Innovative ways to engage stakeholders on climate resilience
‘The Boxer’s Guide to Climate Resilience’ was premiered at the Flood & Coast conference and was an enormous hit!
Phil Emonson, our Emergency Planning Lead and Jenny Broomby, Chartered Senior Environment and Sustainability Analyst reflect on how innovative ways to engage stakeholders can be used more widely.
Aware, Adapt, Respond and Recover
At JBA it’s our vision to leads society’s pursuit for resilience to climate change. To deliver on this we commissioned Steve Scott-Bottoms of Vesper Hill to research, devise and create an innovative performance. This aims to provoke a new way of communicating awareness of climate resilience so that we are more able to adapt, respond and recover to the challenges of a changing climate.
“We held meetings in the church hall. Was it my fault nobody came…?
Communications and stakeholder engagement are not my department”.
Every community is different
This line from ‘The Boxer’s Guide to Climate Resilience’ particularly resonates with those of us who work in FCRM. Traditionally church halls and other such venues have been hired to engage with the community about their flood risk, and whilst there’s nothing wrong with the venue per-se, this line provides the most insight.
To help build resilience in our communities we first need to think about how we raise awareness of risk. To be effective and provide a sustainable legacy across society it’s important that we understand what makes up each community we work in.
Every community is different and so we can’t rely on a ‘one size fits all’ approach. For example, we should consider if hiring the local hall is effective if the community has a higher-than-average population of families. The parents will be busy collecting children from school, getting food prepared and homework complete.
Instead, armed with the knowledge of the demographics, there needs to be a greater portfolio of tools and resources available to engage. Later in the performance, the chief protagonist Jo, reflects on how communities can be a valuable source of inspiration.
“We realised that we need to work with these groups. To build trust. Dialogue. So we’ve been joining in with games nights and pub quizzes, telling stories and sharing ideas”
Innovative communication is essential
Building resilience to climate change won’t happen overnight, or with a single community engagement event. Instead it is incumbent on all of us working in FCRM to acknowledge that communications and stakeholder engagement are central to all we do, and by developing a portfolio of tools and resources we can contribute to building whole of society resilience.
The commissioning of the ‘Boxer’s Guide to Climate Resilience’ is just one of the innovative and creative ways JBA are raising awareness to climate resilience across the whole of society.
If you would like to know more about this exciting production or our wider work building climate resilience please contact Phil Emonson.
Photo credit: Steven Trewhella, Rivelin Bridge Ltd