netherlands: An evaluation of the local climate change policies of 51 municipalities in 1999 showed that in many cases consideration of climate change in strategic policy formulation is no guarantee of changes in greenhouse gas-related activities by local actors … in most cases possible actions in the field of construction, traffic and green energy are not taken in practice. In many instances, basic information on sources of greenhouse gases is lacking, developments are not monitored, and plans are not even developed.20 In British Columbia, for example, the first explicit requirement to address climate change only found its way into the Official Community Plans in 2010.21 At the 2007 American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) convention in San Francisco, I could not find a single book on climate change in the ASLA bookstore! Why were some professions asleep for so long?

What the community needs: How we can harness local power in shifting perceptions on climate change? Perceptual barriers in the community are common, but the potential to engage local communities in climate change solutions is enormous. Continuing to ignore the local perspective is not an option. Given the urgency of acting on climate change, we do not have the luxury of time to wait for fully defensible scientific data or fleshed-out official policies. Most of us are very familiar with looking at our world from a community perspective, interpreting the latest news or emerging trends in terms of what we see around us: Is it safe for our children to play in the park given current crime levels? Will the credit crunch close the neighbourhood pub? Is the traffic getting worse on our block? What we are not yet so good at is connecting the growing evidence on climate change to our local context. Clearly, people act when the local climate change evidence is dramatic, as with Hurricane Katrina. What we need, though, is to retrain ourselves to

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connect everyday observations of our changing environment and our lifestyles in the community that contribute to these changes. We do not have to wait for local catastrophes. In Part II we examine opportunities now to strengthen the stream of information on climate change that comes from the local landscape. This however will require various actors to play significant roles. Climate change scientists need to make scientific data more applicable, available and meaningful to everyday people in real places. A lovely practical example of this is the UKCIP guidebook on climate change for British gardeners that put global warming into the same familiar frame as wheelbarrows, weeding and wisteria (Figure 3.6).

Figure 3.6 Sample from the UKCIP/Royal Horticultural Society guidebook on climate change for gardeners.22

Local and regional governments are at last beginning to assess their climate change vulnerabilities, set carbon emission targets, develop climate action plans, and bring in community charters and policies to stimulate climate action. This is important in informing and reinforcing community attitudes. 53

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It requires training and capacity-building among professional staff and decision-makers, as well as an educational role in community outreach. Through such measures, Woking in England, for example, has reduced its carbon emissions by 21 per cent since 1990.23 Most communities need to assess how visible climate change is becoming in their area, if the ‘third way’ (Figure 3.1) is to be part of their outreach strategy (explored further in Parts II and III). The informal sector of citizens and stakeholders plays a vital role in social mobilization. Active volunteer groups have emerged around the issue of climate change or peak oil, such as the growing Transition Town movement24 or the Rural Community Councils25 in Britain, which promote informal community-led plans that engage local citizens more effectively than official plans. These activities need to invoke local values and interests, which may not necessarily focus primarily on climate change. Local people should be encouraged to monitor and record the changing conditions that global warming brings, now that there is no ‘steady-state’ environment any more. In Delta, for example, it was the farmers whom we interviewed, not the scientists, who knew where crops are starting to perish in the hotter summers, as rising sea levels increase soil salinity. The real power of these actors is realized when they collaborate. Applying climate change science locally should not be a top-down, expert-driven affair, but involve co-production of knowledge with local experts, stakeholders and residents. Local solutions to climate change have to be developed and ‘owned’ by local people who will maintain them, and local knowledge and ingenuity is vital to their success. Climate scientists can help by coming to the community and joining in. Often, funding and information from higher levels of government are needed to help build community capacity.26 Sooner or later, we need to tie outreach and social marketing efforts more strongly to the formal planning processes which are going on all the time, as in the structured visioning process described in Chapter 13. The local media also play a key role, informing and reinforcing what is happening in the community. There are also other kinds of media with their own communities, such as those that exist in cyber-space, without a strong geographic link but with robust social networks. These communities may also be an effective way to spread innovations and success stories on climate change, perhaps through media such as Google Earth. Linking local communities to each other and to cyber communities offers exciting new possibilities for shifting perceptions faster and more widely, while also encouraging deeper place-based mobilization.

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3.2 Principle 2: Make it visual Use the power of the landscape we see and visual media to cut through the confusion and the spin, show what climate change really looks like, maximize people’s engagement, and speed up their learning.27

Why seeing climate change matters What we see is important, especially in our highly visual modern cultures. Visual media, both real and virtual, can provide powerful experiences which may change or reinforce perceptions. At the ASLA conference in San Francisco in 2007, Al Gore was beamed in by live satellite hook-up to give the keynote address; his main point on the subject of climate change to us as designers and environmental communicators was: ‘Find a way to make it visible.’ Many others have made similar exhortations (Box 3B).

Box 3B Statements about the need to make climate change visible ◆

Official footer on letters from the Provincial Government of BC’s Climate Action Secretariat: “Climate Action Outreach Tip: doomsday scenarios and apocalyptic language are unlikely to work, but making climate change more visible is critical.”



Planners and local officials in the Western USA28 reported that “local scepticism and lack of urgency may be due to few visible impacts in their communities that residents agree are attributable to climate change”.



McKenzie-Mohr and Smith29 report on studies that show: “Householders grossly over-estimate the resources used by visible devices such as lighting and greatly underestimate less visible resource consumption (e.g. water heaters and furnaces).”



McKibben30 advocates using meaningful and “striking images that define your community”, and relates the story of climate change campaigners in Florida who “hired a crane and suspended a yacht twenty feet in the air to show how high the local sea-level would rise if the Greenland ice-shelf slid into the ocean” (see p.56).



McAllister Opinion Research explains that “Many of the words used to describe sustainability (e.g. climate change…) do not conjure up the vivid mental images required to engage people’s imaginations. If we can use the language of images to help communicate these issues in more vivid terms, then engagement around sustainability is likely to increase.”31

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Nicholson-Cole32 recommends depicting climate change in personally relevant environments, such as local and recognizable neighbourhoods.



Sheppard33 suggested using pictures showing climate change with “iconic, well-known landscape symbols to which people can relate.”

Why use such a visual focus? We are visual animals; we evolved to read landscapes, not books or blogs. Anyone who has watched a baby’s eyes tracking a moving object even before they can fully focus, or sat in a room with the TV on while trying to concentrate on doing something else, knows the instinctive, physical attraction of movement and colour. Visual imagery is a powerful stimulus, and a dominant source of information in our daily lives. The business world understands that very well, hence the slick visuals and catchy commercials that dominate TV, the internet and billboards (Figure 3.7). We all know the expression ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Images often translate across disciplines, cultures and language barriers. We are told that 85 per cent of our perception is visual.34 We have all seen movies and documentaries that have used powerful visual imagery and special effects to thrill us or move us to tears. Because we can see them on TV or YouTube, isolated events affecting a single individual, such as the videotaped death by taser of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver Airport in 2008, often cause more outrage (and earn more media coverage) than global warming which impacts upon millions. There is plenty of research evidence confirming that pictures not only provide useful information, but also affect viewers’

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Figure 3.7 Example of a visually compelling commercial image used to attract attention and persuade the viewer to behave in certain ways (i.e. buy cool stuff and go faster).

attitudes, emotions and even behaviour.35 Visual communication media in general, and 3D visualization in particular, have been shown to increase engagement, enhance learning and strengthen people’s understanding of complex environmental issues.36 The story at the beginning of this chapter on the effect of using landscape visualization is certainly not unique. Our studies of community perceptions of future climate change, using realistic pictures of local places, found that people’s sense of urgency and their awareness of potential local solutions increased significantly as a result of visual presentations37 (described in more depth in Chapters 12 and 13; see also Figure 3.14). People’s observations of the real world can also have a major effect. In the interior of BC, the highly visible mountain pine beetle epidemic, exacerbated by warmer winters, has killed pine forests across massive swaths of landscape (Figure 3.8). “People see red trees as far as they can see and it becomes easier to implement some rather aggressive policies” on forest management and relocating tree species to higher elevations.38 We surveyed residents in the BC community of Prince George, which has been especially hard hit by the pest outbreak. People commented that they had been noticing evidence of climate change in their own backyards for many years, listing over 70 conditions they had seen that indicate the

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impacts of climate change.39 These went beyond the dramatic devastation of the beetle attack, to include observed changes in weather patterns and the timing of winter activities. About 40 per cent of citizens participating in the survey also said they personally planned to do something in response to climate change.

Figure 3.8 The mountain pine beetle epidemic in British Columbia occupies over 130,000 square kilometres and has radically altered the landscapes and economies of many communities in western North America. This results from a combination of warmer winters that no longer constrain beetle populations, and fire suppression which prolongs the life of ageing pine trees that are susceptible to beetle attack.40

Other American surveys also suggest that many people’s opinions of climate change stem from local observations of events such as forest fires or hurricanes. These findings suggest that local visible evidence of climate change can have a big impact on community consciousness, and perhaps also on community action. However, perceptual disconnects can be stubborn. A recent survey by my colleague Olaf Schroth of undergraduate students in Kelowna, a town drastically impacted by forest fires in 2003, suggests that their dominant image of climate change was polar bears and ice floes; none of them mentioned forest fires!

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Mismatch: how we currently use the visual medium in expressing climate change I believe that we are not currently making the most of the latest visual technology available to us. Despite common knowledge and research evidence that visuals are a powerful way to communicate climate change messages, we do not systematically apply this knowledge or adapt our techniques to help solve big social and environmental problems. The scientific and community planning professions have in general shied away from these tools. The scientists usually stop at charts and the planners often go no further than maps. This may in part be due to fear of raising emotional reactions from the public, or simply lack of comfort and familiarity with the visual media themselves. Neither profession typically receives formal training in visual communication methods. It is also likely that most researchers and practitioners find the task of digitally visualizing climate change, in all its complexity and enormity, simply too daunting. In fairness, it is a major (but not impossible) challenge. Urban designers, developers and consultants have long used visualizations in local development decisions, but these are usually focused on architectural schemes or specific projects such as transit stations, bridges or power stations. The idea of using similar media for depicting broader future conditions is rarely implemented in practice. Things are starting to change, however, as visual tools such as digital ‘paint programs’ and Google Earth are becoming more intuitive to use and freely available. Our kids can now run rings around us old fogeys in applying digital visual media creatively (see Chapters 11–12). It is now possible to see images of climate change, ranging from children’s expressive paintings in elementary schools to incredibly realistic special effects in 3D (stereovision) movies and video-games; just don’t expect them to be scientific or applied seriously in community decision-making. In addition, the visual imagery used often focuses on shock and scare tactics, dwelling on the spectacular aspects of climate change in both the movies and the media. Without balanced imagery of positive solutions and outcomes, this may well contribute to the denial and disengagement of the public. So far, though, I have found few systematic attempts with visual media to reveal the face of climate change over time in local communities. Part III of this book explores this new territory with some striking results.

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What the community needs: how we can harness the power of the visual medium in shifting perceptions on climate change Communities need better visual information, systematically applied, to make sense of current conditions around them, to engage their interest and enthusiasm and to guide behaviour. Social marketers, for example, recommend using ‘prompts’ such as labels or signs in the home to remind people to turn off lights or close windows to save energy. In Germany and the UK the use of smart meters – installed in a highly visibly spot in the home to show real-time electricity usage – has significantly reduced consumption simply by making visible the consequences of actions which previously went unquestioned. As with video-games, instant visual feedback becomes a key source of motivation and gratification. Visual imagery can also stimulate the imagination on future steps which the community can take. It would be really helpful if we could show people what climate change may look like, beyond the pictures of polar bears on melting ice floes. In the work carried out by our research team at the University of British Columbia, we have tried using photographs, mapping, 3D computer renderings and animations to enlighten and engage communities in dealing with climate change (Figure 3.9). Other examples and findings from such work are presented throughout this book, particularly in Part III. In this work, we have stumbled upon a widespread latent demand for visual information that rapidly makes it clear how citizens may be affected and can be actively involved in emerging solutions. At the same time, through the use of these media, we have been able to learn much about the community’s issues, concerns, perceptual barriers and attitudes towards climate change. To apply visualization methods more widely requires climate change scientists and community practitioners to work together with other disciplines skilled in visual media, landscape planning and design, and climate change interpretation. Some training would be necessary, addressing visual communication principles, data, software and procedures for ensuring scientific credibility. Usually, some sort of structured process is desirable to make such collaborations happen (see Chapter 13). The voluntary sector of citizens and stakeholders can play a key role in reviewing visual media in process and sometimes contributing useful imagery of their own (Figure 3.10). In our experience, the local press and TV are eager to get their hands on such pictures, which in turn significantly increases exposure.

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Figure 3.9 Visualization in Google Earth of a fire-spread scenario near the small town of Kimberley, BC, used to communicate the risks of increased forest fires due to climate change, based on existing fire-modelling data. Background image © 2009 Google; British Columbia; Digital Globe; Terra Metric; Tele Atlas.

Both the informal and formal community sectors can work on finding new ways to tap the power of the local landscape as messaging to the community on climate change. Options include short-term demonstrations on-site like the dangling yacht described in Box 3B above, interpretive outdoor displays about climate change (see the images of glacial retreat in Box 2A, p. 23), and museum exhibits: some of our visualizations of future landscapes in Delta (see Figure 3.14) have been used in displays at the local museum. Chapter 10 reviews such techniques in greater depth. We do, though, have to be careful with visual imagery in all of these contexts. We know that what you see is not always what you get. A picture may save us a thousand words, but is it accurate? While there are clearly some dangers and limitations in using the visual medium, I believe that these can be systematically dealt with through care and best practice, as explored in Part III.

3.3 Principle 3: Make it connected Connect the dots between the multiple aspects of climate change by including not only its impacts but also its causes and mitigation/ adaptation solutions, clearly relating local conditions to remote impacts, and linking current trends to future conditions. 61

Figure 3.10 Poster prepared for Rural Community Councils in the UK illustrating how a community can be made more sustainable and climate-friendly, for use in community dialogues. Source: chris-watson.co.uk. Poster: © SERCC

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Taking a comprehensive view of climate change requires what is called ‘systems thinking’. This holistic approach represents a new way for the public to understand carbon and climate change, as an interconnected system of many parts and relationships. Our new lens needs to focus more widely than solely on the impacts of global warming.

Why the whole climate change system matters As a researcher on climate change, I am sometimes invited to talk on radio or television about our findings. Usually, the interviewer wants to know about the impacts of global warming, and to see our pictures of floods, fire or declining snowpack. These days, I tell the person that I am happy to do this, but only if I can also talk about the causes of climate change and what we can do about it. We cannot treat climate change as the disembodied impacts of some outside force. Climate change begins with us, at least in the high-carbon societies of the wealthy industrialized nations which have caused most of the climate change so far. In Chapter 2 we listed the many perceptual disconnects that generally prevail in developed societies, leading us to ignore the reality that climate change represents a massive connected system of causes and effects. It is truly a cycle: what goes around comes around. Every community on Earth needs to consider the whole system to understand how it may be affected. In Chapter 1 (Box 1A), we saw how the carbon cycle works in transferring carbon dioxide between the Earth and the atmosphere, and how massive nett emissions to the atmosphere from human activity are causing climate destabilization. The causes and consequences of climate change form an inexorable sequence, an unbroken chain reaction that links driving to the supermarket in the station-wagon with the swamping of coral reef islands in the Maldives (Figure 3.11). We need to see both sides of the carbon coin. Where carbon comes from and how we use it dictates how it accumulates in the atmosphere and oceans, and how the effects eventually appear on our own doorstep. We cumulatively influence the whole carbon and climate change system. The granite counter-tops in our new kitchens, the beef in our freezers and the air-conditioners in our homes all require use of fossil fuels in faraway places and generate their own consequences.41 The holistic view needs to start with understanding carbon, as the central cause and driver of climate change. Figure 3.12 illustrates how our carbon footprints and major land-use conversions lead to an environmental ‘push-back’ response that we will all feel sooner or later in our communities. What goes up must come down, somehow, possibly in our own community. It is tempting, for example, to ask whether the drought, heatwave and 63

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Figure 3.11 We are all connected: our lifestyle choices on personal transportation in the West help cause the floods that increasingly devastate communities in places like Sri Lanka.

choking air which crippled Moscow in the summer of 2010 are not in some way a pay-back for the massive production of fossil fuels that contributes to Russia’s economy. Many societies could draw similar connections, perhaps helping them understand that their efforts on mitigation are in their own interest, not just for more vulnerable distant societies.

Figure 3.12 Diagram of relationships between causes and impacts of climate change.

The common-sense view says that if, over a century or so, we push hundreds of gigatonnes of extra carbon into the thin atmosphere of a small planet, the planet is going to push back somehow. We know that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. There are serious dangers in 64

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perceptions that fail to connect these causes and effects. We may end up focusing exclusively on the symptoms of climate change, and not the cause of the malady. We may fail to act on the causes until it is far too late. But Figure 3.12 only tells half the story. We need to go further and address both the treatment of symptoms and the cure. We need to see the big picture, and deal with the whole system as it applies to a community. This requires a holistic view of climate change causes, consequences and solutions: the local causes of GHGS, the local impacts, the ways to deal with the impacts (adaptation) and the ways to reduce carbon emissions (mitigation). The diagram in Figure 3.13 shows the multiple interactions between these four major segments of the climate change system, which we can refer to as Causes, Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation (CIMA). All are important to every community. For example, reducing carbon footprints will lessen a community’s contributions to global warming42 but may also affect the success of its adaptation responses.

Figure 3.13 Diagram of relationships between causes, impacts and solutions to climate change, seen as a whole system.

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Communities with limited resources cannot afford ‘silo thinking’. We need to avoid shooting ourselves in the foot by looking only at single parts of the system: for example, using diesel fuel to pump water out of low-lying areas vulnerable to sea-level rise, thus increasing our carbon footprint and adding to climate change which further raises sea levels. Nor can we continue to export the problem to other communities or countries, as we often do with waste disposal, food production or polluting industries, thus relying on carbon emissions generated outside our own borders as we try to reduce our own.

Mismatch: how we currently communicate the whole picture on carbon and climate change At the global level of the IPCC scenarios, we still know very little about the interactions between adaptation and mitigation. Governments at the national, provincial and regional levels have tended to establish climate change silos, separating adaptation – what to do about the effects of climate change, such as sea-wall defences and flood-proof housing – and mitigation functions – how to lessen these effects through reduced energy use, alternative sources, etc. They produce valuable but narrow community guidelines that focus on one without the other. Local information on climate change that is commonly available to communities is usually piecemeal (e.g. precipitation data without water supply implications). Local governments too can form silos to deal with climate change, though smaller communities tend to lack the resources to divide up fiefdoms and may pragmatically have to deal with adaptation and mitigation all at one person’s desk. The social scientists have also tended to focus more on perceptions of impacts and risks than on causes and solutions.43 There has been relatively little informed analysis of people’s preferences and reactions to alternative futures reflecting social choices, or on how best to communicate or explore those futures. In our experience, local people, including aboriginal communities, tend to think less in terms of silos and readily bundle together various aspects of climate change. The media have often tended to focus on the ‘damage report’ and projected catastrophes of climate change impacts, rather than the less exciting, visually nondescript but more useful solutions such as district energy systems or improved farming practices. Where the media have turned their attention to climate change solutions, there is often a simplistic focus on the more iconic wind turbines or electric vehicles. Less well-known solutions, such as underground and air-source exchange systems to replace

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fossil fuels for home heating, make few headlines. The media also usually turn a blind eye to the causes of climate change in the community. When was the last time you saw your local cement plant pilloried in the papers for its disproportionately large carbon emissions? These partial glimpses of the larger climate change system, especially with the heaviest focus on impacts alone, create a problem; not just because they convey too much doom and gloom, but also because they take the public’s attention away from the connections between the causes and the impacts, and the array of positive solutions they should be considering. Some good examples of comprehensive treatment of climate change information are described below and in Part III, but such methods represent a tiny fraction of the information currently being communicated on climate change to the public.

What the community needs: how we can provide a holistic view of carbon and climate change If communities are to repair the perceptual disconnects on climate change, we need to make explicit linkages (using visual and other media) between the local causes of global warming and remote impacts, between distant climate change effects and local impacts, and between what we do now and the future consequences. In particular, communities need much more emphasis on local solutions, as the research studies on people’s opinions consistently show. This in turn requires more effort to build energy literacy and awareness of adaptation strategies, as part of a wider programme of community capacity-building to deal with the new imperatives of climate change. The integration of impacts and responses is an important step forward to making climate change futures more relevant for planners and decisionmakers. Climate change action, including both mitigation and adaptation, should be considered in concert with sustainable development in order to understand trade-offs, maximize synergies and minimize conflicts.44 Some effective precedents are out there: for example, Canada has recently seen the rise of local energy and climate action plans and integrated sustainable community plans. Communities would also benefit from more holistic planning and data-sharing, using the concepts and methods of participatory integrated assessment.45 These methods use holistic storylines or scenarios to inform and motivate stakeholders about climate change at the local level, as in the Local Climate Change Visioning Project46 (Figure 3.14), discussed further in Chapter 13. Much of this book explores ways to link the local to the global, and to integrate the various aspects of climate change at the local level.

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Figure 3.14 Example of a visualized future scenario combining climate change impacts (increased risk of flooding), adaptation (houses and sea-wall raised) and mitigation (solar energy generation on roofs).

Taken together and taken seriously, I believe the three principles for thinking about climate change, addressing the local, the visual and the connected, could make a big difference in how we perceive climate change, how we stop causing it, and how we adjust to a new reality. These principles apply both to the current world around us as it starts to change more rapidly in unfamiliar ways, and to the future of our communities as we seek a safe and satisfying path through the coming climate chaos.

Summary Chapter 3 has introduced three fundamental principles that, together, give us a new lens with which to see climate change more clearly and to start planning our response, by: 1 Making it local. We have explained the rationale and requirements for focusing more on the local community perspective. A key message is that we need to tap into what people experience of climate change around them. Looking at salient real-world information provides a ‘third way’ for ordinary people to assess climate change, beyond the confusion tactics of the deniers and the solid but abstract information 68

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from scientists. We need to harness place-based resources and motivations to foster ‘climate thinking’ and collective (rather than just individual) action. 2 Making it visual. We have argued for the need to emphasize visual evidence and the use of visual media, in making climate change visible and vivid. How and what we see in the landscape, the activities of our neighbours, and the local media is important to people. Visual imagery can be powerful in engaging our emotions and conveying complex information on climate change, translating science and facts into something people can easily relate to. It is also vital in improving our understanding and foresight on things that do not yet exist. 3 Making it connected. We have explained the need for people to make the connections between climate change causes, consequences and solutions in order to see the big picture. We need to avoid ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ in responding to the multiple aspects of climate change, and more emphasis needs to be given to positive solutions that communities can develop.

Notes 1 Cavens (1999). 2 Sheppard et al. (2011). 3 The media here include the conventional journalists, TV, and internet and social media that enable ‘narrowcasting’ to specific audiences. In addition, NGOs and other interest groups present public information on climate change, as do scientists and academics who occasionally leave their ivory towers. 4 We use the term ‘community landscape’ to include the various sources of information that can be seen or experienced in the community, everything outside the window of an individual household; this would include the outdoor landscapes themselves (streets, buildings, vehicles, gardens, parks, surrounding countryside, etc.) but also people and the visible activities of neighbours, organizations, local government and the local media. 5 Fenech and MacLellan (2007). 6 Carlson (2006). 7 Ewing (2007). 8 Miller et al. (2008). 9 Leiserowitz (2007, p.53). 10 Moser and Dilling (2007, p.6), citing several authors. 11 Moser and Dilling (2007, p.13), emphasis added. 12 Moser and Dilling (2007, p.13), citing Rogers (1995), emphasis added. 13 McKenzie-Mohr and Smith (1999, p.13), citing Stern and Aronson (1984). 14 Moser and Dilling (2007, p.74), citing Seligmand (2004), emphasis added. 15 Elliott (2003). 16 Kozak et al. (2008).

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17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41

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Tatebe et al. (2010). UK Climate Impacts Programme (www.ukcip.org.uk), Climate Impacts Group. Sheppard (2008). Vermeulen and Kok (2002, p.47), citing Burger (1999). Though all BC communities now have ambitious community-wide carbon reduction targets. Gates (2002). UK Audit Commission (2007), www.audit-commission.gov.uk/localgov/ goodpractice/sustainablecommunities/pages/wokingcarbon.aspx. Hopkins (2008). See www.sercc.org.uk for more information on the UK South East Rural Community Councils. Burch et al. (2010). Sheppard (2005). Flint (2009), citing Metz and Below (2009). McKenzie-Mohr and Smith (1999, p.86). McKibben (2007, p.150). McAllister Opinion Research, ‘The Sustainability Poll’ (2006). Final Report prepared for James Hoggan Associates Inc. Nicholson-Cole (2005). Sheppard (2005, p.646). Newby (1971). See e.g. Sheppard (1989);Tufte (1990); Bishop et al. (2001); Nicholson-Cole (2005). See e.g. Winn (1997). Tatebe et al. (2010). Marris (2009, p.907). McGuigan (2007). See www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/mountain_pine_beetle/MPB_ActionPlan_ ProgressReport.pdf. None of us are immune from criticism here: climate change scientists and researchers like myself have routinely flown to conferences around the world to share our anxieties about the lack of global action! This cannot continue. Though not on its own leading to any direct noticeable reduction in impacts locally; this would require many more communities taking similar measures across the globe in order to obtain noticeable reductions in impacts locally. Moser (2010). Robinson et al. (2006). Salter et al. (2010). Shaw et al. (2009).

Further reading Greenpeace (n.d.) Photo Clima: Images of a Future Affected by Climate Change, Greenpeace Espana, Spain. www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/espana/ reports/libroclima.pdf.

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McKenzie-Mohr, D. and Smith, W. (1999) Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-based Social Marketing. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada. McKibben, B. (2007) Fight Global Warming Now, Holt Paperbacks, New York. Monget, Y. (2008) Terres d’Avenir, Editions de La Martiniere, Paris, France. Nicholson-Cole, S. (2005) ‘Representing climate change futures: A critique on the use of images for visual communication’, Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, 28 (3): 255–273. Robinson, J., Bradley, M., Busby, P., Connor, D., Murray, A., Sampson, B. and Soper, W. (2006) ‘Climate change and sustainable development: Realizing the opportunity’, Journal of the Human Environment, 35 (1): 2–8. Sheppard, S.R.J. (2008) ‘Local climate change visioning: A new process for community planning and outreach using visualization tools’, Plan Canada, 38 (1): 36–40.

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4

Learning to see Reframing community perceptions of carbon and climate change

While I was studying at Berkeley in the late 1970s, just a few years too late to see the radical mayhem of the campus sit-ins, I underwent my own personal transformation, but without the clamour or revolutionary fervour. It happened on a bus. The no. 15 bus to Oakland, to be precise, operated by Alameda County Transit. At the time, I was taking a course on cultural landscapes, offered by mentor and friend Paul Groth, now a Professor in Architecture at Berkeley. The course included a self-guided field trip called AC 15:1 a bus ride into Oakland where you had to study the urban landscapes streaming past the windows of the bus, with occasional stops at key locations. Now, Oakland does have some charm and distinctive character if you know where to look, but I had bussed or driven through the area many times and knew the no. 15 bus route to pass through some pretty nondescript parts of the city. I was much more interested in the wild scenic coastline of Marin County, or the oak-studded grasslands of the interior valleys beyond the suburbs. Why bother with run-down old residential neighbourhoods and dull, tawdry commercial strips?

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Somewhere along the bus route though, as I flipped through the field trip notes that Paul had provided, the scales fell from my eyes. I began to see the history within the landscape. I learned how the odd acutely angled corners and occasional diagonal streets show where streetcar lines used to run in an earlier, lower-carbon era. I began to understand why the former bank buildings occupy the most prominent locations on the block, with their commanding bulk. I saw for the first time how you could recognize the older neighbourhoods by the mail-order Victorian fretwork on the porches, shipped out by rail from back east to be assembled by proud new home owners. I had never noticed these messages in the landscape before, all the richness lying there in plain view the whole time. Now, it all made sense. The mundane suddenly became interesting and informative, a sort of treasure hunt. Oakland would never seem the same to me again. That day I learned to observe and to question what the signals that pass before our eyes every day really mean. I had learned how to see.

Paul and his bus ride taught us about the language of the landscape, how to read its stories from the past. This shows us how important it is to recognize what we are really seeing. Can we now use these skills to sharpen our views of the world, to read the dark messages behind our impossibly bright lifestyles, and perhaps spot the seeds of a sustainable renaissance?

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In the previous chapter we set out some principles for solving perceptual problems with climate change. Taking the community perspective, how do we apply these principles in helping people to see more clearly? How do we exploit the ‘third way’ of informing and engaging our citizens through direct local experience? How might what we see in our surroundings influence what we feel and do about climate change? Readers keen to explore ways of making carbon and climate change tangible to local people in the community may wish to skip ahead to Part II for a guided visual tour. However, this chapter takes a closer look at how the skill of seeing relates to climate change literacy and action, and explains how each community can identify the range of perceptions and barriers that characterize its citizens. To meet these needs, Chapter 4 presents a basic perceptions framework, for use by official or grass-roots groups in planning how to intervene physically and socially in the community, in order to overcome the relevant barriers and help people to see, understand and act. The focus here is on the second principle: the role of making climate change visual. We will illustrate this framework with a hypothetical neighbourhood example, showing how community members’ current perceptions on climate change and carbon may express themselves and possibly be reframed.

4.1 Influences on community perceptions of climate change First, we need to explain the role of the local environment in how community members experience climate change information. In Chapter 2 (Box 2C), we saw how people process information in various ways, influenced by the sources and channels through which that information comes. In Chapter 3 (Figure 3.1), we suggested the major routes by which climate change information reaches us. The flowchart in Figure 4.1 maps out in more detail which sources of information are currently the primary influence on our perceptions of climate change in communities within developed nations with more temperate climates. Figure 4.1 of course greatly simplifies what is really a complex network of influences on our perceptions of climate change. It highlights the role of information from the scientists and their opponents in the professional denial lobby, as well as the communication and filtering role of the mass media. These have been the dominant influences that shape our individual knowledge, and to some extent prevailing social norms. There are, of 74

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Figure 4.1 Ways we currently get information on climate change in the community, and how we respond.

course, other external influences on our perceptions, such as national government policy and laws, our own vacations abroad, and especially local and cultural norms.2 There are also some influences from the community landscapes around us and local planning processes, though for most people these seem to have had a minor effect in mobilizing concern or action on climate change to date. Overall, our internal mental frames seem not to have changed much with regard to perceived global threats, as described in Chapter 2. For most of us, our knowledge does not translate into caring deeply enough to make us act on necessary changes. However, the principle of making it local, using the community landscape as the third major stream of information on climate change, opens up new or neglected channels and opportunities to enhance our perceptions: What 75

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if we could now see the causes, consequences and solutions of climate change for ourselves? Here, the fundamental concepts of seeing and knowing are crucial.3 Even though something is real, we may neither see it nor know it. These concepts are important because simply making climate change more visible may not be enough. Sometimes, we can see something but not know what it is or what it means: a strange light in the sky or some shiny new equipment on the town hall roof. Conversely, we can know something but not see evidence of it: “I know using gasoline is bad for the environment, but I can’t see any damage.” Often, it is critical both to see and know something, since then the knowledge base is confirmed by our senses and we can become true believers. Thus, scientific evidence of climate change causes, impacts and solutions needs to be reinforced by signals experienced personally from the environment, if people are to ‘get it’. Consistency of information from different sources avoids doubt and disconnects; nothing confuses us more than hearing one thing in the papers and seeing something quite different on the ground. As illustrated in Figure 4.2, new or enhanced evidence in the local landscape may lead to a cascade of influences both on the individual and the community as a whole. The diagram shows both a powerful ‘knowledge track’ mostly via the media and a strong parallel ‘seeing track’ from direct observation of the local environment. For the first time, we can relate the scientific and media information we have absorbed to the conditions we see around us over time. Our understanding is thus influenced and reinforced by the growing awareness among our peers and community leaders, and perhaps also informed by strengthened community planning activities which reveal possible future conditions and lead to new enabling policies or incentives. We may process the new information in a series of stages, from directly experiencing evidence of climate change locally (i.e. becoming aware), through caring more about the local implications, to deciding to engage in community action. The key message here is that we need to ‘think globally, see locally, act locally.’ Seeing may be the critical missing link connecting thinking and acting on sustainability issues, reinforced by what we hear in the local media, or in conversations with other community members. If this new stream of information, based on reality on the ground, can be strengthened and grown, it may dampen or even drown out the voices of the organized denial lobby, and more importantly help mobilize serious commitments to climate action.

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Figure 4.2 Potential enhanced sources of climate change information (including from the local environment) and their influence on our response. Climate change evidence encompasses causes, impacts and solutions.

The following section describes how the dynamics of enhanced local climate change information outlined in Figure 4.2 relates to perceptual barriers in the community.

4.2 A framework for getting from awareness to action in the community I propose here a simple framework for identifying a range of perceptions and barriers to be found in a typical community, addressing the question: Where should a community focus its efforts in overcoming these barriers? The framework adapts the findings of perception and behaviour research 77

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(reviewed in Chapter 2)4 to fit the realities of local community life, move beyond simple climate literacy, and build in some key dimensions often left out of behaviour studies or social marketing: ◆

what people can see in their environment;



their visual literacy in interpreting what they see;



physical and visual interventions in the community landscape to build awareness and reinforce collective action.

I call it the Community Awareness to Action Framework, or C2A Framework for short. We can imagine people thinking about climate change in various ways, ranging from complete ignorance to full commitment to tackle the problem. We can think of these perceptions as different stages in a journey that each individual or community may travel in order to understand and act upon climate change, as shown in Figure 4.3.5 The Framework sets out different levels of knowledge and perception, with corresponding barriers that have to be overcome to reach the next stage. The perceptual stages progress through awareness and understanding of information to emotional involvement and finally, after overcoming all perceptual blocks, enabling action. The five stages of perception that can lead to action are explained more fully in Box 4A, together with the barriers that can separate them. For example, someone in Section C (‘seeing’) lives in an area where signs of carbon or climate change solutions are clearly visible, but may not know much about climate change generally, so does not recognize the local evidence of climate change for what it is. Each individual community member may have to confront several perceptual barriers in order to move through the progression represented in the flow diagram. It may take only one barrier of sufficient strength anywhere in the sequence to prevent progress. The end result is the same: no action. Some barriers are internal to the person, others arise from external factors such as the landscape itself. Each barrier may thus require a different solution. As shown in the flow diagram, the progression is not strictly linear: both knowing and seeing must come together (regardless of which comes first) for recognition to happen. This is where mentally things click and insight happens. Barriers to either seeing or knowing will prevent recognition of how climate change affects the community. Recognition is central to enhanced perceptions, but other stages are needed to achieve it. Seeing is a crucial pre-condition, as is acquiring some prior knowledge. By itself

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Figure 4.3 The Community Awareness to Action Framework, represented as a simple flow diagram of perceptual stages leading to action on climate change. External influences shown here include both conventional climate change information and messages from the community landscape.

though, seeing is not enough without also recognizing what we are seeing. So, if Mrs Fernanski sees Mr Jones across the street hanging out his laundry on a new washing line and thinks, “How ugly! Just who does he think he is?”, she might feel better about him if she recognized that using a washing line reduces carbon emissions, and if she knew that Mr Jones is doing it for that reason.

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Box 4A Stages of perception and perceptual barriers to reaching them in the Community Awareness to Action Framework We focus here particularly on the new concepts of seeing and recognizing. Stage A

Hearing about carbon and climate change represents the first stage of awareness of information on the subject, as in listening to the radio or a coffeeshop conversation, reading a paper or browsing a blog. In this book, we define ‘Hearing’ as exposure to information where words are the primary medium (e.g. by reading, listening or engaging in dialogue). This means being exposed to second-hand information held or delivered by others, as distinct from receiving information through experiencing it first-hand. Not hearing means that the information on climate change never gets through to us, because we cut ourselves off, the information is filtered out by the media, or is never effectively communicated. This prevents us from knowing even the basics of what the scientists know about climate change: we are left in the dark. This barrier can be overcome by providing more information through diverse outlets.

Stage B

Knowing about carbon and climate change involves understanding what we hear and learning about the science and other conventional information. It means that we have successfully received and processed the information that was transmitted. It is similar to the concept of climate literacy, although applying to all four aspects of carbon and climate change (CIMA). Not knowing may result from not hearing the appropriate information or not understanding what we heard. Just as we may hear a song but not understand the language, so we may fail to understand scientific complexities; or we may hear about food prices going up but not know that these are in part caused by climate change. We may also acquire biased or incorrect knowledge, as when a TV broadcast or political message ‘pulls the wool over our eyes’ or governments release inaccurate data. The concepts of ‘knowing’ and ‘not knowing’, used here to keep things simple, should really be considered as a spectrum (e.g. from limited general awareness to knowing practical specifics about climate change). This barrier may be overcome by clearer communication of accurate and meaningful information.

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Seeing carbon and climate change in our daily lives involves personally experiencing it for ourselves, as in the increasingly frequent appearance of unusually early blossoms outside our kitchen window. In this book, ‘seeing’ will be used primarily to mean seeing visible evidence in the community landscape or in the local visual media. This applies also to social actions: when people can be seen to be acting on climate change in the neighbourhood or in another community (experienced as a visitor or tourist), which can send powerful messages. Not seeing happens if something is effectively invisible to community members, providing no signal; so, people at this stage may know about climate change generally but have no opportunity to see the evidence for themselves. Residents of poorly designed urban areas may be largely cut off from natural parts of the landscape where the evidence of climate change may be clearer. Time diary studies have shown how little time most of us spend outdoors these days. The visibility of a feature or condition is also determined by factors beyond the individual’s control. Obviously, if a river is screened from view by a high wall or a warehouse, we will not be able to see the unusually low flows or dying trees caused by climate change-induced drought. In such cases, seeing is enabled by physical measures to open up the landscape to public view and providing more access points, as well as encouraging more outdoor activities.

Stage D

Recognizing signs of carbon/climate change means consciously noticing them in our environment and understanding their significance. This is like seeing someone walking towards you down the street whom you suddenly recognize as your best friend. It requires seeing and knowing at the same time. When we consciously make the connection between the two, the light bulb goes on and we gain new insight. For example, coastal residents may know conceptually about sea-level rise, but only when they start to see water in their backyard do they recognize the implications of a 3mm rise each year and begin to take it seriously. The ability to recognize realities such as climate change in the landscape is called visual literacy. Recognition depends on what we know and how we observe, in addition to the visibility of the object or condition in question. Community residents who are in touch with their local environment, often older people who have seen previous cycles and know the local history, may be better at reading the signs of climate change. Not recognizing happens if either we lack the required knowledge or the key evidence is not visible, and sometimes if both factors are present but we still don’t get it. We may be preoccupied with our IPod and not see the wood for the trees. We may overlook visible evidence of carbon and climate change because the signals are subtle or because there is competing imagery from billboards. Until the industrial revolution, the human species had no opportunity to recognize a man-modified carbon cycle, so our visual literacy for climate change is not yet highly evolved: we have only had about 200 years

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to work on it! There is also the danger of people mistakenly attributing normal weather events to climate change, or assuming that city construction work incorporates upgrading of stormwater pipes for future increased flows. These ‘false positives’ can be reduced through awareness-building, good communication and access to clearly summarized historical climate data. Recognition is made easier by visual signals that are clearly and vividly displayed, contrast with their background, and provide ‘unmistakeable indications’6 to community members. People can be trained to improve their visual literacy and mentally visualize future implications; foresters, for example, are taught to distinguish early signs of an unhealthy forest when most of us just see green trees. Stage E

Caring about climate change and carbon use means that we are concerned or upset about climate change in relation to our community and/or are inspired to make things better. These feelings are heavily influenced by values and worldviews, and our emotions are engaged. There is a spectrum of caring, from simple concern to complete outrage. Not caring may mean that we draw mostly on the rational side of the brain or that we protect ourselves from anxiety by deliberately ignoring climate change. Not caring may come about because we have not recognized the reality of climate change in our community, or for other reasons (see Box 2A). We may fail to connect with it personally, or may see it as a low priority in relation to other environmental issues. Triggers to caring deeply about an issue like global warming may sometimes involve vivid experiences or encounters.7 If climate change is experienced with friends, family and neighbours and so becomes immediate and personal, we are likely to care much more about it. Caring, of course, is a two-edged sword. Other forms of caring or emotional attachment may compete with concerns over climate change, such as powerful personal motivations to comply with social norms and feel as if we belong in our neighbourhood. People can care passionately for the very things that help cause climate change (big cars, fancy gadgets) and vehemently oppose certain solutions. Sometimes we care more about aesthetics than about climate change.

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Acting on climate change, where people or a whole community follow through by actually doing something about it, can take the form of retrofitting our homes, lobbying local politicians to change policies, moving closer to our workplace, or engaging in local planning exercises to push for adaptation and low-carbon development. Not acting may result from not caring enough, but behaviour change may fail to happen even when we care deeply and are highly motivated, if we are prevented from doing so by factors beyond our control: shortage of money, technological constraints, a busy work schedule, or cultural practices and regulations. It is very difficult to break out of our habits, either at the personal or institutional level. Where would we be without inertia? Government inaction or poor community design can also block or discourage climate-friendly behaviour: for example, it is hard to use public transport if government or businesses don’t provide it in your community. In addition, positive motivations may not necessarily result in effective actions. In all likelihood however, if we join groups that help us learn to see, recognize and care about climate change in our community, many more of us will act.

The perceptual stages outlined in Figure 4.3 are not entirely clear-cut, and may not necessarily follow this particular sequence. It may sometimes be the seeing in the community, an intense experience of a record storm or a heatwave, for example, that first brings awareness and knowledge, rather than the science, or watching An Inconvenient Truth. Friends of mine in the Cotswold village of Ascott-under-Wychwood had no idea that they lived in an area at risk of flooding, until the torrential downpours of July 2007 (Figure 4.4). Individuals or communities may fall back from a level of perception already attained or leapfrog to action in one jump.8 It may not be necessary for people to understand fully the implications of climate change in order to join in and act; for example, many have given up smoking without a clear understanding of how it causes lung cancer. A key legal requirement may transform behaviour almost overnight, as in BC’s requirement for all government services to become carbon-neutral by 2010. The perceptual stages described in the C2A Framework can be related in a general way to Maibach’s ‘Six Americas’ cited in Chapter 2. For example, the ‘Alarmed’ who are sufficiently motivated to take action on climate change obviously know, care and act; the ‘Concerned’ also know and may care to some extent but have yet to act. The ‘Disengaged’ and ‘Dismissive’ have found ways to avoid hearing or knowing. The C2A Framework, however, also considers whether people have seen and recognized climate change locally, factors which may help explain people’s perceptions in the mid-range between the ‘Alarmed’ and the ‘Dismissive’.

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Figure 4.4 Unprecedented floods in Ascott-under-Wychwood, UK in July 2007 immersed the village green, streets, cars and houses in several feet of water: a vivid sign of the risks of more intense rainstorms, which rapidly increased local knowledge about the need for adaptation.

Knowledge and information may not drive perception shifts or action by themselves, but they provide an important context. The individual perceiver may be thought of as immersed in and drawing on various kinds of information. We focus first on the two main sources identified earlier (conventional information filtered by the media and direct experience within the community landscape). Getting good scientific information (historical patterns, observed facts, levels of probability, and acknowledged uncertainties about climate change,9 as explained in Chapter 2.2) is fundamental to correct interpretation of the local landscape conditions we perceive. Experiencing the cold winter weather of 2008 in northeastern USA reportedly reduced belief in global warming among Americans, but a better understanding of the anomalies and disruptions in weather patterns associated with climate change might have avoided these misperceptions. Scientific information should be supplemented by traditional or local knowledge and expertise built up over time. The source of the information makes a big difference; using trusted peers or middlemen such as local opinion leaders or figures of authority has been shown to be important.10 The C2A Framework is meant as a simple way for communities to deal systematically with diverse perception problems around climate change, not as an exact model for how people’s perceptions shift or impede clearer vision. In reality, perceptual and behavioural relationships are inevitably 84

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more complicated than Figure 4.3 suggests. The role of cultural cognition in selectively filtering information and biasing some responses, discussed in Chapter 2.2, is particularly relevant to the Framework, as shown in the expanded flow diagram in Figure 4.5. Influences beyond seeing and recognizing local evidence of climate change clearly motivate some groups such as early adopters and innovators. There are other factors at work too, as suggested in Figure 4.2, including institutional barriers, economic incentives and government policies. Figure 4.5 A more complete version of the C2A Framework diagram and interrelationships, including the key role of cultural values and social norms in influencing knowledge uptake and perceptions.

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Because perceptual barriers exist both within our heads and in the community around us, the C2A Framework reflects a balance of internal factors – such as personal responsibility for learning or visual literacy – and external factors – the influence of other sectors of society and certain physical, economic or environmental constraints. So, for example, someone at the ‘Knowing’ stage in Section B of Box 4A may know about expected climate change impacts but not see local signals of climate change because she never walks in the town’s riverside parks where bank erosion and flood damage are severe, or because the town council has not provided public access to other hard-hit areas. Either way, a key learning opportunity is lost.

4.3 Applying the Community Awareness to Action Framework The C2A Framework laid out in Box 4A offers a simple yardstick, a sort of structured checklist, for communities to track their own shifting perceptions and assess progress towards a social tipping point. The framework is intended to help: ◆

identify what range of opinions, awareness levels and perceptual blinkers they have to deal with in moving towards a lower carbon, more resilient community;



identify roughly where their political constituency stands in supporting climate change action;



prioritize the most serious perceptual barriers where collective or local government action could help reframe misperceptions and target community design measures.

Much of the responsibility for ensuring that citizens will hear about, know, see and recognize climate change lies with the collective forces of the community, rather than just the individual or government. Reframing a community’s perceptions of climate change requires collaboration between the formal and informal sectors. Cooperation is needed between different levels of government, with consistent visual and other signals (such as economic pricing) provided as reinforcement for the public. Collective action by citizens and stakeholder groups is needed to demonstrate to local politicians that they have a constituency for change. The community needs visible champions, leaders and early adopters (Figure 4.6).

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Figure 4.6 Divine intervention? A church in Freiburg, Germany, with its solar photovoltaic (PV) roof, creates a striking public symbol of a low-carbon community.

The perceptual levels and barriers in the C2A Framework help structure examples and recommendations for community measures in the remainder of this book. We will focus the most on seeing and recognizing climate change, aspects that have seldom been considered by others. Yet, just how visible and recognizable are signs of climate change and carbon in reality? This question is addressed in Part II, with a visual catalogue of examples from diverse communities. Part III provides practical ways to overcome perceptual barriers and to enhance our foresight on climate change. Meanwhile, how far along the C2A progression would you say you are currently? Which perceptual barriers on climate change can you spot in your locale? Where would your neighbours most need a hand in advancing to the next stage from awareness to action?

4.4 Welcome to Climateville To make all this easier to visualize in a community setting, let us put some fictional faces to these theoretical concepts. We can imagine a typical block

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or neighbourhood in a town we will call Climateville,11 and the different kinds of people who live there (Figure 4.7).12 We will name these ‘carbon characters’ according to the sections labelled A–F in Box 4A, from ‘Adam’ to ‘Farah’.

Figure 4.7 Where our ‘carbon characters’ live: a typical neighbourhood in Climateville, representing a range of homes, lifestyles and the personal stories behind them.

These neighbours have different exposure to information about climate change, different knowledge and attitudes, and different lifestyles, although they mostly experience the same neighbourhood context (what we have called ‘external factors’ that influence how visible climate change is in the community). Box 4B introduces us to the ‘carbon characters’ who live on this street in Climateville, and the barriers they face or have overcome on the path to climate action. Thus, for example, Adam, who lives in a big house at one end of our fictional street, is a family man who is something of a climate change sceptic. He doesn’t believe much of what he has heard about global warming and so filters out media information on it or sees it as confirmation of his suspicions about scientists and big government. Therefore, he fits the category of being at stage A (‘Hearing but not knowing’ about climate change) on the C2A Framework (Box 4B). Bella, the 30-something working mother who has moved in next door to Adam, knows quite a bit about climate change as a global phenomenon, though not much about how it might affect her or what to do in any practical sense. She is mostly preoccupied with other priorities in her life.

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She is therefore one step beyond Adam at stage B (‘Knowing but not seeing or recognizing’) on the framework diagram. Clearly, these narratives do not reflect the full complexity and variety of the ways in which people relate to climate change and carbon. Nor can they be reflective of the wide range of cultures around the world: factors such as income, education, age, gender, religion and cultural history all complicate the picture. These narratives though do show how people vary in their understanding of climate change, their exposure to its signs in the landscape and their visual literacy. Everyone is different, and few of us will fit neatly at one end or the other of the range presented here. None of us is perfect, nor are we complete carbon boors! We are all very influenced by our culture and personal experiences. As explained in Chapter 2, there are understandable reasons for people to hold each of the perspectives described in the C2A Framework and represented in Climateville. The goal here is not to judge or accuse people of ignorance, selfishness, short-sightedness or procrastination. Rather, it is to help us all step back, see things from a fresh perspective, and decide for ourselves where each of us stands now and where we want to go as our understanding of carbon and climate change improves. My hope is that this can motivate many more people and communities to move beyond the barriers and misperceptions as quickly as possible, so that communities can make the best of an uncertain future. Using the C2A Framework as applied to Climateville, any block, neighbourhood or community could characterize itself by the types and mixes of ‘carbon characters’ that make up their population and their local constituency. Does your neighbourhood consist of 80 per cent sceptical Adams, or a broad range with many like Dinos who are on the fence? Are there already a number of active early adopters like Farah in your area? Most likely your community has a mix of all of the above. Knowing this, each community can decide where best to work in building awareness or modelling more sustainable behaviour. The visual tools and techniques described in the remainder of this book can be applied to these tasks, to build a clearer picture of your own block or community for all residents. We will get to know the neighbours of Climateville a little better over the course of this book, reflecting the information we uncover along the way about making climate change visible in real communities. As a hypothetical neighbourhood, we will see how its members adjust to changing pressures on carbon and climate change over the next few decades. Will they make it collectively to the stage of effective action by the end of the book?

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Box 4B Personal narratives of neighbours on the block in Climateville, and the perceptual barriers they face on the path to climate action Adam: Stage A Hearing

Recognizing

Hearing Aw

Knowing

a re

nes

s

Lo c a

Seeing

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Adam

on

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Caring

ati

Deliberately avoids much information about climate change; scientific or practical information is filtered out, reinterpreted or forgotten. May be too uninterested or distracted to take it in. Scientific or practical information may not be clearly and simply explained, relevant or pitched appropriately.

Action

rm

Common causes of perception problems

Adam is a mild climate change sceptic. He is not interested in anything environmental, and switches off the radio or flips channels when environmental issues come up. On the rare occasion that he enters into conversation on the subject in his local pub, he is adamant that climate change is a natural process that has happened before, and that many parts of the world are actually getting colder. He drives to the office every day and owns the biggest house on the block. He is a loving father of two teenage boys, and is passionate about motorboating, which he has done all over the world.

I n fo

Barrier Not knowing: When he does encounter climate change information, he doesn’t absorb or understand it. He remains uninformed and unaware.

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Bella: Stage B Knowing

Caring

Recognizing Knowing

Hearing

ati

on

Aw

a re

nes

s

Lo c a

Seeing

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Bella

Evidence of carbon/climate change is hidden or hard to see. No reinforcement of possible intentions to act. Lack of time and energy to investigate local information on climate change.

Action

rm

Common causes of perception problems

Bella is a busy single mother who works as a hairdresser in the nearby town and is trying to run a small business on the side in portrait photography. She thinks about environmental issues sometimes and knows that global temperatures are rising. She has seen national television coverage of flooding blamed on climate change, but hasn’t seen it happen where she lives. She knows she should bus or cycle to work more often, but her day-to-day multi-tasking activities are much more pressing. Besides, since she moved in about a year ago, she has seen no sign of others in the community doing anything about it.

I n fo

Barrier Not seeing: Understands available information on climate change, but cannot see any evidence locally. Takes a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude: out of sight, out of mind.

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Charles: Stage C Seeing

Recognizing

Kno owing

Hearing Aw

a re

nes

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Lo c a

Seeing

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Charles

on

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Caring

ati

Uninformed on locally relevant climate change information, and has never thought about it in that way. Little observation of or connection with the local environment. Low visual literacy.

Action

rm

Common causes of perception problems

Charles is the oldest person on the block, a retired chartered accountant who enjoys stamp collecting and occasional cruises in the Caribbean. Other than that, he seldom leaves home. He likes his garden and his privacy, loves to soak up the hot sun while reading best-sellers in his deck-chair in the summer, and carefully maintains the tall laurel hedges around his property with his power-shears. His favourite pastime is barbecuing steak in the back garden, and he proudly maintains a beautiful green lawn for his grandchildren to play on when they visit. He used to enjoy the apples from the old orchard in the back garden, until they blew down in the winter storms two years ago. His garden has flooded twice in the past ten years, which messed up both his lawn and his kitchen. He likes to watch nature programmes on TV, and has become generally aware of global warming since his granddaughter took him to see An Inconvenient Truth.

I n fo

Barrier Not recognizing: Sees local evidence of climate change, but doesn’t recognize it as such (overlooking the visible evidence). Cannot see the wood for the trees; not connecting the dots.

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Dinos: Stage D Recognizing

Caring

Recognizing K Knowing

Hearing

ati

on

Aw

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Lo c a

Seeing

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Dinos

Apathy, lack of agency. Values and attitudes conflict with action. Rationalization or defensive reaction to fear. Lack of community support or climate change messaging.

Action

rm

Common causes of perception problems

Dinos lives in a town house next door to Charles and looks out for him now and then. He has a well-paid job in the city and enjoys frequent business travel. He studied biology at university before getting an MBA, and his girlfriend is a journalist who covers environmental issues. She has helped convince him that climate change is getting worse, as have some disappointing ski trips to the Alps in recent years and local events such as the storms that blew Charles’s trees down. However, he believes it’s up to the local council to provide information and incentives on what to do about climate change. He sees neighbours still driving big cars and using leaf-blowers, understands it’s too late to stop some sea-level rise anyway, but doesn’t see what difference his own behaviour will make. He feels some guilt, but rather than get depressed about it, he is focusing on getting his promotion and saving up for that Porsche he promised himself: his philosophy is ‘live while the getting is good’.

I n fo

Barrier Not caring: Recognizes the evidence of climate change in his community, but doesn’t care that much.

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Emily: Stage E Caring

Recognizing

Knowing

Hearing

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Emily

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Caring

ati

Action not enabled by the community; cost of retrofitting her home; inconvenience, comfort and health maintenance; family ties and expectations; nervousness about making changes.

Action

rm

Common causes of perception problems

Emily is a retired headmistress on a modest pension who occasionally volunteers in the local green waste collection programme. She likes to paint watercolours and walk to the local riverside park. She lives in the small apartment building at the end of the block, and enjoys seeing her neighbours’ gardens. She read one of George Monbiot’s books on climate change, and worries a lot about it; she was also scared by the local floods. She has noticed how much earlier in the spring the tulips bloom. She feels the cold in winter and keeps the thermostat turned up on the gas heater in her draughty apartment, though she worries about the gas bill. She flies across the Atlantic once a year to see her new grandson, though she knows it’s bad for the environment. She occasionally goes by bus to the next town to see her old friend, but the service is irregular so her friend often picks her up to go for a nice drive in the countryside.

I n fo

Barrier Not acting: Cares about climate change and what it may do to her community, intends to act, but doesn’t or cannot follow through. Awake but still in bed.

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Farah

Barrier But will it be enough to get her and others’ carbon footprints down?

Farah is studying environmental design at the local college. Her family emigrated from Bangladesh to avoid flooding that almost destroyed their home and threatens repeated disruption. She is outraged at the double-speak of politicians around climate change, and has joined the local Green Party. She sings locally in a world music band at weekends, and rides her bike to college every day, rain or shine, for the exercise. and to save money and carbon. She has a ground-floor apartment in the same building as Emily. Farah is trying to persuade the landlord to conduct an energy audit and retrofit the building to reduce its natural gas use. She attends local planning meetings to lobby against greenfield development in the floodplain. She found out that her block is in the floodplain too, and is quite concerned about the increasing severity of rainstorms. She plans to get a good job when she graduates, and move where she can walk to work, have an allotment garden, and live on high ground near a nice pub with live music.

I n fo

Farah: Stage F Acting Follows through on her intent to act, making lifestyle changes, influencing others and planning for the future. Walking the walk; wide awake and moving.

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Summary In Chapter 4 we have explained in more detail the various influences on community perceptions of climate change, including those inside our heads and those out there in the local landscape. We have laid out a new and basic Community Awareness to Action Framework for identifying various levels of perception of climate change in a community: knowing, seeing, recognizing and caring about climate change as precursors to action. We introduced the concept of literacy on climate change, including visual literacy, and highlighted the role of place and the community landscape as important influences on attitude and behaviour change. We noted in the C2A Framework that the various levels of climate change perception in the community have corresponding barriers that need to be overcome in order to reach the next perceptual stage. To sharpen our climate change focus, we have also illustrated what a hypothetical example of a neighbourhood (Climateville) might look like in terms of how different community members perceive and act upon climate change locally. It is intended to help us to recognize ourselves and our friends and neighbours in terms of attitudes to climate change, and to see how citizens and government can intervene in the local landscape as a canvas on which climate change and its solutions may be revealed. We will look more carefully at actual examples of what climate change looks like in the next five chapters of Part II.

Notes 1 Groth (1982). 2 There may also be higher-level effects (not shown), such as the impact of changing social norms on policy and other feedback loops. 3 Based on the work of philosopher Carlson (2001). As used in this book, seeing refers to the way in which we experience objects, landscapes or other types of information, usually via our sense of sight; knowing refers to what we understand or think we understand (i.e. our beliefs) about something, based on previous experience and learning from conventional information sources. 4 In particular, it builds on the broad framework for behaviour change developed by Kollmuss and Agyeman (2002), incorporating several aspects that they and Moser and Dilling (2007) consider important, such as: recognizing both internal and external influences acting in combination; the role of emotions in decision-making; the role of socio-cultural context; and the need to elevate motivation and lower barriers. 5 Although developed to address the three community principles in this book, the framework could be applied to a wider range of climate change and sustainability issues.

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6 7 8 9

Nassauer (1994). McKenzie-Mohr and Smith (1999); Maiteny (2002); Moser and Dilling (2007). Bem (1967), cited in Lorenzoni et al. (2007). It is recognized that the state of climate change and energy science is continually evolving, but since we have so little time to respond to the threat of catastrophic climate change we have to work with the best information available, even where we know there to be great uncertainty. 10 Moser and Dilling (2007). 11 Credit goes to the Skeena-North Coast Citizen Conservation Council of BC for coming up with the name I borrowed here, at a 2009 meeting in Terrace, BC, then recently awarded the national title of ‘Hockeyville’. 12 With the diversity of cultures and affluence/poverty levels around the globe, it is impossible to represent all types of communities in a single figure. The example illustrated here represents a typical middle-class neighbourhood in a Western country; these are the people who, historically at least, have contributed most to greenhouse gases and climate change, directly or indirectly, and therefore have the furthest to go in making changes to stabilize the climate. They also represent the community aspirations of many people in developing nations.

Further reading Carlson, A. (2001) ‘Aesthetic preferences for sustainable landscapes: Seeing and knowing’, in S.R.J. Sheppard and H. Harshaw (eds) Forests and Landscapes: Linking Ecology, Sustainability, and Aesthetics, IUFRO Research Series. CABI, Wallingford, UK. Kollmuss, A. and Agyeman, J. (2002) ‘Mind the gap: Why do people act environmentally and what are the barriers to pro-environmental behavior?’, Environmental Education Research, 8 (3): 239–260. Lorenzoni, I., Nicholson-Cole, S. and Whitmarsh, L. (2007) ‘Barriers perceived to engaging with climate change among the UK public and their policy implications’, Global Environmental Change, 17 (3–4): 445–459. Maibach, E., Roser-Renouf, C. and Leiserowitz, A. (2009) ‘Global warming’s six Americas 2009: An audience segmentation’, available at: www. americanprogress.org/issues/2009/05/pdf/6americas.pdf. Stern, P. C. (2000) ‘Toward a coherent theory of environmentally significant behavior’, Journal of Social Issues, 56 (3): 407–424.

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PART

II

Knowing, seeing and acting on community carbon and climate change

For most people in the Western world, glancing out of their window or going to work reveals nothing alarming, no evidence of impending calamity. In this context, climate change just doesn’t seem real or urgent, even if we are well aware of the issue. But is climate change really that invisible in our home town? In this section we take a journey of discovery through typical communities, to look for clues on climate change in our surroundings. If we look more closely and adopt some new ways of seeing, will we detect early signs of change that are already under way? Both the scientific evidence and common sense suggest that things outside our kitchen windows will change a lot more in the future, and not necessarily for the better. But with our new climate change lens, we may find that some signs of carbon and climate change are already staring us in the face; we just didn’t realize it. How easy will it be to make climate change more recognizable? Are solutions to climate change already apparent in our communities? Part II explores what climate change looks like in pictures of contemporary local communities. The purpose is to help us increase our visual literacy and insight, by demonstrating: ◆

where clear evidence of carbon, climate change impacts and solutions already exists in local landscapes;



where perceptual disconnects still need to be overcome in helping people to see and recognize climate change in the community.

We also review some ways to think more clearly about community futures in a warming world, improving our foresight based on what science tells us and on common sense. The information in Chapters 5–9 is intended to help open our eyes to the everyday realities of climate change and move beyond the cultural blind-spots and other barriers that constrain our thinking and behaviour. In particular, we focus on the stages of seeing and recognizing in the Community Action to Awareness Framework described in Chapter 4, as a neglected area in fostering action on climate change. These aspects of perception are related to how much people care and their motivations to change their behaviour. The first four chapters in Part II cover the four sectors of the climate change system – causes, impacts, mitigation solutions (carbon emission reduction) and adaptation solutions (proactive responses to climate change impacts). In each chapter we follow a simple format, asking: ◆

How does it work? (what we should know about that aspect of climate change)



What does it look like? (what evidence we can see in the landscape)



Are we getting it? (whether people are recognizing it in their community)

In Chapter 9 we then look at incorporating holistically all aspects of climate change to see the big picture, and begin looking into the future of our communities through our new lens. To help us get used to this new climate change lens, we provide a photo album or visual sourcebook, using site photography of real places as vignettes from ordinary communities everywhere:1 something of an Observer’s Book of Climate Change. Each chapter draws together emerging themes and patterns on how we perceive carbon and/or climate change in the community, referring back to the gaps and barriers in perception described in the Community Awareness to Action Framework. This is important in helping people to recognize their own perceptual disconnects, and to learn to see more clearly. While the main focus here is on current conditions as a reference point, we may stumble across some historical precedents for climate change solutions, and indeed ways in which communities are already changing their behaviour and acting to make the future better. From time to time we will drop in on Climateville to check on some of our ‘carbon characters’, look at their carbon footprints and see how they respond to climate change in their backyards.

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Right before our eyes Seeing carbon

I remember driving into my full-service neighbourhood petrol station one sunny Saturday morning late in 2007 to fill up. The price of petrol was moderate (less than $1 Canadian per litre), and I was quite pleased with myself: it was one of the few months in the year when I had actually come close to my self-imposed target of one tank per month. The petrol station has a service bay, sells firewood to local residents, and the attendants who check your oil and tyres are friendly. I know some of them by sight and one even remembers my name. I would miss it if it ever closed and it has long filled a useful niche in my community.

That morning, as I waved goodbye and prepared to drive away with my tank filled, it suddenly hit me what I was really doing. I saw the whole thing differently. I realized, when I got into my car and turned on the ignition, that I was saying, “I choose additional global warming”. Every time we drive into a petrol station we are saying: “Yes, we knowingly choose to make the world worse for our grandchildren.” Is there really no alternative to buying petrol, pumping more carbon into the atmosphere day after day, and depending completely on the oil and petrol companies? Ever since that day, I have become mindful of how easily our attention is diverted, and our consciences lulled by petrol stations that are well kept and try so hard to fit into the community. At my local full-service carbon dispensary, I can drive away without ever seeing the gasoline or even sniffing it on my hands. We are kept focused on other, much more positive signals, like a smile, a clean windscreen, a pot of flowers, and token bundles of biomass (firewood) wrapped in plastic. Of course, it’s not the fault of the genuinely nice guys at my petrol station, who provide a good, honest service. The fault lies with the product and our rose-coloured spectacles that allow us to disconnect our actions from the inevitable consequences.

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Chapter 5 focuses our newly acquired climate change lens on seeing and understanding the carbon cycle as we humans have modified it and how that leads directly to climate change. Human activities have accelerated the release of carbon 2 into the atmosphere at a much greater rate than can be dealt with by the natural carbon cycle shown in Chapter 1. This chapter explains what the carbon sources and by-products are (including greenhouse gas emissions), and examines the visibility of our carbon footprints, both individually and collectively. How might we recognize the causes of climate change in our own neighbourhood or place of work? We begin our journey through local communities, looking for clues to carbon that are easily seen, or visual indicators that can be simply measured through observation. Such tools are described further in Part III (Chapter 10). We will then see if we can spot some of these tell-tale signs among our friends, the ‘carbon characters’ of Climateville.

5.1 How carbon emissions work – knowing the causes of climate change The natural balance of the carbon cycle between the surface of the Earth, the oceans and the atmosphere (Chapter 1, Box 1A) has been severely disrupted by human consumption over the past century. The scale of fossil fuel production (Figure 5.1), use and burning have led to a buildup of carbon emissions that are causing global warming and climate disruption. Some basic facts and numbers we should know are shown in Box 5A.

Box 5A Some facts of life about carbon

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Currently, about 6–7 gigatonnes of carbon from burning fossil fuels are emitted each year into the thin layer of our atmosphere, over and above the balanced natural flows (approximately 200 gigatonnes in and out per year).3 The amount of these excess man-made carbon emissions is still rising.



Certain land-use changes that cause significant loss of rainforests, for example, release unnaturally large quantities of additional carbon (about 2 gigatonnes per year), adding to the accumulating man-made emissions.4



Man-made climate change causes knock-on effects (‘positive feedback loops’) such as methane release from melting permafrost and reduced reflection of heat away from the Earth due to less ice cover, all of which add further to global warming.

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Natural CO² concentrations in the atmosphere were 280ppm before the industrial revolution. In 2005 we were already at about 380ppm globally, and now are gaining 2–3ppm per year and heading to double natural levels by 2100.5

Figure 5.1 Oil wells mark the spot where the process of climate change begins.

What this means is that we are effectively reversing geological time. In a mere geological heartbeat of one century or so, we have taken much of the carbon accumulated and buried underground since the Carboniferous Period 300 million years ago, and pumped it back into the atmosphere. Carbon is not destroyed in this process, it is just converted into invisible gases and moved around. We take the carbon out of its inert state beneath the surface of the Earth where it does nobody any harm, we transport it, we process it, and we burn it in phenomenal quantities, turning it back into carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases and harmful chemicals like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air we breathe. And we think that is the end of it: in fact, this massive carbon release is just the beginning of a chain of consequences, which we will trace in subsequent chapters. We know that hydrocarbons are a non-renewable resource, and have begun to hear about ‘peak oil’ and the prospect of a post-carbon world. Scientists have demonstrated that globally we are now near the peak for 103

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conventional oil and gas extraction (Figure 5.2), but imagining that running out of fossil fuels will solve the climate change problem is wishful thinking. If we are roughly half-way through the available supply of oil and gas, given how much long-term damage to the climate we have already wrought, we cannot afford to do the same thing all over again with the second half (i.e. put that too into the atmosphere). Yet exploration for more oil and gas continues, the so-called ‘dirty’ non-conventional oil supplies such as the Alberta tar sands are being ramped up to accelerate production, and there are almost endless supplies of coal to meet our seemingly insatiable demand for fossil fuel.

Figure 5.2 The peak-oil phenomenon, showing world oil production peaking in around 2000 (solid red), with Hubbert’s probable production rates shown (dashed lines) depending on the ultimate amount of discoverable oil, increasing costs of recovery, etc. The red line shows a hypothetical alternative projection to minimize additional climate change.

But this is all global stuff. Climate change really begins and ends with us, at the individual and community level: we buy the things that cause carbon to be burned. How do we use carbon locally? For those who would like to be part of the climate change solution, it is often difficult to reconcile the global or national data to the individual scale where we can take personal action. This is further complicated by the various ways of calculating an individual’s carbon footprint, as a baseline to compare our carbon emissions relative to fellow citizens in our own community, nationally or globally. This is the amount of carbon emissions emitted on average per year by an individual in a particular country. Currently, there are two basic measurement approaches, which we will call the per capita carbon footprint and the personal carbon footprint.

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The per capita carbon footprint is usually calculated by dividing a country’s total estimated annual carbon emissions by the number of inhabitants. Carbon footprints calculated this way6 average about 4 tonnes CO2/person/ year, ranging from the USA at the top with about 20 tonnes CO2/person/ year to countries like India with 1 tonne or Senegal with 0.5 tonnes. Some estimates suggest we need to get down to 2 tonnes per capita per year on average to be sustainable. Figure 5.3 shows which countries currently have the highest per capita carbon footprints. While the per capita carbon footprint figures tell a powerful story, they can be somewhat misleading in terms of individual responsibility. We do not directly control all of the national carbon emissions through our day-to-day actions. Individual Canadians, for example, have no say over the high carbon emissions from the tar sands,7 other than possibly by voting down the Federal government.

Figure 5.3 Per capita GHG emissions by country (2000 data)

A more meaningful carbon footprint calculation at the community level can be made by looking at the carbon we actually use as individuals, influenced by our decisions on how much we drive, how we heat our homes and so on. We will call this our personal carbon footprint, to distinguish it from the more impersonal, statistically derived per capita footprint. For example, in the EU, about half the average per capita carbon footprint (approximately 6 out of 12.5 tonnes GHGs per capita) comes directly from how people live their lives, including their lifestyle choices such as how much they travel by plane.8 The other half comes from such things as carbon emissions from

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industry, offices, growing food and transporting goods, which are often indirectly driven by consumers but lie outside their community: these remote emissions which arise from the goods and services we import and consume are called embodied emissions. Conversely, much of the personal carbon ‘budget’ is ‘spent’ or emitted in the community. There are many carbon footprint calculators that may be used to estimate personal emissions by various methods (discussed later in this chapter), and results vary considerably depending on how widely they account for remote and embodied emissions related to personal choices. How do we extrapolate individual carbon footprints to determine the collective carbon footprints of a neighbourhood or community? These community footprints can be estimated from sources such as traffic counts, vehicle mileage records, driver trip surveys and home energy bills. For example, in British Columbia every community now has a carbon emissions inventory, called the Community Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory (CEEI),9 which breaks down a community’s emissions into certain categories (Figure 5.4).10 A community’s carbon footprint is affected by structural factors such as city policies and community design, as well as by local social norms. Looking at these community carbon footprints allows us to assess what kind of community we live in. Do we inhabit a high-carbon world where most people have relatively large carbon footprints, or a low-carbon world that is not contributing much to global warming?

Figure 5.4 Pie chart of estimated annual local greenhouse gas emissions for the community of Delta, a largely suburban and agricultural municipality in southwest British Columbia.

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We can think then of high- and low-carbon communities: what we and our neighbours collectively are doing in terms of carbon emissions.11 A high-carbon community is one where people generally have high personal carbon footprints, which we might arbitrarily consider to be over 5–8 tonnes CO2 per year.12 In the West, finding high-carbon communities is easy: they are all around us. Here, most people are systematically (if unintentionally) making climate change worse, just by living as we have done over the past few decades. However, some communities are doing better than others. Residents of Vancouver, considered one of the more sustainable cities in North America, enjoy mostly low-carbon hydro-electricity and high levels of transit use, but even my environmentally conscious students have a hard time getting down to a 2 tonne/year carbon footprint, even though many of them cycle to university, don’t own cars and live in small apartments. They are often shocked by how high their footprints are when factoring in food, energy efficiency and air travel. In most countries, carbon footprints are rising year by year. In nations such as India and China, this growth is increasing rapidly as the middle classes expand, though personal carbon emissions are still a fraction of those in North America and Europe, in line with relative levels of affluence and consumption.

5.2 What carbon emissions look like – seeing the evidence of carbon For those of us living in high-carbon communities, how visible is the evidence as a constant reminder that we should cut our carbon footprints? How much of our carbon usage can we see, and what are the tell-tale signs in our community landscapes? Our journey of discovery traces the carbon chain from source to emissions and its legacy in the community, using snapshots13 of points along the chain as seen by a person on the ground. These depict visual indicators of carbon and related causes of climate change. Each of the following pages represents a step along the carbon chain, a window on how we misuse, mismanage and waste carbon.

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Carbon Window 1 ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ Fossil fuel production (where the genie really comes out of the bottle), transportation and pprocessing g en route to the user.

(a) Offshore oil and gas rigs (Santa Barbara Channel, California): remote and disconnected from everyday life onshore.

(b) Coal-mines: coal (here in Carbon County, Utah) is the largely unseen generator of over 50 per cent of electricity in 29 states in the USA. In 1981, the US government withdrew 184,000 acres from coal strip-mining because these lands were visible from Bryce Canyon National Park.

(c) Tar sands pits and wastewater ponds in the remote ‘industrial north’ of Alberta, Canada are inaccessible and screened from view on the ground, and only widely visible from the air.

(d) Petrochemical refinery in central California. Usually located outside the city, while they may be visible, they are off-limits and mysterious to outsiders. No actual carbon is visible (e.g. emissions, groundwater pollution or products).

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(e) Shiny tanker truck (at aptly named Carbon Corner, Alberta, Canada): quite visible on the roads, though these days often unmarked and anonymous, so you cannot tell what sort of chemical lies within.

(f) Massive fossil fuel power plant in the English Midlands. Usually sited away from homes. While sometimes highly visible, iconic and often used in the media to convey GHG emissions, they seem disconnected from people’s lives.

The carbon chain often begins in places such as the Alaskan north slope, Siberia, the North Sea, or offshore Indonesia, which are remote from most populated areas with high-carbon lifestyles. Effectively, the entire process of extraction, production and processing of natural gas, petroleum and coal is largely invisible to the communities that depend on them. When encountered by the public, carbon handling is generally associated with the clean, the controlled and the technological, further distanced from people by inaccessibility and an air of mystery. Best if we don’t know what is going on in there.

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Carbon Window 2 Extreme events When carbon escapes its chains.

(a) Marine oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico: remote but highly visible on television for three months, revealing the messy nature of oil, then disappearing from public view.

(b) Refinery explosion in Catano, Puerto Rico: spectacular but short term, seldom seen in reality; only the locals smell it and breathe the fumes.

burst Burnaby, BC: briefly (c) Oil pipeline burst, revealing what runs below the surface in many of our communities year in, year out.

(d) Televised clean-up, Prince William, Sound, Alaska: revealing spectacular localized damage from the Exxon Valdez spill to ecosystems, shorelines and waterways, and massive clean-up efforts.

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(e) Dead ducks, ducks Alberta tar sands: photos of ducks dying in a tailing pond caused a storm of protest in 2008. For once the tar sands were made highly visible, but only in a tiny area relative to their massive impacts on the planet.

The presence and power of carbon is briefly exposed through occasional disastrous events. The occasional media frenzy brings it to us in vivid detail, and temporarily unmasks the clean, safe, convenient image of carbon to reveal the massive hidden infrastructure that lies beneath our feet and offshore. But individual events are soon superseded by other news stories and eventually forgotten by the general public. The coverage focuses on the immediate and localized impacts of the event; there is much less recognition of or concern for the vast amounts of carbon that make it ‘safely’ into the atmosphere without a spill or explosion along the way. The larger problem is not spectacular and not news.

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Carbon Window 3 Fossil fuels in the neighbourhood (I) Burning carbon in our homes and backyards.

(a) Large or low-efficiency homes consume high quantities of natural gas, oil, coal or electricity from fossil fuels for heating or cooling. Chimneys may be the only externally visible carbon indicator.

(b) Gas meters: many buildings have them, explicitly recording how much carbon we are burning and releasing, but they are hard to read, located in less visible locations outside the home, and often deliberately screened from public view.

(c) High carbon businesses in Merida, Mexico, with air-conditioners in poorly insulated office buildings and on-street employee parking.

(d) Natural gas fireplaces are designed to be viewed inside the home and to mimic an attractive, carbon-neutral wood fire. In truth, ‘natural’ gas in this context is really unnatural (extracted from deep below the earth) and more dangerous.

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(e) Patio heaters are used to ‘extend the warm season’: a looming alien menace we don’t even notice. The heater on the left in this popular London pub is even disclosing to patrons that they are burning propane (a synthetic fossil fuel product).

leaf-blowers: a common (f) Gasoline-powered leaf-blowers sight in many neighbourhoods, disliked for their noise, fumes and inefficiency, but not so much for contributing to climate change.

Here we find the personal point of burning of carbon, where we can directly control the emissions that cause climate change. The carbon itself remains largely undetectable. The utility piping and gadgets that deliver it are often deliberately hidden, either for aesthetic or safety reasons. We expect to get power at the flick of a switch or when we light a gas ring; it seems clean, automated, easy. Our energy is often e-billed and paid via automated electronic banking, so we seldom look at our bill any more or make conscious associations with carbon usage. The devices that use the carbon are often large and fully visible (homes, ovens, barbecues, etc.), yet we don’t recognize them as instruments of climate change, and accept them as a normal part of our culture. We see these devices in isolation, not as a whole (millions of us at a time, day-in, day-out, over decades).

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Carbon Window 4 Fossil fuels in the neighbourhood (II) The embodied energy that the eye doesn’t see and the heart doesn’t grieve over.

(a) ‘Monster Monster homes’ homes are highly visible symbols of conspicuous consumption. They have large amounts of energy and carbon emissions invisibly embedded in them from the production and installation of building materials, landscaping, driveways and utilities. Construction equipment and delivery vehicles use large amounts of fossil fuel.

(b) Food has high embodied carbon hidden in it from farming (diesel oil, pesticides, fertilizers), storage, transport, refrigeration, processing and packaging. Industrial meat production (you can’t really call it farming) is especially high-carbon due to methane from livestock.

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(c) Plastic products and packaging, such as detergent bottles, bin-liners and bottled water, are made from petrochemicals. They are clear evidence of the overuse of carbon, highly visible in shops and advertisements, but rarely linked to climate change.

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(d) Concrete production generates much CO2 due to chemical processes. Over a quarter of Vancouver’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions come from two concrete plants, but the carbon is not visible and concrete is not seen as linked to climate change.

(e) Spreading the light all around (Shanghai): leaving lights, computers and ventilation on all night in office buildings wastes electricity from distant fossil fuel power plants. Highly visible, sometimes aesthetic, but signalling climate change and causing light pollution.

Embodied energy and carbon is hidden inside the construction zone, the concrete and the development patterns that make up our communities. The actual carbon usage itself is usually not visible or recognized as a cause of climate change, even during the construction period when local residents often complain about the traffic, noise, dust and unsightliness. Carbon is also invisibly wrapped up with the food, products and packaging in our shopping bags, and in our domestic appliances.

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Carbon Window 5 Fossil fuels to move us around Driving up our carbon usage.

(a) Car ads project images of “personal power, freedom and status. They are designed and marketed as if they were independent elements in the landscape”,14 ignoring the cumulative effects of millions of cars and their high-carbon fuel consumption.

(b) Petrol stations are a highly visible and accepted feature in many communities and cultures (as in this indigenous community in Tsawwassen, BC), though the carbon itself is not seen.

SUVs often the biggest source of (c) Cars and SUVs: carbon emissions in the Western neighbourhood. We all see and use them every day; many have their own home to go to, sheltered or hidden in the garage, wide driveway or carport.

(d) The overly wide street (here in a Washington state suburb) or empty asphalt freeway is a strong signal of how the landscape is designed to optimize the burning of carbon through the use of vehicles; who cares about other community values?

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(e) Vapour trails of planes on clear days clearly marking with water vapour where ordinary people put carbon dioxide directly into the atmosphere. It is estimated that well over half a million people are defying gravity at any one time, effectively living in the sky.

Our carbon usage remains largely undetectable and cleanly separated from our lives. The delivery mechanisms, the mobile instruments of climate change, on the other hand, are clearly visible. However, we are trained to see selectively: we recognize only what the motor industry wants us to. The ubiquitous marketing of vehicles in local papers, TV adverts, billboards, etc. is all relative (best fuel efficiency ‘in its class’, fuels are ‘green’ because they contain 10 per cent ethanol) and ignores the absolute, cumulative, negative impacts. Our vehicles are designed to isolate us from the environment they disturb, to appear effortless and smooth, clean and efficient, automated and comfortable. People routinely complain about traffic congestion, hazards, fumes, truck and aircraft noise, and the price at the pump, but not about the larger effects; we do not commonly associate personal driving decisions with additional climate change.

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Carbon Window 6 Downstream effects of fossil fuels and other causes of climate change The carbon legacy in our communities.

(a) Air pollution: pollution in cities from Los Angeles to Beijing (shown in 2003), smog from power plants, vehicles and industry makes plain the effects of burning fossil fuel, but is accepted by residents despite the known health risks, and remains disconnected from thoughts of climate change.

(b) Toxic plumes: petrol stations in communities everywhere routinely leak gasoline from buried tanks, forming invisible underground plumes that pollute groundwater and vent volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Risks are only signalled by small hazard warnings and monitoring wells, visible to the sharp-eyed at former petrol stations like this one in Vancouver.

(c) Fast food and wasted energy: common signs of automobile dependency in many communities, may lead to obesity and lowered life expectancy, not to mention unpleasant urban landscapes of asphalt, concrete, traffic noise and congestion which add to our stress levels.

economy if we could (d) Signs of a high-carbon economy: recognize the risks of peak oil and climate change policies driving up energy prices, we would see the vulnerability of community businesses that are totally dependent on carbon: car salerooms, auto parts shops, repair shops, etc.

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(e) Waste streams and emissions: domestic landfills emit significant quantities of invisible methane. If these were not located away or screened from public view, they would reveal the scale of our addiction to consumption.

(f) Distant land-use change: our demand for teak and mahogany furniture, palm oil products, corn-fed beef, etc. leads to deforestation far away in places like Sumatra. Resulting fires release excessive carbon, previously stored in irreplaceable natural forest stands.

The carbon chain releases a cascade of unpleasant effects in addition to climate change in our communities. For example, carbon-fuelled automobiles are one of the top killers of children and animals in North America. Burning carbon contributes to ozone, nitrous oxide pollution and carbon dioxide domes in cities that aggravate respiratory diseases such as asthma.15 The car has encouraged massive suburban sprawl of single family homes in most Western cities and developing nations, leading to lifestyles that are highly dependent on continuing carbon use and very unhealthy.16 The current generation of children in America is thought to be the first ever that will have a lower life expectancy than their parents due to their sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits. Many of these secondary impacts are not recognized as fossil-fuel-related, yet the signs are there for those who care to look.

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5.3 How we perceive carbon: are we ‘getting it’? Carbon is all around us, pulsing through our communities. We often assume that industry is the biggest carbon polluter, but the demand for carbon starts at home: our home energy systems, vehicles, food; and our community support systems of municipal infrastructure, transportation, shops, delivery trucks, power lines and so on. Most of these common activities burn carbon at some point, but our photo album of diverse communities shows us that there are only certain key points of interaction along the carbon chain where we can connect what we see to the causes of climate change: ◆

the point of entry of carbon into the system, through fossil fuel production and land-use change that releases natural carbon stocks;



the points of delivery where we may access carbon or energy derived from it, such as petrol stations, propane stores or gas lines;



various points of decision where people make personal choices that drive carbon usage, either well ahead of time, as in buying or renovating a house, selecting a source of electricity and making holiday plans; or more immediately, as in setting thermostats, picking up the car keys or switching on the air-conditioner;



the point of burning as a result of these decisions, where carbon dioxide emissions are actually released into the atmosphere, such as from power plant stacks, car exhaust pipes, stove tops, house chimneys, leaf-blowers and patio heaters.

Seeing carbon A close look along the carbon chain shows that it is almost impossible actually to see carbon itself. It is largely hidden away. The transition from an inert form, harmlessly locked away underground, to a highly destructive, explosive, polluting and sometimes poisonous state on the Earth’s surface, where it is bound to be burned sooner or later, is remote and unseen by most community members. The final greenhouse gas emissions are also invisible. In between, the industrial processing of carbon, its conversion to energy in power plants, and its embodiment in manufacturing and transport of food and products, are remote and isolated from most communities that use those products. Petrochemical refineries and industrial farms are off-limits. Underground pipelines and covered rail cars bring carbon to the consumers, masking the size and extent of the network. We seldom see and barely sniff the gasoline at petrol stations. Even in our homes, the gas furnace is hidden 120

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in the basement or the boiler in the cupboard, and the carbon cost of electricity is undetectable at the switch. Whether or not by deliberate effort, the reality of the carbon chain is essentially concealed from the end users. Where carbon sources such as landfills happen to be closer to communities, land-use zoning and screening along the boundaries are often carefully used to hide them or reduce their visibility. As an extreme example, offshore oil drilling near scenic Santa Barbara, California has been screened and camouflaged as an island with giant palm trees, mimicking preferred natural elements in the landscape and symbols of a coastal paradise: visible but disguised. Thayer17 calls this evidence of ‘landscape guilt’, whereby we try to conceal or soften the energy sources and technologies that we depend on but know to be harmful, to avoid confronting ourselves with our hypocrisy. In other words, by design, we keep the carbon chain out of sight, out of mind. It wasn’t always this way. As a child in south London, I remember being awed at the sight of coalmen shouldering their weekly delivery of sacks, black and dusty like their faces and their hooded donkey jackets. Dad would nightly shovel the black stuff into the fire or occasionally stoke the massive Aga oven. We knew what we were dealing with. The coming of ‘smokeless zones’, clean-burning coke, and later the ‘clean’ and efficient natural gas lines, removed the London fog, the dirt from the coal-scuttle, the drudgery and the sight of carbon. In our pursuit of health, safety, convenience and aesthetics, we have overlooked the value of seeing reality. Governments usually take a hard line on addictive behaviours, but our addiction to carbon has long been supported by a system that makes it painless for the addict and ignores the long-term consequences. While the carbon itself is for the most part unseen, there are exceptions, as revealed in a few snapshots in the photo album. Furthermore, the mechanisms by which we burn carbon and the behaviours associated with them are much more visible. In such cases, do people recognize them as such, as causes of climate change in their community? Do we recognize the smoking gun?

Recognizing carbon The evidence suggests that where the causes of climate change can be seen, they are often not recognized. Our carbon consciousness in the community is low. This is partly because we have not developed the visual acuity to read the carbon cycle in our community (as noted in Chapter 2.2 and the C2A Framework) and recognize, for example, that landfills emit methane or that certain types of unrenovated homes have higher carbon 121

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footprints. In addition, we do not connect what we know with what we see. We may know that fossil fuels cause climate change, but we fail to associate that with leaving our computers on standby or failing to recycle our rubbish. We overlook the signs of high carbon use in new housing developments (Figure 5.5), the extensive use of conventional concrete, food processing and plastics. With a climate change lens, we should be seeing things like traffic noise and light pollution as clear signals that a community is not as climate friendly as it should be.

Figure 5.5 High-carbon patterns of suburbia: single-family homes that depend on the car and natural gas heating.

The photo album suggests another reason for our failure to recognize our carbon uses, even those that are highly visible such as conventional cars, because they have been reframed as something else by the oil and gas industry, the motor industry, or just by prevailing high-carbon cultural norms. For example, automobile use has been dressed up in advertisements as essential, attractive, convenient, comfortable, clean, even as ‘green’ (Figure 5.6). The modern car is marketed (and accepted in many cultures) as a high-status extension of our personalities, meticulously engineered to meet our needs and desires on the road, while keeping us as separate as possible from the real world: cushioning us from bumps in the road and disconnecting us from its impacts on climate.

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Figure 5.6 ‘Mother Nature’s fuel’: urban petrol stations are kept clean, efficient and antiseptic, even daring to claim in some cases that their products have green qualities based on blending a small fraction of ethanol into the mix.

Many of the things we aspire to in modern cultures are explicitly high carbon. We have been trained to prefer comfort and convenience regardless of their impact. In some societies, conspicuous consumption has become synonymous with success. We may discern a high-carbon aesthetic where the higher the aspirations to status symbols, the higher the carbon footprint.18 Such reframing is so effective that even the visible and vivid 123

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burning of fossil fuels before our very eyes, in our homes and restaurants, can become desirable. For example, the widespread use of patio heaters and so-called ‘decorative flares’ (Figure 5.7) sends a message that says, ‘We in the developed world are so wealthy that we can afford to heat the sky.’ The average patio heater can burn 40,000 Btu per hour, almost half as much energy as it takes to heat a house!19

(a, b) ‘Decorative flares’ burn natural gas all evening on hotel patios in San Diego, California, for strictly aesthetic purposes…

Figure 5.7 (c) Gas flaring in communities for different reasons: obvious symbols of wasteful and dangerous carbon emissions.

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(c) …while in developing countries such as Nigeria and Thailand, large industrial flares (such as this one at the Star refinery, Map Ta Phut) cause air pollution and poor health in adjoining communities.

Figure 5.7 continued

In developed nations, it could be said that climate change is literally built into the fabric of our communities. You can see it in the grid pattern of streets designed for efficient vehicle travel, the wide suburban avenues, or the massive freeway structures in many cities. They are effectively designed to help us burn carbon. We know the disadvantages of clogged highways, but still think of traffic jams as the unlucky exception, not the rule. Our

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high-carbon culture has socially engineered us not to pay attention to carbon at all. The vulnerability of the high-carbon economy, the reality and risks of carbon dependency, are not recognized either. Many businesses, neighbourhoods and lifestyles could cease to be viable with disruption of carbon supply and transportation of goods, or higher prices due to peak oil and climate change mitigation measures such as carbon taxes, congestion charges and carbon rationing (Figure 5.8). What will happen when carbon prices go through the roof? The ‘low prices’ we currently pay at supermarkets entail high-carbon usage in getting the products to market, and we never count the externalized costs to be paid by other people: residents of oceanic states facing destruction from sea-level rise, African villages suffering from serious drought, and our own grandchildren in a harsher, hotter world. (a) Remote coastal villages in Haida Gwai, BC, display dependency on oil as a motorized fishing culture, reliant on floatplanes and home heating from diesel or propane. Nearly all their energy is imported.

Figure 5.8 Examples of carbon-dependent communities.

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(b) Big shopping malls, and even in-town shopping centres, like this one in Wales, depend on mass-produced goods shipped from China; car-parks reveal how we burn carbon just to get our daily bread and groceries.

Figure 5.8 continued

The one time we do ‘see’ the true nature of carbon is when televised oil spills or explosions (Figure 5.9) occur (many less accessible or visually dramatic spills are never brought to the public’s attention). When an oil spill occurs, we question the responsible company on the safety of the operation and lament the lasting ecological damage in some far-off place, but we seldom question our dependency on fossil fuel which drives the production of carbon in the first place. In one sense, these events provide a rare window on to the grim realities of the carbon chain; in another, though, they can be seen as a distraction from the big picture. Dreadful though the ecological damage from oil spills undoubtedly is, that is not the biggest problem. Spills and explosions and fires amount to a tiny fraction of the amount ‘spilled’ into the air when we burn carbon-based fuels. Oil spills are not the only reason to stop offshore oil drilling. The downstream damage from climate change is far worse, but so far unrecognized. Nor do we acknowledge other downstream legacies of carbon misuse: we do not take a long-term view of the life cycle of petrochemical products in plastics, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides and so on.

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Figure 5.9 The rare exposure of the power of ‘what lies beneath’, where four people died in a natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California in September 2010.

Caring about carbon It is hard to care about what you don’t see. As Safron-Foer20 vividly explains, even though most people care about the welfare of animals, there is no clear line of sight to meat production and so food systems that include the mass confinement and often cruel slaughter of cows, pigs and chickens (and high-carbon emissions) remain completely acceptable. In our day-to-day lives, we care more about the local side-effects of carbon use, such as the noise of lawn-mowers or ventilation fans, than about its long-term effects on climate change. We dislike seeing cars en masse, hence the popularity of underground car parks. We find litter in our streets, such as plastic bags or discarded bottles, unacceptable because it is visible in the wrong place; we see it as a sign of neglect in the community, but we seldom worry about its origin in petrochemicals or its link to climate change. People often report lorries which belch out black smoke signifying unacceptable air pollution, but no one reports Hummers or RVs for driving around with their very high (but invisible) carbon emissions. If we do know them to be causes of climate change, we may still accept them as part of our culture: social norms rule. So, we have discovered there is a carbon cover-up in our communities. However, while the carbon itself may be deliberately concealed, we have found that many other signs of the causes of climate change are plainly visible, in our transport, homes and lifestyles. There are obvious cues to high-carbon communities in the landscape all around us, but they often go unrecognized or are reframed with a more positive spin.

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Clearly, most of us overlook, misinterpret or deliberately ignore carbon use in our midst. Our visual literacy when it comes to carbon is weak. We see the carbon chain in pieces, not as a whole. Our personal decision points affecting carbon seem unconnected to climate change. We don’t see the scale of the day-in-day-out activities occurring simultaneously a millionfold, just in our own city or region, over the decades. Thus, we fail to recognize our carbon footprints, whether at the family, neighbourhood or community level. These misperceptions are reinforced by the policy disconnects that we see in the papers every day: what we may call ‘cognitive dissonance in high places’. This disconnect is so rampant that even those with good intentions do not always act coherently. For example, the BC government promotes oil and gas development at the same time as it sets some of the most ambitious carbon-reduction targets in North America, and local municipalities expand their airports while signing up to carbonneutral charters. It seems that collectively we have convinced ourselves that nothing is abnormal or wrong in the way we use carbon. It reminds me of the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the emperor’s new clothes, said to be invisible to anyone who was stupid or unfit for their position. We are like the emperor’s ministers and courtiers who pretended they could see the clothes. Where are those with the eyes of the child who cried out that the emperor wasn’t wearing anything at all? Like the emperor’s nakedness, many causes of climate change are clearly visible, for all to see if we use the right lens. This deliberate oversight is troubling because we are not inclined to take action if the problems are invisible, unrecognized or seem beyond our control. If we can learn to recognize clear signs of high carbon-use as foreshadowing climate change, it allows us to make an informed choice about our lifestyles and community design. The carbon characters of Climateville may help us to start connecting the dots between different attitudes, lifestyles, and carbon footprints (Box 5B). Here, we estimate their personal carbon footprints using an inclusive carbon calculator 21 based on the profiles given in Chapter 4, and provide a little more detail for some of them, to illustrate what these footprints look like.

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Box 5B Carbon footprints of selected community members on our block in Climateville, relative to the Community Awareness to Action Framework.

Adam: Hearing, but not knowing about climate change and its causes

Adam is a family man with a major carbon footprint. He lives in a large house and even though it has a relatively modern natural Caring gas heater, it is still a large space to heat. Adam has not taken steps to make his Recognizing house more energy efficient. A substantial part of Adam’s carbon footprint Hearing Knowing is from the large SUV that Aw a re he drives to work every day, nes s Seeing because he likes the peace and quiet, and needs a Lo c a l Lan dscape large car to tow his boat on weekends. Taking frequent holidays all over the world also adds considerably to his footprint. Action

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Adam likes to eat meat every day, especially red meat. He has seen organic food at the grocery store, but doesn’t see what’s wrong with non-organic food that he’s eaten all his life. He recycles a bit, but only the items that are picked up from the kerb-side. He likes to keep himself up to date on technology, so he always buys the latest gear and gadgets. Carbon footprint: 49 tonnes CO2 /yr. Adam is not aware of his own carbon footprint and doesn’t ever think about his environmental impact.

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Bella: Knowing, but not seeing climate change and its causes

Bella has a moderately high-carbon lifestyle, though without too many luxuries. She lives in a small, draughty house with an old Caring oil-fired boiler in the basement that has so far needed no attention. Bella Recognizing thinks about making changes to the house to Hearing Knowing save money, but hasn’t got around to it yet. The garden Aw a re is a bit of a mess as she nes s Seeing seldom gets out the electric mower. She has fairly high Lo c a l Lan dscape mileage on her mediumsized ten-year-old car, from commuting, running errands and taking occasional business trips, but she cannot afford a new one. She has never calculated her fuel mileage. She seldom flies, however. Action

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Bella doesn’t eat much red meat and would buy more organic food, but it is too expensive. She recycles, reuses items as much as possible and buys second-hand when she can. Carbon footprint: 22 tonnes CO2 /yr. Bella knows about climate change and its causes generally, but with the exception of her car, is not confronted by her carbon footprint on a daily basis and is not aware of her community’s emissions. Dinos: Recognizing, but not caring about climate change and its causes

Dinos has a fairly large carbon footprint. He lives on his own in a spacious two-bedroomed town house. It is a newer building Caring so it is reasonably energy efficient, but Dinos has not added triple glazing or Recognizing extra insulation to improve efficiency further. He keeps Hearing Knowing the natural gas heater turned up because he likes Aw a re nes to walk around in T-shirt s Seeing and shorts and watch his big flat-screen TV. He takes Lo c a l Lan dscape good care of his car, which he drives to work and on road trips. He also has a motorcycle he likes to ride on long trips to the coast, and takes several air flights each year. Action

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Dinos shops for the latest in fashion and technology, especially ski gear for his winter vacations. He eats meat but buys local and organic when it’s available at the grocery, even though it’s more expensive, because it tastes better. Carbon footprint: 27 tonnes CO2/yr. Dinos recognizes that his carbon emissions contribute to climate change, but cares more about pursuing his lifestyle until he sees the government and others get serious about it. He has noticed propane patio heaters in both Charles’s and Adam’s gardens, which he knows waste heat and carbon, but doesn’t say anything about it to his neighbours.

Summary of Climateville residents’ carbon footprints Adam

Not knowing about climate change

49 tonnes CO2 /yr

Bella

Knowing, but not seeing climate change

22 tonnes CO2 /yr

Charles

Seeing, but not recognizing climate change

25 tonnes CO2 /yr

Dinos

Recognizing, but not caring about climate change

27 tonnes CO2/yr

Emily

Caring, but not acting on climate change

11 tonnes CO2 /yr

Farah

Acting on climate change

Total Average

8 tonnes CO2 /yr 142 tonnes CO2 /yr 24 tonnes CO2 /yr approx.

These residents of Climateville are typical of neighbourhoods in developed nations in that most of their emissions come from heating their homes with fossil fuels, driving, flying and food consumption. They represent a wide range of carbon emissions, but all are high on a global scale. As is clear from Box 5B, Farah and Emily are the only ones who manage to keep their carbon footprint fairly low (about one-fifth of the big carbon spender on the block), due to small homes, low car use, few flights, lower consumption levels, a more vegetarian diet and thoughtful behaviour; but even they are still not as low as the world average (4 tonnes CO2 /yr). This is because, in spite of our individual actions, our current Western cultures encourage high-carbon lifestyles and footprints, accounting for the large majority of global carbon emissions. If we counted the whole block on both sides of the street, it might easily reach 400–500 tonnes CO2 /yr.

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On the positive side, three of our carbon characters (Dinos, Emily and Farah) actually recognize the causes of climate change on their street. They notice the cars, lifestyles, and some of their neighbours’ personal habits that affect carbon use, though they cannot tell much about their neighbours’ use of household energy. However, the numbers show that simply recognizing the causes of climate change in the community, and even caring about them, may not be enough actually to enable lifestyle changes that reduce carbon footprints. As we saw in Chapter 4, according to the C2A Framework, there are many barriers to action. While there may be a general trend for those who care the least about climate change to have the highest carbon footprints, we cannot expect carbon emissions to drop in a neat linear sequence as perceptions change; only when behaviour change occurs can we expect an impact. The purpose of this journey along the carbon chain through our communities is not to demonize the individuals or places depicted, or the cultures that foster high-carbon lifestyles. It is to help us to see them through the new lens of climate change and enable us consciously and collectively to decide if this is how we wish to continue. We all need to acknowledge what we are doing; some truths are too important to remain invisible.

Summary In Chapter 5, we looked at how climate change is caused, and how carbon footprints can be measured. We followed the carbon chain from its sources to its use and legacies in the community, and discovered that while carbon is systematically concealed at every stage, many of its uses and the mechanisms for releasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere are plainly visible all around us. We examined why and how people fail to recognize the causes of climate change as the accumulation of many individual decisions. A key message here is that we do not have to wait for scientific carbon inventories or expensive technical studies (valuable though these are) to increase our awareness and make us rethink how we use carbon. Learning to see and recognize carbon in our communities is, however, essential. We have depicted in the photo-album and hypothetical carbon characters of Climateville ways in which people can see and recognize how we use, misuse and mismanage carbon, including the signs of high-carbon lifestyles and footprints.

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Notes 1 Though with a heavy emphasis on communities I have studied or known personally over the years in North America and Europe, countries which happen to have some of the biggest carbon footprints in the world. These can provide important lessons on what not to do in emerging economies around the world. 2 In addition to natural influences on climate, other human activities beyond burning fossil fuels that contribute to climate change include land-use change and urban heat islands. However, power from carbon-based fuels enables many of these effects. 3 Dow and Downing (2007). 4 Dow and Downing (2007). 5 IPCC (2007b). 6 Dow and Downing (2007, pp.104 and 109) showing 2002 per capita carbon emissions from fossil fuel energy sources, citing source as www.eia.doe/iea/ carbon.html. These figures may leave out certain sources of carbon emissions that may be difficult to count (e.g. international flights or land-use change effects). 7 These make up 5 per cent of the national total carbon emissions: Royal Society of Canada (2010). 8 Goodall (2007). 9 BC Ministry of Environment Community Energy and Emissions Inventories, www.env.gov.bc.ca/cas/mitigation/ceei/index.html. 10 Unfortunately, such estimates may not count all contributions to community members’ carbon footprints, such as food miles, plane trips and shipping imported goods. 11 Sheppard et al. (2008). 12 Less than 5 tonnes is much lower than typical Western averages, but, relative to historical levels (essentially zero) or to carbon footprints in many countries, even 2 tonnes is high. 13 Many of the photographs are literally snapshots taken by the author or his colleagues while visiting various communities. They are not professional photos or staged in any way; they represent what any ordinary person could readily see and photograph, and reflect the gritty realities of life with imperfect visibility and sometimes lots of other things going on in the picture. 14 Thayer (1994, p.53). 15 Jacobson (2010). 16 Frank and Engelke (2001). 17 Thayer (1994). 18 Sheppard et al. (2008). 19 Btu are British thermal units; data according to Harrington (2008, p.76). 20 Safron-Foer (2009). 21 Carbon footprints were estimated using the UK Carbon Footprint calculator (www.carbonfootprint.com), since it takes into account most of the variables described in the profiles and lifestyles of the ‘carbon characters’, such as food, recycling and recreation. These estimates are bound to differ somewhat from

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those given for national averages earlier in the chapter, and may result in higher footprint numbers, since they consider a wider set of variables (including both direct and indirect effects, local and remote/international emissions, etc.). Use of a different calculator would change the numbers, but the relative trends should be similar.

Further reading Darley, J. (2004) High Noon for Natural Gas: The New Energy Crisis, Chelsea Green, White River Junction, VT. Deffeyes, K. (2001) Hubbert’s Peak, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. Jaccard, M. (2005) Sustainable Fossil Fuels, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Monbiot, G. (2006) Heat, Penguin Books, London. Thayer, R.L. (1994) Gray World, Green Heart, J. Wiley & Sons, New York.

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6

Hot in my backyard Seeing the impacts of climate change

On 5 February 2004, I finally woke up to the personal reality of climate change. Staring out of the train window en route to Norwich where I was to give a guest lecture at the University of East Anglia, I spotted two hares in a field. They were standing up on their hind legs and boxing, jumping at each other and running around erratically, oblivious of the train and everything else. This is what hares have done in springtime in Europe for millennia, and it is the origin of the well-known English expression ‘mad as a March hare’. I was happy to see this familiar sign of my native English countryside, until it dawned on me: these were ‘mad February hares’. In that instant I became aware that climate change might actually already be here, not just a looming threat: I had seen it with my own eyes.1 As this sad revelation sank in, I realized that, on top of everything else, climate change would also likely bring about the erosion of cherished cultural meanings and traditions, perhaps even their total loss. Will we have to tell our children about how we used to build a snowman every winter, and observe with sinking hearts the joy of old people who see the first stirrings of another early spring, because we now know what that really means? Will we have to retitle well-known books such as The Darling Buds of April?2 I for one would prefer my mad hares in March.

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In Chapter 5, we looked at carbon footprints as an indicator of the impact of the community on the environment. This chapter considers the resulting push-back of the environment on the community. Here we focus on seeing and understanding the impacts of climate change which result from past and present global carbon emissions. My colleague Dr Stewart Cohen calls the consequences of climate change “the damage report”.3 In our continuing tour of local communities, will we find that climate change impacts really are invisible? Or are there harbingers of ‘doom and gloom’ and even some positive prospects that we can already see around us? Five years ago, Dow and Downing put it this way: Most of us have not seen the early signs ourselves. Scientists working in the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii began monitoring carbon dioxide levels in the 1950s and saw the concentration increase year by year. … Over the last decade, people in northern regions have seen grasses sprouting where none had been able to grow before, and watched their roads buckle and the foundations of their homes shift as the permafrost melted beneath them. Gardeners and birders with a sharp eye and long commitment have seen a shift in the timing of blossoms and the length of growing seasons, as well as the arrival, departure, and nesting time of local birds. But to recognize these signs as pieces of a global pattern requires assembling a vast array of observations and knowledge.4 How long before everyone begins to recognize the larger pattern of climate change in their own backyards? Community members have a key role to play in spotting the signs of climate change in their area. While tracking, forecasting and explaining the effects of climate change are primarily the job of scientists, we all need to see for ourselves and recognize how these impacts will affect us and our communities, in order to confirm and relate to what the scientists are telling us. No scientific monitoring system can extend to cover all on-the-ground effects or capture the socio-economic implications. We need to start noting the new trends and planning how to respond to these local shifts ourselves (see also Chapter 8).

6.1 How climate change impacts upon work – knowing their effects on communities What do communities need to know about the likely impacts of climate change? Climate change affects almost everything sooner or later, so its impacts are in a sense endless. IPCC defines them as the adverse and beneficial effects of climate change on natural and human systems.5 We can think of them as the planet’s reaction to our human transgressions, 137

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affecting earth, wind, fire and water, and, of course, organisms, including ourselves. As the carbon balance of the earth and the atmosphere changes, so the long-term weather patterns shift, multiple physical effects occur and most life on Earth confronts new dynamics, from the stability of mountaintops to the acidity of the ocean. Some of the major global effects of climate change are well known in the scientific community: the IPCC has for years projected a clear storyline on the impact of rising CO2 levels on global average temperatures (Figure 6.1), causing thermal expansion of the oceans and ice melting which both lead to sea-level rise (Figure 6.2). Under some of these scenarios, many parts of the world are expected to warm by over 4°C this century, leading to climate disruption or catastrophic climate change. Parts of the Arctic have already warmed this much. There are countless different effects beyond sea-level rise, many of which even the scientists do not yet fully understand. The consequences occur everywhere but are highly variable locally, and are interconnected in complex ways. We can readily think of many direct local impacts of climate change in the form of recent unusual weather patterns such as more severe flooding (as in northern Britain in November 2009), more frequent heatwaves (as in western Europe in 2003), and more damaging forest fires (as in southern California in 2008 and 2010). It is impossible to know for sure if any single occurrence is a direct consequence of climate change, since these types of events have occurred before (i.e. they are within the range of natural variation). However, the observed increase in their frequency and intensity is a trend which can be attributed to climate change6 (Figure 6.3). It is the difference between getting a ‘100-year flood’ every century or every 15 years. And this trend really matters because it is a sign of things to come.

Figure 6.1 Global maps of surface temperature changes like this are widely available for various climate change projections, here showing the effect of the A1B carbon emissions scenario in 2100, relative to the 1990s.

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Figure 6.2 A graph from the IPCC7 showing how carbon emissions (bottom curve) drive CO2 concentrations, which are related to global average temperature and sea level rise (top curves) that continues for millennia.

Figure 6.3 Chart showing the increasing frequency of Thames Barrier closures over a period of 20 years, signifying a trend of increased flood risk.

Increasingly, scientists expect to see events that move outside the range of natural variation, with more extreme, unpredictable or unprecedented changes in weather and biophysical responses of the landscape. In 2009, for example, local residents north of Melbourne spoke of an increasing number and ferocity of bush fires (Figure 6.4), but still believed ‘it could never happen here’. One fellow interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Company, 8 however, fully recognized the problem: “Climate change has altered the rules,” he said; “it is not a drought at all, but the new reality.” We must recognize that there really is no ‘nature’ any more as we once knew it. The natural baseline for the climate and all life at this stage in our

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Earth’s history has been left behind. The past is no longer a reliable guide to the future: while there is much we can learn from past climatic and environmental patterns, the range, frequency and type of events we see in the future may be quite different. For instance, scientists who study phenology – how seasonal and annual variations in climate influence plant and animal life cycles – have already measured substantial changes in the timing of plants flowering, insects breeding and birds migrating, such that ancient inter-relationships (e.g. birds hatching at the right time to be fed on caterpillars) are being disrupted. Major shifts are under way in all aspects of ecosystems and the human ones that depend upon them. How far and how fast conditions will change is uncertain, depending on how big our carbon footprints become and how quickly we can reduce them, among other things (see Chapter 7).

Figure 6.4 Record-breaking temperatures and windy conditions caused unusually intense fires in drought-stricken forests and small towns like Yarra Glen outside Melbourne in February 2009. Over 160 people died in the deadliest fires ever recorded in Australia.

We can classify these changes as different kinds of direct impacts on communities, such as weather events (rainstorms, windstorms, heatwaves, etc), physical effects (sea-level rise, fires, landslides, etc.), biological effects (vegetation changes, crop failure from drought, biodiversity losses, etc.), and multiple effects on the built environment and community infrastructure. The latter range from increased roof leaks to catastrophic dyke failures, and may be classified as effects on natural systems (such as water resources), land uses, infrastructure (such as roads, buildings and sewer-lines) and 140

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human systems (such as health, welfare and economics). New research suggests that there may be health consequences from local carbon dioxide pollution, even without additional warming. Local domes of high CO2 levels form over cities and can cause serious health impacts in the area: Among other things, they worsen the effects of localized air pollutants like ozone and particulates, which cause respiratory diseases and the like. As a result, Jacobson estimates that local CO2 emissions cause anywhere from 300 to 1,000 premature deaths in the United States each year. And presumably the problem’s much worse in developing countries.9 In reality, most impacts are a combination of these things, with climate and weather events influencing both vegetation and physical conditions, which in turn interact with human land uses and activities. The direct, primary effects of climate change on physical and ecological systems carry with them other secondary consequences, such as impacts on economies, culture and traditions. In California, for example, warmer summers sometimes cause the pumpkin crop to ripen up to a month early, so that the traditionally scheduled pumpkin festivals are too late for the pumpkins.10 More seriously, the truly devastating effects of the peat and forest fires in Russia in the summer of 2010, the hottest in centuries, brought widespread health effects and disruption, leading President Putin to prioritize climate change policy at long last and perhaps even to fear for his job. Climate change causes a cascade of effects, a web of consequences (Box 6A). Take Canada, for instance, where more intense and frequent heat waves will increase demand for air-conditioning, while reduced runoff from glaciers and lower water levels in the Great Lakes will probably decrease hydroelectricity generation. This will lead to more and more black-outs and brown-outs as electricity demand rises, along with projected population and economic growth.11 The sad truth is that there will be a multitude of such effects in each area and each community, some minor, some more significant or extreme. They may also interact in ways that are hard to predict: “The cumulative nature of impacts, and associated cascading uncertainties, makes it likely that climate change will produce ‘surprises’ – impacts related to the crossing of critical thresholds that have not been anticipated.”12 In the example of the Delta farms in BC, Canada (Box 6A), the problems of soil salinity may be exacerbated by summer droughts and declining quality of irrigation water from the rivers, not to mention more frequent coastal flooding. You can see why this might be called the ‘doom and gloom’ chapter. 141

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Box 6A Example of one chain of consequences for a coastal farming community stemming from sea-level rise, even without actual flooding Global warming Sea-level rise Increasing salinity of the rising water table affecting local soils Local crop failures Increased cost of local produce and loss of farms/farmland

Changing character of rural land and urban outskirts Community dissent over new uses of former farmland Reduced habitat for wintering snow geese and other migratory birds which depend on farmland and dwindling coastal marshes

We are not done, however, with the list. There are also knock-on effects or indirect local impacts, caused by climate change affecting other areas. Food prices in local shops have risen as a result of droughts on the Canadian prairies, the heatwave in Russia and increased production of biofuels, 142

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intended as a ‘low-carbon fuel’ but in fact displacing food production in Europe and the USA. Environmental refugees may move in large numbers to other countries from low-lying coastal areas such as Bangladesh, as life there becomes increasingly difficult. We have already seen mass movements of people in drought-stricken parts of Africa such as Darfur. Given the waves of migrants who have already moved around the world and into other communities while we still had a relatively stable climate, we can begin to imagine the consequences if climate change forces millions more to migrate. More bad news: there can be a considerable time-lag between the causes of climate change and our seeing or feeling their impacts. Sea-level rise in particular will continue for centuries, even if today we turned off the carbon engine that is driving it (Figure 6.2). Any impacts we see now are the effect of earlier carbon emissions: by the time you see the clear evidence, it may be much too late to stop it, although there is plenty we can do to prevent even worse consequences. This argues for careful, early observation to give us as much time as possible to plan. However, effects experienced now may not represent all the impacts to come later: many trends previously forecast by the scientists with climate models are turning out to be too optimistic, in comparison with the growing evidence from on-the-ground measurements.13 Climate change is moving faster than expected. There can of course be positive local effects brought about by climate change: Canadians are often keen to point out that wine-growing areas like the Okanagan in British Columbia are likely to expand north as cold climates become warmer. However, the likelihood of most of the changes in any one community being positive seems small; the potential to expand wine-growing areas in Canada or Britain, for example, may be countered by increasing drought or other unfavorable changes in weather patterns. How can we characterize our communities in terms of climate change impacts? Obviously, every community could do with better scientific data to provide an idea of what the more likely and serious changes for them might be. However, locally relevant scientific data on future climate change is hard to find, even in developed nations (Figure 6.5). A practical alternative is to assemble local climate impact profiles14 to provide information from historical or recent records of biophysical and socio-economic impacts, media sources, etc. With such data, we can distinguish between gradual changes in local conditions and more dramatic extreme events, which may have lasting consequences for ecosystems and the social fabric. Some countries, regions and communities are especially sensitive to climate change impacts, due to exposure to certain conditions such as drought or sea-level rise. New system stresses and surprises may also emerge for 143

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Figure 6.5 Maps of downscaled climate impacts like these for Kimberley, BC, Canada, showing projected future reductions in snow depth, are not yet widely available in many regions. Note: This image is for illustrative purposes only. It is based on a single run of the Variable Infiltration Capacity hydrological model. It shows one possible scenario. Further work would be required to understand the range of projected futures and related uncertainty if adaptation to this potential impact is to be considered.

which communities have little precedent. Those communities that are already under environmental stress may get pushed over the edge (e.g. dryland farming areas where further reduction in rainfall may make an agricultural economy non-viable). Supply and demand for resources such as water and power may be pushed out of balance. Using local climate information profiles, we can characterize communities and regions as more or less susceptible to climate change, indicating how likely a community is to be directly or indirectly affected by changes in climate conditions (such as temperature and precipitation) or specific impacts (such as flooding or windstorms).15

6.2 What do climate change impacts look like? Seeing the local evidence of global warming How much visible evidence of climate change can we already see? How carefully do we have to look to recognize it? This section illustrates locallevel climate change impacts, as seen primarily by a person on the ground. The photo album catalogues various types of observable climate change impacts, ‘windowing in’ on visual indicators of climate change effects in the community, and possible harbingers of things to come.

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Impact Window 1 Iconic and chronic impacts of climate change Spectacular, often emotionally gripping, but remote.

(a) Melting ice-floes, ice-floes collapsing ice-shelves and starving polar bears: classic media images of what most people will never see unless they live in the Arctic. Impossible to tell if the condition shown is normal or due to climate change.

(i)

(ii)

(b) Retreating glaciers: Dramatic and clearly indicating ‘local warming’, but, like the New Denver Glacier (photographed in 1906 and 2006), remote and invisible from where most of us live.

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(c) Maldives: Many far-flung island communities are built on coral atolls close to sea level, and villagers and city dwellers now live with the physical threat and psychological pressure of wondering when they will lose their homes.

(d) Living with extremes: According to Bob Geldof of Band Aid,16 severe drought caused by climate change has made livestock rearing by Somalians non-viable and “radically altered their societies” through loss of tradition, instability and high crime levels.

(e) Dust-storms in sparsely populated regions of China, resulting from increasing desertification and sometimes reducing visibility in Beijing far downwind.

Classic or symbolic images of climate change in the mass media are often selected to fit perceived public expectations and over-emphasized. They may be visually compelling and emotionally powerful, but not necessarily relevant to our own lives; usually they depict impacts which are remote and invisible to communities in the developed world, and are hard to link to the causes of climate change. In harsher climates and less developed societies, the ‘long emergency’17 is already here, with many recurring or permanent and highly visible effects within communities, but again remote and invisible for populations in temperate regions where most of the trouble starts. 146

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Impact Window 2 Extreme events in our communities Even in temperate lands, the occasional ravages of more unstable weather are occurring more frequently.

(a) Heatwaves hospitalize many older people like this lady in Chicago in 1995. The French heatwave of 2003 killed about 20,000 people over three months.

(b) Satellite imagery and animated projections showing Hurricane Katrina spinning towards New Orleans in 2005, broadcast on CNN with harrowing pictures of flood victims, made compelling TV.

(c) Windstorm damage in Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC in October 2006: the visual devastation in a well-loved and familiar local place woke people up to the perils of climate change, although similar events have happened before.

(d) Extreme weather damage to power lines, as in the devastating ice-storm of 1998 in Eastern Canada, can shut down major metropolitan areas for days, with dramatic effects.

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Unstable weather patterns are becoming more obvious owing to the increasing frequency of extreme events. While the media often dramatise these events, they receive only shortterm coverage and are easily forgotten unless they happen in one’s own community. Worse yet, they are generally not linked to climate change in information releases where they are consistent with expected climate change trends. Often, only foresters and park managers recognize the long-term aftermath in the local landscape. These events (such as record snowfalls or rainstorms) are still relatively rare in many communities in temperate regions, and it is hard for people to detect their increasing frequency without good, clear information.

Impact Window 3 Historical evidence and gradual shifts in temperate regions Fading memories of once-common conditions, and creeping changes.

(a) Backyard ice-rinks: a tradition for children growing up in eastern Canada that is becoming a thing of the past in this hockeyobsessed nation. Will Canadians see a fall-off in interest in the sport or just more children being driven to the hockey arena?

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(b) ‘Early spring’ in my mother’s garden in Witney, England: are the early blossoms on the almond tree and clematis a delight or a foreshadowing of worse to come?

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(c) New birds at the bird-table: the collared dove, originally from Asia, first arrived in British gardens in the 1950s. Now a common sight, it and other species are extending their range across Europe as global warming proceeds, while northerly species decline.18

(d) Water restrictions sign in a park in central Melbourne: a clear message to the public to expect brown grass, but is it a temporary exception or the new norm?

(e) Forest die-back: red-coloured conifers in the Okanagan area of western Canada are early signs of drought, but understood only by local foresters.

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Historical footage can reveal past weather extremes that are occurring more frequently, or once typical conditions that are now rare, but such records are seldom consulted. Local signs of climate change impact are all around us, but are often too slow and subtle to be heralded in the media or recognized by the public. Changes in water supply, wildlife populations, plant health and food prices may not be dramatic or easily noticeable without knowledge of the former frequency, key dates or other benchmarks. Some trends may dawn on us occasionally: for example, I realize that I rarely wear my heavy tweed overcoat any more. But even when such things are noticed, they are not necessarily perceived as negative, tied to climate change in people’s minds or communicated to others.

Impact Window 4 Multiple indicators of change in one community with a supposedly ‘benign’ climate Vancouver’s Northshore, BC, Canada.

(a) The tell-tale ‘bath-tub ring’ on natural lakes and reservoirs in the Capilano watershed indicates reduced snowpack and increasing consumer demand for water, combined with warmer summers.

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(b) Heavier rains and increased run-off lead to debris flows and scouring/erosion of stream channels, destroying salmon-spawning habitat. Results can be dramatic if seen up close, but are often out of sight in watersheds and steep, wooded areas away from public access.

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(c) Landslides in North Vancouver, BC in 2005, like this one in White Rock triggered by heavy rains on unstable soils, destroyed houses and caused loss of life.

(d) Recent wave damage to the West Vancouver sea-walk: not spectacular, but notice how little freeboard (safety margin) there is between the public walkway and high-tide levels.

In North and West Vancouver over the past six years, weather instabilities consistent with climate change have cut off our water supply, cancelled international sporting competitions, required summer water restrictions, closed major trail systems, flooded parks, blown down trees, destroyed homes and caused electricity black-outs. This combination of events is unusual, and some of the impacts have been highly visible, but people may not tie them together or associate them with climate change. What have you seen in your area?

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Impact Window 5 Sensitivity of communities to climate change Spotting risks and consequences.

(a) Many island and coastal communities such as this beach-level tourism development near Cancun, Mexico are exposed to sea-level rise and coastal erosion. Loss of wetlands from development may not be recognized as reducing protection.

(b) Buildings and infrastructure close to streams like this one in West Vancouver, Canada can clearly be at risk from increased rainfall intensity, rapid snow melt, flash floods and channel erosion.

communities like the (c) Forest or woodland communities, Berkeley hills in California, may not be recognized as susceptible to increasing risk from forest fires and windstorms, especially by urbanites or new arrivals.

(d) The impact of dwindling water supply and hotter summers on irrigated crops in locations such as central California is not visible to communities at the end of the food chain. It only becomes apparent as food costs climb in local shops.

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(e) High-rises in cities such as Seattle require constant power to stay habitable and are vulnerable to disruptions. In an extreme heatwave in Auckland, New Zealand, skyscrapers that lost power were unusable for weeks.19

The above photographs depict perfectly ordinary places on a typical day in the developed world: What could be wrong? If we know where to look, the signs of sensitivity to climate change impacts are there. We need to recognize the susceptibility of features such as bridges, floodplains, dry forests, coastal development and high buildings in the light of future threats such as more frequent or severe local weather patterns. Often, we are drawn to riskier locations such as coastal bluffs, hillsides or river frontage because they are attractive places to live or to spend our leisure time, rather than locating our communities based on climate change risk assessments. In addition, we take for granted the unseen resources and supply lines from outside the community which are vulnerable to disruption from climate change (e.g. power black-outs, oil supplies affected by hurricanes). Do you know if you live on a floodplain, and where your food, water and energy actually come from?

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Impact Window 6 Cultural, social and economic implications Weakening the things that make our communities resilient, attractive and distinct?

(a) Ice-free arctic waters in the Northwest Passage and along the Siberian coast will mean major socio-economic and cultural effects on previously isolated port communities such as Clyde River, Nunavut, Canada.

(b) Civil wars and unrest in Africa that create refugee camps like this in Darfur are believed to be related to rising temperatures and drought.

(c) Urban heat islands: large cities like Chicago already see heat buildup of 1–12°C due to human activity and heat trapped among buildings. With global warming, hot nights could more than triple by 2050 in cities like London, Beijing and São Paulo,20 increasing death rates among the elderly.

(d) Increased river temperatures and possible changes in ocean conditions have contributed to severely reduced runs of sockeye salmon, threatening the ancient First Nation traditions of catching, smoking and drying salmon in the Fraser Canyon of British Columbia.

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(e) The failure of ice roads in the far north due to warmer temperatures has reduced the season for trucking and altered the economics of transporting timber, food supplies, and many other goods to and from remote communities.

We can already see changes in our cultures stemming from climate change, both in the loss of treasured traditions and the infusion of new influences and behaviours. The effects are most obvious in harsher climates and where people live off the land, but even those in big city centres are ‘feeling the heat’. As a result, economic stability, quality of life and cultural diversity could be at risk. How many of us though recognize the root causes?

6.3 How we perceive climate change impacts: are we ‘getting it’? Our journey through the community with a climate change lens shows that the impacts of climate change are all around us already, but we are only seeing the first wave. Much more is to come, emerging in multiple guises.

Seeing the impacts We would expect climate change impacts to be much more visible in some places than in others, for example, where drought or flooding are more severe, or communities have less capacity to absorb the damage. Undeveloped regions which are more affected by climate change and where people live directly off the land can often see climate change more 155

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readily. In many temperate region communities, however, climate change impacts have gone largely unnoticed until recently. Flicking through the community photo album suggests that some day-to-day signs of climate change impacts may be detectible but tend to be subtle with little drama to attract attention. More developed/urbanized societies have become especially cut off from slowly evolving environmental realities. People cannot see the changes in their own local environment. We are insulated from the direct impact of temperature variations by heating and cooling systems. Many of us are further isolated from the signs of climate change impact because we live far from green spaces and natural ecosystems, and spend little time in the country, on farmland or along natural coast lines. Occasional extreme events can disrupt the calm and impinge on our senses, sometimes dramatically, but it is hard to imagine the risks and consequences of 1–2 metres of sea-level rise combined with storm surges, for example, until you have seen them for yourself. The effects are becoming more visible year by year though, as climate change marches on and the frequency of climate change-related events increases. At some point, the impacts will be visible to everyone.

Recognizing the impacts The critical question is: when we do see evidence of climate change impacts in our own backyard, do we get it? Their often unobtrusive nature makes local recognition difficult, encouraging us to believe that climate change is only happening to other people. Changes in frequency of events are hard to realize without specific local knowledge of the norms. Our visual literacy is poor, and there is little or no help to be found in terms of explicit signage or governmental guidance on recognizing climate change locally. We need to work harder to track climate change impacts and improve literacy through careful observation, as practised by farmers and other people who are close to the land, and who do ‘get’ what is happening. We often fail to recognize our vulnerabilities to future climate change effects (Figure 6.6). Many townspeople know little or nothing about the source of the food, energy and products they depend upon, and therefore cannot see their vulnerabilities to changing conditions. On the other hand, some professionals have known what was happening for years. In the late 1980s I worked in the San Francisco Bay area with hydrologists and geotechnical engineers who routinely factored in projections of rising sea level as an accepted reality in designing new dykes and shoreline reinforcements, but these flashes of sober foresight seem not to have been passed on to the wider community. 156

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Figure 6.6 Barren roofscape in southern California with high sensitivity to increased heat load for workers and equipment, and increased costs/demand for cooling.

If some people are starting to notice that climate change-related events are happening more frequently, perhaps this is in part due to the heightened interest of the media. Climate change could be said to represent a major boon to programmes such as CNN’s Anderson Cooper’s 360, which became a key window to the massive visual spectacle of Hurricane Katrina and the mayhem that followed. Dramatic extreme events and their shortterm duration are ideal fodder for the media. My own notes over the past few years have charted a steady increase in the frequency of reports on issues that can be related to climate change, such as record floods, mudslides, wildfires, heatwaves and dust-storms. Unfortunately, the reports often fail to make the connections between events occurring at the same time across the world, presenting them as discrete events and omitting to mention the role of climate change (Box 6B). As a gauge of visual literacy on climate change, I often ask students on my graduate course if they have seen evidence of climate change. In 2011, of the 17 students, 11 said “no” but 6 (35 per cent) said “yes”. Things they had seen directly or heard about from family members included loss of open alpine views from the advancing tree line in Norway; mountain pine beetle epidemics near Revelstoke, BC; weather change in Calgary, Alberta; receding snow lines over the years in the Alberta Rockies, and the loss of opportunities to jump off the roof into snowdrifts in Alert Bay on Vancouver Island! 157

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Box 6B Failing to connect up the dots Highlights from my notes on four separate news items from across British Columbia in a single CBC radio broadcast (On the Island) on 9 October 2006 which, ironically, was Canadian Thanksgiving Day:



The Adams River salmon run in the southern interior is down to 4 million from an expected 7 million, believed to be due in part to warmer waters and lower river flows.



Peace River farmers in the prairies of northeastern BC are experiencing a critical drought: one-third to half of normal hay crops and silage to feed cattle are being produced, with costs rising and the sale of cattle becoming non-viable due to low prices.



In Nakusp, in the mountainous Kootenay area, conditions are too dry this year for a good pine mushroom harvest to supply speciality restaurant needs.



The weatherman said we can expect continuing ‘beautiful weather’ across the province, meaning more of the unusually dry, sunny weather that has caused these effects.

At no point during the programme did I hear these separate items connected to each other or to the phenomenon of climate change, despite their consistency with published provincial climate change modelling projections.

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I think there is good evidence that ordinary people in some northern rural communities and small towns could recognize some signs of climate change long before Al Gore or the politicians got moving. For example, Inuit observations on sea-ice, snow conditions and animal movements have been well documented for some time. Our survey research with interior communities in BC, where climate change impacts are already visible, show that people do notice multiple effects of climate change (see Chapter 3.2), which seem generally to be in accordance with scientifically observed climatic conditions. Typically, however, we are never asked to record the effects we have seen, and don’t talk about it to others very much. We still fail to connect up the dots to the larger picture on climate change, or recognize how it relates to our everyday lives. At this point in time, most people rely on the media or on experts to make the connections explicit. We must of course beware of the ‘false positive’: wrongly attributing whatever we see to climate change, when, for example, weather events may fall within the normal patterns of variability. We should not confuse short-term weather conditions with long-term climate patterns, or allow our faulty memories to conjure up misleading pictures of endless summers or annual snowmen. Fellow landscape architect and author Will Marsh 21 tells a charming story of how his grandparents’ fireside recollections of harsher winters in their youth in northern Michigan do not actually mesh with climatic records, and had more to do with living closer to the elements in poorly insulated lumber and fishing camps back in the early 1900s. We must also worry about ‘false negatives’: it has been suggested22 that an unusually cool 2008 and the severe blizzards of February 2010 on the East Coast of the USA “have contributed to increased American scepticism, shown in Gallup reports, that 48 per cent thought the seriousness of global warming had been exaggerated”. This shows both the power of local perceptions and the common misunderstanding of man-made climate disruption, which causes anomalies, surprises and increased variability in weather patterns, rather than a simple uniform rise in temperature in all places at all times. One swallow does not a springtime make. All this underscores the need for accurate recognition: it is not enough just to see something, we also have to know the relevant facts to be able to confirm or refute its apparent meaning. We therefore need a systematic approach so that we can more reliably recognize signs of climate change, either as direct evidence or as a type of condition that is consistent with climate change trends. The regular collection at the community level of transparent and accessible records on the frequency and intensity of climatic effects is one means to achieve this. Another way might be to ensure that local TV weather forecasts, which in America at least are trusted

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sources of information about global warming, more systematically clarify the extent to which emerging weather patterns are historically abnormal.23

Caring about the impacts At the moment, the climate change impacts and risks that people hear most about, from dramatic declines in polar ice-sheets to flooding in Pakistan, are not occurring in most of our own communities and seem to be acceptable overall to the public. Why should this be? Surveys on Americans’ attitudes about climate change conducted by Leiserowitz since 2002 have found that their most frequent association upon hearing the words ‘global warming’ is ‘melting ice’, followed by ‘rising temperatures’, and then ‘impacts on nonhuman nature’, such as polar bears. “People overwhelmingly say melting ice is a very bad thing,” he explains. “The problem is that hardly any Americans live next to a melting glacier. It just reinforces the idea that the consequences are very distant.”24 Less dramatic local impacts such as disappearing alpine meadows, gradually rising food prices in the shops, or browner lawns in our parks also arouse no outrage. It is no longer uncommon to hear people joke ‘that’s climate change for you’ when referring to unseasonably warm temperatures or lack of snow. The mass of such anecdotal references at least reflects an underlying awareness that climate change is real and can no longer be ignored, even if as individuals we fail to link it logically to other aspects of climate change. Are we close to a tipping point of recognition, where we can rely on the direct experience of ordinary people and not just on the science of climate change? My hope is that as climate change-related events occur more frequently, the call for action will get louder as concern grows. My fear is that given the speed of technological and social ‘progress’ these days, we are becoming immune to massive change around us, and too readily accept and adapt to anything the world throws at us as the new “normal”. For the present, what impacts can you see in your community? How do these compare with the impacts of global warming on Climateville, and how are the carbon characters of Climateville reacting to local impacts in their backyards (Box 6C)?

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Box 6C Examples of the effects of climate change on community members on our block in Climateville

Charles: Seeing, but not recognizing climate change impacts

Charles is relatively unaware of the local threat of climate change. He has seen the evidence at first-hand (tree loss Caring from severe windstorms, more frequent floods), but fails to recognize Recogthese events as related to nizing climate change. Both times his kitchen flooded, Hearing Knowing he wrote angry letters to Aw the council complaining a re nes s that they were not Seeing properly maintaining the Lo c a e p drains in the street and a l Lan dsc clearing the leaves from the street trees. He has forgotten that they live in a floodplain, and he has not realized that he owns the lowest parcel on the block, where once a small stream and marshy hollow used to be. He is therefore completely unaware of how climate change is already affecting him (although he has spent over £3000 renovating his kitchen as a result). Consequently, he has not acted to lessen his risk. Action

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Emily: Caring, but not acting on climate change impacts

As an artist and nature lover, Emily is a keen observer of the landscape and connects what she sees to her knowledge of climate change. She Caring has lived in the neighbourhood for over Recog25 years, longer than nizing anybody else on the block, even Charles. In Hearing Knowing addition to the floods, tree damage and signs of Aw a re nes an early spring, she has s Seeing noticed in recent years how much browner the Lo c a l Lan dscape lawns look in the summer. She misses the sight of children playing around a snowman, which she remembers happening in most winters when she was a child. Even though she cares a lot about climate change, part of her wishes the winters would feel warmer, so she could cut her utility bills. Like Farah, she knows about the floodplain and worries about getting caught in another flood, though she doesn’t know what she should do about it. She heard on the radio that one-in-a-100-year floods could start coming every 10 years or so by mid-century, so she is glad she lives on the top floor and will not be around in 2050 to see the worst of it. As a results, she hasn’t done anything about it. Action

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The people in Climateville represent a typical range of awareness and concern over local climate change impacts that may affect them, from local floods to power cuts and roof leaks during storms, to poor skiing in the Alps. Although they live in a community in a temperate nation with a fairly benign climate, they have been hit with several different effects of climate change in recent years. Some of them (further up the C2A Framework) can sense the increasing pace of these more intense events. Others, like Adam, can find a reasonably convincing explanation for any of the individual impacts visible on the block (“Charles’s apple trees fell over because of old age and root-rot”, he reckons). Adam attributes the combination of so many events in one decade to coincidence, increased media coverage or “natural cycles”. Those on the block who care most about their community and observe the gardens, bird life, seasons and changes in the neighbourhoods most carefully tend to make the link to what they read and hear about climate change, think about it more frequently, and are more motivated to do something about it. We will see what exactly they do about it, if anything, in the next chapters on climate change solutions.

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Summary In Chapter 6, we looked at climate change impacts and how they reveal themselves locally. We discovered that impacts and vulnerabilities are becoming more visible in the community, though they are still subtle in many temperate regions, contributing to perceptual disconnects in recognizing the true situation. The snapshots in the photo album are intended to strengthen our visual literacy, helping us recognize the effects of climate change in our own backyards and the signs of vulnerability to future changes in our own communities. A key message is that climate change will come to us all sooner or later, and it will keep coming after that, with some new surprises.

Notes 1 I later found out that it is not unknown for hares to begin ‘boxing’ and breeding in February under normal climatic conditions, but the chances of me seeing it so early in the season seem slim. If it is consistent with trends due to climate change (e.g. earlier breeding seasons), who can say it is not climate change? The key point is that whenever you first ‘believe’ you see the evidence is when the enormity of the real shift hits you. 2 Bates (1998) The Darling Buds of May. 3 Cohen with Waddell (2009). 4 Dow and Downing (2007, p.19). 5 IPCC (2007c). 6 See www.ukcip.org.uk. 7 IPCC (2001). 8 CBC radio programme Dispatches, 2009. 9 Plumer (2010), citing Jacobson (2010). 10 See www.watershedpost.com/2010/eerily-early-pumpkins. 11 Lemmen et al. (2008). 12 Lemmen et al. (2008). 13 See www.copenhagendiagnosis.com. 14 UKCIP (2009). 15 Snover et al. (2007). 16 Bob Geldof, speaking on BBC Radio 4 Today programme, 28 November 2009. 17 Kunstler (2005). 18 See www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090304091331.htm, accessed 4 June 2010. 19 Roaf et al. (2005, p.256). 20 McCarthy et al. (2010). 21 Marsh (2009). 22 For example, Jon Krosnick, a social psychologist, cited in Zengerie (2010).

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23 As suggested by Ed Maibach at George Mason University and the nonprofit group Climate Central, cited in Zengerie (2010). 24 Zengerie (2010).

Further reading Brown, P. (2007) Global Warning, Readers Digest, Pleasantville, New York. Cohen, S.J., with M.W. Waddell (2009) Climate Change in the 21st Century, McGillQueen’s University Press, Quebec, Canada. Henson, R. (2008) The Rough Guide to Climate Change. Penguin, London. IPCC (2007a) Climate Change 2007: Fourth Assessment Report. Synthesis Report, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Lynas, M. (2004) High Tide, Harper Perennial, London. MacCracken, M.C. Jr. (2008) Sudden and Disruptive Climate Change, Earthscan, London.

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7

Cutting the carbon Seeing mitigation solutions to climate change

One of my earliest memories is running outside in the early morning to see the milkman’s horse. In the early 1950s my family lived in Croydon, a suburb of London, and we had our milk delivered every day by a milkman with a horse and cart. He would drop off three or four pints in glass bottles with tinfoil caps and pick up the empties for reuse. You could hear the clip-clop of the horse’s hooves and the clinking of the bottles coming down the road. If we were up and about, my sisters and I would dash out to meet the horse and give it an apple. It would stand very patiently by the kerb, turning its head towards the house to see if we had anything else for it to eat. It wore black leather blinkers to help it ignore the traffic alongside on the increasingly busy roadway, as waves of new motorists like my father took to their cars and began to build what would become the rush-hour traffic jam. It was a big thrill for us to pet the horse, but I realize now that it was the end of an era, a joy that few other British children would ever experience.

Over 50 years later, most of us who live in Western countries have to drive to a supermarket to get our milk, which comes in plastic containers that may leach chemicals and cannot be reused or returned for deposit. We take the milk to our car in plastic carrier bags. The milk may contain antibiotics or animal hormones. Does this seem like progress to you? Can we really say that our quality of life is better now?

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I now know that I was seeing the last of the low-carbon lifestyle in Britain. We had virtually carbon-neutral milk. Our groceries were delivered in a handcart from the nearby corner shop. Apparently, if everyone in the world who was alive in the early 1950s had lived at that sort of level, it would still have been a one-planet world: we were living within our ecological footprint.1 It would now take 4.5 planets like Earth to sustain our current population, lifestyles, technologies and levels of consumption. Can we somehow get back to low-carbon milk?

This chapter is where we start focusing on solutions to climate change, looking at mitigation measures to reduce carbon use and emissions. As Hansen et al. put it, “We must begin to move now toward the era beyond fossil fuels”.2 This shift begins with us. But how? We first need to recognize what we already do that is low in carbon emissions, what we can borrow or adapt from our own history, and what new technologies and behaviours are needed to reduce our carbon footprints. In our journey through everyday communities, can we find clues to mitigation and low-carbon lifestyles, as distinct from the signs of high carbon that we saw in Chapter 5? Are there potential solutions already in the community that are there for the taking? What can we learn from other communities that have gone further down the mitigation path? It may be difficult to find modern versions of lowcarbon communities in developed nations, since virtually all of them are historically at high levels of carbon usage. We may therefore need to look at pieces rather than at the whole; at early adopters and prototypes of particular mitigation methods that may be suitable for certain communities, rather than expecting to see complete working systems that any community can adopt.3

7.1 How reducing carbon emissions works: knowing mitigation solutions Climate change mitigation means reducing carbon emissions and maximizing the carbon stored (sequestered) in sinks such as soil, vegetation and wood (both growing and preserved in buildings). Lowering carbon emissions requires reduced energy consumption and switching to alternative non-fossil energy sources, such as hydro-power, solar and geothermal. But it also means reducing food miles and changing our behaviour in favour of more climate-friendly practices, in order to achieve our own low-carbon footprints.

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In Chapter 1, we introduced the concept of capping greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, to avoid ‘dangerous’ global warming over 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Most scientists agree that in order to hold to that limit, developed countries must reduce carbon emissions to at least 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.4 Notable scientists and authors such as Hansen, Weaver, Monbiot and McKibben call for deeper, faster cuts than this.5 Regardless, we must start this ‘carbon plunge’ immediately or we will miss the final window of opportunity: the world has only about a decade to pass through ‘peak carbon’ and ensure global GHG emissions drop rapidly and steadily thereafter (see Box 1B). We also need interim targets: about half of this reduction is required by 2035, according to an emerging international consensus,6 with high-carbon Western nations cutting faster than this to compensate for their massive historical emissions. This amounts to a fundamental reworking of the man-modified carbon cycle described in Chapter 1, with much more control of carbon use. It also represents a radical reduction of carbon footprints in existing communities in developed nations. It requires some sort of U-turn, since many societies like Canada and China are still heading full tilt in the wrong direction, with rapidly growing carbon emissions.

Some mitigation myths and realities People often think of carbon reduction as a major responsibility of industry, which it is, but the average community has little or no control over these big emitters, other than by boycotts or reducing demand for their industrial products. The fossil fuel industry touts the prospect of carbon capture and clean coal as a magic bullet for fossil fuel processing facilities and power plants, but even if it was successful in the future, it does not address the massive amounts of carbon emitted downstream through burning petrol and natural gas in communities. Government also plays a key role. Higher levels of government need to enable or encourage local government, the private sector and the public to cut carbon through measures such as public transport provision or electric car manufacturing. Local government, business and other organizations can go carbon neutral by cutting their own emissions effectively to zero or buying offsets to reduce equivalent emissions elsewhere, though the real value of the latter is hotly debated.7 But by any measure, communities have to pull their weight. Big government and industry cannot do it alone. If we accept 80 per cent carbon reduction as the working target, mitigation at the community level would basically mean giving up nearly all uses of fossil fuel carbon in most readers’ lifetimes (over the next 40 years). To achieve this, each community will need to reach specific thresholds or targets for carbon emissions (Box 7A). In 2006, for example, Sweden’s Prime Minister 167

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Göran Persson set the world-beating target of becoming ‘fossil fuel-free’ by 2020, eliminating dependency on oil, though sadly this policy no longer stands. Sweden does lead Europe, however, with 43 per cent of its primary energy supply coming from renewable sources in 2008. Community-wide targets have to be embraced at multiple levels, from the household to the block, the neighbourhood and the municipality. There has to be a measurable way to add up those reductions to achieve the cumulative targets by region or country.8 The targets need to be adopted in comprehensive community plans, with rapid on-the-ground implementation to ensure that low-carbon communities become a reality in time. Even interim targets like BC’s 33 per cent reduction by 2020 present a huge challenge: more like 50 per cent cuts when you take into account new carbon emissions from community development, and economic and population growth.

Box 7A Examples of carbon-reduction targets adopted by different communities large and small. These are in approximate order of the size of cuts, though the target dates are also very important 1

2 3 4 5

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Seattle’s Climate Action Plan aimed to reduce GHG emissions by 7 per cent below 1990 baseline levels by 2010 (i.e. to match the USA’s Kyoto target). Toronto’s Environment Office in 2007 set a target of 30 per cent reduction from 1990 levels by 2020. Freiburg, Germany set a target of 25 per cent reduction of GHG emissions by 2010, with new targets for a reduction of up to 40 per cent by 2030. London’s Climate Action Plan aims to reduce the city’s emissions by 60 per cent from 1990 levels by 2025. The British Columbia government has established province-wide targets for GHG emission reductions of at least 33 per cent from 2007 levels by 2020, and 80 per cent by 2050 (Bill 27, May 2008). Under Bill 27, many BC communities have adopted similar targets in their Official Community Plans, though without very explicit road-maps for attaining them. A few communities with large growth plans have adopted per capita reduction targets (carbon-intensity targets), effectively permitting absolute growth in carbon emissions community-wide.9 In Berkeley, California, Measure G targets an 80 per cent GHG emissions reduction below 2000 levels by the year 2050. Various communities in the UK have an unofficial programme to become low-carbon villages. Low-carbon Wolvercote in Oxfordshire has launched a charter, which residents and community groups can sign, pledging to ‘kick the carbon habit’, hoping to accomplish there what needs to happen worldwide on climate change.

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Another myth about mitigation is that it can all be achieved by ‘green design’ (i.e. design and development of new buildings and communities with high energy efficiency, sustainable design principles and low-carbon usage). In many communities, over 75 per cent of the buildings expected to be functioning in 2050 are already built, and many of these are very energy inefficient.10 In other words, we need to retrofit our existing developments in the next few decades as a major way to achieve the required community carbon-reduction targets. Where new housing is needed due to population growth, this can be accommodated partly by modifying existing buildings, and partly by setting much higher benchmarks than is the current norm for new developments, requiring them to be low/zero carbon buildings.11 Otherwise, they make the situation worse and increase the burden of cutting carbon on existing homeowners (Figure 7.1). Ideally, all new development would live within its own footprint (e.g. generating at least as much clean energy as it consumes) and reduce carbon emissions from adjoining existing development, thus having a net positive effect on carbon emission and climate change (Figure 7.2). Lastly, as a colleague of mine on the West Vancouver Climate Action Working Group put it, reducing our carbon consumption does not necessarily mean great sacrifice or “eating root vegetables in the dark”. We explore the options next and in Section 7.2.

Figure 7.1 In our work with BC communities, we often run into disconnects where a community sets bold carbon-reduction targets but continues to plan for sprawling single-family development (shown here in yellow; existing buildings shown in white). New ‘greenfield’ developments with conventional buildings and vehicle dependency lock the community into significantly increased carbon emissions, with more people, more vehicles and more energy use in construction and just living. Background image © 2009 Google Earth; British Columbia.

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Figure 7.2 The Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) building at the University of British Columbia uses its own power and water supply collected on site, features green roof and walls, and reduces net carbon emissions through waste heat recovery from adjoining buildings. Courtesy of Perkins+Will Canada, architects.

Mitigation solutions Ultimately, we need to break the carbon chain and wean ourselves off our dependency on the fossil fuels coursing unseen through our neighbourhoods. This requires applying low-carbon principles within each of the carbon-emitting sectors illustrated in community pie charts like that in Figure 5.4. Key sectors for carbon management and related energy planning are often broken down into the following major sources and sinks of carbon: land use (e.g. agriculture, forestry, and open space or parkland), transport, buildings, infrastructure (such as sewers and water), energy supplies, industrial activity, food and product consumption, and waste management. For some communities, marine shipping and airport activities are also major carbon-cutting priorities. Within these sectors, there are many types of possible mitigation solutions (Box 7B), ranging from high technology equipment (Figure 7.3) to community redesign to individual behaviour. This will require a mix of individual, collective and official action, from garden compost heaps that reduce emissions from landfills and fertilizer production, to community energy systems that efficiently deliver hot water to whole neighbourhoods. Mitigation strategies can therefore cover government policy, neighbourhood initiatives, individual behaviour change, and a host of physical interventions to homes, streets, parks, buildings and the surrounding countryside.

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Box 7B Conceptual characteristics of a low-carbon community that has retrofitted to meet aggressive carbon-reduction targets,12 in a region like North America’s Pacific Northwest 1

2

3

4

5

Reduced energy use, improved energy conservation and efficiency in buildings: widely and deeply implemented throughout the community. In Vancouver’s plan to meet its carbon-reduction targets, retrofitting existing buildings is the largest single mitigation measure.13 Energy sources switched from fossil fuel to renewable local energy, with shared energy systems where appropriate, renewable energy production in the community and its hinterland, and passive solar heating/cooling and solar thermal hot water widely deployed to free up electricity for other uses. Modes of transport and fuel source switched to zero-carbon mobility (walk, bike, equestrian) and renewably powered public transit (e.g. the light-rail C-train in Calgary, Alberta, using wind-powered electricity, or biogas-powered buses, though even diesel-powered buses have a much lower carbon footprint than moving the same number of people by car). This requires technological innovation, modified urban design and behaviour change among residents, with compact, denser communities to support efficient transit. Some power may be available for small, efficient private electric vehicles. Re-localization of food/resource production and waste recycling, cutting the community’s carbon footprint from acquiring and disposing of food and other consumables from distant sources, requiring instead urban and hinterland food production and an attitude shift among residents. Compatible technological solutions include integrated resource recovery (e.g. waste methane capture from landfills and sewage heat transfer) and eco-industrial networks that share waste heat and food processing residues. One particularly innovative British solution was to transfer waste heat from a funeral parlour incineration unit to nearby offices, rather than venting to the atmosphere. Carbon sequestration: forests and other land uses in the hinterland are managed to maintain and increase carbon stocks in soils and vegetation, with carefully managed sustainable strategies for fire and biomass production to minimize net carbon emissions and enhance sinks. Local timber can be used in new and renovated buildings to lock up carbon and reduce embodied carbon from manufactured or imported construction materials.

While it is encouraging that communities have so many options in cutting carbon, it gets complicated! Suitable measures for a given community or neighbourhood will vary with housing type, existing density, proximity to public transport and opportunities for local food production, among other things. However, multiple solutions are vital: there is no one magic bullet at the community level (or any other), and many methods must be put in place simultaneously. We need a whole-systems approach in order to convert entire communities into low-carbon societies, requiring aggregation of changes in many different sectors and activities (Figure 7.4). Different communities will also have differing levels of capacity to mitigate carbon emissions:14 small rural communities, for example, may not have the resources or expertise to carry out elaborate mitigation programmes unaided, requiring regional-level cooperation.

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Figure 7.3 Not all mitigation solutions are as radical as this house in Freiburg, revolving continually to face the sun and optimize its chief power source. We need many more mundane solutions applied systematically across the community.

The solutions for ‘decarbonizing’ communities must be appropriate for each location to be effective. One key element is the source of energy on which each community relies. In the USA or Germany, for example, we need to come off coal-fired electricity and petrol. In places like British Columbia, with an abundance of clean hydro-electric power, it can mean converting from natural gas and petrol to electric heating and vehicles, 172

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Figure 7.4 An energy wedge diagram showing how multiple forms of energy conservation and switching to non-fossil fuels are needed to meet growing energy needs in a developed country like Canada, to get us off fossil fuels and achieve large absolute cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

while expanding alternative sources of power and heat such as solar energy, wind power or geo-exchange. This would then enable the phasing out of fossil fuel production in places such as the tar sands, and relying instead on multiple sources of alternative energy from both the community and larger facilities such as commercial wind farms. In all communities though, increasing energy efficiency and reducing consumption is an essential first step (Figure 7.5). Beyond retrofitting their homes, individuals can, initially at least, choose where to cut carbon. Suburban dwellers might cycle or car-pool to work at least two or three days a week, or work from home if they can. Northerners who depend on snowmobiling for their livelihood may have to give up their recreational vehicle and long air flights. Common mitigation measures that anyone can take include turning down thermostats and wearing woollen sweaters in the winter; not leaving computers and TVs on standby; eating local food; buying from local businesses, and taking ‘staycations’: choosing to go local or travel by train or coach, rather than by plane or car, for the holidays. Moving to a smaller house in an area close to your job or to good public transport has a major effect on reducing personal carbon footprints. Ten years ago, I moved from a large single family home to a town house that is one minute’s walk from frequent buses into town, and 30 173

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Figure 7.5 The four ‘R’s of sustainable community energy planning

seconds from a pub, a fish-and-chip shop, a cobbler, a bank and a small grocery. I can see the advantages of this life choice from my window, though it did take a while to get used to the increased noise and wasteful night-lighting on the street. Carbon reduction is about trade-offs and living within a sustainable carbon budget. Collectively, it adds up. Monbiot and others have proposed a system of individual carbon allocations or rationing, with equal shares for everyone, on the basis that “People are more willing to act if they perceive that everyone else is acting”.15 This may not yet be an acceptable proposal in many communities, but running personal carbon footprint calculations (as we did in Chapter 5) shows that there is lots of scope for individuals to set personal carbon-reduction goals and so support their official community initiatives. For example, Canada ran a nationwide programme called the One Tonne Challenge to illustrate the collective power of individuals choosing how to spend their individual carbon budgets and so reducing total carbon emissions. The programme asked everyone to commit to lifestyle changes to reduce their personal carbon footprint from an estimated average of 5 to 4 tonnes per year. It was building awareness and gaining momentum but sadly was closed down by the incoming conservative government as a cost-cutting measure. Local governments play a key role, as mentioned in Chapter 3.1, delivering policies, plans and public engagement, and lowering external social barriers to action by citizens. They can also establish the important baseline 174

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of carbon emissions in the community, against which targeted cuts may be measured. Climate protection programmes16 help to initiate carbonreduction programmes, but often these focus on the city’s own operations (‘corporate emissions’), which typically represent a tiny fraction of the community-wide emissions, though an important symbol to the community.

How are we doing so far? If we are to cut carbon in this decade effectively by almost 50 per cent, a lot of people have to do a lot of things. It is not enough for only a few of us (or government, or industry) to do a lot. It is no good if we all do only one or two things, like recycling or changing light bulbs, and we will fail if everyone makes many small changes without deeper cuts across the board. So, is mitigation actually working? Many communities have been active for sometime in implementing mitigations both within local government, like ‘greening the fleet’ of city vehicles, and by requiring or encouraging mitigations in the larger community. For example, the Borough of Merton pioneered the Merton Rule in England in 2003, requiring 10 per cent of the power for new development to come from on-site renewable energy equipment.17 The Portland metropolitan area in Oregon brought in policies to contain growth and provide public transport options over the past decades to protect surrounding open space and reduce commuting traffic. Curitiba in Brazil has pioneered innovative urban planning policies, including making streets pedestrian-only and introducing bus rapid transit, revitalizing the city in the process.18 London brought in the congestion charge to limit carbon emissions from private vehicles and encourage the use of public transport.19 Bristol in southwest England is experimenting with city-sponsored neighbourhood-scale community retrofitting of buildings for improvements in low-carbon energy efficiency. As a result, actual reductions in carbon emissions are now beginning to be seen and measured at the community scale in some places (Table 7.1). Several UK communities, for example, have reduced their overall footprint through a variety of changes in city operations, policy and citizen action, though it is not yet clear if social norms are changing along with the carbon reductions. In the ongoing Totnes Transition Streets programme (Figure 7.6), the first four groups of neighbours, comprising 32 households overall, achieved carbon savings of almost 39 tonnes in the first months of the programme, averaging 1.2 tonnes per household per year (perhaps about 16 per cent reduction relative to European averages), with financial savings of £600 per household per year.20 In general, however, cities in affluent countries have only just begun to make action plans and measure their carbon emissions. Most places do not even have a community GHG inventory yet. 175

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Of the few cities that have provided climate plan progress reports under Milestone 5 of ICLEI’s city sustainability programme, for instance, most report on actions taken to date but not on reductions in GHG emissions.

Table 7.1 Reported reductions in carbon emissions in communities across the world (in approximate order of the percentage size of cuts community-wide)21 Vancouver, Canada

In 2006, Vancouver had reduced its GHG emissions from civic operations by 5 per cent below 1990 levels and community-wide emissions were limited to 5 per cent above 1990 levels, despite population growth. Vancouver’s per capita emissions have decreased almost 15 per cent since 1990.

Portland, USA

Land use and transit policies have been successful in reducing per capita vehicle trips by approximately 17 per cent since 1990 and kept overall GHG levels at about 1990 levels despite a 16 per cent growth in population.

Freiburg, Germany

Through early and ongoing aggressive policies, Freiburg has achieved a 20 per cent cut in average CO2 emissions per capita overall.

Chicago, USA

By 2008, Chicago had achieved a 1 per cent reduction in GHG emissions below 1990 levels, despite rapid population growth

Tokyo, Japan

Through aggressive energy efficiency and renewable energy policies, Tokyo has achieved emissions reductions of 680 million tonnes CO2/yr compared with 2004 levels.

Seattle, USA

By 2008, Seattle had reduced its city-wide emissions by 7 per cent from 1990 levels.

Ashton Hayes, UK

The Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral Project cut their household emissions by 23 per cent over four years.

Växjö, Småland, Sweden

On its path to becoming fossil fuel free, Växjö has reduced per capita GHG emissions by 32 per cent since 1993, to 3.5 tonnes CO2 per capita, one of the lowest in the world. Overall, between 1993 and 2005, the city has reduced CO2 emissions by around 32 per cent.

Güssing, Austria

With its commitment to abandon fossil-fuel based energy, this ‘eco-energy land’ has reduced its CO2 by 93 per cent from 1995 levels.

Samsø, Denmark

Since 1997, Samsø has reduced its CO2 emissions by around 150 per cent, due to its positive effect on carbon emissions through generating excess zero-carbon energy and displacing carbon emissions elsewhere.

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Figure 7.6 In Totnes, England, the Transition Streets programme supports householders street by street, working together to make lifestyle changes easier and more fun, while saving money and reducing environmental footprints.

7.2 What carbon reduction looks like – seeing the evidence of climate change mitigation After all the numbers and targets and complexity of mitigation strategies, what does mitigation actually look like? How do we know a low-carbon activity when we see it? Cutting carbon is still a new concept to many of us; how easily can we learn to recognize ways to reduce carbon footprints? The following pictorial storyline presents the results of our continuing journey through local communities, to search for visual clues to cutting carbon. We will draw on evidence of past practices, present activities and the potential for future action in hopes of building our visual literacy about climate change mitigation. The ‘photo album’ is organized into themes that reflect the carbon chain illustrated in Chapter 5 and the main types of low-carbon solutions potentially available to communities. Each of the following pages in the photo album represents a window on ways to manage and curtail our use of carbon.

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Mitigation Window 1 Big business and big alternative energy Changing how industry and government deliver energy and goods down the line to consumers.

(a) Carbon capture and storage (CCS): Trying to put a small part of the genie back in the bottle by recapturing CO2 from fuel processing and putting it underground. Its feasibility at full scale is uncertain, and it is effectively invisible to the public.22 Eliminating gas flaring and installing CCS for power plants could make a significant difference.

(b) Off to sea: Massive offshore wind farms in the UK are in part an attempt to minimize aesthetic impact. They are highly visible, iconic and controversial on land. The UK is planning for on- and offshore wind power to form about 20 per cent of power production.23

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(c) Short-sea shipping24 and rail: Moving goods transport off the roads and on to water and rail visibly reduces traffic, improves safety, reduces emissions, and creates more visible activity along rivers and waterfronts. Alternative energy for long-haul ships has been explored to further cut carbon.

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(d) Big dams: Spectacular and efficient as green energy providers, but remote from most communities and new dams are controversial. Water supply reservoirs closer to communities can sometimes be retrofitted for power production, as proposed for Cleveland Dam north of Vancouver.

Big centralized plants designed or modified for lower carbon energy and products are often not visible and/or will look much like business-as-usual to the layperson. Alternative energy sources such as nuclear, wind, hydro-electric or big solar photovoltaic arrays provide classic images that may express their renewable energy function, but are also remote and disconnected from most communities. Wind power in particular symbolizes green energy production, but the energy itself becomes undistinguishable to the user once it is in the grid. In the UK and North America, large wind farms are often considered unacceptable mainly for aesthetic reasons, unless hidden outside the community. We also have to be careful that we are seeing real solutions, not just eye-catching symbols or token gestures to buy our goodwill. There is potential for new, smaller scale ‘eco-industrial’ integrated energy and manufacturing plants, recycling centres and low-carbon shipping hubs to be more visible and accessible to communities. At the moment these are not very iconic or recognizable, and are often screened from view as industrial zones. Meanwhile, ending exploration and development of fossil fuels, phasing out producing fields and coal-mines, and rehabilitating the disturbed areas are not being seriously considered by any government yet: I wonder why.

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Mitigation Window 2 Historical precedents in communities Back to the future with low-carbon traditions that are right under our noses.

(a) Smart low-carbon farm equipment: Sheepdogs are more effective than men on quad bikes, loyal and responsive, use no fossil fuels day to day, but require training and affection.

(b) Traditional mid-nineteenth-century water wheel at a mill in Cromford, England: As used throughout pre-industrial Britain for grinding corn, minerals, etc.

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(c) Traditional house in Yazd, Iran: Designed to be self-ventilating and cooling in hot weather, with a badgir (cooling tower), courtyard with pool, and a vine structure for shading.

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(d) Traditional windmills: Massive zero-carbon engines that were used all across the Netherlands to drain low-lying fields; some are still in working order and provide striking landmarks for the whole community.

(e) A new Yucatan restaurant uses traditional Mayan building techniques and local materials, hand-built and naturally ventilated through the walls, with minimal embodied carbon and energy usage.

(f) Traditional mixed-use neighbourhoods and terraced housing: Living above shops and workshops has been common in towns like Leicester, UK since the nineteenth century, putting people where the work is and reducing heating demand due to shared walls.

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In a sense, nineteenth century life styles exemplify low-carbon living with zero embodied fossil fuel energy, leaving an infrastructure that is still partly visible today but not widely recognized as inspiration for potential climate change mitigations. The communities used local materials, goods and services which created local jobs and supported the local economy. Traditional activities used the power of the sun, animals, water, wind and hard work. Obviously, reverting to such a lifestyle is not necessarily possible or practical today, but some of the lessons can be reincorporated into the twenty-first century with ease. Mixed-use, higher density neighbourhoods are good urban retrofit strategies. Increased reliance on local food, incorporation of local building materials and indigenous architectural and climatic knowledge will reduce dependency on fossil fuels for heating and cooling. Distinctive traditional landscapes and ancient crafts are often now highly prized in Europe, due to nostalgia, tourism and a desire for simpler, more self-sufficient lives. Can they make a come-back? It would need quite a shift in our attitudes, awareness and expectations.

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Mitigation Window 3 Personal transportation Clearly switching modes.

(a) Umbrella and wellington boots: Children who go to school in the rain with umbrellas instead of in SUVs save their parents both time and fuel, reconnect with their local environment, and toughen up. A highly visible and practical statement: hooray for cool pink wellies.

(b) Mexican triciclos: Flat places like the Yucatan lend themselves to serious, routine, cheap bike transport for passengers and deliveries, and help keep the population fit.

(c) Light rail transit with stylish rolling stock can easily be inserted into existing neighbourhoods – a retrofit with a modern image, here in downtown Melbourne. Very low carbon if run on green electricity, as in Calgary, Canada.

(d) Small cars, Smart cars: You only have to look at them to see their relative efficiency and carbon footprint, as compared with Hummers and SUVs. Why push all that extra weight around? An SUV can produce two to four times as much GHGs as a Smart car.

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(e) Electric vehicles are banned on roads in many North American cities owing to low speeds and lack of noise, but are widely used in places like Los Angeles railway station and golf-courses like Machrihanish, Scotland.

(f) Triple roundabouts in the Netherlands routinely accommodate separated tracks for pedestrians, bicycles and cars, with sophisticated signals that prioritize people over machines.

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How we move about is highly visible in the community and a strong personal statement. Low-carbon mobility is partly a personal choice, partly enabled by local government actions. Some low-carbon transport is visible in most communities, but single-occupant cars usually dominate while hybrids and the few new electric cars can be hard to distinguish from their fossil fuel-dependent counterparts. Take the bus or work at home four days a week instead of driving and you achieve a carbon reduction of about 80 per cent, with less traffic, noise, air pollution and probably stress. A definite side benefit is the promotion of a healthier lifestyle with more physical exercise. The trade-off of course is the additional trip time and the need to be prepared for inclement weather: not unreasonable given the significant environmental and health benefits.

Mitigation Window 4 Retrofitting existing buildings Bringing mitigation home to the individual house or block.

(a) Improving energy efficiency in homes through insulation, triple glazing, etc. can deliver the biggest savings in energy and GHGs, but is hardly visible, as in this newly renovated house in Vancouver.

(b) Solar thermal water heating with rooftop panels is relatively inexpensive, but is still not in common use in most communities. These panels in Witney, England are clearly visible and fit right into the Cotswold character.

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(c) Geo-exchange systems for transferring heat and cooling from ground to buildings are becoming more common but are largely unseen, as in this development near Chilliwack, BC. Clues can be found in the changing skills advertised on the vans of building contractors.

(d) Highly visible retrofit of apartment buildings with distinctive photovoltaic facade in Freiburg, Germany. Evidence of other neighbourhood-wide retrofits can be seen in increased wall thickness for outside insulation, insulation here highlighted with paint colour schemes.

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(e) High-efficiency wood-burning stoves recycle natural carbon from biomass, produce few particulate emissions and look good in the home. Way more romantic than a fake gas fire!

Ultimately, we need to make mitigation ‘personal’: retrofitting our homes and buildings and adapting our lifestyles to reduce carbon emissions. Mitigation can be invisible with a ‘life goes on as normal’ appearance: insulating roofs and water tanks, and installing draught proofing, or secondary suites, for example. There is nothing to show either whether householders are using ‘green energy’ or fossil fuel. Thus, during the formative stages of shifting to a new ‘normal’, it is important to incorporate some mitigation measures that are highly visual and therefore symbolic. Inside the home, new efficient appliances with ‘energy star’ labels and Smart meters remind the owners of the need to protect the environment. Outdoors, solar panels, micro wind turbines, infill homes and colour-coded upgrades like those in(d) on p.186 can help people recognize the shift. Some changes with high visibility may be contentious due to concern over preserving an area’s character. This is where developing a visual literacy of climate change solutions can help to shift perceptions and/or provide more acceptable alternatives.

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Mitigation Window 5 Community-wide services and redevelopment When local government gets in on the act.

(a) A community district heating system and 2.2MW power generation in Purkersdorf near Vienna, running on wood-chips: comfortably embedded in the heart of the village next to the fire station and shops. Townsfolk can see where their power comes from.

(b) Higher density zoning reduces per-family carbon footprints in various architectural configurations, but moderate densification through infill housing, secondary suites, etc. is more acceptable to existing residents than stark high-rise glass and concrete towers.

(c) View from a train in eastern Germany: rural communities living cheek by jowl with co-owned wind farms that contribute to the local economy.

(d) Grass growing on road medians and verges in Freiburg, Germany is kept long and natural to reduce the use of fossil fuels in maintenance: they have become a low-key symbol of green living, accepted by residents.

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(e) London’s emission reduction zone for enforcing a congestion charge: clear visual and price signals to discourage driving, with evident benefits to workers and residents.

(f) Solar panels on traffic lights: small photovoltaic system in West Vancouver to drive signals for a cross-walk, with a double message: use renewable energy and prioritize pedestrians.

Mitigation actions by local councils range from larger single developments (e.g. a district energy system) to smaller incremental changes across whole communities or neighbourhoods. Some of these changes have multiple benefits in addition to climate change mitigation: for example, less manicured landscapes reduce pesticide use and increase biodiversity. New community assets developed with community participation become gathering places and a point of pride for citizens, helping them embrace change and further collective action. The relative greenness of new development, and the overall effect on carbon footprints may be hard to see without explanatory signage. However, visually distinctive, symbolic green projects and community-wide changes that are ‘seen and shared’25 by residents are important in communicating the mitigation story and displaying precedents for others. Certain iconic features can symbolize the low-carbon nature of the developments, as in BEDZED’s passive ventilation cowls (see Figure 7.9) or Freiburg’s solar roofs.

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Mitigation Window 6 Low-carbon countryside Land uses for food and fuel and fibre, which support the community’s low-carbon behaviours.

(a) Wood biomass harvesting is a common sight inside parks near Vienna, where walkers stroll happily past selective felling operations; many probably know that biomass provides hot water to their homes through district heating systems.

(b) Food miles: preserving quality farmland in close proximity to towns, as in Vancouver’s Agricultural Land Reserve, enables ‘100-mile diets’, avoids excessive shipping of imported food and protects the character of the community.

(c) Urban agriculture within the community can produce a significant proportion of residents’ food, with lower carbon footprints. The British system of garden allotments on public land for nearby homeowners provides visible messages about collective low-carbon action, though the rationale may be food prices or personal satisfaction.

(d) Rural traffic calming: narrow country lanes like this one in Kintyre, Scotland are clearly low-carbon transportation routes, prioritizing local agricultural uses, requiring slow speeds and appealing to most people.

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(e) Biogas production: Waste agricultural residues and manure can be converted to biogas in small facilities (here in southern Austria) that fit the landscape (though they may not clearly express their mitigation function until you get up close!).

Biomass crops such as willow, poplars or switch grass can provide a local energy source to displace fossil fuels, but may also displace valuable land for food crops, block scenic views and change the character of farmland. Some crops like maize26 are not efficient low-carbon replacements for fossil fuel, and can represent false mitigation that is easily seen but does not actually deliver net carbon reductions. In some places, low carbon energy sources have already been found in the local countryside and welcomed by the community, while there is a growing movement towards cutting down on ‘food miles’. Such practices (in contrast to industrial-sized farms and crop monocultures) need to become more widespread, to help reduce carbon emissions and lessen the distance (both physical and psychological) between the land and the town.

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Mitigation Window 7 Demonstrating community capacity for mitigation When community action gains momentum, expressing the potential for positive solutions.

(a) Advertisement in a bus-stop in Melbourne, Australia, clearly expressing a win–win climate change solution suited to the local culture.

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(b) Smart meters: simple gadgets in the home to provide instant feedback on energy consumption. “Changing our behaviour is the simplest and most economical means of saving energy … consumers will reduce their consumption by up to 12 per cent when provided with monitoring and metering systems that clearly and effectively communicate energy usage.” 27

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(c) Seeing people working on retrofitting buildings and installing renewable energy, or even just advertisements (as in this Oxfordshire shop window) for services in renewable energy installation and efficiency upgrades, are signs of local capacity.

(d) A clue to a community’s commitment to mitigation is the pilgrimage of green energy tourists to see innovative demo-projects. They need signs, viewing stations and trail systems like these near Güssing, Austria, famous for its conversion to biomass energy.

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(e) Some communities can access sophisticated web-based systems for checking the potential for renewable energy in their homes. This one in North Vancouver, Canada reveals the solar energy suitability of your roof, taking into account shading from trees.

Community progress in mitigation and low-carbon behaviours can be hard to read in the landscape. We need to make them visible wherever possible to promote their benefits and influence new behaviour. Information such as green labels on products and appliances is helpful to individual users especially when purchasing, but not visible outside shops and homes. Visible evidence of carbon consciousness outside the home can be seen with people walking with reusable shopping bags instead of driving with plastic bags,. Some outdoor green behaviours like using clothes-lines and letting lawns grow long are visible but may be unacceptable aesthetically or socially. Good visual clues may be found in public interpretive signage that provides information about the effectiveness of new green technologies, and community action such as adding outside insulation to homes or installing geo-exchange systems in front gardens or parks. The key here is to make clear to the public what exactly is going on and what the benefits are. Some early adopter communities have acquired a new image and are experiencing added economic advantages from tourism whether at the local or the international scale.

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7.3 How we perceive mitigation solutions Our tour of local landscapes has yielded an astonishing range of low-carbon solutions, some newly in place, others that are now just relics of a historic low-carbon legacy but with the potential to be reintroduced or re-adapted for today’s cultures.

Seeing mitigation Seeing mitigation is important if we are to make the connections between action and results, and to motivate continuous improvement and innovation. Big moves on energy switching, away from fossil fuels or through at-source mitigation, will remain largely invisible unless communicated through signage, labels, local media and pricing on utility bills. Without visible evidence that new energy sources and consumer-use patterns are making a difference, there is little incentive to continue the effort or pay any green premiums. The more iconic technological forms of mitigation often associated with climate change, like wind power, are still rare in most communities outside some parts of Europe. Happily, some visually distinct new technologies are becoming increasingly common, accepted and even desirable as part of a low-carbon lifestyle. Examples include Smart cars, some green architecture and solar-powered community infrastructure. Commuting on buses, passenger trains, bike paths and ‘shanks’s pony’ (walking) is visible to all but just not used by enough people, due to poor provision, negative cultural associations and time or safety concerns. Sometimes the right things just aren’t ‘cool’, such as wellington boots and raincoats. Other mitigations can be seen in historical precedents from before the age of carbon, such as stone buildings with considerable thermal mass, Dutch windmills, water wheels, vegetable gardens, and animals used for transport or other tasks. Then there are simple innovations like ‘walking school buses’ (Figure 7.7) and technological innovations such as lower carbon concrete made with fly-ash, all to be encouraged – or at least written and talked about as much as possible if they cannot be seen. Our tour of communities also raises the question: what mitigation measures are missing from the landscape by design? Box 7C lists a series of mitigation solutions that have effectively been eliminated or heavily restricted in many areas, either deliberately or as a consequence of other policies. Effectively, these major low-carbon solutions have been systematically concealed by government and business for years: out of sight, out of mind.

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Figure 7.7 ‘Walking school buses’ get kids safely to school in groups, each with at least one adult.

Box 7C Missing mitigation strategies Many measures have been taken that preclude options for (and sight of) lower carbon consumption, whether intentionally or not.



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The electric car: Those readers who have seen the film Who Killed the Electric Car? will know the story of the revolutionary, quiet, reliable EV1, launched by General Motors in 1996 to meet California’s anti-smog regulations. It required no gasoline, no oil changes, no exhaust system and little maintenance. Drivers loved it. Six years later – the fleet was gone. EV1 was charging stations dot the California landscape like tombstones, collecting dust and spider webs.28 If you haven’t seen the movie, you should: the New York Times called it “a murder mystery … and an effective inducement to rage”. The film shows how GM systematically recalled and destroyed the vehicles because their success (like that of the railways in an earlier age) threatened the entire car industry.

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Electric vehicles on roads: Many communities still have a ban on electric vehicles using public roads, in part because of the so-called ‘safety hazards’ of silent vehicles; my community of West Vancouver, for example, only lifted its prohibition about a year ago.



Small vehicles from Japan and Europe imported to North America: Various small vans and cars can only be imported second-hand once they are 10 years old; many of them consume much less fuel and are noticeably smaller and more economical than the average North American vehicle.



The streetcar: Who killed the streetcar? Another well-documented story but not widely known is the demise of the pre-war electric streetcar systems that efficiently moved commuters throughout cities across the USA. They were systematically bought up and closed down by the car industry, the rubber industry, and the oil and gas industry (see the introductory box in Chapter 4).



British railways: The infamous Beeching Report of 196329 led to massive closures of rail lines serving thousands of towns and villages throughout Britain, leaving a legacy of isolated communities and disused railway lines (which could at least make good cycle paths but have often been built over or fragmented).



Backyard chickens: Many cities ban any kind of livestock in backyards through zoning regulations, eliminating a low-carbon food source due in part to noise concerns. The city of Vancouver, with a reputation for sustainable practices, only recently passed a bylaw permitting chickens in urban backyards, albeit with strict requirements.

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Washing lines: Rural communities the world over use sun and wind instead of electric dryers, even if they are unaware that this may save one-fifth of a tonne/yr of CO2 (per family); unfortunately, hanging out one’s washing is thought to be unacceptably ugly in some Western communities. Local bylaws or housing association rules often outlaw outdoor washing lines.

Recognizing mitigation Community members are often not well aware of the range of locally effective mitigation measures or their relative effectiveness against climate change. We need to improve our carbon consciousness and energy literacy in reducing fossil fuel usage. As the photo album shows, we need to think of mitigation much more broadly than just wind turbines and switching light bulbs. It includes land uses, landscape, building patterns and social activities. When English villagers look at the typical parish church built out of local stone (Figure 7.8), they are seeing not only a picturesque symbol of English country life and a cultural anchor for the community, but also a low-carbon building. Unlike most modern buildings, it was constructed using local materials without the use of fossil fuels; it has lasted for centuries, yet has not contributed much at all to climate change; it consumes relatively little energy (it is unlit and unheated for much of the time and the congregation wears warm clothes inside at winter services; it remains cool inside in hot 198

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summer weather), and it does not depend on carbon fuels to carry out its functions. The point here is not to suggest that we could solve the climate problem if we all became village parsons, but to point out how differently everyday objects can look when seen through a climate change lens.

Figure 7.8 Ascott-under-Wychwood parish church in the English Cotswolds: a low-carbon landmark.

If local landscapes are to function as a kind of ‘eco-label’ conveying the community’s performance on climate protection, we have to be able to read the signs and relate them to the big problems and to effective mitigation solutions we can enact (whether by reinstating historic practices or designing new ones). Each community’s solutions need to be fitted to its needs and assets. The problem of recognition is made worse where visible low-carbon solutions are not differentiated by their design from high-carbon features. Those that look different (Figure 7.9) can build visual literacy and help shift social norms. Vivid symbols have importance if they convey community priorities or real leadership, as in solar panels on city hall where there are plans for wider low-carbon solutions to come (see also Figure 4.6). However, there is a risk that these symbols get co-opted to convey an image that conflicts with reality, such as wind turbines that frequently show up on the covers of 199

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Figure 7.9 BEDZED was perhaps the first attempt to build a zero-emissions development (in Beddington, England) in 2002. With natural ventilation, passive solar features and live/work units, it is noticeably different from nearby suburban development due to its green roof and brightly coloured ventilators (my mother wondered why they had to be so ugly!).

annual reports from organizations trying to look sustainable. There is therefore a strong need for more labelling, demonstration projects and capacity-building programmes to improve public literacy on mitigation measures.

Caring We are seeing more and more people who do care about getting something done, participating in public dialogues, in days of action (like the ones organized internationally by 350.org before the Copenhagen talks), lobbying for local policy changes and so on. In turn, seeing people carrying out low-carbon activities explicitly as a way of helping to fight climate change (and not just to save money or stay healthy), may make others care more: adding to the social pressure to act. However, we cannot assume that all low-carbon measures are automatically acceptable. Some ‘green’ projects can meet stiff local resistance. People care deeply for their countryside, their quality of life and their perceived property values, and they may see new technologies as unwelcome intrusions. Energy generation from burning biomass or waste makes people fearful of pollution from particulates or toxins, as in Prince George, BC where a district energy system was recently turned 200

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down, owing to perceived air-quality issues. Densification of existing communities is often highly unpopular with current residents, and retrofitting neighbourhoods for the carbon plunge can require some fairly radical changes. It is easy to oppose these changes if the overall benefits or urgency have not been well communicated and backed up with evidence. We need to turn the image of a low-carbon community into something that is consistent with accepted aesthetic norms (Figure 7.10). For some techniques on doing this, see Part III.

Figure 7.10 Caring about character: an ‘in-character retrofit’ using external insulation (in grey) on the much-loved historic Villa Tannheim in Freiburg, Germany.

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For many communities, the slowly emerging consequences of climate change are more readily acceptable than the rapid implementation of solutions to prevent them. When considering giving up fossil fuels, there is naturally much concern over ‘going backwards’, of ‘reversing ‘progress’ and giving up cherished conveniences. For example, the suggestion of switching from cars back to bicycles in China as a means of addressing dangerously poor air quality may be culturally unacceptable at this point in history. The Chinese are justifiably proud of their recent economic advances, and undoubtedly for the new breed of car owners, giving up their automobile would constitute a critical loss of status. In the West too, the idea of a low-carbon world is not typically considered ‘cool’ or fashionable. When talking to school groups of adolescents, we often use a particular slide to get across the notion that low-carbon can be cool (Figure 7.11).

Figure 7.11 The electric Tesla Roadster: zero-emissions and zero-to-62mph in 3.7 seconds.30

So, how do these perceptions of mitigation pan out in Climateville? What patterns of mitigation or low-carbon behaviour might we observe among our carbon characters, and are they moving up the Community Awareness to Action pathway as time goes by and the evidence for man-made climate change builds?

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Box 7D Examples of how community members in Climateville perceive and behave in terms of climate change mitigation

Dinos: Recognizing, but not caring about climate change mitigation

Initially: Dinos has known about the concept of climate change mitigation for some time. He was aware of the local council’s Caring moves towards carbon emission reductions and understands the need for Recognizing increased housing density; he therefore accepted the new tower block proposed Hearing Knowing a few streets away as a sign Aw a re of progress, even though nes s Seeing he knew that some of his neighbours (Charles Lo c a l Lan dscape especially) hated the thought of it. There was no way he would go back to a medieval lifestyle for the sake of climate change. He believes instead in high-tech solutions, though he has not been willing to spend any of his own money on them until the government increases the incentives for energy-efficiency retrofits. However, he did install energysaving light bulbs throughout and bought an eco-Star fridge. Action

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His sporty sedan has moderate gas mileage, and though Dinos usually commutes to work in it, he carefully inflates his tyres and has stopped idling his car on cold winter mornings. He has talked for a while now about cycling to work on his hi-tech bike. He has been flying four or five times a year for his job and his employer picks up the carbon offsets, though Dinos never really believed in them. He has always eaten fairly healthy food with little red meat, though he is not a vegetarian. He increasingly chooses local produce when he can find it, but cannot be bothered to grow vegetables in his garden.

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Caring about climate change mitigation

Recently: Ever since his girlfriend took him to a local screening of The Age of Stupid31 and read him the riot act on his attitudes Caring towards climate change (questioning whether he was the right man for her), Recoghe has been feeling guilty nizing and caring more about his carbon footprint. He is Knowing Hearing looking into switching to a Aw a re green electricity provider to nes s Seeing make his girlfriend happy, and is starting to get Lo c a l Lan dscape excited about renovating the place. He can see himself as an early adopter of green technology on the block and helping the others to do it too. Action

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For a long time Dinos was not sure of his own carbon footprint; in fact, it was fairly high (almost 30 tonnes CO2 per year) and higher than Charles’s and Bella’s, despite his higher level of awareness. He has now finally got around to calculating his footprint, and found that, with the planned renovations, if he also took a lodger to share energy use and he cut his plane flights in half (to two per year), he might get his carbon footprint down to less than 20 tonnes CO2/yr (about a one-third reduction). Farah: Acting on climate change mitigation

Action

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Recognizing

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Farah has had a relatively low-carbon lifestyle for some time. She lives in a small apartment and tries to keep the thermostat down to minimize her use of natural gas. She routinely switches off all her electric outlets at the wall when she leaves the house for the day to cut down ‘phantom power’ from plugged-in appliances on standby. She cycles to most places, owns no car, and uses buses, taxis or occasionally a car co-op when she cannot use the bike.

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She is a vegetarian and likes to go to the local farmers’ market with Emily. She shops at vintage or charity shops for clothes and tries to buy stuff without packaging, usually remembering to take her reusable shopping bags with her. She does local hiking and canal boat holidays, seldom flies, and takes the train on long journeys. She keeps herself informed on mitigation policies and actions by the local council, and notices that more people are getting behind the green waste scheme. Farah is well aware of her own carbon footprint and concerned about keeping it down since, as a renter, she cannot do much about the heating or energy efficiency of her apartment. Still, her personal carbon footprint (less than 8 tonnes CO2/yr) is the lowest on the block, and pretty low in this society, given her draughty apartment. She plans to grow more of her own food and further reduce her carbon footprint by trying the 100-mile diet, with more strict avoidance of imported foods (she does love mangoes though!).

The people on the block in Climateville represent a range of opinions, awareness and action on mitigation. As shown in Box 5C, Dinos (at least until he got the message) was one of the higher carbon users and a long way from a low-carbon lifestyle, while only Emily and Farah have what we might call low-carbon footprints. In Farah’s case, this is a conscious effort and lifestyle choice based on being well informed and staying locally engaged. For the rest, the perceptual barriers limit action on reducing carbon emissions at every stage in the C2A Framework from not knowing and not seeing to not recognizing. Only Dinos has begun to shift so far, moving up from recognizing the problem to caring and even some limited ’acting’ on climate change. Even here, there is a limit on how far he or others can go in cutting their carbon footprints without local and regional government actions. However, as the council becomes more proactive on mitigation and social norms start to shift, other promising green shoots may ultimately blossom on the block. Will it be soon enough, though, to help the council to meet its 2020 community carbon targets? The examples of Dinos and Farah provide a sense of the challenge in meeting carbon-reduction targets of 80 per cent or more by 2050, given that it means many of us reducing our footprint to between 2 and 5 tonnes CO2/yr. We will see how far the ‘carbon characters’ of Climateville get over time in Chapters 9 and 14.

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Summary In Chapter 7, we have reviewed the many ways to reduce carbon emissions in our communities and the need for them in combination to meet urgent hard targets for carbon reduction. We discovered with the help of the community photo album that many of these low-carbon features and practices are already here and visible, although not always recognized as such. One key message is that climate change mitigations are not all about high-tech futuristic solutions, but may require retooling old ways of low-carbon living. Overall, we can see that in most communities we are not doing a very good job of showing people how and how much to mitigate climate change. Highly effective examples of low-carbon living are very few and far between, and in North America in particular, a long way from the mainstream. We have a very long way to go in a very short time. There is good news though: people’s behaviour is already starting to change; and behaviour can potentially make a big difference even before all the physical and legal changes are in place. There is therefore much we can do to improve the situation and accelerate the ‘carbon plunge’ (as explored in Part III).

Notes 1 According to Wackernagel and Rees (1998), in 1950 the average North American’s footprint was 5 acres per person. 2 Hansen et al. (2008, p.228). 3 Parts of this chapter are adapted from Sheppard et al. (2008). 4 Under the concept of ‘contract and converge’ (A. Meyer, www.gci.org.uk), developing nations would be allowed to expand their current low-carbon footprints to accommodate economic growth but to cap their emission ceilings to meet overall global reduction targets; all this is only made possible if developed countries (which caused 80 per cent of the extra carbon in the atmosphere, according to Dyer, 2009) cut their carbon footprints drastically. 5 For example, Weaver et al. (2007). 6 Monbiot (2006). 7 Henson (2008, p.353). 8 Communities that have made carbon cuts or already have relatively low carbon footprints deserve some sort of break, but few in the West so far are functioning near the desired level of 10 to 20 per cent of current typical carbon emissions, so we all have a long way to go. 9 Cities need to calculate (and reduce) absolute community footprints, not just per capita footprints. The atmosphere doesn’t care about density per se. We also have to be careful that carbon emissions are not simply transported in

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space or time to be counted outside the community (Berg and Nycander, 1997), as in some biodiesel, waste disposal and carbon-offset programmes. Levine and Ürge-Vorsatz (2007). New development really only counts as mitigation if it (1) replaces older development with higher total carbon emissions (on site or through retreat from off-site high-carbon locations), and (2) the embodied energy of new construction is more than offset by reduced emissions over a reasonably short period and/or carbon sequestered in the wood structure. Adapted from Sheppard et al. (2008). Greenest City Climate Leadership Advisory Committee presentation, 13 July 2010. Burch and Robinson (2007). Monbiot (2006, p. 43). Organized by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). See Merton Rule, available at: www.merton.gov.uk/living/planning/ planningpolicy/mertonrule.htm. Worldchanging (2009), available at: www.worldchanging.com/archives/ 009689.html. See London Congestion Act, available at: www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/ The-Greater-London-(Central-Zone)-Congestion-Charging-Order-2004-(IoC). pdf. Available at: http://transitionculture.org/2010/07/30/ first-results-from-transition-together-evaluation. Primary sources for this table include IEA (2009); Miller et al. (2008); www.goingcarbonneutral.co.uk/; www.cityofseattle.net/climate/docs/CPI-09Progress-Report.pdf, and http://vancouver.ca/sustainability/documents/ Progress2007.pdf . Smil (2006). HM Government (2009). “Short-sea shipping is the marine transport of cargo between points that are relatively close to one another, such as along rivers and coastlines… one barge carries as much cargo as 65 trucks, or 15 railcars.…” Available at: www.canadiansailings.ca/Archive/tabid/120/selectedmoduleid/500/ ArticleID/16178/Default.aspx. Miller (2006). MacKay (2009). See Sustainable Building Design: Buildings and Climate Solutions (Woodbury, Bartram, Cole, Hyde, MacLeod, Marques, Mueller, Vanier) Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, November 2008, p.13. Available at: www.sfu.ca/ccirc/ workshop-08_11/Sustainable_Buildings.pdf Available at: http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1809353030/details (accessed 21 July 2010). Beeching (1963). Available at: http://crave.cnet.co.uk/cartech/ten-best-electric-carsrated-49306038/10/ (accessed 22 July 2010). Lizzie Gillett (Producer) and Franny Armstrong (Director), 2009, The Age of Stupid, documentary, Spanner Films, London.

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Further reading Boardman, B. (2007) Home Truths: A Low Carbon Strategy to Reduce UK Housing Emissions by 80%, University of Oxford, Oxford. Elliott, D. (2003) Energy, Society, and Technology, 2nd edn, Routledge, London. Ewing, R. (2007) Growing Cooler, Urban Land Institute, Washington, DC. Goodall, C. (2007) How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, Earthscan, London. Gore, A. (2009) Our Choice, Rodale Inc, Emmaus, PA. Harrington, J.H. (2008) The Climate Diet, Earthscan, London. IPCC (2007) ‘Summary for Policymakers’, in B. Metz et al. (eds) Climate Change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. MacKay, D.J.C. (2009) Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air, UIT, Cambridge. Pasqualetti, M.J., Gipe, P. and Righter, R. W. (eds) (2002) Wind Power in View, Academic Press, San Diego, CA. Selman, P. (2010) ‘Learning to love the landscapes of carbon-neutrality’, Landscape Research, 35, (2): 157–171.

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Being prepared Seeing adaptation solutions to climate change

As boy scouts in England in the 1960s, our watchword was Lord Baden Powell’s motto: ‘Be prepared’. We carried penknives in our pockets, packed our knapsacks with emergency supplies for hikes through the Dales, trained in first aid, and made lists of all the things we would need for our camping trips. Woe betide the scout at camp who forgot to bring the hammer for knocking in tent pegs or his green beret for morning inspections. Life was simpler then. Our lists were not that long or complicated. Living in the twenty-first century, our lives are so full of tasks and responsibilities, so cluttered with emails and text messages and things to do, that we scarcely have time to think any more, let alone plan ahead. So much is done on a ‘just-in-time’, last-minute basis. Sometimes I look out of my window on to the green lawn of my town house complex and wonder: “What would I do if food ran out at the local grocery, perhaps because of intense droughts or other disruptions in California or the Prairies? What would we live on? How much space would I and my neighbours have to grow food for ourselves in some extended food shortage, or as a way of life in some impoverished future?”

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In 2006, over a million of us in Vancouver (frequently rated as one of the top places in the world to live for quality of life) went for almost a month without potable water, owing to sedimentation in the water supply reservoirs caused by unusually intense rain storms in the mountains. Our choices were to boil the brown water from the tap or scour the shops for dwindling stocks of bottled water. Staring out of the same window at the rain pouring down, I wondered why had I not thought ahead and stocked up with a five-gallon water-cooler bottle for just such eventualities. Why does my building, or my entire community for that matter, have no system for capturing the plentiful rainfall and turning it into drinking water? Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink. What if the same storms had caused sustained power cuts, as sometimes happens, meaning that I could not boil my water to render it safe? And how would I substitute for my electric heating in those same power cuts? Much easier to go back to the endless urgent emails, take care of the immediate crisis at work, and forget about dealing with long-term uncertainties …

Communities need to learn to recognize their vulnerabilities to climate change, and start planning for emerging risks and impacts that may lie ahead. We need to gauge our collective and individual capacity to prioritize our adaptation needs and put them in place proactively. For this, we need to know where local strengths and assets may be found for coping with an uncertain future. Chapter 8 illustrates some ways in which local people can become more familiar with adaptation measures or precedents for reducing the damage caused by adverse impacts, and build up community resilience to future shocks.

8.1 How preparing for change works – knowing adaptation solutions to climate change A resilient community is one that has recognized and responded to its vulnerabilities (Chapter 6.1) through proactive planning, and which has inherited or developed the resilience to allow it to withstand what climate change throws at it (Box 8A). It must also protect itself against other eventualities such as peak oil driving up energy costs, dependency on remote energy supplies, and other non-climate-change, drivers like economic downturns or political instability, for example. This requires increasing the extent of locally controlled resource production to reduce vulnerability to outside influences and supply chains.

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Stewart Cohen defines adaptation as: “The act of adjusting practices, processes, or structures of systems to projected or actual changes in climate.”1 We can think of this as ‘climate-proofing’ our societies, just as we would ‘winterize’ our cars (as my American friends would say).

Box 8A Key concepts related to community adaptation2 ◆

Resilience refers to the capacity of a system to return to normal following an impact or disruption, while maintaining its core structure and identity. Thus, a resilient community has adapted both to diverse kinds of climate change, and to the end of cheap fossil fuels that currently drive our food, transport, infrastructure, buildings, consumer goods and medical systems.



Proactive adaptation is carried out through systematic planning, while reactive or ‘autonomous’ adaptation may occur spontaneously as the need arises.



Adaptive measures include: 1 2 3 4 5 6

preventing losses (e.g. with dykes or land-use zoning to keep development out of hazard areas); changing location (e.g. relocating existing housing or parks); changing uses (e.g. new crop types, switching from cars to boats); putting systems in place to restore damaged facilities; sharing the losses (e.g. through insurance); building adaptive capacity among the community to respond and cope, via education, planning and simulation exercises.

Clearly, the types of adaptation that are needed will be quite specific to the local area, depending on the impacts it will face based on its geography, as described in Chapter 6. While sea-level rise is a global problem, the amount of sea-level rise varies with coastal conditions, and responses need to be locally specific: for example, the high tidal range of the Pacific Northwest creates different adaptation opportunities (e.g. releasing floodwaters by gravity during low tides twice a day) from those in New Orleans where most of the city sits below sea level permanently and is protected by a system of levees. Adaptation measures can take on a bewildering array of forms (Table 8.1) and are not just the responsibility of government. Adaptation is required at all levels, from the family to the apartment or office building, the block, the neighbourhood and the municipality (Figure 8.1). I used to live in the California Bay area, which is prime earthquake country, and on our block we had self-organized (as did many others) with safety equipment, medical

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supplies, designated roles, etc. for when the big one hit. We all now live in climate change country, but we haven’t organized for that yet.

Table 8.1

Examples of adaptation measures

Adaptation type

Description

Example

Planning and organization

Identifying alternative sources for essentials under threat and developing response strategies

Establishing emergency response procedures and community adaptation plans

Financial and regulatory

Government policies and incentive schemes

Government grants to encourage solar energy, rain-water harvesting, etc.

Commercial initiatives to seize new business opportunities Technology

Installation of equipment that monitors or regulates changing conditions

Measuring water levels

Engineering and construction

Physical measures to divert threats or strengthen structures

Dykes

Land use

Changing land uses and/or practices

Switching to more drought-tolerant crop types and increasing capacity for local food production

Social and cultural responses

Changing personal habits, behaviour and expectations to adjust to new opportunities, lower demand for threatened resources or reduce potential damage

Cutting down on food waste, banning the use of plastic bags or using less water per shower or for laundry

Some communities are already adapting spontaneously to short-term opportunities or immediate risks of climate change (e.g. harvesting wood killed by climate-induced beetle infestations or temporary sandbagging against floods), but these kinds of action offer little to improve community resilience in the future.

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Figure 8.1 In the isolated fishing villages of Newfoundland after the cod disappeared, it has been common for people to share jobs and income to keep the community alive.

Some proactive adaptation measures are being ‘built into the system’. Certain professions routinely include in their calculations safety factors that are periodically updated by their professional organizations or governmental regulation. For example, design specifications for snow and wind load on structures change over time, based on field data and future risk management considerations, and increasingly these now include climate change projections. Community infrastructure is engineered to provide protection from long-standing natural hazards such as flooding (Figure 8.2), and climate change adaptation here can simply take the form of increased safety margins relative to past standards. Governments have routinely used risk management to balance the security of people and property against the costs of risk reduction in, for instance, engineering for greater traffic safety or planning for disease epidemics. Planning for the impacts of climate change, however, requires a significant extension of such risk management activities into areas of greater uncertainty. This all sounds very complicated, abstract and uncertain, but the threats to communities are very real. If we do nothing, we are talking sooner or later about likely loss of life, lost livelihoods, and huge rehabilitation costs that many communities will simply not be able to afford. Citizens have an important role to play in influencing their local government’s decisionmaking on what treasured local resources need to be protected and how.

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Figure 8.2 The Thames Barrier was built in 1982 to prevent a repeat of the devastating floods in the 1950s, but has also proved to be a vital adaptation to climate change as sea-level rise accelerates (see also Figure 6.3), as well as a spectacular landmark.

For many communities, the challenge begins with not having reliable information on what local climate change impacts are likely to be. This means not being able to provide the accurate costing necessary to pass legislation or budget for infrastructure improvements. These needs can be estimated, based on past climatic extremes within the historic range of variation, and reapplying historic precedents at greater frequency or intensity. However, as threats increase exponentially, it may not be possible reliably to infer the full extent of the necessary solutions (Figure 8.3). Even where scientific projections of impacts are available, the community has to deal with considerable uncertainty inherent in climate model-derived data. Different models give different projections, and it is impossible to know what the rest of the world will do about carbon emissions (and hence how bad things will get and how quickly). Do we build the dykes high enough to withstand floods projected in a hoped-for world with 2° warming, or in a more likely, more dangerous one with 4° or more of warming? Sound precautionary planning assumes a reasonable worst case scenario, even if the government’s hope is to reduce carbon emissions (along with other countries) to levels that stabilize global warming at 2°. At the same time, many communities cannot afford to plan for the more extreme worst

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Figure 8.3 Planned flood protection measures in the Cowichan Estuary area of Vancouver Island, BC, showing locations of new and modified dykes and channel improvements that take into account some increased flood risk and sea-level rise.

case that climate models also project. Chapters 9 and 13 deal with such issues surrounding future scenarios in more depth. Unlike carbon mitigation with its single, quantifiable objective – reducing carbon emissions to a particular level – there are usually no clear, top-down adaptation targets or associated scenarios. Instead, there is only whatever local governments have specifically studied and developed plans for, to address widely varying local conditions and innumerable possible impacts. This calls for careful deliberation and risk assessment, community by community, armed with local knowledge when the scientific data inevitably fall short. A key dilemma with planning for adaptation is the time-lag between the implementation of the protection measures and when the event or conditions for which the measure is designed actually occur. A bridge over a river installed now based on current hydrological projections may or may not be adequate to withstand a major storm event and run-off in 2030. However, we can identify some general indicators of resilience that communities could aim for (Box 8B).

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Box 8B Characteristics of a resilient community3 1

Low vulnerability or high degree of local adaptation to the regional climate: living within the natural limits of the bioregion4 (e.g. older houses in the floodplain of Richmond, BC were built to withstand flooding of the basement floor).

2

High levels of local resource production, use, recycling and disposal, for materials, renewable energy, food, water and waste: minimizing dependency on non-local sources for critical needs.

3

Multiple diverse and flexible sources of energy, food, water, etc. to minimize dependency on any one source (e.g. combining geo-exchange with passive solar).

4

Reuse and repairability of buildings and infrastructure, using readily available materials that can be accessed locally.

5

Community form that fosters social interaction and community aid when needed: allowing groups to gather easily in central, intelligently sited community facilities such as village halls.

6

Multi-functional, working landscapes that integrate different uses (such as water storage, solar thermal roof space, food production and biomass production) efficiently in each area, rather than single-use zones and vulnerable monocultures.

7

High levels of community spirit and adaptive capacity, fostering what academics call ‘social capital’: multiple community skills, good communication networks and sustained volunteerism, as in British Parish Councils, Women’s Institute, etc.

8.2 What being prepared looks like – seeing the evidence of climate change adaptation What does adaptation look like? Are the signs of resilience visible in our communities? On the one hand, adaptation has always been part of the human story, from the early hunter-gatherers adapting to new environments after the Ice Age, to rural villagers in the third world adopting cell-phones to help market their products. Each of these shifts involved observing new trends, threats or opportunities, and coming up with solutions to maintain or improve one’s lot. Nothing unusual about that. On the other hand, our

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communities have never had to adapt to massive climate change before, so some adaptation concepts and activities may be new, experimental and unfamiliar to us. Again, we must learn to recognize the various ways in which we can reduce our risks and seize appropriate new opportunities. Our journey of discovery has turned up few examples of highly resilient or fully adapted communities in Western countries, with widely implemented adaptation plans. However, in most communities there are likely to be historic precedents for more self-sufficient practices, traces of people who were more closely adapted to their landscapes and their limits. The photo album of community scenes may also reveal new applications or enhancements of past practices, attempts to stay in harmony with an increasingly unstable world.

Adaptation Window 1 Adapting to chronic climate change impacts Where the necessity of survival is the mother of invention.

(a) Mountains of sandbags: The residents of the Maldives in the Pacific have mobilized armies of people to protect their islands as sea levels rise, with sandbags and sea-walls built on coral sand beaches. The nation is even considering long-term plans for relocation.

(b) Shanty town outside Lima, Peru, where people have moved away from unproductive, drought-stricken lands to seek a living near the city.

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(c) Goats instead of fish: The farming and fishing communities of Lake Faguibine in Mali have seen decades of drought, drying up the lake and ushering in invasive Prosopis forest. They have reluctantly converted to new livestock practices, with younger people migrating to distant cities as an income source.5

(d) The Netherlands can apply technology on a massive scale to building big dykes and whole neighbourhoods that can float and rise with the water, as in Maasbommel on the Maas River, welcoming in the floods while keeping homes safe and dry.

The Netherlands is perhaps the best example of sustained proactive adaptation over time, having demonstrated their capacity to turn adversity (rising sea levels) into opportunity, with successful innovations that replace fear in the community with long-term security and high quality of life. It helps, though, to be a wealthy country.

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Adaptation Window 2 Historical precedents for adaptation in communities Nothing new under the sun?

(a) Old courtyards in Merida, Mexico display the passive cooling effect of shade, water, vegetation and thermal mass that has been used in Arab and Hispanic cultures for centuries.

(b) Large buildings in the 1930s and 1940s, such as the Hotel Stevens in Seattle, were carefully designed to cope with heat without powered air-conditioning,6 through thermal mass, opening windows, shading, and sometimes even circulating iced water.

(c) Waterfront structures on piers in areas with high tidal range, such as Nanaimo Harbour on Vancouver Island, have clearly coped with fluctuating sea levels for decades.

(d) Traditional Mayan hut with thatched roof and open battened walls is much better adapted to heat and ventilation needs in this environment than the newer block house on the right.

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(e) The covered walkways and heritage arcades of Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Australia still keep the sun and the rain off buyers and sellers, maintaining business as usual however the weather changes.

Many historic or traditional features in communities are well adapted to the varying patterns of climate, geography and culture of their region, making these communities liveable in otherwise challenging environments. While some of these traditional methods are still visibly working or have been preserved as tourist attractions, many are falling into disuse as preferences shift to modern materials and technologies or a global aesthetic. They are often not recognized as possible precedents for climate change adaptation in a lower energy world. We can learn from our traditions.

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Adaptation Window 3 Measures for adapting to ‘natural’ hazards ‘Earth, wind and fire’.

(a) Strengthening buildings to resist extreme weather. This steel reinforced concrete house in Mississippi uses many FEMA building standards that would minimize damage from increasingly frequent hurricanes.

(b) A Fire Smart interface around homes in dry forested areas requires clearing underbrush, maintaining fire-breaks and prescribed burning in adjoining forests. Say goodbye to those attractive wood shingle roofs.

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(c) Urban heat islands: Metropolitan areas such as Toronto, already several degrees warmer than their surroundings, are hoping to double their shade tree canopy to offset rising temperatures and associated death rates.

(d) Painting roofs white and using white ice-cream lorries helps reflect heat at this depot in Klamath Falls, Oregon. The reflective surfaces can be seen for miles.

Some adaptations against the increasingly hostile elements are happening close to home, and are easily seen. People may grasp the need to take precautions against the weather, but they may not fully recognize the increased and long-term risk posed by climate change. The adaptations may be popular or contested, depending partly on aesthetics and public awareness of climate change issues. If the community perceives a real hazard, it is more likely to accept and embrace adaptation measures. Good design, along with a good planning process that maintains transparency, will promote acceptance in the community.

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Adaptation Window 4 Measures for managing water hazards in one area The Metro Vancouver region of Canada: wet and wild.

(a) Sea-walls have been built to protect homes along Boundary Bay, BC, but higher walls to guard against faster sea-level rise have been opposed by some residents because they will block cherished beach views.

(b) Major stream channel reconstruction has become necessary on steep Northshore creeks to reduce bank erosion, channel scouring and debris flows (rock-laden torrents).

(c) Beach restoration in West Vancouver, increasing protection from storm scouring by reconfiguring the shoreline to trap marine sediment; well accepted by the community, but hard to notice without time-lapse before/after photography.

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(d) Stormwater swales and rain gardens are small depressions designed to drain rain-water off paved areas in the heavier downpours we expect, and let it soak into the ground. Located right where people are, they are little noticed unless beautifully planted, like this one in West Vancouver, BC.

(e) Retention basins (here on the UBC campus) trap and hold surface water to reduce risk of flooding from intense rain storms, increase infiltration, and filter out sediments and toxins from entering streams.

Water is central to any community. Adaptive measures to control the flow of water may or may not be highly visible. Some engineering works, such as dams and dykes, are large scale and their purpose unmistakeable, though they may be considered aesthetically undesirable by the community. Other measures are smaller scale and lower profile, and thus draw little attention and fail to signal the climate change connection. Some are so low profile that they are out of sight, as with upsizing underground drainage pipes and culverts. Inevitably the importance or effectiveness of any adaptation is not always correlated to the size or prominence of the infrastructure, requiring improved climate change literacy among citizens and more visible key information.

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Adaptation Window 5 Adapting our life styles Changing our habits, our shopping, our leisure and our neighbours.

(a) Drinking in the shade: English pubs like this one in Leicester are learning that customers sitting outside may need new shade canopies to regulate heat.

(b) Blue-stained lumber salvaged from pine trees killed by mountain pine beetle has become a valued item among decorative wood products, creating a new aesthetic out of climate change adaptation.

(c) Drought-tolerant ‘xeriscape’ gardens have become more common in towns in California and New Mexico as water becomes more scarce, replacing lawns and changing the look of residential streets.

(d) Every homeowner can do their bit: this family in Maple Bay on Vancouver Island has installed a permeable surface driveway for better infiltration of rain-water and a more attractive, greener look.

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Climate change adaptation is starting to affect our lifestyles, visibly changing our communities in countless ways. Many of these changes are small scale and incremental. Even the larger ones affecting whole communities, such as accommodating environmental refugees in pre-fab housing, may have precedents (e.g. post-war social housing in Britain and previous influxes of ‘outsiders’). Some adaptations are new, such as moving parks to accommodate shifting ecosystems like the upward retreat of alpine meadows and local extinctions of charismatic species.

Adaptation Window 6 Building local self-reliance and adaptive capacity Retrofitting for resilience in food, water and energy security

(a) Backyard vegetable plots, community gardens, farmers’ markets and village shops support local food production, reduced food miles, community learning and social networking.

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(b) Intensive food production year-round can use solar energy, plants and chickens as in the Swedish Solviva system, or with conventional commercial greenhouses on land with little agricultural potential.

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(c) Water harvesting for personal garden use in summer is already common with water butts linked to drainpipes. Some communities already know how to store much larger quantities of water in their back gardens, though not yet for drinking!

(d) Multi-functional landscapes accommodate several uses on the same piece of land: here woody biomass for energy is harvested in a park also used for recreation and hunting in northern Austria.

(e) Volunteer organizations are the lifeblood of a thriving community, and need recognized gathering places to exchange information and make plans, as in the historic Agricultural Hall on Mayne Island, BC.

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Many people know about farmers’ markets, but at the moment only a small fraction of our food shopping and consumption comes from local sources. These ideas are not new, have proven to work historically, and are becoming popular again. There is plenty of evidence of the potential for greater local self-sufficiency, especially in communities with strong ties to the land, traditional community volunteer networks and emerging food security groups.

8.3 How we perceive adaptation solutions Our look at communities from many countries shows that climate change adaptation needs and precedents are all around us, but are not always easy to see. We take many of these adaptations for granted. Most of the time we don’t associate them with climate change.

Seeing adaptation Clearly, a lot of climate change issues involve water and energy. Often the support systems or resources protecting the community are made visible only occasionally, when the system fails, as when a water main bursts or floods disable a sewage plant. Physical adaptation measures involving water or soil processes or anything in pipes are often underground, so may not be visible or knowable to the general public. Even a massive project such as the Thames Basin ring main (which stores and distributes water to millions of people in southeast England and protects them against worsening water shortages) is largely underground. Usually, only the construction phase is visible, and to most people one trench with a set of pipes looks much like any other. Other infrastructure improvements are visible as everyday features of our community landscapes, but are usually unobtrusive, like stormwater swales or roadside embankments (Figure 8.4). Climate change adaptation may not be sexy, but it will be vital. In Western societies, we take our city services like sewers, water supply, storm drains, roads and waste disposal for granted. We have faith that our local authority engineers will keep things running come what may: so what if it rains harder in the future, the drains will still work, won’t they? To their credit, I have found civil and municipal engineers to be among the most proactive in preparing for climate change, because they know the hard truths and serious risks; but their work is often done quietly, behind the

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Figure 8.4 New armouring with low-profile rock gabions along the shoreline near the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland, provides a subtle clue to the need to strengthen infrastructure against sea-level rise and storm damage.

scenes. After all, sizing sewage pipes or calculating soil infiltration rates is not thrilling stuff to most people. Can we find more compelling ways to communicate the needs and benefits of adaptation to the local public? Other kinds of adaptation such as setting policies to increase the protection of buildings against wildfires and windstorms, or mandate flood insurance, 229

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may not be directly visible to the public either. However, over time, these policy changes can lead to gradual visible effects in the community landscape as tall trees are cleared away from homes previously nestling in the woods, and businesses relocate away from floodplains to take advantage of lower insurance rates. Community-wide adaptation plans though are still a rarity, and large adaptation schemes with multiple measures have not yet developed far enough to be noticeable. More spectacular examples of above-ground permanent adaptation, such as moving entire communities off their traditional territories on atolls in the Pacific, are not salient to most of us owing to their remoteness. Few of us live near a glacier wrapped to prolong livelihoods dependent on the tourist trade, or live in sight of a large flood control dam. Meanwhile, in the fields, gardens and woods of the community, autonomous adaptation is quietly taking place, as farmers sow crops earlier in the season, and foresters and park managers adjust their work schedules and equipment to cope with soggy ground at very different times of year.

Recognizing adaptation Even where adaptation measures are visible, it is easy for them to go unrecognized. Adaptation activity carried out by local government may be mistaken for other kinds of system maintenance or construction. An electrical substation moved out of a floodplain and on to higher terrain, as occurred in low-lying areas of Britain after recent floods caused dangerous power cuts, still looks like an ordinary substation. Understandably, preventive measures like these rarely make the headlines. Local media can get much more exposure from visiting dignitaries, accidents or flooding, and preferably all three at once! Perhaps one solution would be to educate local journalists to be more holistic in their coverage of climate changerelated events, linking them back to local and national causes and including more in-depth news stories to explain what adaptation measures are happening and why. People may even be adapting to climate change without realizing the connections with global warming (Figure 8.5). For example, there seems to be increasing awareness and acceptance of hosepipe bans for watering lawns and washing cars, as dry summers become more common in many communities. There also seems to be growing recognition of the benefits of food security, tied directly to visible measures such as community gardens and farmland protection.

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Figure 8.5 Double adaptation: canopied triciclos offer relative comfort and convenience to the passenger on hotter days in central Yucatan, Mexico. Because they are powered by people, the triciclos also provide immunity to rising fuel prices.

Caring about adaptation Because the long-term benefits of adaptation are not well understood and the need has not yet become widely visible to people, there is little public concern or demand for major adaptation efforts in most temperate region communities. We tend to think that ‘we can cross that bridge when we come to it’. Old habits can get in the way of creative thinking and becoming better prepared (Figure 8.6). We have already seen how a proposal to raise the sea-wall in South Delta, BC has been rejected by residents in part because it would block their cherished views. However, when people can see for themselves the consequences of not preparing for risks related to climate change, they may start to react differently. After the big fire in Kelowna, British Columbia (Figure 8.7), during a particularly bad fire season in 2003, attitudes towards forest management changed. Practices to reduce fire risk that had previously been too controversial or unpopular, such as selection logging, prescribed burning and clearing of trees round homes, were finally welcomed by the community.

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Figure 8.6 Basements like this in Edinburgh may now be seen as fashionable accommodation, but they are at increasing risk of flooding in some areas, as has happened in Toronto and various British cities. They could still be useful as low-energy cool storage (as originally intended) and as refuges in hotter summers, if we planned for these uses.

Figure 8.7 The Kelowna fire destroyed 250 homes and was watched widely from across Okanagan Lake and on TV.

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So, how do the people in Climateville perceive adaptation? Are they actually adapting as the evidence of climate change grows clearer, or at least starting to understand why they might want to get prepared locally? Let’s see.…

Box 8C Examples of how community members in Climateville perceive and behave in terms of climate change adaptation

i

Bella: Knowing, but not seeing climate change adaptation

Initially: For the first couple of years since moving to Climateville, Bella was not aware of the risks of climate Caring change impacts locally, or the need to take precautions against Recogflooding on the block nizing owing to occasional sustained and very Hearing Knowing intense rain storms. She Aw did not get much time to a re nes s talk to her neighbours, so Seeing she was unaware of the Lo c a loss of fruit trees behind ii l Lan dscape Charles’s high hedges. She has a nice sun porch that could be used for growing plants but it became too hot to use in the summer. She had no plans in the event of any emergencies. Action

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Seeing, and recognizing climate change adaptation

Recently: Since the heavy winter rain storms of 2012, it has finally dawned on Bella that all is not well with the weather and she needs to protect her property. She saw the garden become a pond during this time, though it never quite reached the kitchen door sill. She went next door and talked to both Charles and Dinos. They made her a cup of tea, explained about problems over recent years, and gave her differing iii opinions on why they were happening and what she should do about it, though she found Dinos more convincing. Since then she has had her drains and gutters cleared out and has bought a rain-water barrel to install for the summer droughts (Farah found a bulk-discount deal from the council and went door-to-door to her neighbours). Bella has also started to think about growing vegetables in her garden.

Farah: Acting on climate change adaptation

Action

Caring

Recognizing

Farah has been relatively well informed and aware of community and personal level adaptation measures to be taken as precautions, until she can move to a more stable and resilient location in two or three years’ time.

I n fo

She is pretty self-sufficient: she bikes or walks to most places. She grows her Aw a re own tomatoes and herbs nes s Seeing in pots on her small patio, stores rain-water in a Lo c a l Lan dscape iv barrel, and plans to grow more of her own vegetables. She has an emergency kit with supplies, and has agreed a plan with Emily to look after her in the event of an emergency and sleep upstairs with her if the block floods again. She has moved all her cherished objects and electronic appliances on to higher bookshelves. She knows she can use her water heater for extra water in case of a shut-off. Hearing

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She has planted two silver birches on the south side of the building near her apartment in order to provide summer shade in later years. She hopes to get some new trees planted soon on the block in case the old lime trees start to die off and they lose their shade on the street. She agrees with the densification proceeding in the neighbourhood, but is concerned about the impact of new infill development on stormwater infiltration and worsening flood risk. She volunteers on occasional weekends to work in the local nature reserve, to control invasive species and erect nest boxes for bird species that are becoming rarer due to global warming.

The carbon characters of Climateville exhibit a typical range of perceptions on adaptation. It has been a fuzzy concept to many of them, and those that even know the term sometimes get confused between adaptation and mitigation. Only Dinos, Farah and Emily discuss the concept of their community becoming more resilient. In Emily’s case, she recalls her own family’s history as farmers and crofters in Scotland, when everyone worked from the time they were teenagers and people had to look after each other: no one owed them a living. Bella, as the newest person on the block, has the least experience in knowing what is normal for the neighbourhood, but has now seen for herself some ways to adapt to the changing climate, thanks to her neighbours. She has learned to recognize some signs of climate change, and now understands why Farah has an emergency plan and wants to grow some of her own food. So Bella has moved up the CSA pathway, from knowing but not seeing, to seeing and recognizing, at least about adaptation. She has yet actually to connect up the water butt or plant the vegetables though! Will she go through with it and act on her adaptation plans? Will others follow her example?

Summary In Chapter 8, we have seen multiple ways of adapting locally to climate change impacts and related socio-economic shifts. We have found that many historical precedents for dealing with climate variation and social changes are visible in communities, and early examples of adaptation measures are starting to be put in place. Many infrastructure adaptations are hidden underground, visually unobtrusive, and/or not linked to climate change in people’s minds. Making their functions more visible and compelling is crucial in integrating climate change adaptation into community decision-making. A key message is that the overall needs and 235

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goals for adaptation to climate change are not as clearly defined for communities as carbon reduction has been. We can see though that community members may adapt on their own once they perceive immediate threats. We have also seen that, as with mitigation, some adaptation measures may conflict with people’s preferences or perceived quality of life and so are not always readily accepted. Overall, it is clear that most communities could do much more to show people why and how to be prepared for climate change, and to better communicate the potential benefits of greater resilience in an unstable world.

Notes 1 Cohen with Waddell (2009, p.85). 2 This section is adapted from Cohen with Waddell (2009) and Sheppard et al. (2008). Cohen defines resilience as “The ability of a system to recover from the effects of climate change; the amount of change a system can withstand without changing state”, p.85). 3 Adapted from Sheppard et al. (2008); Hopkins (2008). 4 Hester (2006). 5 Brockhaus and Djoudi (2008). 6 Roaf et al. (2005, p.241, Fig. 11.1c).

Further reading Adger, W. N., Lorenzoni, I. and O’Brien, K. (eds) (2009) Adapting to Climate Change: Thresholds, Values, Governance, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Cohen, S. and Neale, T. (eds) (2006) Participatory Integrated Assessment of Water Management and Climate Change in the Okanagan Basin, British Columbia, Environment Canada and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC. Cohen, S. with Waddell, M.W. (2009) Climate Change in 21st Century, McGillQueen’s University Press, Montreal, QC. Hopkins, R. (2008) The Transition Handbook, Green Books, Totnes, Devon. ICLEI (2010) Changing Climate, Changing Communities: Guide and Workbook for Municipal Climate Adaptation, available at: www.iclei.org/fileadmin/user_ upload/documents/Canada/Changing_Climate/ICLE076_-_NRCan_Guide.pdf. Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (n.d.) ‘Plan2Adapt’ website tool, available at: http://plan2adapt.ca/tools/planners. Roaf, S., Crichton, D. and Nicol, F. (2005) Adapting Buildings and Cities for Climate Change, Architectural Press, Elsevier, Oxford.

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Snover, A.K., Whiteley Binder, L., Lopez, J., Willmott, E., Kay, J., Howell, D. and Simmonds, J. (2007) Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments. Prepared by Climate Impacts Group (Centre for Science in the Earth System), University of Washington, and King County, Washington, in association with and published by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Oakland, CA. UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) website at: www.ukcip.org.uk.

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Seeing the big picture on community carbon and climate change

When I was a child, I remember hearing about the ‘phoney war’: a period of several months after war had been declared in September 1939, but before real hostilities between Britain and Germany began. My parents would talk about how unreal the war had seemed: there were no enemy bombers in the sky over southern England, food was still readily available, and no news of serious loss of life reached the homes and communities of Britain. Many were lulled into a false sense of security. Even though children had been evacuated from the southeast and stories circulated of U-boats attacking vital supply lines from North America, in many ways life in the suburbs continued as normal. Perhaps it would never happen .…

It strikes me now that we are living in some sort of phoney war on climate change. Our governments declare official war on global warming with their pronouncements and endless international negotiations, news of one calamity or another arrives from the far-off front, and we increasingly hear dire threats, but on the ground life goes on pretty much as before. Many of us feel at some level that the threats are real, but still have a hard time imagining what it will really be like. We are not very good at connecting the dots and seeing into the future, are we?

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Chapters 5 to 8 have painted a picture of each of the four components of climate change as experienced in typical developed communities: causes, impacts, mitigation and adaptation. The overall conclusion we can draw is that the various aspects of climate change often are not invisible after all, even in temperate regions. We just don’t know where or how to look. We have been trained to associate climate change with remote, scientific things, when really it is right under our noses. The causes of climate change are often highly visible in our daily lives in developed and rapidly developing countries: the ways we burn carbon are all around us (such as cars and buildings). The early evidence of climate change impacts (and of our vulnerability to them) has also recently begun to be more apparent to local people through increasing extreme weather events and observation of changing patterns. Many people have seen iconic examples of climate change solutions such as wind farms or the Thames Barrier, and historical precedents for low-carbon or resilient living can still be seen on the ground in many communities. However, not all aspects of climate change are equally visible, and even where they can be seen, they are often misinterpreted or go unrecognized (Figure 9.1). Carbon use is still the most clearly visible sign of climate change in most communities, but it is reframed to become socially acceptable. Meanwhile, the underlying fossil fuels themselves are kept out of sight, except in rare spills which tend to distract attention from the larger global warming problem. The creeping signs of local climate change impacts are often subtle, and local extremes are infrequent. Mitigation measures, ranging from backyard chicken coops and push-mowers to infill housing and district energy plants, are either not yet widely visible or not recognized as ways to defeat climate change. Some potentially prominent mitigation measures (like tram systems and electric cars) have been deliberately excluded from communities. Adaptation as a concept is perhaps the least well understood of the four components, and goes largely unrecognized even when examples can be seen. The ability to overcome these various perceptual disconnects is critical in propelling communities to act effectively on climate change. The irony is that, in the Western world which has done the most to cause climate change, many still do not recognize its signs. Meanwhile, those in the poorer regions of the world, who have not yet seen the benefits of a carbon culture lifestyle, are already experiencing its major consequences in the droughts, floods, hunger, social unease and even warfare caused or worsened by climate change. This is why recognizing the causes of climate change is so important in our high-carbon communities, in pressuring us to change our ways before it is too late. 239

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Figure 9.1 Based on the Climate Awareness to Action Framework from Chapter 4, we can highlight where the main perceptual barriers occur in people’s thinking on the four components of climate change.1

OUTCOMES Action

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EX Key Influences Key Perceptual Barriers

Perceptual Barriers: •

Seeing: fossil fuels are hidden, carbon emissions are invisible



Recognizing: high-carbon activities are not noticed (eg. oil-fired heating systems), not associated with climate change (eg. high meat diets), or not labelled as ‘high-carbon’



Caring: high-carbon activities are reframed as culturally acceptable and desirable (eg. living in large gas-heated houses)



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u l La n dscape RN i vi d d AL I n NFLUENCES (on i

Causes

Adaptation

)

Perceptual Barriers: •

Seeing: climate change impacts are not yet widely visible and extreme events in most locations are still rare



Recognizing: impacts are subtle, require careful observation over time, and signs of community vulnerability (eg. living in floodplains) are not highlighted



Caring: current levels of impact are not considered serious

Perceptual Barriers: •

• Seeing: low-carbon technologies and activities are banned (eg. electric vehicles on streets), still rare (eg. air source heat pumps), or hidden (eg. loft insulation)

• Caring: low-carbon activities are ‘uncool’ or socially undesirable (eg. walking to school, taking a bus), and mitigation projects are opposed (eg. windfarms)

als

Impacts

Knowing: people aren’t sure what to do to reduce carbon footprints

• Recognizing: lifestyle mitigation measures are not linked to climate change (eg. clotheslines)

Lo c a

ATE CHANGE CLIM

Mitigation

Perceptual Barriers:

Seeing

Hearing/Knowing: community adaptation is not widely discussed and people don’t know what they should do

• Seeing: adaptation measures are banned (eg. rainwater capture for drinking water), hidden (eg. larger underground stormwater pipes), or not yet in place

SOLUTIONS

• Recognizing: adaptation measures are hard to notice (eg. altered dates of farming activity), or not clearly labelled as adaptation to climate change •

Caring: adaptation measures are opposed as undesirable (eg. higher sea-walls)

Perception barriers can also limit our ability to care enough to make needed behavioural changes. In some cases, as when Hurricane Katrina dramatically devastated New Orleans, there was widespread outrage and people demanded political and infrastructural changes to protect against the ravages of climate change. But more often, our emotions and desires lead us in the wrong direction for solving climate change problems, whether it is 240

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clinging to symbols of success like large homes and luxurious cars that contribute to climate change, or rejecting unfamiliar technologies such as wind farms and offshore wave barriers due to aesthetics or perceived safety risks. Having reviewed the reality and the perception of the four aspects of climate change, communities need to think about how these components come together in one place. In this chapter, we first look at the big picture that science and planning can help us draw on how climate change components interact, then in Section 9.2 we see what these combination look like in communities. In particular, we look at examples of communities that have recognized the threats and opportunities of climate change, and through this insight have begun to demonstrate community-wide solutions. Finally, Section 9.3 explores the big picture as it might evolve further in the future – in hopes of improving not only our sight but also our foresight.

9.1 How the whole system works: knowing how climate change causes, consequences and solutions are linked The climate change system comprises many interrelationships and feedback loops. For example, high carbon emissions lead to global warming which melts Arctic permafrost, releasing methane from newly decomposing organic matter in the tundra, which adds further to atmospheric carbon concentrations, making Arctic warming worse and melting more permafrost and ... you can see where this cycle is leading. When we add human and community interactions into the system, it becomes even more complicated. For example, the worst monsoon flooding in living memory and highest water levels in 110 years in Pakistan in 2010 resulted from nearly double the July rainfall average and a history of deforestation and other harmful land-use changes.2 The so-called ‘positive’ impacts of climate change, such as ice-free shipping or increased tourism to warmer or dryer areas, may actually make the whole problem worse by pushing up carbon emissions from the increased commercial activities. Poorly planned climate change action by communities can also be counter-productive (e.g. making biofuels from corn to replace fossil fuels in vehicles can generate more carbon emissions than it saves). Similarly, maladaptation may occur where changes in human systems inadvertently increase vulnerability to climate change: for example, raising the ground level of some flood-prone buildings can increase flooding of homes on adjacent sites. Conflicts may also arise when applying mitigation and adaptation measures together, if ‘the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing’. A community can end up with a situation known to climate scientists as 241

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adaptive emissions,3 where, for example, operating water pumps all year round in response to rising water tables defeats the goal of reducing energy usage. Demand for adaptation solutions is bound to increase as climate change worsens and more threats to communities emerge; when this happens, it may hinder progress on mitigation where resources are already stretched, especially in poorer regions and small rural communities. We cannot afford ‘silo thinking’. Therefore, low-carbon and resilience goals need to be actively twinned to enable win–win situations. Looking at the community solutions depicted in Chapters 7 and 8, we can see the strong potential for convergence between mitigation and adaptation: low carbon reduces our reliance on fossil fuels, which enhances our resilience to external disruptions if we localize more of the solutions. Enhancing community self-sufficiency reduces carbon footprints.4 An example would be using shade trees to offset a worsening urban heat island effect (Figure 9.2) while also reducing power needs for cooling buildings.

Figure 9.2 Increasing the street tree canopy in urban areas such as Toronto can cool temperatures (as shown by green areas in the heart of the city in this thermal imaging map), helping people adapt to a heat-island effect while minimizing energy use from air-conditioning and thereby carbon footprints.

Inevitably, communities must weigh other priorities at the same time as planning for climate change. For example, many are challenged with continuing population growth on a limited land base, making cutting 242

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carbon even harder, and every new building that is not zero carbon takes us further from the goal of carbon reduction. However, alternative approaches are possible if communities employ innovative, ‘joined-up’ thinking to optimize multiple goals, such as using growth as a lever for wider benefits and net reductions in carbon footprints (Figure 9.3). (a) New ‘big-box’ shopping malls like this one in Freiburg (of all places) are mainly served by private transport with a high carbon footprint.

(b) Living green above and around big-box retail: this multiple-use project in Vancouver, BC has residences co-located with large-scale retail outlets, on a major corridor with bus routes, cycle paths, rapid transit and other amenities. Community gardens on the green roof help create a highly liveable development with lower personal carbon footprints.

Figure 9.3 High- and low-carbon designs for accommodating growth.

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In planning our communities and communicating with fellow citizens, we need to look for the positive side-effects or co-benefits that collective mitigation and adaptation measures can bring at the local level. These include reduced obesity and better health where walking or cycling are encouraged by cultural norms and good community design,5 noise reduction, jobs in green industries, more opportunities for ageing in place (Figure 9.4), and feelings of empowerment among residents in taking positive action to address climate change. Improvements in quality of life can be important motivators for action on climate change, even if that is not the primary objective.

Figure 9.4 Survey results from the West Vancouver Community Dialogue on Neighbourhood Character and Housing, showing that the majority of residents support various strategies to improve housing choice and affordability for seniors. These strategies would increase densities and cut carbon emissions through energy efficiency, better transport, etc., though these were not the primary goals of the exercise.

Consequently, I believe that low-carbon, resilient communities can become more attractive, not less, than current high-carbon and vulnerable communities. Such low-carbon, attractive, resilient (LoCAR) communities which maximize co-benefits are needed to encourage public acceptance of climate change solutions.6 The imperatives of climate change and dwindling cheap energy require us to retrofit existing communities to become low carbon and more self-reliant (see Boxes 7B and 8B). In order to minimize the disadvantages of converting from the status quo, the ‘community makeover’ should be designed to respect and conserve quality of life wherever possible, using in-character retrofits rather than new intrusive 244

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urban forms or massive scale technologies that would be out of place, unpopular and energy consumptive. This requires a new definition of compact, complete communities, to include not only the built-up areas but also a productive countryside that is linked by a low-carbon transport network to the community, reminiscent of market towns in Europe before World War II. Mixed land uses enable not only ‘live–work–play’ activities and increased quality of life through closer interaction with the outdoors, but also accommodate productive activities such as farming and forestry in working landscapes that reduce carbon miles from imported food or materials (Figure 9.5). Smart density should be selectively increased in certain nodal or corridor locations within acceptable limits, where multiple benefits/opportunities can be created. If ill-designed, too much density can reduce solar thermal coverage where tall buildings cast shadows on others, limit stormwater infiltration owing to too many impervious surfaces, or increase heat-island effects from large roofs and lack of vegetation. Other benefits would include the community’s improved self-reliance should they one day face potentially catastrophic climate change. Aristotle’s belief that ‘happiness belongs to the self-sufficient’ is an appropriate axiom for a LoCAR community.

Figure 9.5 Village shops supported by volunteers and farmers’ markets in town centres encourage the purchase of locally produced food, without the need for large shopping malls or in some cases permanent buildings.

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It would be naive though to believe that the transition from a fossil fuel-based global society that prioritizes speed and convenience to a green energy-based local economy that prioritizes social interaction and sustainability will occur without some significant adjustments. The hope is that the benefits offered by low-carbon-resilient communities represent a trade-off against the disadvantages in impacts on people’s time, costs, personal convenience and the comfort of old habits. Many impacts of climate change will not magically disappear even when we move aggressively on mitigation and adaptation. Some improvements will take longer than our lifetime before they show results. That may be the price we have to pay for consuming in less than 200 years the fossil fuel supply that took millions of years to create.

9.2 What the big picture looks like – seeing the evidence of climate change interactions Are there actually places where we can stand in one spot and see causes of climate change, impacts, mitigation measures and adaptation measures all together? The following photo album illustrates the interrelations between all of these elements at the community scale. We wrap up our tour of community landscapes with some examples of multiple community attempts to achieve more holistic solutions.

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Big Picture 1 High-carbon and vulnerable communities Lose–lose propositions?

(a) Monster homes in the floodplain: new homes like this, built below dyke level in a floodprone community in BC, have high spaceheating requirements due to their size and face increasing flood hazards due to sea-level rise, rivers swollen with snowmelt and more intense rain storms. The building’s design does not respond to its local environment and its sheer size dominates the landscape.

(b) Isolated northern communities burning imported diesel: dependent on outside energy and goods, and losing their traditional self-sufficiency due to cultural changes and climate change impacts on sea-ice, wildlife and the price of fuel for snowmobiles; an almost intractable problem.

(c) High-carbon and high-risk rural housing: new single family home developments in dry forested regions like this one outside Denver, Colorado may be prone to increased fire risk and water shortages; they also lock communities into high-carbon use for commuting.

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These are conventional development types still being built and accepted in communities all around the world. We need to recognize their vulnerabilities, prioritize such existing places for retrofitting, and rethink new development in terms of siting, local resource supplies, transport options and long-term economic viability.

Big Picture 2 Conflicting solutions Win–lose scenarios of misplaced mitigation or adaptive carbon emissions – still not good enough!

(a) ‘Garden grabbing’ or ‘Infilling’: building homes within existing built-up areas is one way to increase density and reduce personal carbon footprints while keeping some of the neighbourhood character. However, it can be unpopular due to reduced privacy, views and solar access. Without good site selection and design, it may increase flooding due to decreased absorption of rain-water and leave less land for growing food.

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(b) Dwindling hydropower: melting snowpacks and glaciers lost to local warming will eventually shrink dry-season stream flows that are now being harnessed in run-of-river plants to generate green energy in BC.

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(c) Biofuels and beer: increased production of biofuels from crops like maize to replace fossil fuels in vehicles has displaced vital food crops and raised food prices; more carbon emissions can be generated than saved, and barley-growing has fallen, leading to rising beer prices.

We need to recognize that changing land uses, energy systems, agricultural practices and building design have implications for both mitigation and adaptation. Without careful consideration of all the factors, misplaced efforts that address single issues can have unfortunate downstream impacts on other goals and resources.

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Big Picture 3 Climate change snapshot at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games Causes, consequences, and solutions in Vancouver, February 2010.

(a) Causing climate change: while few would argue with the ideals of the Olympic Games, massive construction activity, thousands of extra plane flights and the Olympic fleet of SUVs amount to a huge carbon footprint; even the Olympic flame sends the message that it’s OK to burn fossil fuels just for the look of it.

(b) Impacts of climate change: Mother Nature showed who is ‘boss’. High temperatures and thin snowpack led to ticket cancellations at several main snowboarding events at Cypress Bowl in West Vancouver.

(c) Adaptation: extra snow for the Cypress Bowl was bulldozed down the mountain, flown in by helicopter, and even trucked from Allison Pass 200km away, to keep snowboarding and ski runs open: a clear case of damaging ‘adaptive emissions’.

(d) Mitigation: Olympic organizers asked local residents to cut back on their travel to reduce congestion. Traffic levels for local drivers dropped by a dramatic 30 per cent, proving it can be done.

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The 2010 Games were planned to be the greenest ever, but a snapshot taken through the climate change lens reveals conflicting messages on the sustainability front. The venues and Olympic Village were built to high green standards and residents dutifully cut their driving and commuting by 30 per cent for two weeks, but the link was never made to BC’s official target of a similar permanent cut in carbon emissions by 2020. We missed the opportunity to send the key climate change message: “Just keep up the positive changes made during the Olympics.”

Big Picture 4 Synergies of mitigation and adaptation Moving to win–win solutions.

(a) Holding back the sea and welcoming the wind: this dual-purpose storm-surge barrier (Oosterscheldekering, Netherlands) generates power from high onshore winds.

(b) Converting winter recreation sites: ski areas at low elevations are increasingly adapting to snow loss by converting to all-season recreation. Grouse Mountain above Vancouver, BC has a large wind turbine with a viewing platform as part of a green energy education centre and year-round tourist attraction.

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(c) Green roofs or white roofs?: roofs? the City of Toronto has new policies to promote green roofs and is studying the benefits of green walls and roofs painted white to reflect heat, adapting to warmer temperatures and cutting air-conditioning loads. Aerial photo image 2009 Google Earth; 2010 Digital Globe.

©

©

These technological solutions symbolize many other smaller, less spectacular measures that community members can take to meet both mitigation and adaptation goals (e.g. upgrading the insulation in our homes to keep us cooler in summer and warmer in winter). We need to ramp up these measures and multiply the number of projects so that they become the ‘standard’ rather than rare ‘best’ practices.

Many communities, from the tiny to the huge, have developed positive transition plans that take them in the direction of low-carbon, attractive, resilient communities by moving from individual projects to collective action shared by local government, citizens and businesses. Some early precedents for community design or retrofitting with LoCAR features that other communities can emulate are shown in Table 9.1. They exhibit ‘joined-up thinking’ on global change and local priorities, proving that win–win–win solutions are possible. 252

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Table 9.1 A selection of pioneering communities with certain LoCAR features, including visible mitigation and adaptation solutions Type

Location/date

Low-carbon, attractive, resilient indicators

Village Homes, Davis, California, 1970s

A 70-acre subdivision designed as a sustainable village with 23 acres of greenbelt, orchards, vineyards, vegetable gardens and edible landscape:7



Run-off management and stormwater ponds, solar power, local food consumption with shared harvest based on the honour system, and green architecture.



Shaded streets with street-trees, and extensive bike paths throughout.

New purpose-built sustainable community

© 2011 Google Maps. Malmo, Sweden, 1996

BEDZED, Sutton, UK, 2002

Malmo municipality converted an old industrial area to an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient eco-district as an economic diversification solution:8



Energy sources include state-owned wind power and solar panels for generating electricity and hot water.



Rain-water harvesting systems and extensive waste recycling programmes.



Environmentally friendly transport options promoted, including walking and cycling (bike rental programme).



Promotion as an eco-friendly tourism destination.

The UK’s first large-scale ‘carbon-neutral’ community: a mixed-use development with 82 homes, commercial work space and 18 live/work units on a former sewage plant site:9



Integrates social provisions including a nursery, after-school clubs, medical centre, organic café, bar and shops.



Incorporates working landscape to showcase sustainable land-based industries (eg. urban forestry and lavender cultivation).



Maximizes water reuse, reduces waste and energy consumption, using a biomass boiler.

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New purpose-built sustainable community

BEDZED, Sutton, UK, 2002 (continued)

Southeast False Creek (SEFC), Vancouver, Canada, 2010

Retrofit existing community

Wolvercote, Oxfordshire, UK, 2007

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Contemporary architecture style to make it a landmark development both visually and in terms of its social and environmental sustainability image.

◆ ◆

The street system prioritizes pedestrians. Electric vehicle provision and covered bicycle storage.

SEFC is a new 80-acre (32-hectare) community on former industrial land built as the Olympic Village for the 2010 Games. It will eventually house 16,000 people:10



A Smart Meter in each unit to help achieve the target of operating 50 per cent more efficiently than a typical building in Vancouver.



Neighbourhood Energy Utility which will provide space heating and domestic hot water to all new buildings: the first utility in North America to use sewage-waste heat recovery as a primary source for heating an urban centre. It will reduce GHG emissions by >50 per cent (7,600 tonnes per year) compared to conventional oil and gas systems.

◆ ◆ ◆

Adaptive reuse of historic buildings on site. Collecting rain-water for toilet flushing and irrigation. Community demonstration garden, green roofs and roof-top gardens.

A low-carbon transition village where residents and community groups have pledged to seriously reduce their carbon footprint and increase self-sufficiency, including:11

◆ ◆

Using cars less and walking and cycling more.



Buying more from local shops and purchasing fair-trade goods with low-carbon footprints.



Measuring their carbon footprints in order to identify where to improve and to monitor progress.



Reducing the number of non-essential overseas flights which residents take.



Reducing energy use within the home, and generating their own power renewably.



Reducing landfill waste to zero by reducing consumption, and reusing and recycling waste.

Growing more of their own food and managing woodlands for firewood.

Retrofit existing community

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Eagle Island, West Vancouver, Canada, 2009

Eagle Island is a community of about 30 homes where almost all households have done an energy audit, are doing thermal imaging of heat loss, are improving energy efficiency, and have pledged to retrofit their homes to cut carbon footprints and reduce energy costs.

Güssing, Austria, 1996

A crisis in paying for fossil fuel led to wholesale conversion of the town to biomass energy for heating and electricity. Now an internationally renowned green tourism centre.

To illustrate just how much progress is possible, we will now take a closer look at three examples of pioneering communities that are quite far along the path towards realizing their visions of sustainability. They give us glimpses of what the future may look like when communities follow very different pathways. Box 9A shows what a small rural community can accomplish and Box 9B, a fairly large city; both exhibit retrofitting of existing communities (with some new development), coming from different parts of Europe. Our third example (Box 9C) comes from China, which in 2009 overtook the USA to become the world’s largest source of greenhouse gases: it represents the different problem of building a very large low-carbon city more or less from scratch.

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Box 9A Isle of Gigha, Scotland (population 150) Gigha is a rural community on a small west coast island which had seen tough times and declining population until a community buy-out in 2002 formed the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust. Gigha became the first in Scotland to develop a community-owned wind farm, using grant funding and loans to build three wind turbines, approved by a unanimous vote and affectionately called the ‘Dancing Ladies’. Income generated by selling electricity to the grid has been used to renovate and retrofit homes for local inhabitants: the in-character retrofits include solar thermal panels and improved insulation. Once this process has been completed, continuing income will support business start-ups and further wind farm expansion. The island also supports farming, fishing and tourism. The windows of the Trust’s community/information centre display local children’s participation in embedding the principles of renewable self-sufficiency in the rest of the community. (a)

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(c)

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Box 9B Freiburg, Germany (population 200,000) Triggered by a proposal for a nearby nuclear power plant, this old city in the sunniest part of the country underwent a ‘make-over’ in the mid-1980s to become the solar energy capital of Germany, involving research, manufacturing and tourism. Through both new development and retrofits of entire apartment complexes and neighbourhoods, it has incorporated insulation upgrades, extensive photovoltaics, biomass boilers and district energy systems, energy conservation landscaping, and light rapid transit corridors integrated with stormwater management. With distinctive energy-efficient architecture, prominent solar structures, plentiful signage on energy and carbon savings, and a unique surface drainage system on display in the heart of the old town, it is a tourist mecca for green energy enthusiasts and sightseers alike. (a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

(e)

(f)

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Box 9C Dezhou, China (population 600,000) China’s unprecedented growth in recent years has come at a high environmental price: reportedly, only about 1 per cent of China’s nearly 600 million city dwellers breathes air that would be considered safe by European standards, many of China’s rivers and lakes are too polluted for industrial use, let alone agriculture or drinking, and floodwaters have ruined productive arable areas. The immensity of these impacts and the hunger for energy to sustain China’s rise has produced an extraordinary response. In rapidly growing cities like Dezhou, “tens of thousands of farmers have been moved into concrete apartment blocks … [in] what will be China’s clean-technology answer to California’s Silicon Valley”.13 China is now the world’s second-largest market for wind turbines behind the USA and the largest producer of photovoltaic solar panels in the world. Dezhou has been proclaimed China’s ‘Solar City’ in recognition of its solar energy industry and progressive renewable energy policies. Government and industry are working together to create a model city centred around renewable energy. The city requires that all new buildings be equipped with locally made solar water heaters, with a pay-back period for residents of five to six years.14 Municipal authorities have spent more than $10 million to install solar lighting along 100km of wide boulevards. Billboards which once were devoted to political propaganda now advocate low-carbon living. The Sun-Moon Mansion, Himin Solar Energy’s headquarters, with its photovoltaic cells and sun-collecting vacuum tubes, is a vivid symbol of the green technology sector in China.

In Dezhou and its surrounding region (Solar Valley), with over five million inhabitants, former rural residents reportedly love their ability to take hot showers in the dusty environment. Attractive though this is, the long-term cultural impacts of such massive transitions have yet to be seen. While Dezhou is supporting jobs and helping China and the rest of the world to reduce carbon footprint through solar technology, enormous challenges to the community’s resilience remain to be overcome: the area suffers critical and worsening water shortages due in part to climate change, and land once used to produce chickens and crops is disappearing under suburban sprawl, factories and luxury hotels.

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Photos © Greenpeace / Alex Hofford

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Key lessons learned from our look at the big picture in these pioneering communities include: 1

2 3

4

Crises provide opportunities for progress: sometimes the most vulnerable community becomes the poster child, as in Güssing’s conversion to bioenergy. The climate crisis may provide similar opportunities, especially where vulnerabilities stem from the way in which communities have been built (as opposed to inherent geographic exposure to risks) and can be addressed through redesign. Solutions are uniquely local and fitted to their environment, whether it be solar energy in Dezhou or wind in Gigha.15 Local opportunities may be inherent or socio-political ( national energy policy, economic conditions, community history) and therefore capable of redesign or retrofit. Achievements were in most cases attained through a broad community consultation process and collective action. Progress has been made highly visible, recognized fully by the residents, and proven helpful in building community capacity and acceptance. Extensive clear signage has been used to explain the carbon savings and other benefits, and solutions have generally been designed to fit the character of the community. Beneficial side-effects of local climate change solutions have been emphasized (e.g. economic resilience, green tourism and community spirit).

A key message for all communities is that thinking, seeing, and acting locally (‘relocalization’) does not just reduce risks, transport footprints and energy inefficiencies; it also ensures that production is visible and accountable locally. We must never again hide what is actually happening with most of our support systems (food, carbon, energy, water or materials). Transparency of these systems in the community, through visual monitoring, good record-keeping and shared responsibility, will be vital to community well-being, if not to its long-term survival. We can see from the above examples that these are unfinished stories. Freiburg and Güssing still have shopping malls accessed by private cars. According to the Washington Post article cited above, Dezhou still gets most of its electricity from a coal-fired power plant, and residents bought 60,000 new cars in 2009, more than double the number for 2008. Even the pioneering communities have a long way to go to get to a true low-carbonresilient state by 2050, but they have made a strong start. Looking at what other communities have done is just one step towards getting our own communities moving into a different future. Before we look at some practical techniques to assist this process (in Part III), we need 259

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to do some homework on what the future holds for our communities, and discover how we might think about our choices more clearly: we need to improve our foresight.

9.3 Look before you leap – better foresight on community futures Much has been conjectured about the future by science fiction authors, futurists and fortune tellers. The titles of recent ‘popular science’ books convey a bleak message: Jared Diamond’s Collapse or James Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency. History has repeatedly demonstrated how creative civilizations like those of Mesopotamia and Easter Island have outgrown their environment and disappeared. At the end, they may have realized what they were doing, but put in modern terms it is too late to turn the supertanker around by the time the crew sees the rocks. We need ways to see well beyond the immediate horizon. We tend to assume that our surroundings will probably stay more or less the same indefinitely. As is vividly demonstrated in the film Age of Stupid, only in hindsight do we see the scale, pace and inevitable outcomes of change. We are urged to believe that ‘the future is friendly’ (Figure 9.6): the best is yet to come. Yet the climate change science outlined in earlier chapters suggests that the worst is yet to come, though there is still much we can do if we are proactive. As we have seen, most communities and their residents do not have a good picture of how climate change will affect them in the future or what they can do about it. The final section of this chapter proposes some reasonable assumptions about what may happen and looks at some ways in which a community can think critically about its future in the face of climate change.

Glimpsing the future now I believe we can see at least part of the future now. Using the ‘third way’ described in Chapter 3.1, we find that we already have considerable information in our own communities for use in projecting into the future, including the evidence of our own eyes (see Chapters 6 to 8 and Table 9.1). We can see and learn from the evidence of our own past – variations in natural conditions, trends, crises and social responses to them – as a partial guide to the future. We can recognize newly emerging climate change patterns to which we may have to adapt. Looking at various solutions already tried out in communities around the world via the Internet, we can imagine our own possible futures.

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Figure 9.6 ‘The future is friendly’: advertising slogans that foster optimistic projections of a future characterized by clean, efficient technology.

We can also draw on our native common sense. We know there is no ‘free lunch’: we or our children will eventually inherit the consequences of the way we live and how we use or misuse our natural resources. We need to be realistic about the future, even if this is not fashionable or supported by current government policies or business practices. We should acknowledge natural thresholds16 that, if passed, have radical consequences: things like millions of people moving from animal power or bicycles to cars in twentieth-century America or twenty-first-century China. If we stand back now and take a fresh look at our communities through our climate change lens, we can see the bubble in which we have been living (Figure 9.7). In the West and other affluent societies emerging across the world, we believe that what we see around us is normal. In fact we live in an extreme society. Post-war generations have benefited from a unique situation driven by cheap non-renewable fossil fuel. Since the 1950s, the carbon age has allowed us to enjoy spectacular benefits: everything from holidays on Pacific islands to exotic fruits in our local shops and electric eyelash curlers. We are living through the only age in history when whole cultures have been driven, not by energy derived from the sun’s natural environmental cycles, but by essentially external energy sources: formerly inert fossil fuels borrowed from past solar activity, supplemented by

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artificially released nuclear energy. This has enabled us to live for a short time as though there were no limits, to move beyond the natural constraints of the Earth. Figure 9.7 (a, b) The bubble made plain: Beijing’s rush-hour, then and now. By 2020, the Chinese mainland is expected to have 60 per cent of its population in cities.17 The continuing shift from the bicycle as the dominant mode of mass transport to carbon-burning automobiles in pursuit of the American Dream cannot be sustained.

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The collapse of the bubble at some point is inevitable,18 not just because of peak oil or peak gas. Bubbles like stability: they don’t do well with rapid change or without the steady-state climate in which they were formed. It will be a combination of rising energy and carbon prices, massive population growth (by some estimates increasing from seven to nine billion people in the next 50 years), escalating human expectations, and environmental and food/water supply degradation through climate change and human overuse. Demand continues to grow for everything: food, water, concrete, timber, minerals, plastics and, of course, energy (including carbon), yet in many regions soil productivity, water resources and fossil fuel supplies are declining. The thing that is most scarce right now, however, is restraint. We are mining the past to waste the future. We are getting so close to the surface of the bubble that we can begin to see what it looks like outside: a world that is far grittier than the illusion we now inhabit. Out there, energy is again a scarce resource, conserved everywhere out of necessity. Instead of luxuries, we must look for value in other things, such as time and self-sufficiency. It is therefore urgent that, unlike the Easter Islanders, we learn to see our limits more clearly, and to recognize our vulnerabilities as well as our opportunities early enough to change course and reset expectations. What might this post-bubble world look like? Based on what we have seen so far, there seem to be two starkly different pathways into the post-bubble future. On the one hand, we can imagine a ‘business-as-usual’ world which turns into ‘doom and gloom’ when the bubble bursts, with way too many people competing for the Earth’s resources of fresh water, food and ecosystems as all these dwindle under accelerating climate change. On the other, we have seen the pictures of sunny Freiburg or Village Homes in California, with clean energy and contented residents living in compact, relatively low-carbon and self-reliant communities. Which of these contrasting visions will we get? Will there be a soft or a hard landing? We still have a choice if we act now.

What science can tell us about the future Science can provide a window into the future and project outcomes to strive for or avoid. A closer look at the short- and long-term projections from scientific modelling can help us to structure our thinking and frame our expectations on possible futures with climate change.

Scenarios and models Scientists create climate change models of the future using specific scenarios19 based on alternative sets of assumptions about what the world

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will do about carbon emissions. These emission scenarios are fed into scientific models of the atmosphere, the oceans and various environmental interactions, called general circulation models (GCMs), to project how the climate may respond. The scenarios often use standard timelines of 2020, 2050 and 2100 for projecting forward. These time frames may seem like a long way away, until we put them in perspective with our life spans and those of the next generations (Figure 9.8). Current teenagers are likely to experience a world much modified by climate change in the second half of the twenty-first century, and many people born today will see which of the scientists’ more distant projections actually come to pass. I am setting my sights on personally verifying their projections for 2050! 2000

2020

2050

2100

70 years old

40 years old 16 years old

1 year old

16 year old’s child 1 year old’s child

Figure 9.8 Time chart showing which generations are likely to be around in 2100 to see how close the long-term modelling projections came to reality. (Source data: average lifespans in Greater Vancouver Regional District)

These scenarios represent the different pathways society can choose. Essentially, the sooner we can cut our carbon emissions to levels low enough for the Earth’s natural carbon cycle to be able to deal with them, the sooner carbon concentrations will level off and minimize future dangerous impacts beyond what is already inevitable. These carbon-reduction pathways are tied to global stabilization scenarios that cap the carbon concentration in the atmosphere and also cap global warming (e.g. at about 2°C by 2100) (Box 9D). As described in Chapter 1 (Box 1B), stabilizing carbon concentrations in the atmosphere is vital in preventing global warming from getting dramatically worse. This is why setting community-wide carbonreduction targets is so important: the later we stabilize carbon, the higher 264

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the temperature at which stability is reached. It’s like running a bath and then turning back the taps to a tiny trickle so that the inflows are matched by evaporation or other uses of the water; then the bath does not overflow and cause extensive damage. The later we turn down the taps, the higher the water level and the more risk of a disaster.20

Box 9D Linking carbon emissions to global warming stabilization scenarios This series of IPCC charts shows: (a) Alternative global carbon emission scenarios, with those in the shaded area leading to relatively low carbon emissions on different time scales. (b) Resulting CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, mostly stabilizing between 450ppm and 1000ppm. (c) Resulting global mean temperatures stabilizing between +2 and approximately +5°C (relative to 1990).

Only the bottom yellow curve (WRE profile 450) in (a), showing the ‘carbon plunge’ starting about now, may stabilize temperatures at 2°C and may avoid ‘dangerous’ climate change, while enabling an orderly transition.

Stabilization scenarios and growth scenarios How do we relate these scientific scenarios to underlying socio-economic conditions in communities? We can imagine the world that goes on using up resources at current rates as a high-carbon scenario that leads to a temperature rise of 4°C or more and ultimately bursts its bubble. Such conditions have been characterized as ‘Breakdown’ or ‘Fortress World’,21 265

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where the very rich and powerful create well-defended islands in a sea of mayhem, with most outside the gated communities living amid hardship and conflict. An alternative would be a low-carbon world where we make a more orderly transition away from carbon usage and build local resilience to climate change, in the manner of Güssing or Totnes. Sweden has blazed the trail in terms of its economy, growing its gross domestic product (GDP) by 44 per cent between 1990 and 2006 while reducing emissions by almost 9 per cent.22 The Swedish government declared that “greenhouse gas emissions must be stabilised at a level that has no harmful impact on people and the environment”. It made a radical changeover from oil to non-fossil-based energy sources, which has led to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40 per cent since the mid-1970s. Outside Sweden, however, most communities are a long way from disconnecting carbon use from economic growth. Realistically, this means that many communities may do many of the right things in greening society but too slowly to do their bit to prevent global warming. Taking an intermediate pathway that goes gradually greener but where the slow uptake of mitigation is outpaced by growth of population and infrastructure will still result in absolute carbon emissions rising slowly,23 instead of dropping. This appears to be the pathway that most well-intentioned communities are on today, but it will not be enough. To be effective cumulatively, communities have to set and meet an aggressive target level of carbon reduction, somewhere between ending all carbon emissions now and the level associated with stabilizing at a 2°C increase in global warming: such as an 80 per cent reduction by 2050.

The unstoppable and the uncertain Communities need to know the difference between these two types of outcome. Had we been able to cut our carbon emissions massively in 2000 to maintain a constant carbon concentration (effectively stopping almost all carbon emissions from that year on), the models suggest that we could have kept global warming to about 0.6°C above 1990 temperatures (approximately 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels) by 2100 (see bottom pink line in Figure 9.9). By extrapolation, if we did the same thing now, global temperatures by 2100 would be at least 1.3°C above pre-industrial levels.24 This is like a book-end scenario, with the lowest possible carbon emitted and the least possible damage from climate change as a result. Every year we wait, the headroom for staying below 2°C shrinks. We have to accept that some outcomes of climate change are by now effectively certain, predetermined by our past actions and irreversible. Scientists know that even if we alter our course now, some environmental changes will continue for a long time to come (see Figure 6.2). Other outcomes we get to choose as a society.

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There is also a significant financial imperative to address climate change now rather than later. In October 2006, Nicholas Stern estimated that the costs of acting to counter climate change, by stabilising emissions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, might be about 1 per cent of annual global GDP by 2050. But the cost of doing nothing was found to be far greater – risking up to 20 per cent of the world’s wealth. He has since stated that he “underestimated the risks of global warming and the damage that could result from it”.25 Figure 9.9 Global warming projections and past temperatures: the chart shows several different scenarios for temperature increase from 2000 to 2100, ranging from a base-case or ‘book-end’ hypothetical scenario with no further increase in carbon concentrations, through the standard list of IPCC Special Report Emissions Scenarios (SRES) of moderately high (B1) to high-carbon emission (A2) scenarios.26 The ranges to the right of the chart show the uncertainty in the projections due to the different GCMs used and other assumptions.

Communities need to come to terms with the climate change reality: from today onward, continued carbon emissions amount to extra climate change over and above that caused by past emissions. We can call this discretionary climate change because we choose to get this additional and potentially catastrophic climate change. Strictly speaking, we are in control of discretionary climate change. The choice starts with each decision we make: Do we drive to work in our car today or ride the bus or bicycle? The amount of discretionary climate change, caused by society’s choices as shown in the carbon emission scenarios in Figure 9.9, represents one of the two main sources of uncertainty about the future with global warming.27 The other main source is the variation between climate models attempting to capture the incredible complexity of the Earth’s atmosphere system, as 267

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shown in the ranges around each scenario in Figure 9.9. These climate model projections show that the IPCC scenarios with continuing high carbon emissions have fairly similar effects on global warming up until about 2050; this reflects the time-lag from past emissions. Unless we cut our carbon emissions drastically (e.g. stopping most discretionary climate change now as approximated by the bottom pink line in Figure 9.9), we will reach the +2°C threshold (relative to pre-industrial levels) by about 2050. This provides some near-term guidance for communities thinking about worst case strategies for adapting to warming trends. However, communities in different regions may experience very different temperatures from the global averages. For example, the Arctic is already seeing temperatures over 4°C above pre-industrial levels, and interior regions of continents may see double the global averages. At the regional (subnational) scale, variability will be greater, but climate trends in the short term are becoming clearer as climate change projections for temperature (and to some extent precipitation) improve and the trends are backed up by actual monitoring data. Nevertheless, secondary socio-economic impacts are hard to project. Projections beyond 2050 are inevitably less certain. Our collective actions in the next 10 to 20 years will have significant influence in terms of temperature effects on the second half of the twenty-first century and the available pathways remaining for our communities to take (see Chapter 13 for more detailed examples).

Climate impacts by pathway Why should we care which future scenario the world inherits? The reason lies in the magnitude of the consequences (Table 9.2). The difference between two and four degrees increase in global or regional temperatures is enormous in terms of effects on weather, sea level, vegetation change, land use, etc. One sobering thought is that if our mitigation efforts prove inadequate at the community and industrial level, we may have to face the threat of geo-engineering. One option has nations pumping sulphur dioxide into the skies (Figure 9.10) or mounting devices in outer space to shield or deflect sunshine.28 This is one reason why the Stern Report suggests an exponential increase in costs past the two-degree rise in global temperature. These drastic solutions may seem like science fiction to us, but we already live in a world that the novels of Orwell and Arthur C. Clarke warned us about a few decades ago. There is no time like the present.

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Table 9.2 Examples of projected differences in climate change impacts at different levels of global warming (adapted from the Stern Report29) Representative systems impacted

Impacts expected at approximately 2°C (relative to pre-industrial temperatures)

Impacts expected at approximately 4–5°C (relative to pre-industrial temperatures)

Ecosystems

“Coral reef ecosystems extensively and eventually irreversibly damaged”

“Many species face extinction (20–50 per cent in one study)”

Water supply

“Small mountain glaciers disappear worldwide – potential threat to water supplies in several areas”

More than a billion people suffer water shortages in the 2080s

Terrestrial and coastal environments

“Rising intensity of storms, forest fires, droughts, flooding and heatwaves”

“Sea-level rise threatens major world cities, including London, Shanghai, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong”; “Rising sea levels will result in tens to hundreds of millions more people flooded each year … 200 million people may become permanently displaced.”

Loss of about half of the Arctic tundra

Perceiving local community futures Perhaps we can craft some plausible assumptions for visioning alternative futures for our own communities by combining the scientists’ projections with our common sense and local knowledge. Chapters 11 to 13 will discuss ways to map out and envision local futures in more depth. In the meantime, a few home truths need to become universally accepted if we are to improve our collective foresight and do some serious planning for our future communities. First, all communities need some specific targets on which to set their sights for reducing carbon emissions and for building resilience. The speed and depth of necessary emission cuts are not widely grasped, and therefore the sense of urgency is missing. Communities will have to make many difficult choices to change individual and collective behaviours. The longer we wait, the more drastic the actions we take will have to be.

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Figure 9.10 Some concerned scientists are seriously planning for massive geo-engineering solutions if global warming reaches more severe levels, such as using a giant parasol in space to shade the Earth or technologies such as ’cloud-ships’ to generate more cloud cover or aerosols in the atmosphere.

Second, we need training in local climate change literacy and some solid capacity building to deal with the new realities of climate change and to give communities the know-how to make better decisions affecting their future. 270

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Third, we need to ramp up our collective efforts. Future pathways for any community have to be about scaling up from the few good examples (like those we have seen from our tour of community landscapes in Chapters 7 and 8). As Professor David MacKay explains: To achieve our goal of getting off fossil fuels … reductions in demand and increases in [renewable energy] supply must be big. Don’t be distracted by the myth that ‘every little helps’. If everyone does a little, we’ll achieve only a little. We must do a lot. What’s required are big changes in demand and supply.30 We can’t get to 80 per cent reduction by 2050, or even 33 per cent reduction by 2020, with people making 10 to 15 per cent cuts in their carbon-using activities. From an individual action perspective, we need not one house in a neighbourhood converted to passive solar or solar thermal hot water, but 70 per cent of each block. Similarly, at the community level we need not just a public swimming pool with geothermal and photovoltaics, but whole districts running on renewable energy. Lastly, to avoid falling short of critical targets, communities need to develop a structured transition plan31 into a different future. Chapter 13 presents a new visioning approach to such planning. We can expect many problems when the climate change lens reveals the fragile unsustainable bubble we inhabit, and people are asked to give up some cherished aspects of their lifestyles in return for long-term sustainability. To move forward on an accelerated path to deal with climate change, it is important for communities to start imagining alternatives to the status quo, futures which are still recognizable as the places they love, but offering low-carbon lifestyles that are resilient, sustainable and attractive. This is where the role of better tools and processes comes in. More relevant, more inclusive and more compelling information, rapidly transmitted with visual media, will be crucial. In particular, visualization of future communities, informed by the best science and local input, can unlock possible pathways by engaging, informing and motivating people to make sensible choices, giving citizens and councils a tangible vision of the targets they are signing up for (Box 9E). Part III explains various ways to do this.

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Box 9E An example of scaling up In West Vancouver, city staff calculated that we needed 10 per cent of the houses per year to conduct home audits and energy-efficiency retrofits, in order to meet our adopted 33 per cent GHG reduction target for housing by 2020. Ideas to encourage residents to join in included capacity-building forums, community competitions and awards for improving energy efficiency, negotiating bulk discounts for audits on the first 100 homes, agreements with hardware suppliers for favourable prices, and pressuring the Provincial government to introduce more incentives and extended loan pay-back schemes. At a community energy forum to help build public awareness and support, one of the exhibits (see below) showed a typical West Vancouver family home before and after an in-character retrofit, including passive solar extension, improved insulation, solar thermal water heating, photovoltaics for an electric car, partial green roof and green shading trellis wall. As a result, this family’s emissions would be reduced from 21  tonnes to 7 tonnes CO2 per year. This is the type of retrofit that needs to be scaled up across the community.

Before Renovation

After Renovation

How far will Climateville residents have come by 2020? Will they go through their own paradigm shift, or simply fall in line with the policy goals of the awakening town council and the personal examples set by Farah and Emily? Fast forwarding to 2020 (Box 9F), at first glance the neighbourhood may not seem outwardly to have changed that much: bike lanes have been introduced, some traffic calming has been installed, and cars seem to be getting smaller on average, but otherwise the neighbourhood looks similar. However, we can see some shifts in behaviour under way, with implementation of some solutions by a few block residents. It is however a mixed bag of altered perceptions and remaining barriers.

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Box 9F How the carbon characters of Climateville have changed by 2020

Adam: Seeing climate change

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Adam is still denying that climate change is manmade and thinks the issue is overblown, so he avoids it wherever possible. Technically, he has seen the evidence of climate change on his block in the floods and increasingly unusual storm damage, but believes it has nothing to do with global warming, and is due to sunspots. He has had to cancel boating trips several times lately due to unpredictable weather.

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Bella: Caring, and acting on climate change

Bella had already advanced to the point of recognizing local effects of climate change, as well as noticing Dinos’s home improvements in cutting carbon. She had even begun to adapt, though not mainly for climate change reasons: she planted shrubs to replace the lawn that goes an ugly brown in most summers, and was thinking of turning her south-facing porch into a passive solar greenhouse to grow her own food like Farah. But the thing that really made her care was when a huge branch fell from the lime trees and dented her car roof, making her wonder what would have happened if her daughter Bethany had been there at the time. It scared her enough to start going to the council and lobbying for adaptation measures like tree hazard reduction. She bought a used Smart car to economize on higher petrol prices. She has also taken up cycling to work two days a week, to help keep her weight down.

Charles: Recognizing climate change

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Charles too has moved forward a little in his thinking, having talked to Dinos and Bella, and come around to acknowledging that climate change may be the reason why the floods and destructive storms are more frequent. He redid his garden to change the drainage and finally got around to planting some new apple and pear trees to increase his own food supply, but at his age he is not sure it was worth all the effort. He drives less than he used to as his eyesight is getting worse.

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Dinos: Acting on climate change

Dinos now cares a lot about climate change and has initiated some mitigation measures as early signs of action on the block. Back in Caring 2012, he decided not to wait any longer for the council to Recogmove on incentives, and nizing renovated his home: he increased the insulation, put Knowing Hearing in triple-glazing, and installed Aw a re an energy-efficient small nes s Seeing downstairs suite so that he could take in a lodger to help Lo c a l Lan dscape pay back his costs and share power usage. Later, he installed the first solar thermal panels on the block on his garage roof to heat his water, once the regulations were streamlined by the council. He has been talking about the benefits and costs of his climate change plans to his neighbours. He has also changed jobs to one with less travel, and cycles more.

Emily: Acting on climate change

Emily is getting too frail to change much in her home, but has been helping Farah with a climate change photo album of the area to inform Caring the neighbours. At Farah’s suggestion, she convinced RecogCharles to accompany them nizing to a couple of public visioning workshops for the council’s Knowing Hearing ‘Community Greening’ Aw a re campaign in 2015 on nes s Seeing preparing for climate change. This campaign was quite the Lo c a l Lan dscape talking point for some months with its spectacular animated visuals of ‘Climateville 2050’ showing realistic 3D street views, produced by a local college using free ‘Google Universe’ software. Unlike Charles, Emily supported plans for neighbourhood traffic calming and construction of a dedicated bike lane replacing parking along one side of their street. They don’t argue about it though, and have been seeing more of each other lately!

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Farah: Acting on climate change

Farah led the initiative to install more rain-water barrels on the block and compost heaps to reduce rubbish collection and improve the Caring soil for growing vegetables. She moved to a larger Recogupstairs suite in the same nizing apartment building with her partner, though vowing to Knowing Hearing live within the same energy Aw a re footprint she had before. nes s Seeing With her friends at the New Green Party, she successfully Lo c a l Lan dscape lobbied to have chickens and rabbits permitted in backyards as a food source. Farah helped develop a proposal for a community-wide adaptation plan with a council working group; some of the ideas were later adopted in the Community Greening campaign plans. Action

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Now everyone on the block except Adam fully recognizes that climate change is at work in their community. There have been no major collective efforts yet among the block members, but one can see the beginnings in Farah’s neighbourhood initiatives. It is a positive sign that the carbon characters are moving in this direction, albeit slowly, because it shows that climate action is happening, and becoming embedded in shifting cultural norms. These in turn promise further moves into more complex and far-reaching solutions, taking the neighbourhood across the tipping point where most people are acting or seriously making their action plans. By 2020, overall carbon footprints for the block have peaked and fallen slightly (between 5 and 10 per cent), due mostly to the changes made by Bella and Dinos, and Farah’s continuing efforts. Dinos calculates that his footprint has dropped more than the 33 per cent reduction target he set himself, and may be closer to 15 tonnes CO2 per year. There is though still a long way to go for the block as a whole in meeting the council’s targets for 80 per cent reduction by 2050, especially now that the easy jobs have been done. In Chapter 14, we will take a leap of faith and see how the carbon characters have progressed by the mid-twenty-first century.

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Summary Chapter 9 covered the big picture on climate change, how the carbon chain, climate change impacts and solutions interact in the community. Despite the evidence around us, currently our society often fails to see the signs or chooses to ignore the constant messages the environment is sending us. We have seen how mitigation and adaptation can either conflict or converge depending on how they are planned, and have observed encouraging examples of communities that are moving towards being low carbon, resilient and attractive through retrofit and redesign. Seeing into the future is hard, but not impossible. To help set carbonreduction targets and frame people’s expectations, this chapter has provided an overview of relevant scientific projections of future scenarios. The evidence shows that a certain amount of climate change impact to 2050 is unavoidable based on our past actions. However, there is still time to keep these impacts to a manageable level provided that we collectively shift to a low-carbon, more resilient lifestyle starting now.

Notes 1 Based mostly on the author’s experiences, discussions and research with communities in North America and Europe, literature review, and interpretation of media coverage worldwide. 2 WMO (2010); Gronewold (2010). 3 Robinson et al. (2006). 4 Sheppard et al. (2008). 5 Frank and Engelke (2001). 6 Based on Sheppard et al. (2008); also Hank Dittmar, Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, www.princes-foundation.org/files/0906_ps4_Dittmar. pdf. This description draws also on the principles of regenerative communities (Lyle, 1994) and sustainable communities (Condon, 2010). 7 See www.villagehomesdavis.org/public/about/commons_gardens. 8 See http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90853/6931735.html. 9 See www.cabe.org.uk/case-studies/bedzed/description. 10 See http://olympichostcity.vancouver.ca/mediaroom/feature-stories/ southeast-false-creek.htm. 11 See http://climatex.org/wolvercote/. 12 See www.goingcarbonneutral.co.uk/. 13 Higgins (2010). 14 See www.greenpeace.org/china/en/campaigns/countdown-to-copenhagen/ dezhou-solar-story. 15 Though often enabled or encouraged by ‘feed-in tariffs’: guaranteed higher prices for the purchase of self-generated renewable energy.

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16 Sajay Samuel, Pennsylvania State University, on CBC Radio “Ideas”: How To Think About Science, Part 11, “Common Sense”. 17 Jing (2006). 18 The actual breaking point is not universally agreed on by scientists and authors, nor indeed whether it will be a soft or a hard landing. See Odum and Odum (2001). 19 Projections and scenarios describe plausible alternative future conditions given a coherent set of assumptions, without necessarily addressing probability or likelihood; forecasts and predictions describe what is expected to happen given currently available information. 20 Reducing carbon concentrations below current levels would be safer still, as advocated by some scientists, serious authors and NGOs like 350.org. Carbon concentrations stabilizing at lower levels mean less climate disruption. 21 Raskin et al. (2002). 22 Fouché (2008). 23 Per capita or personal carbon footprints may well drop, but the overall carbon levels still go up as the community population increases. 24 Stabilizing concentrations at current levels would give us a decent chance of stabilizing temperature rise below 2°C: “To have a good chance (not a guarantee) of avoiding temperatures above those levels, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide would need to peak below about 400 to 450 ppm and stabilize in the long-term at around today’s levels” (Hassol, n.d.). 25 McCarthy (2009). 26 According to IPCC (2000), B1 is a convergent world with the same global population as in the A1 storyline but with rapid changes in economic structures toward a service and information economy, with reductions in material intensity, and the introduction of clean and resource-efficient technologies … A2 is a very heterogeneous world with continuously increasing global population and regionally oriented economic growth that is more fragmented and slower than in other storylines. 27 28 29 30 31

Schneider (n.d.). Hoffert et al. (2001); Rasch et al. (2008). Stern (2007). MacKay (2009, p.114). Hopkins (2008).

Further reading Condon, P. (2010) Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities, Island Press, Washington, DC. Diamond, J. (2005) Collapse, Viking Press, New York. Kunstler, J.H. (2005) The Long Emergency, Grove Press, New York. Learch, D. (2008) Post Carbon Cities, New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada.

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Lyle, J. (1994) Regenerative Design for Sustainable Communities, John Wiley & Sons Inc, New York. Robinson, J., Bradley, M., Busby, P., Connor, D., Murray, A., Sampson, B. and Soper, W. (2006) ‘Climate change and sustainable development: Realizing the opportunity’, Ambio, 35 (1): 2–8. Sheppard, S., Pond, E. and Campbell, C. (2008) ‘Low-carbon, attractive, resilient communities: New imperatives for sustainable retrofitting of existing neighbourhoods’, paper presented at Council for European Urbanism Third International Congress, Oslo, Norway.

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PART

III

Switching lenses Changing minds with visual learning tools

Part III focuses on practical visual techniques to overcome the gaps and disconnects in our perceptions of carbon and climate change, by making them more visible at the community level. Part II showed some ways to sharpen our own perceptions through observation of community landscapes, armed with some knowledge of the science. Part III provides some additional tools to help many others learn to see with a climate change lens, motivating people to act by helping them know, see and recognize climate change in the community and to envision appropriate solutions in their future. Something special happens when we look at images of places we know and love. For millennia, our very survival depended on ‘reading’ the landscape: understanding the seasons and the movement of animals, interpreting the condition of waterways or the behaviour of neighbouring clans. As we have seen, carefully observed, the landscape can convey huge quantities of detailed information that is personally meaningful. We are steadily losing our ability to read the landscape in our urbanizing society, but I believe we can and should reverse that trend. We can change how people see, by conveying climate change messages clearly in the landscape, in visual presentations and via processes to engage the community. We can harness the power of site design, signs, photography, maps, film, video-games and science-based visualizations of the future to improve visual literacy skills. Major shifts in perception and behaviour within the community are urgently needed. Fostering a better informed community with more confidence, motivation and capacity should lead to increased support for local planning efforts and action to deal with the threats of carbon and climate change. The hope is that social norms and values will adjust to make climate disruption and its causes in the community unacceptable.

Part III provides practical visual examples of how to make our current climate change practices more visible and transparent, using a range of visual media, landscape displays and processes to deliver them. It also offers practical guidance that communities, planners, social activists and educators can use to build awareness and capacity, support decision-making and set new policies. These techniques are intended to add value to the tools and processes already being used in fields such as social marketing, social networking, public service announcements, community education and community planning. Applied systematically, visual learning tools could make accurate, meaningful, locally controlled visual media widely accessible to the community, on a par with the communication powers of commercial advertisements. The hope is that it will generate similar influence, but with the aim of changing behaviour and encouraging positive action against climate change rather than just increasing consumption. We can put visual imagery to work in promoting action on climate change in two related ways: 1. 2.

by enhancing the visibility of carbon management and climate change to be more noticeable and meaningful in the community landscape; by providing more salient and compelling information on carbon emissions, impacts, mitigation and adaptation via visual media.

Chapters 10–13 describe techniques from the simple to the more sophisticated or novel. Many of these techniques can be carried out with existing resources. Chapter 10 deals with ways to enhance the landscape through physical interventions and community actions, to strengthen messaging on climate change. The remaining chapters look at visual media and supporting information used to convey current and future climate change conditions. Chapter 11 reviews general graphics, mapping and mixed media for use within the community. Chapter 12 brings in more specialized 3D and 4D visualization of community landscapes, where some external expertise may be required. Finally, Chapter 13 discusses ways of engaging people in future visioning processes on local climate change. All of these techniques can work in concert, and support each other. The reader can skip to whichever of these techniques are considered most applicable, although Chapters 11 and 12 in particular feed into the comprehensive visioning process described in Chapter 13. In each chapter, we explain: ◆

Why these techniques might help, ranging from promising new ideas to detailed case studies where much has been learned about their effectiveness.



How the techniques work, including step-by-step processes and examples of toolsets and products.



What next in overcoming challenges to the techniques: how to roll out and strengthen the techniques, with limitations, cautions and recommendations, given the early and experimental nature of some of these applications.

These techniques draw on what we have learned from the review of community landscapes in Chapters 5 to 9. With a complex and sometimes controversial subject like climate change and the use of persuasive communication tools, it is vital to have guidelines which anyone can follow to foster fair and effective methods. Based on the social psychology underpinnings described in Chapters 2 to 4, I have identified five guidelines for visual communication and engagement with climate change in the community (Box IIIA).1 These guidelines apply to the content, development process and presentation of visual learning tools. Such tools need to translate dry scientific data into local and personal contexts, allowing community members to experience and interpret the messages and solutions for themselves.

Box IIIA Guidelines for applying visual learning tools to communicate and engage with climate change in community settings 1 Clarity: make it easily seen and understood ◆ be clear: make it informative, sending an unambiguous message, not too complicated or subtle (with layers of information if people want to go deeper);



make it vivid and conspicuous, to stand out from its background, attract attention and be memorable, sending as strong a message as possible.

2 Trust: make it honest, balanced and verifiable ◆ be accurate: try to match reality and stay true to underlying data without errors or bias, avoiding tokenism and disclosing possible negative as well as positive implications and any uncertainty in knowledge or future projections;



make it credible: use trusted and authoritative sources, with best available information; follow scientific and professional standards and involve local experts in the process;



be transparent: explain where the information came from, how the work was done, how to verify its legitimacy;



keep it respectful: don’t be too judgemental or trample on local sensitivities; give people space to air their own views and information.

Box IIIA continued 3 Engagement: keep it interesting and inclusive ◆ make it interesting and experiential, even fun: use techniques that are novel, dynamic, animated, participatory and interactive, in order to ‘get ‘em in the door’, enhance learning and keep people motivated;



make it accessible: ensure public availability of information for all, not only those with Internet or IPods;



use multiple media or ‘channels’ to engage different kinds of people with different learning styles.

4 Connectivity: link climate change to people, place and context ◆ make it meaningful: relevant to typical local conditions, important community issues and community identity;



make it personal: useful, positive and empowering to the individuals concerned;



show the big picture (causes/impacts/mitigation/adaptation), as long as it does not become too complex or overwhelming.

5 Feasibility: keep it practical ◆ keep it cost-effective and don’t overstretch available resources; ◆ keep it usable, repeatable by others and maintainable. Many of these guidelines conform with the generally accepted maxim of tailoring the communication approach to the audience (e.g. in identifying what is salient or credible to a particular community or stakeholder group). On the other hand, some visual media can be grasped across many cultures and interest groups, offering the prospect of consistent credible visual information seen by all. Until we have more complete evidence on how visual communication on climate change works in practice, the guidelines above are offered as a logical, cautious and neutral framework for further testing with communities.

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Landscape messaging Making climate change more visible in the community

10.1 What is landscape messaging? Seeing is believing. In this chapter, we look at ways to enhance visual literacy by making climate change more noticeable and understandable in the community landscape. ‘Landscape messaging’ refers to real-world techniques for revealing the signs of a major phenomenon like carbon/climate change, by modifying the community landscape. This can be done through a variety of means from interpretive signage and labelling (Figure 10.1) to visible volunteer work programmes and large-scale landscape redesign. It involves packaging scientific or verifiable information for display in a landscape context.

Figure 10.1 Might seeing that this ice-cream is made using clean local green power affect your purchasing choice?

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Goals and objectives of landscape messaging The purpose of landscape messaging is to make it easier for us to recognize what we are doing about climate change (for better or worse), by helping us to see the landscape and everyday surroundings in new ways that disclose carbon/climate change and reinforce climate-friendly behaviour. Specifically, landscape messaging can: ◆

reveal: making visible that which is currently invisible;



accentuate: making the merely visible more prominent or highlighted;



interpret: making the visible clearly understandable and informative, expressing its meaning (Figure 10.2).

Figure 10.2 Interpretive signage for a Scottish wind farm located astride the Kintyre Way, a long-distance walking trail.

Rationale for technique It is critical to make the evidence of carbon and climate change come alive in the landscape in order to convey the message that change is necessary and not optional. This immersion of the viewer in real-world information represents a different and more direct pathway (the ‘third way’ in Figure 3.1) for ordinary community members to gain vital knowledge, beyond reading about climate change in the newspapers or watching a TV 286

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documentary. Highlighting the local causes, impacts or solutions to climate change as they relate to water supplies, food production or energy can help the public to recognize high-carbon and low-carbon lifestyles, or remind them of local vulnerabilities to climate change. Giving high visibility to best practices and early adopters of new technologies can encourage others to apply their own solutions. Over time it should increase transparency of the community support systems we all depend upon. How do we know that the landscape messaging approach will work? Box 10A describes an interesting Australian study that captures the impact of engaging people in a local landscape affected by climate change, using photography to convey messages.

Box 10A A ‘photovoice’ technique engages a coastal community in Australia The photovoice research project, ‘At the water’s edge’, which gives voice to communities exploring the threats and impact of climate change and rising sea levels, was conducted during an environmental art symposium in the Noosa Biosphere Reserve in June 2009. Participants were invited to take photos of the local environment illustrating both local and global threats posed by climate change. This research partnership with local people demonstrated an innovative visualisation technique which can be used to build capacity and consensus about adaptation to climate change. It also contributed to the Biosphere Reserve’s educational and cultural aims in relation to the problem.2 More than half of the locals and visitors responding to their own and others’ photographs in the exhibit reported that the project raised their awareness of climate change, and 69 per cent of those taking the photographs reported being empowered to take action by the experience.

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This approach of conveying the reality and meaning of climate change through landscape messaging is relatively new and untested. Throughout history, however, people have successfully embedded messages in landscapes. Successful marketers, from the French Sun King Louis XIV with his grandiose palaces and vast formal gardens, to twentieth-century commercial banks with their towering skyscrapers topped by brightly lit logos, understand the importance of conveying their ‘brands’ and messages to the masses. The City of Toronto in 2003 skilfully employed the iconic symbol of a large wind turbine at Exhibition Place to promote awareness of its ambitious renewable energy programme. There have though been few attempts to convey public service information and indicators of environmental health at this scale.3 It is known that first-hand involvement in outdoor projects such as forest restoration 4 can lead to greater understanding and acceptance of good management practices. Some landscape architectural projects have attempted to increase public awareness and promote sustainable behaviour by revealing ecological processes through what has been called eco-revelatory design. These projects range from capturing rain-water in rain-gardens before it disappears into a storm drain, to commemorating a lost stream by planting a row of willows or painting a blue line along the path of the original creek (Figure 10.3).

Figure 10.3 Blue marks the spot: landscape messaging of an underground stream that once ran free through what is now the centre of West Vancouver.

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Landscape architects, such as John Lyle, believe that: Making visible the ecological processes that support life is an important part of this emerging landscape. The child who grows up in a regenerative city of the 21st century will know very well where the water she drinks comes from and where her wastes go. She will have an inner feeling for the atmospheric fluxes that make cool and warm places, and she will know how food grows and in what season. All this will be part of her daily experience.5 Others, like Joan Nassauer, assert that vivid ’cues to care’ in the landscape may encourage others to recognize sustainable management of the land and perhaps even emulate it.6 If we look at the direct marketing side, there is hard data on the use of small labels on products, which have been shown often not to influence the purchasing decisions of most consumers.7 On the other hand, the use of graphic visual images on advertisements and cigarette boxes have been shown to work for decades in influencing the behaviour of smokers (Figure 10.4), whether it is reinforcing behaviour patterns or discouraging them.

Figure 10.4 In Canada, graphic images of diseased lungs, reproduced in full colour on cigarette packets, have been credited with discouraging people from smoking.

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Social marketers, who use the same techniques to promote social conscience rather than merchandise, understand that locating signs near the site of the behaviour that needs to be changed can be very effective (e.g. signs below switches reminding you to turn off lights). These prompts should be easy to see and understand.8 Keith Goodman, with Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, has talked about the need for wider public signalling on climate change, citing the example of hybrid cars: One reason the Prius has been so successful is because it’s distinctivelooking. Prius owners brand themselves with it. But when you look at other things you can do, like get your home weatherized, that’s totally invisible. All those peer and social effects don’t happen.9 Rob Hopkins of the Transition Town movement stresses the importance of creating “practical manifestations in the town, high visibility signals that (the Transition project) means business. The power that doing this has to affect both people’s perceptions of the project and their willingness to engage is huge.”10 Early signals in the community, he says, should be “uncontroversial and photogenic”. These messaging ideas can be experienced ‘in the flesh’ in the community landscape, and also shared visually through communication channels such as the news media and social networking sites.

10.2 How to do landscape messaging

Figure 10.5 The familiar ‘Hollywood’ sign in Los Angeles is one example of landscape messaging.

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Most communities already have the tools to carry out at least the initial steps in developing a landscape messaging programme; expert help is not necessary to kick-start local climate change action. There are four steps: 1 2 3 4

Conducting a visual inventory of what aspects of climate change are already occurring in the community. Evaluating opportunities and constraints in making climate change components more visible. Designing specific ways to make climate change causes, impacts, mitigation and adaptation more visible in the landscape. Implementation of the chosen landscape messaging ideas.

Step I Landscape inventory What climate change aspects are already present and visible in the community? In lieu of comprehensive scientific studies on local or regional climate change, communities need a systematic approach to inventorying their characteristics in terms of climate change, and the potential for landscape messaging to build awareness. The goal is to establish a baseline assessment of visual indicators of carbon consumption and other aspects of climate change, by looking at what already exists in the community. All that is required is common sense and basic but systematic visual data collection through simple survey techniques in order for a community to get a ‘read’ on its carbon footprint and climate change vulnerabilities/solutions. Just the act of looking systematically for signs of climate change will reveal new information previously overlooked. There are really two things we are inventorying: ◆

what causes, impacts and solutions of climate change occur in the community;



how visible they are currently.

Each community can create a climate change photo album of its own using CIMA categories along the lines of Chapters 5 to 8, but fitted to their local conditions. This visual resource can be a valuable learning tool on its own, as a way of conveying the breadth of climate change implications locally, as well as a visual baseline of conditions that can be monitored over time to assess changes due to global warming and community action. A visual inventory does not need to be super-complicated or highly scientific. It is based on simple observation. I regularly get my students at UBC to do a

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similar exercise for their own neighbourhoods, and it can also make a good field trip exercise for high school pupils. It may be enough simply to photo-document these aspects of climate change in the community, but it often helps to convince others if you can derive some key statistics from your observations of selected indicators. The Transition Town movement advocates collecting some basic data on the current practices of your town, whether in terms of energy consumption, food miles, or amount of food consumed … a few key indicators around key elements of how the place functions. How much arable land is there, how many cars come and go each day? …Ratio of car-parking space to productive land use.11 Box 10B gives an example of a quick informal survey that you could do as an observant ‘tourist’ in your own town or village, to generate some telling numbers.

Box 10B Extracts from a recent email sent by a friend on a sailing holiday in the Mediterranean, using a climate change lens to ‘survey’ an unfamiliar landscape We can see how easy it is for careful observers without formal training in energy or climate change to quantify simply some key indicators that say a lot about a community’s carbon footprint and resilience. As I walk around these small places in Europe I am struck by a few things: 1. 2.

3. 4.

5.

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Density is so much higher … a dense, walking street, cobble-stone, winding pedestrian-path community. Cars are much much smaller – most are diesel, engines are small. Even big Mercedes you see … [have] 1.8 to 2.2 litre diesels powering cars that would get a 6 litre V8 gas engine in Canada. There are no hybrids to speak of. Scooters are everywhere – not so many bikes – but 1:1 cars to scooters. Energy is expensive. Diesel is 1.40 Euros a litre or about $2.00; gas about $2.50. … Electricity … when compared to our 6 cents/kWh in BC, it’s still 3–5x in price. There are solar hot water heaters everywhere – in some of the Greek Islands I’d reckon ~50 per cent of the houses and buildings have one  sort of solar collector on the roof. There are a fair number of windmills. …

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There are definitely things that the Europeans can teach us about conservation – and we can teach them about healthier lifestyles, smoking bylaws, and wearing helmets while riding a scooter – while carrying lumber and their 4 year old on their lap and talking on a cell phone.

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To begin to do this systematically as your own research project, all you need is a clipboard and pen, a simple digital camera with reasonable resolution, a folding garden chair and a bottle of water. You can start in your front garden, or in a local park, or near a shopping mall, and note down anything you see or hear that falls into the categories shown in the columns of the CIMA checklist in Box 10C. You can customize the checklist as necessary to fit your community’s needs; sometimes it can be useful to record climate change features by different land uses (e.g. residential, commercial or industrial). You can record items on the checklist at the scale of your own block, or expand it through a ‘windshield survey’ (preferably on foot!) of, say, a six- or eight-block area, to build up the wider community inventory. Perhaps others will join in to help you.

Box 10C CIMA checklist of visual indicators of community-level carbon and climate change LOCAL CLIMATE CHANGE COMMUNITY LANDSCAPE SYSTEMS Building energy systems Transportation systems Food/fibre use/production Architecture Open space/parks and ecosystems Water resources Other utilities/infrastructure (e.g. powerlines) Material consumption/waste/ reuse/recycling Social programmes/activities Lifestyles Signage Other

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CAUSES (high carbon footprints)

IMPACTS and vulnerability

MITIGATION (low carbon footprints)

ADAPTATION (resilience)

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Focusing on carbon footprint in the checklist, for example, you could record indicators such as the ratio of conventional motor vehicles to alternative energy vehicles (e.g. electric scooters) or non-motorized transport (bicycles, walkers, etc.) in your neighbourhood in an hour. Count the number of garages, and cars parked in the street, and then estimate the number of households per block to get an idea of the number of vehicles per household. My students have carried out case studies where they do a one-hour traffic survey at a busy crossroads and count the proportion of single-occupant drivers and types of vehicle, to get a rough idea of the dominant modes of transport (Figure 10.6). You could also count patio heaters or the amount of time you can hear leaf-blowers at work burning carbon. Pretty quickly you will have amassed a rough picture of the extent of carbon usage in your own neck of the woods. This is what we might call a grass-roots or participatory carbon inventory: we do not have to wait for the experts to provide an official one, useful though that would be as a more reliable benchmark.

Figure 10.6 Results of informal traffic count conducted in West Vancouver by students on Friday, 19 September 2008 between 8.30 and 9.30 a.m.

You can even do a simple energy audit by counting apartment building boilers, ventilation systems or air-conditioner units which can often be heard from the street. If you want to take it to the next level to audit energy use, you can gather utility bills from the homes of people you know, or official energy audits where these have been done. While these informal surveys may not be completely accurate, together with photodocumentation they can provide a concrete initial representation of visible climate change causes, impacts and vulnerabilities, mitigation/retrofit potential, or adaptation opportunities, until such time as more sophisticated inventories are available. 295

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If you need to add up numbers or extrapolate to areas beyond your block or immediate neighbourhood, you can do simple numbers on a spreadsheet or you may have to get spatial. There are many precedents for doing community mapping that are adaptable to climate change (Box 10D). Other examples of climate change mapping may be found in Chapter 11.

Box 10D Precedents and examples of community mapping 1. General community mapping: includes community asset mapping where volunteers or community groups develop their own mapping of key local features and history, traditional use mapping by Canadian First Nation communities, and inventories for community-led plans advocated by Rural Community Councils across the UK. 2. Quick sketch mapping of high- and low-carbon landscape features based on an aerial photo, such as ‘car habitat mapping’ of a back lane in a residential neighbourhood by one UBC student in Vancouver. 3. GIS (Geographic Information Systems) mapping of climate change causes, vulnerabilities and mitigation opportunities, as done by UBC students for a neighbourhood in West Vancouver, showing estimated energy usage by house type/neighbourhood.

Panorama – 75.09 GJ/Unit British Properties East – 168.89 GJ/Unit Glenmore – 372.27 GJ/Unit British Properties Central – 409.26 GJ/Unit Canterbury/Chartwell – 466.09 GJ/Unit Whitby Estates – 620.07 GJ/Unit

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One exciting way of connecting locally observed information with that of other communities is through what is called Public Participation GIS (PPGIS), where people enter their own data into an online spatial database: What if we could exploit the collective reality of what emerges from multiple and consistent observations around the world? The Global Climate Change Mapping Project is designed to collect and display the ‘people’s view’ of climate change by offering the opportunity for anyone to identify environmental changes that may be due to climate change … when you combine easy-to-use mapping technology with the global reach of the internet.12 This approach taps local knowledge in communities by giving people a simple, structured way to locate and describe changes in their landscape that may be due to climate change (Figure 10.7), though information quality may be very variable unless more systematic methods (as proposed in this book) or scientific verification are used. It could also be extended to map causes and solutions for climate change.

Figure 10.7 Data points with annotations on observed local climate change impacts, entered by contributors around the world using a Google Maps interface developed by the Landscape Values and PPGIS Institute; this example is from Washington State. Map data © 2011 Google.

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Step 2 Opportunities and constraints mapping Where are the best places to put landscape messaging in a given community? Once a community landscape inventory has been set up, the new data can be interpreted to produce a second map that shows the best opportunities in the community for clear landscape messaging on climate change. The community can consider which items on the inventory would be the most important to display or the most visually distinct, as well as where the most viewers could go and see the messaging (e.g. the best safe place to view river flooding or an operating wind farm). This prioritizes the best locations for interventions and signage in the landscape to ‘get the biggest bang for the buck’, as well as suggesting possible tour routes or school trips for observing a range of climate change issues along the way. In addition, a checklist approach also reveals those important causes, impacts and solutions of climate change which may be present but are hidden or unclear, and could perhaps be visually enhanced for easier recognition. It shows what currently constrains us from seeing carbon or climate change in the community (e.g. buried gas mains and streams, well-insulated energy-efficient homes with no external visual clues, and electric vehicles that are banned on public roadways in many North American communities). This would get the community thinking how we could visually communicate what is really happening (see Toolsets below), and what barriers need to be removed to foster solutions and awareness of them (e.g. ending bylaws banning electric vehicles or solar panels: see Step 4 below).

Step 3 Design and production of enhanced messaging How to develop the messages? Climate change messaging is not ‘one size fits all’. There is scope for considerable creativity in designing potential interventions and achieving effective results, using distinctive local signage, vegetation control to maintain sight lines, community tours and so on. Messaging solutions need to fit the specific locale and the local populace/culture (e.g. signs should respect local aesthetic norms where possible, but obviously cannot be hidden from view). Some of these projects would involve key roles for landscape architects, civil engineers, architects and graphic designers. However, interventions should be designed with extensive community input, to ensure community buy-in. This is not about outside experts

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educating the community, it is about the community educating itself. A collaborative process, as in the school poster project about resilience on Gigha in Scotland (Chapter 9), would nurture and harvest local ideas and mobilize volunteer resources (see Chapter 13). Landscape messaging does not need to be expensive if designed at an early stage into ongoing activities that are already budgeted, for example, providing conspicuous physical markers of historical and projected river flood levels as part of restoration schemes or dyke engineering work. Similar markers can be added for tree lines or snow depths along trail systems. Other cost-effective landscape messages can be done as part of ongoing public landscape maintenance, simply by trimming a high hedge to reveal a green roof or passivhaus system; or opening up views and providing interpretive signage for landscape features such as watercourses and storage areas, landslide hazards, fuel-reduction practices in fire-prone forested areas and so on. Another idea is to build literacy on the shifting of annual key dates due to climate change. Communities can build in new traditions that observe and celebrate key events, as is done with the first arrival of the swallows in Capistrano, California, or the first ground squirrel to emerge from hibernation on Groundhog Day in Canada. A visible record of these event dates serves as an inexpensive reminder of how far ‘out of whack’ seasonal events are becoming. In promoting climate change visual literacy, it is important to profile early adopters as prominent symbols of what can be done (Figure 10.8). Figure 10.8 Wind power for schools: projects in Cedar Rapids and Pocatello, Idaho promote highly visible use of local renewable energy with student involvement and community-wide learning outcomes.

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Visual linking of climate change causes and solutions is particularly important in urban communities where people are potentially less connected to the local environment and the natural processes that can both sustain and threaten their way of life. Wherever possible, it is desirable that every region and large city create a well-known, accessible and preferably highly visible centre of excellence for climate change knowledge and the demonstration of solutions (Figure 10.9).

Figure 10.9 The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales showcases multiple renewable energy and low-carbon technologies and resilient management systems, including various solar technologies, water-driven elevator systems and straw-bale houses.

One of the very best ways to make climate change solutions come alive of course is to create a community designed to be sustainable from the outset, embedding the messaging in the local sense of identity. Poundbury (Figure 10.10) is an experimental village based on concepts from The Prince of Wales’s book A Vision of Britain.13 Poundbury strives to provide a high-density, low-carbon, attractive and resilient neighbourhood that fits in with local character, using traditional Dorset building materials, with offices and factories side by side with homes. It serves as a living example to any visitor of what sustainability can look like.

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Figure 10.10 Typical compact architecture in Poundbury, Dorset, UK.

Below we illustrate examples of various landscape messaging toolsets, as well as new ideas yet to be tested, for displaying high and low carbon in the community, climate change impacts and vulnerability, adaptation/ resilience, and mitigation efforts.

Step 4 Implementation How to get it on the ground? A combination of messaging tools and techniques may be the most successful way to reach multiple stakeholder types in a given community. Realistically, they may have to be phased in, in order to foster a gradual shift in local social norms and an increase in community capacity to deal with climate change, without risking a backlash.

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Ideally, rather than an ad hoc or top-down approach, the installations should be coordinated between local activist groups and voluntary organizations, residents’ associations, local government and businesses to maximize their impact and cost-effectiveness. In reality this is not always possible, since different groups have different agendas and mandates. As with any official local initiatives, delivery of larger landscape messaging schemes would require a process of securing public support, allocating funding, planning, construction and post-construction monitoring and maintenance. These activities should be shared (and communicated) across departments such as parks and recreation, engineering, planning and by-law enforcement. Private or NGO efforts may need to be approved through formal or informal processes by local government or advisory design review panels. Some enabling by-laws and local policies may need to be put in place. These could include changes to land-use zoning (planning regulations) and rights of way amendments to provide physical and visible access to key installations. Landscape messaging may not always be strictly within the power of local bodies. Higher level or national policy may be required to enable some forms of labelling or display. For example, in regions where forestry is prevalent, such as parts of the UK, New Zealand and British Columbia, current policies often attempt to minimize the visual impact of timber harvesting to protect other resources such as tourism. One idea is to turn our current practice upside-down. Perhaps it should be a requirement to make green technologies visible: ‘If it’s green, flaunt it.’ The following toolsets are sequenced loosely from more conventional to more experimental approaches. Each is defined, described, and its pros and cons summarized in terms of the five guideline criteria for visual learning tools, laid out in the introduction to Part III.

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Landscape Messaging Toolset 1: Conventional signage and advertisements On-site outdoor signs with text and graphics to convey information, make us think, and sometimes make us buy: usually displayed on flat surfaces such as billboards, electronic signs, meters, bus-stops, posters and exhibits.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Short term to semi-permanent Small to medium scale Conventional messaging

Guideline criteria Clarity: High, if large or close enough to be clearly seen; may need to compete with other signage. Trust: Depends on the sponsoring organization and the amount of commercial or interest-based motives. (a) Mitigation Large mural advocates switching to efficient washing machines and light bulbs using clean local energy (Winnipeg, Canada).

Engagement: Can be fascinating if novel, clever or emotional, but usually static and unchanging, losing power with repeated viewing. Connectivity: Hard to get across multiple messages; powerful if locally relevant. Feasibility: Sign control by communities limiting their use, design and placement. Informative if visible enough. Tips



Make it big, clear, colourful, and pictorial, without too much text.



Interactive/feedback (like flashing speed-limit signs triggered by the driver’s speed) can be highly effective in modifying behaviour.

(b) Impacts Standard US Forest Service sign with a fire hazard warning system, featuring Smokey the Bear, to attract even more attention from passers-by.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(c) Causes

Hypothetical street-level meter showing neighbourhood energy usage or carbon dioxide levels.

Landscape Messaging Toolset 2: Public demonstrations and activism Eye-catching and headline-grabbing artwork and events designed to get attention and build public awareness.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Short term/temporary Small to large scale Unconventional messaging

Guideline criteria Clarity: Can be spectacular if you are in the right place at the right time, or watching the media, but not very informative beyond making a single point.

(a) Causes Daring Greenpeace demonstration on Didcot power station, UK, protesting carbon emissions with big temporary signs. Photo: GP027A2 © John Cobb / Greenpeace.

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Trust: Often politically inspired or tied to special interest groups whose credibility can be challenged, but can be done by grass-roots ‘regular folks’ with local credibility.

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Guideline criteria Engagement: Can be very engaging for participants and observers in the heat of the moment. Connectivity: Hard to get across multiple messages; often not locally salient. Feasibility: May be controversial or provoke hostility among others who are adversely impacted. Tips

(b) Mitigation Lumpur.

Earth Hour (lights out) 28 March 2009 in Kuala



Use judiciously for a big visual splash.



Local movements with regular, non-confrontational actions that model desired behaviour may be the most feasible and effective over time (e.g. 350.org organizes global ‘work parties’ instead of political rallies, where people dig community gardens or fit solar panels on their roofs to create a visible legacy – see Toolset 3).

(c) Causes/impacts Ice sculptures signalling the volume of CO2 generated by each person in the UK per year, with projected images of the Arctic at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(d) Mitigation Critical mass cycling demonstration in Vancouver in 2011, taking back the streets from the motor vehicle for an hour or two: a regular occurrence in some cities across the world.

Landscape Messaging Toolset 3: Visible community awareness-building and demonstration projects Public programmes, community-wide activities, and model community sites that showcase early adopters, new technologies or best practices, to inform, educate and inspire collective behaviour change.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Permanent or regularly recurring Small to large scale Conventional messaging

Guideline criteria Clarity: May be difficult to make spectacular, but can be quite visible in the community and richly informative over time, modelling sustainable behaviours clearly. (a) Mitigation/adaptation Highly visible community gardening in downtown Vancouver (reclaiming a former petrol station).

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Guideline criteria Trust: High credibility due to connecting with experts and trained volunteers with local knowledge. Engagement: Very engaging for participants in hands-on activities or workshops, less so for onlookers. Connectivity: Usually customized to be locally relevant, with enough time to address multiple issues. Feasibility: Low cost and effective. Volunteer burn-out can be a problem in the long term. Tips



Make physical activities and learning visible to others; show people having fun!



See Chapter 13 for more in-depth visioning processes.

(b) Mitigation The Village Greening campaign is ongoing in 140 communities in the UK; Wallingford volunteers asked households, schools and businesses to sign up to five actions to mitigate climate change for one year, and then put ‘Greening Wallingford’ cards in their windows as a signal that “lets us all know that we aren’t on our own in trying to do something about climate change”.14 Schoolchildren counted the cards in 2009 and found that 25 per cent of homes had signed up. Collectively, the Greening communities will save an estimated 12 million tonnes of CO2 in one year.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(c) CIMA Community Climate Change Tours: an idea to take residents around their own community with local experts, to reveal how climate change is at work and build awareness of solutions.

(d) Mitigation/adaptation Well-advertised transition workshops galvanize residents, building capacity and ownership of adaptation/mitigation plans.

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Landscape Messaging Toolset 4: Landscape and building design ‘Eco-revelatory design’ or redesign of landscapes and buildings to express their condition or function in relation to climate change.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Long-term/permanent Medium to large scale Unconventional messaging

Guideline criteria Clarity: Can be visually unmistakeable if well sited and designed. Purely landscape interventions may be subtle depending on the seasons.

(a) Mitigation/adaptation Daylighting the Cheong Gye Cheon in the centre of Seoul, South Korea: at a cost of US$380 million, the city demolished a freeway and ‘daylighted’ 6km of the previously concealed river. Despite initial opposition over fears of congestion, “Seoul embraced a paradigm shift … from car to human-oriented street” with improved public transport including bus lanes, stream-side trails and pedestrian bridges.15 The corridor is now a popular destination in Korea.

Trust: Can be self-evident and self-validating if not associated with special interest groups, or if combined with information on the design process/aims. Engagement: Highly accessible to all in public spaces; may be taken for granted once familiar. Connectivity: High local relevance, with personal connection to place; allows room for local creativity. Feasibility: May be high cost if adding to normal design/maintenance budgets, and some designs may be controversial. Tips

(b) Causes/mitigation The SFU Aware Living Interface System kitchen backsplash, installed in the sustainable West House, is a dynamic illuminated art piece that changes according to gas, electricity and water usage.



Siting and design are everything: use visualizations to test out design options (see Chapter 12).



Design clearly marked viewpoints and manage the view corridors to maintain visibility.



Combine with interpretive signage for maximum impact.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(c) Mitigation/adaptation Green buildings that look different and express their innovative design can silently teach us about climate change solutions; the Choi building on UBC’s campus in Vancouver uses salvaged materials, composting toilets and a distinctive roof designed for photovoltaics to trigger recognition of pro-environmental messages.16

(d) Impacts Sea-level rise markers show residents of Ventura, California what the future may hold for their community; designed by schoolchildren in their Sea-Level Awareness Project (SLAP) to ‘wake up Ventura’.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(e) Mitigation/adaptation Design for partial cutting of a community forest could reduce fire hazard, generate biomass and reveal operations to road-users, while preserving visual quality.

(f) Mitigation District energy plant in Southeast False Creek, Vancouver recovers heat from sewage, and at night, LED lights change colour from blue to red as community energy use increases.

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Landscape Messaging Toolset 5: Landscape labelling The landscape as ‘eco-label’: a hypothetical concept of using labelling with text or icons at large enough scale for all to see in the public realm, using community landscape features as text signboards or ‘tags’ to disclose and draw attention to key facts or climate change activity in situ.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Permanent or updated Small to large scale Unconventional messaging

Guideline criteria Clarity: Could be eye-catching and memorable, and clearly informative in providing information in its precise context. Trust: High credibility if scientifically and objectively verified.

(a) Mitigation solutions.

A clearly labelled hybrid car, advertising climate

Engagement: More accessible and inclusive than conventional information channels; initial novelty should be engaging, though may be taken for granted later. Connectivity: Highly relevant locally, making key information visible at the place where a climate change-related activity is happening. Feasibility: Could be cheap to install but difficult to get through legislation; may be controversial, or considered ugly or offensive by residents. Tips

(b) Mitigation Waste-recycling lorry advocating behaviour change.

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Might need a lot of lobbying from broad-based action groups.



Start with small labelling for which there are many precedents, and work up.



Bundle revealed problems with planned solutions.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(c) Causes Hypothetical labelled SUV, clearly advertising problems, as could be required with visible exterior labelling of high-GHG or high miles-per-gallon vehicles using publicly available information; car adverts in the UK/ EU are already required to report CO2/km.

(d) Causes

Your local global warming station: hypothetical labelling with the truth.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(e) Causes Hypothetical public information display of annual GHG emissions from power plants: if it’s true and important, why hide it? Could be combined with signs explaining how the emissions are to be reduced (e.g. carbon capture, mothballing). Large coal-fired power plants can emit 7–40 million tonnes of CO2/yr.

(f) Causes Actual carbon labelling as precedents: carbon labels for food were due to be mandated in France in 2011.

(g) Mitigation Street graphic implicitly notifying users that zero-carbon transport has priority.

(h) Causes New warning labels for petrol pumps could be required: “This product is a fossil fuel which causes extra climate change – use at your grandchildren’s own risk.”

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(i) Mitigation Residents in Tidy Street, Brighton, UK displayed their daily electricity use by means of a chalk-sprayed chart on the street outside their homes.

10.3 Overcoming challenges to landscape messaging Communities may well ask: ‘Why spend money on revealing climate change when you could spend it on fixing the problem?’ The answer is simple. We are building awareness and public support using relatively small expenditure on messaging in the community landscape to pave the way for bigger moves later on. There may also be other benefits besides changing social norms. Inventorying the visibility of climate change in the community will help prioritize necessary actions on mitigation and adaptation. Successful landscape messaging can fill some of the critical gaps in public perceptions of climate change: answering the need for greater transparency about the causes, impacts and solutions, and building a community’s visual literacy. Besides providing a tangible way to reconnect citizens to their local landscape, it assures voters that their politicians are taking responsibility for climate change. This in turn provides strong motivation for politicians to ‘do the right thing’ if they feel that positive action on climate change will bring votes in the next election. Like the Hollywood sign, positive landscape messages also make good backdrops on TV.

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We can no longer afford to keep climate change realities and solutions away from view and from our conscience. All of us who contribute to climate change deserve to be held accountable. In the past, we tended to consider utilitarian structures as aesthetically unpleasing; therefore, we ‘hid’ them either by locating them in industrial areas or screening them with landscaping. Under a new climate change aesthetic, it may be desirable to showcase important utility functions (e.g. flood-protection measures like pumping stations, or waste recycling centres) in highly visible locations. Moreover, we should be moving towards establishing design requirements to make aspects of projects that either contribute to or provide solutions for climate change visually distinctive and informative. How do we decide what it is important to show? Landscape labelling would reveal where, for example, the biggest and smallest carbon emitters are located within our community, or the biggest climate change risks and potential solutions. Some of the ‘landscape labelling’ examples are decidedly ‘edgy’. None the less, since commercial advertising and branding has been proven highly successful in increasing corporate profits, why would we not utilize the same branding techniques to promote public good? There are of course limits to the feasibility and effectiveness of landscape messaging. A plausible gauge of effectiveness of such messaging is the level of demand for change in policy or technology it engenders among the public in order to foster climate solutions, and the corresponding response from politicians in the form of regulatory action. A less scientific measure might be the extent of opposition to landscape messaging from stakeholders who could be disenfranchised by climate change solutions. Wherever possible, potentially sensitive messaging should be combined with clear information on the practical response required from the community, thus advertising both the current/emerging problem and the proposed solution or transition plan. If people don’t like the information honestly displayed, the answer is not to take down the sign but to fix the underlying problem. The idea is that the label on a carbon-emitting power plant stack showing its actual CO2 emissions will eventually be replaced by one showing the CO2 reduction when the plant itself is replaced by a greener alternative energy source. Lastly, landscape messaging actions can and should be built into actual climate change measures, so that communities get both the message and the solutions. For example, incorporating interpretive signage explaining the carbon sequestration properties of avenues of trees planted as part of urban cooling and beautification projects, or the benefits of solar-powered traffic signs, can help spread the climate change message with little additional cost. 316

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Summary In Chapter 10, we have described a range of practical and innovative techniques to assess the visibility of carbon/climate change and reveal the signs of carbon/climate change in the community landscape. We have seen that landscape messaging can make visual clues more obvious and reveal the previously invisible, through physical changes or social activities. These can occur at particular sites or across the community, and be short-term eye-openers or constant reminders. Work may be needed to render some of the more uncomfortable messages acceptable in terms of current social norms.

Notes 1 Adapted from social science recommendations in Chapter 2 (Box 2D) and principles laid out in Chapter 3; science information effectiveness criteria (credibility, salience and legitimacy) from Cash et al. (2003); ethical visualization principles from Sheppard (1989, 2001a), Mulder et al. (2007), and Sheppard and Cizek (2009); and other literature on visual communication and social marketing. 2 Baldwin and Chandler (2010), p.637. 3 A few studies address the use of education on energy conservation practices and conducting home energy audits in improving people’s energy conservation, or the effectiveness of outdoor experiential education. Most well-documented evaluation studies involve activities that occur indoors (e.g. energy audits), which are largely invisible to the wider community. 4 Corbett (1998). 5 Lyle (1993, p.43). 6 Nassauer (1997). 7 Feldman and Tannenbaum (2000) as cited in Dilling, L. and Farhar, B. (2007) ‘Making it easy: Establishing energy efficiency and renewable energy as routine best practice’, in Moser and Dilling (2007). 8 McKenzie-Mohr and Smith (1999). 9 Zengerie (2010). 10 Hopkins (2008, p.163). 11 Hopkins (2008, pp.173–174). 12 Brown (2009). 13 Available at: www.duchyofcornwall.org/designanddevelopment_poundbury. htm (accessed 3 September 2010). 14 Available at: www.sustainablewallingford.org/docs/newsletters/ 200911.pdf. 15 Linton (n.d.), citing In-Keun Lee. 16 Mitchell (2005).

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Further reading Jackson, J.B. (1986) ‘The vernacular landscape’, pp. 65–76, in E.C. Penning-Rowsell and D. Lowenthal (eds) Landscape Meanings and Values, Allen & Unwin, London. Kaplan, R., Kaplan, S. and Ryan, R.L. (1998) With People in Mind, Island Press, Washington, DC. Nassauer, J.I. (1997) ‘Cultural sustainability: aligning aesthetics and ecology’, in J.I. Nassauer (ed.) Placing Nature: Culture and Landscape Ecology, Island Press, Washington, DC. Sheppard, S.R.J. (2001b) ‘Beyond visual resource management: emerging theories of an ecological aesthetic and visible stewardship’, in S.R.J. Sheppard and H.W. Harshaw (eds) Forests and Landscapes: Linking Ecology, Sustainability, and Aesthetics, IUFRO Research Series, No. 6, CABI Publishing, Wallingford, UK. Spirn, A.W. (1984) The Granite Garden, Basic Books, New York. Thayer, R.L. (1994) Gray World, Green Heart, John Wiley & Sons, New York.

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Visual media Knowing climate change when you see it – in pictures

11.1 Why use visual media? We live in a world bombarded by information and advertising of all kinds, much of it visual and designed to be compelling, whether we need it or not. It makes perfect sense to use these same tools to convey vital climate change messages. In fact, if we do not match some of the glitz of the mainstream media, we risk being out-competed for the public’s attention by the sensational, the commercial and the trivial. Climate change information is commonly communicated by means of charts, diagrams, plan view mapping (Figure 11.1), photography, video and online media. This chapter focuses on these types of two-dimensional (2D) graphics, depicting and conveying climate change causes, consequences and solutions. It serves as a guide for community activists, planners and others interested in using visual tools for social marketing and engaging stakeholders.1 3D visualizations that simulate invisible, future or hypothetical conditions in perspective view have special characteristics, and are dealt with in Chapter 12. Figure 11.1 Food miles diagram, showing estimated carbon emissions for typical food supplies in Vancouver, BC.

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Goals and objectives of using visual media The main goal explored here is to improve people’s awareness and understanding of carbon and climate change (i.e. knowing), so that they can recognize it when they see it in the community and develop the capacity to deal with the implications. The specific objectives of using visual media on climate change are to: ◆

Inform: increasing knowledge, understanding, and the ability to conceptualize complex or emerging phenomena.



Reveal: making visible relationships, trends or large-scale spatial patterns which are difficult or impossible to see on the ground.



Galvanize: stimulating community dialogue around important information and providing useful information to support further media coverage, planning and action.

Rationale for technique Visual media have a key role to play in translating complex climate science or engineering information into something more understandable to laypeople. Mapping is a particularly useful technique because it spatializes abstract or purely numeric data. By geographically ‘pin-pointing’ where things may happen, the information becomes a lot more relevant in the context of a city, park system or neighbourhood. Currently, much of the mapped information coming from scientific models on climate change has been global or national in scale (as described in Chapter 2); therefore, much-needed localized information is often not available or of sufficient spatial resolution for use at the community level. This is starting to change, but in the meantime, communities need to do further work to fill some of the gaps. Humans are biologically wired for visual sensation. In advertising, public service health announcements, and some social media, visual imagery is intended not just to inform, but to engage emotionally and/or influence people’s behaviour. Many examples may be found of visual media being used to stimulate our thinking on crucial issues or to promote socially responsible behaviour (see Figure 10.4 on reducing the health impacts of smoking).

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Scientific graphics rarely aim at eliciting emotions. Conventional wisdom says ‘stick to the cold, hard facts, caveat your models, stay neutral’. However, even the clinical precision of a scientific graph can have a powerful impact if the changes and trends are drastic enough, such as a big drop on the stock market or the employment figures. I remember the first time I saw a version of the famous hockey stick graph showing current and projected global temperature rise (see Visual Media Toolset 1 of this chapter), presented by leading IPCC climate change researcher Mike Hulme. The size and steepness of that abrupt exponential curve relative to historical conditions left a knot in my stomach. It took only a few seconds to destroy my complacent assumption that climate change was a slow, gradual phenomenon. The significance of graphics in public reports has apparently not been lost on the IPCC either, with heated debates about what shade of red to use in charts symbolizing the projected extremes of global warming. Perception testing and case study evaluations have unequivocally concluded that incorporating visual media such as photography, film and television intensifies our response to information (Box 11A).

Box 11A Findings from research on the effectiveness of visual media/imagery in communicating climate change and related topics ◆

Visual information together with other community-based social marketing techniques, can influence sustainable behaviour or adaptation if they are vivid, personal and concrete.2



Kollmuss and Agyeman describe the potential for “a vivid, provocative image … to explain a scientific concept that at the same time engages people emotionally”, citing the ozone hole as an example.3



Public opinion polls in 2006 and 2009 identified an image of a child and a wind farm (similar to the one on p.322) as the top choice in saying the most about sustainability, out of 12 compelling images with positive sustainability messages. The themes of alternative energy, taking care of future generations and a clean, natural environment seemed to resonate with the public.4



The Centre for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) at Columbia University “developed an interactive computer presentation to show viewers the effect of climate change on the world’s glaciers. One module presented information that would appeal to the (brain’s) analytical processing system, such as scientific analysis, statistics, and graphs, to describe the relationship between climate change and shrinking glaciers. Another module targeted the experiential processing system of the brain, using vivid imagery (photographs,

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videos showing reduced glacier size over time, local news footage) and personal accounts to convey the message”.5 Follow-up showed that people retained more factual information from viewing the vivid imagery than from the analytic presentation, and those who viewed the imagery reported increased concern and increased willingness to take action.



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The Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP) at UBC found that a presentation to local residents on local climate change and flooding scenarios in Delta, BC, using visual media (maps, photos, charts and diagrams, but no 3D visualizations), led to 62 per cent of respondents reporting that their willingness to support local adaptation measures had increased, and 59 per cent responding similarly on support for local mitigation measures.6

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These findings are consistent with the concept that well-designed graphics can enhance learning by reducing cognitive load in short term memory,7 as well as sometimes providing more connecting or emotional experiential learning.

11.2 How to use visual media This section provides some practical guidance on using visual media and graphic materials to engage the community on climate change issues. The findings described above suggest that we should produce visual media on climate change by: ◆

using vivid imagery such as “film footage, metaphors, personal accounts, real-world analogies, and concrete comparisons”;8



using novel content, media or imagery;



making it locally relevant (linking the global to the local) and spatial or tangible where possible;



connecting information that is otherwise only seen in separate pieces;



addressing the biggest disconnects and misperceptions/omissions in prevalent community thinking;



using mixed media, including not just scientific mapping, but also relevant, useful graphical information related to climate change from other sources such as newspapers and adverts;



using best available data (local, expert, traditional and scientific) to maintain credibility.

Practical tips may also be learned by analysing successful presentations such as the film An Inconvenient Truth (Box 11B).

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Box 11B Lessons on what works from showings of the film An Inconvenient Truth Process:



Skilful information design, augmented by extensive marketing and advertising.

Content:

◆ ◆ ◆ ◆ ◆

Lots of pictures, virtually no text, relying instead on scientific evidence in real-world examples. Use of carefully selected vivid, beautiful pictures. Framing with famous images of the Earth to set context. Personal approach (using personal narratives and identifying with individuals in real places). Coherent argument.

Delivery:

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An entertaining, interesting, informative presentation proceeding at a steady pace but with frequent changes of scene.



Delivery by a charismatic and well-known personality, with some personal connection to the science.



Scientific basis without science itself getting in the way, using clear delivery with simple graphic forms that are familiar to the audience, like film, photos and colourful charts.

◆ ◆

Big screens for impact. Presentation in a darkened room to amplify the focus and intensify the experience.

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Visual presentations may be produced with an array of toolsets for communicating climate change concepts, relationships and conditions. Most communities already have a range of visual materials that they can draw upon if someone takes the time to find them, and may be able to produce more graphics of their own before looking for outside help. There are three main steps: 1 Collecting available visual materials. 2 Developing a more complete set of visual media. 3 Presenting the visual materials.

Step 1 Collecting existing visual and supporting material Box 11C provides a checklist covering important types of content in visual media that may be available from local and non-local sources. It focuses on the visual materials that might illustrate content recorded in the similar checklist in Box 10C.

Box 11C Community checklist for collecting visual material on local or relevant climate change issues9 VISUAL MATERIAL RELATING TO:

LOCAL CLIMATE CHANGE CAUSES (high carbon footprint)

IMPACTS (and vulnerability)

MITIGATION (low carbon footprint)

ADAPTATION (resilience)

Building energy systems Transportation systems Food/fibre use/ production Architecture and urban land use Open space/parks and ecosystems

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Water resources Other utilities/ infrastructure (e.g. power lines) Material consumption/ waste/reuse/recycling Social programmes/ activities Lifestyles Signage Other

Local sources for graphics accessible in the community include:

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Photo archives or community climate change photo albums as described in Chapter 10, augmented by panoramic photographs obtained from Google Maps Street View (Figure 11.2).



Historical display material in library archives, museums, local newspapers and long-standing organizations (schools, volunteer groups, churches, nature groups, etc.), showing significant or unusual weather events or occasions such as the opening of new infrastructure with climate change implications (e.g. new highways or dams).



Planning, parks and engineering departments with mapping, aerial photos, technical reports, etc.



Local colleges, consultants and universities with design, surveying or GIS capabilities.



Google Earth (and other virtual globe systems) holding maps and digital aerial photography.



Local energy providers and utilities.



Community mapping exercises and visual inventories (as illustrated in Chapter 10).

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Signs, posters, children’s pictures, etc. on climate change or sustainability themes (e.g. Gigha photos in Box 9A e).



Outdoor signs and landscape labelling as described in Chapter 10.



Video footage and presentations from educational or public service groups.

Figure 11.2 Example of online neighbourhood photography available for free from Google Maps Street View in many communities around the world, here seen in a Johannesburg suburb, South Africa. © 2012 Google Maps.

Non-local sources for graphics include: ◆

Regional or national climate change impacts/adaptation organizations like PCIC, Climate Impacts Group (CIG), UKCIP producing maps, scenarios, impact and adaptation checklists, etc.



Universities with GIS or aerial photography/remote sensing departments.



Provincial, state or national government organizations with responsibilities regarding climate change, energy or emergency response.

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Educational and legitimate NGO groups that make available graphics and presentation materials for the public (Figure 11.3).

Figure 11.3 Poster of a ‘mental map’ of effective action on climate change that contains much practical information in an intriguing and delightful format.

This visual material and associated data can serve as a baseline or reference for more specific visual content related to climate change yet to be developed (described below).

Step 2 Developing compelling visual media packages This requires identifying gaps and core needs, enhancing the materials you already have, and organizing vital new packages of visual materials, through: (a) Gap analysis and need prioritization: involves using the checklist to identify what is missing and assessing whether this is an important gap or not, focused mostly on content. (b) Enhancing typical or existing presentations: adding value to available information that often never sees the light of day (e.g. putting mapped information on to aerial or Google Earth photos of local areas, adding labels or pointers to maps and photos to highlight climate change features, etc.). The toolsets below illustrate some methods of doing this. This can often be quite simply done in-house

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by moderately skilled people. Accuracy is vital at this stage: quality control is important to trace the lineage of new graphics and stay true to underlying scientific data. (c) Developing new materials: inviting or commissioning new material from suitably experienced or talented people and organizations, such as those identified above as sources of material and expertise, from inside or outside the community where resources allow (see also Box 10D on community mapping). These materials would be carefully selected to fill important gaps. Examples of graphic toolsets are provided below as a catalogue or templates for visual media packages.

Step 3 Presenting the visual material for maximum impact Presentations should be tailored to the purpose of the exercise, from initial awareness building to detailed planning (see Box 2D and references for general recommendations on communicating climate change). Presentations should always be customized to the audience based on level of technical knowledge and cultural specificity. Here we assume a mixed audience including the general public, government officials and professionals. However, we have found that many well-designed graphics are universally effective with both expert and lay audiences, and from different cultures. Fairly obvious tips are ensuring the presentation is short and lively enough to keep the audience’s attention, and rehearsing to get the timing down. Generally, the more the exercise can be inclusive and participatory, helping people to co-produce some of the content, the better the retention rate of the material and the reception of the presentation. Good communication is a two-way process, even with powerful visual media. Asking for feedback from the audience during or after the presentation builds goodwill and will help improve similar activities in the future. It is essential to incorporate credible material including acknowledgement of sources and any process used to develop new information. Maps, graphics and even photographs can be misinterpreted if not well designed or explained.10 Presenters need to avoid showing images of doubtful provenance or with misleading information. They should look for supporting evidence and a credible lineage (not just images taken from an unknown website). It is particularly important to discriminate clearly between actual measured (empirical) information, current modelled or estimated conditions and future modelling projections.

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In planning to deliver visual presentations, we need to consider several issues, as discussed in Box 2C, including: ◆

presentation media to be used;



setting;



presenter (if any).

Selection of presentation media and display formats Mixing visual and narrated presentations (with just enough text to provide authenticity) may be the most efficient way to help people absorb knowledge,11 accommodating those with different visual learning styles and abilities. Combining local photos and maps with more abstract scientific or conceptual material helps ground the presentation and keep it interesting for viewers. Photographs of precedents for climate change solutions in other places (see photo albums in Chapters 7 and 8) make it easier for community members to visualize their own applications. Providing visual material in different display formats is also a good idea. Hard-copy posters or maps (Figure 11.4) enable a different level of interaction than continuously running videos, media clips or PowerPoint presentations, so they can be a useful complement to electronic displays. Brief hard-copy hand-outs or digital aids (e.g. DVDs or pdf files) allow people to take the information away for further reference. Many communities can tap skilled individuals or agency departments with expertise in disseminating visual information of various kinds. The use of social and mass media further raises the possibility of visual information ‘going viral’; however, the presenter needs to consider the increased possibility of the material being adapted without the provider’s control.

Figure 11.4 Excerpt from a poster of a holistic adaptation scenario for flood protection, summer cooling and local co-benefits, used in open houses on the Kimberley Adapts Plan, Kimberley, BC.

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Presentation setting The room and display equipment can make a big difference. The best presentation in the world is useless if the projectors are too dim or the ambient light too bright. In most cases, make the presentation big. I still see far too many presentations with small projection or plasma screens that render the text or other important details unreadable to people sitting at the back. The audience needs to feel immersed in the presentation (Figure 11.5) to remain engaged (see Chapter 12 for more on immersive visualization methods). Small, interactive public screens and kiosks may allow small-scale hands-on engagement, but these formats are less immersive and do not support the same kind of collective experience as a big presentation.

Figure 11.5 When CALP researchers are out in a community, we often use two large (7’ x 9’) portable screens for community presentations on climate change, allowing people to compare images side by side or relate a scientific fact to a site photograph.

Presenter Active presentations should be delivered by trusted people, opinion leaders or experts, with strong professional or natural presentation skills. A collaborative presentation by scientific experts and local people can also be powerful and build bridges to the community. One precedent is Al Gore’s Climate Project,12 which has trained more than 3,000 diverse and

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dedicated volunteers worldwide to inform the public and raise awareness about climate change. Sometimes students and university researchers can deliver informative, credible presentations which explore ‘edgy’ or controversial topics that local government staff, politicians or consultants could not easily broach, such as whole-scale retrofitting of neighbourhoods to counter climate change or increasing flood risk. We have experienced at first-hand in our community research projects that this approach can sometimes pave the way for evolving discussions on such ‘hot’ topics that involve planners, engineers and local stakeholders. Live presenters, and even pre-recorded presentations or introductions are not always needed. However, there is a big difference in impact between automated delivery of visual information on climate change (e.g. websites or serious games) and equivalent content that is presented or facilitated by a human being. Only a dedicated few will navigate a complex game or interactive presentation on climate change (unless it is very novel, entertaining or a professional requirement), but many more will persevere if it is part of a mediated social exercise with helpers nearby, or an online webinar with real-time coaching. The examples of graphic toolsets provided next range from conventional and scientific techniques to the more experimental, although there are many creative possibilities within each of these categories of tools. The techniques progress from simple charts and diagrams through various kinds of mapping (broken down into themes of carbon, climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation), to other kinds of visual representation and new media. They have been selected for the importance of their messages, and where possible for their relevance to the community or personal scale. Examples have been drawn from diverse sources, including scientific studies, communication guides, community case studies and research prototypes. These visual information techniques and learning tools may be applied to existing phenomena (such as scientific climate trends and local inventory data) or to projected future issues (such as descriptions of possible scenarios and climate change response plans). Other key graphics have been used throughout this book.

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Visual Media Toolset 1 Graphs, charts and diagrams Often simple, familiar formats such as bar-charts and flowcharts, but normally quite abstract. Can be scientific or non-scientific, including types of graphics commonly seen in newsletters, local papers, etc. Useful in showing what cannot normally be seen, such as concepts, relationships, processes, rates of change, and collapsing time to show long-term trends.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Abstract Mostly non-spatial Static Traditional media

Guideline criteria Clarity: High if not too complex and graphics are bold. Trust: Depends on the source and whether this is noted; can tend to look scientific regardless of origin, and can be misleading if data are selective or graphically distorted.

(a) Impacts A version of the hockey stick graph from the IPCC (2001), showing globally averaged surface air temperatures from Year 1000 to 2100, combining historical evidence and future temperatures projected to increase by 1.4 to 5.8°C by 2100. Abstract and scientific-looking, but the frightening thing is the exponential curve under way now and the large deviation above the natural range of variation in all projections.

(b) Causes Carbon calculators: bar-charts like this from the Berkeley carbon calculator represent personal carbon footprints (in tons CO2/yr) compared with other relevant benchmarks, such as regional averages or global targets.

Engagement: Can be intriguing if content is important or novel, but eyes quickly glaze over, especially with too many abstract scientific charts; usually non-emotional. Connectivity: Hard to get across multiple messages; not easily translated into things that are immediate or relevant to everyday communities or your personal life. Feasibility: Often simple to prepare from spreadsheets or with off-theshelf software; may require creativity and skills in information design or art for less conventional modes.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Tips

(c) Causes Benchmarking current community GHG emissions for Victoria, BC (per capita tonnes CO2/yr), relative to other cities and targets; while this serves only as a rough guide and ways of measuring carbon emissions may vary between cities, benchmarking is a useful graphic device.

(d) Causes Visualizing the cumulative emissions of carbon, relative to the tallest building in the UK (50 storeys): each year we release about eight times this amount of extra carbon into the atmosphere.

(e) Impacts Cross-section in cartoon form clearly illustrates ‘coastal squeeze’ where sea-level rise pushes shoreline marshes back against the dyke.

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Make it bold and simple, use solid colour to clarify graphs and maps, and without too much text or too many complex graphs.



Always show x and y axis labelled on graphs and show zero on y axis.

◆ ◆

Always clearly provide source.



Combine with photos, maps, or other pictures to break up long sequences of abstract graphics and link to real life.

Use pictorial representations or cartoonish icons to bring the data alive, without too much distracting or irrelevant characterization.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation) (f) Causes Conceptual (Sankey) diagram illustrates the relationship between energy use from different sources (including electricity produced mainly from hydropower) and annual volume of per capita carbon emissions for the City of North Vancouver.

Visual Media Toolset 2 CIMA mapping Two-dimensional spatial representation of geographic areas; maps come in many familiar forms. Their ‘plan view’ allows precise measurement of areas and distances without distortion by viewpoint, as well as correct placement of points, symbols and other information relevant to climate change. Can be scientific or non-scientific.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Abstract to detailed Spatial (plan view only) Static Traditional media

Guideline criteria Clarity: High, if not too complex or detailed. Can transit multiple messages, given enough time to interpret them. (a) Causes Simple mapping: clear spatial diagramming of international shipments of crude oil.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Guideline Criteria Trust: Can disclose important non-visible conditions or relationships. Credibility depends on the source and whether this is noted, and professional quality of mapping. Accuracy of content may be hard for viewer to verify. Can be misleading if data are selective or graphically exaggerated.

(b) CIMA Land-use mapping: readily available in most communities, forming a good base map relevant to various aspects of climate change.

Engagement: Can be high if depicting areas known to the viewer or presenting new information. Easily accessed over the Web and in local government planning offices, or pinned on walls for meetings. Connectivity: Informative and meaningful if local, allowing identification of familiar landscape features. Can address multiple climate change issues in a community context.

(c) Impacts GIS modelling of climate change threats (risks of forest fire and wind damage) in North Vancouver, BC, overlaid on aerial ortho-photo base.

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Feasibility: Can be inexpensive and readily reproduced/distributed digitally. More scientific or modellingbased maps may be expensive or hard to obtain. Tips



Make maps clear, colourful and well labelled, with easily read legends, scale bar and North arrow.

◆ ◆

Always identify data sources.



Clearly distinguish existing conditions from any future projections or changes.

Polygon maps usually work better than raster (cell-based) maps for local community purposes.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(d) Mitigation Remote sensing from laser-gathered light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data, used to automate the classification of forest types with potential for carbon sequestration and shading of roof-top solar panels.

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Visual Media Toolset 2A Carbon maps (causes) Mapping of carbon is a fairly new science. Maps of related causes of climate change such as land-use change are somewhat familiar, as are many other maps that locate fossil fuels and inadvertently reveal high-carbon lifestyles. However, explicit mapping of carbon emissions represents the ‘smoking gun’ that cannot be seen on the ground: it is equivalent to the influential visualization of the ozone hole, and offers a possible breakthrough in public perceptions of climate change. Most explicit carbon mapping has been on a broad scale and shows current carbon levels (see Figure 5.3), but more site-specific mapping and modelling of future concentrations is becoming available.

Examples (a) Cumulative mapping of the vast tar sands development in Alberta (existing in dark red, approved in red, proposed and forecast in light red/pink) is rarely seen; comparisons with urbanized areas of major cities reveal their true scale.

(b) Land-use change map: deforestation in Borneo 1950 to 2005, and projections towards 2050, signify massive release of stored carbon.

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Examples (c) Natural gas pipeline map showing existing pipelines in the USA.

(d) Airline maps: a clear pattern of high carbon use. Air travel causes a more intense greenhouse effect due to injection directly into the upper atmosphere.

(e) Light mapping is a clear visual indicator of energy use and carbon footprint: this energy is wasted by definition if it is visible from outer space. Much of it comes from fossil-fuelled power.

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Examples (carbon maps) (f) Mapping of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels across the USA in 2002, with red and yellow marking the biggest releases, compiled by the Vulcan Project from US government data on various sectors.

(i)

(ii) (g) Two equally important views of CO2 generated by vehicles each year in the Chicago region: (i) total CO2 emissions in tonnes/ acre, and (ii) tonnes/household, showing that low-density sprawl contributes a disproportionate share of emissions, based on vehicle miles travelled.

(h) Detailed carbon emission modelling for the Sunset neighbourhood in Vancouver, with 50 x 50m grid cells, calibrated by on-site carbon flux measurement: parks (in green) act as small nett carbon sinks, and arterial corridors (dark brown) have the highest local emissions.

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Visual Media Toolset 2B Impact maps Showing current or projected impacts based on observed data or scientific models. They may show specific impact types or an integration of many. Information on past climate-related events such as temperatures, precipitation, stream flows, land uses, etc. may be relatively easy to obtain or to map regionally (see also Figures 6.1 and 6.5). However, future projections and secondary socio-economic effects may be hard to find or to develop in mapped form. Site-specific maps of local impacts can be very powerful for concerned residents.

Examples (i)

(ii)

(a) Imaging of vegetation stress due to drought conditions in 2004 (ii) on the high plains of the Black Hills, relative to normal conditions in 2000 (i). (i)

(ii)

(b) Species distribution modelling results for the nuthatch, a small woodland bird, showing potential shifts in distribution across the UK and Ireland : (i) observed current distribution; and (ii) simulated 2050s high climate change scenario.

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Examples (impact maps)

(c) Integrated vulnerability mapping is available in the Sydney coastal region, indicating the potential for harm from a range of climate change effects. © CSIRO Australia – image reproduced with permission of CSIRO Australia.

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Visual Media Toolset 2C Mitigation maps Mapping actual mitigation or ‘green’ (low-carbon) measures in place, mitigation potential/capacity, or plans to reduce fossil fuels or enhance carbon sinks. Mitigation mapping is more commonly conducted at the community level, though not yet standardized or considered conventional. Mitigation is often tied to energy use and transportation, and these kinds of maps are often available from utilities or local government, though they may not explicitly show expected carbon emissions (compared with existing conditions and established targets). They may locate specific measures or integrated/modelled strategies.

Examples

(a) Tourist map of ‘EnergieLand’ around Güssing, Austria, showing in red the many biomass plants generating carbonneutral heat and power for local communities.

(b) GIS map of low-carbon mobility potential in existing suburb in West Vancouver, BC, showing five-minute walking distances from bus-stops.

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Examples (mitigation maps) (c) Detailed capacity mapping for bioenergy from Prince George Community Forest, BC, based on Forecast modelling to sustain soil carbon/productivity. Figures show biomass yield (dry tonnes/hectare/yr), with darker greens showing higher yield.

(d) Energy descent plan for Frome, UK: potential locations for wind turbines (flags), water turbines (anchors), methane digesters (houses) and large roof photovoltaics (suns). Background image © 2010 Google.

(e) Hundred-year vision of reduced GHGs per person (from jobs and housing) in the City of North Vancouver, BC, with lowest per capita carbon footprint (dark green) in densest urban core.

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Visual Media Toolset 2D Adaptation maps Mapping adaptation measures or policies already implemented, and potential or planned measures to reduce adverse impacts on the community. Adaptation maps, where they exist, are usually local in scale, though like mitigation mapping they are not yet standardized or considered conventional. Adaptation maps can often be derived from engineering, land use, soils and infrastructure mapping, though they usually require in-depth professional expertise for modelling, design and planning of specific measures. Mapping may locate specific measures or integrated adaptation strategies.

Examples

(a) ‘Green and blue fingers’ in Thanh Hoa City, Vietnam, by 2020: Contiguous green corridors and canal circulation networks aligned with prevailing cooling breezes, punctuated by stormwater retention bodies as urban design amenities.

(b) Simplified depiction of major components of the stormwater system (in green) at risk to sea-level rise (in blue) in Olympia, Washington, focusing on major outfalls that will need to be managed to reduce back-up through pipes during high tides.

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Examples (adaptation maps) (c) Potential food production map in GIS for the British Properties neighbourhood in West Vancouver, developed from soils, sunshine and slope data, showing large areas suitable for growing food on lower slopes.

Visual Media Toolset 3 Photographs and collages A simple and inexpensive way not only to highlight climate change-related issues already present in the community (see examples in the photo albums in Chapters 4 to 8), but also to make things visible that cannot currently be seen: showing precedents from communities elsewhere, collages on a particular theme, or making photo connections by linking scenes across space or time. Can be highly educational (e.g. a visual collage of carbon sources can be related to the staggeringly high numbers in our carbon footprints). Requires no fancy computer software or fiddly photo manipulation (though easily compiled and presented with free photo-imaging software).

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Highly realistic/detailed Perspective views normally static (unless in animated slide presentations) Traditional media

Guideline criteria Clarity: Often high, though depends on subject matter and photographer’s skill.

(a) Impacts Arresting or personal photographs can dramatically reveal something about climate change, especially if involving people or animals.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Trust: Depends on the sources and presenters, but has generally an assumed documentary status as evidence. Engagement: Can be compelling if imaginatively put together and/or showing local or unusual content.

(b) Adaptation Precedents from another community: we used this photo of resilient Dutch housing to show Canadian coastal flatlanders that housing can be designed to withstand sea-level rise.

Connectivity: Can be personal and powerful if locally relevant, with high emotional content. Feasibility: Easy for most people to do, with digital cameras, cell-phones, etc. Tips



Professional quality and dramatic natural lighting make for vivid imagery.



Use labels and annotations to focus attention within complex photographs.



Time-lapse photos of the same place over time and collages of linked themes reveal strong messages.

(c) Causes/mitigation (i, ii) Side-by-side comparisons of everyday occurrences can be powerful: ‘which way of getting to school in the rain has the lower carbon footprint?’

(d) Impacts Connecting remote impacts to local impacts: Collapsing Antarctic ice-sheets which raise sea levels help increase storm damage to Dundarave sea wall, British Columbia.

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Visual media toolset 4 Dynamic graphics, video and new interactive media Animated and eye-catching, these visual media may draw on any of the material described above, but require electronic presentation of moving image sequences, as delivered in films, video, on TV or online. They go beyond digital versions of static graphics, and range from TV animations and documentaries to new interactive games on the Web and public kiosks. The level of interaction varies from passive viewing where you just hit ‘play’, to complex gaming strategies requiring active skills. Can make even dull graphics much more exciting to watch. For such media applied to 3D representation, see Chapter 12.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Abstract to detailed Spatial or non-spatial Dynamic Includes experimental new media

Guideline criteria Clarity: High if well designed and not too overpowering; can be very vivid.

(a) Impacts Documentary video by the Kiribati delegation to the UN COP 15 climate change talks in Copenhagen in 2009, detailing with site footage the physical and social impacts of sea-level rise on the atoll nation, in a plea for climate justice.

Trust: Depends on the sources and presenters, and whether professional/ restrained or commercial, glossy, and perceived as a sales job. Engagement: Highly engaging if well designed, even entertaining; the more interactive media can be mesmerizing or even addictive. Widely accessible through the Internet. Connectivity: Can get across multiple messages through sustained interaction; now becoming more local in content.

(b) Mitigation Fast-paced and engaging new media video on Cap and Trade for carbon emissions, superimposing the narrator over simple data and cartoons on a complex subject.

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Feasibility: Simpler applications can be widely replicable, but high-end production values may require costly expertise, software or display technology.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Tips



More complex educational games and interfaces may need a mediator to help people get used to the tools.



Layer information for both new and expert users.

(c) Mitigation Bath-tub simulation: an interactive web-based concept game that demonstrates how carbon dioxide concentrations will exceed or stay below the critical target level of 450ppm, depending on mitigation progress in controlling carbon stocks and flows.

(d) Impacts Compelling time-lapse video and photography of the 3km retreat of the Columbia Glacier in Alaska between June 2006 and May 2009, captured in Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey. (e) Impacts Interactive online maps of alternative sea-level rise scenarios at the regional or local level in Santa Cruz, California, with movable viewer of aerial photos showing block-level detail.

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11.3 Overcoming challenges to using visual media If we could redirect even a fraction of the money spent in the media on selling commercial products towards mobilizing action on climate change, think what we could accomplish. The tools and techniques are there to appeal both to people’s better nature and their self-interest, and to empower their imagination. We have to find ways to use them to get important messages through on climate change, and claim a more appropriate amount of attention in the media. Unfortunately, making visual media more effective in helping to build solutions in the community requires more than securing funding and airtime in the media. Local governments responsible for public outreach often do not capitalize on the visual talents within their own personnel, or assume that the public relations graphics staff know how to handle sensitive scientific information. Social marketers, which are becoming well established, could also make much more extensive use of high-calibre visual imagery in the mainstream media, to help promote positive social change. Training in the wider use of graphics for communicating scientific concepts and practical issues is sorely needed. At the same time, many journalists and even TV weather people show a tendency to over-simplify or selectively represent the science of climate change. The focus is usually on the impacts and extreme events of climate change, with much less media attention or public information on the other three components of climate change: its causes, mitigation and adaptation. Scientists on the other hand are sometimes too reticent to communicate the serious consequences of inaction or recommendations for action, in the name of maintaining scientific neutrality. These professionals would all benefit from better understanding and application of ethical visual communication, applied broadly. It would give them more confidence in handling imagery with possible emotional content and avoid problems of misinterpretation or information taken out of context.

Summary This chapter has described ways to use graphics, mapping and other 2D visual media to explain the causes, consequences and solutions of climate change, translating the science into a more understandable, if still abstract form for many people. We have seen a range of examples of useful graphics and new tools that communities and others can use in their

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awareness-building, capacity-building, lobbying and decision-making activities. We can see many possibilities for enhanced visual communication of climate change through traditional and emerging techniques, such as virtual mapping and interactive educational presentations. We explore the use of potentially more realistic and dramatic pictures in Chapter 12.

Notes 1 Social marketing is the “design, implementation, and control of programs calculated to influence the acceptability of social ideas and involving considerations of product planning, pricing, communication, distribution and marketing research” (Kotler and Zaltzman, 1971). 2 McKenzie-Mohr and Smith (1999). 3 Kollmuss and Agyeman (2002, p.253). 4 Hoggan & Associates Inc (2009). 5 CRED (2009, p.17). 6 Tatebe et al. (2010). 7 Sweller et al. (1998). 8 CRED (2009, p.41). 9 For a more complete list, see Pond et al. (2010). 10 MacEachren (1995); Lewis and Sheppard (2006). 11 Mayer and Moreno (2002). 12 See www.theclimateproject.org.

Further reading Dow, K. and Downing, T.E. (2007) The Atlas of Climate Change, Earthscan, London. Few, S. (2006) Information Dashboard Design, O’Reilly Media Inc., Sebastapol, CA. MacEachren, A.M. (1995) How Maps Work, The Guilford Press, New York. Monmonier, M. (1996) How to Lie with Maps, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. Sieber, R. (2006) ‘Public Participation Geographic Information Systems: A literature review and framework’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 96 (3): 491–507. Tufte, E.R. (1983) The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Graphics Press, Cheshire, CT. UNEP (2005) Vital Climate Graphics – Update. United Nations Environment Programme and GRID-Arendal, Nairobi, Kenya. See www.grida.no/files/ publications/vital-climate_change_update.pdf

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The modern crystal ball Visualizing the future with climate change

12.1 Why use visualizations? Author William A. Ward said, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.” One of the simplest ways of getting people to imagine something is to create a picture of it. 3D visualizations can make the invisible visible: not physically in the actual landscape (as discussed in Chapter 10), or with abstract graphics (as in Chapter 11), but in virtual landscapes, placing what cannot currently be seen with the naked eye into realistic contexts to which people can relate. They literally put things in perspective. Pictures can tell a gripping story of what is present but unseen, or of future worlds that do not yet exist. These visualizations represent a modern crystal ball. They can be very powerful in improving both our insight and our foresight in seeing what climate change may look like, but they have special characteristics that require careful usage. This chapter focuses on 3D visualization,1 which shows places, environments, and sometimes people in perspective view, as they are in the real world, in a form modified from reality, or as totally fictional scenarios. They range from scientific projections to artists’ renderings to movies and ‘special effects’. The power of visualization is that it allows ’time travel’,2 showing historical or future conditions (the fourth dimension) as though the viewer were actually there. For simplicity, we will use the term 3D visualization to represent all of these 3D and 4D applications. Visualizations can be somewhat simplified or abstract, as in simple terrain models or geovisualizations (Figure 12.1a). Conversely, what we call landscape visualization (also referred to as visual simulation or landscape modelling) represents actual places in 3D perspective views (Figure 12.1b), often with a high degree of realism.3 These types of virtual reality are now typically computer generated, though not all 3D visualizations are based on 3D computer models: a simple hand-drawn sketch can show a 3D perspective view. Collectively, they represent a unique form of visual communication, putting information into the medium to which we humans are genetically best adapted: the visual landscape.

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(a) Geovisualization example: a typical abstract 3D digital terrain model showing only land form and elevation.

(b) Landscape visualization example, depicting terrain, buildings, vegetation and shoreline in a digital reconstruction of an existing coastal community.

Figure 12.1 Different types of 3D visualization.

Pictures representing what we see are as old as the Stone Age (Figure 12.2). The pioneering landscape architect Humphrey Repton invented ‘before and after’ images in the late eighteenth century (Figure 12.3). Since then visualization has developed exponentially to include today’s sophisticated 4D modelling for military applications such as cruise missile navigation technology, and for commercial entertainment in video-games and movies. 3D visualizations have been used for decades in projecting urban design outcomes and for environmental impact assessments. GIS-based visualizations are now being applied more broadly with new publicly accessible visualization tools enabled by ‘virtual globe’ technologies such as Google Earth. In terms of community planning, visualization can help build citizens’ capacity to deal with climate change, and support new policies, community design and local decision-making. Visualizations are now widely used in fields ranging from brain surgery to documentaries on archaeology. Many TV advertisements, of course, especially those marketing cars, use visual simulation to make the message more intriguing, focusing on positive aspects of the product or ‘morphing’ it from the commonplace to the extraordinary. These kinds of 3D visualizations certainly appear to be effective in informing, guiding, 353

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Figure 12.2 Cave paintings of horses and aurochs as seen in perspective, dating from 32,000 years ago at Lascaux in France, still resonate with us today. (a)

(b)

Figure 12.3 Humphrey Repton’s renderings from his Red Book on Anthony House, showing (a) existing conditions, and (b) ‘after’ image of his proposed redesign to beautify the property.

entertaining and persuading people to take action, whether it is to make a purchase or to change a way of doing things. With all these applications in existence, why wouldn’t we use science-based visualizations systematically to address the massive problems of climate change and help us imagine solutions? This chapter considers how 3D visualization tools can be employed to put across climate change issues. In Chapter 13 we will look at wider public involvement processes that may deliver visualizations as part of outreach and planning for climate change.

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Goals and objectives of using 3D visualizations ◆

Improve people’s understanding of the future with climate change, by communicating complex scientific information more clearly.



Convey what it might be like to experience climate change in the context of specific communities, to help build climate literacy and preparedness: what might the future with climate change really look like?



Spark the imagination, explore solutions and inspire action.

Often, in practice, 3D visualization reveals new information or patterns that no one had spotted before, such as showing that a community’s proposed green energy centre will block tourists’ views of the main local landmark. Combined with public engagement techniques, 3D visualizations are able not only to ‘push’ known information out to others, but also to ‘pull’ responses in from stakeholders or the public,4 by gathering informed opinions after engagement with visualized information (unlike polls or normal opinion surveys which convey little educational information).

Rationale for the visualization technique Most people have never been shown a picture of what their community could look like in the future, or how it could be changed by their actions. It is fun to watch people’s faces the first time they see projections of their own future neighbourhood. Eyes widen, glances are exchanged, people nudge each other and whisper fervently about some local issue depicted on the screen. Normally, most people feel little connection with the community planning that goes on all around them. Seeing a picture of their community’s future, especially along with other residents, can be a transformative moment, and perhaps can improve citizen participation in planning. Consider the enthusiasm that people show for zooming into a Google Earth satellite photo or Street View picture of their own house. Such levels of interest are rare on scientific or civic matters. 3D visualization is a powerful engagement tool. Its benefits include: ◆

Attractiveness of the medium to the general public, due to its novelty and dynamism, its interactivity and its capacity to disclose new information and incorporate local views.

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Integrating GIS mapping and modelling with the intuitive and experientially rich medium of photo-realistic pictures, combining quantitative and qualitative approaches. This makes visualizations useful for laypeople and experts alike, using the universal visual language to cross disciplinary, cultural and language barriers.



The freedom to choose viewpoints, giving us the bird’s-eye view or the more personal one of being on the ground, putting us literally ‘in the picture’ (or what my video-game-loving sons rather shockingly call ‘first-person shooter’ mode).



The ability to present alternative futures side-by-side and pose ‘what if’ questions. These ‘windows into the future’ are the closest we can come to time-travel (Figure 12.4), helping us imagine what is unfamiliar and extend our ‘limited vision’ into the long term, clarifying future consequences of our choices today.



Integrating data of various types holistically to make a coherent picture from many separate and otherwise disparate pieces, much like a jigsaw puzzle (Figure 12.5). Mistakes or ‘holes’ in the data often jump out immediately as a result.



Flexibility: digital visualizations can be modified to reveal, highlight or simplify almost any aspect of the 3D/4D models being used, such as underlying data, telling combinations of information, or different levels of realism.

Figure 12.4 Projection into a very different future for Stonehenge in the Engish countryside under severe climate change.

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Figure 12.5 Landscape visualizations act rather like a jigsaw puzzle in pulling together the whole picture from a pile of separate pieces or data points, to reveal meaningful patterns.

Although several 3D visualization tools at the global scale are now available (see below), such techniques have not up until now been systematically applied to climate change communication and planning at the regional and local level. There is much to learn about the role they can play in advancing climate change solutions. The use of virtual 3D globes has however been endorsed by that most august of scientific journals, Nature.5 Early evidence of visualizations helping to change society’s way of thinking can be seen in Hogarth’s woodcuts, with which he set out to raise awareness of cruelty to animals in the Britain of the 1750s (Figure 12.6). Another example is the BBC’s docu-drama Cathy Come Home from the 1960s, which personalized the plight of poor and homeless mothers (Figure 12.7) and had an enormous effect on public opinion. These skilful uses of visual simulation provide precedents for today’s social marketing and public service announcements on climate change. A more recent example is visualization of the ‘ozone hole’ (Figure 12.8), credited with helping to spur public support for legislation to ban fluorocarbons.

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Figure 12.6 Hogarth’s woodcuts, showing graphic scenes of cruelty from everyday life, helped awaken the public conscience and led ultimately to legislation against cruelty to animals in 1820.

Figure 12.7 The TV drama Cathy Come Home, filmed with gritty black-and-white realism, focused on the unfortunate Cathy and mobilized a shocked British public to support social reform on unemployment, homelessness and family poverty.

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Figure 12.8 3D animations like this one on the Internet, showing the fluctuating and otherwise completely invisible ‘ozone hole’, were influential in focusing the attention of the international community on a major problem.

It is clear that visualizations can indeed engage people, getting them ‘through the door’ for presentations, on the Web or at cinemas. We have found that technical presentations, when they include landscape visualizations, keep the audience’s attention much better than comparable ones that offer only conventional graphics, text and narration. Research findings suggest that visualization can increase understanding, and influence emotions, opinions and sometimes behaviour (Box 12A).

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Box 12A People’s responses to visualizations on climate change and sustainability issues, evaluated in recent research Cognition (knowing) Visualizations can convey strong messages quickly and memorably, condensing complex information into a more digestible form. Abstract 3D visualizations can help to simplify and explain key concepts and biophysical processes.6 Perception tests have found that detailed, interactive virtual reality displays can improve learning about complex environmental interactions (such as marine ecology in Puget Sound).7



Climate change example: Meetings with Swiss ski-hill operators in 2005 led to powerful ‘Aha’ moments when the projected effect of global warming on a dwindling snowpack was visualized,8 showing that existing ski runs (in purple below left) in 50 years might fall outside suitable snow elevations for skiing (depicted in white). On seeing this, the operators quickly turned to thinking about all-season recreation opportunities: adaptation planning was accelerated!

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Emotion (caring) Visualizations can arouse positive or negative emotional reactions in observers,9 potentially influencing their attitudes and behaviours. Perception research shows that imagery of people, animals and familiar landscapes can evoke strong and positive feelings.10 At our Landscape Immersion Lab at UBC, Vancouver, with its large wrap-around screens, visitors ranging from crusty professors to young teenagers routinely break out in grins when certain visualizations pop up on the screen. However, being ‘flown’ round a virtual landscape too quickly can be so powerful that people sitting too close to the screens can feel overwhelmed, even having to shield their eyes.

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Climate change example: In an adaptation community open-house in Kimberley, BC in 2009, the strongest audience response came from a ‘virtual fire tour’, which visualized in Google Earth the time sequence for a simulated forest fire that would reach the city in four hours.11 There was an audible gasp in the room as the fire spread to the community boundary. The community’s sense of urgency in preparing for increased fire risk was immediately heightened, even though the fire-spread modelling data had been available prior to the adaptation project.

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(vi) Background image © 2010 Google; 2011 Cnes / Spot Image; Parks Canada; Province of British Columbia; Terra Metrics

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Behaviour change (acting) There have been few studies on the behavioural impacts of climate visualizations, but some evidence suggests they can increase people’s motivation to act and to support policy change.



Climate change example 1: In our work with residents of Delta, BC, which is at risk from sea-level rise, we presented some groups (‘Viz’) with landscape visualizations and other information showing local flooding impacts, adaptation options and mitigation solutions. We presented other groups (‘Non-viz’) with similar information but without 3D visualizations. In post-presentation survey responses, about 73 per cent of participants from the visualization groups reported that they were more willing to do something about climate change, compared with only about 56 per cent of the non-visualization sample (see chart below). Substantially more participants among the visualization groups said their willingness to support local mitigation measures had increased, relative to those who saw no visualizations. Similar results were obtained with support for adaptation policies. Residents’ comments referred to the effect of visualizations in making climate change real and empowering them to take action in ways they had not previously thought about, though actual behaviour change by participants has not yet been measured. Recent evidence suggests that at this early stage such visualizations contribute to a shift in cultural awaremness which precedes collective action and local policy change.

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Climate change example 2: The film The Day After Tomorrow used dramatic visualization of weather extremes and sea-level rise, iconic American landmarks, and suspense to make fictionalized climate change ‘real’ to people (Figure 1.1c). Researchers following up people who watched the film found it changed attitudes (raising concern and anxiety levels) and increased motivation to change behaviour, especially immediately after the viewing.12 However, people found it hard to separate fact from fiction given the disaster film genre, and UK viewers felt somewhat disconnected due to a lack of local knowledge of the places portrayed and a lack of information about their options for action.

3D visualization of climate change can thus be quite influential, especially when providing a shared image of the future: it can provide a focus or a ’hook’ on which to hang ideas and discussions. But how well does the virtual represent the real? Some visualizations of existing environments have been shown to stimulate similar reactions in people to those obtained in the real world (Figure 12.9).13 Generally, researchers believe that higher realism and accuracy in landscape visualization leads to a better match with responses to real life, supporting the validity of these methods in portraying future conditions for which no reality yet exists.

Figure 12.9 Detailed physical model of a community in Marin County, California, constructed in the pioneering Environmental Simulation Lab at UC Berkeley in the 1970s. Some participants viewing drive-through videos of the model (filmed with a computer-driven periscope lens) didn’t realize they were viewing a model at all.

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In practice, there is considerable anecdotal evidence of the effectiveness of visualization as a planning tool,14 stimulating more meaningful dialogue in the community (Figure 12.10), and sometimes leading to action by decisionmakers on policy changes and planning approvals.15 Often there is a mismatch between words and images. As Kwartler puts it: “it is not unusual to hear the shock of ‘that’s not what I meant at all’ when words and numbers in a standard master plan … are … visualized dynamically in three dimensions” (as described at the start of Chapter 3).16 In our Delta sea-level rise studies using visualizations, one municipal staff member said: “Visualization helps immensely. There is nothing like imagery to drive the point home. You look at the image to see how to change it.”

Figure 12.10 The impact of imagery: dialogue with members of a First Nation community on watershed issues was greatly enhanced by the use of realistic landscape visualizations, compared with simple GIS maps of the same area.

Despite this growing evidence of the effectiveness of 3D visualization as a tool, caution is needed. Like any other powerful tool, there is the possibility of misuse or accusations of bias. In one lawsuit in Spain, for example (Figure 12.11), developers argued that certain visualizations in the Greenpeace publication PhotoClima, showing flooding of coastal development due to sea-level rise, were based on false assumptions; Greenpeace declared that they were based on conservative sea-level rise projections from reports by the Spanish government and IPCC. The judge ordered an expert review which identified certain inaccuracies, but agreed with the overall consequences of climate change and declared Greenpeace not at fault because there was no malicious manipulation. Such cases underline the importance of demonstrating accuracy and a scientific basis for visualizing climate change. We should however keep in mind that using 3D visualization to illustrate possible futures is fundamentally different from presenting conventional scientific information. People have already proven willing to boldly visualize where no one has visualized before, without fear of errors, 364

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bias or split infinitives! I have seen several cases of ‘duelling visualizations’ brought forward by opponents and supporters of planned projects in the community. In exploring the future we do not want to exaggerate the threats of climate change or the claims of green solutions that cannot live up to expectations. The unique ability of landscape visualization to connect information with human experience and emotions calls for specific guidance for its users (see Section 12.2). Figure 12.11 These visualizations of La Manga, Spain were produced by Greenpeace to show existing conditions (top) and future sea-level rise (bottom). Real estate interests, claiming that the visualizations led to selling of properties and discouraged new buyers, sued the NGO for compensation in thousands of Euros, but were ultimately unsuccessful.

12.2 How to use visualizations It used to be that a small group of experts in universities and companies around the world produced the lion’s share of future scenario visualizations. We could imagine them as ‘modern prophets’, Merlin-esque ‘seers’ envisioning the future with their mysterious crystal balls and sometimes working literally in CAVES.17 Today, visualization is widely accessible, offering almost unlimited opportunities to engage with the technology. Practically speaking, there is little to stop anyone posting any kind of 365

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visualization on the Internet with commonly available tools. The guidance in this chapter is therefore aimed not so much at expert users (who may still be required for complex applications), but at non-experts using simpler tools and at those who will be planning, viewing or commissioning visualizations. The goal should always be to achieve honest and accurate visualizations with high standards of defensibility, providing a solid base from which to persuade people and governments to take major climate change threats and opportunities seriously, shape public values on sustainable practice, and help project “visions for a sustainable way of living”.18 I would argue that we have a moral responsibility to use all legitimate means of communication to inform, engage and motivate people to act on climate change. After all, many other uses of scientific information, visual media and community policies are explicitly used to encourage certain behaviours, as in public service announcements and by-laws on smoking, alcohol use or disposal of pollutants. If it is totally acceptable to use sophisticated visual media to persuade people to buy products such as cars or cell-phones (even if they have adverse environmental or safety impacts), why would it be wrong to use visualizations, defensibly prepared, to lay out expected realities and key choices to be made for the common good in our communities? We should however watch out for potential problems of misrepresentation to avoid in visualizing climate change information (Box 12B). We need to adopt ethical procedures for dealing with such potentially sensitive issues, as is done in many other professions from dentistry to libel law. To address these types of risk, other researchers and I have attempted over the years to develop a Code of Ethics for Landscape Visualization.19 A version of this code is provided in the Appendix for those who intend to develop or evaluate visualizations. Its principles relevant to climate change inform the guideline criteria used throughout Part III of this book.

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Box 12B Problems to avoid in people’s response to visualization20 1

The risk of overly subjective reactions: Aesthetic responses to future conditions may override less visible but important implications of climate change. In the science-based images below of projected agricultural changes in the UK, some people may find the sunflowers associated with much hotter, dryer summers prettier than the maize fields which accompany less extreme climate change, suggesting the importance of showing varying conditions and contextual information.

(i) Existing conditions, 2001

2 3 4

5

(ii) Potential land use, 2020 (B2)

(iii) Potential land use, 2020 (A2)

The risk of deception: There may be deliberate attempts to manipulate and mislead on this high-stakes issue, especially where the facts are still being contested. The risk of disbelief: Lack of credibility of the visualization imagery or underlying modelling/assumptions would damage the effectiveness of the exercise. The risk of overkill:21 Visual messaging that is too heavily focused on ‘doom and gloom’ can be counterproductive, inducing hopelessness rather than action, though some use of imagery showing expected adverse conditions can be important in achieving behavioural change.22 The risk of habituation: Persuasive visuals can cast even climate change in a fashionable or, ironically, ‘cool’ image, as in the Diesel ‘Global Warming Ready’ clothing adverts, here showing a fashionable couple on a sweltering roof-top in a future flooded Manhattan. These images successfully attracted public attention, though according to some: “The Diesel images speak of inevitability and acquiescence to a global crisis, and their wide circulation in popular culture … reinforces defeatist and apathetic attitudes to global warming.”23

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For visualization of climate change specifically, there is a shorthand version of the Code that I call the ‘three Ds of visualization’: 1 Disclosure: Making tangible those climate change conditions that are scientifically known or projected, in a recognizable local setting and informing the viewer of expected outcomes (both negative and positive). 2 Drama: Immersing viewers in an interactive, dynamic and/or realistic landscape, with an experience that is memorable and may touch people’s emotional side. 3 Defensibility: Producing accurate visualizations via a systematic, transparent and credible process informed by the best available data, modelling and/or coherent scenarios, and developed by trusted and qualified people. Dull or confusing visualizations, and especially those with no overall scientific or logical underpinning, are unlikely to change people’s minds or convince policy-makers. Indeed, they could well be counter-productive if perceived as exaggeration or ‘spin’. I suggest we think of 3D visualization as providing only permissible drama that emulates real life as it would be experienced with climate change (Figure 12.12). This may include either dramatic content such as forest die-back or extreme storms (based on evidence or plausible projections); or dramatic display formats such as big-screen animated panoramas which convey the expected appearance of a future landscape as it would actually be seen in a real neighbourhood (considering view angle, motion, etc.). However, if the visualizations exaggerate the effects of climate change, distort the affected landscape features, selectively omit key elements, or show future conditions that have been dreamed up out of thin air, questions should be asked.

Figure 12.12 (a, b) In research with the coastal communities of Delta, BC, our visualizations showing flooded homes (left) were criticized by homeowners for not being realistic enough in their cautious depiction of calm seas and sunny conditions. In reality the floods of 2006 looked far more extreme (right), with waves crashing over the sea-wall.

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As shown in Figure 12.12, extreme conditions may be visually dramatic and critical turning points for communities, and should thus be included in visualizations; but these conditions should be put into perspective by also including typical conditions that community members will experience much more frequently. Visualizations of possible climate change consequences and solutions should always be accompanied by clear labelling and/or scientific explanations of the conditions and assumptions represented, such as the frequency or duration of climate change events. Further recommendations on how to package visualizations as part of larger processes are provided in Chapter 13.

Step-by-step visualization production There are five main steps involved in producing visualizations: 1 2 3 4 5

Collecting data Planning Creation Review Presentation

Step 1 Collecting data and existing visualization imagery Communities may already have some useful 3D images from local architects and planners, free from Google Earth, and from regional or global sources of remote visualization (see below). In addition, photographs can be collected as described in Chapter 10, and other 2D and non-spatial data as described in Chapter 11. Large amounts of scientific material are now becoming available in some areas in formats that can be displayed by GIS and virtual globe systems, including high-precision 3D data such as LiDAR (Figure 12.13).24 Larger cities may have sophisticated 3D database management tools such as CityGML. Step 1 may be carried out concurrently with Step 2. Visualizations are hungry for data, especially spatial data. The biggest deficiency for most communities is the lack of detailed local climate projections, as discussed in Chapter 3.1. Methods of acquiring and developing those data are discussed in Chapters 11 and 13.

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Figure 12.13 Example of a 3D digital model derived from aerial LiDAR data, showing mudflats, a dyke, trees and structures.

Step 2 Planning the visualization effort Major considerations include: ◆ ◆

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Audience(s): who will view or use the visualizations and what are their needs? Content, themes and messages to be communicated: choice of visualization material should be tailored to the expected audience(s), without compromising accuracy or legitimacy. Key is whether the visualization will depict a real place which can be geo-referenced, using spatial data stored in a GIS or virtual globe system, or generic or conceptual conditions not tied to a specific locale. Sometimes what is needed is presentation of existing non-visible conditions to augment the visible aspects of climate change, through a blend (Figure 12.14) of realism and symbolic abstraction. The CIMA framework should be considered in selecting content. For example, a range of climate change impacts and adaptation would lend themselves to disclosure with some drama in visualizations of a future local landscape: flooding, ice retreat, forest die-back, fire events, farm abandonment, and climate change refugee camps.25

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Types of visualization media to be used: visualization media options and software programmes are almost endless and evolve rapidly, but different people have different learning styles, so using a range of media/display formats is advisable. These can include static, animated or interactive imagery and different levels of abstraction or realism, discussed in Step 3 below. Scale of the effort, depending on the complexity, number of views, length of animation sequence, geographic area covered, etc. Resources needed: data, expertise and funding given the above requirements. Review team and review process to vet emerging visualizations (see Step 4). Presentation needs (discussed further in Step 5 below) should be planned ahead of time. Figure 12.14 Non-visible data (in this case colourcoded tree species projected to change between 2000 and 2085 on a BC mountainside) can be displayed with landscape visualizations to show the long-term consequences of management practices or climate change, even though such transformations may not be visually apparent in real life.

Step 3 Creating your own visualizations26 Generic visualizations of scientific aspects of climate change or energy futures may be obtained off the shelf from commercial or public sources, such as video stores or YouTube. Local community visualizations, however, often have to be created especially for the purpose. There are many ways to visualize aspects of climate change and no single perfect software package. The principles to be followed and the resources to hand are more

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important than seeking one ideal visualization tool. The toolsets below provide many templates and tips for creating visualizations, as well as the pros and cons of different methods. A key decision is which viewpoints to use. This is likely to affect how the visualized content is developed and displayed, even with a fully interactive visualization system where users can move around at will and choose their own viewpoints (Figure 12.15). Options range from outer space to ground level. The prudent approach is to show a variety of viewpoints (see examples in Chapter 14). High-level aerial views (see first visualizations in Box 12A) are good for seeing the big picture and explaining scale or geographic relationships; they are not good at representing details, what people may see in reality or how they may feel when they see it. Low-level aerial views, just above the roof-tops in the community, for example, can provide both the detail and recognition of local places, and a sense of the neighbourhood patterns or key spatial relationships (e.g. where floods may hit or the extent of solar panels); however, they may not represent the true visual impact of features that would actually be seen by residents. Ground-level views can do this, but are often limited in the viewshed they provide, with trees or buildings obscuring important features you may wish to explain. For this viewpoint, there is no substitute for visiting the site and taking photos to guide the visualization process.

Figure 12.15 Common types of interactivity with landscape visualization interfaces. Other types make it possible to interact directly with underlying data or information on the visualization process, by clicking on the picture.

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Other decisions on image content should be based on available data and scenarios ((see Chapter 13), and important or representative conditions (e.g. weather, lighting, season and year portrayed). For the systematic production of multiple visualizations, it is best to follow some customized ‘decision rules’ or criteria for selecting appropriate scenes, viewpoints, conditions and events, and for selecting key visualized content which has not yet been established with scientific models or existing data. These decision rules should be documented and reviewed by appropriate others (see Step 4).

Step 4 Reviewing and revising visualizations An important way to build defensibility and quality of visualizations is to ensure effective stakeholder participation in their development throughout the process. A small review team is desirable, ideally consisting of experts and non-experts from the community.27 The review team can also help to derive the decision rules mentioned above. At a minimum, though, you need a second pair of eyes to see things that the visualization preparer is too close to see. Visualizations can then be revised and changes verified, leading to final visualizations which can be more confidently explained to the audience.

Step 5 Presenting the visualizations How visualizations are communicated to and used by the audience depends partly on the larger process they are part of (as described in Chapter 13). They can be formally presented at public meetings or on television; or they can be disseminated via reports, posters or the Web (for people to access on their own whenever they choose and for as long as they like). Imagery may be created for one-time use as in a public hearing, or for an ongoing, accessible and even modifiable database with spatial/3D/4D data, as an evolving space for online participation. A few key technical presentation issues that apply generally are reviewed here. There is a big difference between visualizations that are introduced and presented in person to an audience, and those that are accessed directly by the audience without a mediator. In the latter case, it is vital for sciencebased climate change visualization to be accompanied by clear labelling which includes ways to find out more about its content and genesis: title, data sources, main messages, credits, production date, and contact details for more information. Where visualizations can potentially be reproduced and used by others, copyright symbols and logos may be necessary: we have found that some of our visualizations produced at the CALP research lab can ‘go viral’ and appear in unexpected places, sometimes without credit or, more importantly, a proper explanation of content. Wide 373

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distribution can be a good thing in informing and mobilizing debate among the public, but it should be carefully managed to remain accurate and in context wherever possible. Web-based programmes such as Creative Commons can help in clarifying how and under what conditions images can be reused. Tracking wider use though is difficult, and a work in progress at CALP. Locally based efforts may not be able to bring about the audience’s total immersion in the virtual environment offered by very large – and especially ‘wrap-around’ – screens in decision theatres (Figure 12.16), but much can be done to optimize the setting of any presentation. Often displays are too small to be appreciated at the back of the room or are compromised by bad lighting. Viewing distance from the screen is also important (Box 12C).

Figure 12.16 The BC Hydro Decision Theatre at UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability uses multiple reconfigurable screens to immerse users in future local environments of their own choosing, providing an interactive ‘window on the region’ for policy-makers or the public from any community; but smaller, simpler two- or three-screen fixed or portable systems can also work very well.

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Box 12C A simple way to calculate ideal viewing distances for presenting landscape visualizations A rule of thumb is to try matching the real-world angle of view, in order to see things at the right scale. A standard 35mm camera lens captures a view angle of approximately 40–45°. To allow an audience to view a photographed scene with a similar view angle on an 8ft-wide screen, people would have to sit at a distance of about 10 to 11ft from the screen (i.e. about 1.4 times the screen width; see graphic below, reproduced from Sheppard (1989)). With large crowds, that means very big screens. Movie and IMAX theatres, of course, are designed with this in mind. In practice, using standard AV equipment in a typical community hall, it is often impossible to get many people into this ‘sweet spot’. The take-home message though is that many presentations lose impact because of small screens and/or overly long viewing distances. It is therefore important to get as many people as possible reasonably close to the screens, and to use large or multiple screens. Determining Viewing Distance and Image Size for Presentations The desirable viewing angle for people looking at a simulation is that which matches the actual field-of-view of the scene. This can be determined from the type of camera lens used, or calculated by mapping the edges of the field-of-view on a site map. Once the desired view angle is known and the image size required for a given presentation format has been determined, the appropriate viewing distance can be calculated. The basis for the calculation is a simple trigonometric equation. For example, for a 24 × 36-inch board showing a simulation with an original field of view of 40 degrees, the correct viewing distance (x) can be calculated by: Correct Viewing Distance

=

=

1/2 simulation width tangent (1/2 desired viewing angle) 18” tan 20°

= 50”

For a given viewing angle, this equation can be simplified further to a ratio of simulation width to viewing distance. For example, for a 40-degree angle: Using trigonometry to calculate viewing distance for a simulation

Correct Viewing Distance

= simulation width × 1.374

In the next few pages, we illustrate various kinds of visualization toolsets and successful or representative images, from which the reader may gain some ideas and inspiration. They are arranged generally from the simple and conventional to the more sophisticated, though there are many ways to create powerful and innovative visual imagery, regardless of the sophistication of the technique. The CIMA framework is again used to categorize the aspects of climate change revealed by the visualization examples. 375

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Visualization Toolset 1 Hand-made visualizations, the old-fashioned way Analogue (versus digital) visualizations are the low-tech way of doing things, using sketches, cartoons, elevations, artists’ renderings and paintings, and physical 3D scale models. These media can be very expressive. Some design professionals successfully blend digital and non-digital media to keep the human touch while conveying the uncertainty of future concepts before detailed plans become available.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Multiple traditional media Static Abstract to realistic Creative or partly data-driven

Guideline criteria Clarity: Depends on medium and graphic design, but can be bold and targeted on key messages. Trust: Depends on the source. Renderings are sometimes distrusted as sales drawings, making things look too attractive. Can be misleading if data are selective or graphically distorted. Hard to verify accuracy of 2D artwork. Engagement: Realistic scale models and colour artwork can be intriguing and/or attractive to viewers. Art pieces can induce emotions and create a mood or spirit, which may or may not be appropriate. Connectivity: Depends on whether it is realistic and familiar enough to be salient and personal. May get across one main message or integrate several.

(a) Causes Hand-drawn sketches with key verifiable facts attempt to convey the scale and carbon footprint of tar sands operations.

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Guideline criteria Feasibility: Quick sketches, crosssections and abstract models may be simple to prepare and quite powerful, but higher quality artwork of scale models requires skilled expertise, can be costly, and is not flexible for multiple changes. Tips

(b) Mitigation/adaptation Simple scale model at a UK ‘Open Space’ meeting, using a large map, cut-out trees, and flags to mark key local features and obtain citizens’ suggestions on a community-led vision.



Make it bold, simple, use solid colour to clarify graphs and maps, and without too much text or complexity.



Can base the graphics on existing site photographs and/or 3D computer perspectives for scale and accuracy.



Clearly identify if based on specified data or just ideas.

(c) Mitigation/adaptation Artist’s rendering (supported by SketchUp digital model) showing potential low-carbon densification in Kimberley, BC, combined with adaptation to reduce possible stream flooding and offset warmer summer temperatures with increased numbers of street trees.

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Visualization Toolset 2 Adjusting reality with modified photographs Capturing and extending the power of photography to reveal climate change, using enhanced groundlevel or oblique 2D photographic imagery. Usually very site specific and readily connected to recognizable local places, but even images of remote places can be compelling and informative. Usually digitally rendered in photo-editing programs like Photoshop or Gimp; no 3D digital models are required with these techniques, though they may be used to guide the photo-editing process. The drawbacks are the possibility of unethical manipulation and weak links to underlying data. Imaging of non-visible wavelengths such as infrared can be revealing, though it requires special equipment.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description

(a) Causes/mitigation

Modifying conventional digital photography Static Realistic or mixed/semi-realistic Creative or partly data-driven

Photo-edited visualizations comparing

Guideline criteria Clarity: Often very clear, especially before/after comparisons, and using a familiar medium. Can be easily labelled to direct attention to key features.

(i) existing high-carbon conditions, and

Trust: Depends on the source. Photo manipulations are sometimes distrusted as ‘fake’, with no simple way to verify accuracy. May be misleading if changes are inaccurate but still look realistic. Engagement: Photo-realism is intriguing and can invoke attachment to place and emotional or atmospheric influences. Easily made accessible over the Web.

(ii) a hypothetical low-carbon future in the community of Didcot, UK.

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Connectivity: Usually realistic and familiar enough to be salient and personal. May get across many messages holistically.

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Guideline criteria Feasibility: Easily replicated, flexible, cheap and available to everyone with a modern cell-phone and a PC. Images may be simple to modify and powerful, but more complex work and accuracy require skilled expertise. Tips

(b) Causes Thermal imagery used in UK studies of residential heat loss encouraged significant behaviour change, increasing the number of householders who installed draft excluders/insulation by up to eight times relative to those who only had an energy audit done.28



Make sure the realistic detail does not overwhelm the main message(s) or features.



Use site survey data or 3D computer perspectives as overlays to support photoediting, or new 2D/3D hybrid software.



List the assumptions and data sources used to increase transparency/credibility.

(c) Impacts Iconic photo-narrative: Lord Nelson looks down from his column in Trafalgar Square, London on a shanty town of climate refugees. “As the equatorial belt becomes uninhabitable, so people are driven north in search of food and security …. many reach London.” 29 Compelling photomontage that puts you right into the centre of a new and disturbing potential reality. © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(d) Causes Thought-provoking artwork by Chris Jordan entitled Jet Trails, produced by digital photomontage (see detail inset), showing the number of commercial flights operating every eight hours in the USA. © Chris Jordan, Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery.

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Visualization Toolset 3 Geovisualization with simpler 3D modelling Geovisualizations give us the power of the bird’s-eye view and the chance to fly. They typically involve fairly abstract 3D digital models showing solid volumes with limited additional information. Sometimes called ‘2.5D’ or ‘3D maps’, combining digital elevation or terrain models on which are draped 2D maps, aerial photos or satellite imagery. These can look realistic when seen from above, but become abstract and odd-looking from on-the-ground or close-in views. They represent almost pure data, and thus are commonly used for scientific and educational purposes such as climate change communication. Can often be animated as ‘fly-bys’ or revolving globes, easily highlighting particular features or conditions (e.g. flood risk) which may not be seen in real life, effectively making the invisible visible.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Digital media Static or animated Abstract to semi-realistic Data-driven

Guideline criteria Clarity: Their simplicity is generally good for understanding, explaining scale/spatial relationships and data, as long as the abstraction is not too severe. Trust: Reliance on scientific data and modelling tends to give geovisualizations high credibility and authority, though accuracy can be limited by data quality and uncertainty in underlying models. Engagement: Static geovisualizations are less engaging than more realistic visualizations, but animated views can be very engaging. Generally limited emotional content.

(a) Impacts Global 3D simulations of summer sea-ice thickness at the North Pole over 150 years (white shows thickest ice; red line shows maximum historical extent of sea-ice).

Connectivity: Abstraction and high-level oblique views tend to leave a detached feeling, with few contextual or recognizable site details to which communities can relate.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(i)

Guideline criteria Feasibility: Requires computer expertise and access to GIS databases and modelling software in order to generate renderings, though programmes such as ArcGIS can be quickly learned for simple 3D applications. Tips

(ii)

(b) Impacts Terrain model of the Canadian Rockies with superimposed glacier dynamics model, clearly showing projected shrinkage of the Columbia Icefield between 2002 and 2100 for the A1B (high-carbon) scenario.

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Colour and appropriate detail can improve visual interest and learning, but avoid dense or complex surface patterns.



Keep legends, north arrows, sources and notations clearly legible and not too complex. Use with other media such as site photographs to convey details, and improve local recognition and connectivity.

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(c) Impacts The Sierra Club caused quite a stir in 2006 with the release of a 3D flood map of BC’s Lower Mainland, showing sea-level rise of 6 metres based on the last time global average climate was 2°C warmer. There is still uncertainty as to exactly when this might occur. Background image © 2006 Google; Europa Technologies; Terra Metrics; Digital Globe.

Visualization Toolset 4 Full 3D modelling of landscapes Realistic landscape visualizations of actual places (e.g. architectural renderings) make the abstract or the hypothetical tangible. They show vegetation, structures, atmospheric and lighting effects, and therefore provide additional experiential information not offered by geovisualizations. May be animated with widely available software programs, and exhibit highly photo-realistic effects depending on the system, 3D data available and operator’s skill. Realistic and modelled information can be combined to make visible that which is considered detectable/recognized only by experts.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(i)

Description Digital media Static or animated Semi-realistic to realistic Data-driven but enabling creative effects or fantasy images

Guideline criteria Clarity: Depends on content, presentation, and labelling. May contain too much detail for messages to be clear, or may have unfamiliar appearance with new data types. (a) Impacts Existing photograph of Roberts Bank dyke in Delta, BC.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation) (ii)

Guideline criteria Trust: Depends on the source. Architectural renderings and spurious animations are sometimes distrusted as sales tools, and may be selective in what they show. Scientific modelling and 3D datasets have higher credibility, even with partial realism. Engagement: Realistic visualizations and animations can be intriguing, and invoke attachment to place and emotional responses.

(iii)

Connectivity: Usually realistic and familiar enough to be salient and personal. May get across one main message or integrate several. Feasibility: Higher levels of realism and animation demand more sophisticated software and skilled expertise, but newer, simpler software such as SketchUp can be quickly learned. Modifying visualizations is relatively straightforward. (iv)

(a) (continued) Impacts Series of LiDAR data-based visualizations from a similar viewpoint showing: (ii) current conditions at mean sea level; (iii) overtopping with projected high tide, storm surge and sea-level rise in 2100; and (iv) flooding of farmland after a dyke breach under such conditions.

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Tips



Grey or abstract forms (such as building massing models) within a more realistic visualization may be interpreted literally by non-experts (i.e. as ugly architecture).



Comparing with site photos helps judge the accuracy and scope of the visualization.



Document the source data and underlying models.



Avoid uncomfortably fast animations and overly slick presentation.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(b) Causes/mitigation Hypothetical British landscape visualized before and after a future scenario with new energygenerating community development and biomass plantations.

(c) Impacts Semi-realistic hybrid landscape visualization of the community of Kimberley showing high (orange) and moderate (cream) susceptibility to mountain pine beetle infestation in the surrounding forested watershed due to warmer winters, with potential increased flood hazard in town. The city mayor requested peaked roofs be added to the residential building models to make it look more like Kimberley. Background image © 2009 Google; Province of British Columbia; Digital Globe; Terra Metrics.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(d) Impacts 3D model of urban heat island in Toronto: colours represent surface temperatures, showing the cooling effect of vegetation (tree canopy shown in green).

(e) Mitigation Visualizing bioenergy plantations in east Germany, showing computed growth over seven years and view blockage effects.

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Visualization Toolset 5 Interactive 3D/4D visualization Here the viewer gets ‘hands-on’ and can manipulate the 3D visualization. Video-games set the bar for interactive visualization and engagement, such as SimCity Societies which allows users to trade off community aesthetics, renewable energy sources and resulting climate change disasters, tracked on a dashboard display; the only question is whether people internalize and act on that kind of information in the real world.30 Virtual globes such as Google Earth and other 3D software sometimes have interfaces that allow users the choice of viewpoint, scale (navigation in space), and time of day/selection of seasons (by manipulating sun angles). Additional flexibility such as allowing user selection or modification of content may also be available. Even the more modest tools described in Toolsets 3 and 4 are also becoming more interactive. Building and Land Information Management Systems now provide 3D databases that attach information to pictures, enabling ‘intelligent visualizations’ where the user can query (i.e. click on) the pictures to access underlying data.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Digital media Interactive /dynamic Abstract to realistic Data-driven but enabling creative effects or full fantasy worlds

Guideline criteria Clarity: As for Toolset 4, but with the potential for greater clarity through user selection of desired information, assuming the interface is intuitive. Interactivity fosters learning through exploration. Trust: Virtual globes and queriable visualizations tend to be more trustworthy, with high transparency and less room for distortion. Synthetic worlds and video-games may trade entertainment for credibility.

(a) CIMA Al Gore’s collaboration with Google Earth and various famous people for the Copenhagen COP 15 Climate Talks: zooming us round the world in bird’s-eye views with click-on icons to explore other communities responding to climate change, such as California’s green industry hubs and planned levees to combat sea-level rise. Background image © 2009 Google; Terra Metrics; Digital Globe; IBCAO; AMBAG.

Engagement: Usually highly engaging and can be almost addictive. Interactivity may be compelling without full realism; similar range of effects on emotions as in Toolsets 3 and 4. Web access provided for many.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Guideline criteria Connectivity: Highly variable, depending on content. Virtual globes that zoom to your community and recognizable 3D worlds ensure some connectivity. Can relay integrated CIMA messages. Feasibility: Some virtual platforms are fairly easy to access and add data to, like Google Earth. Higher levels of sophistication, complexity and maintenance need skilled expertise and ongoing funding. Tips

(a) CIMA continued. Background image © 2009 Google; Digital Globe; Contra Costa County; Terra Metrics.

(b) Causes/mitigation Interactive 3D neighbourhood showing animated CO2 emissions from typical German house types and ages. The user can choose from a number of renovation measures to get instant visual feedback on energy use, costs and carbon footprint.

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Document the source information and methods used.



Allow sceptical users to navigate and interrogate the imagery and underlying data.



Avoid uncomfortably fast animations and overly slick presentation.



If unable to prepare your own material, suitable interactive media prepared by others, or even just using Google Earth to ‘fly’ round local features may be used to initiate discussions.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation) (c) Mitigation

A video-game to reduce carbon footprints in a real place.

(i) Map of the Energy Wars mobile game site including the gamer position and geotags with which they can interact to identify energy efficiency solutions.

(ii) Visualization of the Energy Wars mobile game context on one of the gamer’s smartphones at the real location.

(d) Impacts A proposed interface for a video-game about mountain pine beetle attacks on the forest with climate change, designed by students as a class project to engage and educate young people.

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Visualization Toolset 6 Film and video presentations with special effects and high drama With the sophisticated techniques of the movie, video, television and advertising industries, visualizations and dramatizations of climate change and the carbon story can be produced in films, public service announcements, documentaries and animations, but often at a cost that is beyond most communities. These products can feed our imagination with totally synthetic worlds or immerse us in gritty realism. Copies of such products may be used to catalyse community discussions on climate change. Less ambitious educational videos and museum exhibits can be made more cheaply, incorporating local visualizations of various kinds.

Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Description Digital /mixed media Animated, usually not interactive Usually highly realistic and/or including real footage Creative or data-informed.

Guideline criteria Clarity: Messages are usually vivid and clearly communicated by professionals, though information content varies. Trust: Depends on whether or not the content and makers have a clear scientific grounding. Commercial media, ads and some NGO campaigns are often seen as biased.

(a) Causes David Attenborough’s TV documentary on climate showed black cubes of carbon dioxide floating up from homes to make explicit as a volume one family’s carbon footprint in a typical North American suburb.

Engagement: Commercial media are highly engaging due to production values, intentional drama or humour, and advance advertising. Can induce strong emotional reactions and immersion in the narrative. Often widely promoted and accessible. Connectivity: Often designed to be personally engaging or involving well-known cultural icons, but seldom locally relevant unless locally produced. May focus on one main message or several if lengthy and educational.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

Guideline criteria Feasibility: DVDs of sophisticated productions can be rented out but do-it-yourself productions are not easily created by communities, due to expense. Home or local video production and editing is however becoming more widely accessible and professional. Tips

(b) Causes Falling polar bears: edgy TV and cinema ad cleverly links the weight of that iconic climate change symbol, the polar bear, to the amount of GHGs produced per person on short-haul flights in Europe, pointing out ‘Your flight has an impact’.



Get professional help and equipment if doing it yourself, but provide clear guidance on the messages and avoid sales approaches.



Keep it short and snappy, with minimal key text and numbers, and lots of pictures.



Avoid too much spurious animation and special effects that do not contribute to content.



Document source information and methods used.



If unable to prepare your own material, relevant movies or documentaries can be used to initiate discussions.

(c) Impacts Special effects with computer animation in the movie How to Boil a Frog show a speeded-up transition from a high-carbon car-dominated neighbourhood to one that is ‘relocalized’ with bicycles, pedestrians, transit, local energy and local food.

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Examples (Causes, Impacts, Mitigation, Adaptation)

(d) Causes/impacts/mitigation The film The Age of Stupid, set in 2055 and starring the late Oscar-nominated actor Pete Postlethwaite, combined visualizations of devastated iconic landmarks like the Taj Mahal with extended flashbacks to real documentary and news footage, asking why the world accepted climate change with what in hindsight was plain stupidity. Maybe they never read books like this …. Credit: Director Franny Armstrong.

12.3 Overcoming challenges to visualizing climate change Given the broad evidence of the effectiveness of visualization media and the urgency of responding to climate change, a logical next step is to roll out visualization techniques to as many communities as possible, moving beyond the sporadic and serendipitous use of visualization that happens currently. Let us enable more communities to picture a better world in their own backyard. Despite the evident enthusiasm of the largely self-taught volunteers who feed 3D models to the digital online warehouses in SketchUp and Google Earth, wider distribution of these useful tools is constrained by a few obvious factors:

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Resources: Lack of support systems and centralized availability of resources both practical and financial.



Awareness: Lack of awareness among planners, local councils and stakeholder groups as to what can be done and how.

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Training: Scarce options for training on visualization applied to community outreach and planning on climate change.31 We need regional hubs of expertise32 that can be made available for smaller communities or groups, to provide visualizations and train others to develop or use them.

Visualization needs to become a mainstream activity within community conversations and planning procedures (as demonstrated in Chapter 13). What if the video-game industry, for instance, could somehow be persuaded to devote 10 per cent of its awesome visualization expertise, not to mention funds, to the campaign against climate change? It could then engage millions of people in learning about and developing cool solutions for the public good, while continuing to channel 90 per cent of its resources to that other global priority: training teenagers to kill virtual people more efficiently! In the real world, we are still at an early stage in coming to terms with climate change and applying visualization tools to the problem. Will giving people the power to see what other communities are doing about climate change, through platforms such as Google Outreach,33 build empathy and mobilize action in our own neighbourhoods and business sectors? There are many clever ‘apps’ emerging to build awareness of climate change through mobile devices, ‘persuasive technology’ such as virtual pets (Figure 12.17), and intriguing augmented reality systems that promise to enhance what we see in our daily lives (perhaps they can finally reveal carbon dioxide, for example). But in my opinion, more technological breakthroughs are not the most urgent need. We should put more effort into figuring out how to mobilize the powerful visualization capabilities we already have in a much more systematic and accelerated manner. To convince the scientists and other practitioners not usually trained in visual communication, adopting basic standards or a voluntary code of ethics would help in setting the goalposts for a major local visualization effort. So too would more evaluation of the effectiveness of visualization where applied to climate change by experts and non-experts, including longitudinal research to determine if there are long-lasting effects in changing behaviour on climate action. This would help us optimize the role of visualization among other approaches to building literacy and community capacity on climate change.

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Figure 12.17 The importance of feedback and personal connections. People who interacted with a virtual polar bear, on an ice-floe that grows or shrinks depending on how much the player commits to environmentally responsible actions in their real life, developed emotional attachments which led to higher environmental concern and reported behaviour change.

Summary In Chapter 12, we have seen various approaches to revealing the causes, consequences and potential solutions for climate change through 3D and 4D visualization techniques. In contrast to a written plan or abstract diagrams, these visualizations can make climate change blindingly clear and locally relevant, and project its effects into a community’s future. They can be uniquely captivating, informative, emotionally engaging and popular with the public, but they are not common in local settings and many believe they require expert knowledge to create. In reality, visualizations are becoming more and more feasible for community members to take on as ‘do-it-yourself’ projects through GIS, virtual globes and free visualization software. Like any other powerful tool, they can entail risks where there is inappropriate or less than honest application. This chapter has provided general ethics guidelines and many examples and precedents for the use of visualization by communities and others in their awareness-raising, capacity-building and planning activities.

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Notes 1 This is not the same as 3D (stereo) vision as used in cinemas where the audience dons 3D glasses; it refers to pictures and 3D digital or physical models that show height as well as spatial (x, y) dimensions to generate views of objects or environments in perspective. 2 Schroth (2010). 3 Sheppard and Salter (2004). 4 Perkins and Barnhart (2005). 5 Butler (2006). 6 MacEachren and Ganter (1990); Al-Kodmany (2000). 7 Winn (1997). 8 Schroth (2010). 9 Daniel and Meitner (2001). 10 Kaplan and Herbert (1988); Nicholson-Cole (2005). 11 Pond et al. (2009). 12 Lowe et al. (2006). 13 See e.g. Bosselmann and Craik (1987); Sheppard (1989); Daniel and Meitner (2005); Bishop and Lange (2005). 14 Tress and Tress (2003); Sheppard and Meitner (2001); Salter et al. (2009). 15 Sheppard (2005); Sheppard and Cizek (2009). 16 Kwartler (2005, p.252). 17 CAVE stands for a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment. It is an immersive virtual reality environment where projectors are directed to three to six walls of a room-sized cube. Users can go inside the cave wearing special glasses that allow the user to see objects floating in the air and to walk around them. 18 Michaelis (2003), arguing for a government strategy to change public behaviour on greenhouse gas emissions; see also Luymes (2001) on the deliberate use of visualization to influence the public or government policy. 19 Sheppard (2001a); Mulder et al. (2007). 20 Adapted from Sheppard (2005). 21 Furness et al. (1998). 22 McKenzie-Mohr and Smith (1999). 23 Anderson and Miller (2010, p.158). 24 LiDAR (light detection and ranging) is a type of remote sensing that uses laser-driven pulses of light and multi-spectral cameras to scan and process digital information about a landscape, providing highly detailed and accurate 3D models of the landscape. See Bewley et al. (2005). Most commonly and cheaply available when captured from aircraft, it may also be obtained with very high-resolution terrestrial equipment. 25 See Sheppard (2005), Table 2, for a list of impacts that lend themselves to realistic landscape visualization versus those that are less visible and require additional visual media to make them apparent. 26 This section is based primarily on guidelines from Sheppard (1989, 2001a) and Bishop and Lange (2005). 27 See Pond et al. (2010) and Chapter 13 for more guidance on review methods. 28 Revkin (2007).

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28 Goodhew (2010) 29 ‘Postcards from the Future,’ Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones, www.postcardsfromthefuture.co.uk 30 Revkin (2007). 31 Such courses are primarily found in schools of landscape architecture and architecture, and focus mainly on the narrower profession of design. 32 Sheppard (2006). 33 Dicum (2006).

Further reading Appleyard, D. (1977) ‘Understanding professional media: Issues, theory, and a research agenda’, in I. Altman and J.F. Wohlwill (eds) Human Behavior and Environment, Vol. 2, Plenum, Cambridge, MA. Bishop, I.D., and Lange, E. (eds) (2005) Visualization in Landscape and Environmental Planning, Taylor & Francis, London and New York. Bosselmann, P. (1998) Representation of Places: Reality and Realism in City Design. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. Ervin, S.M. and Hasbrouck, H.H. (2001) Landscape Modeling: Digital Techniques for Landscape Visualization, McGraw-Hill, New York. Sheppard, S.R.J. (1989) Visual Simulation: A User’s Guide for Architects, Engineers, and Planners, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York. Sheppard, S.R.J. and Cizek, P. (2009) ‘The ethics of Google Earth: Crossing thresholds from spatial data to landscape visualisation’, Journal of Environmental Management, 90 (6): 2102–2117. Sheppard, S.R.J., Lewis, J.L. and Akai, C. (2004) Landscape Visualization: An Extension Guide for First Nations and Rural Communities, Sustainable Forest Management Network, Edmonton, Canada.

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Local climate change visioning Better processes for planning community futures1

13.1 Why do climate change visioning? Communities have to deal with the coming challenges of climate change and increasingly aggressive carbon-reduction mandates while grappling with other trends such as population increase, economic instability, and continuing high expectations from residents. However, there are few road-maps or proven planning processes yet in place for communities to address multiple climate change issues at the local level. How do we get people in neighbourhoods and across whole communities to wake themselves up and start working together to find solutions? Currently, community planning is not meeting the need, since common approaches often: ◆

don’t articulate the consequences of local climate change in conjunction with other priorities;



don’t successfully engage most local residents: planning is usually not a social learning process, and does not use compelling information to clearly convey the range of choices or possible climate change scenarios;



don’t address the urgency of meeting fixed targets for cutting carbon or adapting to threats;



are piecemeal, not holistic: adaptation and mitigation responses are dealt with separately in silos within or between responsible agencies, projects and policies;



focus only on the short term: most plans stretch out 10 to 25 years at most, and not across people’s lifetimes or those of the next generation, ignoring inevitable massive climate change effects such as sea-level rise that will continue for centuries.

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It is easy to be critical. The growing urgency of climate change and past delays in taking effective action place enormous pressure on local government decision-makers, planners and resource managers. They are often overwhelmed with the complexity and uncertainty of the new issues they face. There is an acute need for coherent, multidisciplinary information on local climate change impacts and possible response options.2 How will these challenges be met? Few people, even among the planners, know what low-carbon, resilient communities look like. How will the necessary radical changes across whole communities be made without antagonizing local residents? Thankfully, we are not starting from scratch here. Town planners, designers, engineers, foresters and risk managers have to deal with the future all the time. They routinely develop plans and designs to present proposed changes or desired future conditions to the public through consultation processes. We can build on this experience and strengthen it to meet the new challenges. This is where visioning comes in, using visual learning tools to engage more people, explain local climate change issues, build community capacity and articulate practical choices: it amounts to better participatory planning. Communities need a simple, flexible framework with modified planning procedures to integrate the best available climate change knowledge into policy and decision-making, while simultaneously bringing along their citizens and stakeholders as active participants. Community planning can then play a greater role in social learning, as suggested in Figure 4.2, by helping citizens to know more, see more clearly, recognize future trends and possible solutions, and care about making it happen in their own sphere of influence. Local climate change visioning is an approach to joint public participation and community planning that uses visual media with supporting information derived from science and local expertise, in order to build community awareness and actively support decision-making for a challenging future. Visioning processes can be applied to community outreach and engagement, to inform (in both directions), educate, build social capacity, motivate people and reinforce climate-friendly behaviour. It can also inform official processes on community design and planning, on issues such as land use, development, energy sources, transportation options, etc. Preferably it is applied holistically to address climate change causes, impacts and adaptation/mitigation solutions all at the same time, though it may be used for less ambitious efforts; it is a flexible approach that can be fitted to the community’s needs and in its simpler forms can be run by local groups, volunteers and non-experts (as discussed later in this chapter). Visioning is where all the pieces come together in one place or one

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community: it is a process for developing within a community the pathway it will take into its own future. Visioning processes can take various forms (Box 13A).3 In this chapter, we focus on what I call 4D visioning: a participatory process that uses 3D visualization with other visual media to develop and depict holistic scenarios of projected future conditions. It integrates much of the kinds of information described in this book, and uses the power of visual media to cut through the complexity and vagueness often associated with policy or planning alternatives. Applied to climate change at the community or regional level, such processes should typically include the following components: ◆

public or stakeholder participation;



spatial and non-spatial data integration, sometimes with computer modeling;



use of alternative future scenarios or land-management options;



use of 3D and 4D visualizations, together with other media;



multi-criteria assessment of scenarios.

Box 13A Precedents for 4D visioning of climate change 1

4D visioning of future scenarios with visualizations, without climate change projections: there has been a history of participatory studies applying spatial and other modelling methods to develop and/or assess future scenarios of land-use or policy options with input from local stakeholders.4 These have addressed decision-making issues such as use of agricultural land, new community planning and forest resource management. In the Arrow Lakes study illustrated here, modelling-supported visualizations incorporated into the process were deemed to be helpful by 90 per cent of the focus group members,5 though some rightly questioned the absence of climate change factored into the long-term models.

(i)

Visualizations of two scenarios from a participatory multicriteria analysis of controversial sustainable forest management options in the Arrow Lakes area of BC

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Modelling future landscapes with climate change projections, without 3D visualization: precedent studies have addressed aspects of climate change scenarios using regional integrated assessment, such as: the study of climate change impacts and adaptation in Canada’s Mackenzie River basin with First Nation communities and government agencies, based on GIS mapping; and modelling future land-use change in south Oxfordshire, UK (below), building on European land-use change scenarios developed by the ATEAM modelling project and stakeholder input to develop and assess localized socio-economic scenarios.6

(ii)

3

Visualizing climate change scenarios based on an expert or limited stakeholder process: experts and scientists, with or without stakeholder input, can develop and then visualize holistic future scenarios for local or regional landscapes combining adaption and mitigation measures, driven not by quantitative modelling but by a systematic set of assumptions. Examples include the seminal expert study that looked at generic or geotypical landscapes for eastern and western counties in the UK7 (see Chapter 12, Visualization Toolset 4b); and a study of landscape change in the Okanagan area of BC, featuring different combinations of adaptation and mitigation measures (below), for the purpose of fostering systems thinking across government departments. (iii)

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Visioning with limited visualization, public process and partial climate change scenarios: recent studies have used some specific modelling and visualization in conjunction with either climate impact scenarios or mitigation scenarios, such as Simon Jude’s case study of coastal erosion and adaptation on the UK’s East Anglia coast;8 and the City of North Vancouver’s 100-year vision charrette9 for designers, planners and certain stakeholders, which addressed a low-carbon future with mapping of projected energy use/carbon emissions (see Chapter 11, Toolset 2Ce).

In this chapter, we draw most heavily on research results and case studies from our recent experience at the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP), working with several communities across Canada. Applying this kind of process to local climate change is still very new, and thus a work in progress. It uses landscape visualization and spatial modelling of alternative climate futures at the neighbourhood, community or regional scale. The CALP research team has developed a prototype visioning process (Box 13B) that many communities could use to picture their own future with climate change. The Local Climate Change Visioning Project, as it is called, has been designed to combine current psychology-based guidance on climate change communications and social marketing with conventional community planning and design methods. It is a specialized form of what is called participatory integrated assessment.10 The approach also draws on other disciplines, including landscape architecture, natural sciences, climate science, integrated assessment, public involvement, and visual media and information design. It attempts to hit all the right buttons for effective learning as well as motivating policy and behaviour change. Uniquely, it has also been comprehensively evaluated for its effectiveness (see research results below).

Box 13B The Local Climate Change Visioning (LCCV) Project In 2006, CALP began to work with climate scientists, planners and stakeholders in the Metro Vancouver area, in order to develop a new process that bridged the gap between global climate science and local action. The project used limited modelling of local climate change impacts and land-use projections, GIS mapping and holistic scenarios to assess and visualize multiple aspects of climate change. It had several objectives, including:



Making climate change choices more explicit for the public, stakeholders and policy/decisionmakers, through visual media.



Developing answers to key questions such as ‘What might your neighbourhood look like if everyone met specific carbon-reduction targets?’



Integrating in one place diverse streams of information from multiple sources and disciplines, from global to local, and including various adaptation and mitigation strategies.

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It was a hugely ambitious project, involving local working groups, practitioners and experts in the construction of local scenarios and visioning material, and testing the resulting products with community residents and other practitioners. Was such an undertaking even doable?

(i)

Regional climate change modelling and CHG inventory (if available)

Existing climate change/socioeconomic scenarios, and impact/ vulnerability data

(ii)

Existing geomatics data and supporting spatial modelling

INITIAL SCENARIOS

SCENARIO DEVT WORKSHOP 1

PRELIMINARY SCENARIO MAPS, NARRATIVES, AND VISUALIZATIONS

SCENARIO DEVT WORKSHOP 2

PRE-TEST WORKSHOP 3

REVISED VISIONING PACKAGE (SCENARIOS, NARRATIVES, AND VISUALIZATIONS)

VISIONING (SCENARIO EVALUATION) WORKSHOPS (PHASE 2)

Through the process shown above,11 we worked with two communities that represent different climate change challenges: the coastal community of Delta facing sea-level rise, and the urban fringe on the Northshore mountains, affected by reduced snowpack and other worsening hazards. In both communities, visioning packages were prepared which illustrate four alternative scenarios or ‘worlds’ based on assumed local, regional and global conditions, informed by UBC’s Georgia Basin QUEST socio-economic model. The visioning process successfully generated pictures of local scenarios over time, showing different levels of climate change impacts, adaptive responses and mitigation measures in combination. In these images, people could see the impacts on their community (e.g. North Vancouver’s dwindling springtime snowpack in 2100 as shown on p. 403 in different scenarios A2 (iii), B2 (iv) and B1 (v)), or resilient low-carbon community retrofits with renewable energy, local food production and sustainable technologies.

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(iii)

(iv)

(v)

Goals and objectives of using climate change visioning The purpose of visioning is to help people see into their own futures, consider their alternative courses of action as a community, and choose one. This involves knowing our options, seeing what these may look like, reflecting on the implications, participating in the development of a preferred pathway, and being motivated to take action with others to support local policy change and work towards the desired future. Visioning provides a holistic road-map for local communities to begin the perceptual and behavioural shift towards low-carbon living. It also provides a way to deliver local planning information to citizens in a more compelling way, as proposed in Chapter 4 (Figure 4.2). The key role of visualization within the process is to articulate more vividly what experts think will happen and inform people about potential solutions; to make the future with climate change tangible so that a shared vision may emerge. A secondary purpose is to reveal explicit perceptions held by community members that may represent barriers to moving forward (Figure 13.1) or bright ideas that could catch on, so that trade-offs and design solutions may be determined.

Rationale for local climate change visioning We have seen that science-based pictures are a powerful way to reach the public, politicians, practitioners and stakeholders, bringing climate change futures home to people. Combined with other salient information, they help people to know, see and recognize what was previously vague, abstract or hidden. For planners and community action groups, climate 403

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Figure 13.1 Future scenario visualizations can reveal potential resistance to climate change solutions, such as raising sea-walls which would better defend neighbourhoods but at the same time block views of the ocean.

change visioning provides a structured process or framework to apply visual learning tools. Participatory climate change visioning assumes that progress towards mitigation, adaptation and behaviour change is more likely if credible information is localized, visualized and co-constructed,12 helping to project “visions for a sustainable way of living”.13 However, very few such studies have been systematically documented and evaluated. Kwartler reports that a visioning study of proposed densification with residents of Santa Fe, New Mexico led to consensus on the doubling of current zoning density (a trend that could reduce fossil fuel use considerably): “Without having first developed the vision for SW Santa Fe, through simulation and visualization, it is highly unlikely that the community would have considered doubling the density, far less supported it.”14 We have seen earlier (Box 12A) that interactive 3D visualizations of winter recreation facilities under climate change in Switzerland led rapidly to adaptation planning among ski-slope operators. What have we learned from using the local climate change visioning techniques in the case studies described in Box 13A, and subsequent applications of similar processes? As part of the LCCV Project research in the communities of Delta and North Vancouver, BC, approximately 120 community members and a sample of local planners, engineers and councillors participated in an evaluation of the visioning process.15 Visioning workshops were held in each case study community to present local climate change scenarios, using a multimedia PowerPoint presentation with visualizations on two large screens side-by side. To get community feedback on changes in attitudes and knowledge brought about by the presentations, as well as opinions on the process, we used questionnaires filled out before and after the sessions, recording of participants’ verbal comments, observation of participants and some follow-up interviews. 404

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The results (Box 13C) showed that visioning material can have a substantial effect on awareness, emotions, attitudes and motivation: key drivers of behaviour change. (a)

(b)

(c)

(d)

Figure 13.2 Time travel to the 2090s in an overhead view of the springtime North Vancouver snowpack, which represents much of the region’s summer water supply, as well as a major winter recreation resource. This shows a high-carbon (A2) scenario in 2007 (a), 2020s (b), 2050s (c), and 2090s (d), with the implications plain to see.

The visioning presentation results showed that: ◆

The issue of climate change became more real and urgent to participants: for example, before the presentation, a majority of practitioners felt that serious climate change effects were 20 years away in the Lower Mainland, while after the presentation the majority felt that the effects were serious now.



The local visioning presentation increased awareness on the nature of local climate change impacts and the range of response options available to the community – leaving people with a sense of the constructive actions that can be taken. 405

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Participants stated that the process increased their support for climate change policies (both mitigation and adaptation) (see Box 12A and 13C). In North Vancouver, while participants’ levels of concern were already high, the number of respondents who felt that society must be radically transformed in order to address climate change rose significantly, from 53 per cent to 79 per cent.

These and other results suggest that visioning, if systematically applied, might help build a stronger constituency for new policies on climate change. People generally rated the credibility of the visualization tools and effectiveness of the visioning process as high. Practitioners such as planning and engineering professionals had generally similar responses in finding the visualizations both credible and helpful. Even where the visualizations showed extreme events such as storm surge flooding of entire communities or burnt areas of forest adjoining homes, it appears that we did not approach the limits of permissible drama where our audiences were concerned. The extensive use of realistic visualizations of recognizable locales kept people engaged and attentive over an intense three-hour visioning session. Some of the most effective images were an animation of rising sea levels (see Chapter 12.2, Toolset 4a) and animated slide sequences of visualizations showing time-lapse effects over the twenty-first century (Figure 13.2). We also compared responses to the visioning package for Delta with and without 3D visualizations, to get a sense of the effect of the presentation experience, local content, and other types of graphics in combination, versus that of the whole package. We found that among participants who experienced the full visualization presentation, about 29 per cent reported that they had learned a great deal about climate change, whereas only about 8 per cent of the non-visualization group responded in this way. We even counted the number of nodding heads and found that more people dozed off without the visualizations! However, participants were also interested in other types of graphics, such as certain illustrative charts and pictographs showing the key indicators differentiating the four future worlds (see Box 13F). It appears that even without visualizations, knowledge and motivation can be somewhat increased by processes which use clear graphics, describe alternative future scenarios, and address local climate change impacts and solutions.

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Box 13C Local participants’ responses before and after presentation of local climate change scenarios with visualizations from the LCCV Project in Delta, BC16 Cognition and awareness (knowing and seeing): There was increased awareness about climate change and its relevance at the local scale. The number of people indicating that they were either quite or very knowledgeable about the effects of climate change on their local area rose from 32 per cent before the presentation to 80 per cent afterwards. Both community members and professionals felt a substantial increase in the urgency of responding to climate change after seeing the visioning packages. A number of participants expressed familiarity with climate change thanks to the film An Inconvenient Truth, but remarked on the way the imagery and content of our visioning presentation demonstrated the local impacts, making ‘global warming more immediate, more real’.

Comments received about the localizing effect of the visioning project included:



“I was somewhat aware of global warming impacts on the Maldives and polar ice-caps – this presentation placed my own community in that context.”



“I learned how climate change could affect my community in a very graphic way. Numbers may not stay with me but visuals will.”

One respondent noted that the scenario depictions “helped me to see (the) differentiation between containing impact by adaptation vs. mitigation”.

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Attitudes and emotions (caring): Despite a fairly high initial level of concern about the effects of climate change,17 many respondents’ concern significantly increased. Many commented that having information locally contextualized and visualized in alternative futures made the information ‘hit home’. One Delta staff member noted: “My opinions have changed, not because the images showed me something I didn’t realize (i.e. it will flood), but more seeing what the effects of the decisions we make look like (i.e. land-use planning).” Motivation and behavioural intent: There was a significant increase among respondents in the belief that action taken can significantly reduce the impacts of climate change in the future. One participant from Delta’s Environment Committee called the sessions “empowering”. The number of respondents who personally plan to do something about climate change also increased significantly; most focused on changes in personal car use (e.g. walk/cycle more, use public transport, carpool, buy a hybrid) and the household (e.g. changing light bulbs, using less energy, upgrading appliances), rather than collective responses such as voting.

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These outcomes of the LCCV Project show that it is feasible to carry out an inclusive, holistic process based on visualizing future scenarios, backed by scientific spatial modelling and best available data, and that such processes should contribute to increased community capacity and motivation to deal with climate change through enhanced knowledge, policy and action. In Delta, even though it was not part of any official planning process, the project was endorsed by the City Council, and seems to have had an influence. As described by Mayor Lois Jackson in an interview: “A picture says a thousand words. … We saw this and said, ‘OK, we have to start planning’…” Jackson said seeing computer models of the coastal and agricultural resources underwater helped kick-start local officials into action. … In the city of Delta, officials said the project had on-the-ground results. In July, officials hammered out a corporate climate change plan that was adopted by the council as its first climate mandate.18 The iterative visioning process, in collaboration with various stakeholder groups and staff, was itself valuable in allowing Delta’s political leaders to explore the implications of future climate change impacts in their region, obtain technical advice from their staff in a focused and efficient manner, and explore linkages with other community priorities. The project has led to more in-depth studies of community food production and adaptation strategies for flood-risk management. Overall, the visioning project has been well received by the public, politicians, planners, engineers and international scientists. The resulting visual products have been sought after by local and national media, and widely used in public education and awareness building in schools, a museum, community presentations and practitioner training. More recently, we have adapted the local climate change visioning process to apply to other communities in BC and across Canada, and so far have found broadly similar results. In Kimberley, a small rural town in the Kootenay region of southeast BC, visioning ‘piggy-backed’ on a new climate change adaptation planning process, exploring issues such as changing forest conditions (Figure 13.3) and the links between new housing land uses outside of town, increasing vulnerability to fire, and increasing (not decreasing) the community’s carbon footprint. Pre- and post-surveys in a community workshop with about 40 residents recorded a significant increase in concern over local impacts of climate change and increased understanding of the links between climate change and land-use decisions.19 Sixty-one per cent of participants felt that the visualizations would help them a lot if they were asked for their opinion on mitigation and adaptation strategies for Kimberley. While many preferred interactive 410

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Google Earth visualization over other media such as posters for informing them on planning issues, a significant minority rated this visualization medium last, revealing opposing views on the use of virtual globe visualizations. Overall, these types of visioning seem to meet our criteria of clearly communicating information which is credible, engaging and connected to what people care about, in ways that can be adapted elsewhere. (a)

(b)

Figure 13.3 Climate change is already causing increased fire risk and susceptibility to pests and fire in the Kootenay areas of BC, leading to reduced forest health (as shown in these assumption-based visualizations) and accelerated carbon emissions in the future. Management options include intervention with stand thinning and other practices to reduce fire frequency and generate a steady supply of biomass for home heating.

(c)

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13.2 How to do local climate change visioning Local visioning is a practical process that uses mapping and spatial analysis tools (called ‘geomatics’) as an integrated platform to support 4D visualization, within a participatory process that explores climate change causes, impacts and responses. The process develops and explores alternative future scenarios over the short to long term for outreach and planning. It can be simple and streamlined (see later in this section for descriptions of ‘rapid visioning’), or more in-depth. The approach is to localize, spatialize and visualize the climate change information, and sometimes to personalize it to the audience. Figure 13.4 shows the overall visioning process and its three main activity streams: ◆ ◆ ◆

participation with users, experts and other stakeholders; data, modelling (if available) and analysis; production of visual media.

Figure 13.4 General work flow of a climate change visioning process.

In a typical full visioning process, there can be 10 steps in three main phases (Box 13D), though this sequence may be modified to suit a particular need or audience. For more details, see CALP’s Local Climate Change Visioning and Landscape Visualizations: Guidance Manual.20 The process is iterative, but some steps may need to be taken simultaneously. Key components that run through this process are briefly described below.

Who should participate? Climate change visioning requires setting up an interdisciplinary local working group, to ensure inclusive representation of stakeholders and access to the best available expertise and local knowledge (Figure 13.5). This is a hybrid of ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ – if at all possible, we need a climate change scientist at the table who can interpret global and regional

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models, and bring precedents for mitigation and adaptation approaches; communities also need local farmers, planners, civil engineers, landowners, naturalists, etc. who know the area, its history and its vulnerabilities.21 Smaller communities may not be able to field all these experts, but a broad working group can adapt where necessary and use its collective wisdom to keep moving, following the process. Group members may be practitioners who can actually use some of the process products, or may be there to represent the wider target audience or general public that will become engaged with the visioning process later – it is easy for experts to become too technical too quickly in communicating with lay audiences. Who participates may depend on whether this is part of an official local government initiative or an ‘offline’ informal, volunteer or research process. A small core team of planners, GIS and visualization specialists is needed for an in-depth process.

Box 13D Steps in a typical climate change visioning process with stakeholders

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Figure 13.5 A local working group meeting in progress on local climate vulnerabilities in South Delta.

What input data and modelling are needed? Visioning can begin with whatever data are available, although inevitably there is never enough to address all the important questions, especially on climate change. The more data that are spatial (i.e. mapped or mappable), the better. Baseline data and land-use mapping collected from government agencies can be supplemented by interviews with local people, GIS datasets, online data sources at various scales, census and other socioeconomic data, and scientific modelling where available. Visioning can put to work the community mapping and other visual products from methods described in Chapters 10–12. Where local climate change data is very limited, communities should build on the most solid information available, such as historical knowledge on past climate events or expert studies and models on relevant issues such as hydrology or renewable energy. Such data may then be supplemented with stated assumptions to develop coherent and plausible scenarios (as described below). In community planning, many decisions get made without full information.

What equipment and software are needed? The process works with simpler GIS and visualization tools suitable for smaller, less well-resourced communities, though more complicated tools 414

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and models can be added where expertise allows. Visualization media can range from simple 2D photo-realistic tools like Photoshop to an array of programs such as ArcSCENE, Google Earth, SketchUp, 3D rendering programs like Visual Nature Studio, and interactive tools such as Community Viz (see Chapter 12 for more detailed information).

How are local scenarios generated? The development of iconic, localized and meaningful scenarios greatly assists exploration and dialogue about community futures.22 It is important first to consider global climate change projections (see Chapter 9.3) which will have various implications locally: for instance, what assumptions should we make on how high sea level will rise by 2100, or how much warmer will it get? Box 13E describes a range of available global scenarios that may be used to contextualize future local conditions. Box 13E Types of global climate change scenarios23 Carbon emission scenarios: These describe how much carbon we will potentially release due to societal choices on land use, fossil fuel consumption and environmental behaviour. These scenarios feed into climate models and thus drive projected consequences for society and the environment. They can be based on socio-economic assumptions, integrated assessment models, or assumed levels of carbon emissions, with or without mitigation policy, and include:



the classic baseline sequence of SRES scenarios A1, A2, B1, B2, etc.,24 covering a range of medium to high carbon emissions (relative to pre-industrial emissions), with accompanying qualitative storylines or narratives that do not include mitigation policy.

SRES scenarios represent different combinations of two scales: global versus regional economies and an emphasis on economic versus environmental values; local scenarios such as those used in CALP’s Kimberley visioning study (shown in green) can be roughly matched to the high and lower global emission scenarios.

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Post-SRES stabilization scenarios25 (described in Chapter 9.3), addressing carbon dioxide concentrations that level off at 450ppm, 550ppm, etc., and thus relating to commonly used carbon targets like that promoted by 350.org.



Arbitrary emission scenarios that provide benchmarks meaningful to the public, such as the IPCC’s ‘what if we emit no more carbon after 2007’ scenario (shown in Figure 9.9) or Andrew Weaver’s scale of 0 to 100 per cent linear reductions in emission levels from 2006.26



More comprehensive and qualitative socio-economic or integrated scenarios, not tied quantitatively to emissions scenarios but including coherent ‘backcast scenarios’ from desired future end points, such as Raskin’s Great Transition to a more sustainable future.27

Climate scenarios: These are plausible representations of future climate conditions such as temperature and precipitation, computed with climate models driven by emission scenarios, or by extrapolation from historical trends. Environmental scenarios: These provide more details on the impacts of specific climate scenarios on other environmental conditions, such as water availability, ecosystems and air quality, as inputs to more fine-scaled vulnerability assessments and regional/local scenarios. Representative concentration pathways (RCPs): These are the newest form of scenario to be featured in the IPCC’s 5th Assessment. They are defined as four specific ‘radiative forcing trajectories’ associated with certain emission scenarios and subsequent levels of climate change including some stabilization outcomes in 2100, but achievable by various different socio-economic pathways. This allows more readily for consideration of mitigation, vulnerability and adaptation within integrated and cross-scale scenarios, such as the four worlds used in CALP’s Local Climate Change Visioning Project.

However, not all of these scenarios can yet be linked to modelled climate projections; until very recently, climate models only ran SRES scenarios, which ignore mitigation and therefore do not reflect the full range of carbon emissions that may relate to national or regional emission targets. It may therefore be necessary to develop and analyse independent scenarios which go beyond the global scenarios for which climate modelling data are available; for example, the New York City Panel on Climate Change in its recent adaptation report felt compelled to include an additional scenario with higher sea-level rise than those projected by the IPCC scenarios, which did not sufficiently take into account the possibility of a massive loss of Greenland’s ice-cap.28 Ideally, some sort of downscaling of global climate projections will be available with regional climate change modelling or interpretation by national or regional climate scientists (see Figure 6.5 and Chapter 11, Visual media toolset  2). Downscaling uses regional climate models or statistical methods which extrapolate trends from historical data, taking into account local geography such as elevation against the backdrop of a global temperature increase. However, there is still much debate among scientists

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on appropriate downscaling methods, and it can be difficult to interpret regional model outputs in relation to finer scale local mapping. It can also be difficult for communities to figure out where adaptation fits into climate scenarios, since the global scenarios to date have largely ignored adaptation. Box 13F presents one way to structure future scenarios that combine mitigation and adaptation options out to 2100 in a way that local communities can easily grasp, while linking local and global scenarios. Such approaches combine existing local trends with the CIMA realities on the ground. In BC, for example, we have combined community energy and emissions inventories (causes) with provincial climate projections (impacts) from the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC), as a basis for vulnerability assessment, analysis of mitigation suitability and development of possible solutions.

Box 13F A conceptual framework for local scenarios Used in the CALP Local Climate Change Visioning Project for nesting local scenarios within global climate change scenarios and incorporating both mitigation and adaptation, and characterizing the key drivers of the resulting four pathways.29

(i) A ‘cube’ model for relating four global–local scenarios (Worlds 1–4) to three global emission scenarios over time, across three case studies. Generally, the lower the global emissions, the less communities need to adapt.

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CO2 emissions (Gt C)

(ii)

Global mean temperature change (°C)

(iii)

Mapping the selected emission scenarios (‘worlds’) on to global projections for stabilizing emissions and consequent levels of global warming (see Box 9D for information and sources on these projections)

These four worlds comprise:



World 1: a baseline ‘do nothing’ world where no effective action on climate change is taken, and carbon emissions continue to rise, leading to a very high-carbon world that is much warmer inside this century.



World 2: an ‘adapt to risk’ world where proactive measures are taken to reduce community vulnerability and adapt to severe climate change, but no effective actions are taken to reduce greenhouse gases, resulting in similar global warming levels to World 1.



World 3: an ‘efficient development’ world, with a combination of adaptation and modest mitigation measures; doing some of the right things on mitigation but too slowly to meet targets or help stabilize global warming at 2°C, leading still to a high-carbon world.



World 4: a ‘deep sustainability’ world with major rapid mitigation action (locally matching BC’s GHG reduction targets of 80 per cent by 2050), leading to low-carbon, resilient communities that still need to adapt to unavoidable climate change impacts.

All of these worlds are globally high-carbon scenarios relative to natural conditions, though the stabilization World 4 is relatively low.

(iv) ‘Pictograph’ showing conceptual drivers and key indicators that characterize the regional scenarios consistent with CALP’s four worlds used in the LCCV Project.

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(vi)

(vii)

(viii)

(v) Example of regional modelling (here showing carbon emissions) used to characterize land-use patterns for three of the local scenarios in Delta, BC. See Box 13B and Chapter 14.1 for more local scenario descriptions.

The resulting suite of scenarios thus contains necessary ‘doom and gloom’ messages in World 1: emphasizing the consequences of inaction has been shown to be more persuasive than simply highlighting the benefits of action;30 but balances the negative with the vital positive implications (Worlds 2–4) of people empowered to act on solutions.31 It is not possible to express the range of potential futures or select a preferred option with studies that only consider one scenario or plan. Visioning studies can contain many scenarios, but too many may become confusing. It is often good to avoid using just three scenarios, as there can be a tendency to go for a perceived middle option as the safest bet. Presenting four scenarios to the public has proven to be both manageable and productive. Where time and budgets are heavily constrained, as in the Kimberley visioning process, two scenarios that represent a wide range of options can work, and allow development of a further combined or hybrid scenario that selects the best attributes of each. In all cases, variants of the initial main scenarios can be developed, and further scenarios refined. The linkage between the global context and regional/local scenarios needs to be carefully considered. The framework in Box 13F assumes equivalent levels of climate action at both scales. It is possible though to have a low-carbon community in a high-carbon world, or vice versa (Figure 13.6). In the former situation, a single community’s mitigation efforts cannot reduce global or local climate change significantly, but there are many local 419

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co-benefits of mitigation (see Chapter 7); these include the political, economic and resilience gains enjoyed by communities from Seattle to Güssing which have adopted visible leadership positions in the emerging green economy. More importantly, we cannot expect or convince others to do what we are not ourselves prepared to do, so local action is vital. In practice, we have seen very little evidence in communities of a desire to pursue World 2 locally as a ‘free-rider’, whereby the community adapts to save itself but puts no resources into mitigation. However, many communities planning to cut their carbon footprints also plan prudently for worse case impacts of a continuing high-carbon world.

Figure 13.6 An alternative framework for contextualizing local scenarios within global climate change scenarios, extending the concept of the four worlds defined in the Local Climate Change Visioning Project (Box 13F) to account for global/local differences and relate to causes/impacts/mitigation/adaptation.

These are the kinds of issues dealt with by the visioning team with input from the local working group of experts and community representatives. Together, they typically develop an initial set of plausible alternative local climate change scenarios which address key community causes (e.g. land-use change, emissions), impacts/vulnerabilities, adaptation and mitigation (Figure 13.7), at least until 2050 and preferably until 2100. These integrate relevant studies such as any inventories of greenhouse gases (or interim assumptions on carbon sources). They may also address specific environmental or cultural issues which are meaningful to local communities but not tied to global or regional models. Involvement of local stakeholders in scenario generation however can sometimes limit the inclusion of more

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radical alternatives which may need to be considered given the uncertainties of climate change.32

Figure 13.7 Flowchart for aggregating information into a set of local scenarios, including the backdrop of ongoing trends unrelated to climate change.

Scenarios are fleshed out by mapping impacts and identifying appropriate locations for mitigation and adaptation measures, using spatial analysis with GIS and remote sensing data where necessary, and interpretation of available urban planning or resource management models. Given access to the appropriate expertise, hybrid modelling can be used to link together, directly or indirectly, various models addressing issues such as local climate impacts, land uses, transportation, adaptation costs or bioenergy supplies (Figure 13.8). GIS analysis may also be used to address key local issues.

Figure 13.8 Example of local modelling: biomass capacity mapping for Prince George community Forest, BC, with dark green showing the highest biomass yields (in bone-dry tonnes) and pale green the lowest. Modelling suggests that the community forest has the biomass capacity sustainably to heat about 5 per cent of the residences in Prince George.33 Background image © 2009 Google; Province of British Columbia; Digital Globe.

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How are the visualizations and other visual media produced? Multiple decisions must be made by the team and working group on the content and the visual formats to be used to convey the scenarios and related information and messages. Chapters 11 and 12 should be consulted for templates and broad guidance, particularly with respect to decision rules the team can use (see Chapter 12.2, Step 3). More detailed recommendations may be found in CALP’s Visioning Guidance Manual (see ‘Further reading’ at end of chapter).

How are scenarios assessed? Based on the information assembled, the working group should evaluate the pros and cons of future scenarios, using important indicators such as expected carbon footprint, sustainability outcomes, costs, etc. This allows trade-offs between scenarios to be considered (e.g. carbon reduction versus community character). In addition to numerical measures, assessment should consider social, cultural, aesthetic and quality-of-life issues that may present acceptability barriers to certain stakeholders and require more attention in public outreach or scenario design. Visioning is a way to put such potential ‘deal-killers’ on the table to be acknowledged, and if possible quantified. Results of such integrated assessments lend themselves to display in a consequences table or computer interface, as shown in Figure 13.9, and Toolset 5 in Chapter 12.

Figure 13.9 Example of a prototype interface for working group review, combining pictures and numbers assessing the performance of a visualized adaptation scenario (with raised dyke and sea-level rise in Ladner, BC).

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What are the tangible products of visioning? The visioning process requires the production of preliminary and revised visioning packages to spread the ideas and information on community futures to a wider audience. These integrate the results of image collection, mapping and visualization for presentation as described in Chapters 10 to 12. For example, we have found that incorporating photographs of best practice precedents from other places can build community confidence in unfamiliar solutions. The emerging packages of visual media and supporting information amount to storytelling, disclosing future possibilities for the community with permissible drama. Preliminary packages should be reviewed by the working group before wider dissemination. Final products of this phase include visioning material illustrating adaptation and mitigation strategies for representative neighbourhoods or landscapes, using narratives and supporting data on carbon reduction targets and other key sustainability/ feasibility criteria (see Figures 13.10 to 13.13 for examples of visual ‘stories’).

Figure 13.10 The story of a rising snowline on the Northshore mountains due to local warming can be more easily and quickly told by visualizing the rising average snowlines in this iconic view from downtown Vancouver, than by the scientific graph alone showing the projected trends on which the picture is based (see also Figure 13.2).

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Figure 13.11 The message in these before-and-after graphics from an energy/carbon modelling study in Prince George, BC is that major cuts in neighbourhood carbon emissions can be achieved through in-character retrofits and district energy systems.

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Figure 13.12 (a, b) A menu of low-carbon and resilient suburban retrofits potentially suitable for a hillside neighbourhood in North Vancouver, BC.

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(f)

(b) (g)

(c)

(h)

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(e)

Figure 13.13 Alternative scenarios and supporting analysis for development of the Arctic community of Clyde River, Nunavut, showing: existing community (a and f); official plan (b); hazard areas in red (c); 5-minute walking distance in blue (d); and potentially resilient redevelopment (e and g) to increase housing/beds, avoid hazard areas, improve walkability in winter conditions, and reduce dependence on imported diesel through renewable energy. Scenario assessment results are summarized in a consequences table (h).

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How should visioning packages be presented? The visioning packages complete with their chosen climate change scenarios can be initially presented for discussion and wider evaluation by the intended audiences through a variety of means (see Chapters 11 and 12 for tips on presenting visual media and visualizations). Visioning workshops can be organized with diverse participants, such as municipal upper management professionals, community representatives, elected officials, other stakeholder groups, residents and the general public. Members of the working group should be present to inform the process and answer questions. It is also very valuable to document information on workshop outcomes (knowledge gained, awareness built, local preferences for action) using questionnaires or recorded discussions. Results should be summarized in a report for consideration and endorsement by the local authority. Visioning material may also be delivered through posters, the Web (including posting on virtual globes such as Google Earth), local media, and other community information outlets, to reach other audiences (see guidance in Chapters 11–12). If using media for people to explore on their own, more attention to clear documentation and labelling of content is required.

What comes next? Once a major outreach event based on a climate change visioning process has taken place, the results need to be actively considered and used to foster further action and policy change. Visioning study reports should not sleep on shelves when such an urgent crisis has to be dealt with. They should be incorporated in further citizen and/or local government actions. More specific scenarios and design solutions can be explored and refined through further workshops, design charrettes, focus groups, and other official planning processes. How the visioning process meshes with formal procedures and how it is tailored to meet community needs depends in part on timing. Visioning can be adapted to early public awareness building (as in the original Delta vision project) or later for specific decision support by practitioners and councils: examples of the latter include follow-on studies on flood management options for Delta under BC’s Regional Adaptation Collaborative, and development planning in the Calgary region (Figure 13.14). Visioning is a flexible process which can ‘piggy-back’ on others and be adapted and applied at various stages for: ◆

spatial data integration;



informing officials and local politicians of the constituency for policy change on climate issues;

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local/regional GHG target setting;



vulnerability/impact assessment and adaptation planning;



energy and emission planning;



ongoing land-use and community planning.

Figure 13.14 Future growth simulations of communities in the Elbow Watershed near Calgary, Alberta inform crucial decisions on development, given water resource constraints affected by climate change.

Ongoing community engagement and two-way education are vital to build joint capacity for delivering climate change solutions and to keep urgent issues on the front (and preferably renewable energy) burner. A single study or process cannot be expected to deliver a paradigm shift on its own. Continued and evolving use of these tools is much more likely to have a significant cumulative effect than a limited presentation with a small proportion of the population. 428

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What about a low-cost, stripped-down version of visioning for small communities and citizen groups? What can be done when groups don’t have fancy 3D software, loads of money or access to a bunch of compulsive, workaholic climate change researchers paid for by the taxpayer? The full visioning process described above is not the only way forward. Where resources are severely stretched or local governments are not yet tuned into the need, it is possible to conduct a ‘rapid visioning’ process which drops many of the bells and whistles, but can still produce some useful and compelling products to create a ‘buzz’ in the community. The right visual media can produce a big bang for the buck, if done appropriately. The key is finding the right combination of visual medium, local talent, and some science or structured process behind the imagery. A neighbourhood or volunteer group involved in community-led planning can build critical mass around a compelling and informative product, as an evocative symbol of a larger need and willingness to act. Examples include: ◆

The poster produced for the Rural Community Councils UK, visualizing in cartoon form the steps to a sustainable rural community (Figure 3.10).



Thermal imaging of heat losses from homes (see Chapter 12, Visualization toolset 2b), as provided by the fire department to the Eagle Island community in West Vancouver, to help galvanize homeowner retrofit efforts.



Use of simple Photoshop or SketchUp techniques as often taught in secondary schools these days, or even simpler photomontage techniques (Figure 13.15).



Inserting community mapping products or other visual images on Google Earth, enabling animated live presentations in a fly-round on a laptop in front of the town council.



Engaging stakeholder groups in a simple hand-mapping exercise on aerial photographs to identify possible climate change vulnerabilities and mitigation potential for a local area in a two- to three-hour workshop (Figure 13.16).

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Figure 13.15 Example of a 3D photo-visualization effort prepared in about 10 minutes for a last-minute meeting, using sticky notes and coloured paper to represent potential commercial signage (in purple) and planned mid-rise buildings (in blue) around a proposed elevated rapid transit system: not the ideal way to produce accurate visualizations, but it shows how an urban designer can visualize quickly at very low cost .

Figure 13.16 Completed mitigation worksheet resulting from a rapid visioning session using simple group mapping, conducted by CALP staff at a regional workshop held by the Climate Action Secretariat in Victoria, BC. Participants reported the hands-on exercise to be ‘empowering’ and eye-opening.

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It is also possible for a volunteer group to run a grass-roots visioning process with some guidance from a community planner and either a small budget for professional visualization or finding talented students as part of a class project (Figure 13.17). Community-led visioning can be embedded in other bottom-up activities such as village or block-level competitions on greening, climate change monitoring efforts (e.g. comparing visualized versus measured results), and landscape messaging techniques (Chapter 10) that display visioning products. Initial visioning efforts that focus on a single issue such as water conservation or stormwater flooding can require much less effort and complexity than a holistic climate change effort.

Figure 13.17 Before-and-after visualizations created by high school students in a Grade 10 science class in a project called ‘Design the Future’ for local West Vancouver neighbourhoods.

13.3 Overcoming challenges to climate change visioning The local climate change visioning process has moved from a prototype to a procedure which could now be incorporated into conventional planning procedures. However, we do need to know more about projecting the effectiveness, costs and public acceptability of different GHG reduction strategies. We also need to learn how to assess synergies and conflicts between adaptation and mitigation at the local level. New and encouraging findings need to be widely verified: for example, a study of landscape change in the Austrian Alps suggests 3D images may help stakeholders prioritize longer term goals with short-term drawbacks over scenarios with short-term gain.34 A key unresolved question is how to reach the silent majority that does not participate in community planning activities. Perhaps combining the place-based visioning with powerful online social media networks like 350.org can lead to breakthroughs here.

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However, the urgency of moving towards more resilient communities with greatly reduced carbon footprints means we cannot wait for all the research results to come in; we need to start spreading useful approaches and solutions to climate change now. Experience to date on the Local Climate Change Visioning Project suggests a hunger among communities for more salient information on impacts and response options, a void not being filled at present by any profession. Virtually no one is using visual learning tools systematically to accelerate awareness and capacity building with practitioners, policy-makers or the public. There are also few actual climate change scientists available to communities: they too have a major capacity problem. Climate science needs to catch up with the demand for downscaling from global or regional scenarios, and linking more readily to practitioners’ models in order to drive defensible visualization and clarify community futures. How then can we find the resources to communicate the urgency and promote action? We are already working with other extension agents in government, regional agencies, industry and NGOs across Canada to improve familiarity with visioning and to test new techniques with communities, but there is a need for wider training programmes to build capacity among allied professions. We need regional hubs of expertise for climate change planning and visioning assistance, like the BC Hydro Theatre at CIRS at UBC and other institutions such as regional colleges or district planning offices. Few smaller communities have the resources for climate change outreach and planning on their own. Every community needs its citizens to look ahead and have a hand in planning their future. Visualizing climate change in your own backyard should become the norm in community outreach and planning, not the rare exception: just as visualizations in advertising have become routine. Tools and platforms like Google Earth and other software on the Web make this a possibility for the first time, but visioning local futures needs to be fostered, structured and monitored to ensure good information and a fair process. Such methods could greatly accelerate policy change and action, representing a powerful social marketing tool. One could argue that such methods are a moral requirement to help communities take the steps to protect themselves, their resources, their sacred spaces and their quality of life, and to play their part in protecting the planet.

Summary Chapter 13 describes more practical approaches to engaging the community in climate change capacity building, planning for action and implementation. Visioning uses the power of visual media, mapping, and 432

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4D visualization, as part of a collaborative process of public outreach and decision-making at the local or regional level. Chapter 13 provides examples, precedents and general guidelines for planning and conducting local climate change visioning processes.

Notes 1 I am indebted to many people in and around the CALP team at UBC for much of the content in this chapter on visioning methods, notably Ellen Pond, David Flanders, Kristi Tatebe, Dr Alison Shaw, Dr Sarah Burch, Dr Olaf Schroth, Dr Stewart Cohen, Dr John Robinson, Dr Jeff Carmichael and Dr Arnim Wiek. 2 Challenges occur at several points along the data chain in fulfilling this need: climate scientists need to find ways to deliver meaningful downscaled data to local experts such as forest scientists, hydrologists and engineers, whose models have never before been linked to climate change data; and thus decision-makers lack the information to judge the pros and cons of possible options. 3 This goes beyond the common but much more limited conceptual visioning processes that involve no serious use of visual media nor envisioning spatially specific future conditions that could be experienced in actual places. 4 See e.g. Steinitz et al. (2003); Tress and Tress (2003). 5 Sheppard and Meitner (2005). 6 Cohen (1997); Wood et al. (2006). 7 Taylor and Frazer (2002); ‘Food, Fuel, Fibre’ study by Jon Salter and Ellen Pond. 8 Jude et al. (2006). 9 Condon et al. (2009). Design charrettes are a technique for urban designers to engage small groups of stakeholders and officials in an intense structured workshop setting over one or more days, to develop joint design solutions for a community or site. 10 Salter et al. (2010). 11 Shaw et al. (2009). 12 Lorenzoni et al. (2007); Burch et al. (2009). 13 Michaelis (2003). 14 Kwartler (2005). 15 These results are drawn from Tatebe et al. (2010); Burch et al. (2010); Cohen et al. (2011). 16 Tatebe et al. (2010); Burch et al. (2010). 17 The self-selected nature of the participation and recent climate changerelated events (e.g. flooding in south Delta the previous year) makes it possible that the participants represented local people with a higher interest or concern about climate change, and it cannot be assumed that people from other neighbourhoods or communities would react similarly; however, generally similar results were found with practitioners from the Vancouver region. 18 Friedman (2008).

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19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

Pond et al. (2009). Pond et al. (2010). See the Rapid Adaptation approach: Fenech and MacLellan (2007). Burch et al. (2010). Adapted from Moss et al. (2010). IPCC (2000). IPCC (2007a). Weaver (2008). Raskin et al. (2002). New York City Panel on Climate Change (2010). Adapted from Sheppard et al. (2011); Shaw et al. (2009). McKenzie-Mohr and Smith (1999). Kollmuss and Agyeman (2002); see also Chapter 13 (Box 13C, research results). Wood et al. (2006). Flanders and Sheppard (2010). Loibl and Walz (2010).

Further reading Beierle, T.C. and Cayford, J. (2002) Democracy in Practice: Public Participation in Environmental Decisions, Resources for the Future Press, Washington, DC. Cohen, S., Sheppard, S.R.J., Shaw, A., Flanders, D., Burch, S., Taylor, B., Hutchinson, D., Cannon, A., Hamilton, S., Burton, B. and Carmichael, J. (2011) ‘Downscaling and visioning of mountain snow packs and other climate change implications in North Vancouver, British Columbia’, Journal of Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 17 (1): 25–49. Condon, P. (2008) Design Charrettes for Sustainable Communities, Island Press, Washington, DC. Kwartler, M. and Longo, G. (2008) Visioning and Visualization: People, Pixels, and Plans, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, MA. Miller, D., Fry, G., Quine, C.P. and Morrice, J. (2011) Managing and Planning Landscape Change: The Role of Visualisation Tools for Public Participation, Springer, New York. Pond, E., Schroth, O., Sheppard, S.R.J., Muir-Owen, S., Liepa, I., Campbell, C., Salter, J., Tatebe, K. and Flanders, D. (2010) Local Climate Change Visioning and Landscape Visualizations: Guidance Manual, Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Available at: www.calp.forestry.ubc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/ CALP-Visioning-Guidance-Manual-Version-1.1.pdf. Raskin, P., Banuri, T., Gallopin, G., Gutman, P. and Hammon, A. (2002) Great Transition: The Promise and Lure of the Times Ahead, Report of the Global Scenario Group, Stockholm Environment Institute, Boston, MA. Sheppard, S.R.J., Shaw, A., Burch, S., Flanders, D., Wiek, A., Carmichael, J., Robinson, J. and Cohen, S. (2011) ‘Future visioning of local climate change: A framework for community engagement and planning with scenarios and visualization’, Futures, 43 (4): 400–412.

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Steinitz, C., Arias, H., Bassett, S., Flaxman, M., Goode, T., Maddock, T., Mouat, D., Peiser, R. and Shearer, A. (2003) Alternative Futures for Changing Landscapes: The Upper San Pedro River Basin in Arizona and Sonora, Island Press, Washington, DC.

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With new eyes to see What the future looks like with climate change

To use a rather tired carbon-based analogy, we have been asleep at the wheel for too long in our communities. Now some of us are starting to wake up, but we are afraid to step on the brakes, and we don’t know in which direction to turn the steering wheel. We face a fundamental fork in the road: we can continue barrelling down the high-carbon freeway to nowhere, out into the unknown beyond the bubble; or take a sharp turn down a narrow and tortuous low-carbon lane, leading to a range of possible futures which we may at least partly recognize. Which is the right pathway to take, and what kinds of milestones should we look for along the way? What might our post-bubble destination look like? Will it be some science fiction techno-future, or will our communities remain largely intact and familiar? Will we have to give up our quality of life? This final part of the book provides a comprehensive picture of how a community may be transformed as a result of human action globally, local action to tackle climate change, and of course the climate itself. No change at all is not an option for communities under any scenario; it is far too late for that. Instead, we look for a more complete picture of the choices and pathways available along the arc of climate change that stretches out before us, including that which is now pre-ordained and the extra climate change we are choosing for ourselves daily. We pull together threads from throughout the book: integrating the four main aspects of climate change (causes, impacts, mitigation and adaptation); the lessons we can learn by looking more carefully at our everyday landscapes with a climate change lens; and what science, community common sense and a structured visioning process together can tell us about our possible futures.

Chapter 14 portrays what the future of a given community may look like, with options including sustainable pathways that go beyond the advances already demonstrated by the model communities in Chapter 9. These suggest possible end results of the kinds of community visioning described in Part III, where local policies and collective behaviour change make the community more climate friendly and resilient, while respecting the character and values that make a community special.

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Realizing future community visions Getting to low-carbon, attractive, resilient communities

One hundred years ago, my grandfather, Bernard V. Pring, published his own twin books on visualization. They were entitled Paper Cutting and Modelling for Juniors and Paper Cutting and Modelling for Seniors, published by Pitman & Sons of London. I think of them as ‘101 things a kid can do with a sharp pencil and a piece of card’. They showed in simple diagrams how to make a physical model of a small island or a more elaborate 3D simulation of a hexagonal summer-house, all out of paper. An enterprising and ingenious teacher, Grandad found solutions to keeping schoolchildren of different ages amused and absorbed with very little outside resources, drawing on the ordinary things they had around them and their own abilities, unlocked by skilful teaching.

My grandfather was the one who first taught me how to draw. He showed me a simple way to sketch a fairly lifelike horse, starting with simple geometric shapes to lay out their main body parts. That little exercise at age 7 started me off on a lifetime of sketching, painting, and eventually visualizing landscapes professionally in 2D and 3D.

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My first real visualizations involved painting proposed coal-fired power plants on to photographs of California sites, and soon afterwards, in 1980, I hand-painted hundreds of wind turbines on photos of San Gorgonio Pass near Palm Springs, California. I was the first to see what a big wind farm might look like in North America!

In those days we knew little of climate change, even those of us in the environmental business. I progressed to computer graphics but many years ago gave up the 3D rendering to younger and more able specialists. In all that time, we visualized coal-mines, oilfields, pipelines, endless power lines, reservoirs, new communities, road-widening projects and new freeways. Our clients included oil and gas companies, utilities, developers and transportation agencies, and while my job was to visualize and assess projects in the landscape and give a voice to local concerns, ultimately I was helping to get these high-carbon projects approved. For almost 20 years, as a consultant on these projects, I burned a lot of carbon flying all over North America and the world. So I have my own debts to repay to society. … Belatedly, I too became a teacher of sorts, following in the footsteps of my grandfather, my mother and many other family members. Like them, I felt compelled to help people discover things that are important. I learned from my grandfather more than just how to visualize: I share his belief in people’s capacity to conceive what does not yet exist, to shape it, and in the process to become more productive and responsible members of society. The scale of today’s problems may be somewhat larger than those which Grandad faced in 1910, but the need is the same: to engage and inform people on things that are practical and beneficial, to help unlock their capabilities, and to help them see the possibilities in the world around them.

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In this chapter, we explore visions of the future in two ways: 1 Showing the range of future storylines and possible outcomes for an actual community, drawn from a visioning case study supported by modelling and expert input. 2 Revisiting the virtual neighbourhood of Climateville in 2050, providing a more speculative but personal sense of experiencing one possible future with climate change, and what it could take to get there. Both examples shed light on issues that, to a greater or lesser degree, confront most communities in the developed or developing world. Often these are challenges never before faced by those communities. For example, what does an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions look like? How can we tell how well a community is doing on mitigation or adaptation? Can we make low-carbon, resilient neighbourhoods attractive enough for people to accept them?

14.1 Case study of future community landscapes with climate change: alternative visions for neighbourhoods in South Delta, BC1 This section lays out pictorial storylines of the future for a South Delta community. I chose this as a case study because of the leadership shown by the Delta municipality in proactive planning for climate change and their willingness to experiment with visioning approaches in partnership with researchers. This means that there has been good data to work with on impacts and adaptation, and with support from multiple partners2 we have been able to spend considerable time and effort on visualization and visioning of multiple scenarios. In some ways though, Delta is typical of many other coastal communities in North America faced with climate change challenges. We use the ‘four worlds’ explained in Chapter 13 to frame a range of plausible pathways for South Delta, in the context of equivalent global conditions. In other words, each scenario assumes that this community does what everyone else does (or the world copies South Delta!), in the way that carbon emissions are collectively managed. These four worlds represent starkly different pathways, out of a multitude of possibilities. They explore not only the simple fork in the road between a high-carbon pathway (World 1) and a relatively low-carbon pathway (World 4); they also offer a scenario where intense adaptation is applied to deal with a continuing high-carbon world (World 2), and one (World 3) that is

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intermediate in carbon emissions between Worlds 1 and 4: greener than business as usual, but not enough to stabilize climate change at +2°C. In each of these worlds, many variants are possible and a few are shown. We first set the context for South Delta as it is now (Box 14A), then provide snapshots of the four different future scenarios (Boxes 14B–14E). In each case, we present a map of major land uses, a high-level aerial oblique view of the area, a lower level overview of a residential neighbourhood, and a close-up view literally in people’s backyards adjoining the beach.

Living in the community today The communities of South Delta adjoin a rural area on the coast south of Vancouver, BC. The Corporation of Delta is a municipal government serving a population of approximately 100,000 individuals, of whom about 42,000 live in South Delta (Tsawwassen and Ladner). Land uses include agricultural, residential, recreational and commercial areas (Figure 14.1). Almost half of the municipality is farmland, much of it in the Provincial Agricultural Land Reserve, a protected zone that prioritizes agriculture and controls non-agricultural uses. The residential neighbourhoods are primarily suburban and low density: 70 per cent of residents live in single-family dwellings. No high-density towers have appeared to date. Some new residential and golf-course development has encroached upon the edge of the Agricultural Land Reserve, but population and land uses are fairly stable at present and the area has an attractive, somewhat sleepy suburban/rural character. Shoreline neighbourhoods are renowned for their ocean views (Figure 14.2). The Vancouver region’s recent growth projections, however, call for almost a doubling of the population and housing needs by the mid twenty-first century, and pleasant areas like Delta with lots of buildable open land in commuting range of urban centres are thus likely to come under significant development pressure in the future. The suburban neighbourhoods foster car dependency, with limited bus routes to other cities. There is a modest amount of employment in the area, focused mainly on commercial services in Tsawwassen, agriculture, and nearby ferry and shipping terminals. This requires long commutes (mostly in single-occupant vehicles) to jobs outside Delta for over 80 per cent of the working population. Together with energy-inefficient single-family homes often heated by natural gas, this means that local neighbourhoods have a high carbon footprint. Other carbon emissions come from farming practices, freight and ferry ports.

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Figure 14.1 Air photo showing part of the existing built-up areas of South Delta with mostly single-family housing and pockets of new development, bordered by protected farmland and low-lying shorelines on two sides.

Figure 14.2 Typical shoreline homes in South Delta, BC.

As its name suggests, much of Delta occupies the flat coastal floodplain at the mouth of the Fraser River, an area that historically consisted of wetlands and was often underwater at high tide (see Figures 14.3 and 14.4). The extensive natural shoreline provides critical mudflat habitat that is a crucial feeding ground for more than 230 bird species on the internationally protected Pacific Flyway. Given projected local sea-level rise and expected storm surge events, this coastal habitat is vulnerable to climate change.3 443

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Elevation (m) 3.480–112 2.900–3.03

3.390–3.48 2.000–2.9

3.300–3.39 0–2

3.170–3.3 -1.606–0

3.030–3.17

Figure 14.3 Terrain elevations in Delta: the medium blue colour indicates low-lying land from 0–2 metres above mean sea level.

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(a) At mean sea level with exposed marshlands.

(b) At current sea level with high tide and storm surge, near the top of the dyke.

(c) With overtopping or dyke breach, a risk that will increase in frequency with sea-level rise. Figure 14.4 Visualizations using LiDAR data showing the largest island in South Delta with its farms and rural population.

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Box 14A Existing conditions in 2006 Some farmlands have already experienced crop damage from a rising saline water-table, combined with increasing summer droughts, higher temperatures, and the increasing likelihood of reduced freshwater supplies for irrigation from the Fraser River (see Chapter 6, Box 6A). Even though dykes have been built to protect the land, some areas with lower dykes are already at risk of flooding during temporary weatherrelated events known as storm surges (low-pressure storm conditions that cause sea-level elevation to increase).

Many of the single-family homes in the floodplain neighbourhoods stand at mean sea level in an area with a high tidal range, and are protected by a sea-wall that only reaches 3.4m above that level. In 2006, this protection proved inadequate when a storm surge with wave action crested the wall, resulting in 50 homes being flooded and millions of dollars’ worth of damage. Such events foreshadow future sea-level rise impacts on current development in vulnerable areas. Despite the damage to buildings and vegetation, many residents of this community have opposed government efforts to raise the sea-wall. However, through redevelopment, higher sea-walls are being constructed. For residents with private sea-walls, there is an understandable tension between increased protection on one hand and, on the other, the ocean views and shoreline access that go with their desirable real estate and beachfront lifestyle (see Figure 13.1). For municipal staff, future uncertainty combined with limited resources constrain protective measures: When and how should modifications be made to government-owned sea-walls, and how will they be funded?

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Box 14B World 1: Do nothing about climate change Current patterns in lifestyle, housing and commuting by car continue, contributing to escalating global warming. Locally, current priorities for sustainability and adaptation are overthrown under high economic growth pressures, and by 2020, new single-family residential developments encroach upon the previously protected agricultural land reserve. By 2050, the frequency of storms has increased, with food shortages, drought and extreme weather impacts on more vulnerable societies around the world. Increasing numbers of environmental refugees come to Canada and the Vancouver area, seeking work as seasonal labour on the Delta farmlands and setting up camps in marginal coastal areas of unplanned development (shown in brown, visualization below). They contribute to a 25 per cent population increase locally by 2050, and a tripling of the 2006 regional population by 2100. Viability of farming and most tree species on the formerly rich floodplain is increasingly compromised by saline ground water and more flooding. By 2100, planned residential development (shown in yellow, visualization below) and unplanned settlements expand across much open agricultural land (as they have in most metropolitan areas of North America), thus increasing the community’s vulnerability to flooding. Local temperatures rise towards 4°C above historical levels, and the combination of 0.6m sea-level rise,4 intense rainstorms, Fraser River floods and floodplain development cause increasingly serious flood damage and loss. As the global economy eventually falters and unrest spreads, neighbourhoods on higher ground to the south begin to feel like a gated community for the more affluent. Large tracts of internationally significant wildlife habitat are lost due to ‘coastal squeeze’: the erosion and inundation of existing foreshore areas outside the dykes due to sea-level rise.

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Along the built-up areas of shoreline, sea-walls have not been systematically raised due to local opposition, lack of government funding and other political priorities. Most neighbourhood trees (except willows) have been killed by salt inundation. By 2100, some coastal homes are abandoned due to increasing storm damage, frequent flooding and the inability to secure flood insurance in vulnerable areas.

World 1 in 2100

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Box 14C World 2: Adapt to risk This world has the same levels of carbon emissions, economic development, global warming and sea-level rise as World 1, but has benefited from proactive adaptation planning by communities. Locally, high-carbon lifestyles continue: children are still driven to school in large cars and vans, and recreational motorboating remains popular between economic recessions. As in World 1, inefficiently heated homes persist, or are torn down individually by their owners and replaced with larger single-family homes that consume much natural gas for home heating, even with new energy-efficiency standards. While agricultural lands are still built over in response to growth, setbacks from the coastline for new development are established, and dykes are raised and strengthened. Even managed retreat from existing residential and farmland is considered as an option later in the century, to reduce the damage and offset losses of wildlife habitat. Increased adaptive capacity in government enables planners to anticipate an influx of environmental refugees by 2050, minimizing the encroachment of unplanned settlements in the most vulnerable coastal areas and reducing conflicts with other local stakeholders. However, mitigation policy to cut the carbon footprint languishes or fails to be implemented.

In the local neighbourhoods, alternative adaptation strategies are considered and implemented in different areas. One option (bottom left, facing page) involves raising the sea-wall by almost a metre along the entire residential shoreline. Another option (centre, facing page) requires demolishing waterfront homes to make way for a new dyke designed for increased protection of the whole neighbourhood and enhancing public access and open space. A third option (bottom right, facing page) is to maintain the existing sea-wall at its present height, but to build increased resilience to more frequent flooding by installing an offshore wave barrier to reduce wave energy and raising homes on earthquake-resistant structures (instead of raised earth-fill platforms which would direct floodwaters on to adjoining lower parcels). All the options are expensive, and involve considerable haggling between the residents and various levels of government.

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World 2 in 2100

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Box 14D World 3: Efficient development Somewhat greener development in a rapidly growing economy slows the rate of increase of carbon emissions but is not enough actually to reduce overall levels. As a result, global temperatures go up by about 3°C and ultimately sea level rises by 0.5m by the end of the century. Communities generally emphasize ‘smarter’, denser development (shown in beige, top, facing page), more walkable communities with commercial amenities and access to alternative transportation. Mixed residential and commercial development accommodates the growth in major community nodes on higher ground, with concrete, glass and steel towers in communities that will permit them. South Delta however avoids development over four storeys in most areas as being out of character with their rural setting. Most of the agricultural lands remain protected for food production, though crop losses increase due to intermittent flooding and saline ground water. The major influx of climate change refugees is delayed relative to Worlds 1 and 2, remaining within the capacity of the communities to absorb in planned development for much of the century.

(i)

In the local neighbourhoods, small hybrid and electric vehicles become the norm, with transit linking community centres like Tsawwassen to other centres throughout the region. Gradual retrofitting of individual homes for energy efficiency and switching to renewables is not complete until late in the century, so resulting savings in energy and carbon emissions are more than offset by population growth and new development, even though per capita carbon footprints go down. Eventually, communities integrate alternative energy and adaptive development, such as advanced photovoltaic panels to meet home power requirements, ground and ocean heat exchange systems, and raising houses on stilts to minimize flood damage. As in World 2, other adaptations to projected sea-level rise are needed; however these expenditures are able to be delayed relative to World 2 as sea-level rise proceeds at a slower pace, with less risk of the Greenland ice-cap collapsing during the century. Impacts of sea-level rise on wildlife are reduced by the creation of wetlands outside the dykes and possibly inside as well, to replace habitat being lost to coastal squeeze.

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World 3 in 2100

(ii)

(iii)

(iv)

(v)

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Box 14E World 4: Low-carbon resilience (deep sustainability) Significant social transformation occurs early in the century. The first carbon tax in North America, brought in by the BC government in 2008, results in energy conservation measures, fuel-switching initiatives and reduced commuting by car to save money in an economy with only modest growth. An efficient network of local buses and vans links to public rail transit and neighbourhood employment centres. A slowly increasing population is housed in moderately dense, four- to six-storey, walkable, complete communities (shown in beige in top image, facing page), with mixed commercial, residential, and light industry (linked to the agricultural sector). Nearly all children walk, cycle or skateboard to school, rain or shine, or take the school bus. Businesses, community services and residences share and reuse heat, power and waste products in eco-industrial networks with district energy systems wherever possible. Locally processed waste and biomass are used in clean-burning combined heat and power facilities and energy farms, such as the biogas plant (top image, facing page) sited close to residences to minimize thermal transmission losses. Local food and energy production (restricted to carbon-efficient biomass crops such as willow coppicing on more marginal or saline agricultural lands) co-exist on protected agricultural lands. Globally, rapid decreases in overall carbon emissions keep temperatures at or below the dangerous threshold of +2ºC, and sea-level rise is slowed to 0.4m by the end of the century. Locally, Delta meets its legislated target of 80 per cent reduction in fossil fuel use by 2050 and wins multiple awards for its climate leadership.

In the existing residential neighbourhoods, a variety of in-character retrofits and redevelopments occur, to suit each locale. These range from retrofits for energy efficiency and secondary or tertiary suites to infill of housing additions, carriage homes and reused agricultural buildings, with taller buildings reserved for the town centre. In areas with flood-damage risk, there are resilient floating live/work complexes, as used in the Netherlands (centre image, facing page). Multiple forms of alternative energy are brought in early in the century, including micro wind turbines where feasible, solar photovoltaics and solar thermal (hot water). Neighbourhood clusters with local food and energy production systems generate and share

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their own heat, power and jobs. Building materials, orientation and vegetation (such as green walls) are used to maximize passive lighting, heating and cooling throughout the year. The floodplain neighbourhoods still require adaptation measures against projected sea-level rise, but these expenditures can be more modest initially or delayed later than in World 3. Most people work locally.

World 4 in 2050

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The four storylines described above led to some interesting reactions among the participants of South Delta in the visioning process described in Chapter 13 (see Box 13C). 5 Residents learned to recognize more local risks and possible solutions, and evidently cared a lot about climate change. They supported local mitigation and adaptation policy, and reported more motivation towards individual actions. In other words, they appear to have moved up the Community Awareness to Action scale relative to their previous position, although concern levels about global climate change were already high. The majority (70 per cent) of respondents felt that Delta should be striving for World 4 over the other scenarios, supporting a radical shift in societal values allowing large reductions in carbon emissions. 6 Most of the rest prioritized World 3. Virtually all felt that World 1 was an undesirable option; there seemed to be little interest in going down that fork in the road. Sixty per cent felt that Delta was currently in World 2 mode, given its leadership in adaptation planning.7 This kind of information is important for local councillors and decisionmakers to know: most councils only hear the ‘squeaky wheels’ and ‘the usual suspects’ whose often predetermined views are relatively well known. The opinions of an informed, engaged and formerly silent majority are seldom accessible to even the most proactive local authorities and councils. No wonder they are hesitant to adopt climate change mitigation and adaptation measures that may be costly and impact upon established land uses or neighbourhood character. So, how might a low-carbon, attractive, resilient World 4 actually come about in communities like South Delta? How can they mobilize to reduce their vulnerability and their carbon footprint? One way to start is to carry out a thorough and objective study of adaptation options which also carefully considers public acceptability (social barriers) and mitigation synergies. A second round of climate change visioning work is now under way in Delta with local working groups of stakeholders and experts, to look at flood adaptation and resilience options, costs and feasibility in more depth. Box 14F displays some of the possible solutions being explored for one neighbourhood. The good news is that there are several options, some of which could improve on current conditions and flood risks. The not so good news is that most options involve really hard choices and major costs. Finding true win:wins with climate change is not going to be easy. However, even four years ago, concepts like ‘managed retreat’ were unfamiliar and thus not on the table for discussion. Since then, we have seen

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positive shifts in capacity to address transformative climate change solutions within the community. Providing holistic, structured scientific information on adaptation options at the local scale, and gathering suggestions from stakeholders before a formal planning process kicks in or decisions are made are clearly helpful. Needless to say, complete consensus on the right adaptation pathway is probably unlikely any time soon. Much will depend on the role of higher levels of government in fulfilling their obligations to help communities like Delta, by providing legislative frameworks, appropriate regulatory controls and funding for climate action to be implemented.

Box 14F Detailed local scenarios for flood-risk management and adaptation planning These are being developed with Delta staff and stakeholders in a new exploratory visioning study.8

Four alternative conceptual strategies are under consideration: 1 Raising the dykes and sea-walls (the ‘Hold the line’ scenario), with major impacts on current road systems and adjacent housing. 2 Building offshore structures or dykes (the ‘Reinforce and reclaim’ scenario) to protect onshore assets and manage the reclaimed area to replace disappearing ecological resources, potentially transforming ocean vistas and shorelines. 3 Raising roads and floor elevations of homes (the ‘Buildup’ scenario) to withstand steadily increasing flood risk, a massive undertaking that could transform whole neighbourhoods. 4

Relocating to higher ground or further from the shore (the ‘Managed retreat’ scenario), shown in preliminary visualizations below, as one future option for some low-lying, less protected neighbourhoods: an enormous wrench for affected residents but in the long run offering greater security, economic advantages, and possibly social benefits in joining a liveable nearby neighbourhood.

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Existing conditions.

2100: High tide with sea-level rise (given continuing high global carbon emissions), after relocation and consolidation of neighbourhoods.

Mitigation for rural and suburban communities like South Delta can also be a major challenge. In addition to technical difficulties, legislative uncertainties and costs, carbon-reduction strategies such as increased density, transit systems and local energy plants often run into the NIMBY factor: Not in my back yard. During a public consultation process to revise a Delta community area plan, some concerned residents were opposed to the impacts of densification near the town centre. The plan, which could have reduced per capita carbon emissions relative to the predominantly single-family homes in the area, was withdrawn by the council. One wonders whether a sustained visioning process, to engage and enlist many more local citizens in developing their community’s solutions, with fuller knowledge of the climate change implications and co-benefits, might yet lead to a different outcome. This is a widespread problem across North 458

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America and many other developed nations with high carbon footprints. The desire to maintain the status quo is based on the misperception that no deliberate action equals no change. In fact, being passive in our current system leads to World 1, and ultimately to massive and unwelcome change, as we have seen. The Delta citizens whom we talked to have already told us that World 1 is much less desirable. With the power of foresight, might an even more appealing vision than the current status quo emerge, where a community like South Delta actively plans to conserve some key characteristics that its residents value, balanced with the necessary changes to build resilience and long-term community health? Is it possible to transition to a low-carbon world that allows more senior citizens to ‘age in place’, in small suites within their formerly singlefamily homes, close to shops and medical clinics; and with younger families around to look out for them? … a place for previous floodplain dwellers, who already appreciate the Delta lifestyle and have roots in the area, to move to energy-efficient homes on higher ground, rather than leave the area altogether? Could businesses make a stronger case for mixed-use mid-rise development of flats over shops and offices (a common model in other parts of North America), in a style that fits the neighbourhood, while providing jobs and local income, and cutting the high carbon footprint and rising costs of commuting? Such in-character redevelopment and acceptable density might support a renewably fuelled, community-owned energy plant with a revenue stream for community services; transit to other towns and shopping centres; and more coffee shops (or even neighbourhood pubs) for people like me to pass the time and complain about the way young people are today. The growing popularity of local food is another way to build support for a transition to low-carbon resilience (World 4), as another co-benefit of mitigation. For example, in South Delta, neighbourhoods have considerable space on vacant parcels to grow and market their own high-quality fresh food (Figure 14.5), in addition to private gardens, street rights-of-way, parks and golf-courses. This would save money and carbon while providing some jobs, a healthy lifestyle and social cohesion for local people. Urban agriculture would also buffer folks against rising food prices due to droughts in Russia or the Prairies, or the growing threat of local floodplain farms becoming too saline to grow crops.

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Figure 14.5 Potential urban farms of 1–5 acres (in varying shades of red depending upon mapped suitability factors) are one type of community-supported agriculture that could be located throughout communities like Tsawwassen, if considered appropriate through informed public engagement.

All of these ideas can be introduced without affecting South Delta’s distinctive character and quality of life, if carefully designed and the community fully engaged in the process. Their landscapes and local economies will be less vulnerable to external changes, and they will enjoy greater self-reliance and self-determination. Figure 14.6 depicts how the pathway to a low-carbon, resilient and attractive community might evolve, meeting Delta’s official commitment to a 33 per cent reduction in carbon emissions community-wide by 2020, and 80 per cent by 2050. The post-bubble community should then continue to be like the place its inhabitants know and love. All of these measures have proved successful in other communities somewhere, so they are all doable, if people will make the necessary commitment and governments enable it. It is not an ideal world though. We will still see more floods, more intense rainstorms, summer droughts, waves of immigration from harder hit areas of the world, and higher food and energy prices. Indeed, these may be the very things that finally drive home the message that we need to act swiftly on climate change.

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(a) 2006

(b) 2020

(c) 2050

(d) 2100

Figure 14.6 How South Delta might change over time to reach World 4: the time sequence shows how most of the changes in density (in pale brown) and bioenergy production (willow plantations in dark green) have to happen quickly during the first half of the century, in addition to extensive retrofitting of existing homes (in white), in order to make the ‘carbon plunge’ a reality.

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14.2 How fares Climateville in 2050? If we imagine travelling in time to Climateville in 2050, what can we learn from the achievements and setbacks of those ‘carbon characters’ still living there? With the benefit of ‘virtual hindsight’, we can look back and see at least one possible path which they and the rest of the world chose.9 In this scenario, did their block turn out to be among the leaders or the laggards?

The global context By 2050, climate change has truly come home to roost. The world missed the 2°C ‘safe’ temperature rise target in what the IPCC scientists called ‘overshoot’, with global carbon emissions still increasing after 2020; but they levelled off and started dropping before 2050. This has put the Earth somewhere between Worlds 3 and 4 described above, thanks to massive belated mitigation efforts, repeated recessions and other nastier stuff. Society has finally figured out that climate change kills people, sometimes in large numbers: from collapsing mountainsides once protected by glaciers and ice-fields; from droughts and food shortages; and from massive floods, windstorms and heatwaves in cities, exacerbated by carbon dioxide domes and air-conditioning bans to avoid brown-outs. The 24-hour news channels have had a field day. Best not to think about the numerous wars and local conflicts over vanishing water supplies, energy supplies and climate migrants. The growing visibility of climate change everywhere, and its increasingly obvious health/safety effects, finally changed everything. The denial industry and its backers lost their argument to common sense and fell silent by 2025, in the face of tobacco industry-style lawsuits from cities and states for health costs linked to their output of misinformation. Some local and national governments were sued for lack of due diligence in heeding scientific warnings on carbon reduction and the need for adaptation. Social media overran the conventional mass media, networking the many local people who were observing climate change with their own eyes and reporting carbon hogs, achieving unprecedented turn-outs to planning meetings in democratic countries. Nations and global institutions ran out of money to pay for all the adaptation and disaster relief, and belatedly began investing in mitigation measures to slow the rising costs of insurance, water, food and energy, once they finally saw the writing on the wall. The low-carbon economy has finally kicked in, with the sunset industries (car/truck manufacturing, airlines, industrial agriculture) retooled to green production of public transit, electric vehicles,

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renewable energy systems, sustainable forestry, and high-tech wind and solar-driven shipping. GDP has dropped, but separately from the more rapidly falling carbon usage. People long ago started to accept belt-tightening on low-carbon diets. With the growth of small electric vehicles fuelled by solar power, the tar sands ran out of steam when Americans realized that natural gas from the Arctic, which they needed to make fertilizer and provide affordable energy during the great social transition, was mostly being diverted to make expensive dirty oil for unfashionable gas-guzzlers. One turning point was when MACC (Mothers Against Climate Change) galvanized women all over North America to boycott the oil companies because the ravages of climate change were killing even more children than were fossil-fuelled cars. The drain of rural populations to the cities has reversed itself, with an exodus from the larger urban areas like Toronto and Phoenix with hotter summers and high food, energy, transportation and water costs, towards the cooler, greener countryside where people can grow their own food and generate their own energy. The 100-mile diet caught on in many wealthier countries. The happiness index has gradually risen in some regions, especially rural areas in countries with milder climates where life expectancy did not drop.

Life in Climateville 205010 Climateville has survived the worst of the early twenty-first-century global climate crisis largely intact, though all in the community were affected somehow. The block is still recognizable and even familiar, but with some major changes (Figure 14.7). Two former residents have died (Charles and Emily, within a year of each other). Bella remarried and moved away, but still visits her daughter Bethany who lives in their old house in Climateville, shared with renters. Adam, now almost 80, and Dinos (71) still live on the block. Farah, aged 64, lives across town and is now mayor of Climateville. On the block, many houses have attractive solar photovoltaic tiles on southfacing roofs and sell power to the city utility. Nearly all homes have been renovated to provide additional suites, with some new laneway housing. Overall, this has increased the number of dwelling units by 40 per cent since 2010, allowing the neighbourhood to accommodate its quota of climate refugees. These last now receive free local language classes and training, in return for tending the community gardens. They also help older people like Adam with their homes and private gardens – power tools for outside use such as leaf-blowers have been banned for over 30 years.

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Figure 14.7 The neighbourhood in Climateville in 2050, where some of our ‘carbon characters’ still live, but with smaller carbon footprints.

The town council under Farah’s leadership has installed green infrastructure projects with swales, intermittent streams and small ponds at low spots in some back alleys and back gardens, such as the bottom of what was Charles’s garden. These act as retention basins to store water in summer for irrigation, and reduce flooding during intense storms (what the locals now call ‘monsoons’), compensating for the laneway infill housing. Since the seven consecutive years of heatwaves in the torrid 2030s, many more deciduous trees have been planted for summer shade to help cool the area, as well as nut and fruit trees for food supplies. The biggest change, though, is in the street itself. It has been turned into a ‘block farm’ by the community, working with the town planners. Cars are no longer allowed to access the entire block, only bikes and scooters. The asphalt was torn up and the soil rehabilitated to allow organic vegetable and pulse crop production. Composting is a key activity, since fossil fuel-based fertilizers were finally banned. A commercial company manages the food production and distribution to local residents, and also rents growing space in people’s backyards. The block farm idea took hold when a child who lived across the street from Bethany was knocked down by a speeding car. Upset mothers who had joined MACC happened to see a demonstration project of a block farm in another town, and resolved to set up their own. Later the council extended the idea to the nearby park, and several more block farms have been created around town as the volume of traffic continues to dwindle, freeing up valuable space for multiple uses. 464

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The result of all these developments on the block is that this part of Climateville made it into World 4. The town’s block-by-block carbon inventory showed that it had reduced carbon emissions by 82 per cent relative to estimated levels in 2012 at the end of the Kyoto period. The block has also reduced its vulnerability to climate impacts and is considered more attractive than ever by its inhabitants, with less traffic and less noise, according to quality-of-life surveys run by the local high school children in an initiative begun by Farah in the 2030s. So, how did our carbon characters do it?

Box 14G Life in Climateville 2050 Farah: Still acting on climate change

Farah took up a position as geography teacher in the local school. Early on, she got the children to do a climate change mapping project and neighbourhood carbon inventory, counting cars and plotting foodsheds, etc. (as suggested in Chapters 10 and 11). They presented the results to the homeowners and town council, which raised awareness and led to an official annual Energy and Carbon Emissions Inventory beginning in 2022. It also inspired several other social activities in the neighbourhood, including a strong local food initiative. Farah became recognized as a passionate local champion for climate change solutions, and eventually became a respected and popular mayor. She still regularly visits the neighbourhood where for her it all started.

Dinos: Acting on climate change

Dinos married his journalist girlfriend and made a good living. The two of them became involved in the local food initiative. At a local food and energy fair, Dinos heard about the use of thermal imaging cameras to show people pictures of the energy inefficiencies in their homes. He persuaded the local fire chief to send his stand-by fire crew round to photograph every house on the block. This fostered a lot of interest among the neighbours just as energy prices were rising steeply. The firemen returned two years later to monitor changes and found significant reductions in heat loss from many houses. Dinos retired early to start a new vocation: he took over the local pub around the corner when it was threatened with closure. As its ‘landlord’ and postmaster, with help from volunteers, he turned it into a community pub/café with a web centre, small shop, childcare facility, vehicle charging centre and solar baking workshop. He renamed it The Green Lion. It is close to the park that has been turned into a (well-signed but otherwise

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largely invisible) geothermal energy facility that heats many local homes. The park also contains a demonstration urban farm which provides the pub with local produce and the community with advice on food production and renewable energy. Dinos reckons his carbon footprint is down to almost 5 tonnes CO2/yr, representing more than an 80 per cent drop since 2011. Bethany: Acting on climate change

Bella’s daughter Bethany, along with a coalition of neighbourhood dog walkers, gardeners and bird-watchers who had noticed the decline of local species, started showing up regularly at council meetings in the 2020s. They pushed the council to move towards the aggressive carbon targets which had been set earlier without a clear idea of how to achieve them. Climateville signed up as a Transition Neighbourhood to develop a community-led plan, and Bethany, Farah, Dinos and Emily (until she passed away) attended many of these meetings too.

As part of the community-led plan, block captains from the Neighbourhood Climate Watch group (including Dinos) negotiated a deal with local firms and home supply stores, enabling bulk purchases of insulation, geo-exchange, solar thermal and PV installations at discounted prices for local residents, taking advantage of new national energy rebate schemes. The town also developed a scheme to deliver woodchips from waste biomass from the region’s parks and woodlands for high-efficiency boilers in apartment buildings like Farah’s. As momentum picked up, the Council established a landscape messaging programme, putting up signs on each block showing their collective carbon footprints and relative ranking across the town, drawing on their official carbon inventory. Now, in 2050, most people on the block are thinking and living like Farah and Emily were in the early years of the century, but with much more energy-efficient buildings. It seems like another era to Dinos. Climate change stopped being controversial a long time ago. Now it is accepted as an unavoidable and crucial ongoing struggle to keep up with the evolving situation and plan ahead for contingencies, with social benefits of working with others for the good of the community. Most people recognize the changing patterns and know how to respond. Some are still angry with themselves and their leaders because it took so long for them to wake up.

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But the folks of Climateville have learned to live with less, in smaller homes; to slow down a bit, stop and smell the roses more often, not to mention the locally grown garlic. Money is in shorter supply and, out of necessity, there is more cooperation between neighbours. Bethany looks in regularly on the elderly on the block, just like her grandmother used to do in the village where she grew up. People eat smaller helpings in restaurants, and there is a more limited selection of goods and imported foods in the shops. Shopping for luxury items is still enjoyed at Christmas time. People no longer work out in indoor clubs with energy-using exercise machines, but walk more, getting more vitamin D and fresh air in the process. They travel a lot less, with most airlines out of business and sky-high prices for zeppelin travel. Health has improved slightly despite the heatwaves and decline in specialized medical services, with increased emphasis on local clinics and a healthy lifestyle. Most people know where their energy, food and water come from and, Dinos thinks, take more responsibility for their own well-being. Most people are now seeing more clearly, and it is a cultural norm for people to care about the future of their community and work actively towards sustaining it. And what does Adam, the bull-headed sceptic, think about all this, now in his final years? He gave up his theory of sunspots long ago, still doesn’t like talking about climate change much, but has grudgingly accepted the new social norms. He is basically acting much like the others, with a greatly reduced carbon footprint. He split his big house into three apartments after the boys grew up, mostly for economic reasons. He worries about rioting in other parts of the country, but Climateville has been reasonably peaceful. He knows how lucky he is, that things are better than people feared 20 years ago with the dissolution of the oil refineries. He enjoys watching his visiting grandchildren play in the small fields and gardens in front of his house. He does miss his younger days spent motorboating, and the freedom to drive wherever he liked when petrol was affordable. He has lovingly kept one of the few remaining Hummers in his garage all these years, and enjoys watching the children’s eyes pop out of their heads when he opens up the garage door on summer days. They have never seen a private vehicle so big, and cannot imagine what people did with them, though they all agree it’s very cool! Adam also keeps an old rusty patio heater in the garden, though it cannot be used legally and is no longer needed; most were collected by the government and melted down to make wind turbines and electric bikes, but he kept his as a memento of those faraway carefree times. Over the years, the tropical vine has almost covered up the old heater, and last summer a hummingbird nested in the cool shade beneath its cap.

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14.3 Can visualizing climate change save the world? Can imagining such future realities with the help of visual imagery and visioning techniques really get people to enact climate change solutions? Perhaps not by itself, but it can certainly help. If people can learn to see things differently, if they have more compelling and informative ways to envision and plan their future and pressure their politicians, it can only be a good thing. Look at it another way: can the world be saved without visualizing climate change? I would argue it cannot. Before you can fix a problem you must understand it, be able to think through its implications, and imagine the solution. Visual learning tools and community visioning processes are among the most powerful of all the ways in which we can engage ordinary people, show them their options, and build the necessary community capacity to act. In the context of rapid climate change, we must apply every potentially powerful weapon to minimize the damage and accelerate solutions. We are all part of a real storyline that winds into the future, and we are all characters in the story, but we can affect how the story goes. The window of opportunity is here now, but our options are diminishing daily. If we wish to influence our own future, this is the decade. The discerning reader may have detected what seems like a romantic streak of nostalgia running through the pages of this book. I see it as more than nostalgia. I see the past as a vast storehouse of lessons from which we can borrow and learn. History represents thousands, if not millions, of ways of living, of cultures, economies and lifestyles. The one thing they had in common, up until the late eighteenth century, was that they were all low-carbon. They were not all resilient, and many would not be attractive to us now; but surely we are smart enough to look back at our heritage and pick out the ideas, values and proven sustainable practices that can replace our more wasteful and self-destructive ways, in a safer blend of the old and the new? Many of the things that look so normal and so desirable to us in modern society are the very things that cause climate change and are adversely impacting upon present and future generations as we speak. We must begin to discriminate between the acceptable and the frankly dangerous. We can and must see unsustainability now, and more importantly the solutions that are all around us, if we are to see a sustainable tomorrow.

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Notes 1 This section is adapted from Shaw et al. (2009) and Tatebe et al. (2010). 2 Including Delta staff and council, the GEOIDE research network, Federal agencies, BC government, Metro Vancouver, Fraser Basin Council, local stakeholders and many others. 3 Hill (2006). 4 Sea-level rise projections are based on research by Natural Resources Canada (Hill, 2006). Over the past four years, due in part to actual measurement of accelerated rates of sea-level rise, official estimates for sea-level rise and required protection levels have gone up (Bornhold, 2008). None of these projections account for the much higher sea levels if the Greenland ice-sheet were to move into the ocean. 5 The large centre visualizations shown for Worlds 1–4 in the preceding pages are similar to those evaluated in the 2007 visioning sessions in Delta, but have been modified to include additional photo-realistic detail such as people, vehicles, boats and small foreground features in order to personalize the images further. The text narrative has also been slightly modified and updated. 6 Tatebe et al. (2010). 7 Corporation of Delta (2009). 8 Funded by Canada’s Regional Adaptation Collaborative with support from the GEOIDE research network, BC Ministry of Environment, Corporation of Delta and other partners. 9 These narratives are speculative and not the results of a scientific process or structured visioning study; however, many of the climate change implications described are taken from observed conditions, scientific projections or current proposals, as described earlier in the book. 10 I am very grateful to Ellen Pond for some of the ideas described in Climateville 2050, drawing on her UBC Master’s of Landscape Architecture thesis on retrofitting a neighbourhood in Burnaby, BC (Pond, 2008).

Further reading McKibben, B. (2010) Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, Vintage Canada, Toronto. Mertens, E. (2009) Visualizing Landscape Architecture: Functions, Concepts, Strategies, Birkhäuser GmbH, Basel, Switzerland. Monget, Y. (2008) Terres d’Avenir, Editions de La Martiniere, Paris. Taylor, P. and Frazer, R. (2002) ‘Landscape, climate and renewable energy: envisioning future options’. Report prepared by Ethos for The Countryside Agency, Cheltenham, UK. Available at: http://ethos-uk.com/downloads/ FutureOptions.pdf.

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Appendix Code of ethics for landscape visualization

Adapted from Sheppard and Cizek (2009). Courtesy of Journal of Environmental Management. Criteria for producing, using and evaluating landscape visualizations

Accuracy

Visualizations should simulate the actual or expected appearance of the landscape (at least for those landscape factors being judged), without distortion and at an appropriate level of abstraction/realism for the intended purpose.

Representativeness

Visualizations should represent typical or important views/conditions of the landscape.

Visual clarity

The details, components, and overall content of the visualization should be clearly communicated.

Interest

Visualizations should engage and hold the interest of the audience.

Legitimacy

Visualizations should be defensible and their level of accuracy demonstrable.

Access to visual information

Visualizations should be readily accessible to the public via a variety of formats and communication channels.

Framing and presentation

Important contextual and other relevant information (such as labelling, narration, mapping, etc.) should be presented in a clear, neutral fashion, along with the visualization imagery.

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Recommendations and planning considerations for ethical use of 3D landscape visualization ◆

Different users may require different visualization approaches (know your audience).



The same data can be visualized many different ways: identify the important messages arising from the data.



The same visualization presented to the same types of people can evoke different responses, due to framing, process, accompanying data, presenter, etc.



Choose the appropriate level of realism/symbolism for the purpose.



Identify what local or community issues might affect viewpoints and landscape characteristics that could influence the visualizations.



More than one presentation mode and means of access for the affected public may be safest, to moderate any bias from particular media.



Provide the viewer with a reasonable choice of viewing conditions (e.g. important lighting or weather conditions) and time frames appropriate to the area being visualized.



Avoid seeking a particular response from the audience: let the visualization and supporting data do the talking.



Record responses to visualizations as feedback for future efforts.

Some practical tips ◆

Document supporting data available for or used in the visualization process.



During the visualization/model-building process, relate the visualization to actual ground photographs and/or site visits (don’t rely exclusively on aerial views/plan view data).



Do not use vertical exaggeration in groundlevel views; always confirm whether or not any exaggeration has been used.



Never distort the aspect ratio of photographs or visualization images: distorted images can be misleading.



Provide more detailed foreground imagery if possible where higher levels of realism is required.



Never ‘tweak’ spatial dimensions of objects (especially heights) in SketchUp unless you are deliberately modifying a dimension accurately.

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Obtain iterative review of developing visualization material, preferably with both peers and local stakeholders, to assure credibility and avoid surprises, before final presentations.



Provide information describing how the visualization process was conducted.



Disclose assumptions, level of accuracy, and uncertainties inherent in the visualizations; provide labelling or other key data as part of the visualization if it is to be released for use by others in unmediated settings (e.g. over the Web).



Provide evidence of an appropriate level of qualifications and experience in visualization work.

Illustration credits Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and obtain permission but this may not have been possible in all cases. Any omissions brought to the attention of the publisher will be remedied at the earliest opportunity. Frontispiece Credit: J. Myers

Part I – Facing page graphic Photo: S. Sheppard. Chapter 1 Story box Ch 1 i Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 1.1 (a) Photo: Ansgar Walk. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (b) © IPCC 2000. Special Report Emission Scenarios – Summary for Policymakers, Figure 2a: Global CO2 emissions related to energy and industry. (c) Credit: ‘The Day after Tomorrow’ © 2004 Twentieth Century Fox. All rights reserved. Figure 1.2 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Credit: D. Flanders, CALP. Courtesy of Plan Canada (Sheppard, 2008). Figure 1.4 Photo (top) and visualization (bottom): Lori Johnson, UBC Landscape Architecture 504 studio. Figure 1.5 Credit: Robert A. Rhode, Global Warming Art Project, based on NASA data set. Source: http://data. giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs. Figure 1.6 Photo: Jon Ronson, NASA Science blog. Box 1A Credit: NASA Earth Observatory. Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/ carbon_cycle4.php. Box 1B Source: IPCC (2001). TAR 2001 Synthesis Report, Summary for Policymakers, Figure SPM-6.1 Figure 1.7 Source: The Telegraph, 22 April 2009. © Telegraph Media Group Limited 2009.

Chapter 2 Story box Ch 2 i–v Photos: S. Sheppard. Figure 2.1 Photo: Aude. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Figure 2.2 Photo: 350.org Box 2B Source: Vanity Fair Magazine 2004, Conde Nast. Figure 2.3 Photo of cover: S. Sheppard. Source: InTouch Magazine, 14 August 2006.

Illustration credits

Box 2C Photo: J. Salter, CALP. Box 2D Photo: 350.org/Glenn G. Page.

Chapter 3 Story box Ch 3 i Photo: S. Sheppard. ii, iii Credit: D. Cavens. Figure 3.1 Figure 3.2 Figure 3.3 Figure 3.4 Figure 3.5 Figure 3.6

Credit: J. Myers. Photo: Paul Morse, White House. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Photo: S. Sheppard. Photo: Kamyar Adl. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Photo: H. Fraser, Corporation of Delta. Source: Gates (2002). Courtesy of UK Climate Impacts Programme.

Box 3B Photo: Step It Up 2007, 350.org. Figure 3.7 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 3.8 Photo: Jerald E. Dewey, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org. Figure 3.9 Data source: FARSITE modelling by RW Gray (Gray Consulting Ltd). Visualization: O. Schroth, CALP. Background imagery: © 2009 Google Earth; Image © 2009 British Columbia; Image © 2009 Digital Globe; Image © 2009 Terra Metrics. Figure 3.10 Illustration: chris-watson.co.uk. Poster: © SERCC (Southeast Rural Community Councils). Figure 3.11 (left) Photo: Dan Woynillowicz, Pembina Institute. (right) Photo: Trokilinochchi, 1 November 2008, Sri Lanka. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Figure 3.12 Credit: J. Myers. Figure 3.13 Credit: J. Myers. Figure 3.14 Credit: D. Flanders, CALP.

Chapter 4 Story box Ch 4 Source: www.actransit.org/about-us/celebrating-ac-transits-50th-anniversary/then-and-now. i Photo: Daniel Levy, © 2011, AC Transit. ii Photo: Courtesy of Western Railway Museum Archives and AC Transit. Figure 4.1 Graphic: J. Myers. Figure 4.2 Graphic: J. Myers. Figure 4.3 Graphic: J. Myers. Box 4A Graphic icons A–F: Credit: J. Myers. Figure 4.4 Figure 4.5 Figure 4.6 Figure 4.7

Photo: Phil Pratley. Courtesy of Ascott-under-Wychwood Community Website. Graphic: J. Myers. Photo: S. Sheppard. Graphic: I. Olchovsky.

Box 4B Stages A–F Graphics: J. Myers, with base images provided by Elements DB (UBC), I. Olchovsky, Shutterbox, and S. Sheppard.

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Part II – Facing page graphic Photo: S. Sheppard. Chapter 5 Story box Ch 5 i, ii Photos: S. Sheppard. Figure 5.1 Photo: S. Sheppard Figure 5.2 Adapted from Deffeyes (2003), p.5. Figure 5.3 Source: Wikipedia Calculations by US Department of Energy’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC), based on data collected by United Nations Statistics Division. Figure 5.4 Source: BC Ministry of Environment Community Energy and Emissions Inventories, 2009: www.env.gov. bc.ca/epd/climate/ceei/pdf/2007Delta.pdf. Carbon Window 1 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: © www.Legends of America.com. (c) Photo: © Chris Evans, Pembina Institute. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard. (e) Photo: Ellen Pond. (f) Photo: S. Sheppard. Carbon Window 2 (a) Photo: Daniel Beltrá for Greenpeace. (b) Photo: Enriquillonyc. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (c) Credit: oilspill.mov by Shawn Soucy, 2007. www.nowpublic.com/crude_oil_pipeline_bursts_near_ burnaby_bc_6 (d) Photo: NOAA. (e) i, ii Source: Alberta government. Carbon Window 3 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo i: RadRafe. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Photo ii: S. Sheppard. (c) Photo: S. Sheppard. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard. (e) Photo: S. Sheppard. (f) Photo: S. Sheppard. Carbon Window 4 (a) Photo i: P. Cizek. Photo ii: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: EPA. (c) Photo: S. Sheppard. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard. (e) Photo: Gerbil. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Carbon Window 5 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: S. Sheppard. (c) Photo: S. Sheppard. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard. (e) Photo: S. Sheppard.

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Carbon Window 6 (a) Photo: Kevin Dooley. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (b) Photos i, ii: S. Sheppard. (c) Photo: P. Cizek. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard. (e) Photo: Eric Guinther. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (f) Photo: Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, NASA, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team. Figure 5.5 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 5.6 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 5.7 (a), (b) Photos: S. Sheppard. (c) Photo: Love Krittaya. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Figure 5.8 (a) Photo: K. Tatebe. (b) Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 5.9 Photo: Mbz1. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Box 5B i: I. Olchovsky. ii–iv: J. Myers.

Chapter 6 Story box Ch 6 i Photo: Anonymous. Source: Creative Commons. Figure 6.1 Figure 6.2 Figure 6.3 Figure 6.4

© IPCC (2007a) Climate Change 2007: Fourth Assessment Report. Synthesis Report, Figure 3.2. © IPCC (2001) Climate Change 2001: Third Assessment Report. Synthesis Report, Figure SPM.5. © The Environment Agency 2011. Photo: Nick Carson. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Box 6A Photo: Ingrid Taylar. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Figure 6.5 Data source: Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (T.Q. Murdock, K.E. Bennett, D. Bronaugh). Map credit: E. Pond and D. Cavens, CALP. Impact Window 1 (a) Source: Thundafunda.com. (b) Photo i: C.F. Nelson, Courtesy of Silvery Slocan Museum (John Sanderson Collection); Photo ii: Bob Varaleau and Mark Adams. (c) Photo: Sarah Burch. (d) Photo by SAACID. © SAACID 1990–2011 [email protected] www.saacid.org/Disaster_Response.html. (e) Source: NASA Earth Observatory. Impact Window 2 (a) Photo: Walter Kale, © Chicago Tribune Company. Courtesy Ms. Leila Arnheim. (b) Source: NASA Earth Observatory. (c) Photo: S. Sheppard. (d) Photo: Matt H. Wade (UpstateNYer). Source: Wikipedia. Impact Window 3 (a) Source: Wikimedia Commons. (b) Photo: S. Sheppard. (c) Photo: Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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(d) (e)

Photo: S. Sheppard. Photo: S. Sheppard.

Impact Window 4 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: Mark Brown, District of North Vancouver. (c) Photo: Oldrich Hungr. (d) Photo: Stephen Jenkins, District of West Vancouver. Impact Window 5 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: S. Sheppard. (c) Photo: S. Sheppard. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard. (e) Photo: S. Sheppard. Impact Window 6 (a) Photo: D. Flanders, CALP. (b) Photo: Mark Knobil. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (c) Photo: Jesper Rautell Balle. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (d) Photo: John Lewis, courtesy of the Cheam Band. Reprinted courtesy of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Network (Sheppard et al., 2004). (e) Photo: T. Prowse, Environment Canada. Figure 6.6 Photo: S. Sheppard. Box 6B Photo: The Interior. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Box 6C i Graphic: I. Olchovsky. ii, iii Graphics: J. Myers.

Chapter 7 Story box Ch 7 Source: Earley Environmental Group newsletter, March 2010 (Issue 19). Figure 7.1 Credit: O. Schroth/E. Pond/C. Campbell, CALP. Background image: © 2009 Google Earth; British Columbia. Figure 7.2 Credit: Courtesy of Perkins+Will Canada, architects. Figure 7.3 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 7.4 Graphic: Jon Salter, CALP. Adapted from NRTEE (2006). Figure 7.5 Source: British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority. Figure 7.6 Photo: Lou Brown. Source: http://totnes.transitionnetwork.org. Mitigation Window 1 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. Advert by University of Calgary. (b) Photo: Kim Hansen. Source: Creative Commons. (c) Photo: G-Man March 2005. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (d) Photo: Arnold C (User: Buchanan-Hermit). Source: Wikipedia. Mitigation Window 2 (a) Photo: Scott Campbell. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (b) Photo: Chevi. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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Illustration credits

(c) (d) (e) (f)

Photo: Mr. Tehrani. Photo: S. Sheppard. Photo: S. Sheppard. Photo: S. Sheppard.

Mitigation Window 3 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: S. Sheppard. (c) Photo: S. Sheppard. (d) Credit: Maria Stanborough and Oliver Wood, UBC Landscape Architecture 542 course 2007. (e) i, ii Photos: S. Sheppard. (f) Photo: D. Mackay. Source: “Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air”, by David JC MacKay, published by UIT: www.uit.co.uk/sustainable. Also available free to download for personal non-commercial use from www.withouthotair.com. Mitigation Window 4 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: S. Sheppard. (c) i, ii Photos: S. Sheppard. (d) Photos: S. Sheppard. (e) Photo: S. Sheppard. Mitigation Window 5 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: S. Sheppard. (c) Photo: S. Sheppard. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard. (e) Photo: Nevilley. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (f) Photo: S. Sheppard. Mitigation Window 6 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: S. Sheppard. (c) Photo: C. Achiam. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard. (e) i, ii Photos: S. Sheppard. Mitigation Window 7 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: Sina Luckhardt. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (c) i, ii Photos: S. Sheppard. (d) i, ii Photos: S. Sheppard. (e) Credit: R. Tooke/N. Coops, UBC Faculty of Forestry. Source: The District of North Vancouver GIS Department, www.geoweb.dnv.org/applications/solarapp. Figure 7.7 Photo: MoBikeFed. Source: Flickr.com. Box 7C i Photo: RightBrainPhotography (Rick Rowen). Derivative work: Mariordo. Source: Wikimedia Commons. ii Photo: F. Ashling. iii Photo: S. Sheppard.

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Figure 7.8 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 7.9 Photo: Tom Chance. Source: Wikipedia. Figure 7.10 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 7.11 Photo: Thomas Doerfer. Source: Wikipedia. Box 7D i Graphic: I. Olchovsky. ii–v: J. Myers.

Chapter 8 Story box Ch 8 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 8.1 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 8.2 Photo: Tom Corser (www.tomcorser.com). Source: Wikimedia Commons. Figure 8.3 Credit: Northwest Hydraulic Consultants 2009. Source: Lower Cowichan/Koksilah River Integrated Flood Management and Mapping Plan, September 2009. Prepared for the Cowichan Valley Regional District. Adaptation Window 1 (a) Photo: S. Burch. (b) Photo: Maurice Chédel. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (c) Photo: Forest and Kim Starr. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (d) Credit: Dura Vermeer. Source: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18480769 Adaptation Window 2 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Source: Seattle and the Orient (1900), brochure edited and compiled by Alfred D. Bowen. Photos are uncredited, from Wikimedia Commons. (c) Photo: S. Sheppard. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard. (e) Photo: S. Sheppard. Adaptation Window 3 (a) Photo: John Fleck. Source: FEMA Photo Library, Wikimedia Commons. (b) Photo: Firewise Communities/USA New Mexico. Source: http://gallery.firewise.org/nm14.htm. (d) Credit: John Danahy, University of Toronto. (e) Photo: S. Sheppard. Adaptation Window 4 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: S. Sheppard. (c) i, ii Photos: Stephen Jenkins, District of West Vancouver. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard. (e) Photo: S. Sheppard. Adaptation Window 5 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: S. Sheppard (c) Photo: Jerry Friedman. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard.

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Adaptation Window 6 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: JoePhoto. Source: Flickr.com. (c) Photos: (i) F. Ashling. (ii) S. Sheppard. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard. (e) Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 8.4 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 8.5 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 8.6 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 8.7 Photo: mclure1. Source: BC Ministry of Forests and Range, http://bcwildfire.ca/MediaRoom/Photos/ Fires/2003/slides/mclure1.htm. Box 8C i Graphic: I. Olchovsky. ii–iv Graphic: J. Myers.

Chapter 9 Story box Ch 9 Photo: Century Photos, West Wickham. Figure 9.1 Graphic: J. Myers. Figure 9.2 Source: Maloley, M.J. 2010. Thermal Remote Sensing of Urban Heat Island Effects: Greater Toronto Area, Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 6283, 40 pages. doi:10.4095/26339; Behan, K.J., Mate, D., Maloley, M/J., and Penney, J. 2011. Using Strategic Partnerships to Advance Urban Heat Island Adaptation in the Greater Toronto Area. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 6865. 1 CD-ROM. doi:10.4095/288755. Figure 9.3 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 9.4 Credit: District of West Vancouver Planning Department. http://westvancouver.ca/uploadedFiles/ Community_Planning/Major_Projects/July%2014%202008%20PPT%20to%20Council.pdf, accessed 31 July 2010. Figure 9.5 Photo: S. Sheppard. Big Picture 1 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: D. Flanders, CALP. (c) Photo: S. Sheppard. Big Picture 2 (a) Photo: Kenneth Allen. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (b) Photo: Michael Wigle, courtesy of BC Hydro. (c) (i) Photo: Tone. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (ii) Photo: S. Sheppard. Big Picture 3 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: S. Sheppard. (c) Credit: © CBC Radio-Canada 2011. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard.

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Big Picture 4 (a) Photo: © Raimond Spekking / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 & GFDL. (b) Photo: Courtesy of Grouse Mountain. (c) (i) Photo: S. Sheppard. (ii) Credit: modified by J. Danahy, U. Toronto. Background image: © 2009 Google Earth; © 2010 Digital Globe. Table 9.1 (a) Photo: Google Maps Street View © 2010 Google Maps. (b) Photo: Dkcp. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (c) Photo: Tom Chance. Source: Wikipedia. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard. (e) Photo: Ron Hann. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (f) Photo: S. Sheppard. (g) Photo: S. Sheppard. Box 9A (a, c) Photos: C. Achiam. (b, d, e, f) Photos: S. Sheppard. Box 9B (a–f) Photos: S. Sheppard. Box 9C (a) Photo: GP01RLR © Greenpeace / Alex Hofford. (b) Photo: GP01RLT © Greenpeace / Alex Hofford (EV). (c) Photo: GP01RLV © Greenpeace / Alex Hofford. Figure 9.6 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 9.7 (a) Photo: Alan Levine. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (b) Photo: Australian Cowboy. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Figure 9.8 Credit: Jon Salter, CALP. Source data: average lifespans in Greater Vancouver Regional District. Box 9D © IPCC. Source: IPCC (2001) Synthesis Report, Summary for Policymakers, Figure SPM-6. Figure 9.9 © IPCC. Source: IPCC (2007b), Figure SPM.5. Figure 9.10 Image credit: John MacNeill. Box 9E Credit: Maryam Haghighat-Kashani, UBC Landscape Architecture 504 studio. Box 9F i Graphic: I. Olchovsky . ii–xii Graphic: J. Myers.

Part III – Facing page graphic Graphic: J. Myers. Chapter 10 Figure 10.1 Photo: C. Achiam. Figure 10.2 Photo: C. Achiam.

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Box 10A Photos: i “At the Water’s Edge” project participant (resident); ii “At the Water’s Edge” project participant (visitor). Courtesy of Claudia Baldwin, University of the Sunshine Coast, Photovoice project. Figure 10.3 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 10.4 Photo: S. Sheppard. Source: Health Canada. Figure 10.5 Photo: Sten Rüdrich. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Box 10B Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 10.6 Credit: Chaopeng Cai, Maryam Haghighat Kashani, Riham Gamal, Zhiwei Lu: UBC Landscape Architecture 504 Studio, 2008. Box 10D Credit: Caitlin Harrigan, Megan Vogt, Cameron Woodruff: UBC Landscape Architecture 504 Studio, 2008. Figure 10.7 Credit: Greg Brown, University of Queensland, Australia. Source: www.landscapemap2.org/wikiclimate/ mapviewer.php. Map data © 2011 Google Maps. Figure 10.8 Photo: Joan M. Carraher, Cedar Rapids Public School. © 2008–2009 Idaho National Laboratory. Figure 10.9 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 10.10 Photo: S. Sheppard. See also www.duchyofcornwall.org/designanddevelopment_poundbury_ architecture.htm. Landscape Messaging Toolset 1 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Source: US Forest Service. (c) Graphic: Sara Orchard, Becky Colter, Peiqi Wang, Sarah Rankin, UBC Landscape Architecture 542 course, 2010. Landscape Messaging Toolset 2 (a) Photo: GP027A2: © John Cobb / Greenpeace. (b) Photo: Lai Seng Sin. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (c) Courtesy of Cape Farewell. (d) Photo: S. Sheppard. Landscape Messaging Toolset 3 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photos i, ii: J. Thorley. (c) Photo: Courtesy of Kent Rural Community Council. (d) Photo: Mike Grenville. Courtesy of Transition Towns. Landscape Messaging Toolset 4 (a) Photos i, ii: Dr. In-Keun Lee, with permission from the Seoul Metropolitan Government. (b) Photo: Courtesy of Simon Fraser University Public Affairs and Media Relations. (c) Photo: S. Sheppard. (d) Photo: Bruce Caron, Ventura California – Sea Level Awareness Project. (e) Visualization: Ken Fairhurst, CALP. (f) Photo: S. Sheppard. Landscape Messaging Toolset 5 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Photo: S. Sheppard. (c) Photo: S. Sheppard. Visualization: C. Achiam.

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(d) (e) (f) (g) (h) (i)

Credit: Maria Stanborough/Oliver Wood, UBC Forestry 521C course, 2007. Image credit: S. Sheppard. Courtesy of MaxBurger, www.max.se. Photo: S. Sheppard. Photo: S. Sheppard. Photo: N. O’Murchú. Source: www.tidystreet.org.

Chapter 11 Figure 11.1 Credit: Travis Martin, Ben Muhall, Ying Shi, UBC Landscape Architecture 504 Studio, 2008. Box 11A i Photo: David Dodge, Pembina Institute. ii Graphic: D. Flanders, CALP. Box 11B Photo: Alex de Carvalho. Source: Flickr.com. Figure 11.2 © 2012 Google Maps. Figure 11.3 Credit: S. Genovese: Combating Global Warming Mindmap, Learning Fundamentals. Source: www.learnignfundamentals.com.au. Figure 11.4 Credit: E. Pond, S. Muir-Owen and C. Miller (CALP), Ingrid Leipa, Troy Pollock (City of Kimberley). Figure 11.5 Photo: Jon Laurenz, UBC Greenskins Lab. Visual Media Toolset 1 (a) Source: IPPC (2001), Figure 9.1b. (b) Credit: CoolClimate Network, University of California, Berkeley. Source: http://coolclimate.berkeley. edu/getwidget. (c) Credit: Micah Lang, HB Lanarc (2010), a Member of the Golder Group of Companies. (d) Credit: UK Climate Impacts Programme, University of Oxford. (e) Credit: ‘Temperature is Rising’ poster, 1999 © Department of Natural Resources Canada. All rights reserved. See http://adaptation.nrcan.gc.ca/posters/bc/index_e.php#poster. Graphic: Richard Franklin. (f) Credit: N. Miller, UBC Design Centre for Sustainability. Visual Media Toolset 2 (a) Adapted from Fig. 9.11, Marsh and Grossa (2002), John Wiley & Sons. (b) Credit: D. Flanders and J. Laurenz, CALP. (c) Credit: D. Flanders, CALP. (d) Credit: R. Tooke, Forestry, UBC. Visual Media Toolset 2A (a) Credit: P. Cizek. (b) Credit: Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal. Source: http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/extent-ofdeforestation-in-borneo-1950-2005-and-projection-towards-2020. (c) Source: Energy Information Administration (month 2009), Office of Oil and Gas, Natural Gas Division, Gas Transportation Information System. (d) Credit: World Airline Route Map – 2009, Jpatokal, 26 June 2009. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (e) Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. (f) © Purdue University. Source: Gurney, K.R., D. Mendoza, Y. Zhou, B. Seib, M. Fischer, S. de la Rue du Can, S. Geethakumar, C. Miller (2009) ‘The Vulcan Project: High resolution fossil fuel combustion CO2 emissions fluxes for the United States’. Environmental Science and Technology Journal.

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Illustration credits

(g) (h)

© 2002–2011 Center for Neighborhood Technology. Source: www.travelmatters.org/maps/regional/ chicago. Source: Christen et al. (2010).

Visual Media Toolset 2B (a) Source: Terra Images of the Black Hills, South Dakota, USA, 12 July 2000 and 14 July 2004, Remote Sensing Tutorial, Dr. Nicholas Short, NASA. (b) Source: Berry et al. (2001). (c) © CSIRO Australia – image reproduced with permission of CSIRO Australia. Source: Preston et al. (2008). Visual Media Toolset 2C (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Credit: Chaopeng Cai, Maryam Haghighat Kashani, Riham Gamal, Zhiwei Lu, UBC Landscape Architecture 504 studio, 2008. (c) Credit: D. Flanders, CALP, and J. Blanco, UBC. Source: Flanders et al. (2009). (d) Credit: Katy Duke, Energy Descent Action Plan, Sustainable Frome, town in transition. Source: www.transitionfrome.org.uk/index.php?n=Site.ENERGYDESCENTACTIONPLAN. Background image: © 2010 Google. (e) Credit: D. Cavens and UBC Design Centre for Sustainability. Visual Media Toolset 2D (a) Credit: Jeffrey Raven – Louis Berger Group (2008). (b) Credit: Andy Haub, Olympia, Washington. Source: http://olympiawa.gov/en/community/sustainability/ ~/media/Files/PublicWorks/Water-Resources/ahaub_pres.ashx. (c) Credit: Ben Mulhall, Ying Shi, Travis Martin, UBC Landscape Architecture 504 studio, 2008. Visual Media Toolset 3 (a) Photo: Dave Saville/FEMA News Photo. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (b) Credit: Factor Architecten, Maasbommel, Netherlands. (c) (i), (ii) Photos: S. Sheppard. (d) (i) Credit: Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon. Source: NASA Earth Observatory. (ii) Photo: S. Jenkins, District of West Vancouver. Visual Media Toolset 4 (a) Credit: An NTNK Production, from the Government and People of Kiribati, with support from AusAID. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp2SKhPBuis. (b) Credit: Annie Leonard presents the Story of Cap and Trade, The Story of Stuff Project and Free Range Studios. Source: www.storyofstuff.com/capandtrade. (c) © Schlumberger Excellence in Education Development, ltd. Source: www.planetseed.com. (d) i, ii Photos: James Balog/Extreme Ice Survey. (e) Credit: © 2009 Cartifact, Inc. and Greening Point, Inc. Source: http://risingoceanlevels.com.

Chapter 12 Figure 12.1 (a) Credit: John Lewis, CALP, UBC. Reproduced courtesy of Environmental Science and Policy (Sheppard, 2005, p.638) and SFM Network (Sheppard et al., 2004). (b) Credit: D. Flanders, CALP.

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Figure 12.2 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 12.3 Credit: Sir Humphrey Repton. Courtesy of Environmental Design Library, University of California, Berkeley. Figure 12.4 Credit: Yannick Monget, www.symbiome-arts.org. Reproduced from “Terres d’Avenir”, Editions de la Martinière, 2009. Figure 12.5 Photo: S. Sheppard. Figure 12.6 Credit: Hogarth,1820. Figure 12.7 Courtesy of the BBC. Figure 12.8 Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Earth Observatory, courtesy Ozone Hole Watch. Box 12A i, ii Credit: Olaf Schroth/VisuLands 2005. © Geodata: RAW Lucern. Courtesy of ESP (Sheppard, 2005, p.645). iii Credit: CALP, UBC. iv–vi Data source: FARSITE modelling by RW Gray Consulting Ltd. Visualizations: O. Schroth, CALP. Background image © 2010 Google; 2011 Cnes / Spot Image; Parks Canada; Province of British Columbia; Terra Metrics. vii, viii Visualizations: D. Flanders, CALP. ix Graph: K. Tatebe and S. Burch, CALP. Figure 12.9 Credit: Environmental Simulation Lab, UC Berkeley. Figure 12.10 Credit: John Lewis, CALP, UBC. Courtesy of Cheam Band, BC. Reproduced courtesy of Sustainable Forest Management Network and ESP (Sheppard, 2005, p.640). Figure 12.11 Photos: Pedro Armestre. Visualizations: Mario Gomez. Reproduced from Photo Clima (Greenpeace, n.d.), courtesy of Greenpeace Espana. Additional information source: A. Macias Palomo (pers. comm. 2010). Box 12B i–iii Credit: Katy Appleton, University of East Anglia. Reprinted courtesy of Computers, Environment and Urban Systems (Dockerty et al. 2005) and ESP (Sheppard, 2005, p.645). iv Credit: Diesel “Global Warming Ready” advertising campaign. Diesel In-House team: Wilbert Das, Antonella Viero, Lucinda Spera and Giulia Castellini. Photography: Terry Richardson, Katy Barker Agency. Creative design: Frederic Temin, Nicholas Chauvin, Romin Favre, with Marcel, France. Figure 12.12 Visualization credit: D. Flanders, CALP. Photo: Corp. of Delta. Figure 12.13 Data source: Corporation of Delta. Visualization credit: D. Flanders, CALP. Figure 12.14 Credit: Jon Salter, CALP, UBC. Reprinted courtesy of ESP (Sheppard, 2005, p.650). Figure 12.15 Credit: EU VisuLands project – David Miller, Olaf Schroth, et al. Figure 12.16 Credit: N. Sinkewicz and J. Salter, CALP. Box 12C Source: Sheppard (1989), p. 185. Credit: D. Papilion. Visualization Toolset 1 (a) Graphics: P. Angers. Data provided by P. Cizek. Reprint taken from the book “Extraction! Comix Reportage” edited by Frédéric Dubois, Marc Tessier and David Widgington, courtesy Cumulus Press (2007). The entire book can be viewed/downloaded here: http://burningbillboard.org/2011/03/ extraction-comix-reportage-mixing-comics-and-journalism-about-mining. (b) Photo: Sarah Ward, Community Council for Berkshire. (c) Credit: E. Pond, S. Muir-Owen and C. Miller, CALP. Visualization Toolset 2 (a) Credit: Cecilia Achiam, CALP, UBC. Reprinted courtesy of ESP (Sheppard, 2005, p.643). (b) Image: Professor Steven Goodhew, Nottingham Trent University. Source: Goodhew (2010).

485

Illustration credits

(c) (d)

Image © Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones, London Futures. Source: http://postcardsfromthe future.co.uk. © Chris Jordan, Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery.

Visualization Toolset 3 (a) Visualization: Fred Clare, NCAR /SCD; John Clyne, CAR/SCD; Tim Scheitlin, NCAR/SCD. © 2002, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, http://www.vets.ucar.edu/vg/seaice/index.shtml. Reprinted courtesy of ESP (Sheppard, 2005, p.642). (b) Credit: Garry Clarke and UBC Glacier Modelling Group. (c) Credit: Dave Leversee/Sierra Club BC. Background image: © 2006 Google Earth; Europa Technologies; Terra Metrics; Digital Globe. Visualization Toolset 4 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. Visualizations: D. Flanders, CALP. (b) Credit: ethos-uk.com. Source: “Visualizing Renewable Energy in the Landscape of 2050”. © The Countryside Agency. Reprinted courtesy of ESP (Sheppard, 2005, p. 644). (c) Credit: O. Schroth, CALP. Mountain pine beetle data source: ILMB, BC Government. Background image: © 2009 Google; Province of British Columbia; Digital Globe; Terra Metrics. (d) Visualization: J. Danahy. Data source: Source: Maloley, M.J. 2010. Thermal Remote Sensing of Urban Heat Island Effects: Greater Toronto Area, Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 6283, 40 pages. doi:10.4095/26339; Behan, K.J., Mate, D., Maloley, M/J., and Penney, J. 2011. Using Strategic Partnerships to Advance Urban Heat Island Adaptation in the Greater Toronto Area. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 6865. 1 CD-ROM. doi:10.4095/288755 (e) Credit: Philip Paar, using Lenne 3D software. Project funded by IBA Fuerst Pueckler Land (2006). Visualization Toolset 5 (a) Credits: Google Earth Outreach. i © 2009 Google Earth; Terra Metrics; Digital Globe; IBCAO. Data SIO, NOAA, US Navy, NGA, GEBCO. ii iii (b) (c) (d)

© 2009 Google Earth; Digital Globe; AMBAG. Data SIO, NOAA, US Navy, NGA, GEBCO. © 2009 Google Earth; Digital Globe; Contra Costa County; Terra Metrics. Data SIO, NOAA, US Navy, NGA, GEBCO. Credit: Federal Ministry of Transport, Building, and Urban Development. Source: www.in-zukunft-leben. de/ image; www.soulpix.de/content/iactive/saniekonf/index.html. Credit: GeoEduc3D project, T. Butzbach, T. Badard, Département des sciences géomatiques, Université Laval. Credit: Kevin Ryu, Muhammad Awais Iqbal, Caitlin Murphy, Rebeka Ryvola, John Turecki, Sunny Zhang Zong, UBC Conservation 210 (pilot) course, 2010.

Visualization Toolset 6 (a) Credit: BBC “The Truth About Climate Change” with Sir David Attenborough. Licensed by BBC Motion Gallery. (b) Credit: Plane Stupid – written and commissioned by creative agency Mother, produced by Rattling Stick. Director Daniel Kleinman. www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxis7Y1ikIQ. Image (i) from: www.environmentteam. com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/polar-bear-falling.jpg; Image (ii) from: www.funnycommercialsworld. com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/plane-stupid-commercial-polar-bear.JPG. (c) Credit: Jon Cooksey. Source: www.howtoboilafrog.com. (d) Credit: Director Franny Armstrong. www.ageofstupid.net.

486

Illustration credits

Figure 12.17 Images from: Dillahunt, T., Becker, G., Mankoff, J., and Kraut, R. Motivating environmentally sustainable changes with a virtual polar bear. Pervasive 2008 Workshop on Pervasive Persuasive Technology and Environmental Sustainability.

Chapter 13 Box 13A i Credit: Jon Salter and Duncan Cavens, CALP, UBC. Reproduced courtesy of Forest Ecology and Management (Sheppard and Meitner, 2005, pp. 171–187). ii Credit: Peter Wood and Pam Berry. Source: Wood et al., 2006. Map data source: Ordnance Survey. iii, iv Credit: J. Salter and E. Pond. © J. Salter and E. Pond. Funding for the Food, Fuel, Fibre Forum was provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture through Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. Box 13B i Credit: D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. ii Credit: S. Sheppard. iii–v Visualizations: D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. Snowpack projection data: Environment Canada. Figure 13.1 Visualizations: D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. Figure 13.2 Visualizations: D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. Snowpack projection data: Environment Canada. Box 13C i, ii, iv Graphs: K. Tatebe and S. Burch, CALP, UBC. iii Visualization: D. Flanders, CALP. Figure 13.3 Credit: O. Schroth, CALP, using Biosphere 3D software. Source: Pond et al. (2010). Figure 13.4 Credit: E. Pond, CALP. Source: Pond et al. (2010). Box 13D Credit: E. Pond, CALP. Source: Pond et al. (2010). Figure 13.5 Photo: D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. Box 13E Credit: E. Pond, CALP. Source: Pond et al. (2010). Box 13F i Credit: S. Sheppard, D. Flanders, and J. Salter, CALP. ii–iii Adapted from IPCC (2001), Figure SPM.6. Additional Graphics: J. Salter, CALP. iv Credits: A. Shaw, S. Burch, D. Flanders, S. Sheppard, J. Salter, CALP, UBC; and J. Carmichael. Adapted from Tellus Institute regional scenarios and Raskin et al. (2002). v Graph: J. Carmichael. vi–viii Visualizations: D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. ix–xi Graphic icons: J. Salter, CALP. Figure 13.6 Credit: S. Sheppard and J. Salter, CALP. Figure 13.7 Credit: S. Sheppard. Figure 13.8 Credit: D. Flanders and J. Blanco. Background image: © 2009 Google; Province of British Columbia; Digital Globe. Figure 13.9 Credit: D. Flanders, K. Tatebe, J. Carmichael and E. Pond, CALP, UBC. Figure 13.10 Visualization: D. Flanders, CALP. Snowpack data: Environment Canada. Figure 13.11 Credit: N. Miller, CALP. Source: Pond et al. (2011). Figure 13.12 (a) Photo: S. Sheppard. (b) Visualization: J. Laurenz, CALP, UBC.

487

Illustration credits

Figure 13.13 Credit: N. Sinkewicz, D. Flanders, K. Tatebe, and E. Pond, CALP, UBC. Figure 13.14 Credit: Danielle Marceau and Nishad Wijesekara, University of Calgary. Figure 13.15 Credit: C. Achiam. Figure 13.16 Credit: E. Pond, J. Salter, S. Barron. Courtesy of Climate Action Secretariat, BC Ministry of Environment. Figure 13.17 Credit: Andrew MacFarland and Damion Dorn. Courtesy of Michael Richardson, West Vancouver Secondary School.

Part IV – Facing page graphic: D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. Chapter 14 Story box Ch 14 i, ii Credit: B. V. Pring. Source: Pring (1910a, 1910b). iii Visualization: S. Sheppard. Figure 14.1 Figure 14.2 Figure 14.3 Figure 14.4

Landsat image. Photo: D. Flanders, CALP Credit: D. Flanders, CALP. Reprinted courtesy of GEC (Shaw et al., 2009). Visualizations: D. Flanders, CALP. LiDAR data: Natural Resources Canada.

Box 14A i Map: J. Laurenz and D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. ii, iii Visualizations: D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. iv, v Photos: Corporation of Delta. Box 14B i Map: J. Laurenz and D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. ii–vii Visualizations: D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. Box 14C i Map: J. Laurenz and D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. ii–v Visualizations: D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. Box 14D i Map: J. Laurenz and D. Flanders, CALP. ii–v Visualizations: D. Flanders, CALP Box 14E i Map: J. Laurenz and D. Flanders, CALP. ii–v Visualizations: D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. Box 14F i Graphics: D. Flanders and K. Tatebe, CALP, UBC. ii Visualization: D. Flanders, CALP, UBC. iii Visualization: D. Flanders and K. Tatebe, CALP, UBC. Figure 14.5 Credit: K. Tatebe, CALP, UBC. Figure 14.6 Visualizations: David Flanders, CALP. Figure 14.7 Graphic: I. Olchovsky.

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Illustration credits

Box 14G i–iii Graphics: J. Myers. Back page Credit: J. Myers.

489

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Index 3D visualization 57, 60, 282, 319, 352–7, 359–65, 368–71, 373, 376, 379, 381–9, 392, 394, 399, 404, 406, 430–1, 471 4D visioning 399–401 4D visualization 282, 352–3, 356, 373, 387–8, 394, 399, 412, 432–3 100-year floods 46, 138, 162 350.org 11, 36, 200, 431 abstract visual media 333–46, 348–9, 352–3, 360, 364, 376–7, 381–3 acceptability 27, 351, 422, 431, 456 accountability 16, 37, 259, 316 action groups 312, 403 action plans 9, 53, 67, 175, 276 activism 304 adaptation 48, 65, 209–37, 241–6, 409–11, 417–18, 450–5 adaptation mapping 345–6 adaptive emissions 241–2, 250, 493 advertisements 192–3, 282, 313, 316, 319–20, 323–4, 350, 353, 367, 390; for cars 116–17, 122, 366; see also labelling; signage aerial photography 326–7, 349, 372, 429, 471 aesthetics 82, 115, 121, 123–4, 153, 194, 201, 220, 222–4, 231, 240–1, 250, 298, 311, 316, 387, 422, 446, 465; of windfarms 178–9 Age of Stupid, The 204, 260, 392 agriculture 41, 106, 144, 170, 249, 258, 442, 450, 452, 454, 460, 462 air pollution 26, 64, 118, 125, 141, 185, 201–2, 258, 416

502

air travel 105, 107, 117, 130–2, 173, 204–5, 250, 254, 339, 391, 462, 467 air-conditioning 112, 120, 141, 219, 242, 295, 462 airport expansion 16, 24 Alberta tar sands 104–5, 108, 111, 173, 338, 376, 463 Alliance for Climate Protection 290, 331–2 allotments 190; see also vegetable growing alternative futures see future scenarios American Psychological Association 25 American Society of Landscape Architects 52, 55 animation see computer animation apathy 27, 51, 93 ArcGIS 382 ArcSCENE 415 armouring 229 artist’s rendering 377 asthma 119 Attenborough, David 390 automobiles see cars autonomous adaptation 211, 230 awareness 6, 26, 82–3, 86, 133, 222, 272, 282, 287, 291, 315, 320, 332, 351, 392–4, 398, 405, 410, 427, 432, 465; see also climate change literacy Band-Aid 146 barbecues 113 basements 121, 131, 216, 231–2 bath-tub simulation 349 beaches 217, 223

BEDZED development 189, 200, 253–4 Beeching Report 197 beer 249 behaviour 25, 27, 35, 49, 57, 288, 408; behaviour change 7, 31, 83, 96, 133, 170–1, 212, 306, 312, 362, 379, 394, 401, 404–5 behaviour studies 78 benchmarking 334 bicycles see cycling big-box retail 243; see also shopping centres billboards see advertisements; signage biodiversity 140, 189 biofuels 142, 241, 249 biogas 171, 174, 191, 454 biomass 11, 101, 171, 174, 187, 190–1, 193, 200, 216, 227, 253, 257, 311, 343, 385, 411, 421, 454, 466 black-outs 141, 151, 153, 161, 210, 230 blue-stained lumber 225 Boardman, Brenda 16 boilers 121, 131, 253, 257, 295, 466 bridges 153, 215, 309 brown-outs 141, 462 building insulation see insulation Burke, Edmund 14 buses see public transport bush fires 139–40 bylaws 197–8, 302, 366 C2A (Community Awareness to Action) framework 78–89, 95, 121, 133, 161, 202, 205, 234, 240, 456; see also perceptual stages

Index

capacity-building 53–4, 67, 74, 200, 211–12, 270, 272, 287, 308, 394, 398, 410, 432 car advertisements 112, 116, 127–8, 292, 295 carbon calculators 106, 129, 174, 204, 333 carbon capture and storage 166–7, 178, 314 carbon consciousness 16; see also awareness carbon cover-up 128 carbon cycle 11, 81, 102 carbon dioxide 3, 11, 13, 27, 63, 103, 107, 115, 120, 137–9, 176, 178, 198, 265, 267, 272, 276, 304–5, 307, 313–4, 316, 340, 388, 390, 393, 416; domes of 141, 462; see also greenhouse gases carbon emissions see greenhouse gases carbon footprints 8, 63, 66, 94, 102, 104, 123, 129, 133, 137, 140, 204–5, 242–3, 250, 254–5, 258, 276, 291–2, 295, 344, 347, 388, 390, 410, 420, 422, 432, 442, 450, 456, 459, 464, 466–7; of community 45, 106; concentrations of 13, 36, 103, 264–5, 416; and mitigation 166, 171, 175, 177, 188–90; per capita 104–5, 452; personal carbon footprints 104–7, 130–2, 174, 205, 243, 248, 333 carbon labelling see labelling carbon mapping 338–40 carbon neutral 167, 207 ‘carbon plunge’ 14, 167, 201, 265, 461 carbon rationing 174 carbon reduction targets see emission reduction targets carbon sequestration 166, 171, 316, 337 carbon sinks 166, 170–1, 343 carbon taxes 126, 454

car-pooling 173, 408 carrier-bags; plastic 115, 128, 165, 194, 212; reusable 194, 205 cars 22, 27, 31, 41, 48, 101, 107, 118–20, 125, 131–3, 165, 171, 173, 184, 189, 194, 197, 202–4, 239–41, 251, 254, 259, 261–2, 267, 272, 309, 353, 391, 408, 425, 450, 454, 462–7; advertisements for 116–17, 122, 366; parking 112, 116, 127–8, 292, 295; singleoccupant cars 185, 295, 442; traffic noise 38, 117–18, 122; see also petrol/gas stations; transportation emissions catastrophic climate change 3, 13–14, 28, 66, 138, 245, 267 Cathy Come Home 357–8 cement plants/concrete production 67, 115 Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) 170, 432 Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) 300 Centre for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) 321 chickens 128, 198, 226, 239, 258, 276 chimneys 112, 120 churches 198–9 cigarettes see smoking CIMA (causes, impacts, mitigation, adaptation) 65, 80, 291, 303–15, 333–5, 346–9, 370, 375–9, 381–5, 387–8, 390, 392, 417, 420, 437; CIMA mapping 335–7 cities 141, 155, 168, 175–6, 217–18, 222, 231, 255, 269, 306, 320, 334, 340, 462–3; urban heat islands 154, 222, 242, 245, 386 CityGML 369 clean-up operations 110 Cleveland Dam 179 climate action plans 9, 53, 67, 175, 276

climate change awareness see awareness climate change impacts 10–11, 13, 27, 57–8, 63–5, 136–63, 448–9 climate change lens 1, 17–18, 41, 99–100, 102, 122, 155, 199, 251, 261, 271, 281, 292, 437 climate change literacy 17, 74, 78, 80, 224, 270, 355; see also awareness climate change policy see policies climate change projections see future scenarios climate change sceptics see sceptics climate change tours 308 climate models see global climate models ‘Climateville’ 87–96, 130–3, 161–2, 203–5, 233–5, 272–6, 462–7 cloud-ships 270 coal 11, 104, 108–9, 112, 121, 167, 172, 179, 259, 314, 440; see also fossil fuels coastal setbacks 450 co-benefits 47, 244, 330, 419–20, 458 code of ethics 366, 368, 470–2 cognition 25–6, 30, 35, 85, 360, 407 Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP) 322, 331, 373–4, 401, 412, 415–18, 422 Collapse 260 Community Awareness to Action framework see C2A framework community design 86, 106; see also community planning; landscape architecture Community Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory (CEEI) 106 community engagement 43–55, 67, 74–7, 192–4, 291, 428 community gardens 226, 230, 243, 254, 305–6, 425, 463 community landscape 45, 69, 285; see also local environment

503

Index

community-led plans 54 community mapping 296, 326, 329, 414, 429 community planning 282, 353, 397–9, 401, 428–9 Community Viz 415 community workshops see workshops commuting 48, 131, 175, 195, 197, 203, 247, 251, 425, 442, 454, 459 composting 276, 464 computer animation 359, 387–92 concrete production 67, 115 congestion charges 126, 175, 189 connectedness 61–9 conspicuous consumption 114, 123, 240–1 cooling 112, 156–7, 171, 180, 182, 186, 219, 242, 316, 330, 455; see also air-conditioning Copenhagen Summit 2009 (COP 15) 11, 28, 200, 348, 387 coral reefs 63, 269 cost-effectiveness 49, 284, 299, 302 courtyards 219 covered walkways 220 Creative Commons 374 credibility 31, 36, 283–4, 329, 332, 368, 406, 411; see also defensibility crime levels 52, 146 crop damage/failure 140, 142, 446 culverts 224 cumulative mapping 338 cycling 48, 107, 171, 173, 183–4, 202–4, 233, 244, 253–4, 261–2, 267, 272–5, 292, 295, 306, 314, 391, 408, 425, 454, 464, 467; bike paths 195, 253 dams 179, 224, 230, 326 dangerous climate change 12–13, 167, 265 Day After Tomorrow, The 3–4, 363 daylighting 309 decarbonization see low-carbon communities; retrofits

504

decision theatres 374, 432 decorative flares 124 defensibility 35, 52, 366, 368, 373, 432, 470; see also credibility deforestation 119, 241, 338; see also forest die-back denial of climate change see sceptics densification 188, 201, 235, 377, 404, 458 desertification 146 Dezhou 258–9 Diamond, Jared 260 diesel fuel 66, 114, 126, 171, 247, 292, 426 discretionary climate change 267 disease epidemics 213 displacement see environmental refugees district energy systems 188–9, 239, 257, 311, 424, 454 downscaling 51, 416–17 drainage 46, 161, 224, 227–8, 234, 257, 274 drama, permissible 368, 406, 423 draught-proofing 187, 379 drought 11, 63, 81, 126, 139–43, 154–5, 157, 209, 217–18, 233, 239, 269, 341, 446, 459–60, 462 ‘drunken forests’ 10 dust storms 146, 156 dykes 140, 155, 211–12, 214, 218, 224, 247, 299, 334, 370, 383–4, 445–6, 448, 450, 452, 457 Dziekanski, Robert 56 early adopters 47, 85–6, 89, 166, 194, 204, 287, 299, 306 early spring 136, 148, 162 Earth Hour 305 economic incentives 85 eco-revelatory design 288, 309 ecosystem disruption 110, 140, 143, 156, 226, 263, 269, 416 electric dryers 198 electric vehicles 167, 171–2, 184–5, 196–7, 202, 239, 254, 258, 298, 425, 452, 462–3

emission reduction targets 13–14, 53, 167–9, 171, 175–6, 264–6, 418 emission reduction zones 189 emission scenarios 3, 13, 264–6, 415–20; see also SRES scenarios emotions 25, 27, 30, 35–6, 57, 59, 69, 82, 405, 408 empowerment 6, 18, 37, 244, 287, 408, 419, 430 energy descent plans 344 energy efficiency 174 energy star labels 187 Energy Wars 389 Environmental Change Institute 16 environmental impact assessments 353 environmental refugees 143, 269, 370, 379, 448, 450, 452, 460, 462–3 erosion 86, 136, 150, 152, 223, 401, 448 ethanol 117, 123 experiential learning 36, 284 explosions 110, 127 extinction 13, 226, 269 extreme events 11, 45–6, 58, 83, 139, 147–8, 155–6, 239, 363, 368–9, 406; see also individual events fair-trade goods 254 false positives 158 farmers’ markets 205, 226, 228, 245 farming 8, 46, 48, 50–1, 66, 114, 142, 156, 190–1, 230, 245, 258, 370, 448, 450, 460, 464 fast food 118 feedback (of information) 60, 192, 303, 329, 388, 394, 404, 471 feedback loops 96, 102, 241 FEMA building standards 221 fertilizers 114, 127, 170, 463–4 film presentations 390–2 filtering (of information) 74, 85 fire-breaks 221

Index

fire-smart interface 221 flash floods 152 floating communities 218, 454–5 flood insurance 229, 449 flood protection measures 48, 66, 212, 214–16, 233, 316, 330, 427, 456–7; see also dams; sea-walls; Thames Barrier flood risk 139, 224, 232, 235, 332, 381, 385, 410, 443, 446, 454, 456–7 flooding 11, 46, 64, 84, 91–2, 94–5, 144, 151, 155, 160–2, 213, 216, 218, 230, 239, 248, 269, 273–4, 298–9, 362, 368, 370, 446; 100-year floods 46, 138, 162; flash floods 152; flood damage 86, 230, 448, 452, 454; flood maps 383; future scenarios 29, 68, 141, 214, 364, 367–8, 377, 384, 406, 431, 448–50, 460, 462; increased severity/frequency of 138, 157, 162, 241, 460, 462; victims of 27, 147 flood-prone areas 50, 83, 241, 247, 448; floodplains 24, 41, 95, 153, 161–2, 216, 230, 247, 443, 446, 448, 455, 459 fluorocarbons 357 focus groups 427 food miles 8, 166, 190–1, 205, 226, 292 food prices 80, 142, 150, 152, 159, 190, 249, 459–60, 462–3 food production 11–14, 66, 114, 120, 132, 143, 170–1, 216, 226, 263, 287, 346, 402, 410, 452, 454, 466; see also meat; vegetable growing food shortages 209, 448, 462 foresight 6, 28, 38, 87, 241, 260–72, 352, 459 forest die-back 149, 368, 370; see also deforestation forest fires 11, 58, 61, 63, 138, 140–1, 152, 231, 269, 299, 311, 336, 361, 370, 406, 411

forestry 82, 148–9, 152–3, 170, 218, 230, 245, 253, 288, 302, 311, 337, 389, 399, 410–11, 421, 463 fossil fuels 11, 22, 35, 63–4, 66–7, 102–4, 108–9, 113–20, 122, 124, 127, 132, 211, 239, 241–2, 246, 249–50, 261, 263, 271, 314, 339–40, 343, 404, 415, 454, 463; and mitigation 166–8, 170–1, 176, 179–80, 182, 187–8, 191, 195, 198, 202; see also coal; oil and gas framing 30, 85 freeways 125, 309 Freiburg 87, 168, 172, 176, 186, 188–9, 201, 243, 257, 259, 263 future scenarios 214–15, 272–7, 282, 329, 399–401, 404, 410, 412, 415–19, 421–8, 431, 437, 445, 449–51, 453–5, 458, 461–7 future visioning see 4D visioning; visioning process gap analysis 328 garden grabbing see infill development gardens 92–5, 131–2, 148–9, 162, 170, 194, 203, 227, 230, 234, 274, 459, 463–4, 467; community gardens 226, 230, 243, 254, 305–6, 425, 463; rain gardens 224, 288; roof-top gardens 254; vegetable gardens see vegetable growing; xeriscape gardens 225 gas see oil and gas gas meters 112 gas stations see petrol/gas stations Geldof, Bob 146 general circulation models see global climate models geo-engineering 268, 270 geo-exchange systems 173, 186, 216, 466 geographic information systems see GIS

GEOIDE (GEOmatics for Informed DEcisions) 469 geomatics 412 geothermal 166, 174, 271, 466 geovisualization 352–3, 381–3 GHG inventory see Community Energy and Emissions Inventory; greenhouse gases Gigha 256, 259, 299, 327 GIS (geographic information systems) 296, 326–7, 336, 343, 346, 353, 356, 364, 369, 382, 394, 400–1, 413–14, 421; public participation GIS 296 glaciers 16, 21–2, 61, 145, 159, 230, 248, 269, 321–2, 349, 382, 462 Global Climate Change Mapping Project 296 global climate models (GCMs) 264–8 Goodman, Keith 290 Google Earth 53, 59, 61, 326, 328, 353, 355, 361, 369, 387–8, 411, 415, 427, 429, 432 Google Maps 296, 326–7, 355 Google Outreach 393 Gore, Al 14, 17, 55, 158, 290, 331–2, 387; see also Inconvenient Truth, An graphics 282, 319, 321, 323, 329, 332–4, 348–50, 352, 406, 424 grasslands 72 green design 169 green roofs 170, 200, 243, 252, 254, 272, 299 greenhouse gases 11, 13, 36, 52, 65, 102–3, 106, 109, 115, 120, 167–8, 173, 175–6, 185, 254–5, 266, 272, 313–4, 334, 344, 362, 390–1, 418, 420–1, 428, 431; see also carbon dioxide; methane greenhouses 226, 274 Greenpeace 304, 364–5 gross domestic product (GDP) 266–7, 463 Groundhog Day 299

505

Index

growth scenarios 265–6 Güssing 176, 193, 255, 259, 266, 343, 420 halocarbons 11 health risks 118–19, 121, 125, 141, 226 heating 67, 112, 122, 132, 156, 171–2, 181–2, 205, 210, 247, 254, 411, 442, 450, 454–5; district energy systems 188–9, 239, 257, 311, 454 heatwaves 63, 83, 138, 140–2, 147, 153, 156, 269, 462, 464, 467 high-carbon communities 5, 63, 106–7, 112, 118, 132, 239, 244 high-rises 153, 188, 203, 288 highways 326 historical/traditional adaptation precedents 217, 219–20, 234, 239 historical/traditional low-carbon precedents 165–6, 180–2, 199, 239 hockey-stick graph 321, 333 holidays see tourism Hopkins, Rob 290 hosepipe bans 230 How to Boil a Frog 391 Hulme, Mike 321 Hurricane Katrina 14, 45, 52, 147, 156, 240 hurricanes 153, 221 hybrid cars 290, 292, 312, 408, 452 hybrid modelling 421 hydrocarbons 103 hydro-electricity 107, 141, 166, 172, 179, 248, 335 Icefields Parkway 21–3 ice-rinks 148 ice-storms 147 IMAX theatres 375 impact assessment 353, 428 impact maps 341–2 in-character retrofits 201, 244, 256, 272, 424, 454, 459

506

Inconvenient Truth, An 17, 26, 83, 323–4, 407 industrial emissions 105–6, 120, 167, 170 industrial flares 125 industrial revolution 81, 103 infill development 187–8, 234, 239, 248, 464 information deficit model 31 information processing 33–5 insulation 112, 131, 185–7, 201, 252, 256–7, 272, 275, 298, 379, 466 insurance 211, 229–30, 449, 462 interactive visualization 372, 387–9 interest groups 35, 44, 69, 284, 304, 309 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 3, 12–13, 17, 51, 66, 138–9, 267–8, 321, 333, 364, 416, 462 internet 260, 296, 319, 332, 348–9, 359, 366, 373–4, 432 invasive species 234; see also pest epidemics irrigation 141, 152, 254, 446 island communities 146, 152 Isle of Gigha 256, 259, 299, 327 Jackson, Lois 410 Kyoto Accord 14, 168, 465 labelling 187, 194, 285, 289, 302, 312–16, 327, 369, 427, 470; see also advertisements; signage Lancet, The 9 land use change 11, 46, 48, 52, 63, 102, 119–20, 241, 249, 338, 400, 415, 420 land use mapping 336 land use practices 11, 170, 176, 212, 398–9, 410, 419, 421, 428, 442–3 landfill sites 119, 170–1, 254 landscape architects 18, 52, 55, 159, 289, 298, 353 landscape architecture 41, 288, 401

landscape guilt 121 landscape inventory 291–7 landscape labelling 312–15 landscape messaging 285–90; how to do 290–302; overcoming challenges to 315–16; toolsets for 302–15 landscape visualization 41–2, 57, 72–3, 352–3, 357, 362–5, 383–5, 401 landslides 140, 151, 299 laser-gathered data (LiDAR) 337, 369–70, 384, 445 lawn-mowers 128, 131 leaf-blowers 113, 120, 295, 463 levees 211 LiDAR see laser-gathered data (LiDAR) life expectancy 118, 463 lifestyles 27, 64, 105, 126, 129–32, 166, 177, 185, 187, 225–6, 338, 446, 448, 459, 467; low-carbon lifestyles 166, 182, 195, 205, 271, 287, 403 light bulbs 175, 198, 203, 303, 408 light mapping 339 light pollution 115, 122 light rail systems 183 lighting 115, 258, 290, 305, 455, 471 litter 128 loan pay-back schemes 272 Local Climate Change Visioning Project (LCCVP) 67, 401–10, 417–18, 420, 432 local environment 44–5, 57–8, 75–7, 79, 85, 99–100; see also community landscape local food 203, 205, 209, 226, 233–5, 253, 274, 276, 459, 463–4, 467 local working groups see working groups LoCAR (low-carbon, attractive, resilient) communities 244–6, 252–5, 441, 454–6, 460 lorries see trucks

Index

low-carbon communities 107, 166, 168, 171, 398, 419 low-carbon lifestyles 166, 182, 195, 205, 271, 287, 403 Lyle, John 289 maladaptation 241 Maldives 28, 63, 146, 217, 407 malls see shopping centres managed retreat 450, 456–7 man-made climate change 9–12, 63, 102, 158, 202, 273 mapping 281–2, 296, 319–20, 322–3, 326, 329–30, 332, 334, 349–51, 382–3, 400–1, 414, 416–7, 421, 423, 429–30, 432, 465, 470; adaptation mapping 345–6; carbon mapping 338–40; CIMA mapping 335–7; community mapping 296, 326, 329, 414, 429; impact maps 341–2; land use mapping 336; mitigation mapping 343–5 March hares 136 marine ecology 14 McKay, David 271 McKibben, Bill 55, 167 meat 114, 128, 130–2, 203 media 15, 17, 27, 30, 33, 35, 44–5, 53, 59–60, 66–7, 74, 80–1, 88, 109–11, 143, 146, 148, 156, 158, 161, 230–1, 271, 286–7, 290, 304, 322–3, 350, 410, 462 mental maps 328 mental models 30 Merton Rule 175 methane 11, 102, 114, 119, 171, 241; see also greenhouse gases migration (of birds) 140, 142, 149 migration (of people) see environmental refugees milk 165–6 misperceptions of climate change 15, 26, 29; see also perceptual problems

mitigation (of climate change) 14, 48, 64–6, 165–207, 452–5; see also fossil fuels and mitigation misrepresentation 364–6 mitigation (of climate change) 14, 48, 64–6, 165–207, 452–5; see also fossil fuels and mitigation mitigation mapping 343–5 mixed media 282, 323 mixed-use neighbourhoods 181–2, 245, 459 mobile games 389 modified photographs 378–80 Monbiot, George 20.94, 167, 174 monsoons 241, 464 monster homes 114, 247 Moser, Susanne 38–40, 69–70 mosquitoes 226 mothballing 314 motivation 31, 35, 60, 74, 83, 281, 315, 363, 398, 405, 408, 410, 456 motorcycles 131 Mountain Pine Beetle epidemics 57–8, 157, 225, 385, 389 Mt Kilimanjaro 16 mudslides 156 multi-criteria assessment 399 multi-functional landscapes 216, 227 murals 303 museum exhibits 61 Nassauer, Joan 289 Nature 357 New York City Panel on Climate Change 416 NIMBY-ism 48, 458 nitrous oxides 11 noise 113, 115, 117, 128, 174, 184–5, 197, 244, 465; traffic noise 38, 117–18, 122 non-government organizations 28, 302, 328, 365, 390, 432 nuclear energy 179, 257, 262 obesity 244 ocean acidification 138

offshore oil drilling 108, 121, 127 offshore wave barriers 240–1, 450, 452 oil and gas 11, 16–17, 22, 101, 103–4, 108, 112, 121–2, 126, 129, 168, 197, 254, 440, 467; see also fossil fuels oil spills 110, 127, 239 Olympic Games 51, 250–1, 254 One Tonne Challenge 174 opinion polls 24, 321, 355 optimum viewing angle 375 organic food 130–2; see also local food ovens 113, 121 Oxfam 9 ozone hole 15, 26, 338, 357, 359 Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) 327, 417 Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) 39 packaging 205; see also labelling palm oil 119 parking 112, 116, 127–8, 292, 295 participatory integrated assessment 401, 415, 422 passive solar 171, 200, 216, 271–2, 274 passivhaus systems 299 patio heaters 47, 113, 120, 124, 132, 280, 295, 467 peak oil 103–4, 118, 126, 263 peat bogs 11 pedestrians see walkability/walking Pembina Institute 475, 477, 498 per capita carbon footprints 104–5, 452 perceptual barriers 29–30, 74, 77–8, 86–7, 205, 240–1; types of 90–5 perceptual disconnects 16–17, 21–2, 24, 26–7, 29, 38, 52, 63, 67, 239, 281, 323; see also perceptual problems perceptual problems 15–17, 24, 74; causes of 29–36;

507

Index

common types of 24–8; social science recommendations for 36–7; see also perceptual barriers perceptual stages 78–83, 95; acting 79, 83, 94, 205, 233–4, 274–6, 465–6; caring 79, 82, 94–5, 128–9, 161, 200–2, 205, 274–5; hearing 79–80, 88, 90, 130; knowing 78–81, 86, 88–9, 91, 95, 131, 232; recognizing 78–9, 81–2, 86–9, 93, 95, 121–7, 131, 203, 205, 274, 320; seeing 78–9, 81, 83, 86–9, 92, 95, 102, 120–1, 160, 273 permafrost 10–11, 16, 102, 137, 241 permissible drama 368, 406, 423 personal carbon footprints 104–7, 130–2, 174, 205, 243, 248, 333 pest epidemics 57–8, 212, 385, 389, 411 pesticides 114, 127, 189 petrochemicals 114, 120, 127–8 petrol/gas stations 101, 116, 118, 120, 123, 306, 314 phenology 140 ‘photo-album’ 100, 108–19, 144–55, 177–94, 217–28, 246–52, 291, 326 photographs 281, 287, 292, 294–6, 319, 321–2, 326–30, 346–7, 349, 355, 372, 383, 423, 430, 440, 471; aerial photography 326–7, 349, 372, 429, 471; modified photographs 378–80; thermal imaging 255, 379, 429, 465 Photoshop 378, 415, 429 photo-simulation 378–80 ‘photovoice’ technique 287 photovoltaics 87, 166, 173, 179, 186–7, 189, 194, 199, 212, 226, 253, 257–9, 271–2, 298, 305, 337, 372, 452, 454, 463, 466 piers 219 Pine Beetle epidemics 57–8, 157, 225, 385, 389

508

plastic bags 115, 128, 165, 194, 212 plastics 114, 122, 127, 165, 263 point of burning 113, 120 polar bears 3, 58, 60, 145, 159, 280, 391, 394 polar ice melting 3 policies 75, 83, 85, 129, 176, 205, 261, 406, 415 population growth 168–9, 176, 242, 263, 266, 397, 442, 448, 452, 454 positive feedback loops 102 posters 33, 62, 299, 303, 327–8, 330, 373, 411, 427, 429 Poundbury 300–1 power cuts see black-outs power plants 11, 109, 120, 167, 178, 259, 314, 316, 339, 440 PowerPoint 330, 404 precautionary planning 214 precipitation 144, 268, 341 presentations 329–32, 371, 375, 404–10, 427–8, 471 Prince Charles, Prince of Wales 300 Prius 290 pro-active planning 210–11, 213, 228, 260, 441, 450 projections see future scenarios propane 113, 120, 126, 132 property values 200 psychology 24–5, 30–1, 49, 283, 401 public demonstration 56, 306 public participation see community engagement public participation GIS 296 public service announcements 282, 288, 320 public transport 83, 167, 171, 173, 175, 183, 195, 204, 267, 309, 408, 425, 442, 452, 454, 459, 462 quality of life 165, 200, 210, 218, 235, 244–5, 422, 437, 460, 465 questionnaires see surveys railways see trains rain forests 102

rain gardens 224, 288 rainstorms 140, 148, 210, 224, 232–3, 247, 448, 460 rainwater harvesting 227, 233–4, 253, 276, 288 rapid visioning 412, 429–31 RCP scenarios 416 realism (of visualizations) 352, 363–5, 378–80, 383–6, 390–2 recognition (of climate change evidence) see perceptual stages recycling 47, 122, 130–1, 171, 175, 179, 216, 253–4, 312, 316 remote sensing 327, 337, 421 remote visualization 369 renewable energy 168, 171, 174, 176, 179, 189, 193, 216, 254, 258, 271, 288, 299–300, 387, 402, 414, 426, 452, 459, 463, 466; see also biomass; hydroelectricity; photovoltaics; solar thermal water heating; windpower/windfarms representative concentration pathways (RCPs) 416 Repton, Humphrey 353–4 reservoirs 179, 210, 440 residents’ associations 302 resilience 210–12, 239, 242, 277, 292, 301, 420, 450, 454, 456 respiratory disease 119, 141 retrofits 47, 83, 169, 171, 173, 179, 182–3, 185–7, 193, 201, 203, 244, 248, 252, 255, 259, 272, 277, 295, 332, 402, 425, 429, 452, 461; in-character 201, 244, 256, 272, 424, 454, 459 reusable bags 194, 205 rising sea levels see sea-level rise risk management 213 risk perception 28, 38, 66, 215 rivers 81, 86, 154, 157, 247, 258, 309, 400, 443, 446; see also flooding road medians and verges 188 roads 140, 184, 197, 228, 298, 311, 326; see also freeways; highways

Index

Rocky Mountains 21 roof-top gardens 254 run-off 150, 215, 253 Rural Community Councils 53, 62 rush hours 165, 262; see also traffic jams salinization 53, 141–2, 446, 448–9, 452, 459 salmon 150, 154, 158 sandbags 212, 217 Sankey diagram 335 satellite imagery 381 scale models 377 scenarios see future scenarios sceptics 15, 24–5, 35, 44–5, 55, 74, 88, 158 Schroth, Olaf 58 science fiction 3, 260, 268, 437 scientific charts 3, 59, 320–1, 330, 333, 341, 369, 414, 423 scientific projections 214, 263–9, 281 scooters 292–3, 295, 464 Sea-Level Awareness Project (SLAP) 310 sea-level rise 11, 24, 28, 30, 49, 66, 81, 138–40, 142–3, 152, 155, 211, 214–15, 218, 223, 229, 247, 269, 310, 334, 345, 347, 349, 362–5, 383–4, 397, 402, 406, 415–16, 422, 443–5, 446–7, 448, 450, 452, 454–5, 458 sea-walls 217, 223, 231, 347, 404, 446, 449–50, 457 sedimentation 210 self-sufficiency 217, 226–8, 233, 242, 244–5, 247, 254, 256, 263, 460 self-worth 37 sewage 140, 170–1, 228–9, 311 shading 219, 225, 234, 245, 272; shade trees 194, 242, 253, 464 shanty towns 217 sheepdogs 180 shipping 178–9, 463 shopping bags see carrier-bags

shopping centres 16, 127, 243, 245, 259, 294, 459 short term memory 323 short-sea shipping 178 Sierra Club 383 signage 257–9, 285–6, 290, 294, 298–9, 303, 327, 465; see also advertisements; labelling silo-thinking 66, 242 Silver Valley 41–2 SimCity Societies 387 simulation exercises 211 single-family homes 41, 442–3, 446, 448, 450, 459 single-occupant vehicles 185, 295, 442 Six Americas 25, 83 Sketch-Up 415, 429, 471 skyscrapers see high-rises smart cars 183, 195, 274 smart meters 60, 187, 192, 254 smog 118, 121 Smokey the Bear 303 smoking 16, 83, 289, 293, 320, 366, 462 snow 144, 148, 158–9, 161, 173, 213, 247–8, 250–1, 299, 360, 402–3, 405, 423 social barriers see social norms; perceptual barriers social learning 16, 397–8 social marketing 37, 54, 78, 282, 319, 321, 357, 401, 432 social media (online media) 320, 431 social networks 47, 51, 226, 282, 431 social norms 74, 106, 244, 301, 467 socio-economic implications 137, 143, 154, 234, 265, 268, 400, 402, 415–16 soil salinity 53, 141–2 solar panels see photovoltaics solar thermal water heating 48, 171, 185, 216, 245, 256, 258, 271–2, 275, 292, 425, 454, 466 solvents 127

species distribution modelling 341 sports utility vehicles see SUVs spreadsheets 296 SRES scenarios 415–16 stabilization scenarios 264–6 statistics 292 ‘staycations’ 173 Stern, Sir Nicholas 267–9 storms 83, 140, 155, 161, 215, 229, 269, 273–4, 368, 448–9, 464; dust storms 146, 156; ice-storms 147; rainstorms 140, 148, 210, 224, 232–3, 247, 448, 460; windstorms 140, 144, 147, 152, 160, 229, 462 stormwater swales 224, 228 straw-bale houses 300 stream channel reconstruction 223 stream day-lighting 309 Street View see Google Maps streetcars 197 strengthening buildings 221 stress 118, 185 suburbs 41, 119, 258, 442 sulphur dioxide 268 supermarkets 126, 165 supply chains 210 surveys 24, 26, 30, 58, 159, 291, 295, 355, 362, 404–10 sustainability 246, 255, 271, 288, 300, 327, 360, 366, 402, 404, 418, 422–3, 429, 438, 448, 454, 463, 468 SUVs 22, 31, 116, 130, 183, 250, 313; see also transportation emissions systems thinking 63, 243 tar sands see Alberta tar sands terraced housing 181 Tesla Roadster 202 Thames Barrier 139, 214, 239 Thames Basin 228 thermal expansion 138 thermal imaging 255, 379, 429, 465 thermal mass 195, 219 thermostats 120, 204

509

Index

‘third way’ 44, 54, 68, 74, 260, 286 timber 155, 171, 263, 302 time-lag 143, 215, 268 time-lapse video 349, 406 time-travel 18, 352, 356; see also 4D visualization tobacco industry see smoking tourism 16, 22, 75, 81, 120, 130, 152, 182, 193–4, 220, 230, 241, 251, 253, 256–7, 259, 261, 302, 355 tower blocks see high-rises toxic plumes 118 trade-offs 403, 422 traditional building materials 181, 300 traffic calming 190, 272, 275 traffic jams 125, 165; see also rush hours traffic lights 189 traffic noise 38, 117–18, 122 trains 178, 188, 197, 205, 454; see also public transport tram systems 239 transition plan 271, 316 Transition Streets 175, 177 Transition Town movement 53, 290, 292 transparency 222, 259, 283, 287, 315 transportation emissions 106, 114, 120, 126, 170, 340 tree-planting 234, 274, 316, 425, 464 triple glazing 131, 185, 275 triple roundabouts 184 trucks 109, 120, 128, 155, 312, 462; see also transportation emissions UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) 51, 53, 327 unacceptability see acceptability urban agriculture 190 urban heat islands 154, 222, 242, 245, 386 utility bills 162, 195, 295

510

vacations see tourism vacuum tubes 258 Vanity Fair 29 vapour trails 117, 380 vegetable growing 202, 205, 209, 226, 233–5, 253, 274, 276, 459, 463–4, 467 vehicles 22, 27, 31, 128, 197, 241, 249, 295, 306, 340, 450; motorcycles 131; scooters 292–3, 295, 464; SUVs 22, 31, 116, 130, 183, 250, 313; trucks 109, 120, 128, 155, 312, 462; see also cars; transportation emissions ventilation 128, 189, 200, 219, 295 video footage 327, 348–9, 390–2 video games 59–60, 281, 353, 356, 389, 393 viewing angles and distances 375 viewpoint selection 372 Village Greening Campaign 307 Village Homes 253, 263 virtual globes 387–8, 394, 427, 471; see also Google Earth Vision of Britain, A 300 Visioning Guidance Manual 422, 434 visioning packages 423–7 visioning process 67, 397–411; conceptual framework for 417–18, 420; guidance for 411–31; overcoming challenges to 431–2 visioning workshops see workshops visual imagery 56, 60–1, 69 visual indicators 107–19 visual inventory see landscape inventory visual literacy 78, 81–2, 86, 89, 92, 128–9, 155–6, 162, 187, 199, 281, 299, 315 visual media 59, 69, 282–4, 366, 398–9, 401, 412, 422–3, 427, 429, 432, 471; checklist for collecting 325; guidance for

using 59–61, 323–32; reasons for using 319–23; toolsets for 333–50; types of 55–8 Visual Nature Studio 415 visual technology 59 visualization 4, 6, 60, 470–2; code of ethics for 366, 368, 470–2; guidance for using 365–75; overcoming challenges to 392–4; reasons for using 352–65; toolsets for 375–92 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) 103, 118 volunteering 53, 60, 216, 227–8, 234, 245, 285, 299, 302, 332, 398, 429, 431, 465 Vulcan Project 340 vulnerability 162, 210, 216, 239, 241, 244, 247–8, 259, 263, 287, 291, 295–6, 301, 342, 410, 413–14, 416, 420, 428–9, 456, 465 walkability/walking 175, 184, 194–5, 233, 244, 253–4, 292, 295, 309, 314, 391, 408, 426, 454 walking school buses 195–6 Ward, William A. 352 wars and unrest 154, 239, 462, 467 washing lines 79, 198 waste management 66, 119, 170, 228, 253 water butts see rainwater harvesting water restrictions 149–52, 209–10, 230, 258, 431 water supply 228, 263, 269, 287, 416, 462 water wheels 180, 195 wave barriers 240–1, 450, 452 weather events 14, 30, 46, 58, 82–4, 138–40, 147–8, 150–1, 153, 158, 239, 326, 363, 446, 452; see also extreme events; individual events Weaver, Andrew 416

Index

web see internet wetlands 226, 443, 452 white roofs 222, 252 Who Killed the Electric Car? 196 wildfires 156, 229, 303 windmills 181, 195, 292 windpower/windfarms 49, 171, 174, 178–9, 187–8, 195, 198–200, 239–41, 251, 253, 256, 258–9,

286, 288, 298–9, 321–2, 440, 454, 463, 467 windstorms 140, 144, 147, 152, 160, 229, 462 wood-burning stoves 187 working from home 173, 185 working groups 412–14, 422, 427 workshops 30, 308, 404, 410, 427, 429 ‘wrap-around’ screens 360, 374

xeriscaping 225; see also gardens Yale University 6 YouTube 56, 371 zeppelins 467 zero-carbon buildings 169, 200, 243 zoning 121, 188, 197, 211, 302, 404

511