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How do we talk to communities who are not exposed to the mainstream understanding of climate change?

The methodology, designed by Janet Orlene, employed in this endeavour is not merely a framework for data collection; it is a vehicle for empathy, empowerment, and advocacy. By centring on memory, context, knowledge, impact on others, and personal reflections, this methodology facilitates a holistic exploration of individual experiences within the broader social, cultural, and ecological contexts. It allows for a nuanced understanding of the intricate connections between environmental changes, livelihoods, community dynamics, and personal identities.

The Process:

  1. Memory: When delving into memories, consider using prompts or open-ended questions to evoke detailed recollections of childhood experiences and observations of environmental changes. Encourage participants to reflect on specific moments or events that signify shifts in their surroundings and way of life.

  2. Context: Explore the current realities and aspirations of individuals within these communities. Probe into their daily lives, hopes for the future, and the challenges they face in achieving their goals. Understanding their present circumstances provides context for how the climate crisis intersects with their lives.

  3. Knowledge: Investigate changes in technical knowledge and practices related to land use, agriculture, or other traditional livelihoods. Document how environmental changes have affected these practices and livelihoods, as well as any adaptations or innovations that have emerged in response to new challenges.

  4. Impact on Others: Collect narratives of how the climate crisis has affected not only individuals but also their wider social networks and communities. Explore shared experiences, coping mechanisms, and collective responses to environmental changes. This step helps illustrate the interconnectedness of people's experiences and the ripple effects of climate impacts.

  5. What does this mean?: Probe deeper into participants' perceptions and interpretations of the changes they've witnessed. Explore their understandings of the causes of environmental degradation and climate change, as well as their attitudes towards discussing these issues with others. Encourage reflection on personal beliefs and values related to environmental stewardship and responsibility.

  6. Impact: Finally, examine the implications of the climate crisis for individuals' present circumstances, future prospects, and intergenerational legacies. Explore fears, hopes, and aspirations for themselves and their children in the face of ongoing environmental changes. This step highlights the urgency of addressing the climate crisis and the stakes involved for current and future generations.

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