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


  • Kimberly J Reeder University of New Brunswick
  • Susan O'Donnell University of New Brunswick
  • Adje Prado Northwest Regional Service Commission/Commission de services regionaux Nord-Ouest


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

Author Biographies

Kimberly J Reeder, University of New Brunswick

Kim Reeder is a Masters of Environmental Management candidate in the Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management at UNB and a RAVEN project research assistant.

Susan O'Donnell, University of New Brunswick

Susan O'Donnell is a researcher and adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton.

Adje Prado, Northwest Regional Service Commission/Commission de services regionaux Nord-Ouest

Adrian 'Adje' Prado is the Environment Specialist / Land Officer for the Northwest Regional Service Commission. He holds a B.Sc., a B.ES and an M.Sc. from McGill.