ALBERTA NARRATIVES PROJECT

Finding the language that brings us together so we can start a new conversation about climate change and energy in Alberta.

What is the Alberta Narratives Project?

The Alberta Narratives Project is a community-based initiative and new approach to public engagement research that builds skills and better communications. It aims to uncover language and narratives that reflect the values and identities of Albertans, and to find ways of talking about our energy-climate future that build bridges to better community conversation.

More than 75 individuals and organizations hosted 55 Narrative Workshops around Alberta, making this one of the largest public engagements of its kind. They spoke with a broad spectrum of people including farmers, oil sands workers, energy leaders, senior business people, youth, environmental activists, New Canadians and many more.

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Workshops Hosted
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Albertans Participated

PROJECT PARTNERS

The Alberta Narratives Project has been made possible through the generous support of the following:

We would also like to thank Pat and Connie Carlson as well as Allan and Helaine Shiff for their support of the project.

REPORT HIGHLIGHTS

Our objective has been to find language that will create the best basis for a shared conversation and does not feed polarization.

Key Findings

Successful and unsuccessful approaches for communications.

Renewables

What Albertans say about renewables and transition.

A Common Narrative

For discussing climate change and energy in Alberta.

Climate Change

What people say about climate change in Alberta.

Albertan Identity

Findings and recommendations on what people say about Alberta.

Oil and Gas

What people say about oil and gas in Alberta.

Project Collaborators

A broad spectrum of people participated in these discussions, including:

Activists, artists, business leaders, ‘c’ conservatives, citizens, conservationists, community leaders, educators, energy leaders, energy professionals, environmentalists, faith leaders and congregants, farmers, health professionals, new Canadians, oil & gas workers, policy-makers, progressives, renewable business leaders, rural Albertans, utility operators, women, young environmentalists and youth.

Quotes from the Project

Each of the 55 groups followed the same script, delivered by a trained facilitator. Following a methodology developed over 10 years, they began by talking about their values and their identity. They then discussed their concerns, especially about the future. Climate change and energy were not specifically mentioned to ensure people established common ground and became comfortable in the conversation. This was then followed by a series of open-ended questions concerning climate change and energy.

I am proud to be Albertan, but I don’t know if I know exactly why. I love Alberta for the mountains, but I also think that a large reason people are here is for opportunity. A  lot of people move here to Alberta for opportunity and I think the new people that come here are often willing to take chances, which is what I like.

Environmental Group

In a crisis, the whole province will pull together and help each other out… it’s an old-school Western character… it’s a real salt of the earth bunch of people, and Albertans are just really, really great folks that really take care of each other. And that’s great.

Rural Group

I would say, by and large, Albertans are builders, whether it’s the pipelines, or roads, or bridges, or the electric industry. As a city, we’re far newer than really any of the other major cities, by 80-100 years, and what the province has accomplished really reflects the attitude in this province.

Business Leaders Group

People used to be so much more thick-skinned. They get offended and you turn out to be the worst person ever because you give your opinion when they ask for it. Sometimes you ask for their opinion, you give your opinion and they don’t accept your opinion.

Conservatives Group

I think the [future] boom is gonna be more diverse. It’s not gonna be a boom in the sense of one industry, like fossil fuels picking up. It’ll be a boom where it’s solar, and then there’s gonna be advancements in different kinds of applications for the fossil fuels.

Oil Workers Group

When you see how the rest of the world lives, we are very privileged. Alberta is literally the best place in the world to live, hands down. Like, hands down.

Farmers Group

Get the full reports

The Alberta Narratives Project Report I and Report II are intended to provide practical guidance for climate and energy communicators about what language works well and – crucially – what language might pose an obstacle for communicating with any specific group.

Report I, Communicating Climate Change and Energy in Alberta is concerned with finding the language that works best across Albertan society by helping to find common ground across very different positions. This generates a core narrative that can be applied for general public engagement.

Report II, Communicating Climate Change and Energy with Different Audiences in Alberta offers tailored language that can be the basis of effective communications with each of the following groups: oil sands workers, conservatives, environmentalists, rural Albertans, business leaders, youth, new Canadians and people of faith.

We stress that these are guidebooks, not rulebooks. Skilled communications should always listen to their audiences, and experiment with new and fresh ways of speaking.

GET IN TOUCH

If you are interested in learning more about the Alberta Narratives Project, hosting a presentation or workshop, or have a question about climate change and energy communications, please contact us using the form below.

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