Examining the Effect of Visualization Tool Exposure on Local-level Stakeholder Perceptions on Climate Change Adaptation
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Vulnerabilities of human communities, driven by environmental, social, economic, and political dynamics, vary across geographical and social regions. Coastal communities are considered to be among those greatest at risk from climate impacts. To cope with these impacts, communities must assess existing vulnerabilities and adaptive capacities, and begin to adapt. Currently, community-based research often focuses on identifying vulnerabilities and possible adaptations, but rarely examines how local-level stakeholders perceive adaptation-based needs and potential action. This research study focuses on Lennox Island, in Prince Edward Island and the Town of Lockeport, in Nova Scotia to examine how two innovative visualization tools, CLIVE and AdaptNS, influence stakeholder perceptions on climate change adaptation. This study explores whether tool exposure changes perceptions of awareness and priorities for potential action among local-level decision-makers and stakeholders. It further explores which aspects of the visualization tools resonate among local-level decision-makers. This research builds on existing vulnerability assessment information established through the Partnership for Canada-Caribbean Community Climate Change Adaptation (ParCA) research project and uses a methodological approach involving semi-structured interviews and community-based workshops with local-level decision-makers and community stakeholders, respectively. After exposure to visualization tools, this tool finds that stakeholders have a greater awareness of and an enhanced need to prioritize critical infrastructure and regions that are vulnerable to the physical impacts of climate change (specifically storm surge and coastal erosion), to consider the impact of climate change on future generations, and to attain further information regarding climate change impacts. It is further revealed that the visual aspects (including physical impacts, timeframes, and localized focus) and decision-support tool aspects of visualization tools are favourable to stakeholders.