Storytelling is the practice of using narration to explain events in words and images. Stories are active, personal, and memorable permitting the narrator and audience to expand their understanding about a specific topic. We frequently tell stories to explain our perspectives, ideas, and hopes.
We propose an engagement strategy based on the principles of storytelling to spark the discussion about sea level rise and adaptation within Metro Vancouver communities.
Effective adaptation solutions are ones that will protect our homes and businesses while reflecting community values, history, and the environment. In order to design such solutions and reduce barriers to public participation we propose using a variety of materials such as public art, local landmarks, historical photographs and maps, social media, technical information, images of technical solutions and images of sea level rise hazards to inspire citizens to tell stories.
Storytelling sessions would be hosted throughout Metro Vancouver at a variety of scales – individual, neighbourhood, business area, and city. Citizens would share stories and information that identify community values and desires for the future. Drawing upon storytellers’ local knowledge, ideas, and expectations experts and community leaders would then create policy and technical solutions. Solutions and strategies would be shared with storytellers and the community for further refinement. By engaging the community on the topic of sea level rise through storytelling adaptation solutions will be local, rigorous, cost-effective, and help the community thrive. Further, the momentum built by the action of storytelling will help build the political will to act and fund adaptation solutions.