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Making sense of change : how place-specific cultural models and experiential influencers are shaping… Streilein, Andrea Susan 2008

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MAKING SENSE OF CHANGE: HOW PLACE-SPECIFIC CULTURAL MODELS AND EXPERIENTIAL INFLUENCERS ARE SHAPING UNDERSTANDINGS OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN TWO BC COASTAL COMMUNITIES by ANDREA SUSAN STREILEIN A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Sociology) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) April 2008 © Andrea Susan Streilein, 2008 ABSTRACT Global climate change has become the imminent issue of our time. Recent literature has stressed the pressing need for adaptation planning, particularly for communities that are most vulnerable to new climatic variations, such as resource dependent and coastal communities. Yet, such cries for adaptation have often glossed over the need for prior examination into the underlying cultural mindsets of such communities. In response, this thesis has sought to examine the various factors that are influencing local understandings of global climate change by leaders in two British Columbia coastal communities, Port Alberni and the Tseshaht First Nation. Guided by a social (or ecological) constructionist lens and a phenomenological methodological approach, a series of in-depth interviews were conducted with the leadership, both formal and informal, of the two aforementioned B.C. communities during the summer of 2006. Although each community yielded distinct findings, the interviews captured richly nuanced descriptions of local environmental changes, which in turn played a sizeable role in shaping how the leaders conceptualized climate change. A plethora of place-specific historical, experiential and values-based factors interacted and moulded the many contextual cultural models (from tsunamis, to recycling, to colonial pasts to reverence for nature), which were imbedded within leaders' discussions of climate change. Following this core analysis, I explored the community capacity to manage and adapt to future changes by examining local strengths and challenges. The concluding chapter provided a reflection of the results and pointed to new directions. ii TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT^ ii TABLE OF CONTENTS^ iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Vi DEDICATION^ vii Chapter I Introduction: Making Sense of Change^ 1 Overview of Literature^ 2 The Parent Project 6 Core Research Questions 6 Snapshot of Guiding Theoretical and Methodological Framework^ 7 Climate Change Background — A "Realist" Overview of the Issue 8 The Communities of Interest^  10 Port Alberni, British Columbia  10 Tseshaht First Nation  12 Research with Significance^ 14 Outline of Thesis^ 15 Chapter II Theoretical Lens, Methodological Approach and Methods^ 17 Guiding Sociological Theory — Social/Ecological Constructionism  17 Methodological Approach — An Adapted Phenomenology^ 21 Phenomenological Foundations ^ 21 An Adapted Phenomenology 25 Step-by-Step Methods^ 26 Sample Development 27 Gaining Participants 29 Developing the Interview Guide^ 30 Operationalizing Cultural Models within the Interview Guide^ 31 Operationalizing Experiential Influencers within the Interview Guide^ 31 The Interviews^ 32 Data Analysis: Coding Procedures^ 33 Phenomenological Analysis: Borrowing Processes from Grounded Theory^ 33 Theory Testing^ 34 Presentation of Data 35 Verification of Data 36 Strength and Weakness of Methods^ 37 Chapter III Cultural Models of Climate Change: The Significance of Place-Specific, Experiential Knowledge^ 39 A Review of Related Research^ 39 Science/Cognitive-based Research: 'Information Deficit'^ 39 Climate Change as Lacking Priority^ 43 General Limitations of Previous Studies 44 Experiential-based Research: Local Knowledges^ 45 Analysis of Interview Data^ 50 Port Alberni Findings 51 Context, Context, Context: The Intersection of Climate Change with Broader Community and Environmental Issues^ 51 Forestry and Climate Change 51 iii Salmon, Identity and Climate Change^ 52 Recycling and Climate Change 54 Local Clean-Up and Climate Change 55 Economic Shifts: The Shadows of an Industry Town^ 56 History as Ever-present: Tsunamis and Clayoquot Protests^ 57 Cultural Model of Tsunamis^ 57 Cultural Model of Clayoquot Protests (early 1990s) 59 Observations of Change 61 Where Has All the Snow Gone? Anecdotes of Warming Winters^ 61 Warming Waterways — Salmon and Invading 'Southern' Species 63 Dying Cedar Trees^ 65 Summer Heat? 66 Garden Insects and Forest Infestations: External Events Fuelling Internal Unease ^ 68 Future Concerns^ 69 Exception to the Rule: Few Changes Here^ 71 "Protected" Against Climate Change 72 Causes of Climate Change: Old Cultural Models and New^ 74 Uncertainty: Certainly. ^ 74 Previous Cultural Models: Ozone Depletion, Respiration/Photosynthesis, Pollution, Weather^ 75 The 'New' Cultural Model: A Coalescence of Broad Scientific Rational for Causes, Experiential Rational for Impacts^ 78 Values as Shaping Understandings 80 Tseshaht Band Findings^ 83 Indicators of Change — The Predominance of Local and Ancestral Knowledge^ 83 We are the Salmon People: The Centrality of Salmon to All Systems^ 84 Warming Waters and Other Signals of Change^ 86 Hitting Bottom: Lower River Levels^ 87 Signals of Shifting Seasons^ 88 Signs of Warming Winters 89 Hotter Dryer Summers 90 Changing Wildlife and Related Shifts^ 91 Polluted or Improved Waterways? Conflicting Signs^ 94 Contextual Factors Shaping Perspectives of Climate Change 95 Cultural Model of Reverence for Nature: The Pervasiveness of Values^ 95 Historic Quieting: Colonial Past as Present^ 97 The Precedence of Other Issues in the Face of Climate Change 99 Cultural Model of Tsunamis?^  100 Causes of Change^ 101 Human-Created Ills: Causation and Values as Intricately Intertwined^ 101 "Correct" Climate Change Causes^ 103 Cultural Model of Depleting Ozone Layer: A Re-emergence and Adapted Version ^ 103 Scientized versus Localized Knowledges: Knowing the Environment through Experiences^  104 Summary of Core Findings — Tseshaht and Port Alberni^  104 Chapter IV The Capacity to Adapt: Strengths, Strategies and Stumbling Blocks in the Management of Climate Change Impacts^ 107 Port Alberni ^  108 Obstacles to Action^  108 Government Resources: Finding Funding and Leadership^  108 iv The Nature of the Beast: Global Climate Change as Nebulous and Distant^ 110 The Will to Do Something: Perceived Apathy^  111 Lack of Climate Change Information^  112 Community Strengths^  113 Knowledge Holders  113 Cohesive, Active Volunteers: Established Inter-Group Relations^ 113 Collaborative Action: Cherry Creek and the B.C. Hydro Outcry  115 Emerging on the Radar^  117 Tseshaht First Nation  118 Obstacles to Action^  118 How Do You Plan for No Fish?^  118 Abstract and Multifaceted  118 Resources, Resources, Resources: Funding and Expertise ^  119 Forming Partnership with Untrustworthy Partners?^  120 "Nobody's Listening" ^  121 Community Strengths  123 Adaptation as a Way of Life  123 Look to the Elders...and the Youth!^  124 Celebrating Community Successes 126 Tseshaht & Port Alberni^  126 Implications of Findings: Contextual Strategies for Community Action^ 126 Making Climate Change Relevant^  126 Appealing to Local Values and Identities  127 Storytelling to Reach People  128 Uniting Knowledge Holders^  128 Talking about Adaptations  129 Chapter V Conclusion: `Solastalgia' During an Era of Change^ 131 Solastalgia, Climate Change and Coastal Communities^  132 Place-Specific Cultural Models^  133 Scientized and Localized Knowledge Sources^  134 Linking Findings to Theory 135 The Future from Here^ 136 REFERENCES^ 137 APPENDICES 145 Appendix A Behavioural Research Ethics Board - Certificate of Approval^ 145 Appendix B Photographs^ 146 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The process of writing this thesis has been a testament to perseverance and a reflection of the support of many. First, I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr. Ralph Matthews, who was gratefully forthright with his feedback of my initial proposal and entirely encouraging throughout the writing of the following chapters. I would like to thank my committee member, Dr. Terre Satterfield, who provided thoughtful, valuable guidance and always exuded an air of enthusiasm for the subject matter. In addition, I am sincerely appreciative to the `C-5' research team that comprised, in addition to the aforementioned committee members, Dr. Robin Sydneysmith and Dr. Nathan Young, as well as the tireless efforts of the research assistants and community assistants who conducted the valuable interviews. Without this larger parent project my thesis would not have had its foundation; thus, I am entirely grateful. The role of my family and friends during the past two years should not be underestimated. Tyler, my partner in life, was my biggest fan throughout the writing of this thesis. He provided endless support, stimulating debate and technical assistance during formatting. Along with the encouragement of my parents (Leonard Streilein, Susan Funk, Michael Terpenning) and dear sisters (Melissa and Amelia), I pushed through the challenging moments and rejoiced with them in the end. Finally, it is essential that I recognize the role of all the leaders, both formal and informal, of the Tseshaht First Nation and of Port Alberni who partook in the in-depth interviews, shared their nuanced and entirely fascinating experiences of a changing environment, and ultimately, provided the heart of this thesis. I thank you all. vi !IA .1R,L JO_fi CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION: MAKING SENSE OF CHANGE This thesis seeks to examine the various interacting factors that are influencing local understandings of global climate change by leaders in two B.C. coastal communities. It is hoped that, by further understanding these underlying dynamics, we will have a better sense of the ways in which a complex global issue, such as climate change, can be appropriately acted upon at the community level. In recent years climate change has received heightened attention and recognition as a vital international issue. Although there is lingering disagreement over the exact magnitude and pace of change, there is general consensus among world scientists that the earth's climate is warming due to anthropocentric activities, and is triggering a plethora of impacts on our natural and social systems (IPCC, 2007). In British Columbia, smaller resource-dependent communities are considered vulnerable both in terms of severity of impact and ability to respond. British Columbia coastal communities are predicted to be impacted by climate change in multiple, often interconnected ways, such as: increasing mean temperatures, rising sea levels, the flooding and/or drying-up of rivers and streams, intensifying storm activity/storm surges, increasing precipitation in the form of rain, receding glaciers, warming ocean and river temperatures as well as shifting migratory routes of culturally and economically valuable species (e.g. salmon). These are just some of the impacts expected (C-CIARN BC, 2007; Government of BC, 2002). Additional local impacts, yet to be documented or projected, may also take place. Recent climate change literature has drawn attention to the pressing need for adaptation, particularly for communities that are most vulnerable to climatic changes (Olmos, 2001, p. 8; Adger et al. 2003, p. 179). Current literature has stressed the need to develop concrete adaptation initiatives in order to enhance the resiliency of a community in the face of changing conditions (Smit & Pilifosova, 2002, p. 16; Adger, 2003, p. 400). Adaptation is believed to be especially important because climate changes are expected to persist into coming decades, even if considerable reductions in CO2 levels are achieved. 1 These cries for adaptation, however, have often glossed over the need for a prior examination into how local individuals, and community leaders in particular, think about, make sense of, and relate to issues and risks posed by global climate change. Although some have acknowledged the need for community-tailored plans and their incorporation into existing policy (Smit & Pilifosova, 2002, p. 11), little emphasis has been placed on developing a holistic account of a community's "climate change understanding" as a foundation for these adaptive initiatives. Attempts at adaptation without a sufficient analysis into the local-level understandings and perceptions of this complex, often intangible issue, will likely be less meaningful and destined for obstacles. This thesis hopes to provide that foundation so that future adaptive management plans can be successfully implemented. Overview of Literature Although research examining climate change has traditionally been the domain of the "hard" sciences, it is now widely acknowledged that climate change is as inextricably bound to the social world as it is to the physical. The breakdown of the historically dichotomized relationship between nature and culture is exemplified by the social/cultural implications of climate change (see: Latour's notion of the "hybrid", 1993, p. 10-11). Although embedded within the climatological and biological spheres, the impacts and subsequent responses to climate change will most certainly be rooted within the social, cultural, political and economic realms of society. The literature base examining the social dynamics of climate change, although relatively new, is diverse and expanding across the disciplines (e.g. geography, social psychology, anthropology, ethnobotany, sociology, planning, forestry, landscape architecture, political science). Thus far, the literature has largely focused on several broad, often overlapping areas: mitigation and infrastructure; vulnerability and impacts-oriented research; social justice and North/South disparities; adaptation; public/lay understandings of climate change; and Indigenous (particularly Arctic) observations/implications of climate change. For the purposes of 2 this thesis, my review of the literature focuses predominantly on the latter two categories with some interjections from adaptations based research. Previous research has thus far shown that climate change has not been construed as a pressing priority and that it has generally been poorly understood by the public. A considerable body of social scientific literature has revealed that, although there have been growing levels of awareness and concern among the general population towards climate change, widespread misconception and confusion nonetheless persists in terms of the public's knowledge of specific causes, consequences and solutions to the climate change crisis (Moser & Dilling, 2004, p. 32; Stamm et al, 2000, p. 219; Kempton, 1997, p. 20; Bostrom et al., 1994, p. 960; Ibidun, 2005, p. 119; Bord et al., 2000, p. 205-207). At best, findings have suggested a mixed understanding of the issue by "educated laypeople" (Read et al, 1994, p. 979). This has been regarded as problematic because "when causes are not well understood, it is clearly difficult to devise effective solutions to a problem" (Stamm et al., 2000, p. 219). In order to explain the many conceptions (and misconceptions) of climate change, a number of researchers, particularly cognitive anthropologists, have drawn upon perspectives dealing with mental or cultural models to reveal how people incorporate climate change information into pre-existing cultural frameworks to make sense of the issue. I will largely refer to the term 'cultural models', rather than 'mental models', since the former denotes a model or schema that organizes widely-shared cultural knowledge, rather than individual-level knowledge (Borchgrevink, 2002, p. 226). Cultural models are primarily a cognitive anthropological approach or tool broadly defined by Kempton (1997) as "conceptual models of fundamental ways in which the world works that are shaped by most of the people in the culture" (14). Cultural models can also be seen as: "...not models in the formal sense; rather they are fragmented bits of information that a person carries around in his/her head to describe some complex process or idea. Yet, mental [or cultural] models, in general, provide a semi-coherent inference engine and a way for people to make sense of complex ideas" (Corley, 2004, p.106 — referencing Morgan et al., 2002). For instance, in terms of climate change, people often superimpose new information 3 about the issue into pre-established frameworks of understanding related to general pollution, ozone depletion, weather and/or photosynthesis/respiration (Bostrom et al., 1994, Kempton et al., 1995; Kempton,1997; Read et al., 1994). The use of cultural models has been a valuable approach in revealing certain widely held beliefs and values as well as incorporating other cultural elements that can impact the way people make sense of various phenomena (VanWynsberghe et al, 2007, p. 282). While this approach has been useful in detailing cultural thought processes around climate change, its current application, nonetheless, is based predominantly on a scientific knowledge orientation (Leiserowitz, 2006, p. 47). The aforementioned studies have not, I would argue, sufficiently captured the diversity of place-specific local knowledges (i.e. contextual, experiential influences) that may also contribute to a community's understanding of climate change. Within several studies, the cultural models approach has tended to "test" participants' knowledge of correct and incorrect (scientific) definitions, causes and subsequent solutions to the climate change issue as a means of identifying the models being used (see: Bostrom et al., 1994; Kempton et al., 1995; Read et al., 1994). The approach has also tended to emphasize and dichotomize "expert" knowledge against lay accounts of environmental issues (VanWynsberghe et al., 2007, p. 282; Corley, 2004, p. 106-107). In a similar vein, other studies have employed a cultural models approach to focus on and reveal gaps of understandings between the public and experts in order to devise effective risk communication strategies (see: Morgan et al. 2002, p. 19-23; Byram et al. 2001, p. 5). This thesis hopes to demonstrate that an approach based primarily on scientifically-based rational as the main precursor for "understanding" climate change may obfuscate other ways of knowing, particularly various forms of local knowledge or traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). For many communities, it is possible that local understandings of climate change may arise from factors outside of expert, scientific information alone. For instance, personal observations and past experiences, shared histories and monumental community events have also been shown to contribute to people's understandings of climate change (Bulkely, 2000, p. 4 315; Berkes, 2002, p. 335-348; Leiserowitz, 2006, p. 46-49; Lowenstein, 2001; Weber; 2006, p. 106-108; Cruikshank, 2001, p. 390; Krupnick & Jolly, 2001; Zanetell and Knuth, 2002, p. 806- 810). The term 'experiential influencers', will be used throughout this thesis as a holistic term that embodies various experience-based influences described above, in which local knowledges are placed at the forefront. Such experiential factors may prove to be even more salient for communities that have distinctly close relationships to the land and water. Although this thesis acknowledges the limitations of the cultural models approach in previous climate change research, this thesis adopts a complimentary framework that incorporates the cultural models approach with the experiential elements, which will allow various climate change understandings to be identified. This amalgamated framework will take only the most salient elements of the cultural model's approach; for instance, the idea that cultural models are enduring representations of broader human/nature interactions, and the emphasis on pre-existing concepts/values /views as a way for people to assimilate new information and draw conclusion and decisions (Ignatow, 2006, p. 443). I will abandon or neglect certain more traditional objectives within the cultural models approach, as previously described, and blend the more contextual elements of it with my experiential-focused approach, which underscores the role of locally nuanced knowledges. The underlying assumptions of each approach are not fundamentally at odds. A cultural models approach is not incapable of acknowledging and incorporating local forms of knowledge; on the contrary, I see it as a valuable tool for integrating different forms of experiential climate change knowledges into a coherent cultural framework or schema of understanding (see: Atran et al., 2002, p. 421-450). Its use thus far (in terms of climate change research, specifically) has simply not reflected that tendency. My amalgamated framework represents a strength in that it acknowledges the presence of a diversity of knowledges (various "scientized" and "local" conceptions) and sees people as active meaning makers (see: Laidler, 2006, p. 407). Such a framework is also a strength in that it focuses on "... the ways in which public understandings of climate change are tied to larger questions of the relations between society and nature" (Bulkeley, 2000, p. 314). 5 The Parent Project This thesis is situated within a larger project located in the Department of Sociology and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) at the University of British Columbia, 'The Co-management of Climate Change in Coastal British Columbia: Social Capital, Trust and Capacity," spearheaded by Dr. Ralph Matthews (Principal Investigator) (see: http://www.climatechangebc.ca). Funding for the project was provided by the Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Program (CCIAP). The study, designed and executed between the autumn of 2005 and the summer of 2006, investigated a total of six B.C. coastal communities — three 'civic' communities and three adjacent First Nations communities: Prince Rupert and Lax Kw' Alaams; Bella Coola and Nuxalk Nation; and Port Alberni and Tseshaht First Nation. Although it would have been beneficial to draw comparisons among all six unique communities, due to time and space constraints, only the latter two communities will be examined for the purpose of this thesis. Core Research Questions The central research question guiding this thesis is: What are the key influencing factors that are shaping various understandings/conceptions of global climate change and the risks that it poses locally? How do these variables then inform the way in which an intangible global issue, such as climate change, is acted upon at the local level? This broader research question will be directed by specific sub-questions: 1. How are community leaders making sense of global climate change in terms of its local impacts, causes and risks? a. What types of cultural models are being used to explain environmental changes, and how do they compare to other previously identified cultural models? (e.g. general pollution, ozone depletion, photosynthesis, weather) 6 b. How are various experiential influences being used to make sense of climate changes (local observations, experiences, histories) compared to more "scientized" explanations? 2. Is there an overall sense of community capacity to manage/respond to climate change impacts? c. Specifically, what are some of the underlying challenges and opportunities for adaptation efforts? Snapshot of Guiding Theoretical and Methodological Framework Guiding this thesis is a theoretical lens based on a contextual social (or ecological) constructionist approach. This approach is ideal because it does not discount the "reality" of environmental issues, yet recognizes the diversity of ways in which an environmental issue, such as climate change, can be conceptualized and sensed, and that "the environment" is not entity independent from society; rather, it is firmly rooted within socio-cultural practices (Macnaughten & Urry, 1998; Latour, 1993). This theoretical approach nicely compliments a fundamental presupposition of this thesis: that the way a community's leadership understands or makes sense of a local environment (and the changes affecting it), will, in part, determine how a community responds (or adapts) to it (see: Kempton et al., 1995, p.1; Hannigan, 1995). "For everyone—leaders, citizens, and scientists alike--the cultural framework shapes the issues people see as important and affects the way they act on those issues" (Kempton et al., 1995, p.1). In order to evaluate the above research questions, this thesis will evaluate in-depth, semi- structured interviews conducted during the summer of 2006 with community leaders in Port Alberni and the neighbouring Tseshaht Band. The study sample includes a cross-section of leaders from various realms of the communities: City Council and Band Council, resource managers/workers, Elders, involved citizens/Informal' leaders as well as local industry representatives. Twenty three interviews were conducted in Port Alberni and 25 with the 7 Tseshaht. All interviews were coded and analyzed based on a phenomenological/grounded theory methodological approach; however, the analysis also tested previous assertions and theories put forward in related studies, which may be seen as a departure from these approaches (see: Roth & Mehta, 2002, p. 159). Climate Change Background — A "Realist" Overview of the Issue Although global climate change can refer to a gradual and/or natural process of ecological shifts, often termed "climate variation", within this thesis, climate change refers to the environmental process believed to be exacerbated by human activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels, intensive agricultural practices and deforestation, which in turn produce carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and/or other greenhouse gases (GHG). These emissions are known to contribute to the increased warming of the earth's surface, and in large enough concentrations, induce a variety of spin-off effects on our natural and social systems (Natural Resources Canada, 2003; IPCC, 2006). Climate change has previously been labelled "global warming" and the "greenhouse effect"; however, these terms have largely been shed by the scientific community because they fail to capture the multiplicity of impacts, aside from warmer average temperatures, that this phenomenon represents. There is mounting evidence and consensus among world scientists that the earth's climate is undergoing change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), assembled by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988, represents the largest organized international body of scientists reporting on climate change research. The IPCC issued their fourth assessment report in early 2007. The report confirmed and advanced many of the assertions, data analyses and modeling found in previous IPCC assessment reports. This report indicated that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal" (2006, p. 5) and that global climate change is predominantly (or "very likely") an anthropogenically accelerated phenomenon produced by increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations due to the burning of fossil fuels (pp. 2, 10). 8 The summary report indicated that 11 of the past 12 years (between 1995 and 2006) have been the warmest on record since the mid 19 th century (IPCC, 2006, p. 5), and that levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most significant GHG, have risen from 280 ppm prior to industrialization to 379 ppm in 2005. Such atmospheric concentrations of CO2, based on ice core samples, are said to exceed the natural variations (of 180-300 ppm) that have transpired over the past 650,000 years (IPCC, 2006, p. 2). Thus, the report inferred that humans, for the first time in history, have significantly altered and disrupted the climatic patterns of the earth. While uncertainty and disagreement surrounding the exact magnitude and degree of change continues to persist among scientists, the projected climatic transformations include some of the following: global increases in both air and ocean temperature averages, extreme weather events escalating in intensity and frequency (e.g. hurricanes, floods, droughts, forest fires), receding glaciers, melting polar icecaps, and rising sea levels (IPCC, 2006), as well as a series of ensuing impacts that may reverberate through various societies worldwide. Recent research has pointed out that the consequences of climate change are expected to be unevenly distributed, and projected to be especially visible and/or devastating among populations already facing economic and social vulnerabilities (Adger, 2003, p. 181; Olmos, 2001, p. 2-4; Beck, 1992, p. 35-36). There is a paradoxical, almost cruel disconnect between the source of GHG emissions and the location of impact. For instance, although the bulk of Canada's emissions are produced by the energy industry (e.g. petroleum) and the transportation sector (e.g. passenger vehicles and freight) (Environment Canada, 2007 a, b), particularly within populated urban areas, the impacts of climate change are expected to have a compounding effect on communities (and entire continents) already struggling, particularly coastal, low-lying and flood-prone areas, smaller islands, the Arctic/Sub-Arctic, Africa and other arid and semi-arid regions (Olmos, 2001, p. 8). Therefore, it is increasingly critical, to assess the context in which impacted communities are becoming aware of this encroaching issue and the factors influencing their way of knowing. 9 The Communities of Interest At the centre of this research are two neighbouring coastal communities: Port Alberni and the Tseshaht First Nation. Located on central Vancouver Island in British Columbia, these communities face potential vulnerabilities to climate change on several fronts. First, by virtue of their location, they are situated on a deep-sea port leading to the Pacific Ocean, which may, in time, be threatened by rising sea-levels, flooding and intensified storm activity among other impacts. Second, Port Alberni and the Tseshaht First Nation, although showing signs of economic diversification, have a long history of economic dependence on forestry, fishing and other resource-based industries. These sectors have struggled in recent years and are vulnerable to shifting climatic conditions (Clemenson, 1992). Although the two communities are located within close proximity to one another, each community's respective leaders may approach the issue of climate change from different standpoints by virtue of their unique socio- historical, political and cultural backgrounds. Therefore, it is important to assess and compare how leaders from each community are interpreting climate change risks, and how any differences, or similarities, in understandings may in turn reflect their future response efforts. Port Alberni, British Columbia Port Alberni is a small port city nestled into the Alberni Valley on central Vancouver Island, 193 km north-west of Victoria. Opening onto a 40 km long deep sea, ice-free inlet that almost divides the island in two, Port Alberni is considered the "gateway to BC's west coast" (Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, 2007; Port Alberni Port Authority, 2006). With a population of 17,548 the community's population has remained relatively steady since the 1970s with only a negligible decline taking place (Statistics Canada, 2006). Port Alberni became incorporated in 1912, and later amalgamated with Alberni, its neighbouring city, in 1967 (Marsh, 2000, p.1872). Many waterways surround Port Alberni: Rogers Creek runs through the city centre, Somass River lies adjacent, and Sproat Lake and Stamp River are mere kilometers away, among others. Such waterways offer passage for many spawning salmon and have attracted much 10 recreational fishing in recent years (Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, 2007). It only seems appropriate then that the community proclaims itself to be the "Salmon Capital of the World" (Port Alberni Port Authority, 2006), and celebrates an annual Salmon Festival at the end of each summer season. Port Alberni is encircled by many mountains, including Mount Arrowsmith and Mount Klitsa. Situated on the traditional territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, Port Alberni sits on the original land of the Tseshaht and Hupacasath. European contact first occurred in 1778 when the ships of Captain James Cook arrived in the valley (Coastal Communities Project, 2005). It was during the Spanish occupation, however, that the community was named after the Spanish commanding office, Don Pedro Alberni. In later years, the Hudson's Bay Company commenced fur trading in the region with the Nuu-chah-nulth (Marsh, 2000, p. 1872; Coastal Communities Project, 2005). Because of the abundant natural resources and shipping accessibility, in 1860, the first sawmill opened by Anderson Company, an English shipping firm. Although it ceased operations after only three years, Port Alberni remained an important location by virtue of its abundant natural resources. In the late 19 th century and early 20th century, agriculture, fishing and mining became key industries as pioneers arrived. Growth continued, particularly once adequate transport access was built, namely the railway lines (e.g. Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway Co. and the Canadian National Railway). Given the abundance of cedar and Douglas fir in the region, it is not surprising that many turned to the lumber and paper industry. Between 1950 and 1960 the population doubled and infrastructure grew as the forestry industry took off. During the 1970s, Port Alberni was said to be the highest per capita earning municipality in Canada (Coastal Communities Project, 2005). Perhaps as a result of this once proudly held status, the declines and struggles facing the industry in recent decades have been deeply felt. Through a combination of factors — free trade woes (e.g. the softwood lumber disputes with the U.S.); outsourcing and exportation of raw logs; mechanization; labour disputes; and the recent high Canadian dollar — the industry has exhibited its volatility (Coastal Communities Project, 2005). As of 2006, less than eight percent 11 of the population was employed in the forestry industry, and one of three paper machines at Catalyst Paper mill was closed (City of Port Alberni Annual Report, 2006). Nevertheless, the forestry industry represents, to this day, a critical economic player and remains the largest employers and taxpayers. A lumber mill, two Western Forest Products sawmills (Somass Division and Alberni Pacific Division), and a large paper mill owned by Catalyst Paper continue operations. In order to accommodate changing economic conditions, much effort has gone into community economic diversification efforts with a growing number of jobs found in the service, health care and tourism industries (City of Port Alberni Annual Report, 2006). With this transition, however, was the loss of the once lucrative forestry jobs and a general decline in the local economy. The community has remained optimistic nevertheless. For instance, it has marketed its lower-than-average housing prices, compared to rest of the province, as an attraction for new residents, especially retirees. There have also been significant residential developments over the past three years, even with the 1.1 percent decline in population from the previous census year. Increased commercial development has also occurred with the expansion of several malls, a new RCMP building, renovations to the Alberni Valley Multiplex, and the future redevelopment of the Uptown and Waterfront in planning stages, in addition to a potential new library. A Community Forest License application was also in the works and is hoped to bring greater community control and access within the forestry sector (City of Port Alberni Annual Report, 2006). Tseshaht First Nation The Tseshaht, meaning "the people of 6i6aa" are located on Vancouver Island just outside of Port Alberni. They are one of the 14 nations that together form the Nuu-ch-nulth Tribal Council. Ci§aa is the traditional territory and creation ground of the Tseshaht people, which is located on one of the Broken Group Islands in Barkley Sound — Benson Island (Tseshaht website, 2007). Today, the Tseshaht First Nation officially reside on eight reserves (one of 12 which was previously sold for 'wartime railway purposes'). The largest and most populated reserve is located on the right bank of the Somass River, 3 km north-west of Port Alberni. It is here where community services and the fishing/forestry sectors are concentrated. As of August 2007, the Tseshaht had a total (registered) population of 953 people, with 409 people living on reserve (Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, nd). Over time, the traditional territory of the Tseshaht has undergone many transformations as a result of amalgamations with other nearby First Nations (e.g. the Hikuuthnath and Hach'aaath) as well as warfare and marriages. Contact with Europeans in the late 18 th century brought about an array of changes as well, particularly the dismal population declines through epidemics and warfare with guns. For instance, prior to contact, it is believed that nearly 25,000 Nuu-chah- nulth lived within the region; whereas, mere years later, that population fell to a mere 3,000 (Coastal Communities Project, 2005). By 1882 the Nuu-chah-nulth were placed onto reserves and not long after, were exposed to the realities of residential schools by the Presbyterian missionaries. Tseshaht cultural practices and ceremonies, such as the potlatch, were outlawed, and regulation of traditional hunting and fishing practices began (Coastal Communities Project). These combined actions would propagate many difficulties and conflicts in years to come. The Tseshaht were traditionally known as whalers and fishers, and still to this day, this identity plays a significant cultural role. In recent years, though, they have expanded their interests into other realms of activity, such as forestry, manufacturing and tourism, which have brought about considerable community economic improvements. Although the forestry industry, as a whole, has suffered declines throughout the larger region, Tseshaht-owned businesses (and joint endeavors) have proven to be largely successful. Such businesses include: Equis Forest Products Limited, Tseshaht Market Food and Gas bar, Tsemac Manufacturing Ltd, and Coast Forest Management. Forestry is now touted as a "major economic catalyst to improve Tseshaht financial independence" (Tseshaht First Nations Newsletter, April 2006). As a result of these endeavors, among many others, the Tseshaht are "...now earning more income from [their] businesses than from government funding" (Tseshaht First Nations Newsletter, May 13 2006). The Tseshaht are a strong people who ensure their voices are heard, even in the absence of a formal treaty. Nevertheless, the Tseshaht have proven to be resilient and adaptive people when it comes to change and adversity. For instance, the Tseshaht have a partnership in the Somass River Fishery, and hold one of three provincial licenses for "Pilot Fish Sales under the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy" (Coastal Communities Project, 2005). There is also a Forest Range Agreement between the Tseshaht and the Province of B.C., in which the Band receives tenure and revenues from the local Tree Farm License (#44) (Tseshaht website, 2007). Also, in 2006, almost 300 acres of land around the Somass River were bought back by the Band from Catalyst Paper. Although there are problems related to addictions, the scars of residential schools, shortages in housing and socio-economic issues, the community holds much promise in terms of new community developments. Construction of a new 15,000 square foot administration building was completed and opened in October 2007. In addition, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recently approved the building of at least 23 new subsidized rental housing for the community in response to a housing shortage. Also a new daycare facility has recently been constructed (Tseshaht First Nation Newsletter, February 2006). Education is also an increasing priority for the community. An Education Jurisdiction Agreement was signed in 2000 to return control of the curriculum, standards, culture and language within the schools to the Tseshaht. The Tseshaht have also partnered with two UBC studies, the CURA (Community- University Research Alliance) and the CCP (Coastal Communities Project) to develop a broader community education strategy for the future (Coastal Communities Project, 2005). Research with Significance This thesis is valuable for several reasons. First, in order to effectively communicate and collaboratively devise response efforts to deal with local impacts of climate change in the coming years, it is crucial that we examine the underlying factors that intrinsically influence how an issue is thought about. By fully understanding the underlying factors that shape such 14 understandings, place-specific elements can be identified and incorporated into locally appropriate, cooperatively devised plans. This initial step can prevent external agencies (e.g. governments, non-government organizations and individuals alike) from creating ineffective or irrelevant solutions that may otherwise ignore or misinterpret such locally salient issues. Thus, it is critical to examine how climate change is perceived by those affected by it most, because "...prescriptions for including local peoples make little sense and may even be counterproductive unless they include an informed assessment of variations in local knowledge and belief" (Atran & Medin, 1997, p. 204). In a similar vein, Bostrom et al. (1994) conveyed that "many controversies in risk communication arise when experts either underestimate or overestimate the public's knowledge" (p. 959). Second, there is a social and moral responsibility to address climate change related issues and perspectives while they are still manageable in these somewhat formative stages, so that action can be initiated thoughtfully and proactively, rather than in a hasty, piecemeal fashion after the fact. Third, it is hoped that this thesis will also advance sociological and anthropological insight into how a global risk issue, such as climate change, is locally interpreted, and draw attention to the importance of embracing nuanced, experiential accounts as a core component of any cultural models approach examining climate change. This thesis also hopes to challenge the 'information deficit model' (Ungar, 2000, p. 298; Sturgis & Allum, 2004, p. 57) predicated on the superiority of scientized or cognitively-oriented versions of climate change knowledge. In so doing, this thesis will also confront the assertion that people are 'deficient' in their understandings; instead, it will emphasize how many people already know and understand climatic changes — especially through their interaction with their surrounding environment. Outline of Thesis This thesis follows a straightforward outline. Following this introductory chapter, the second chapter addresses the underlying social constructionist theoretical paradigm that has guided my analysis as well as my philosophical approach to the methodology (based on an 15 adapted phenomenology and grounded theory approach). The latter part of the second chapter includes a detailed description of the larger project's procedures and execution. I have combined these two chapters because they are complimentary in nature, and the theoretical underpinnings largely influence the overall methodology. My third chapter comprises my core analysis in which a full discussion of the relevant literature is related to my analysis of the interview data based on the first set of research questions. Each community is discussed separately in order to allow for comparisons to be made with greater ease. The fourth chapter, which examines community capacity, builds upon the previous chapter through an analysis and discussion of the second set of research questions. My concluding chapter includes a synthesized discussion of the key research findings as well as my vision for future research and action in this realm. 16 CHAPTER II THEORETICAL LENS, METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH AND METHODS Guiding Sociological Theory — Social/Ecological Constructionism How can we sociologically interpret how a group of community leaders are making sense of the impacts, causes and risks of climate change? What theoretical framework offers the most salient insights into such conceptions? The overarching theoretical template guiding this research is based on a social or ecological constructionist perspective. Social constructionism can broadly be seen as the "knowledge of the everyday world and of nature [that] is constructed through processes of social interaction and the mobilization of disparate rhetorical and representational resources" (Bickerstaff & Walker, 2003 — referencing Michael (1996), Berger & Luckmann (1966) and Latour & Woolgar (1979)). The concept of constructionism, although in existence for many years prior, was monumentally laid out by Peter Burger and Thomas Luckmann in The Social Construction of Reality (1966), in which the reality of everyday life was said to be socially constituted through processes of institutionalization and legitimation (i.e. habitualization and socialization). Such socially mediated processes in turn produce what we come to know as our 'objective' reality (Berger & Luckmann, 1966; Sismondo, 1993, p. 517- 519). One of the underlying foundations for this thesis is drawn from this social constructionist perspective as described by Hannigan (1995) and Macnaghten and Urry (1998). They effectively detailed how there are multiple perceptions of nature that are comprised of different socio-cultural processes. Of salience to this thesis is Macnaghten and Urry's focus on "the contemporary significance of nature: how ideas of nature are permeating the human lifeworld, and how perceptions of environmental 'threats', 'risks' and 'loss' and inextricably bound up with related wider concerns about social life" (p. 212). This perspective acknowledges that people's concern, or lack thereof, for a particular environmental issue (say climate change) are often intertwined with other, perhaps seemingly unrelated, everyday issues, concerns and events. This idea is pivotal within my analysis. The essential ingredient of Macnaughten and Urry's 17 thesis was that responses and connections to nature are "highly diverse, ambivalent and embedded in daily life" (p. 2). A single, uniform perception or vision of nature does not exist; quite the contrary, there exists "only a diversity of contested natures" (p. 2). A seemingly straightforward concept such as 'nature', for instance, has not remained static over time; rather, knowledge and ideas about the environment have been riddled with socially influenced dimensions. In the early 20 th century, 'nature' took on many guises: it was characterized as a wild, mystical and inhabitable place in preindustrial days, and then as a source of economic value for its abundant resources during industrialism, and subsequently in more recent years, as a romantic iconic environment in need of preservation. Although all of these stages have experienced overlap to some degree and some have never been shed entirely (namely nature as an economic enterprise), all reflect the idea that nature was and is an ever-changing entity always in the midst of re-definition (Hannigan, 1995, p. 110-114). Through various social processes, different values and natures are continuously created and recreated. Interpretations of nature are reworked throughout historical periods, landscape spaces, and technological innovations. Of paramount importance is the idea that nature, unlike historically emphasized, is not a separate realm from social and cultural practices; rather, the two are inherently bound (pp. 29-32). Although Hannigan's (1995) execution of constructionism, more so than Macnaughten and Urry (1998), has focused on the environmental claims making process and the contestation of such claims, my thesis nonetheless builds its foundation upon Hannigan's key conception of the environment as: ...'a site of intersecting and competing social and cultural definitions and interests.' Contested are the nature and gravity of environmental threats, the dynamics underlying them, the priority accorded one issue versus another and the optimal means for mitigating or ameliorating conditions which have come to be defined as problematic (p. 185). Although there are many other theoretical approaches that could also be tremendously useful in assessing environmental issues, such as political economy or human ecology, a social constructionist approach, in particular, appreciates that perspectives surrounding the 18 environment are continuously fleeting and changing across social spaces, and that such perspectives are as much about social processes as the physical condition itself. Constructionism emphasizes that environmental issues emerge on the scene and are managed according to how they are identified and defined. Most importantly, this perspective focuses on the specific cultural and social dynamics that intermingle to influence a community's understanding of what constitutes a sufficiently risky environmental issue deserving of their attention and action (Hannigan, 1995, p. 30). In order to more aptly situate this theoretical perspective within my thesis, it is important to locate my stance within the constructionist family itself, in addition to addressing the ongoing debate between constructionist and materialist orientated environmental sociologists. Although there has often been some overlap, and neither is entirely exclusive, nor readily discernable for that matter, it is thought that there are two camps of environmental constructionism, which tend to differ in terms of emphasis and ontology. The first tends to emphasize the constructedness of conceptions of nature in particular (i.e. that nature is differently perceived depending on a multiplicity of social/cultural factors); while the other constructionist camp is more highly focused on problematizing the scientific knowledge of the environment that purports it as an objectively knowable entity, as well as nature in itself (Demeritt, 2002, p. 768). This thesis primarily adopts the former constructionist stance, which can be seen as a 'mild' or 'contextual' constructionist version. This particular perspective will be further described shortly. There have also been ongoing debates between constructionists and outside opponents to this paradigm, stemming predominantly from those with more realist dispositions (e.g. Olsen, Lodwick & Dunlap, 1992; Schnaiberg & Gould, 2000). Such opponents view (staunch) constructionism as an ontological strike against science and its assertions towards knowing reality and truth, which may deny or invalidate the existence of concrete environmental knowledge, claims and issues (in this case, the reality of climate change as a crisis). For a strict constructionist, the material conditions of an environmental problem are irrelevant, and scientific claims, as objective facts, are often sources of attack. This brand of thinking is therefore often 19 criticized for undermining environmental problems and relativizing the claims of environmental actors and groups (Bell, 2003, p. 217-218). Such debates, which focus on the extreme ends of this argument — realism/materialism vs. idealism/constructionism — have tended to be less useful in the empirical study of meaning-making associated with environmental risks, and the processes and people involved in knowledge formation (Bickerstaff & Walker, 2003, p. 46). This thesis, therefore, has attempted to transcend, as much as possible, the polarizing debate fraught between constructionists and materialists. Considering my research questions, this theoretical framework amalgamates the most salient elements of both social constructionism and critical realism, as espoused by Murphy (2004, p. 248). Within my initial problematizing, methodology and subsequent analysis of the data, this underpinning theoretical lens shines through. My 'mild' constructionism does not reject the existence of physical world conditions (e.g. changing weather patterns); nonetheless, it acknowledges that it is undoubtedly interwoven with the social world and that "its apparent reality is never pre-given" (Bickerstaff and Walker, 2003, p. 46). For instance, this thesis does not seek to challenge the science of global climate change as problematic per se; so in that vein, the materialist epistemology is not entirely shed. It does acknowledge, however, that climate change and its impacts are not uniformly felt, understood or perceived by all, and thus has sought to explore how the 'reality' of climate change has been differently constructed and embedded within the greater societal/community fabric of knowing. There is no one solution or management approach to this multifaceted issue. A multiplicity of viewpoints and resolutions are inevitably possible. It would be naïve to assume that, simply because international panels and scientists have deemed climate change to be a critical issue for resource-dependent coastal communities, the people of such communities will possess an aligned view. In taking this position, this thesis seeks to explore differing site-specific conceptions of climate change and its causes and impacts in order to describe any sources of contention, or influencing cultural factors that may either help or hinder potential response efforts. By failing to incorporate this theoretical approach, external governments, organizations 20 and researchers run the risk of implementing culturally, socially and/or economically inappropriate "solutions" to the problem. Methodological Approach — An Adapted Phenomenology My analysis of the interview data is based on a merging of highly compatible methodological approaches. Consistent with the social constructionist epistemology previously illustrated, this thesis adopts a phenomenological perspective, a 'philosophical method of inquiry' that helps to inform and shape my analysis (Scott & Marshall, 2005, p. 489). Phenomenology is deemed particularly fitting due to its emphasis on understanding the "human experience" of phenomena, and its ontological orientation toward the constructed nature of `reality' (Wimpenny & Gass, 2000, p. 1486; Nekoranec, 2007, p. 83). The use of a constructionist paradigm and phenomenological approach are necessary in order to obtain the diversity of lived experiences, observations and understandings of the climate change issue. An overview of my methodological orientation and its applicability is provided below. Phenomenological Foundations Modern phenomenology, founded by German philosopher Edmund Husserl in the mid 1890s, and later reworked by others such as Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Alfred Schutz and Jean-Paul Sartre, can broadly be defined as the study of phenomena, or the conscious experience of phenomena from the first person perspective, and its associated meanings (Woodruff Smith, 2003, np). Although many variations and nuanced versions have emerged over time, phenomenology is now largely rooted in the belief that knowledge is created and molded through the 'lived experiences' of the world. Themes are derived from the detailed descriptions and stories of participants in order to unveil their personal realities, rather than from external explanations of the 'objective' world (Hammond, Howarth & Keat, 1991, p. 4; Berends & Johnston, 2005, p. 374; Luckmann, 1978, p. 9). This approach has generally been centered on revealing the human world and obtaining descriptions of individual experiences of phenomena (Luckmann, 1978, p. 7). Such experiences may involve a combination of primary 21 sensory inputs such as, "seeing, hearing, touching..." but also involve other richer experiences such as "...believing, remembering, wishing, deciding and imagining things; feeling apprehensive, excited, or angry at things; judging and evaluating things..." among a plethora of other rich perceptual experiences (Hammond et al., 1991, p. 2; Woodruff Smith, 2003, np). From these descriptive narratives, the researcher is able to 'extract a philosophy' to make sense of one's experience of something. This approach rejects the historically emphasized Cartesian dualism between consciousness and matter, mind and nature; rather, it emphasizes the interconnectedness of one's experiences with the 'external' world, and refuses to elevate scientific accounts of 'reality' above experienced ones (Hammond et al., 1991, pp. 2-3). For instance, as Hammond et al. (1991) described, "...any distinction between the real and the apparent is one that operates within the more general category of 'the phenomenon', all of which phenomenology is concerned to describe" (p. 2). The phenomenological stance adopted by this thesis is an adapted version based on a melding of the most pertinent elements of Husserl's phenomenology and his successors. For Husserl, one of the central aspects of his inquiry was to delve "...back into the original meaning..." of phenomena (Husserl, 1970, p. 353) as well as to systematically examine human consciousness and its "intentionality" (i.e. the directedness or awareness of our experience towards things) (Woodruff Smith, 2003, p. 2-3; Spiegelberg, 1975, p. 15). An important goal of Husserl's work was also to situate the hard sciences within the worldly realms of sensory experiences that everyday people are a part of, as attempted in Husserl's The Origin of Geometry' (Husserl, 1970, p. 353; Low & Hsu, 2007, p. S9). A central practice of Husserl's phenomenology was the examination of "the things themselves" without the presuppositions held in our "natural attitudes" of the world. For Husserl, consciousness was the "only phenomenon of which we can be sure" (Scott & Marshall, 2005, p. 489). Phenomenological `epochs' or 'transcendentalism', embraced by Husserl, rested upon the idea of "bracketing" phenomena from the natural world and involved the suppression of our previous beliefs of what is known of the world. A focus was placed on the process and structure involved in our own 22 conscious experience of phenomena (Scott & Marshall, 2005, p. 489). For instance, one of Husserl's phenomenological descriptions, as described by Hammond (1991), was the act of "perceiving die" in which he bracketed off the die from his preconceptions, and then described in detail all the modes in which it was experienced (e.g. its coloring, texture, shape, the way it was thrown, the sound it made as it falls to the board, etc). The collection of these descriptions then reveals the structure of the object, and was said to become the "collective unity" surrounding the same phenomena and a "synthesis of identification" (pp. 49-50). Meaning, it was believed, is derived from the phenomena once we return to the world from this suspended state of consciousness. This thesis borrows from this particular method in that the interview participants were asked to describe in detail any changes they have observed in the surrounding environment; however, my approach differs in that it rejects Husserl's notion of 'bracketing' of phenomena where the interviewer would become a detached observer, suspending all ideas and views about the phenomena under study. Husserl has been criticized for this bracketing of phenomena because opponents have stressed that people are all too immersed in the world to separate, even momentarily, themselves from phenomena (see: Schutz, 1962, p. 124). Some also criticized Husserl's transcendentalism as a turn away from a realist ontology towards an overly idealist orientation (Woodruff Smith, 2003, p. 12). Husserl's notion of this disembodied transcendental self also eventually stumbled into difficulty "over establishing that other people actually exist" (Scott & Marshall, 2005, p. 489; Low & Hsu, 2007, p. S9). The only form of bracketing that this thesis strives for is during the initial coding of the data where I attempted to approach the data with a 'blank' slate or an open mind, as much as possible, without preconceived notions of the responses. Subsequent theorists, such as Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, extended Husserl's latter work in particular, and embraced existential phenomenology, which emphasized that a person is first a "being-in-the-world" (Ingold, 2000, p. 168) and that this feature should be the focal point of phenomenology (Hammond et al., 1991, p. 127), along with the view that people exist 23 alongside things or entities that are assigned meanings; thus, they wholly rejected the bracketing of activities and experiences as a way to develop phenomenology. Rather, meanings were believed to be revealed through people's contextualized interactions and hands-on practical activities (Heidegger, 1996; Woodruff Smith, 2003, p. 12). This aspect is central throughout my analysis. This phenomenology attempted to situate itself outside the rift between staunch idealism and realism (Luijpen & Koren, 1969, p. 20-21). For instance, Merleau-Ponty (1962) distanced his theory from the "idealist return to consciousness" characterized by Husserl's pure description, but at the same time did not subscribe to the "scientific points of view", which he characterized as naive because they took for granted other points of view (i.e. consciousness) (p. ix). He saw both perspectives as flawed, yet did not wish to reject either of them entirely (Hammond, 1991, p. 149); rather, he sought to espouse a method of "'correctly reading phenomena, in grasping their meaning, that is, in treating them as modalities and variations of the subject's total being" (p. 108). Merleau-Ponty is applicable in that he exalted the role of the body in this enterprise of perception, and rejected the notion of a disembodied phenomenology. For instance, intentional consciousness takes place within the body and the body is always interconnected or "embodied" within space and time (p. 140). The body, thus, through its sensory experiences, provides a direct route to the world, and without it, the self does not exist (Low & Hsu, 2007, p. S9). Unlike Husserl's transcendentalism, for Merleau-Ponty, "...the world is always 'already there' before reflection beings" (p. vii). In Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception, much of the focus was on providing elaborate descriptions of how the everyday world is revealed through our perceptions and sensory experiences (Hammond et al., 1991, p. 6; Merleau-Ponty, 1962, p. 52). In addition, Merleau-Ponty was concerned with the person as 'subject' in the sense that humans are active participants in the world and free to make choices and create meanings, which is quite different from the transcendental ego of Husserl (Hammond, 1991, pp. 6 & 127). 24 An Adapted Phenomenology It is not a simple task to decipher the many, often dense versions of phenomenology available, and then strategically situate the most applicable version to the project at hand. It seems that all of the traditional phenomenologies provide useful (as well as less than relevant) applications. In order to prevent this thesis from becoming engulfed by excessive philosophizing, which falls outside my intended scope, I adopt only the most apposite (although perhaps over-simplified) features of phenomenology. For instance, as within the latter existential phenomenology, this thesis prioritizes the idea that humans use everyday, situated experiences as the main point of departure for understanding the underlying meanings of phenomena (e.g. climate change impacts). I am not concerned with philosophizing about consciousness or `Being'. In addition, this thesis tacitly adopts Merleau-Ponty's notion of 'the body' as the central medium for experiencing, and therefore knowing, the world. The execution of my analysis embraces a more descriptive phenomenology that emphasizes the more subjective experiences of the participants, yet it abandons the overly transcendental approach emphasized by Husserl's early work. My data reflects this approach in that it captures the detailed descriptions of the everyday lived experiences of local environmental changes, and is coded and analyzed with this approach in mind. My adapted phenomenology, nonetheless, seeks to `objectively' (as much as possible) scrutinize, interpret and analyze the data in an attempt to build a collective explanation and "synthesis of identification" of local climate change understandings as well as build upon and/or reject previous theories of climate change understandings. This, in itself, may be viewed by strict phenomenologists as a conflicting task undertaken only by scientists and realists, since phenomenologists largely refrain from hypothesizing (see: Merleau-Ponty, 1962, pp. 4-7: Berger & Luckmann, 1966, p. 20). However, because of the substantial amount of literature in this area of study, it is of sociological importance to examine and respond to pre- existing theories regarding the supposed `deficit' of climate change knowledge among the populace, and the various misconceptions and cultural models surrounding such understandings. 25 Additionally, my approach, unlike that of Husserl, is less strictly idealist, since it acknowledges the existence of 'the world' outside of intentional consciousness alone. One key feature that was emphasized, which runs through all genres of phenomenology, was the idea of an intermingling external world with the internal self, and the quashing of a previously emphasized dualism. Essentially, the phenomenological approach adopted here is a tailored version ultimately aimed at exploring and explaining how community leaders are making sense of climate change through the realm of their numerous, everyday lived experiences with local phenomena (e.g. the salmon, weather, wildlife, forests, economy) (see: Barkway, 2001, pp. 191-195). Data therefore took the form of detailed, often sensory, experiences as well as the remembering, pondering and/or retelling of past stories related to a changing environment. Step-by-Step Methods As previously indicated, this thesis is situated within a larger study, "The Co-management of Climate Change in Coastal British Columbia: Social Capital, Trust and Capacity", conducted within the Department of Sociology and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) at the University of British Columbia. The step-by-step methods governing the execution of the study was, therefore, largely influenced by the research team involved, of which I was a research assistant. It was decided early on that conducting in-depth semi- structured interviews would provide the most fruitful data, since it was the depth of community leaders' thoughts and experiences that were sought, rather than the overall distribution of these perspectives within the community. Initially, the team toyed with the idea of also conducting focus groups with various sectors of leaders following the interview stage to further address issues of adaptation; in the end, however, this idea was abandoned due to time constraints imposed by the founder. The following section will detail the processes involved in: the development of the study sample, the recruitment of participants, the development of interview questions, the operationalization of cultural models and experiential influences, the analytic procedures 26 employed to assess the interview data, the interview stage, presentation of the data, and lastly, verification of the data. Sample Development Early in the project it was determined that community leaders, rather than the general population, would be sampled due to their unique role in informing, initiating and/or implementing local policy initiatives. It is the views of the leadership, after all, that are most likely to translate into concrete climate change planning. As climate change has grown in urgency, it was seen as especially important to obtain this population's perspective. For the sample selection process, sources of variety within the two communities were identified, and the final sample reflects these variations. For instance, although I employ the uniform term 'leaders' to identify the sample, this category is wide-ranging. The leaders were drawn from key community occupations and roles: formal community leaders (e.g. Municipal government, Band Council), natural resource managers/workers (e.g. fishing and forestry industries), informal leaders (e.g. active citizens within key community organizations), Elders (both First Nations and non-First Nations), as well as business/industry representatives. Some individuals crossed into more than one category, since they played several roles within the community. A purposive sample was drawn rather than a random sample, not only due to pragmatic time/resource constraints, but also for strategic reasons. The purpose of the interviews was not to achieve a random representative sample of the broader community; rather, it was designed to gather the detailed descriptions of environmental changes and perspectives on climate change of key community leaders. Non-probability sampling may be criticized as inherently inferior and less scientific than random sampling; nevertheless, due to the smaller size of the communities' populations, it was desirable to reach as many leaders as possible. Because the Tseshaht Band, for instance, has only a few hundred residents with even fewer leaders, there were only a limited number of potential participants that could be interviewed. Such a population 27 would have been rather small to construct an adequate sampling frame. Second, due to the nature of the research questions, it was imperative that individuals with the greatest political clout in the communities (i.e. the mayor, the councillors, prominent Elders, or specific resource managers) be included in the study. This cannot be left to chance alone. Given the study's more limited scope, purposive sampling was agreed upon as the most effective technique (Singleton & Straits, 2005, pp. 133-134). Third, because of the research team's previous working histories with the communities, it was a relatively simple exercise for the investigators to draw upon their "expert judgements" and compose a cross-section of leaders from the different sectors. Initially a list of 40 to 60 formal and informal leaders was developed per community. These lists were relatively straight forward to compile as they had been previously drawn from other research projects in the region (e.g. Coastal Communities Project; CURA project). As such, the research team, already familiar with some of the central community leaders, was able to quickly identify key potential participants. Because such a large number of in-depth interviews were unfeasible, after some revision, a sample of approximately 30-40 leaders was narrowed to reflect the core leaders. Because not all the leaders selected were available or willing to be interviewed, snowball or referral sampling was also employed to widen the initial sample as the interviews progressed. Following each interview, the participant was asked if they could provide the name(s) and contact information of others who were in positions of leadership and/or knowledgeable about the local environment. Referred leaders were then contacted by phone or in person and subsequently interviewed. This was a valuable technique in that leaders or involved citizens who were perhaps less visible in the community, and may have been overlooked, had an opportunity to participate. Once complete, a total of 23 in-depth interviews (N=23) with 28 community leaders were conducted in Port Alberni (some interviews were conducted with two or more individuals present), and 25 interviews (N=25) were conducted with Tseshaht leaders. It was possible that interviews with other relevant and knowledgeable individuals were missed due to time constraints and/or schedule conflicts during the summer interview period. 28 Nonetheless, the interviews that were conducted provide richly detailed descriptions and insights into the different local experiences surrounding the changing environment. Gaining Participants Because the core research team (Dr. Ralph Matthews, Dr. Terre Satterfield, Dr. Robin Sydneysmith and Dr. Nathan Young) had previous experience with leaders in Port Alberni and the Tseshaht Band through other UBC projects (e.g. The Coastal Communities Project and the CURA project), it was a relatively straightforward process gaining their participation. Letters of introduction were initially mailed to the selected leaders to describe the project and indicate that researchers would be calling them within the following one to two weeks to ask for their cooperation. Having a research team with prior engagement with these communities was especially useful, particularly in gaining entrée into a First Nations community. We were required to gain permission from the Chief and Band Council in order to interview Tseshaht band members, which can often be difficult to obtain. A Band Council Resolution (BCR) was graciously passed giving the research team permission to enter the community and interview band members. A letters of approval from the Chief was obtained. To the team's delight, several local individuals were selected by the Chief and Council to act as community research assistants for the project, thus, there were strong gatekeepers in place. This was beneficial for all involved, since the community research assistants were able to gain valuable research experience in the process. This partnership became an invaluable asset and greatly assisted in achieving the cooperation of many Tseshaht leaders, who otherwise may have felt uncomfortable participating or disclosing their perspectives with 'outsiders'. This helped to ease any initial feelings of angst. The community research assistants also provided culturally appropriate ways of asking for the participation of Elders, for example, by asking for an interview in person, rather than over the phone. 29 Developing the Interview Guide The interview questions underwent approximately 16 revisions after a lengthy series of team meetings and discussions. Several test-interviews were conducted with individuals resembling our target population (e.g. a mayor, a resource manager, a First Nations graduate student). Five of such interviews were conducted with individuals from either Vancouver or the surrounding communities of Sechelt, Gibbsons, and Delta. This exercise was important for testing the flow and timing of the interviews as well as an opportunity to receive feedback. Ultimately, the research questions were employed in the field as a loosely structured guide to accommodate the unique perspectives and responses of the various leaders, rather than as a strict instrument. Thus each of the interviewers highlighted slightly different questions or themes and was empowered to focus on areas that were particularly pertinent for that interview. For instance, an interview with a community leader from the forestry industry was more likely to focus on issues directly relevant to that sector. Nonetheless, the core questions were touched upon in all the interviews. The broad purpose of the interview guide was several fold: 1) to discuss if and how the region's natural environment was (or was not) changing (e.g. experiential influences); 2) to get a sense of the overall knowledge, particularly causes, and concern levels surrounding global climate change (e.g. cultural models); 3) to identify the capacity and available resources to response to climate change impacts (e.g. sources of information, previous examples of social capital at work); and 4) to explore how the community may potentially adapt to or manage the impacts of climate change. This thesis was primarily interested in the first two components of the interviews. The research questions were formed in such a way so as to draw upon both experience-based responses towards change (i.e. by asking about locally observed changes) as well as more cognitive thought processes (i.e. through the cultural models approach with questions about causation) that address climate change as a broader concept. The operationalization of these components is provided below. 30 Operationalizing Cultural Models within the Interview Guide The interview questions were partially designed to account for the cultural model approach employed by Kempton et al. (1995) and others to understand climate change perspectives. This model is based on several techniques. Initially, questions are asked that reflect broader more generalized themes, and as the interview progresses, questioning become more succinct and specific to issues of climate change (Bostrom, 1994, p. 960). We were cognizant that the mentioning of climate change upfront would likely taint participants' responses. In order to avoid such a scenario from transpiring, most interviews would start with the interviewer asking the participant to describe any general changes (if any) they have observed in the surrounding environment — without the interviewer mentioning 'climate change' per se. Interviewers would then ask the participants what they believed was the cause of such changes. The next stage was initiation of a conversation on climate change specifically, if the term had not already been mentioned by the participant. For example, participants were asked to provide their own definition or explanation of climate change as though they were talking to an enquiring friend. Increasingly, questions became more and more focussed to specific causes of climate change (i.e. human activity versus natural variations, exact causal agents), and future scenarios (i.e. sea-level rise; more frequent, intense storms), the prioritization of climate change for the community and the individual, as well as potential response options or adaptations that they felt the community could initiate. Although not all of the interviews unfolded in this exact fashion, the majority of the interviews touched on these core questions. Operationalizing Experiential Influencers within the Interview Guide Interview questions aimed at obtaining experientially based influences on understandings were, not surprisingly, often intertwined with questions related to the cultural models (particularly when looking at previous and future impacts of climate change). The initial section of the interviews, however, was most geared towards obtaining personal observational/experiential data. In this section, participants were asked to describe general 31 shifts they have noticed or heard about, followed by more specific changes related to the weather, wildlife, fish species and the surrounding environment (e.g. the mountains). The focus of this section was on particular observations, local experiences, and community histories that have widespread resonance (e.g. childhood recollections compared to current observations, the tsunami of 1964). Because the questions were open-ended and loosely structured, this afforded respondents the freedom to direct how the interview unfolded based on their own experiences and what they felt was of significance, or likewise, of irrelevance. The Interviews Following the approximate 10 months of group meetings, planning sessions and endless streams of emails among the larger research team, the interviews took place during the summer of 2006. A team of three to four interviewers, complied of graduate student research assistants from the University of British Columbia and McGill University, executed the interviews. Each interview lasted approximately 1/2 hour to 2 hours depending on the engagement of the respondent and the amount of detail they provided. To my regret, I was unable to perform the interviews during these months. However, I did consult several times with two of the interviewers throughout the summer. They graciously provided their insights, detailed their struggles and successes, and asked for input regarding the direction of questioning. Once the interviews were complete, the data were transcribed verbatim by a transcription service. It was deemed necessary by the research team to hire professional transcribers due to the amount of time it would have required for the research assistants to transcribe the 160 plus in-depth interviews from all six communities (from the larger project). In the end, this was beneficial in that it allowed more time for analysis as well as the writing of additional documents, such as the community reports of the results that were drafted and distributed to each participating community. 32 Data Analysis: Coding Procedures Phenomenological Analysis: Borrowing Processes from Grounded Theory Phenomenology may not necessarily be considered by all to be a concrete method in and of itself, but more so a philosophical approach to guide the methodology, since it tends to lack definitive processes for analysis per se (Wimpenny & Gass, 2000, p. 1486 — referencing Wilkes, 1991; Taylor, 1995). However, the in-depth interview is considered the primary method of data collection within the phenomenological tradition because the researcher is able to elicit participants' personal narratives, probe for further descriptions and illuminate emerging ideas/conceptions related to a given phenomena. The data for this thesis, therefore, predominantly took the form of detailed descriptions in the form of quotes, which were used to convey the experiences of participants. In keeping with the phenomenological tradition, I had first immersed myself in the interview data with few preconceived ideas or categories of the findings, as espoused in the Husserlian tradition of 'bracketing' (see: Berg, 2004, p. 272; Walker & Myrick, 2006, p. 248). As a complimentary methodological tool, my phenomenological approach adopted some of the more precise processes found in grounded theory, wherein theory is built up through the data without the presence of firm hypotheses (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). For instance, in order to systematically assess the pages and pages of interview data, I employed an open coding technique during the initial analysis to extract the broad-based emerging themes — themes which were particularly unique to this sample population and location, and therefore undocumented in previous literature. This approach allowed for new theories, not just anticipated theories, to be discovered within the data. Such an approach also prevented the (initial) systematic seeking out of evidence to support a single pre-constructed theory (Walker & Myrick, 2006, p. 548). This technique was particularly useful when coding the first interview section that asked respondents about various local observations of change, which until this point, were largely unknown. During the initial exploration stage, I wrote memos and notes to help describe and 33 explicate emerging categories and themes. Following the open coding stage, more focused axial coding was undertaken to further make sense of the broader codes and link emerging categories to sub-themes (if relationship(s) appeared to exist). Selective coding subsequently took place, where I selected and focused on a few larger key categories. This later helped with the revision and verification of the emergent relationships and enabled me to elaborate on the larger, more prominent themes. Hypotheses and theories also emerged during this phase (Park, Cho & Seo, 2006, p. 241). In the tradition of grounded theory, there was a process of continued comparison during my analysis where I would go back and forth between the interview data and themes that were emerging. This helped to develop and refine my theoretical explanations of the data (Berends & Johnston, 2005, p. 374). Although phenomenology traditionally rejects engaging in hypothesizing, this thesis takes the position that such hypothesizing is ultimately crucial in order to explore and explain how people conceptualize abstract issues such as climate change through their everyday lives. Although this may be criticized as "muddling, slurring and blurring" methodological boundaries (Wimpenny & Gass, 2000, p. 1491), I believe that this is actually a strength in that I am able to highlight both newly emergent ideas and still reflect on previous theories in order to speak to their relevance for this particular setting and sample. Theory Testing As described previously, although I am following a phenomenological/grounded theory approach, I wished, nonetheless, to make sense of some of the interview data by testing preceding hypotheses in the literature. For instance, previous literature on cultural models of climate change have illustrated that models of pollution, ozone depletion, photosynthesis and weather were commonly used by the public to make sense of climate change. Because such models were often discussed and quoted in related studies, this thesis was keenly interested in inquiring into whether or not these pre-established cultural models, were emerging in the interview data, in addition to any new models that may be emerging as time has passed. This 34 thesis also sought to assess a previous finding that although climate change has some degree of resonance with people as a concerning issue, it is still not ranked as a 'top priority' issue. Also, I was interested in examining whether leaders were predominantly utilizing scientific explanations to explain impacts and causes of change, more experiential-based explanations or a combination in their everyday discussions of the issue. In addition, I wanted to examine the general role of experientially-derived (e.g. observational) influences in how they were shaping understandings and concerns towards climate change risks. For instance, many residents of Northern communities have identified long lists of visible changes that they have experienced that affect their everyday lives (Krupnik & Jolly, 2002). Although obviously very different from Arctic communities, this thesis has sought to assess how lower latitude island communities, in comparison, many also be sensing or experiencing shifts in local climatic conditions. Finally, social values, an important component of a cultural models approach, were loosely evaluated based on previous studies. Value stances, such as individualistic orientations or collective/egalitarian orientations, form unique models that may help people situate climate change and related issues. For example, if a participant refers to a phrase such as, "everything is connected," this may suggest a more 'pro-egalitarian' worldview in the sense that everything and everyone will be affected if the earth is not cared for; alternatively, if a participant makes a comment such as, "I won't stop driving my car," when asked about potential response options to climate change, this may be coded as a 'pro-individualistic' worldview. Other key value stances, based on religion/spirituality, anthropocentrism, or biocentrism as shown by Kempton et al. (1995) were also loosely coded and analyzed (p. 87). A more detailed discussion of the role of various values is provided in Chapter Three. Presentation of Data As described above, this thesis has utilized a combined phenomenological/grounded theory approach to analyze the data. It was not the goal of this thesis to make broad 35 generalizations or provide definitive numeric evidence for the data, nor was it my intention to compare the data against scientific findings of climate change. The larger aim was to draw out the nuanced detailed descriptions of various understandings of climate change. For the most part, detailed quotes and phrases form the backbone of the data (Berg, 2004, p. 270). It should be reiterated, however, that this thesis has not attempted to provide definitive appraisals of good versus bad climate change knowledge (Kempton et al., 1995, p. 117), nor has it sought to offer definitive adaptive management practices of climate change as a final goal. Rather, it has attempted to situate climate change related conceptualizations within the larger cultural matrix of the communities under study, which it is hoped, will shed light onto future concrete response efforts. Verification of Data Following my analysis of the data, it was important to engage in a process of verification in order to ensure that my conclusions were consistent with the data and that they were not tainted by some form of bias. This process is not always straightforward, particularly since I employed a phenomenological approach for the analysis where typical modes of verification are not generally employed. For instance, "the goal of phenomenology is to describe the universal structures of subjective orientation in the world, not to explain the general features of the objective world." (Luckmann, 1978, p. 9). Morrison et al. (2002) noted that there is "no simple test or assessment that can confirm the validity of an interpretation" (p. 26). Yet, some procedures can be taken to help with the verification process. For instance, I wrote detailed memos and notes during the data collection/analysis stages to express initial reactions; kept track of initial biases and opinions that could have contaminated the data; found alternative explanations and attempted to look through other lenses to explain outlying themes / perspectives; asked the other researchers and the research assistant who conducted the interviews to check my interpretations of the data; and last, I was cognizant of certain interview data that were especially vivid to ensure that they did not overly sway my conclusions. In 36 addition, a tabulation of the frequencies of the various themes, although not intended for generalization, was conducted and was useful for my own verification of the emergent results. In the final analysis, however, it was not necessarily crucial to have captured all of the potential perceptions or beliefs that may have been discussed. Rather, as Morrison et al. (2002) put forward, data verification is ample if the researcher can "...provide a reasonable description of the world of the people you have studied from their perspective(s)..." (pp. 26-27). Strength and Weakness of Methods One of the primary strengths of this thesis, in terms of its methods, is that it was situated within a larger UBC study. Because of this occurrence, it had the unique advantage of being systematically designed and executed by experienced faculty who have extensive experience in qualitative research as well as previously forged relationships with the communities under study. Nonetheless, this was also somewhat of a problem for the analyses here, as I had less influence in the exact methods undertaken and the precise direction of the interviews than if I had carried out my own data collection. For instance, the specific questions and particular probes used for the interviews were somewhat different than if I had designed the interviews. Although this was not a major concern, I might have emphasized somewhat different issues, or further probed into some topics that were brazed over. The interviews, nonetheless, were conducted in a very professional, ethical and systematic fashion, and succeeded in capturing the core data. As previously noted, while I was involved during the initial research design, preliminary interviews and the data analysis/community report writing phases, I did not conduct the core interviews myself. Since I will be analyzing the data based on a phenomenological approach, this presents some difficulty. However, it has also been a hidden benefit. For instance, although I was kept informed of the progress of the interviews by the research assistants, this 'distance' afforded me a fresh perspective on the interview data during the analysis phase, and allowed me to look at the data from a different standpoint than if I had been heavily immersed in the communities. Nonetheless, in terms of researching a First Nations 37 community, there are always ethical issues surrounding the historic 'taking' of data by outside researchers as well as an underlying fear of inadvertent misappropriation of knowledge (see: Nadasdy, 1999). To partially combat this inherent weakness, the interview data was diligently assessed and coded with the goal of allowing the voices of participants to shine through, and respecting their unique local views and knowledges. In addition, as part of the larger parent project, community reports were drafted and distributed for the communities to allow community leaders to have the summary results. With the assistance of the Principal Investigator, I also hope to provide the Tseshaht Chief and Council as well as the Port Alberni City Council a copy in order to allow for their feedback. And last, this is an enormous research topic. It was difficult to incorporate all of the themes to the extent originally wished. Therefore, although adaptive response efforts form an important component in climate-related research, I necessarily needed to narrow the scope of this thesis, and thus, my analysis mainly focussed on the conceptual side of the climate change issue, with less emphasis on detailed adaptation initiatives. 38 CHAPTER III CULTURAL MODELS OF CLIMATE CHANGE: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PLACE-SPECIFIC, EXPERIENTIAL KNOWLEDGE A Review of Related Research Science/Cognitive-based Research: 'Information Deficit' A review of the frequently sourced studies that have examined people's understandings of climate change quickly reveals that much of the literature is predicated on science-based perspectives, as opposed to other modes of knowing (see: Moser & Dilling, 2004, p. 32; Stamm et al., 2000, p. 219; Kempton, 1997, p. 20; Bostrom et al., 1994, p. 960; Ibidun, 2005, p. 119; Bord et al., 2000, pp. 205-207; Read et al., 1994, p. 979). Over the past 15 years, an evolving mass of research has suggested that the level of "lay" or public understanding of climate change is limited and laden with misconceptions (see: Stamm et al., 1998; Kempton, 1997; Bostrom et al., 1994; Read et al., 1994; Ibidun, 2005). For instance, although there is widespread recognition of general environmental problems and people can easily point out instances of such (e.g. smog), the public often fails to make the links to specific causes, consequences and solutions. Previous studies have demonstrated that the public point to a variety of (mostly incorrect) primary causes of climate change — everything from CFCs to general pollution to religion/superstition to CO2 (Bostrom, 1994; Ibidun, 2005; Moser & Dilling, 2004: 33; Fortner et al., 2000). Some climate change studies have assumed that a linear conceptual path predominantly shapes people's knowledge of climate change. For instance, Stamm et al. (2000) broke down the various elements in what they believed comprised an "understanding" of climate change: causes, consequences and solutions (pp. 221-222). They mapped out the different stages of engagement that people may have with climate change, and traced a linear path from: an initial starting point (stage zero) of unawareness of the issue, to the first stage where there is general recognition of the situation, to the second stage where there is either acceptance or rejection of the situation as a problem, to the third and fourth stage where there are thoughts and 39 identification of solutions (pp. 221-222). This approach, however, fails to appreciate the many contextually interacting social and cultural factors that may also influence climate change thinking, rather than the more abstract thought processes assumed to take place. Cultural models have been employed extensively in past research to explain how ideas about climate change are formed. Kempton et al. (1995) explained that conceptions of climate change are not formulated through the passive acceptance of new information, instead they are formed through a process of enmeshing new information with previously held, perhaps more accessible or widely recognizable ideas surrounding the environment, such as general pollution or ozone depletion (p. 85) (see: Bostrom et al., 1994, p. 961). As a consequence, an intermingling and conflating of conceptions between a depleting ozone layer and climate change have been found. Kempton et al.'s (1995) study revealed that people often assumed climate change was a result of or exacerbated by ozone depletion (p. 67). They explained this by a couple of factors; for example, that the ozone depletion issue emerged prior to the climate crisis, and thus allowed people to merge the latter issue with the former, and that CFCs play a causal role in both environmental crises (however, CFCs play only a "...tertiary or lesser..." role in causing climate change compared to its primary role in ozone depletion) (pp. 66-67). In a similar vein, Read et al. (1994) examined "educated laypeople" using a cultural models approach to explore whether differences could be found. Findings yielded a mixture of both correct and incorrect beliefs regarding the causes of climate change (p. 971). Nonetheless, the authors' conclusions firmly point to a core deficiency in people's acknowledgement of the role of fossil fuel combustion and its subsequent production of CO2 as the primary cause of anthropocentric climate change (p. 979). Anthropologists have extensively used this cultural models approach to explain, situate and organize many different types of knowledge, yet, it appears as though the particular approach employed by Kempton et al. (1995), Read et al. (1994) and Bostrom et al. (1994), among others, has failed to prioritize, or even acknowledge, the place-specific, local knowledges in their explanations of people's climate change conceptions. Rather, their 40 approach has focused intently on aspects of causation and correct/incorrect inferences of climate change as an abstract issue, and has espoused a disproportionate emphasis on scientific knowledge as the basis of "accurate" understandings (Leiserowitz, 2006, p. 46). This has had the effect — albeit unintended — of exuding an air of condescension as the researcher assumes the "expert" role. It is not that their approach is necessarily wrong or that it does not hold any value or relevance; rather, I would argue that their approach is simply not asking the right questions for this thesis — the possible core questions that involve the contextually engrained knowledge of the environment by an intimately mindful resource-based community. Although the aforementioned cultural models approach does address the "interplay of culture, cognition, and society" to a certain extent (Kronenfeld & Hedrick, 2005, p. 817), it has largely neglected to genuinely consider other forms of knowledge in their application. My deployment of the cultural models approach is more aligned with other anthropological executions of this model, as shown by Atran et al. (1997, 2002) and Borchgrevink (2002), in which explanations of causation may still be examined, but with local cultural knowledges forming the focal point of the analyses and explanations of such views. In Atran et al.'s (2002) application of cultural models, Indigenous knowledge was shaped by intricate, complete models that acknowledged people's long-term close connections with nature, rather than being presented as the fragmented bits of knowledge often described of general others. Such models of knowledge are inherently bound to experiential elements that are constituted "'in the world"' that shape people's lives and cultures (see: VanWynsberghe et al., 2007, p. 282). The cultural models approach that I operate from underscores the various linkages and associations that people draw upon in their discussions and conceptions of climate change. This approach employs Kempton's (1997) definition of cultural models as its point of departure, wherein cultural models are described as: "conceptual models of fundamental ways in which the world works that are shaped by most of the people in the culture" (14). It diverges somewhat from previous executions of the approach, however, in that my cultural models approach highlights the ways in which people build associational relationships between place-specific, 41 sometimes seemingly unrelated, elements as a way to make sense of climate change. Although issues of causation do play a role in my analysis, they do not form the backbone of my cultural models approach. My execution of the approach is more intent on discovering and explaining the complex contextually derived connections that leaders rely on, at least partially, to form their understanding of climate change. The privileging of scientized or expert rational has also been located within broader environmental risk frameworks. For instance, the notion of modern environmental risk, as exemplified in Ulrich Beck's (1992) Risk Society, was seen as a by-product of industrialization and as increasingly "unavoidable, unlimitable and unattributable" (Eden, 1998, pp. 425-428). Such risks, according to Beck, are no longer apparent through our normal bodily senses, which have fostered a new dependence on expert knowledge (Beck, 1992, p. 27). Although Beck attempted to democratize knowledge surrounding environmental risk by stating that "sciences' monopoly on rationality is broken" (p. 29) as a result of the "erratic and unpredictable" (p. 27) character of new risks, he nonetheless maintained that people must still appeal to scientific rationality in environmental claims-making (p. 71). Eden (1998) criticized Beck by pointing out that this approach continued to exclude other knowledge forms, such as aesthetic or cultural reflexivities (p. 428). Ungar (2000) described how the pubic has become ever-more reliant on experts to understand climate change (p. 297) as illustrated through the complex computer modelling associated with climate change projections: "Ignorance in this context is not just a presupposition, but a social fact that can be deduced, observed and explained" (p. 298). The notion of the 'Knowledge-Ignorance Paradox', a concept of Martin Bauer, speaks to this perceived growing incidence of uncertainty as information grows exponentially, both in terms of quantity and complexity (Ungar, 2000, p. 298). Although it is not always explicitly stated, many of the aforementioned studies that focused on public misconceptions of climate change, also tended to implicitly point to the `information deficit model,' which has been used to explicate the public's lack of climate change knowledge (Ungar, 2000, p. 298; Sturgis & Allum, 2004, p. 57). In this formulation, the public is 42 framed as "'deficient', while science [is] 'sufficient"' (Sturgis & Allum, 2004, p. 57). It has also been postulated, although perhaps over-simplistically so, that without the scientific facts necessary, people resort to their own "mystical beliefs and irrational fears" to make sense of environmental risks (p. 57). Following this logic, greater (expert) knowledge is needed to counteract such ignorance among the populace. Many of such cognitively-oriented studies often point to the need for better education or more effective communication delivery techniques to the public (see: Bord, 2000, p. 216), rather than looking at how people already understand climate change. I shall repeat: although these stances are not incorrect per se, the framework underlying this thesis seeks to challenge the elements of the 'deficit model,' to demonstrate how other forms of knowledge and reasoning are just as critical as `scientized' ways of thinking, and perhaps even more so in a localized context where climate changes will be particularly visible (see: Wynne, 1996; Eden, 1998, p. 428). Climate Change as Lacking Priority Using a somewhat similar tone, other studies have shown that, even with the periodically amplified attention that climate change has received through media coverage of international conferences such as the Kyoto Protocol (Krosnick et al., 2000, pp. 253-254) and unusual weather events, such as noticeably hot, dry summers (Bord et al. 2000, p. 205 — referencing Ungar,1992), climate change has largely failed to register as an enduring core priority for individuals, and that few behavioural and institutional changes have resulted (Robinson & Gore, 2005, p. 112: Leiserowitz, 2006, p. 46). In terms of risk perception, a series of opinion polls conducted on the American population have found that even though climate change did resonate as a "reality" and as a potential serious threat for the majority of respondents, only half felt that they understood the issue "well" or "very well" (Fortner et al., 2000, p. 128). In a similar vein, Leisorowitz (2006) cited a number of previous American polls that have also shown that even though vast proportions of 43 Americans, since 2000, were: cognisant of the climate change issue (92%); perceived it to be "real and already underway" (74%), acknowledged the scientific consensus on the issue (61%) and expressed it as "a somewhat to very serious problem" (76%), that the U.S. public had, nonetheless, failed to seriously prioritize the issue. This idea was reinforced with the ranking of the environment as 1 6th on a Gallup poll of key issues facing America. Furthermore, climate change then ranked 12 th of 13 environmentally concerning issues (Leiserowitz, 2006, p. 46 — referencing Dunlap & Saad, 2001). Such lack of urgency or prioritization was not isolated to the general American public, but it was also found, to some extent, among planning professionals in Canada's North. A recent survey conducted with planning professionals in the Yukon found that although there was noteworthy concern about climate change among local planners, most community plans still did not reflect an awareness of the issue and/or only sparsely addressed it (Meurer, 2005, p. 48). General Limitations of Previous Studies The series of findings cited above are important in that they capture the mood of the populace and a sense of the lacklustre attitudes held towards climate change. Nevertheless, for our purposes, there are several general limitations with the literature described above. First, the majority of the available studies on this topic describe the views of the American public — a perspective that may or may not directly translate into the perspectives of Canadian communities that have different social, cultural, economic and historic identities. Second, many of the studies are now well over ten years old (e.g. Kempton, 1995, 1997), and likely becoming outdated or inconsistent with current views and priorities. Within the last year, for instance, climate change has registered among the Canadian public as a top priority, in which it ranked number one above healthcare and security on national polls (Laghi, 2007, p. Al). As such, it is important to have a more recent account of Canadian perspectives, and specifically, the perceptions of resource-based communities. Third, not all, but many of the previously described studies used quantitative closed-ended survey instruments, which restricted the individual 44 voices and the detail of the responses of how people identify and associate climate related risks. The aforementioned studies have largely neglected to focus on why climate change has failed to endure as a priority. In response, this thesis has attempted to dig deeper to produce the "thick descriptions" of thoroughly nuanced conceptions of climate change (see: Geertz, 1973, pp. 3-30) Experiential-based Research: Local Knowledges Although many studies examining climate change conceptions have focused on the "deficit model" and have employed a science laden approach, of critical importance to this thesis is the research that addresses the role of contextualized knowledge in helping people make sense of climate change as a 'human' issue that is experienced and lived through daily life (e.g. Cruikshank, 2001, 2005; Parlee et al., 2005; Krupnick & Jolly, 2001). Many studies have shown how personal experiences, local observations, shared histories, and cultural values have strongly influenced conceptions of environmental risks and climate change (Weber, 2006; Leiserowitz, 2006; Bulkeley, 2000; Krupnik & Jolly, 2002; Lorenzoni & Pidgeon, 2006, p. 73-75). It has been found that knowledge based on first hand experience, rather than abstract data and statistics alone, have often been more profound in affecting people's perceptions and behaviours (Lorenzoni & Pidgeon, 2006, p. 73-75; Epstein, 1994, p. 711, 719; Leiserowitz, 2006, p. 47). The role of local knowledge, or commonly referred, traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), is increasingly important in gaining a fuller, more complete understanding of local conceptions of climate change (Bowers, 2005, p.149), and has been gaining increased recognition over the past two decades. Bowers aptly described the value of TEK as it pertains to climate change knowledge: Indigenous experts in global climate change have been tracking subtle shifts in the flora, fauna, and weather patterns where they live. They notice subtle changes in the flavour of the meat from the animals they raise and hunt. They track variations in the migration patterns of birds, and changes in crop robustness. Their intimate knowledge of their land and environment, coupled with a strong oral tradition that preserved knowledge form earlier times, offers insights into global climate change that Western 45 science simply can't replicate. TEK is a cumulative and dynamic process that builds upon collective wisdom, practical experience, and adaptation to change (p. 149). Cruikshank (2005, 2001) is also tremendously useful in shedding light on the role of local knowledge, particularly indigenous oral traditions as an integral contributing perspective for understanding global environmental change. For Cruikshank (2005), local knowledge can be thought of as "tacit knowledge embodied in life experience and reproduced in everyday behaviour and speech" and legitimate in its own right (p. 9). By tracing a link between narratives of the "Little Ice Age" (1550-1990) and current climate change, Cruikshank portrayed the contested meanings of glaciers and how they have been differently interpreted and framed by oral histories on one side, and scientific narratives on the other, and yet, how they "collide in unexpected ways in contemporary discussions about climate change" (2001, p. 378). This perspective is crucial for this thesis because, just as Cruikshank emphasizes glaciers as "social spaces" (2001, p. 390) with historic and cultural relevance, the landscapes surrounding Port Alberni and the Tseshaht may also embody similar qualities that shape experiences and understandings of environmental change. Cruikshank (2005) cautioned, however, that local knowledge should not simply be seen as a parallel to scientific knowledge that can be seamlessly "systematized" or synthesized into scientific knowledge and resource management. Weather, for instance, is experienced throughout a lifetime, not as recorded "data" in the precise scientific sense, and thus is not automatically transferable as such (pp. 250-256). This insight is crucial. Although my analysis inescapably incorporated some cognitively-based elements (e.g. by examining perspectives surrounding causes of climate change), I was conscious of the way in which I analysed the two perspectives together. For instance, local observations were not simply validated or invalidated based on previously confirmed scientific data; rather, local observations, histories, and experiences were acknowledged on their own and as complimentary perspectives to other potential ways of knowing. 46 Parlee, Manseau and Lutsel K'e in Berkes et al. (2005) also provide valuable insights into how the perspectives and experiences of Indigenous peoples were important in how they understand ecological change (p.165). Their findings demonstrated how the Cree and Inuit of Western Hudson's Bay employed long accumulated ecological indicators to signify shifts (or declines) in the surrounding environment. These signs have been described as "the voices of the earth that are always talking to us" (p.165). For instance, important signals of overall health and abundance in animals, waterfowl and fish were based on patterned annual observations of various conditions: "If large numbers of birds are using the same staging areas and migration routes each year, it is a sign that the birds and the land are healthy." (p. 171); conversely, if the "caribou [are] arriving from their fall migration with shorn or broken legs [these] are signs to Elders that development activities in region, including roads and other structures, may be negatively affecting the caribou" (pp. 170-171). Underlying these understandings of the environment are integrative cultural values such as notions of interconnectivity between humans and the land (p. 173). The importance of values and worldviews in shaping climate change understandings will be elaborated later in my analysis. In a similar vein, accumulated research presented by Krupnik and Jolly (2002) in The Earth is Faster Now, also illustrates the importance of Indigenous observations of climatic change in the Arctic, and the various indicators drawn upon to make sense of related changes. For instance, the recent decreases in off-shore multi year ice — ice that has accumulated during at least one "full summer melt" — has signalled a change in seasonal conditions to many residents (p. 109). People recounted how the ice used to remain all summer long and related changes to their own personal experiences: Used to be ice close by most of the summer. Now you see ice in June, sometimes part of July. After that no ice. A few miles out from Sachs we used to hit ice in our boats. In June, twenty miles out hunting seals in open leads we used to go (p. 109). These local, experiential ways of knowing change are reflections of how climate change can be constructed and interpreted in many ways, and how it is sensed socially and culturally, not just scientifically. This thesis hopes to extend this knowledge base, but also wishes to acknowledge 47 that local knowledges are not solely restricted to First Nations communities, as the above cited literature may seem to suggest, but may also be found in other communities that have long histories of close ties with the land, even though such knowledge may be qualitatively different. The above cited research, although theoretically very applicable, is not necessarily directly transferable to the communities in British Columbia, which are very different from Northern communities in both history and culture. Since warming is occurring at a much faster rate at northern latitudes compared to lower latitudes, and impacts are likely visibly different and perhaps more intrusive on daily life. Observations and acknowledgement of climate change may also appear more pronounced for residents of Northern Canada, where melting permafrost, for example, has been described as one of the biggest threats to Northern communities, since it is effectively destabilising entire community infrastructure (Natural Resources Canada, 2006; Meurer, 2005). All communities face unique issues and embody distinctive perspectives; thus, my analysis focuses on the numerous place-specific indicators and types of understandings that are drawn upon by local leaders to make sense of global climate change and its potential local impacts and risks. Following in the footsteps of the previously reviewed literature, my analysis incorporates elements from both the experientially-derived models as well as the (adapted) cultural models approach. Other social-psychological influencers may also play subtle roles in shaping the various perspectives, and thus I do not want to rule them out entirely, but they will only be reviewed in a footnote for the sake of brevity' ' Other Theoretical Perspectives: Social-Psychological Influences on Understandings Although the theories below will not be operationalized within this particular thesis, I want to briefly include them to provide a context. There are a growing number of social-psychological theories that may also help us to understand the factors that influence pro-environmental attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. Research examining environmental awareness and concern took hold in the 1970s with Dunlap and Van Liere's inception of the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP), which portrayed a shift in worldviews towards an ecologically-oriented paradigm from the previous industrial-oriented Dominant Social Paradigm (DSP), characterized by anthropocentrism and a greater trust in science, technology and ideas about progress (Dietz et al. 2007, p. 189; Olsen, Lodwick and Dunlap, 1992, pp. 62-65). Since then, numerous social scientists (more recently, those from psychology) have employed instruments to explain pro-environmental propensities; many of which have also shown an interesting disconnect between environmental beliefs/attitudes and subsequent behaviours. Such theories include: Schwatz's harmony value dimensions; Inglehart's postmaterialist theory; Ajzen's theory of planned behaviour; temporal orientation theory; Castro's social representations approach; trust (e.g. acceptance of govemment policies); and of course, socio-demographic variables (particularly education and age) (for a complete discussion see: Castro, 2006, pp. 250-253; Dietz et al., 2007, pp. 188-191; Oreg and Katz-Gerro, 2006, pp. 462-468). 48 Before we move to the analysis of the findings, I would like to reiterate my use of the cultural models approach. My execution of the approach, as described earlier, is centred on examining the ways in which people build associational relationships between place-specific, sometimes seemingly unrelated, elements as a way to make sense of climate change. These relationships then act as shared reference points, which may help to mould and guide the consciousness of the community around a given issue. Although issues of causation certainly arise within my analysis, they do not operate as a focal point of my cultural models approach. Overall these theories may be more suited for the study of general pro-environmental attitudes, concerns and behaviour, rather than the thick, detailed accounts of local "understandings" of climatic shifts. I do not wish, however, to rule out the potential that some of these theories may hold for providing additional explanations into emerging perspectives. For instance, temporal orientation theory may be relevant if visible signs of climate change have not yet "appeared" and resonance is low, which may indicate a lack of future- oriented thought. Theories of trust may become important, particularly with the scars left by colonialism when speaking with First Nations leaders about government initiatives. Also, postmaterialist theory may have some resonance for a community that has their material needs satisfied and thus have shifted focus toward non-material, quality of life values; conversely, for a community struggling with economic and social pressures, thinking about the environment and potential future climate change impacts may be considered a luxury, and thus pro-environmental propensities may be less prevalent. 49 Analysis of Interview Data The remainder of this chapter will examine the core themes that emerged from the community interviews. Each community will be analyzed independent of the other based on the first core research question. 1. How are community leaders making sense of global climate change in terms of its local impacts, causes and risks? a. What types of cultural models are being used to explain environmental changes, and do they compare to other previously identified cultural models? (e.g. air pollution, ozone depletion, photosynthesis, weather); and, b. How are various experiential influences being used to make sense of climate changes (local observations, experiences, histories) compared to more "scientized" explanations? Following the examination of each community's central themes, a comparison and discussion of the findings will follow. This discussion will lead into Chapter Four in which the second core research question will be addressed. During the initial open-coding process, over a dozen core themes were identified. Some of theses broader topics were coded into the following categories: 'historical context'; 'general environmental problems'; 'local impacts/observations of change'; 'economic context'; 'climate change talk'; 'climate change causes'; 'scientific rational'; 'experiential rational'; 'ozone depletion cultural model'; 'recycling cultural model'; 'tsunami cultural model'; `protected/isolated'; `priority/lack of priority'; 'changing attitudes'; and 'values'. Following the identification of such larger themes, I proceeded to analyze the themes based on their connections with one another. Many of the above themes are extremely interlinked and often discussed in conjunction with one another. 50 Port Alberni Findings Context, Context, Context: The Intersection of Climate Change with Broader Community and Environmental Issues During the coding of the Port Alberni interviews, a core set of themes began to emerge. These findings illuminated the underlying mind-set of the community and the place-specific information that was playing a crucial role in the shaping of community perceptions towards climate change. In general, climate change was, at least partly, understood within the wider context of the community's broader environmental, socio-economic and historic landscapes. All of these contextual elements seemed to be extremely interwoven, and almost impossible to entirely separate within the interviews. As a result, there may appear to be some overlap in my analysis of the themes, although I have attempted to minimize redundancy as much as possible while still addressing the interconnections. Forestry and Climate Change Forestry was once the lifeblood of the Port Alberni economy, and even today, continues to play a noteworthy economic and social role. It is not surprising, therefore, that general environmental problems in the community — overwhelmingly related to logging — often coloured people's broader perceptions of environmental issues and provided an overall reference point of good versus bad environmental practices and topics of concern. This operated as part of a cultural model due to the extensive linkages made between climate change (and seemingly unrelated) issues of forestry, which preceded and formed an important component of how the community related to environmental issues more generally. As discussed in the methods section, most interviews commenced with questions regarding any locally observed changes in the surrounding environment, and then turned to a specific conversation on climate change as an issue. It was not uncommon for the participant to weave back and forth between a discussion of general local environmental changes (e.g. boil water advisories) and more climate related changes in the surrounding area (e.g. fewer snow days). For example, one participant, an involved leader in the Alberni Environmental Coalition, effortlessly transitioned from talking 51 about perceived poor logging practices (e.g. accelerated clear-cuts) in the Beaver Creek area that s/he described as leading to a plethora of environmentally detrimental effects such as erosion along the river, increased sedimentation with the winter rains, and subsequent boil water advisories, to a conversation about changes in local weather events in terms of increased "rain on snow events" in the winter, which were said to be smothering the local hatchery's fish eggs (PA 101, p.1-2). Perceived changes in forestry practices and changes in local weather were easily organized and thought of under a rubric of generally expressed "extensive changes" in the local area (PA 101, p.1). Similarly, another leader revealed the conceptual imbeddedness of climate change under the umbrella of other local forestry issues. For instance, in one breath, s/he transitioned from talking about the turmoil of the local forestry industry to the crisis surrounding the mountain pine beetle in the British Columbia Interior, and the need to start planning around these interrelated issues: ...I mean already the forest industry is in such a turmoil here right now that, just because of over harvesting and the changing of mills to suit, and just the export timber and everything, I think that the Ministry of Forest needs to get serious about what's happening here, that, you know, even the stuff like the mountain pine beetle we're in the middle of kind of a crisis with that... (PA 113, p.4) Not unlike other leaders, this participant drew on a wide range of issues from peak oil, to impacts on the tourism industry, to turmoil in the forestry industry, to the mountain pine beetle epidemic, to the need for local agriculture as opposed to cheap food from elsewhere. These often very different issues all intermingled within the participant's conception of the issue. S/he even underscored this point directly: "...these things don't operate in isolation of each other, as one part of the ecosystem goes down, it affects a lot of other things too..." (PA 113, p.4) Salmon, Identity and Climate Change The previously mentioned leaders were certainly not exceptional in expressing this view. Other participants also continuously built bridges between non-climate and climate-related issues. Thus, another community leader, in the sports fishing sector, emphasized the centrality 52 of the sockeye runs in the surrounding river-lake system as one of the features that gives Port Alberni its expressed identity as the Salmon Capital of the World: There's 24 kilometres of river here in the Great Central and Sproat, and 40 million salmon fry and adults...And that's why we call ourselves the Salmon Capital of the World... the most salmon per kilometre of river any place in the world. (PA 204, p.1) Although the commercial fisheries play a less pivotal economic role today than previously, the salmon are still critical for the sports fishing and tourism industry, which attracts much needed external dollars. It also represents a cultural icon and distinctive identity for the community at large. For instance, a commemorative salmon sculpture and fountain can be found in the Harbour Quay area beside the inlet and speaks to its broader symbolic pervasiveness. Thus, it was not unexpected that this leader quickly and seamlessly turned from discussing the importance of salmon locally to the observation and concern for increasing river temperatures and its impact on the salmon: But our concern is— right now, the Sproat River's 23 degrees Celsius, the Stamp River's 22 degrees Celsius and sockeye don't survive much above 21 degrees...It's a problem (PA 204, p.1). Without prompting, a leader from City Council also identified this bridge between identity and climate change threats: ...1W]e are concerned because salmon is big, you know, we're probably-- we're the Salmon Capital of the World here. So they bring in millions of dollars and we're concerned with water temperature. We're really concerned. We see the mackerel coming in now... (PA 301: p.1) Issues revolving around the salmon, particularly the economic implications of reduced returns, were certainly at the forefront of many leaders' minds, and a climate change link was easily made; thus, a cultural model surrounding salmon viability and identity was forged. Although, there was notably hesitancy to blame climate change alone (as opposed to, or in conjunction with more 'cyclical' variations as well as forestry induced changes) that were believed to also potentially be causing such increases in water temperature. This theme of 'uncertainty' will be further elaborated in the section examining perceived causes. 53 Recycling and Climate Change Another contextually relevant, albeit unexpected, cultural model that encompassed general environmental concerns and connected to climate change, was recycling — or the lack of an established community wide curb-side pick-up program. This theme was repeated throughout a number of interviews, and was often intertwined with a discussion of climate change and the community's ability to address the issue. Recycling operated as part of a cultural model of climate change in that it was intertwined with the wider community values, and served as a continuing symptom and reflection of the industrial history of Port Alberni. It shed light on a perceived lack of community wide concern for environmental problems generally. This model symbolized, at least partially, the factors preventing momentum around the climate change issue. There was a voiced concern that if Port Alberni has thus far been unable, or unwilling, to adopt a comprehensive recycling program, how could they possibly implement a climate change response effort? It was said in multiple interviews that the central concern of the municipal government was the economic, not the environmental, health of Port Alberni. As one leader expressed: "...I don't know how to put it nicely, but we have a history that does not lend itself to conservation..." (PA 113, p. 8). Similarly, an active Save Our Valley Alliance (SOVA) member also made the link between climate change and the lack of recycling in the community by conveying that Port Alberni was somewhat "behind" other communities in its political leadership with regards to environmental problems generally (e.g. recycling) and climate change specifically (PA 106, p.13-14). Even a locally elected official noted that the community has a general poor track record in terms of recycling and that "people are slow to change here" (PA 110, p. 5). This idea will be further developed in Chapter Four when I discuss current obstacles to successful management of the issue (e.g. apathy). In the meanwhile, it is essential to keep this historical identity and conceptual connection in mind when considering the social dynamics of the climate change issue for Port Alberni. 54 Local Clean-Up and Climate Change Interestingly, a number of improved general local environmental conditions were often evoked from people's memories when initially asked about environmental changes. The clean- up of the pulp and paper mill and the subsequent improvements to the air and water quality compared to previous decades was repetitively described and drawn upon in the interviews as examples of more recently heightened environmental responsibility. A leader from the Robertson Creek Salmon Hatchery described: Like, when we moved here in [the early 70's] the effluent from the pulp mill was just horrendous, I mean you'd wake up in the morning and your car would just be covered in black soot. Everything... They had car washes set up at the mill so you could drive through and clean your car up. (PA 104, p. 6) Another leader depicted how in recent years, the "rotten turnip smell" and effluent problems have substantially improved: ...for years you used to only be able to see a few inches into the water and now we have very nice water in the inlet instead of it being a coffee brown. (PA 103, p.3) Similarly, a leader from the economic sector, who recently returned to the community after many years, noted that the air quality had considerably improved over the past 30 years from his previous memories of Port Alberni: ...I live by the mill now and I had no problem buying a house right there. But 30 years ago as a kid, in P.E. we had to run right by the mill and I can hold my breath for two miles, I swear...and now I buy a house that if I could throw something, I could hit the mill with a rock and yet the air quality is not a problem at all (PA 208, p.3). Such clean-ups of locally produced pollution are commendable and likely the result of increased sensitivity towards such issues over recent years. Such associations also comprised a loose cultural model related to climate change conceptions; yet, interestingly, as I will consider later in my discussion of the data, this improved environmental state may be having an ironic counteracting effect in terms of not provoking a heightened sense of urgency or concern towards climate change as a locally pressing issues. 55 Economic Shifts: The Shadows of an Industry Town Throughout the interviews, many community leaders spoke about the general changes they have noticed over the years in Port Alberni. Many of these changes were related in some form to the local forestry industry and the accompanying economic shifts in recent years. These changes were often discussed in relation to the reduced economic viability or stability of the once prosperous forestry industry. Port Alberni, like many other coastal communities, has felt the tribulations of the boom and bust cycles synonymous with resource dependent communities. Most participants identified the rise and fall of the forest industry and the subsequent impacts on Port Alberni as a whole in terms of increased unemployment. The lingering post-industrial mindset and identity in Port Alberni operates as a significant feature in shaping perceptions around climate change. This will be further explored in my discussion of the role of the Clayoquot protest in shaping climate change conceptions. One community member described the meaning of forestry-induced changes for the community: Change is something people fight against but change is inevitable and as your economic situations changes, so does the community, and these communities go through their ups and downs and this community has been particularly prone to that. You know, if there was a glitch in the forest industry, we fell pretty low economically; if the forest industry was booming, we were booming... (PA 207, p.1) A large part of the forestry industry has been altered in Port Alberni either through mill closures, downsizing, technological modernization, job action, or the exportation of raw lumber - all of which has resulted in fewer of the once lucrative job supply. The plummet of the community from a high-income earning status to one that is now treading water economically was prevalent in leaders' minds. As noted by one informal leader: Certainly less of the wealth of the forest is staying in this town than it was in the '70s. When we came in the '70s, this was in the top-ten of wealthy towns in Canada. And now we're in the poverty-stricken bottom 25 percent. (PA 105, p.5) This altered community socio-economic status (i.e. falling tax base) has, partially, led to a perception that the municipal government has been favouring economic issues over sustainability concerns (PA 113, p.4). This is an important contextual mind-set of which to be 56 cognisant of in terms of how an environmental issue, such as climate change, has potentially been classified, which may influence how it is managed in the future. On the bright side, however, participants described that thanks to the historic "boom" cycles, Port Alberni's infrastructure and services are impressive for a community of its size, and that housing prices have remained amazingly affordable relative to the increasing costs experienced by other parts of the island and province (PA 113, p.4). In response to the less viable primary sectors, in recent years, tourism has been more intently pursued as an alternative; yet, the tourism industry is still heavily predicated on other natural resource sectors, such as salmon sport fishing. With this transition, Port Alberni is now, almost ironically, trying to promote and market its splendid surrounding natural landscape, which invariably lends itself to conservation efforts as opposed to harvesting efforts. For instance, one leader from the Port Authority aptly explained: ...the visitors and people coming here, come here because Vancouver Island and British Columbia does offer something unique. I'll show you a brochure afterwards that we are marketing for Cruise BC...it's a marketing brochure, but what are we selling? We're selling the environment...So, absolutely, if the fish don't come up and the whales and birds in the air don't migrate-- really this isn't a marketing brochure based on sustainable tourism, but at the heart of it, you step behind [the] images--in the picture...we're saying, 'Come to British Columbia, come to Vancouver Island, come to our unique, wonderful communities, and look at the pictures, they're trees, water, animals—[interviewer asks: No pulp mills?] No. (PA 208: 6) History as Ever-present: Tsunamis and Clayoquot Protests Cultural Model of Tsunamis Cultural models of climate change are not formed in isolation to the historic conditions of the time. Pivotal historic moments can mould the consciousness of a community and can act as a reference point (i.e. cultural model) for even seemingly unrelated issues. One of the most intriguing cultural models that emerged time and time again throughout the interview process when discussing climate change was the depiction of the tsunami that hit Port Alberni in 1964 as a result of an earthquake off the coast of Alaska (see: Appendix B for pictures). Even the 57 Port Alberni museum has, on several of its walls, a prominent display of pictures, personal stories and the retellings of the 1964 event that, even today, reverberates and evokes detailed personal narratives or depictions of the shared community narrative that has presumably been passed down to younger generations and newcomers over the years. Although there is no causal connection between global climate change and non-climate events such as earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis per se, and climate change, as we know it, did not create the 1964 tsunami, it curiously was repetitively referenced with regard to future planning for climate change. This occurred even though people do recognize it not as a climate related phenomenon (PA208, p.11). This cultural model of tsunamis usually emerged when interviewers queried about the future management of specific climate change scenarios, such as sea level rise and extreme weather, should they occur. Repeatedly, many voiced that Port Alberni had once experienced a tsunami several decades prior and would then go on to describe the incident: We live on an inlet here so increasing sea levels or change in that is going to have a huge impact on our community... Yeah. And this community's been hit by a tsunami. [interviewer: I've heard, yeah.] And there's just, you know, since the tsunami hit over in-- a couple years ago, there's been far more consciousness of it. (PA 201, p.11) Similarly the tsunami was discussed by a city councillor within the framework of enhanced community awareness. As a result of the incident, an emergency preparedness plan was put into place, and recently, new signage has been erected to increase awareness in the community (PA202, p. 5). This leader illustrated the event in detail: Oh yeah, and they're certainly prepared for a tsunami here, and down on River Road there are tsunami warning signs, so you know, if there is a tsunami, head to higher ground... Yeah, in '64. No one was killed or anything like that but it caused a couple million dollars worth of damage. It basically flooded-- what happened was, it was three waves, and what happens with a tsunami is that the wave is building on the outside over here, so if this is Port Alberni and this is the inlet [motioning], then the wave draws the water out of the inlet and makes the wave bigger as it comes down. And then there's another smaller wave and another smaller wave that comes in after that... (PA 202, p. 5) Because this associational relationship was so prevalent — it was spontaneously mentioned within at least 15 of the 23 interviews — it may be a useful, familiar frame of reference to draw 58 upon if trying to broach future climate change impacts, such as sea level rise, as a noteworthy local issue. Due to the vividness, pervasiveness and shear power of such an event for a community, this cultural model may have had the effect of making people more aware or perhaps even partial to environmental events that are extreme in nature and difficult to grasp, unless experienced personally or through the narratives of another. Because of the cultural memory of the tsunami that underlies emergency planning/preparedness, it may have created a more authentic connection, or at least concrete visualization, of how Port Alberni could be affected by increased instances of extreme weather events and/or global sea level rise. Cultural Model of Clayoquot Protests (early 1990s) The economic transition in Port Alberni has been accompanied by subtly shifting levels of awareness surrounding issues of the natural environment as well as subsiding frictions between environmentalists and forestry workers at large. This often described attitude shift appeared to go hand-in-hand with the economic swings, as vast unemployment took hold and people were forced to see that forestry, as a whole, was becoming less financially (and environmentally) viable and sustainable than previously believed. One leader detailed this shift within the context prior to and following the Clayoquot protests: I mean, when we first started here, people would tell me that they could make more money than I could at the college by going down and working in the mill. Why do you need an education?...And so this town has gone from having, what, six or seven thousand, probably, people in the logging industry to probably less than a thousand now. And so... it's been a major change. And we came here shortly before Clayoquot-- ...Yeah before the Clayoquot issue arose. And people were absolutely against environmentalists, absolutely. And basically fought the people on Clayoquot tooth and nail. So it's interesting now to see them embracing people like Adrian Carr [former leader of the B.C. Green Party]... (PA 306, p. 4) There were likely also shifting perspectives in the community due to the changing demographics. Nonetheless, due to the events surrounding the Clayoquot protests during the early 1990s, which pitted environmentalists against loggers and jobs against trees, one participant described how issues surrounding "the environment" had left a fowl aftertaste in the 59 mouths of many Port Alberni residents. Although such tensions were said to be increasingly subsiding, this was an important consideration, which may have influenced wider current viewpoints towards a large-scale, highly publicised environmental issue such as climate change. To provide some background of the environmental protests of 15-20 years prior, in 1988, just outside of Port Alberni, the aptly named "Carmanah Giant", a 95-metre-tall Sitka spruce tree — prized as the tallest of its kind in the world — was discovered by an environmentalist, Randy Stoltmann, just as the area was slated to be clear-cut by MacMillan Bloedel. This, perhaps, marked the start of a mass effort by environmentalists to save the surrounding old growth forests of the Carmanah Valley near Port Alberni as well as other locations on Vancouver Island and elsewhere in the province. During this time of amplified timber harvesting and protests, and not far away along the west coast of Vancouver Island, the eminent Clayoquot protests of 1993 were staged to stop the proposed logging of the cherished Clayoquot Sound old-growth rainforests, which would have been largely logged and processed by Port Alberni workers. Within this timeframe of a few years, many protests were staged and much tension was built up between the duelling sides. By 1994 both the Upper and Lower segments of the Carmanah Valley were granted protection through the formation of a provincial park (Hessing, 2003: np). Likewise, Clayoquot Sound had a moratorium placed on logging, and since 2000, has received enhanced protection as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, although some parts still remain unprotected to logging today (Friends of Clayoquot Sound, 2007: np). This place-specific cultural model surrounding the protests was particularly important for Port Alberni and similar communities, where an issue such as climate change is more than just another issue. For some, it resonated more deeply or evoked memories of past environmental conflicts and tensions, which sharply divided the community. This cultural model signifies the importance of appreciating contextual factors in implementing a community climate change plan; for instance, it would be important to fully understanding the lingering effects of this historical event in order to appeal to those who may have continuing resentments towards 60 `environmental' issues generally and who may have become "leery of outside people" as a result of the Clayoquot events (see PA 301, p.4), as well as those who have since crossed-the- floor and have become more amicable towards environmentally-oriented issues as a whole. Observations of Change During the coding of the interview data, one of the most prominent themes that became impossible to ignore was the abundant usage of specific local observations and experiences of changes in the weather, aquatic species and the surrounding landscape, as one of the possible ways to relate to climate change. Below I have presented a summary and discussion of the most prominent and frequently mentioned experienced transformations that possibly relate, in some form, to climate change. Where Has All the Snow Gone? Anecdotes of Warming Winters A significant number of leaders spoke vividly about the diminished amount of snow that Port Alberni has received in recent years compared to decades previous. This in turn acted for many as a signal of increasingly milder winters and a tangible impact of climatic changes on the local landscape. Interestingly, such discussions of milder winters were often initiated prior to the formal topic of climate change being broached by the interviewer. Leaders told many stories about being able to ice skate, downhill ski and sled during the winters of a past era. Many reminisced about their childhood winter experiences, or that of their children, and some spoke of the spirited family fun skates that once took place in the community. Interview after interview, participants told about how the many surrounding waterways were no longer freezing; how snow days were increasingly being replaced by rain or sleet days; how the snow pack was receding on surrounding mountains; and, how the beloved local ski mountain, Mount Arrowsmith, was now closed and only a vague memory from twenty years prior. The quote below conveys the experience of warming winters: 61 ...in the seventies, it snowed every winter, not for a long time but it did snow and freeze...so this would have been a generation previous and frequently the temperatures were very cold there and the Serita River would freeze and Nookams Bay would freeze, right on the ocean, and that would never happen, never, never, so there's been a significant change in, just in terms of temperatures and seasons dynamics... (PA 106, p. 11) In a similar vein, one leader from the municipal government spoke about how the local waterways would no longer freeze. This participant repeated this occurrence over and over again, possibly to emphasize the vividness, or perhaps the sense of loss associated with this change. For many people these experiences were personal and were cemented as family and community-wide memories: They say that years ago, well, a good many years ago, you could get parts of the canal freezing. I mean, a lot of lakes that used to freeze when my kids were skating don't freeze anymore; you've got to go up higher. It's all the low lakes that don't freeze in the winter. We used to have a slough out behind us, but-- I've go a photograph of my son skating on it thirty years ago. Never freezes now, doesn't freeze now, no. So, obviously it's not as cold as it was. (PA 110, p.3) Another important theme related to the recent experience of milder winters and reduced snow with the closure of the Mount Arrowsmith ski hill, the highest mountain on Southern Vancouver Island. Many participants recollected how, in the past, they enjoyed downhill skiing on the mountain each winter, but how the climate was no longer conducive to skiing conditions: This past year I think we've had maybe one major snow fall, and I can remember when I moved here back in '78, well there were five feet of snow piled up in front of my house. And what's happening with the Arrowsmith Mountain, it was one of the better ski mountains on Vancouver Island, and now they don't ski there anymore because there's not enough snow...so the snow up there was good until about '85, so for the last twenty years they've gotten some snow, but not enough to open the hill. The chalets and stuff have all gone, just been demolished. (PA202, p.2) Although a website dedicated to the history of Mount Arrowsmith only indicated that the ski facility's closure was due to failed business attempts (Mount Arrowsmith, nd), many leaders attributed its closure to the lack of snow in recent years. For instance, one leader from the Regional District indicated that the snow pack levels had been noticeably receding and that 62 snow appeared to be sitting on the mountains for only six months of the year compared to seven or eight months of the year of previous times (PA 203, p.2). This same leader continued on the same note, and recounted, ...If I recollect, thirty years ago we had small streams and lakes that would get iced over, and we had family fun skates, and that doesn't happen anymore. That hasn't happened in fifteen, twenty years. There is no more outdoor skating. No more outdoor skating. (203, p.2-3) The repetition of the phrase, "no more outdoor skating," denotes a sense of emotional attachment associated with this local transformation, which may in turn have a more profound effect on how climate change is conceptualized. Warming Waterways — Salmon and Invading 'Southern' Species A connection was often made between climate change and increasing stream and lake temperatures — although often with some caveats. One leader drew a direct connection between what were perceived as hotter summers and warming water temperatures: Just long periods of very hot weather. So that results in a rise in the stream temperatures, which is very bad for salmon. (PA 101, p.2) As briefly described earlier, many conveyed concerns that the warmer water temperatures could be leading to lowered overall salmon catches, increased incidents of invasive species (e.g. mackerel), and altered migratory paths northward, all of which could negatively impact the local fishing industry. These climate related issues may also be compounded by other detrimental impacts on the salmon catches, such as over-fishing, clear cut logging near neighbouring streams, fish farm problems (e.g. sea lice), and leaching chemical residues from farming activity. Nonetheless, several people went into great detail about the low catches and the possible connection to the warming waters, but also emphasized the surrounding uncertainty: Fish are up and down. This year's stock, I think they went from 500 000 pieces, so I think they're down to 320 000 pieces, so they don't know what is happening with the salmon run or the sockeye out there right now. But it could be the warmth of the water, health, and all that, you know, there's things about nature that we don't even understand ourselves yet. (PA 202, p.1) 63 Others leaders spoke about the potential negative connection between the warmer water temperatures and wider economic issues with the local tourism industry, which had been increasingly pursued as an economic alternative to the once prosperous forestry industry. A large portion of--and I used to work in fisheries so--a large part of our tourism-based activities [is] fish related. And just to give you an example, right now sockeye season is coming to an end at this point for this year... and we run a campground and it's half full at the moment because the climate--the middle of summer it's half full. Why? Because people come here to fish. So things, let's say, climate change, water, warmer temperature, all those things that impact fish, aside from El Nino years and all the good stuff, yeah, it has a huge impact. (PA207, p.6) Another leader from the municipal government also raised the climate change issue in relation to the potential negative economic consequences, which are potentially large, and have already been felt in previous years: Well, if the temperature of the water increases, that's really going to affect us. Because they'll cut off our sports fishing. That's about a hundred million dollars. That's a quick one. That's an easy one. You can see that fairly quick. And we've seen it, you know, with fishing in the inlet here. Not this year because we've had lots of snow pack and high waters. But two years ago, we had a really bad-- the fish that went up to spawn weren't in good shape. They had lots of disease and this type of thing because they were in the warm water too long in the inlet.(PA 301, p. 4-5) Accompanying the warmer water temperatures and changing ocean currents was also a change in aquatic life. For instance many people described the remarkable presence of mackerel and tuna, both of which were considered foreign, "southern" fish. This movement of new species into the area was said to have had a noticeable effect on the food chain, and could impact the many native species that people are tied to both culturally and economically. Now, whether this was the result of more prominent El Nino years (e.g. 1997-98), people were unsure. However, a connection could potentially be drawn between climate change and increased frequencies of El Nino events and extreme weather, in which wind and water currents have been altered (Field, et al, 1999: 9). One leader commented on this potential problem as it related to Port Alberni's changed fishing rhythms: 64 We have had more frequent El Nino events in the last ten years, which create a problem for salmon. They bring predators up from the south to the Alberni Inlet, the ocean current, the oceans are warming up so you get more northern migration of predation like mackerel and hake, which pretty much decimate our Chinook runs. (PA 104, p1-2) Likewise, another leader noted the new variety of aquatic life in surprise: And there have been sea turtles up here and stuff like that. And so, it's not what you expect and it's different and it changes the food chain, but it doesn't have to, you know, it doesn't have to be negative. (PA 204, p.2) Although the above quoted leader relayed an air of optimism at this occurrence; for many, the presence of foreign aquatic species seemed to evoke more frustration, confusion and dismay. For example: We caught four mackerel this morning in our sockeye fishery up here in the inlet. Now mackerel-- down in Mexico, you catch them they're worth $2 U.S. each for bait fish for marlin. [But] up here we just, you know, mackerel, and we all get all frustrated, 'what do we do with this?' (PA 204, p.2). The acknowledgement of such place-specific views is crucial, and will certainly influence how potential climate change impacts are dealt with or adapted to in the future. Dying Cedar Trees Another unique place-specific theme that emerged within several interviews was the vivid observation of dead or dying cedar trees or branches. Some participants were unsure of the cause, while others directly attributed the dying cedars to the hot summer temperatures. One respondent commented that people were already thinking about the impacts of warmer conditions on the cedar. "People say that the cedar is probably going to be one of the first ones to go because it isn't a species that can tolerate change in temperature..." (PA113, p.2) A few leaders, particularly those representing the traditional environmental voice of the community, have put a great deal of thought into whether cedar will be a viable species in the future. One leader detailed how the lowered precipitation levels during the summer months were leading to increased summer die back of the cedar. There was voiced concern about how 65 the surrounding forests would look in fifty years time if the local climate continued to warm: "...Is [the cedar's] climate so narrow that maybe...with a few degree shift we may move out of being a suitable cedar area?" (PA 106, p.12). Surprisingly, one leader, an organic farmer, described how, over the years, s/he has stopped planting cedar in favour of more drought resistant varieties, an intriguing adaptive strategy: We plant Douglas fir and have over the years planted cedar. But in the last, oh, couple of years, we've changed our approach and instead of planting cedar, we plant redwood now — the California species, because my observation is that the cedar trees are dying because of the water tables are dropping because of global heating. And I guess there's-- at least the supposition there's more of a chance for the redwoods to survive here and even the Ministry of Forest, their global heating exerts say that it's unlikely for cedar to survive in the valley beyond the next 50 years. (PA 105, p.3) It is clearly evident that people are making a connection between climate change and local conditions, such as the viability of the local cedar species. This connection, for some, was so profound that they were already making early adaptations to better suit the changing conditions. Summer Heat? When community leaders were asked about any noticeable changes in local weather patterns, one of the topics raised was the scorching summer heat. A few people commented that the summer temperatures felt hotter and dryer than they remembered. For instance, one resident explained, ...And certainly the heat in this valley, the hot weather. Not last summer but the summer before, and this summer is much, much worse. It was up over 40 in the valley here last week. And everything is dry, the forests are dry, the earth is dry (PA 101, p.2) One 'civic' elder in her late 80s described what she believed to be unprecedented heat: I don't think I ever remember such a long, dry spell as we have now. On my apple trees the leaves are all turning brown no. I've got the sprinkler on them now (PA 205, p.2). This observation was interesting since it was coming from someone that has lived in the community through all the seasons for almost a century. I wish, nonetheless, to interject a 66 critical analysis of this observation of intensified summer temperatures and the contradictory remarks surrounding it. These observed changes have some contention surrounding them, since most leaders commented that Port Alberni has always been very hot in the summer, and that the current temperatures were no different from any other year. One individual, for instance, indicted that Port Alberni has habitually been a B.C. 'hot spot' during the summer months and did not see a warming trend (PA 105, p.3). In addition, the interviews were conducted during a notably hot week in July when the heat was difficult to ignore. This may have potentially influenced perceptions than if the interviews had been conducted during a different week or season. There may also be an element of "the good old days" operating, where people remember the past in a different, perhaps more optimistic light than it actually occurred. I do not wish to discount the accounts of the previous two community leaders, and they may in fact be `correct' in their observations. I am, however, simply trying to dissect how such contradictions can take place within the data, when the other local observations of change have been considerably more uniform. Nevertheless, one of the noteworthy elements of this perceived concern over the hotter summer temperatures — regardless of whether, in actually, it had been warmer than previous eras — is that the connection between climate change and warm summer temperatures seemed to have trickled into a previously 'anti-environmentalist' sector (e.g. economic development and the forestry industry). One leader in this sector, for example, commented that: ...certainly a concern in some other stakeholder groups that I sit on is that the, you know, the one in fifty year dry summer will become more like the norm. There was just something in the paper today about how a whole pile of rivers in British Columbia are at their lowest flow on record, or lowest flow in the past twenty years, and a concern is that, is that going to happen more frequently? (PA 206, p. 3) Another participant, working within the realm of economic development, indicated the following: We know that climate affects our forest industry, for example, there's probably no one in the bush right now because it's just too hot, and they probably haven't been there in a month and a half. Can't log in weather like this. (PA 207, p.4) 67 It is important to note that climate change, as an issue, may have the greatest resonance when it directly impacts the "pocketbook" of the community (e.g. logging and fishing activities), and where there are tangible consequences that reverberate through wider everyday life. Compared to past environmental claims and issues, climate change is somewhat distinct in that it has the capacity to affect everyone regardless of their attitudes and beliefs. Garden Insects and Forest Infestations: External Events Fuelling Internal Unease Although less prevalent compared to the above outlined changes, one observation that was mentioned by a couple participants was the shifting nature of insects in people's personal gardens as well as an awareness of beetle infestations elsewhere in the province. One participant indicated: "...I think of...the insect infestations, the new insects that we're seeing in our area here. People that I talked to that have had gardens for many years say, 'well we've never seen these kinds of insects before."' (PA 101, p.3). Several others also made reference to concern over infestations, such as the mountain pine beetle, as they related to local temperature shifts. There was a subtle fear conveyed that something similar could take shape on Vancouver Island — even though the region has very little old pine; it was voiced that perhaps other tree varieties — spruce, hemlock, fir — could be affected by outbreaks or disease. No frost is great for me, other than it doesn't kill the wasps and, you know, the little bugs and stuff that you used to count on getting killed by that. Maybe we'll have a pine beetle problem with no frost to kill the pine beetles...lf the pine beetle adapts, hey, we're running out of pine—yeah, lets go to spruce or hemlock or fir, yeah. (PA 204, p.4) Another leader in government echoed similar concerns and connected it to the centrality of forestry for the region: "...And there's good trees in this area. We're concerned about global warming, what kind of disease is going to come in and this type of thing." (PA 301, p.2). Although it is uncertain how well founded such concerns are (which in all likelihood, would not affect this region directly due to the negligible number of old lodgepole pine trees), it was still worth mentioning that people were making a connection between external impacts of climate change, such as mountain pine beetle, and related it to local future forest concerns around 68 disease. It was entirely possible that such connections have been made because of the very well publicized and overwhelmingly visual impact of climate change on the forests in the Interior (and now elsewhere), in which entire forests of old lodgepole pine have, since 1993, turned into a blanket of red dying trees — an event of epidemic proportions for many in those regions, and one that may genuinely resonate for a community that is similarly dependent on the forests. One resource manager from the Ministry of Forests talked about the growing concern around infestations as it related to climate change and other issues, and how the Chief Forester had spearheaded the Future Forest Ecosystems Initiative: So they're thinking about things like five different impacts on ecosystems: fire is one of them, climate change, infestations of bugs and all sorts of critters, impacts of change in climate and the changing impact of infestations and changes, possible changes to species acceptability on certain ecosystems. So if the climate's going to warm, what will happen to species and how do we plant them if the climate's going to change over time... (PA305, p.7) Many climate change concerns, it seemed, were in part fuelled by events happening in other parts of the province, nation or world. This was salient in that climate change, as a concept, did have resonance around external issues as well. Although locally experienced changes appeared most predominant in people's minds as an indicator of environmental change, many, when asked about climate change generally, also visualized and depicted the impacts of climate change occurring elsewhere in the world — as close to home as B.C.'s annual forest fires and mountain pine beetle epidemic, to far away droughts in Africa, melting polar ice caps in the Arctic, and other well known events such as Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans (e.g. PA 105, p.7, 21-22; PA 101, p.3; PA 204, p.5; PA 205, p.3). Future Concerns It has been projected that increased global temperatures could produce more varied and extreme weather events as well as a rise in sea level partly due to melting polar ice caps; thus, it was important to ask community leaders to reflect upon such future projections. One of the 69 most central concerns related to the future of the salmon runs. One leader effectively summarized his/her apprehensions: The community is basically an industry-based community, with logging and fishing and just getting into tourism now...lf the fish stocks are decimated by predators then that is going to have a pretty detrimental effect on, on the fishing industry and the tourism dollars created by the fishing industry. I guess the other problem would be the food source for the fish migrating to the ocean. If the climate changes their life cycle and pattern, then it changes our salmon's life cycles and patterns. If affects their size and their survival. It also affects their migration patterns so who is to say it has... (PA 104, P.3) Although I will not go into greater detail on this particular point, since the issue surrounding the salmon was detailed in an earlier section, it is nonetheless crucial to stress the significance of this species, particularly economically, for Port Alberni. Another, perhaps interconnected, future concern was related to issues surrounding dropping water tables if hotter drier summers become more commonplace in future years. From the perspective of a representative from Catalyst Pulp and Paper, this could pose potential problems for the mill's effluent discharged into the rivers, which would become far too concentrated with lowered water levels and subsequently affect the salmon. When this leader was asked how climate change may affect the industry in the future s/he responded: Yeah, okay, a couple of things come to mind, one is this river, and the Alberni Inlet support a number of very large salmon fisheries, and, we-- our mill discharges its effluent into that same receiving environment. We've done a lot of things with treatment etcetera to minimize our impact, but certainly a concern in some other stakeholder groups that I sit on is that the, you know, the one in fifty year dry summer will become more like the norm. There was just something in the paper today about how a whole pile of rivers in British Columbia are at their lowest flow on record, or lowest flow in the past twenty years, and a concern is that, is that going to happen more frequently? Big impact, potentially on returning fish. Potentially an impact on us with a lot more focus on our discharge in terms of saying, okay, your impact is very, very minimal at normal flows, but at lower levels, is that going to impact the fish? (PA 206, p.3) 70 In keeping with the theme of future forest related impacts, others described the possibility of increased shut downs of logging activity if temperatures continued to increase during the peak summer months (PA 104, p.3). In addition, the potential for rising sea levels was another future climate change concern voiced by several leaders, particularly since there is notable infrastructure located along the waterfront: Well, I mean obviously, we're living on the ocean, so if the sea level is going to change then we need to recognize that. I actually own a piece of property that's not too far from the water down there, and I kind of wonder about that ever once and a while, and I'm above where the water line is going to be but the development down below me, like Harbour Quay and the mill and all that, we're talking 30 to 50 years that could be all underwater. (PA 113, p.4) The representative from Catalyst also noted that sea level rise could pose a problem for the plant, which is located on the waterfront; yet, conceded that such long term issues were not foremost concerns and were easily overshadowed by the dismal financial state of the industry (i.e. that Catalyst has not made a profit since 2001) (PA 206, p.5). Exception to the Rule: Few Changes Here Almost no one indicated that the local environment had been static or unchanged over the years. Although it was a rarity, it is important to note, nonetheless, that not every participant indicated that they had observed significant changes. For instance, when one respondent was asked about possible changing migration patterns of fish, s/he responded: "No we haven't. We tracked them quite extensively and we mark a high percentage of our fish and track them through to Alaska and back so they haven't noticed any migration problems. Especially in the Chinook." (PA 104, p.3). When asked about changes in weather patterns or vegetation s/he similarly responded: Well we've been tracking weather since, for about 50 years now. Daily recording all the weather and, to be honest I don't see a huge change, personally. There could be, I don't know...Seems just as hot now as it did when I started [laughs] (PA 104, p.2). 71 Others earnestly indicated that they had seen changes in some areas, but not in others: "So in terms of vegetation and that, I haven't really noticed that much of a change in the things over 25 years. I haven't really been keeping track, I think I've heard more about changes in other parts of the country than here..." (PA 113, p.2). The individual went on to say, "And you ask me, well, in Port Alberni is anything happening yet, and the answer is, well, it's not very obvious." (PA 113, p.5). Although these two leaders may be 'correct' to some extent, it may also be possible that some of the changes are quite subtle and difficult to recognize. This may also be the case for people who were not actively involved in the primary sector or outdoor activities. It should be noted that this view was quite unusual in that the vast majority reported extensive changes in the surrounding landscape. "Protected" Against Climate Change Some leaders felt that the Port Alberni area was insulated or protected against climate change impacts by virtue of its location. For instance, it is located at the end of an inlet, nestled among the mountains, and accustomed to normally temperate weather conditions with overall sufficient precipitation. One leader from the sports fishing sector, seemed to be quite knowledgeable about climate change generally, but felt that Port Alberni was insulated from any extreme changes: Yeah, but, you know, and a two degree Celsius across the board as an average temperature increase around here is not going to have a, you know, monster effect... we just don't, you know-- weather extremes, dust or a big heavy rainfall, sometimes a good windstorm, but nothing, you know. So I think we're somewhat insulated from some of the damage that's going to happen elsewhere in the world if these models come to be. (PA 204, p.5) Nonetheless, this leader acknowledged the impact that climate change will have on the local sockeye salmon if action is not taken: "And so 40 years from now, if we didn't do anything, we most likely wouldn't have any sockeye. That's just a reality" (PA 204, p.5). This contradiction within the mind of one individual, nicely demonstrated how certain elements of climate change 72 may not resonate at all (e.g. extreme storms), but other impacts (e.g. warming waters, decreasing salmon stocks) undoubtedly do. As I initiated earlier, perhaps due to this sense of geographic isolation from large polluted urban centres and from sites of extreme change or weather (e.g. the Arctic) as well as a perception of enhanced environmental condition in Port Alberni, some people may feel more protected from environmental problems than previously. This model could backfire as people feel increasingly comfortable in their improved environmental state, and thus are slow to respond to incoming climate change impacts or information. Although this is just my 'reading between the lines' of the data, this connection was drawn in several interviews. For instance, one leader in a planning role depicted how climate change was seen as less of a day-to-day priority and curiously streamed into a conversation about improved local air quality: ...there hasn't been—you know, at our day-to-day development, things that are coming up, [climate change is] not a thing that's coming up because we're too small. We don't see-- we don't have, like our air quality here is dramatically better than it was 25 years ago and that's simply because of the improvements that the industry has made to their facilities. Like massive improvements. Like I wasn't here but, you know, the things that you hear about, you know-- fly ash used to come out of the paper mill to the extent and land on people's cars and it was a problem... But 25 years ago or whatever it was, that's the way it was. But we don't have-- so the air quality here and the improvements in the quality of the inlet, when I talk to people who have been here for that amount of time, they say it's dramatically improved... So where some people in other parts of the province might be saying, 'Oh, things are getting so much worse,' things are probably dramatically improved here from an air-quality point of view and a water quality point of view. (PA 303, p.5-6) Although I am extremely cautious to draw a firm causal connection between improved local environmental conditions and an increased sense of protection or lack of urgency around climate change, there is an interesting intermingling of the two ideas, which may require further pondering and explaining. 73 Causes of Climate Change: Old Cultural Models and New Apart from the exceptional case or two, an overall awareness of local environmental change was obvious. One important enquiry raised during the interviews surrounded the question of causation. In order to appreciate how leaders were conceptualizing climate change, it was important to understand what they perceived the cause(s) of the aforementioned observations to be as well as broader sources of global climate change more generally. One important question related to whether the local changes were the result of natural cycles or human actions. Uncertainty: Certainly. Overall, most leaders conveyed a mixed response and perceived climate change to be caused by some combination of both natural (i.e. cyclical) dynamics as well as human-induced factors. The various rationalities underlying these beliefs were contextually informed. Interestingly, even amidst the many, often passionately stated, observations of local changes, there was a pervasive hesitancy to directly point to anthropogenic factors as the unequivocal cause of such changes. Scepticism surrounding climate change could be found among a number of participants. For instance, one leader commented: "So is the issue as big as you think it is? No, I don't think so. But there's definitely changes happening" (PA 103, p.7). Intriguingly, even with the amount of uncertainty or disbelief surrounding the plausibility of global climate change acting out locally, no one obscured the idea that humans have created major alternations and disturbances to the surrounding natural environment. Clear cuts, often at the forefront of participants' minds, coloured discussions of general environmental changes and climate change. One involved citizen commented: "...you just have to open your eyes and look around and immediately you see the clear cuts all around that are surrounding us. Huge clear cuts, both on crown land and on private land." (PA 101, p.1). As indicated earlier, local clear cuts have drawn much attention in recent years, as could be seen with the Clayoquot protests, but they have also acted as a visible reminder of the forest industry's (i.e. human) impacts on 74 the surrounding physical landscape. Because of such clearly observable changes on the region's forests, created at the hands of human activity, it is comprehendible that people were not hastily ruling out the idea that climate change could also be a human-induced phenomenon. Previous Cultural Models: Ozone Depletion, Respiration/Photosynthesis, Pollution, Weather As illustrated at the beginning of this chapter, previous research has found that various cultural models have been drawn upon by 'lay' people to make sense of a complex issue such as climate change (see: Kempton et al., 1995; Kempton, 1997). We will now consider the presence of such models of climate change held by the population interviewed in Port Alberni. The cultural model of a depleting ozone layer, a commonly referenced model used to explain people's (mis)conceptions of climate change, was sparsely drawn upon and only surfaced in four of the 23 interviews. For instance, one leader from the salmon hatchery indicated: Global warming means I get a sunburn a hell of a lot faster than I used to. You know, instead of it taking an hour and a half or an hour or whatever it used to be now you're down into the 20 minute zone. And that's what global warming means to me. (PA 103, p. 7) Contrary to previous uses of the model, the few people that did refer to a depleting ozone, did so within the context of a perceived intensity of heat from the sun (e.g. being able to get a sunburn much quicker than previously), and most – apart from one – did not make a connection to CFCs or pressurized cans as a cause of climate change; if anything, the traditional conception of this model was reversed in that one leader confused the burning of fossil fuels as the cause of ozone depletion, rather than CFCs. For example, when asked about climate change, one participant commented: The global warming situation—I'm originally from New Zealand and when you go down there, that's when you really see what's happened to the ozone layer. There's no question that that's impacted their climate and their way of life, drastically. And it's getting—I've noticed the sun is hotter here now. And that's obviously as a result of, you know, it's more able to get through to us and it burns. It burns a hell of a lot more 75 than it used to. It's our use of fossil fuels. We're just burning it up faster than we can...(PA 307, p.10) Since the vast majority of leaders interviewed in Port Alberni did not refer to the ozone layer, or the few that did only referenced it in this adapted form, it may be fair to conclude that for this community, the traditionally stated conflation between the ozone layer and climate change is fading and becoming outdated, or at least operating as a transformed model. Another often previously cited cultural model in the literature was related to photosynthesis and respiration. This model was described by Kempton et al. (1995) as an incorrect model in which people believed that deforestation was raising CO2 levels by exhausting the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere for humans to breath (p. 68). This cultural model was entirely absent from the community interviews, and only quasi-emerged in one case, when an elected leader talked about the growing problem of asthma among children and related to climate change as a possible cause. This, however, was in no way a resemblance of the model illustrated by Kempton et al., since the leader referred to it only in passing as a more general concern regarding the health and activity levels of children in recent years (PA 203, p.2). Weather, as a cultural model, was also cited by Kempton et al. (1995) as a frequently drawn upon model to understand climate change. Cultural models of weather, as Kempton et al. established, were poorly conceptionalized among their sample, and they almost seemed to smirk at the idea that people could grapple with global climate change through their own experiences and observations of weather patterns. For instance: "It is effectively impossible for laypeople to accurately discern a climate trend from their own causal observations of local weather" (Kempton, 1995, p. 81). Since their monumental study, however, conducted between 1989 and1991, great transformations in the world's climate have taken hold, and observations are becoming increasingly observable and certainly plausible in many parts of the world, perhaps even Port Alberni. 76 Cultural models of weather, as they were drawn upon by the Port Alberni's leaders, were very much based on people's intimate histories with the community, connections to the environment, and numerous experiences spanning many years and sometimes decades. A large proportion of the leaders have lived in the community since the 1970s, and were able to cite a long list of observable changes, in not just the weather, but also the landscape, aquatic species and plant life. I purport that this should not simply be written off as idle talk or incompetent 'lay' evidence; quite the contrary, this can often be the most valuable form of knowledge, in the sense that this local information will be crucial in the establishment of a larger working framework to successfully address important changes in the coming years. Additionally, such knowledge may be vital in order to appeal to the larger community and obtain widespread 'by-in'. The fourth, and final, cultural model cited by Kempton et al. (1995), general pollution, was employed more often, especially as it related to the context in which leaders considered humans' broader influences on the environment, such as the pulp and paper mill effluent or the previous air quality problems in Port Alberni. Sometimes leaders talked about particulate matter in comparison to greenhouse gases in the sense that the former was easier to comprehend or visualize compared to the later (PA 106, p.10). For the most part, however, people did not identify the specific causes of climate change to be 'general pollution', rather the majority recognized the role of fossil fuel burning due to industry, home energy usage and/or vehicle usage and were able to identify the role of greenhouse gases (e.g. CO2). Unlike many of the previous climate change studies examining people's conceptions of the causes of climate change, most of the leaders interviewed expressed "correct" responses to this often posed causal question. For example, one leader, when asked to identify causes of global warming indicated flat out: "Greenhouse gases...human-induced, yes...I do believe that it's since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, I mean you can see it on the graphs." (PA 101, p.3). It is important to note that many leaders were very knowledgeable about the scientific data surrounding the primary causes of anthropogenic climate change. Although some of the 77 previous models were still sparsely in use (e.g. ozone depletion); overall, it appeared that the leadership was well informed and cognisant of the general connection between greenhouse gases and global climate change. The 'New' Cultural Model: A Coalescence of Broad Scientific Rational for Causes, Experiential Rational for Impacts The rational used for explicating the specific causes of climate change was often predicated on scientifically-derived rationalities based on the notion of fossil fuel combustion and other activities that generate greenhouse gases, when not clouded in an underlay of uncertainty. Many leaders cited government sources, local scientific data (e.g. from the local fisheries), science and planning journals, and/or other scientifically-based information sources (e.g. IPCC reports) as well as newspapers (e.g. Globe and Mail) and television (e.g. the evening news, Discovery Channel), to explain such causal connections and interject information about mitigation-oriented responses, such as increasing density, energy efficiency and alternative energy (PA 302, p.7). Several leaders, for instance, used scientific reasoning to describe the supposed causes of the changes. Well, just about every form of energy usage that we use in Canada and we use a lot of energy here, now granted, a lot of energy in B.C. is hydro electric power, so I'm not sure if the grid itself is responsible for as much as it could be, obviously increased development, population pressure and so on is going to put a lot of pressure on that. The question is, where are we going to get the new energy from and how much are we going to involve ourselves in the conservation of energy? But certainly the CO2 of internal combustion engines from vehicles is huge, in B.C. I would say it's a lot of automobiles, a lot of trucks, somebody once said that trucks are warehouses on wheels. We used to transport things by rail... (PA 113, p.3) This participant went on to describe their energy efficient vehicle, upgraded household heating system and other measures that s/he has personally taken to reduce their household's energy usage. This leader was somewhat unique in providing a full 'correct' model of the causes of climate change. Although many leaders would generally identify the automobile, industry and greenhouse gases, most leaders hesitated, as described earlier in the chapter, and conveyed 78 their uncertainty and speculation surrounding the exact causes of their locally observed changes and/or climate change more broadly (i.e. natural variations versus human induced changes). Some leaders indicated that increased El Nino events was a possible contribution to the warmer periods and the recent changes experienced, yet still conveyed a sense of uncertainty as it related to a larger pattern of global climate change: It seems like it's almost cyclical, every 7 years or so. So it was unique in the mid-90s when they had two years consecutively. That was quite unique. And I guess there is, over time, it's going to be worse. That's what you get when it warms up a bit... Yeah I wouldn't know what the main cause would be. Something we can or cannot do, I don't know. I guess a little of an increase in temperature creates different wind patterns and you get the, more equator-type movement of air that brings warmer temperatures up and the high pressure we've been experiencing is all from the south so. (PA 104, p.2) This leader, like several others, did not specify the precise role of fossil fuel combustion or CO2 specifically as part of his/her model. It seemed that many leaders were aware of general causes of climate change (vehicle-usage, industry and/or ineffective land use practices), but that this was conveyed more in passing. Many were more heavily focused on the specific changes on the environment, than on taking a firm stand on the fully detailed information regarding the specific causes of climate change (e.g. PA 201, p.4; PA 206, p.7; PA 301, p.9; PA 302, p.5; PA 303, p.7; PA 305, p.3, 8: PA 307, p.2-3). Information guiding leaders' understandings of climate change came from many contextually relevant sources as well. Some leaders relied primarily on sources such as their personal experiences with nature and some drew upon information from fellow well-informed community members. Overwhelmingly, experientially derived rationale was employed to describe, situate and explain the many changes occurring. Personal anecdotes, as can be seen throughout the above analysis, were widespread. To my surprise, some leaders even directly addressed the importance of acknowledging and incorporating local knowledge, and even stated that such accounts of the environmental were often undermined in the face of 'scientific' 79 data. For example, a leader from the sports fishing sector described how place-specific indicators of a good Coho season were connected to the number of jellyfish in the area: ..there's an old-time fisherman from Bamfield, [name], fished for years and years, commercial fisherman. And he would tell us whether it was going to be a good Coho season by how many jellyfish there were in the water in the spring. And he said, "it's always been the way fishermen-- if there was lots of jellyfish, there was lots of Coho. Fisheries and Oceans, when you talk to the biologists, they've never ever made that [connection]. They tell you how many jacks went up the river or the sea-surface temperature or the sea salinity and they make their estimation on Coho. And he says, `Well, that doesn't do you any good. You gotta see how many jellyfish there are.' And I went to a couple of meetings years ago and said, you know, 'Well, did anybody notice how many jellyfish there are?' [They asked:] What's that got to do with the salmon?' I said, 'Well, old time fisherman 40 years in Bamfield says that's how he tells whether he's going to have a good Coho season or not,' you know, so there's interrelated things in the food chain and in the world that we haven't ever been able to-- and the trouble is we focus-- sometimes focus too tightly on one thing. (PA 204, p.7-8) Intriguingly, this leader spoke of the way management needed to better integrate local fishing knowledge, and even indicated: "I think the common local knowledge is sometimes better than all the science" (PA 204, p.9). This particular leader indicated that s/he has spent a great deal of time talking with the local people to find out what was occurring, changing and new in the area. This was a very valuable interview in that it portrayed the sometimes marginalized view of local knowledge. Values as Shaping Understandings The role of widely shared values should not be underestimated as a potent influence on how people make sense of climate change. Values can be seen as the focal point of a culture. They are the overarching preferences held within a given setting or society based on ideas of good versus bad or desirable versus undesirable (Oreg and Katz-Gerro, 2006, p. 466). Stern et al.'s value-belief-norm (VBN) theory also informed how values can influence concern for climate change. VBN theory posited that, "pro-environmental behaviours stem from acceptance of particular values, from beliefs that things important to those values are under threat, and from 80 beliefs that actions initiated by the individual can help alleviate the threat and restore the values" (Oreg & Katz-Gerro, 2006, p. 464 — referencing Stern et al. 1999). Previous research has shown that values and worldviews can impact perceptions of climate change and delineate those who favour particular response options. For instance, cultural theorists, such as Douglas and Wildayski, developed four separate worldviews: hierarchists, individualists, egalitarians and fatalists, in order to explain different perceptions of risk and sets of rationalities underlying different response options (as described by: Leiserowitz, 2006, pp. 49-50; Castro, 2006, p. 251; Macnaghten and Urry, 1998, p. 17). They found that the vast majority of people could be situated with either the 'individualistic' or 'egalitarian' worldview categories. Although I have not systematically analyzed leaders' responses or viewpoints into these exclusive, perhaps simplistic, categories, I have considered the basis of the leaders' values as an indication of how they interpret their overarching relationship to each other and the environment. Values or moral commitments toward climate change have previously been found to be affected by a stated "closeness" to culturally significant species (e.g. salmon), in addition to the discounting or acknowledging of the importance of 'the future' or future generations (Atran & Medin, 1997, p. 196). One segment of the leadership in particular, the informal environmental leaders, possessed many of these pro-environmental or pro-egalitarian values. Interestingly, several referenced recent climate change literature such as Tim Flannery's (2005) The Weather Makers and James Lovelock's (2006) The Revenge of Gaia, in the context of a local study group initiated to discuss the surrounding issues. Additionally, a program called The Natural Step was repetitively mentioned by a select few as a source of information that shaped local knowledge on how to create a sustainable economy and community (The Natural Step, nd) (PA101, p. 3, PA 105, p.8 &11) (see Chapter Four for further details). Such sources are interesting in that they employ scientific-based accounts and offer cautionary summaries of what may occur to an earth that is not respected. These sources also share similar value stances that emphasize the interconnectivity of all systems. Aligned with this view, many leaders' perspectives, particularly 81 those from the environmental sector, were predicated on the idea of natural systems acting as interconnected webs of life. This spoke to the prevalence, of a more pro-egalitarian and biocentric worldview within the community, but particularly the informal environmental leaders. Most, however, came across as sincerely concerned about their wider community, the ecological health of their surroundings, and the future of the entire system. For example, one leader from the salmon hatchery, when asked about what kinds of thoughts or images came to mind when the word 'climate change' was mentioned, described: When you see some of the cities, when there's a haze over the cities and people wearing masks, you wonder why they aren't taking it more seriously. It seems that money seems to influence more than humans. You know what I mean? There's more emphasis put on money than there is on people so, it makes me wonder sometimes. (PA 104, p.3) Views, regarding the trumping of economic over environmental conditions were interspersed to varying degrees across the sectors, although were much more prevalent among the environmental leaders. This stance seemed to emerge and exercise a pivotal role in shaping leaders' views towards environmental issues generally (e.g. poor air quality), as well as climate change concerns specifically. A commonality could also be found between this value and those found in the Tseshaht interviews, as will be discussed shortly. As discussed previously, Port Alberni's overall population has been aging compared to previous decades with increasing numbers of retirees deciding to settle in the area. Due to the notable demographic transition taking place within the community, several leaders noted that this was having an overall enhanced effect on community attitudes and values toward environmental issues, which in turn, may have affected some perceptions toward climate change. For instance, many leaders noted an increased pressure from newcomers for a curb- side recycling program, especially from those that had moved from communities with long established programs. 82 Tseshaht Band Findings Like the Port Alberni interviews, the Tseshaht Band interviews were first coded and analyzed based my first core research question: 1. How are community leaders making sense of global climate change in terms of its local impacts, causes and risks? a. What types of cultural models are being used to explain environmental changes, and do they compare to other previously identified cultural models? (e.g. air pollution, ozone depletion, photosynthesis, weather); and, b. How are various experiential influences being used to make sense of climate changes (local observations, experiences, histories) compared to more "scientized" explanations? Indicators of Change — The Predominance of Local and Ancestral Knowledge What was fascinating and distinct about the Tseshaht interviews compared to Port Alberni, was not so much that the observed local changes were dissimilar, because they were not: many overlapping observations were found. Rather, it was the unique way the various signals of ecological change were spoken about, and the underlying connections made between various species and different seasonal occurrences as well as the separate intermingling of contextual/historical factors. As well, the Tseshaht displayed, more so than the Port Alberni leaders, a predominance of ancestral knowledge and traditional values as a way to make sense of such shifts. In addition, there was a noteworthy diverging of emphasis regarding distinct historic factors of the Tseshaht participants compared to those in Port Alberni (e.g. in terms of colonization: residential schools, inequalities, and ensuing social repercussions), as well as the cultural models that, interestingly, had little to no resonance for the Tseshaht (e.g. cultural models of recycling, Clayoquot protests, tsunamis). These were the foundational differences between the two communities. Such distinctions accentuated the idea that climate change can 83 be conceptualized in a myriad of ways — even in communities that are adjacent to one another — which is at least partially due to the historical contextual experiences of the locale where one is situated. We are the Salmon People: The Centrality of Salmon to All Systems For the Tseshaht, the salmon and the connected water-systems served as the focal point for observed environmental shifts, and as such, thinking about salmon was a common feature of their cultural models of climate change. A majority of all of the observed changes could be attached, in some form, back to the salmon. One informal leader described the significance of the salmon for the Tseshaht: It would be pretty harsh — to lose all the fish. That's our resource here. Our livelihood here is fishing. We live off the land and fish is a big part of it. Without that we have nothing. (PA 111, p.3) Although leaders from Port Alberni also accentuated the economic importance of the salmon, there seemed to be something more sacred, perhaps, about the historic connections between the Tseshaht and the salmon, possibly because it was spoken of less in terms of dollars and cents and more as a basis of their way of life. Interview after interview, the Tseshaht leaders commented, somewhat in despair, how this year was the "worst" year for sockeye salmon `coming up', and how they had been 'holding down' longer in the deep cool water of the harbour, than previously (PA 209, p.5; PA 108, p.2; PA 215, p.5; PA 310, p.5; PA 314, p.3-4). One Elder commented that s/he has several freezers, which in previous years would be filled with sockeye during the fishing season, but how this year, there was not a single sockeye in the freezer (PA 209, p.5). Similarly, a leader from the band office commented that, This is just the worst I've ever seen. And with the warming of the water, we have all sorts of foreign, crazy-looking little fish and critters come up with this way. (PA 314, p.3) Much like the Port Alberni interviews, many Tseshaht described the appearance of mackerel, a foreign predator species, and other warm water fish, and how this was problematic since they were eating the juvenile salmon (PA 112, p.2; PA 215, p.2-3 & 5; PA 404, p.3). One avid fisher 84 expressed how the salmon had been acting atypical compared to previous years, since usually one large run comes through in mid-June as well as mid-July, but how this year the salmon were pooling at the inlet, and simply stated: "They're not coming through. And when they do come through they're scabby and diseased and just not looking very healthy" (PA 404, p.2; PA 405, p.3-4). Such illustrations conveyed how the disappearance or decline of the salmon, even for a single season, can have deeply felt impacts on the local people. Leaders appeared to be intimately aware of the timing and the range of normal characteristics associated the various salmon species, and conveyed how this year they experienced a noticeably dismal turnout compared to previous seasons. To further express the widespread centrality of the salmon for the Tseshaht leaders interviewed, 23 of the 25 interviews discussed the issue of salmon stock declines. Although the above findings were not entirely distinct from that of Port Alberni per se (e.g. the appearance of mackerel, the disappointing sockeye run), the Tseshaht interviews were unique in that a remarkable connection, unheard of in the Port Alberni interviews, was drawn, for instance, between the observed timing of the salmon and other various species, such as local birds, bears and plants. Such connections provided a source of proof for locals that ecological changes were underway. One Tseshaht leader aptly summarized these various interconnections: ...I think animals show you a lot, you know. Like there's just certain things that, you know culturally, you're taught like when the swallows come on the river the salmon are starting to come up and, you know, just different things that you know when the skunk cabbage-- you can smell it the strongest, it's waking the bears up, and you know there's just certain things that you just, you know. You want to go find your eagle feathers either throw-- throw a stick in the water, see where it goes and, like, there's so many things culturally that we're taught that, you know, bring us--...that help us know this. We're more in touch. (PA 314, p.17) Resonating the interconnectedness of the various natural systems, one Tseshaht leader involved in the fisheries gave an eloquent summation of how the salmon are ever-linked to the weather, snowfall, logging activities and global warming, and how changes in one reverberates 85 throughout all. This knowledge was said to originate with his grandfather, and can be summed up by the phrase, look to the mountains: You look at our mountain ranges here — they're bare. Whereas in our lifetime as kids growing up, it was all green, so you can see it, the Beaufort range's sedimentation into our Ash River and the eggs are spawning, and the fish aren't coming back as much due to the-- what he said and what I say, is the global warming had a big impact on us in First Nations. That we rely on our salmon, and they're not coming back as plentiful and the mackerel are still kicking around... The water levels are really low and warm, you know, growing up as kids, my brother and I would shovel snow—but when we were kids you know, about eight to eleven years of age, we would shovel snow that was probably four or five feet in depth... We'd just do it you know, and that was a lot of snow back then... So now we're lucky if we get three inches of snow, four inches of snow and the next day it's gone... the swiftness of the river and the snow pack's not there anymore. That basically was what told us what the weather was going to be like for the year, and we-- our ancestors would look at the ranges and you know, it would be a good year for fishing or it would be a good year for harvesting and stuff like that, and I believed them. Mount Arrowsmith barely has snow on it up into June because it's all gone, and when that's gone and there's no water you know. When there's no water, there's no fish, because they can't get to their spawning channels... (PA 109, p.2). This knowledge was not isolated to the above quoted individuals. One band councillor reported that the cold and snow were connected to everything: they rely on the snow for the rivers, and the rivers are getting warm because of the lack of snow, and this in turn was affecting the quality of the salmon run (PA 312, p.2). The observation of decreasing snow and cold will be elaborated upon shortly. Warming Waters and Other Signals of Change Connected to the salmon, and as briefly eluded to earlier, the Tseshaht vividly illustrated how the surrounding rivers and streams were notably warming, and how this was worrisome for the future of the salmon. Of the leaders who commented on the declining salmon stocks, most (16 of 25) noted the worrisome trend of warming waterways and its direct impact on the salmon. Knowledge of such warming tended to be acquired through the personal experience of such changes over the years, using relative comparisons: 86 We were up swimming up the falls a week ago, two weeks ago, and even the water up there was warm, very warm, you know; I've never felt it like that. I did a lot of swimming in the river. I was born down the river...That was about the warmest I've ever felt. (PA 107, p.1) Over and over again people exclaimed that they had never felt water temperatures this warm, with temperatures in some rivers reaching 23 or 24 degrees Celsius (PA 209, p.6; PA 404, p.2). Even a fisheries manager commented, based on his/her direct observations, that there's been an increased frequency of warming river temperatures within the past 20 years in which "[t]he river now becomes uninhabitable for sockeye salmon for some parts of the year" (PA 112, p.1- 2). One informal Tseshaht leader openly worried that there would be no sockeye run in 10 years time for future generations if the water remained warm (PA 404, p2). There were other unique place-specific signs that indicated changes were occurring among the salmon, changes that had never before been observed; one leader, a fisher, described how, "...the inside of the fish were sticking to the walls of the salmon, but it seems to have passed over [for] some strange reason. It's something I've never seen before" (PA 107, p.2). Although this leader was unable to attribute a cause to this occurrence, he did note that the summers and waterways were hotter than usual. Hitting Bottom: Lower River Levels At least nine leaders displayed notably concern surrounding the perceived drying of the riverbeds and creeks, most notably the Somass River (PA 406, p.2). Several people mentioned how they believed there was a link between perceived hotter/dryer weather and local logging activities, in which the decimation of the nearby forests meant that less rainfall and moisture could be absorbed and retained, and consequently ran-off or evaporated more quickly. One Elder expressed unease about the prospect that there may not be a Somass River for next generations because it will be "dried up" (PA 210, p.3) and also voiced concern about people going speed-boating. S/he noted that people must ensure that it is high tide; otherwise, they run the risk of hitting bottom. Resounding this Elder's concern, was the experience of one informal 87 leader who described how, for the first time ever, when parking his/her boat, it touched the ground when sitting in the water: "It's never touched the ground. So that means it [the water] was a foot high and it's never been like that before. The old fishing hole has changed a lot." (PA 404, p.1). The lack of snow on Mount Arrowsmith or the receding Comox glacier, mentioned by a handful of leaders, was a source of concern in that it provides a major source of fresh water for the community and also contributes to water levels (PA 214, p.13; PA 311, p.2-3; PA 112, p.1- 2). Signals of Shifting Seasons One of the noted local changes described by at least 8 leaders was the shifting timing of the seasons, in terms of being pushed ahead, with summer coming later than previously believed (PA 405, p.1). One informal leader, a fish harvester, indicated a connection between the timing of the seasons and the salmon being pushed forward, in which the fish were arriving "later and later." For this participant, the indicator of this seasonal shift was that the "first salmon dinner", which used to take place in the beginning of May, was now being pushed into mid-June (PA 401, p.2). For this community member, climate change symbolized that weather comes at different times and is less consistent (PA 401, p.4). It was also described that the seasons were running into each other more than before, with unusual or unpredictable weather events happening "no matter what month" (PA 406, p. 2). Echoing this observation, one Elder noted that the seasons were running into one another with spring lasting longer: "Can't trust the weather in May anymore" (PA 210, p.2). This type of phrase, of being unable to 'trust' the weather, was reminiscent of Krupnik and Jolly's (2002) broad finding of Arctic experiences in which the weather was increasingly becoming difficult for the Inuit to 'read'. An employee of the Tseshaht Band also commented that the seasons seemed to be shifting with temperatures in June seeming cooler, and with the summers being 'pushed ahead' slightly with drier Septembers, which s/he indicated as being good for the local forest firefighters (PA 215, p.1). 88 Signs of Warming Winters Subsumed within the umbrella of shifting seasons, and consistent with the Port Alberni observations, many Tseshaht leaders commented on the milder winter and decreased annual snowfall that they so vividly remembered as children. One participant, remembering the month of February as a child, told of how the snow and cold of a previous decade was being replaced with shorter and warmer winter months (PA 309, p.3). This theme of milder winter weather was described in at least 16 interviews. Signs of milder winters were represented by the increasingly visible absence of snow at Christmas time (PA 111, p.2), which seemed to resonate for people in both communities, as well as the general increased infrequency of snow compared to when people were children. Similar to the Port Alberni interviews, participants commented how there was no longer skating or skiing to the same extent as when they were children, and how the ice along the canal would no longer form (PA 114, p.3-4; PA 209, p.5: 309, p.3; PA 404, p.5). Many Tseshaht leaders provided evidence from their recent history to indicate the shifting climate to one of increased warmth. One leader from the band office commented that in some previous winters, it had been so cold that no one could boat in the harbour because it was frozen with ice (PA 309, p.3). On a similar note, an Elder in his 80s described a story from his spouse's grandfather who, ...knew all about our histories...He told her—she told me that they used to use oxen, you know, a horse sort of thing, pulling it from here...a little over 20 miles, 22, 24 miles. This is hard to believe, ice used to be so thick that—horse and oxen used to go down the canal. (PA 114, p.3) This Elder, among others, also reminisced about how great 3-feet icicles used to freeze from their roofs during the winter months and how that was now only a distant memory (PA 114, p.3). In addition, a very basic indication that the winters had become less 'harsh' within the previous five years, was described by one leader: "...you don't have to turn your heat on until late October, early November." (PA 214, p.13). Although some Canadians may rejoice at the prospect of milder, less blustery winters, one Elder, and at least four other participants, spoke about the importance of snow for survival, as they learned from their ancestors: 89 If you see a sign of-- if [snow] piles high in the mountains that we're going to have a good summer. That's our native-- we used to have snow right up until practically-- it was really weird. When the time started changing, we'd get snow anytime — even had it in June once...And it was really surprising to me. 'June, what the heck are we doing — it's summertime... What are we doing having snow in June?' And then that was when my dad started teaching if you ever see snow, and when you [don't] see that snow, you're in danger because that means your wells are going to get dry. Because we were living in the park at the time where we didn't have running water. We had well water. Your wells are going to go dry and that's why they had to learn all of this, you know. (PA 210, p.4) The Tseshaht leaders seemed cognizant of the interconnectedness of the systems and how the observable changes in snow pack, warming winters would have notable impacts latter in the year. This contextual and experiential knowledge is extremely valuable and should be considered in any future climate change response strategy. Hotter Dryer Summers Somewhat unlike the Port Alberni interviews, a sizable number of the Tseshaht interviews, at least 12, indicated that the summer temperatures were feeling hotter than previous years (PA 111, p.2; PA 107, p.1; PA 109, p.4; 402, p.3). Signals, such the grass turning brown earlier, signalled to one leader that hotter summers were occurring (PA 107, p.1). A resource worker commented that the hotter summers were surely connected to global warming: Well, global warming is going to affect us here, because you look around here, our summers are hotter. They're a lot hotter than what they when we were children, you know. Seventy, eighty degrees [Fahrenheit] was normal; now we're getting up into the nineties and low hundreds, so its affecting us. It's affecting our Elders...they're having a hard time breathing. (PA 109, p.5). Another participant simply stated: "we have more hot days" and connected it to the warming water temperatures and lowered sockeye runs (PA 404, p.1). Other participants focused more on the perceived decreased precipitation during the summer and, not surprisingly, its connection to the salmon: 90 ...they expect a large sockeye run. It never happens; there's no rain. It's just about nil here, look at it now. Look at the weather now, eh. It's so dry and at one time there used to be a lot of rain, even by now you'd have a lot of rain; you don't see that anymore. (PA 402, p.3-4) Only one participant, compared to the many in Port Alberni, indicated that this region has always been hot during summer months (PA 112, p.2). Far more Tseshaht were vocal in their observations of the increasing summer temperatures, compared to Port Alberni leaders who generally perceived the summer as largely unchanged and habitually hot. This is an interesting finding in that it presents a contradiction between two neighbouring communities. Which community is "correct" in their observation? This is difficult to answer definitively without the temperature averages from each community. Perhaps some people are simply more perceptive or sensitive to slight temperatures changes, or perhaps there are subtle differences between the two locales. Another explanation, albeit a pre-emptive supposition, may be that fewer Tseshaht have air conditioned homes, because several Tseshaht participants complained of poor housing conditions, such as mould and lack of forced air (PA 107, p.4). This may make them more sensitive to increased temperatures and the Port Alberni leaders possibly less sensitive. This is purely speculative, however, and would have to be substantiated by other data to know for sure. Changing Wildlife and Related Shifts Several Tseshaht leaders commented that there were more wildlife sightings in the community such as bears and cougars than previously observed (PA 107, p.1; PA 406, p.2). During the week of the interviews, several leaders mentioned that there had been sightings of a "skinny cougar" near the youth centre, which was described as very unusual, since cougars typically avoid being seen. This leader commented that there were strange displays of behaviour being observed by this cougar in town — behaviour that is usually displayed far in the mountains and out of sight; for instance, they recently watched a cougar chase down two deer in the community (PA 314, p. 4&7; PA 214, p.1; PA 405, p.3). These increased sightings were largely attributed to habitat loss due to forestry (PA 314, p.7). 91 One resource manager drew an intriguing connection between the increased bear sightings near their house, the smaller salmon runs, and the perceived seasonal shifts resulting in the bears' changed hibernation. Our animals are not as healthy, I mean, yeah, you've got, like I said the ones that can fight and survive and have been here for a long time, know where to go to get their food. But the younger ones, they don't know. It's almost like they don't teach them well enough and then they starve and they're only like this big [motioning] — little bears — you know. Where are they supposed to go? We watch them running through the yard and they're curious, you know, when you start your barbeque....And then because of the fish, because of the lack of fish, yes, they're starving because usually their bellies would be full by now and they'd be fat. And they don't hibernate here. That's just another thing. They don't hibernate. They stay awake all year...Because you'd never see a bear in the wintertime. Now you see them all year 'round. (PA 214, p.8) Several other leaders also commented that they had witnessed an increasing presence of bears in town, and how they were scavenging for garbage. One of the Elders made a connection between the salmon that "didn't come up when they usually do," and the equally unusual behaviour of the bears, which were being "pushed down here" due to depleting food sources (PA 108, p.2). Two participants also provided paralleling comments of how the bears could be observed late in the year (i.e. late December) when they would habitually be hibernating (PA 401, p.12; PA 108, p.2). Such observations were also found in Port Alberni, although it was not detailed earlier due to lack of space. However, I would suggest that both communities were encountering similar issues pertaining to unusually frequent sightings of bears within the community. Another interesting observation was that it had become more difficult to track deer in the bush with the less frequent snowfalls in recent years, because the tracks could no longer be identified as clearly (PA 108, p.2; PA 212, p.6; PA 310, p.4). On a similar note, a handful of participants also remarked that there had been fewer birds in recent year (but that this particular year had been an exception). According to one Elder: 92 See if you really look, if you really look around and you see, when we went up camping you'd hear a few little birds. But when I was young and dad used to paddle us out to the-- at the two rivers' arm up here, you'd hear loads of all sorts of birds. And it shocked me silly to be sitting down [on] my brother's porch and hearing all these birds yesterday...I don't know why, this year's a very different year than others years (PA 210, p.4) One leader commented that there were a lot of birds this year, especially ravens, but fewer eagle sightings (PA 314, p.7). Personal experiences were commonly drawn upon to substantiate perceived changes in species' behaviours. Another leader described a first hand experience of observing numerous eagles the previous year, and suspected a connection between the poor salmon runs of the current season with the decreased number of eagles: ...last year, we would take our scraps from preparing the fish for canning or smoking, like the backbone of the fish, the head, the tail and the excess fatty parts... We would take it back down to the river and feed the eagles because there were so many and at one time we had like 13 eagles feeding just like right there where we fish, where we swim, you know, they were just right there. There were 13 of them and that was the first time I've ever seen that in Port Alberni, like you know, at any one of our local watering holes or anything. And I was just in awe...fully grown bald eagles and it was just a beautiful sight. This year not so many, not sure why; maybe because there's not many salmon... Last year, too, they were acting strange. I had never seen them act that way. (PA 401, p.13) This participant went on to explain how she noticed the eagles had been flying strangely low through an area of tall trees, which she indicated she had never seen them do before. Overall this participant concluded that the "animals are acting a lot different than they have in previous years" (PA 401, p.13). Another unique indicator for the Tseshaht of change or distress among the wildlife was described by one resource manager. S/he indicated that there had recently been a workshop in neighbouring Tofino where they indicated that the killer whales were dying partially due to lack of food. This leader went on to directly remark: Well, you know, when you see animals stressed out, you know something's wrong. It's a sign. When you see a whole bunch of birds flying, it's a sign something's going to happen, you know. And that's just how we were taught. (PA 214, p.4) 93 Unlike in Port Alberni, the Tseshaht interviews revealed these distinct interrelations between species and signals that had been shared and learned through ancestral knowledge as well as their own close involvement with their physical environment. These formed important sources of information and often provided a basis for understanding such local changes in wildlife, whether the birds, bears, whales or cougars. Polluted or Improved Waterways? Conflicting Signs In terms of other environmental changes noticed in the community, a few leaders remarked about the overall perceived lack of cleanliness of the rivers, which some described as "sludgy" (PA 405, p.1), and how they would no longer swim in the surrounding water because of the attributed pollution (PA 406, p.1). Others mentioned that there had been an increased growth of algae in the water (PA 210, p. 3-4; 401, p.1), potentially linked to warmer water temperatures. Interestingly, a few Port Alberni interviews had also mentioned this occurrence. On the other hand, a unique association was made between the recent sightings of jellyfish in the inlet as a sign of cleaner water. One informal leader, a lifelong fisher, indicated that crabs could now be seen by the pulp mill, unlike before, where pollution had almost erased them (PA 404, p.3). Overall, however, an interesting contradiction could be found between the two communities. It seemed that far more Tseshaht leaders felt that the environment was currently polluted and being striped of resources; whereas in Port Alberni, there seemed to be an air of optimism in which greater numbers of leaders felt that the surrounding water and air quality had substantially improved in recent years and would continue to ameliorate in the future. This perception, as will be illustrated shortly, also seemed to accompany the differing values and ideas surrounding the causes of climate change as human-induced versus natural occurrences. 94 Contextual Factors Shaping Perspectives of Climate Change Cultural Model of Reverence for Nature: The Pervasiveness of Values Perspectives toward climate change and the environment more generally, do not operate in isolation to a community's embodied values. Traditionally espoused values play a formidable role in the Tseshaht interviews, particularly with the Elders, and are impossible to disassociate from how people acknowledge an issues such as climate change. Thus, Elder-leaders' cultural model included strong invocations of reverence for nature, which helped guide perspectives surrounding the environment and climate change specifically. Some of the values that were extensively discussed during the interviews include respect for the surrounding environment, Mother Nature, and an underlying belief in the interconnectivity of all living systems (PA 212, p.7; PA 112, p.9; PA 209, p.8). Some participants also emphasized the idea of sharing resources — especially salmon; always keeping one's door open to others; wasting nothing; and living in harmony with one's surroundings. A special relationship between the Tseshaht and the traditional medicines of the forest was also discussed in detail by at least three leaders. One, in particular, emphasized that logging should not be seen as a simple exercise in cutting and replanting, since many sacred plants and medicines encompass the trees and deserve a degree of protection (PA 311, p.2). Such views could loosely be classified as pro-egalitarian and/or biocentric, as discussed earlier in the chapter. Perhaps as a result of the extensively sited impacts of logging activity on the region, appositely portrayed by one Tseshaht leader as a raping of the valley (PA 111, p.2), there was a sense that human activity had created a grave transformation in the local landscape. A candid connection was sketched between what one does today and the resulting future consequences. One leader imparted that, "you can't just take forever and just not expect anything to come back" (PA 314, p.3). A temporally oriented cause-and-effect relationship seemed to be cemented in the minds of several leaders. Another local instance of this value stance coming to fruition was through the description of the salmon runs. Described was how the salmon run in 4- year cycles, and if people over-fish during one of the cycles, they will indisputably feel the 95 repercussions in four years time (PA 311, p.2). Because the salmon were so intertwined with the larger culture and diet (PA 109, p.3; PA 309, p.4), it seems reasonable that such temporal values may permeate many perspectives. Nevertheless, there was also a clear portrayal that such traditionally espoused values had been undergoing change in recent times. A perceived increased prevalence of "greed" and a preoccupation with making money was portrayed, and fascinatingly conveyed with the repeated reference to the "almighty dollar" (PA 312 p.4; PA 402, p.3). Some leaders indicated that people no longer did things simply out of the "graciousness of their hearts" (PA 312, p.2), as could be observed by the now more infrequent sharing of salmon during peak season and the increased waste (PA 313, np). Along this line of thought, one Elder commented that the Tseshaht were no longer living off the land as much as previously (PA 211, p.1-2). Others indicated that traditional food sources are much more controlled (e.g. digging for clams) or have vanished due to poor environmental conditions (PA 313, np; PA 314, p.9; PA 312, p.5). For instance, the Camus bulb, described as a sweet onion found in deltas at the mouth of the river, has been decimated since its growing area had been converted into industrial property (i.e. the pulp mill), and will no longer support its growth (PA 309, p.9; PA 214, p.3; ). It has become harder to live off the land, described one leader, particularly since band members are not taught as much about the multiplicity of medicines and roots. This leader indicated that it was consequently impacting their health, since there has been a rise now in diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol and high blood pressure (PA 312, p.3-4). The Camus bulb, for instance, was said to contain an insulin-like component and its disappearance has, among other influences, affected the Tseshaht diet, and was said to have played a role in the heightened incidence of diabetes in the community (PA 309, p.9). The weight attributed to these traditional values was especially voiced by the older generations and less so by the younger participants. For instance, one emerging young Tseshaht leader indicated that the Elders preferred to focus on the past, rather than the present. This voice of the youth discussed how the current generation needed to become more educated 96 about current issues, instead of dwelling on the past, or as s/he put it: "I think I hear that too much these days: '[How] it used to be'. Well, how do you change that? You fix them now, you can't change the past." (PA 213, p.8). This perspective presented an intriguing addition to the Tseshaht interview data. Historic Quieting: Colonial Past as Present This contextual theme, related to the historic injustices experienced by the Tseshaht, was certainly unique from the Port Alberni interviews, and although it was not directly related to climate change, permeated many of the discussions about climate change. The colonial past permeated cultural models of climate change in that connections were easily drawn between the two — albeit very different — issues, such that past injustices were seen as or used to explain existing injustices said or found to be a part of their model of climate change impacts and linked adaptive management practices. There were hints, sometimes blatantly so, of the "lingering resentments" towards the government, which were described by one leader as an "underlying current of mistrust" that pervaded current perceptions and relations with the government. This insightful leader summed up: "all along [we've] had no say" (PA 112, p.5-6 &11). As a consequence, many Tseshaht leaders voiced their scepticism towards government interest in what the Tseshaht, or First Nations generally, have to say about climate change. Some pondered why the government (i.e. through this project) would show interest now, when they have never displayed any interest in their situation before: When you stop and think about it, you know, all this stuff that's happening with mould in the houses and they're [the government] is not doing anything about that...Because they're thrown together and electric heat is put in all the houses, there's not forced air, for lots of reasons, but you know, they're not doing anything about that so, why would they listen to what we have to say about the environment? (PA 107, p. 4) An interesting connection was drawn between the impact of Hurricane Katrina with the debilitating flooding on the impoverished people of New Orleans, and the situation of the First Nations in Canada with the too-often sub-standard housing conditions (PA 107, p.4). This same leader, a Band Councillor, was not afraid to name what s/he saw as occurring: "They're not 97 worried because it's the poor people that are involved. [They're not] worried about what the Indians have to say" (PA 107, p.5). These feelings of resentment are, in part, still remnants of the historic wounds of the residential schools. For instance, many of the Elders interviewed were students of the residential schools and some spoke about the wounds, or indirectly so, by discussing the widespread problems of addiction (especially crack addiction and alcoholism) as well as the joblessness that serves as a reminder. Although it was said that much healing has occurred, and that the impacts were increasingly diminishing with subsequent generations, one can not help but see the damage as still present to a certain degree (PA 312, p. 7-8; PA 213, p. 11-12). One young informal leader spoke about the interconnections between the issues: Residential schools had a huge impact. The whole generation was decimated and assimilated and so for us to actually care, we need to understand where we come from first, and how it affects us and our kids and our kid's kids... we're making leaps and bounds every generation because we have to. Now we're playing a game of catch up and in this game, environment is a big issue and I think this generation now, and maybe the next, will finally understand it to the point where it's not a problem. But current generations, you know, I know that my life is twenty times better than it used to be, and I think when residential school issues were around, the least of the worries was the environment. (PA 213, p. 11) In many ways, the current climate change situation mirrors the not-so-distant colonial past in which those with the power (i.e. industrialized western nations) imposed social, economic, and ecological transformations that would have future debilitating effects on those with less power. Although this may not have been directly intentional with the climate change crisis, the scenarios, nonetheless, embody many parallel resemblances. This deep seeded historic wound and the distrust of government may have a profound impact on the possible response effort and any attempts at cooperatively managing the issue with external actors, particularly higher levels of government. This will be later discussed in the section on potential obstacles in Chapter Four. 98 The Precedence of Other Issues in the Face of Climate Change When discussing the issue of climate change some Tseshaht leaders clearly stated that other issues were of greater significance, and consequently, were placed higher on the list of priorities, particularly social and economic issues. One leader directly commented that people don't have the "leisure" to concern themselves with an abstract issue such as climate change (PA 112, p.4-5). Another leader that provided social assistance to the Band indicated that in his/her experience, addiction, related specifically to alcohol, crack, and subsequent relapses, were of immediate concern. To convey the grandiosity of the problem, s/he said it was like watching, ...our own genocide, really. It's like weeding out the herd is how I feel, you know. I've asked for a drug and alcohol counsellor for six years. So when people don't make other people a priority, they're not going to make their environment a priority and make the here and now a priority. (PA 314, p.6) This evidently poses a sizable obstacle, and will surely need to be incorporated into any climate change strategy. When leaders were asked whether people in the community engaged in everyday talk about climate change, the answer, more often than not, was a flat 'no'. Interviewers were told that people did not discuss climate change directly, only insofar as it related to the salmon and shifting weather conditions. Impacts on the fisheries were perceived as a greater concern because the changes were visible now (PA 112, p.4). Thus, climate change, as an intangible abstract global issue is not likely discussed per se, but, it does resonate when linked to concrete shifts in the resources of local significance. This is a crucial point that will be elaborated upon in the following chapter. Echoing many of the Port Alberni interviews, some commented that there are far fewer jobs today, particularly with logging, today than in previous decades as well as fewer boats in the harbour (PA 108, p.4: PA 402, p.1). Although the overall Tseshaht were described as in better shape economically compared to many other bands (PA 107, p.7), the current economic unease surrounding the tumultuous B.C. logging industry, may easily overshadow anyone's 99 prioritization of the environment, and climate change specifically. Others mentioned a perceived trumping of economic concerns (e.g. job creation, logging) over environmental stewardship by those in decision-making positions, such as the Band Council as well as a general complacency of people toward non-economic issues (PA 401, p.11; 314, p.5) . This idea, too, will be elaborated in the following chapter in my discussion of potential obstacles to management. Of importance, however, is the common theme that even with the pressure of other issues and the diversion of attention away from climate change, that climate change, as it related to local changes, was an important issue: "I think so, yeah [people should be talking about itj, especially at the low lying villages, and most of them are not prepared for anything" (PA 111, p.4; PA 109) Cultural Model of Tsunamis? Similar to the Port Alberni interviews, there were a couple vivid personal accounts and memories of the events surrounding the tsunamis of 1964. One personal retelling of the event by an informal leader was extremely rich: It did a lot of damage. I can actually remember it too. I was walking along the waterway there, and I noticed three different waves come in, and the waterway there, that river was flowing the other way instead of down. There were boats, logs, houses, everything was floating up the river instead of down it. Then, the next thing you know, all the water was gone — the river was empty — and then everything started slowing down again. It happened three times. (PA 111, p.3) Interestingly, the tsunami theme was far less prevalent within the Tseshaht interviews, and did not serve as a focal point during discussions of climate change or future sea-level rise. The tsunami reference was evoked by only a handful of leaders, unlike the vast majority as in Port Alberni. As such, I would not consider the tsunami a shared cultural model for the Tseshaht leaders interviewed, compared to the leaders in Port Alberni. It is difficult to know why this difference existed. The communities do not share identical histories, and perhaps, this is why other cultural models, which were prevalent in Port Alberni, such as recycling and Clayoquot protests, were also not drawn upon by the Tseshaht. In addition, there may be other more 100 relevant or tangible ways for the Tseshaht to make sense of climate change information without relying on the above stated models. These, however, are only speculations. Causes of Change Human-Created Ills: Causation and Values as Intricately Intertwined Most Tseshaht leaders, when asked about the plausibility of climate change, had few problems indicating that they agreed that climate change was real and happening due to human activity (PA 311, p.2). This was somewhat different from the Port Alberni interviews where people, although identified a role for human contributions to the phenomenon, were much more cautious, and often provided a disclaimer that natural forces and variations were also likely at work. A multitude of human-induced contributions to locally observed changes could easily be listed by many Tseshaht leaders. Aptly summarizing this point, one leader frankly pronounced: No, I think it's humans causing it. Like I said, the atmosphere you know, I'm not a scientist, I'm not a doctor or anything like that; I'm just an Aboriginal that believes that every time something goes through, something's taken away. Logging industries are wiping out our mountain ranges or where our fish like to hold up, and there's no shadow, and there no riparian and the water flows are heavy... our smolts are getting washed out a lot faster in the wintertime in the spring time... they've gotta work together or else we'll be sad to say, we'll be like the Africans you know, with nothing, just dry desert, and that's what's going to happen here if on the West Coast, if we don't protect it. It's a given, you know, my great-great-grandchildren will be sitting pulling up documents from this era and say, 'Yeah, you know, what happened?' (PA 109, p.4) The interconnectivity of forestry to climate change was clear. Leaders often used visible logging activity (e.g. clear-cuts) as well as pulp mill pollution as a local reference point of human- produced changes to the environment, and as a result, likely felt at ease pointing to anthropogenic climate change over natural variations. As such, the notion of human created ills as causing climate change was a widely shared dimension of most cultural models, and partially an extension of extensively observed human impacts. 101 Some leaders expressed broader community uncertainty about the occurrence of climate change locally. For instance, one resource manager commented that "...people know that it's changing. I know that they're aware of it. I don't know if a lot of them believe that it is global warming or not. It could just be changes..."(PA 214, p.6A). Nonetheless, at least 11 of the participants interviewed indicated outright that climate change was already underway and could be felt. Simple phrases such as, "It is happening," (PA 401, p.16) and global warming "hits your resources automatically and it is doing it already" (PA 313, np) were commonly heard and perhaps provided a grounding or explanation for their observations. There was almost consensus in identifying global climate change as a human-induced condition. That is, the vast majority of Tseshaht leaders interviewed were comfortable indicating that climate change was human-induced. There was some hesitancy in singling out climate change as the sole instigator of the aforementioned changes though (PA 107; PA 112, p. 3; PA 209, p. 16). Here, many other human activities were seen as also potentially affecting the depleting salmon and reduced snow pack on the mountains. It was almost impossible to separate the thinking surrounding the many causes of locally observed changes. In all probability, there was likely a multiplicity of interrelated factors contributing to the downturn in salmon runs: logging activities, over-fishing, fish farms, chemical residues from farming, and pollution from the mill where the salmon pass by, among any other climate related changes (i.e. warming water temperatures). Some leaders directly indicated that the lack of snow in recent years was directly due to logging activities, and attributed the overall warming to the decimated forests (PA 112, p.9; PA 111, p.2; PA 209, p.7&9). The one factor that tied all these potential causal forces together was the idea that they are all 'human' impacts on the natural system. This is where people's values become enmeshed with their conceptions of the causal forces behind such changes: Almost all the leaders interviewed believed that humans were altering the local environment for the worse. In some senses, this is a sophisticated view of the issue, in which multiple, interacting forces are acting in unison to shape the shifting ecological conditions. Perhaps it would be overly simplistic or 102 even misleading to simply point to climate change alone. It is likely the case that all the surrounding environmental issues are operating together to produce the various transformations. This will require further exploration, beyond the scope of this thesis, to decipher the role of each, and identify which is most detrimental. "Correct" Climate Change Causes One interesting finding was that a considerable number of participants indicated "correct" causes of climate change, but only referenced them in a general sense, rather than providing an in-depth diagnosis of the issue through a scientific lens. Approximately one dozen leaders noted vehicles, air travel and/or industrial emissions (i.e. mills) as a source of global climate change (see: PA 107, p.3; PA 210, p.5; PA 114, p.6; 402, p.7-8). What is noteworthy, however, was the absence of references to greenhouse gases, such as CO2 specifically. There was a general sense, by the leaders interviewed, that more information would be beneficial for the community, to understand the phenomenon in greater detail (PA 405, p.7). There was certainly more consensus and emphasis placed on the negative role of general pollution as a whole (some may argue that CO2 could be classified as a pollutant), and the general impact of humans on the natural systems, as discussed above. These findings seem to parallel those in Port Alberni, yet were somewhat less detailed, and more vague, in conveying the exact causes of climate change. Cultural Model of Depleting Ozone Layer: A Re-emergence and Adapted Version Interestingly, the cultural model of a depleting ozone layer used to make sense of climate change was more prevalent among the Tseshaht interviews than in Port Alberni. At least nine participants drew upon this model; however, similar to the Port Alberni finding, there was a new conflation of the issue, unlike the one presented by Kempton et al. (1995), since references to CFCs or pressurized cans were notably absent from the discussion of ozone depletion (PA 111, p.2; PA 108, p. 2-3; PA 314, p. 2). Often the ozone layer was referenced as affecting the 103 temperatures (e.g. hotter summers) (PA 312, p.2), or the seasonal changes taking place (PA 311, p.3), and was described to be interacting in unison with global warming. Scientized versus Localized Knowledges: Knowing the Environment through Experiences It is fair to conclude that there was an overall predominance of local knowledge and place- specific cultural models within the Tseshaht interviews as a way to make sense of the environment and climate change. There appeared to be a basic understanding of the causes of climate change (e.g. vehicles), but very little emphasis on the science behind the phenomenon and the role of greenhouse gases. There seemed to be a firmer, more prolific understanding of the local ecological systems and their influences on one another. In many ways, for these communities, scientific knowledge pertaining to the foundations of climate change (i.e. the largely, externally-produced sources of global climate change) is far less crucial than is the complete comprehension of the unique place-specific knowledge that will be required for the development of an effective climate change adaptive strategies. It could be argued that knowledge of climate change causes is more critical in the development of a mitigation plan, which is perhaps better suited for larger urban centres and industrial emitters. Through this examination of the importance of local knowledges, there was one quote that resonated with me regarding the valuing of different types of knowledge, and how leaders saw themselves fitting into the struggle between science versus local knowledge. One Elder commented, "...I'm not a real educated person, but I still do understand the environment, you know...what's all around me, what has been ruined..." (PA 210, p.2). Summary of Core Findings — Tseshaht and Port Alberni In sum, one of the key findings suggests that communities make sense of climate change through the lens of their everyday (often sensory) experiences and relationships with their surrounding landscapes. Environmental changes were overwhelmingly interlinked with ideas and historical happenings around the culture, economy and the natural resource sector of the region. Thus, a series of place-specific cultural models emerged, which helped people to 104 organize an otherwise very complex issue. Notably, most of the observed changes expressed by the leaders were similar between the two communities. The leadership of both communities told stories of warming winter seasons, decreased snowfalls, warming waterways, invading southern aquatic species, and dying cedar trees among others. Participants also tended to acknowledge the impacts on external locations such as the ravaged Interior of B.C. by the mountain pine beetle infestations as well as the Arctic with its ominously melting polar ice caps. Unexpectedly, however, some of the cultural models used to decipher climate change and related occurrences were distinct between the neighbouring communities. The Tseshaht leaders, for instance, placed greater weight on the interconnectedness between the various signals of ecological change, in which ancestral values and knowledge were of great significance. Interestingly, the cultural models that stood out in the Port Alberni interviews — recycling, the Clayoquot protests, tsunamis — were sparsely mentioned in the Tseshaht interviews. In terms of ideas surrounding causation of climate change, the Port Alberni leaders seemed much more uncertain and expressed hesitancy in placing humans as the primary culprit; whereas, for the Tseshaht leaders interviewed, very few showed reluctance to isolate human activity as the main contributor to climate changes, in addition to a host of other environment issues. Both communities, nonetheless, found it somewhat difficult to definitively identify the true causal force behind the changes being observed locally (e.g. whether the changes in salmon were the results of long practiced clear-cuts, over-fishing, fish farms and sea-lice, global climate change, and/or residual pollution from the mill). The nuanced differences between the communities should not be seen as mere subtleties, particularly the historic colonial wounds experienced by the Tseshaht and the ongoing mistrust towards government. These perspectives need to be taken into account if or when developing a climate change response effort. A plan to address local climate change impacts (among other environmental changes) must consider and incorporate each community's values and histories. For the Tseshaht, since issues around salmon were at the forefront, a plan should place heavy emphasis on traditional teachings and knowledge around 105 the salmon and all the interconnections it serves. Strides must be made to foster trust, respect and open dialogue in response the historic misgivings. For Port Alberni, its lingering industrial history needs to be acknowledged as well as its changing and ameliorated philosophy towards the role of 'nature'. The new cultural models expressed should be used as a gateway to embark on meaningful discussions around this encroaching issue. The aforementioned contextual implications will be further developed in Chapter Four, which will focus on the perceived capacity of each community to deal with climate change vulnerabilities. Informed by the findings of Chapter Three, place-specific strengths and stumbling blocks surrounding present capacity levels will be examined to explore how leaders perceive their ability to act in the face of this colossal global issue. 106 CHAPTER IV THE CAPACITY TO ADAPT: STRENGTHS, STRATEGIES AND STUMBLING BLOCKS IN THE MANAGEMENT OF CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS Following the Chapter Three examination of the cultural models and local observations that shaped participants' understandings of climate change, it is now vital to reflect on the implications of such findings, and glance toward some of the strengths and stumbling blocks facing each community. In order to identify what obstacles and opportunities lie ahead for the communities, leaders were asked whether they thought their community possessed the capacity to deal with the impacts of climate change. Current literature suggests that community capacity to effectively adapt to climate change requires many intersecting resources. Not only does it require economic capacity (i.e. government funding) and human capabilities (i.e. expertise and knowledge of place-specific issues), but also cohesive social networks (i.e. social capital) (Adger, 2003, p. 387-401; Olmos, 2001, p. 2-4; Smit & Pilifosova, 2002, p. 9-16; Pretty & Smith, 2003). According to Smit and Pilifosova (2002) effective climate change management involves the acknowledgement that adaptation is essential; the desire to locate crucial knowledge resources regarding viable alternatives; and the ability to assess and implement relevant strategies (p. 15). In addition, they emphasized that adaptation strategies that are incorporated into the broader management decision processes are often more successful than those implemented independent of current policies or programs (p. 11). The presence and strength of these combined attributes influence the degree to which a community is able to be resilient in the face of ever-changing social, economic and ecological landscapes. This chapter attempts to answer the second core research question(s): 107 2. Is there an overall sense of community-level capacity to manage/respond to climate change impacts? c. Specifically, what are some of the underlying challenges and opportunities for adaptation efforts? Port Alberni Obstacles to Action Government Resources: Finding Funding and Leadership Leaders were asked about the general capacity of their community to manage the impacts of a changing climate. This was often a difficult question to answer. Some leaders revealed the inherent difficulty in attempting to respond to local climatic shifts given the scale of the phenomenon. Most, however, identified that higher level government initiatives, leadership and funding were urgently needed in order for smaller municipalities to take action (PA 101, p.5; PA 104, p.6; PA 113, p. 5). The prospect of responding to climate change alone, without government leadership, felt like "...swimming up stream..." for some (PA 113, p.8). Summarizing the constraints placed on Port Alberni, one leader conveyed: "I would say we do recognize it as a big deal, but to address it we need federal leadership, and it will take an insurmountable amount of funding and there are other priorities at this moment" (PA203, p.2). Although strong local control of resources was emphasized, climate change was said to be an issue that needed initiation from the "top down," in which higher levels of government would make resource available for communities to develop plans. Far from this perhaps idealistic vision of government funding pouring down from high above, Port Alberni was depicted with derision as a "...hole in a doughnut in terms of funding" compared to other locations on Vancouver Island (PA 306, p.2). The current void in government policy surrounding climate change was presented as a significant barrier to local strategy development. Another related, and particularly present obstacle, is the broader issue of an encroaching neo-liberal ideology in which Canadian society as a whole has been plunged into a governing 108 philosophy of deregulation, privatization and overall individualization. It was expressed how there had been a notable downloading of responsibility from the provincial government onto local level governments, but without the sufficient accompanied funding (PA 306, p.3). The lack of government prioritization of the environment, as could be illustrated by the perceived 'gutting' of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, rather than its expansion during a time when it has been most needed, was identified as an intervening obstacle: 'There's nobody left in DFO...There's nobody left. Oh, it's been happening-- they've just been chop, chop, chop, chop, chop..." (PA 307, p.3). On a similar note, one of the several planners interviewed described how the provincial government had stepped back from its role in flood plain management and decidedly passed this responsibility to local governments (PA 303, p.3-4). Given the economic circumstances of Port Alberni, where the industrial and municipal tax base had already been strained, these issues were seen as problematic for the future of climate change impact management. Although only indirectly touched upon in the interviews, another related ideological obstacle for smaller communities was the prevailing principle of `subsidiarity', the philosophy in which the lowest possible competent authority is seen as the best suited authority to manage localized issues. In essence, this principle is based on a model of de-centralization where communities are encouraged to resolve their own issues without the intervention of higher governing authorities. Often, the idea of subsidiarity is favourable in that it calls for the inclusion of community groups and individuals in the decision-making process, and tailors policy to meet local needs (Carozza, 2003, p. 42). On the other hand, in the case of climate change, such an ideological transition, has potentially created a situation where communities, such as Port Alberni, are perhaps expected to respond to a colossal, global-scale event that is characterized by numerous, often intertwining impacts, and where financial help is often far from reach. One leader in Port Alberni briefly referenced this occurrence: "And because the province is now out of it...that's going to be a problem for a lot of small, local jurisdictions that struggle with those issues" (PA 303, p.4). 109 The Nature of the Beast: Global Climate Change as Nebulous and Distant One obstacle, purported by numerous leaders, was the very nature of climate change as a "nebulous" or intangible concept, and as a consequence, it had yet to genuinely register as an enduring community-wide priority (PA 205, p.8; PA 207, p.6; PA 208, p.3). One industry leader fittingly explained how climate change, ...doesn't fit neatly in to a conventional, let's call it a problem... similarly I'm trying to envision our council talking about it at their monthly council meeting, 'So, what are we going to do about the impact of climate change'. It's just hard to deal with it.... (PA 206, p.8) This leader further drew an analogy between climate change as a runaway train to illustrate its innate obscurity: the train is so big and travelling so fast that it is difficult for people to "wrap their heads around" it, particularly since the problem is global in its causation, yet local in its impact. Another climate change conundrum was that participants often said they sensed, felt and knew deep down that the surrounding ecology had been changing and continued to change, but that the absolute source(s) of such changes were multi-pronged and often debatable. As detailed in Chapter Three, decreases in the salmon runs may be attributed to numerous, often interacting forces. A combination of logging activity impacts on surrounding streams, repercussions of over-harvesting, impacts of nearby fish farms, El Nino events and/or potential climate change impacts (e.g. increasing temperatures) may, at one time, be referenced as occurring in a given locale. Because of the often multiple human created impacts on a given system, this further complicated the issue for many participants, and created the embedded sense of uncertainty discussed in the previous chapter. Others indicated that the issue was inherently difficult to predict, and thus was challenging to respond (PA 308, p.13). Additionally, another leader commented that climate change was, "...not that obvious yet" — with the exception of the salmon — and as such, the cause and effect relationship had become muddied in people's minds (PA 113, p.5). 110 In terms of the temporal dimension of climate change, the lack of perceived immediacy or innate threats surrounding the topic seemed to be preventing concerted local concern (PA 208, p.11). Characterized as a "long way off," climate change was described as a low priority amongst a host of others (PA 305, p.3). The sense that climate change would only 'gradually' take hold and that there would be plenty of time for the community to respond to future impacts, such as sea-level rise, was conveyed by one government representative (PA 301, p.9). Climate change was labelled as less than problematic compared to more identifiable environmental issues. Some community leaders seemed less compelled or engaged by issues of the environment generally because seemingly more pressing and immediate issues, such as drug abuse and joblessness, had monopolized their attention: And you look at our demographics in this community and, you know, when you look at Stats BC... when they're doing the social indicators, we're the worst regional district in a number of areas around risk for children, risk for youth. So it's huge issues that people are facing. And sometimes it just becomes overwhelming. So you focus on one thing at a time... (PA 201, p. 5) The Will to Do Something: Perceived Apathy Many participants conceded that climate change, although prevalent in their minds, was not on the community agenda (PA 204, p.6; PA 113, p.5; 104, p.5; PA 103, p.10; PA 303, p.5). When, for instance, one leader was asked whether climate change was on the minds of the locals to any extent, their flatly replied: "I don't think, no. Not to me. You do get conversations where, once in a while, you see an article in the paper talking about it, but I don't see it as a major source of conversation." (PA 104, p.5). Some felt that Port Alberni's historic roots as a 'working class town' with a sprinkling of environmentalists was a constraint. As one involved citizen expressed, environmental groups were commonly accused of 'making up' problems in order to obtain funding. Such accusations were seen as emblematic of the wider apathy towards environmental issues (PA 101, p.11). In such a context, the voices of a few environmental warriors may be superseded by the many that are less inclined. Taking this cue, a climate change strategy should 'un-box' climate change as yet another environmental quarrel; 111 instead, it should be presented as a broader social and economic issue. This value dimension, however, seemed to be in flux due to the notable demographic transitions, diluted disdain towards the environmental sector, and overall increased environmental responsibility as the instituted norm (e.g. the clean up of the pulp mill). Other stated obstacles could be found in the presumed reluctance of people to prepare for future scenarios. As expressed by one leader: 'Well, we can plan now. The trouble with humans [is] they don't like to plan in advance. They like to wait for something to happen and then do something about it." (PA 204, p.5). Concern regarding the community's slow response time towards other environmental concerns, and the perception that Port Alberni will only adapt once it becomes absolutely necessary, was also emphasized. Drawing on the recycling cultural model, one leader indicated that: ...We have a very poor record I think here of recycling, for instance, and that's a huge issue-- huge environmental issue... we haven't changed or adapted as well as other communities have to change, I don't think, which is-- it's slow, very slow (PA110, p.5). There was a sense that if the community could not even adopt a community-wide recycling regime, then how would it develop a comprehensive climate change impact strategy? Lack of Climate Change Information Some leaders felt that crucial information pertaining to climate change impacts and the local risks it posed were not adequately filtering down to the local authorities from higher level governments and research institutions. One of the planners for the region did not feel confident in the ability of Port Alberni to respond to climate change, indicating that perhaps the capacity was there, but that the recognition may still be lagging (PA 302, p.5). Although this thesis argues that people are indeed equipped with tremendous local knowledge of changing environmental conditions, leaders expressed that they felt a void in term of concrete scientific data in the community that would be needed for a climate change impacts assessment and strategy. One informal leader proposed that Port Alberni needed: "Public education around global heating. Not just a few posters and stuff like that. They need to have, you know, a climate 112 change office in Port Alberni..." (PA105, p.15). Others emphasized that it would be beneficial to have a series of open house awareness building events where relevant climate change information could be presented and residents creatively engaged. Community Strengths Although funding problems, lack of government leadership, and the obscurity surrounding climate change seem like insurmountable barriers, there are still local strengths that can be draw upon within the community to hopefully overcome them. As a whole, Port Alberni has many unique advantages in dealing with an issue such as climate change. The abundant human and social capital within the community, emphasized throughout the interviews, could be ignited to address environmental challenges. Knowledge Holders An important source of resilience for Port Alberni resides in the strength of its people (i.e. its human capital). Participants isolated a plethora of knowledgeable resources and individuals within the community who they could turn to for further climate change information. As one leader pertinently summarized, Do we have the people here? Do we have the will here? The intelligence? Yes. We probably have some of the most significant resources in terms of intelligence here. What it will take is political will to make it happen. (PA 207, p.5). Another leader, echoing this point, summarized that the community as a whole has been tremendous in focusing people's capabilities and gifts, rather than highlighting their deficits (PA 201, p.9). Cohesive, Active Volunteers: Established Inter-Group Relations It quickly became evident that Port Alberni had a tremendous amount of social capital, particularly in the form of a very active assembly of volunteers and committed community organizations. As the interviews progressed, it became highly visible that Port Alberni had a strong affinity for uniting community residents, government departments, volunteer groups as 113 well as industry during times of struggle to overcome community-identified problems (PA 306, p. 41). "This is one of the best communities you have for people getting together if there's something that's going to happen. Committees are formed, people will step right up. That's happened in this community endlessly" (PA 103, p.11). One individual depicted how dialogue was of primary importance and that connecting people together, breaking down cliques and building relationships should be part of the process. It was described how "consensus" used to the like saying the "f-word," but now those past dynamics were changing (PA 201, p.6). In order for there to be meaningful climate change action, trust and community building needed to be central. This, it would seem from other interviews, is well within reach. Diverse segments of the community, unlike the previous era, were increasingly working together to manage fisheries-related issues, for instance: I think locally there's more communication [than previously]. We have more integrated meetings now. We used to all meet individually, the sport people met, the Natives met, the commercial guys met individually. We now meet together. There's more common knowledge in the room. We're using conference calls where there's a biologist, a scientist, you know, somebody who's enumerating or counting fish on the lines so you can bring all these factors together and they can all have their input. And I'm still a seat-of-the-pants-type guy. I think the common local knowledge is sometimes better than all the science. (PA 204, p.9) In addition to the enhanced sense of cooperation among the diverse interests, participants individually detailed a handful of particularly active environmental groups. One of such organizations was the Save Our Valley Alliance (SOYA), which was predominantly focused on three issues: water quality, log exports (associated with the local job loss), and the long term social, economic and environmental sustainability of the surrounding forests (PA 106, p.9). Although this group was portrayed as geared towards the three aforementioned issues, it nonetheless appeared to have a diverse and broad enough scope to incorporate local climate change issues within its umbrella. Additional community organizations included: the Air Quality Council, whose focus surrounded the pulp mill and the resulting pollution; the Alberni Valley Enhancement Society, 114 which was concerned with salmon habitat restoration, and was prided for its role in the revival of Coho populations; and, the Alberni Environmental Coalition, which, in part, served as a community resource and voice for general environmental issues (PA 101, p.1). Unexpectedly, and unique to the Port Alberni interviews, several participants talked extensively about 'The Natural Step' program, a non-profit organization that endorses sustainable development principles to communities and businesses alike as a way to improve the environment and economic decisions. It is based on a notion of interconnectivity between all systems (The Natural Step, nd). Workshops had been held in town to promote this way of thinking. One leader explained their goal of "simply educating people and having people start to think about the impacts on the environment and everything it takes" (PA 201, p14). Its promoters, for instance, discussed topics such as local food production and the impacts of purchasing foreign-produced (i.e. not local) foods in terms of fossil fuel consumption and climate change. These community organizations, in addition to the others, served as an indicator of the thriving social capital in Port Alberni, and their ability to engage in long-range planning around a host of local issues. Because of the very devoted, respected and influential group illustrated by participants — albeit a small one — such groups could serve as prominent players in spearheading action on local climate change concerns or other environmental shifts. This is a significant strength and could facilitate the incorporation of climate change with the larger fabric of the community. Unfortunately, leaders also described the high dependence on volunteers as leading to burnout, and pointed to the constraints, again, in terms of limited government funding for volunteer programs. Collaborative Action: Cherry Creek and the B.C. Hydro Outcry While many Port Alberni leaders described the action-oriented nature of the local organizations and volunteers through their endorsement of the "Nike approach" (i.e. 'Just do it') (PA 307, p.4-5), two situations were described, in particular, where various community sectors 115 have mobilized to achieve a common goal. The Cherry Creek restoration effort, one repeatedly mentioned success story, was an instance where many groups assembled to cooperatively stabilise and restore stream banks that had once been in sorry shape. A participant described how the creek had been flooding neighbouring farmers' fields and golf courses and how the salmon population had been dwindling. Groups of volunteers gathered and stabilized the banks with boulders and logs, fenced in the hundreds of metres of stream to protect the salmon from cattle, worked to restore the habitat, conducted stream assessments and fry counts, and simply focused on the overall protection of the waterway (see: Environment Canada, 2005). One participant indicated that the community has been so effective at cooperatively working together that they had become a model for the entire island: Cherry Creek is a major project that we've worked on for about 10 years, right from its source right to the ocean: working with residents and farmers and golf courses and businesses. So yeah, they're all coming together quite successfully... (PA 104, p.5) This example of a diversity of sectors collaboratively working towards a common goal of salmon rehabilitation, a prized species, as well as property protection, was a great indication that Port Alberni was and is capable of dealing with complex issues. Given this existing framework, climate change planning should be no exception. The second intriguing example of community unification and action surrounding a local issue was the mass outcry in 2000 against the proposed B.C. Hydro gas-fired generation station to be located in Port Alberni. It was described how people from all sectors assembled at public hearings to speak out against the idea, in which pollution and greenhouse gases would have spewed into the region. It was detailed how almost 400 residents attended a series of meetings in opposition to this project (PA 303, p.5; PA 106, p.8). What was notable about this unparalleled community-wide outcry was that it was pursued mainly from an air quality and health concern perspective — not specifically from a climate change perspective, even though the outcry, in essence, prevented the production of greenhouse gases. Many place-specific factors were also at play in this instance. One involved citizen described how initially it was almost presumed by the civic leadership, given the industrial history of Port Alberni, that the 116 community would be on-board with the idea. However, they had failed to consider the changed environmental and health consciousness of the people, and how the community had worked diligently over the past 25 years to improve their air quality problem. People were increasingly unwilling to compromise such advancements in exchange for economic incentives (PA 303, p.6; PA 106, p. 3-4). Emerging on the Radar Although climate change was widely perceived to be a non-issue for the larger community, it was encouraging to hear that it was indeed a growing topic of concern for many leaders. Passionately, some felt it should be given greater attention than it has been by the wider community. For instance, one informal leader declared, "...I really don't know what the most important issue is now days, but I really do think that climate change is probably it" (PA 113, p.11). Comments like the above reflect the notion that climate change as an issue may be gaining momentum locally, and may continue to build impetus if vocal people continue to promote the cause, and address the key issues. Other leaders indicated that climate change was in fact increasingly resonating with the community, particularly when people discussed the warming waterways and the corresponding sorrowful state of the salmon runs (PA 101, p.5). 117 Tseshaht First Nation Interestingly, many of the issues identified by the Tseshaht leaders in terms of capacity and responses to climate change have overlapping features with the Port Alberni interviews, particularly in terms of the barriers the community faces (e.g. government funding, climate change as abstract). Nonetheless, because the Tseshaht embody a unique culture and history, there were some notable differences as well. Obstacles to Action How Do You Plan for No Fish? The scale of climate change is simply enormous. In particular, the prospect of forecasting, planning and adapting to the immense perturbations in the salmon runs — the most heavily emphasized topic and altered resource for the Tseshaht, were often imagined with extreme difficulty (PA 210). As one resource manager aptly posed: "[How do you] plan for no fish?" (PA 112, p.5). Because the salmon represented not just a mainstay of the economy, but also a way of life for the Tseshaht, a sense of despair crept into some interviews and fermented into one leader's ponderance: "I wonder if our fight to keep the salmon in our lives is going to be futile." (PA 309, p.4). This was a disparaging perception that had not been voiced in the Port Alberni interviews. This sadness surrounding the dismal sockeye turnouts was not distant for other participants. There was doubt, for instance, surrounding whether anything could be done about the "hot weather", and that the Tseshaht would have to transition their economy increasingly towards tourism given the inherent instabilities of both the fishing and forestry industries (PA 404, p.5-6). Abstract and Multifaceted Paralleling many of the responses in the Port Alberni interviews, some Tseshaht participants felt that climate change, as a scientific concept, was largely elusive for the community, particularly when discussing specific adaptation options. Although people often 118 (`correctly') linked climate change to vehicles and/or industry (PA 107, p.3; PA 108, p.3; PA 114, p. 5-6; PA 209, p.7), and easily incorporated televised images of the Arctic (e.g. melting ice caps, polar bears) and extreme weather events from around the world (PA 310, p.5; PA 313, np; PA 402, p.4; PA 212, p.4; PA 109, p.4&6; PA 403, p.2), the idea of developing a local climate change plan seemed somewhat less tangible. Identifying locally observed changes was much more instinctive and prevalent than outlining a clear path to specific solutions (e.g. PA 210). There were a couple Elders, for instance, who had not previously encountered the term 'climate change' or 'global warming'; yet, were able to vividly depict the many observed local changes from increased water temperatures to decreased snowfalls and all their interconnections (PA 114; PA 211, p.4; PA 212). Once again, this brought home the point that climatic change, although not necessarily understood through a scientific lens, was nonetheless grasped through a framework of experiential and ancestral knowledges. Additionally, as discussed earlier, there were often several depicted impacts on one species or one stream, and thus it seemed to become impossible for leaders to differentiate between global climate change and other sources of change (i.e. impacts of logging activities) (PA 310, p.5). In order to definitively say which factors were most heavily influencing the declining salmon, the community would need to call upon biologists and other experts, in conjunction with the local knowledge holders, to evaluate the current changes. Resources, Resources, Resources: Funding and Expertise Largely unsure how to respond to the ensuing ecological changes and often unable to identify people within the community that were deemed 'knowledgeable' about the science of climate change or resource management (PA 213, p.5), some form of external resources will likely be required to effectively address future impacts. Although the Tseshaht embody an intimate understanding of the surrounding landscapes and species, one Tseshaht leader commented that, "we're really uninformed about really what causes it" (PA 312, p.12). Greater information sharing between government and university departments that specialize in climate 119 change matters and the communities affected should take place in order to rectify this gap (PA 401, p.14). In addition, there was a stated need for a First Nations biologist who could address local natural resource issues through the lens of the Tseshaht culture (PA 310, p.9). Some participants mentioned that there was some local capacity to manage the salmon issue, but that the community would need some outside help to conduct assessments. In addition to the call for external assistance, due to the diminutive size of community, there was a concrete need for government funding and support to develop a response strategy for issues such as depleting salmon stacks and warming waterways. Although it was conveyed that government was now slowly beginning to consult with the community about resource management, it was felt that the community could not fully participant due to funding shortages (PA 309, p.8). Not unlike in Port Alberni, participants indicated that higher level government leadership was first required for the community to take action (PA 107, p.8, PA 209, p.17; PA 210, p.10; PA 214, p.13; PA 215, p.8; PA 401, p.14; PA 406, p.5). There was a sense that if the federal and provincial governments could not lead by example, then why or how could small communities be expected to address this overwhelming issue? (PA 107, p.10). The community would also need the will and support of the local Band Council in order to effectively prioritize climate change issues, since, "the bottom line lies with our council..." (PA 314, p.8). In a context where job creation and development of Tseshaht-owned industry (i.e. forestry) were deemed central concerns for Band Council, environmentally-nuanced issues were thought to be relegated to the periphery (PA 314, p.9; PA 310, p.17-18). Forming Partnership with Untrustworthy Partners? Paradoxically, imbedded within the need for government leadership was the continued distrust of government and the sense that government doesn't really care about the Tseshaht (PA 210, p.10; PA 107, p.4). Not uncommon where statements such as, "The government...they're only in there for themselves..." (PA 406, p.6). Here rests the conundrum: A cooperative management model would likely need to be established in order to address a 120 large scale issue such as climate change; however, as one participant described the word 'co- management' was like sin in the current context. It was clearly stated that the Tseshaht would require "real collaboration" and an equal working relationship, not just a façade of cooperation where the all-powerful government continues to call the shots (PA 112, p.7). There was a continued resentment that the government was "...leaving us out all the time" (PA 214, p.11). The lingering unequal relations with government sectors, such as that identified with Parks Canada, where they were said to only interact with the Tseshaht when they had a complaint, rather than taking the effort to create amicable relations, will need to be reconciled in order for real co-management efforts to work (PA 312, p.10-11). A select few participants, however, indicated that they could work with the Regional District, the Ministry of Forests, or the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to develop a plan, since, for example, the DFO had been helpful in the past (PA 214, p.7 &11; PA 311, p.6). One participant also mentioned that the Tseshaht may be more willing to work with non- governmental institutions, such as UBC or another university, but that the greatest influence would have to come from a community member spearheading a climate change committee, in which a diversity of interests and generations could work together (PA 213, p.12-13). There was also a combination of optimism and doubt expressed by one leader in which it was deemed possible to plan for climate change if they could mobilize a local group; however there was overarching cynicism towards government involvement in community affairs (PA 406, p.8). This too, many present an obstacle to creating solid practical working relationship around climate change issues. Again, there was a sense that no one would listen to their concerns and that money trumped all (PA 402, p.7). "Nobody's Listening" 2 Not unlike the Port Alberni interviews, there was a sense that climate change was lacking in urgency for the broader community, and that "trying to get everybody onboard" would present 2 (PA 210, p.16) 121 the greatest obstacle (PA 215, p.7). Overall, participants felt the focus was on the "here and now" (PA 314, p.5), and that nobody was listening to the signs around them (PA 210, p.16). Interview after interview, leaders told of how climate change specifically was not an often discussed topic within the community (PA 209, p.16; PA 211, p.4-5; PA 213, p.6&9; PA 214, p.8; PA 314, P.6; PA 405, p.5) — with the exception of the diminishing salmon and warming waters (PA 215, p.3-4; PA 401, p.6-7; PA 404, p.3). Again, issues around the community's economic growth, job acquisition, access to resources and other social issues were seen as trumping environmental and conservation efforts (PA 310, p.16; PA 402, p.7). As in Port Alberni, sea level rise was depicted by a couple of respondents as something that would be slow moving, and thus would allow for plenty of time to adapt and move to higher ground if necessary (PA 107, p.4; PA 112, p.4). Perhaps because of the temporal dimensions, there was a perceived lack of interest by the community at large (PA 210, p.15). In addition, interest in the natural disaster planning was also said to be poor (PA 402, PA 111), and band meetings attendance low, unless an issue directly affected someone's family (PA 314, p.14). The task of getting people to listen, engage, and follow through with an imagined climate change plan, was portrayed as a difficult obstacle to breakthrough (PA 111, p.4-5; PA 404, p.5; PA 215, p.7). For instance, when asked about the likelihood of assembling a climate change group in the community, one Elder replied: "I honestly think that it would be hard. It's always good to try it and see what happens...", yet there was a sense that such a group would be pigeonholed or labelled as "tree huggers" (PA 210, p.14). This was an intriguing comment, since a similar lingering bitterness towards 'environmentalists' seemed to reflect the left-over 'anti- environmentalist' sentiment found in Port Alberni. In addition, it was expressed how the hectic demands of daily life muted issues related to less tangible problems, likely not uncommon in communities elsewhere. However, these obstacles should not be seen as unyielding blockades or as justifications to do nothing. As will be presented shortly, there will need to be locally relevant dialogue to make 'climate change' impacts a pertinent issue for people. Stories, films, pot luck gathering, cultural and place- 122 specific connections should be employed to provide engaging community meetings and information sharing events. There will also need to be an open dialogue process where people can feel secure in sharing their ideas (PA 310). Interestingly, others indicated that there needs to first be a big event, like an earthquake, to invoke concern among the people and "shake them up" (PA 111, p.5). Although seismic activity is not directly related to climate change, this comment seemed to convey the view that people needed an abrupt awakening for real action to take place. Community Strengths Adaptation as a Way of Life Although precise climate related adaptation initiatives were not at the forefront of participants' minds, there was nonetheless a strong sense that adaptation had been a way of life for the Tseshaht and that climate change would likely be no different. Given the geographic location of the community and their traditional identity as whalers, one young participant reiterated this point: ...1 think that's just something that is going to come naturally to us because this is where we live, this is how we deal, this is, you know, we grew up on the river... well, we're more adaptable to change because change is an everyday occurrence in our lives (PA 213, p.10) Adaptation as a way of life was often interlined with the theme of 'survival' from previous historic events (PA 109, 8-10; PA 108). For instance, when asked about possible response options the government and community could take to plan for climate change, one leader quickly related the situation back to the era of the residential schools where many challenges were faced (PA 109, p.7). Throughout time the Tseshaht have been forced to adapt to major, perhaps catastrophic events — everything from residential schools, to loss of traditional language, to relocation, to altered livelihoods. Yet, through it all, they have still managed to keep going. Climate change was seen by some as just another obstacle in the face of many before it — albeit a unique one — in which the Tseshaht have endured and even thrived. 123 The government's gotta realize that, that our communities are struggling and we're-- but were surviving. And the global warming is making us adapt differently to how to go out there and fish, how to go out there and hunt, how to go out there and gather our seafood. Were adapting differently again so that's something that you know, the federal and provincial government don't know-- understand. (PA 109, p.7) This leader felt that because of their ability to live off the land and the strong ancestral knowledge of selective fishing techniques, smoking and canning, and medicines from the forests, that the Tseshaht would be better equipped to adapt to ensuing changed than the `Europeans': "I think we can adapt. We were the first people here and we'll be the last people to leave" (PA 109, p.8). Climate change may have been perceived as having "happened before" (PA 107, p.3). Perhaps, there was a comfort that the present changes were perhaps no different than other experienced changes: "Nope, nothing that I guess we can't adapt to. It's not really extreme or anything like that" (PA 404, p.5). This mindset, however, may be leading to a delayed sense of urgency. Interestingly, there may be an underlying connection between the idea that adaptation is feasible and the idea that the Tseshaht are somewhat 'protected' from climate change. There was a sense that the Tseshaht were more protected, since they have relatively large control over their resources, such as fishing and forestry, and will be able to better respond to their changing needs (PA 209, p.8). Look to the Elders...and the Youth! The traditional knowledge of the Elders was uniformly regarded as an important source of strength for the community. This resource should not be undervalued. Many expressed how the Elders know what is good for the environment, and how such knowledge should be increasingly sought after in community decision-making (e.g. forestry) (PA 312, p.10; PA 111, p.6; PA 402, p.12; PA 314, p.14). There was a feeling that the community was close knit and that if something critical happened, people knew about it, and would turn to an Elder for guidance (PA 111, p. 5-6). Although there was a hesitancy to self-describe as 'environmentalists', many of the values espoused by the Elders, such as the desire to preserve nature for future generations and 124 to halt harmful and wasteful human-activities on the earth, were very much aligned with the environmentalist sector in Port Alberni (PA 210, p.6-8). Interestingly, the similarities in (ecological) values could potentially act as a bridge between the two communities, should it be desired. As a timely coincidence, the community interviews took place just weeks following a province-wide Elders Conference (July 18-20, 2006) hosted by the Tseshaht in their Multiplex building in which three to five thousand people were said to be in attendance (PA 107, p.10; PA 211, p. 6). Elders from far and wide attended to discuss a range of issues, socialize and cement relationships with one another. This was seen as a successful and fulfilling event that reinforced the traditional value that "everything is one in our lands...everything impacts everything..." (PA 309, p.6). The success of the Elders' conference was an exemplary portrayal of the community's capacity to organize and host a large-scale gathering focused around a core theme. This format could potentially be used as a model for a future climate change information sharing and strategizing (PA 211, p. 6-7). The potential of the future generation, the youth, was also portrayed as a source of strength for the community. This generation was seen as "not very silent," with powerful voices, and the confidence to speak out against the status quo (PA 314, p.10). They were portrayed as the generation positioned to move beyond the wounds of the residential schools and take advantage of a more formal education. The promotion of the youth and their achievements (i.e. high school, university graduations) in the regular Tseshaht newsletter was a testament to the pride placed on the youth. This younger generation was presented as more in tune with present and future issues, rather than focussing wholly on the past and how things used to be (PA 213). One former resource manager felt that climate change would be the task of his/her children and grandchildren (PA109, p.5). There was an underlying hope that the youth would be poised to manage such issues. This forward momentum of the youth, combined with the sure-footed knowledge of the Elders may provide the perfect balance of viewpoints to address climate change and related issues. 125 Celebrating Community Successes Perhaps an important display of community capacity is the ability to move beyond strife and celebrate accomplishments. The community healing process and awareness building surrounding the residential school wounds and the ramifications of such experiences were seen as a source of accomplishment by one leader (PA 312, p.7-8). Focus, awareness and prevention of addiction and related issues were geared towards the youth and were seen as an important step forward. In addition, there was concerted promotion of the Tseshaht cultural identity with summer youth programs and several community-wide trips to the Broken Group Islands to exhibit their ancestral territory and heritage. The effective promotion of these initiatives through the community newsletter was seen as an important communication tool (PA 312, p.8-9). This established social organization system is a tremendous asset and could be used to promote and share ideas around climate change. It is important for the basis of any initiative to incorporate a cultural component in order for it to hold local significance (PA 314, p.6). In addition, the relatively greater economic prosperity of the Tseshaht First Nation compared to other reserves, serves as another advantage. Although there was a sense that the Band Council prioritized economic considerations over environmental issues, their overall enhanced financial stability may still translate into greater capacity to deal with other risks. Tseshaht & Port Alberni Implications of Findings: Contextual Strategies for Community Action Making Climate Change Relevant In order to create interest, climate change needs to be relevant. We need to portray climate change as a human phenomenon, not as a distant and abstract scientific algorithm, or as just an environmental campaign by `tree-huggers' (PA 314, p.6). As detailed in Chapter Three, climate change was largely perceived as a secondary, or lesser issue compared to more immediate and identifiable issues for Port Alberni and Tseshaht. Foremost in participants' minds 126 were the economic concerns related to the volatile forest industry, the unease surrounding the lacklustre salmon turnout, and the more visible problems of air and water quality — not climate change per se. The dismal salmon returns translated into real consequence for local tourism (i.e. sport fishing) as well as cultural life, and as such, was prioritized (PA 208, p.6). Climate change should be imbedded within these related issues. As one Port Alberni participant reflected, "[p]eople look at what affects them..." (PA 302, p.14). It is imperative to take contextualized matters into consideration. A climate change response strategy will need to address these wider dynamics and subsume any climate change initiatives within these concrete environmental (and economic) concerns and policies. Appealing to Local Values and Identities One Port Alberni participant felt that time had been wasted arguing over the merits of the cause-effect debate and that there required a shift towards changing behaviours, improving energy efficiency, working together and developing real solutions. Although this perspective was more mitigation-oriented, than adaptation-based, it is nonetheless a significant point. Debates in Port Alberni, as illustrated in Chapter Three, tended to quickly become polarized, and as such, it may be strategic to appeal to people's values and sense of identity. People want a 'cleaned-up' industrial image and they want to know where they came from (PA 208, p.13). In the case of the Tseshaht, one leader reflected that climate change issues should be made relevant by building on health and lifestyle issues, which were seen as increasingly important to the community, and to incorporate the Tseshaht culture and history (i.e. salmon) into a climate change strategy (PA 312, p.7). This leader felt that some members would surely be interested to learn about climate change if presented in an appealing way (PA 312, p, 7). A strategy that would appeal to people's values could relate to their concern for future generations - their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When discussing the state of the local environment, many Tseshaht participants, in particular, talked about their concern for the future of their people: "I value what I have here, you know, I value my daughters and my 127 nieces and my few nephews that I have, and my grandchildren you know...our grandfather and our grandmother always said that we were the future and that's what I tell everybody." (PA 109, P.9). Storytelling to Reach People One interesting strategy, which I believe might produce wider community engagement, would be storytelling as a way to reach people. The vast majority of participants from both communities told stories and reflected on experiences and memories from their personal pasts to summarize local climatic changes. This strategy can be used to traverse an otherwise difficult topic. Storytelling has a universal quality that absorbs and engages people from a diversity of backgrounds and communities. This should be seen as a unique and creative way to reach people. Uniting Knowledge Holders Because of the strength and readiness of the various local volunteers and organizations, it was perceived that, in order to formulate a plan, the knowledge-holders from each community should unite to start a committee and strategize. This could be executed in a parallel fashion to other emergency planning, such as earthquake or tsunami preparedness, which was seen as effective in Port Alberni (PA 207, p.6). Albeit the climate change issue is somewhat more multifaceted, it could develop using the same processes and existing programs. As one leader explained, in order to obtain funding for a climate change strategy, you can not simply ask for money, there needs to be a concrete plan in place with objectives (PA 204, p.14). Although it is not clear whose initiative it would be to develop the initial committee, proposal or action plan, there were certainly many knowledgeable leaders in the communities that could take on the task. 128 Talking about Adaptations Due to the time-lag dimension of climate changes in relation to the production of GHGs, the consequence of previous years of CO2 emissions have sealed the fate of the earth, at least for a given time. Thus, even if the world's population were to halt all CO2 emissions today, the impacts of the previous decades would nonetheless be felt in the coming decades. It is perhaps the task of larger urban centres and industry to drastically reduce emissions, and more prudent for smaller impacted communities to consider adaptation strategies to effectively deal with the altered conditions that are yet to come. Surprisingly, some residents indicated that they are already making small efforts to adapt to the warmer, dryer conditions. For example, as touched upon in Chapter Three, it was a shocking finding that some Port Alberni participants, having noticed the trend of dying cedar trees on their property and heading warnings from government ministries, had already started to plant an alternative tree species — redwood trees — where their cedars had once been. Another adaptation, described by one planner, was that adequate setbacks from the streams and the ocean could be set if increased storm activity and/or sea- level rise were identified as prominent future risks. This may be a relatively easy adaptation, since setbacks are already enshrined in local by-laws, and may simply require adjustments (PA 302, p.5). Other adaptations initiatives proposed included: 'cold-water uplifts' to address the warming waterways; altering fishing away from salmon and towards newly emerging aquatic species such as mackerel; and growing new garden varieties if the summer months become increasingly warmer (e.g. grapes, oranges) (PA 204, p.2). For the Tseshaht, one resource manager proposed opening their own hatchery to respond to the dwindling salmon as well as opening up the dam during the summer to transfer the cold water from the Great Central Lakes. In addition, consultations with the DFO and NRCan, were proposed for their assistance with environmental assessments and mapping that would be required for future strategies (PA 214, p.9). Of course such specific adaptations would need to be carefully appraised to determine their viability, and prevent unintended harm. As a word of caution, one natural resource leader 129 was very cautious to endorse adaptation initiatives, such as the cold water pumps because, as s/he related, this idea has previously resulted in unforeseen consequences in another jurisdiction (PA 112, p.8). However, for the purpose of this thesis, I find it simply intriguing that a few leaders had started to conceptualize such initiatives and view climate change through an adaptation lens, which I would suggest, translates into greater local resilience. There are infinite possible adaptation measures that can be taken, and these data suggest that the capacity is certainly present — a will to act is simply required. Initially, it is recommended that each communities first deal with the identified risks in a broad sense, and from there, develop specific tailored plans that can be incorporated into existing or related policy (Smit and Pilifosova, 2002, p.12-14). 130 CHAPTER V CONCLUSION: 'SOLASTALGIA' DURING AN ERA OF CHANGE It is evident that Port Alberni and the Tseshaht First Nation are in a state of fluctuation — ecologically as well as economically, socially, culturally and demographically. The vast majority of the leaders interviewed spoke of the extensive environmental shifts — albeit some subtle — witnessed over the years: the shifting timing of the seasons, the milder winter temperatures with notably less snow; the intensified summer heat (although debatable for some); the warmer stream and ocean temperatures; the recent unpredictable and worrisome lower salmon returns; the appearance of foreign aquatic species — mackerel, tuna, sea turtles; the lower riverbeds and creeks, the increased incidence of dying cedar trees, and many other interconnected changes detailed in Chapter Three. All of these changes have been taking place within a region that has already been fraught with great transformations in terms of on-going economic challenges with decreasing revenues from the mills and forest industry more generally, which has in turn motivated an emphasis on economic development through tourism. The role of this post-resource industrial mindset on local perceptions of climate change should not be underestimated. For instance, for some, an issue such as climate change is more than just another issue; it resonates more deeply and evokes memories of past environmental conflicts following the polarizing Clayoquot protests of a decade prior. This remnant identity is also represented by the stated lack of a coherent recycling program. However, such tensions have been slowly subsiding over the years with less bitterness geared towards environmentalist, and greater pro-environmental values spreading throughout the wider community. Any climate change plan will need to be cognizant of this underlying cultural and historical mindset surrounding climate change. Not all environmental changes in the region have been detrimental. In recent years, Port Alberni has been recovering and ameliorating their air and water quality problems due to some severely damaged ecological areas that many attributed to poor logging practises and detrimental pulp mill activities. Interestingly, the Tseshaht leadership appeared far less likely to 131 view the recent environmental improvements in an overly optimistic light compared to the Port Alberni leaders, and were more focused on the lingering ecological ills of the past and current decades. This was particularly prevalent among the Elders interviewed. The Tseshaht viewpoints towards the environment and ecological change more generally were filled with ancestral, traditional knowledge recognizing the unique interconnectedness between local species and inner-workings of the encompassing environment. These should be seen as meaningful, valuable ways of knowing the local environment and any associated changes. Conveyed within this way of knowing, particularly among the Elders, was the sense that these traditional cultural knowledges were fleeting, shifting, and being superseded by more economically-oriented values by the younger generations. Solastalgia, Climate Change and Coastal Communities Solastalgia is a newly emergent term devised in 2006 by Dr. Glenn Albrecht, Associate Professor from the University of Newcastle from the School of Environmental and Life Sciences, to carefully capture the recent wave of feelings of loss associated with local environmental and climate changes among Australian residents experiencing intense droughts as well as the impacts from coal mining (Albrecht et al., 2007, pp. 95-96). The term solastalgia is derived from a combination of words: 'nostalgia' (homesickness or melancholy) and 'solace', a psychological and environmental term related to contextual feelings of comfort and home. It is depicted by Albrecht (2006) as: ...when there is recognition that the beloved place in which one resides is under assault (physical desolation). This can be contrasted to the spatial and temporal dislocation and dispossession experienced as nostalgia. Solastalgia is the lived experience of the loss of value of the present and is manifest in a feeling of dislocation, of being undermined by forces that destroy the potential for solace to be derived from the immediate and given. In brief, solastalgia is a form of homesickness one experiences when one is still at home (p. 35) Such a term could aptly describe the plethora of changes in the Port Alberni region (both climatic and forestry-induced) and some of the ensuing sentiments of nostalgia, longing or 132 despair surrounding such local transformations and altered senses of home witnessed in recent years. Although not all environmental changes were negatively portrayed (e.g. the clean-up of the mills and the subsequent air and water quality improvements), the term is nonetheless applicable. Solastalgia is perhaps most fitting for the leaders that expressed dismay towards the depleting salmon stocks in comparison to the once abundant runs. There was also an irrefutable sentiment that the once significant snowfalls, frozen waterways and whimsical winter activities were now only memories of a bygone era. Such changes reflected the tangible transformations that people had witnessed within a thirty year span, and because they surfaced repetitively, I would argue, have had a remarkable impact on the people of the region. Place-Specific Cultural Models The findings suggested that communities, at least in part, made sense of the abstract ecological issue called climate change through the lens of their daily experiences as well as through the historic, place-specific occurrences that intermingle with current climatic conditions. For Port Alberni, talk of tsunamis, forestry and fishery destruction, Clayoquot protests and recycling (or lack thereof) served as some of the community-shared reference points for understanding climate change. Such models represent a valuable gateway from which to initiate future dialogue on the topic. For the Tseshaht, the pivotal role of the salmon, the reverence for nature within the local ancestral knowledge (particularly for the Elders interviewed), and the connections between the many ecological systems and species, as well as the lingering historic wounds of the past eras, formed the underlying basis for understanding climate change within the local context. Previously cited cultural models by Kempton et al. (1995) were present to varying degrees, but survived only as loosely adapted versions. For instance, although some Tseshaht participants referred to the cultural model of the depleting ozone layer when discussing climate change, there was little or no mention of CFCs as traditionally thought; conversely, the depleting ozone layer was often talked about as interacting alongside climate change, producing warmer 133 weather or greater incidences of sun burns. Interestingly, there was a notable absence of the ozone layer cultural model in the Port Alberni interviews apart from a few outlying cases. In addition, although both communities referred to weather when discussing climate change, this was not, in my analysis, construed as an unfathomable connection to climate change, as Kempton et al. (1995) had suggested. On the contrary, it is becoming entirely possible that people are now feeling the effects of climate change through local shifts in weather. Thus, it was important to note people's awareness of the changing winter seasons (e.g. less snow, warming waterways) and altered species' behaviour (e.g. newly emergent southern aquatic species) in particular. Scientized and Localized Knowledge Sources The Port Alberni leaders interviewed tended to draw upon a combination of scientized and localized knowledge sources pertaining to climate change, and exuded uncertainty about isolating anthropogenic climate change over naturally-occurring climatic variations. In comparison, the Tseshaht participants were much more likely to reference climate change as a human-induced phenomenon and cite ancestral knowledge as a source of information regarding ecological shifts. In terms of the extent to which each community relayed the 'correct' causes of global climate change, many, in both communities, explicitly noted the role of automobiles and industry in contributing to climate change. However, far fewer Tseshaht leaders (only a handful) named CO2 or greenhouse gases outright, compared to Port Alberni where it was much more commonly referenced. As one Port Alberni leader effectively explained: Greenhouse gases don't affect people personally right now, the way particulate matter pollution does, so it's very difficult to affect change in our current social climate right now (PA 106, p.10). Thus, as part of a strategy, the issue of climate change cannot be presented in terms of just abstract greenhouse gases, which people do not easily identify with as fully as they do with more visible environmental problems such as air or water quality. In sum, any policy effort to alleviate climate change needs to be presented in a concrete and locally applicable fashion. 134 Another commonality found between the two communities was the vivid sensory experiences, particularly in terms of the visual landscape, which shaped people's perceptions towards the environment and the surrounding changes. When talking about the local conditions, people from both communities could describe with great intensity, the changes they had observed over the years, and how it had been affecting them personally as well as the community more broadly. Although the Tseshaht tended to emphasize the unique connections and timings of the seasons and species (e.g. salmon and sparrows) more so than the Port Alberni interviews, both heavily drew upon experiential and place-specific knowledge to substantiate their views (e.g. the winters with far less snow than a generation ago). Linking Findings to Theory The findings from this thesis fit within a larger body of literature that underscores the importance of incorporating and respecting local knowledge and values in the development of a future climate change strategies. Such results do not necessarily contradict previous studies that demonstrate how people often hold only incomplete or partial knowledge of climate change as a scientific issue. However, establishing whether or not leaders 'correctly' apply scientific information to the climate crisis was only a peripheral goal of this thesis. Rather, my primary aim was to explain how people talked about and conceptualized climate change in the realms of their lived experiences; how they identified with neighbouring ecological transformations; and how local knowledge and interconnections between various systems and species came into play. In terms of this goal, as advocated by Cruickshank (2001), Krupnik & Jolly (2002), and Berkes et al. (2005), we would hope that they would agree that this has been satisfied. In terms of my theoretical framework, which combined social/ecological constructionism with an (adapted) phenomenology, this thesis stayed true to its aim of finding the multiplicity of interacting, experienced and nuanced delineations of climate change. This thesis was built upon a foundation of experiential data, of personal storytelling, and of sensory experiences (sight, touch, smell) of how people make sense of major shifts in their environments, and their lives. 135 The Future from Here I sincerely hope that this thesis was useful in bringing together the many voices and viewpoint found among the formal and informal leadership of both communities, and that my analysis will facilitate planning around climate change impacts in British Columbia as well as shed new light on the multifaceted, place-specific meanings that climate change can conjure up for the people affected most. There are many stumbling blocks when attempting to plan for climate change, including lack of government funding and support. Overcoming other challenges such as apathy, irrelevance and obscurity, as well as the trumping of economic concerns over the environment, are not easy feats. Such struggles, however, should not overshadow the many prospects for action. It is evident that the people of the Tseshaht First Nation and of Port Alberni possess strong knowledge holders. Each community, although distinct, has proven capable and committed to coming together when action has been required in the past. If the past is at all a reflection of the future, then action around climate change is indeed possible. Isolating and assessing specific climate change adaptation initiatives is the crucial next step. The will of higher levels of government to proactively help plan and commit resources is now required. 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IMAMITIMT0111 MattheViS, D.1 utiVertiitNI ittuoneio^& 3cruiu1u y B05-.1136 sirrainenta *en alttmcirm, 'UPC CrYfripan i cumnitimusuus, Satt►rfitid, Theme, P.AikallIMIE, EtiVir & Kaatalia; Strailein. Amite:1,, Astihrepolow St Sociology; Sytiotystnith, Robin., Anthropology & Sociology; Young. Natiam, Authropo1ogy & Srielnlou Natural Resources Canada DIU' UN (.5J-1tuntswirtutrut of eintnits Clamp in Coastal thitivIt Ovinintn*. Nkivial Lip* ^ Lust Capacity ArIVIZIALONIE J^23 210 DOCUIRAMS^04141 Jae. IS, 20K, Convent forma i Vac, 7, letor t Quostioncoirse^ ' The application for ethkal review of the above-named project has been reviewed and the promethium weal ftillad to be eumiotable ail etiticat, won: rds hit teseeich ktoutvkiv Mean itibilittS, Appitwod on r sif of the Dekev iolinsi &work Bd4ica Bean, by rote ryfrhefollowireg: .1,h. Pater Sucdtalii, L'inur, nr Suwin Howicy, Azinciene (-link Dr. Jim Rupert, Associate Clair Dr. Asnancc Knzaniian, Assetiatt Chair This Cortifxxa to of Approval it void for the above term provided there is no change in the experimental procedures 145 .-41111)*&--, 4 ,.-..........._^• •_^_....„ -..., `‘ • . i^1^•^' .^-A ^.,. 3‘..^r A. -3•N%-, .r4Sr-."t4. • - '" = '111.^ ' 'D^VP!: ' ....t. . .* V,..'^..... '' "'"--.. - ..‘ '^...".. .16.:'6",* , : ' % - ' 4..Ak:E. • ) 1 A71r . , ^-‘4-:i' '' ' ; • •A . A lit-, -4033 3 3._1_______ .. ^..s.^i` ^. Nerlor..^...,...___,..^law ". '''''.- - - ...a „.,A=-..... ,. 141 A^ . x....LOT....,^, • .^".........^1,04 ....., ,r^-01 t1i.^.3-.... ----^''  .."t•-"'"?- - .' ..1. . „ 4,00, . .ISkr ...:,....: ^..A.., .  -^. ^.. ■ C:. ir.,..- ' ' '^1•=A; ,-..^- ': V"^. -..",...,?. i .-I., . W -^•^.... ..".....*Soleat...: . . 1,11r ....^, Appendix B  Photographs Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3^ Figure 4 3 3 © Pararas-Carayannis, 2000. Use of the above photographs is by permission of the copyright holder. The photographs illustrate the mass destruction caused by the tsunami of 1964, which hit the Port Alberni area (see: http://www.drgeorgepc.com/Tsunami1964Canada.html). 146


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