Leadership for Climate Change Adaptation In a Rural Region in New Brunswick, Canada

Kimberly J Reeder, Susan O'Donnell, Adje Prado


Many rural communities across Canada are experiencing or anticipating climate change effects. Our study, a contribution to the limited social science research on adaptation in rural regions in this country, focused on a rural, forest-dependent, francophone region of New Brunswick on unceded Wolastoqiyik territory. In collaboration with a regional governance organization, we developed and administered a survey to gather the perspectives and experiences of rural community leaders on climate change adaptation. The study results are intended to provide a basis for discussion to support regional adaptation planning. They may also be used as a baseline for measuring future advances in climate adaptation efforts. Theories of new social movements, Indigenous resurgence, and organizational leadership informed our investigation and analysis. Our study focuses on three themes identified in the literature review critical to supporting environmental action: leadership, communication processes, and relationships. Our core research question is: To what extent are community leaders in the rural study region engaging in these functions? We conclude with reflections on how climate change adaptation is occurring in this rural region and the role of regional governance in this process.

Keywords: rural, climate, adaptation, leadership, Wolastoq

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The Journal of Rural and Community Development is supported by SSHRC.