What Drives Climate Action in Canada’s Provincial North? Exploring the Role of Connectedness to Nature, Climate Worry, and Talking with Friends and Family Galway, Lindsay P.; Beery, Thomas; Buse, Chris G.; Gislason, Maya K.
Despite widespread calls to action from the scientific community and beyond, a concerning climate action gap exists. This paper aims to enhance our understanding of the role of connectedness to nature in promoting individual-level climate action in a unique setting where climate research and action are lacking: Canada’s Provincial North. To begin to understand possible pathways, we also examined whether climate worry and talking about climate change with family and friends mediate the relationship between connectedness to nature and climate action. We used data collected via postal surveys in two Provincial North communities, Thunder Bay (Ontario), and Prince George (British Columbia) (n = 628). Results show that connectedness to nature has a direct positive association with individual-level climate action, controlling for gender and education. Results of parallel mediation analyses further show that connectedness to nature is indirectly associated with individual-level climate action, mediated by both climate worry and talking about climate change with family and friends. Finally, results suggest that climate worry and talking about climate change with family and friends serially mediate the relationship between connectedness to nature and with individual-level climate action. These findings are relevant for climate change engagement and action, especially across Canada’s Provincial North, but also in similar settings characterized by marginalization, heightened vulnerability to climate change, urban islands within vast rural and remote landscapes, and economies and social identities tied to resource extraction. Drawing on these findings, we argue that cultivating stronger connections with nature in the places where people live, learn, work, and play is an important and currently underutilized leverage point for promoting individual-level climate action. This study therefore adds to the current and increasingly relevant calls for (re-)connecting with nature that have been made by others across a range of disciplinary and sectoral divides.
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