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The Jefferson Center's "Rural Climate Dialogues": Developing a Citizen-Base...

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Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation

Edinburgh

EH8

United Kingdom

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The Jefferson Center's "Rural Climate Dialogues": Developing a Citizen-Based Response to Climate Change and Extreme Weather in Rural Communities.

Kyle Bozentko

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, High School Yards, Edinburgh, EH1 1LZ

ABSTRACT: This seminar will examine the successes and challenges of the Jefferson Center's Rural Climate Dialogues program, a participatory effort to engage rural communities to address climate change through democratic deliberation and grassroots collective action. A Rural Climate Dialogue (RCD) convenes a demographically and politically representative group of residents for three days of deliberation about the local impacts of climate change and about how their community can work to address those changes. Through the “Citizens Jury” model of deliberation, participants spend three days hearing expert testimony, deliberating together to identify elements of their community that are threatened by climate change, and devising recommendations for individual and community actions that can enhance their community’s climate resilience.

This seminar will highlight three case studies from Minnesota, showing that authentic participation can reduce skepticism to climate change, spur greater collaborative action, and inform local, state, and federal policy. It will explore how deliberative and participatory engagement processes can reduce skepticism about climate change and increase beliefs that the local community can, and should, take action. It will highlight how these dialogues spur collective action by setting clear, public goals and building support for direct involvement from community leaders, public officials, and regular citizens. Further, we’ll note how participatory efforts in “pilot communities” can inform climate planning work in non-participating communities and among public officials and government agencies at state and federal levels.

Finally, this seminar will outline the emerging strategic approach of the Jefferson Center in the areas of campaigns, media, & elections, patient engagement in health policy, climate change and community resilience, and exploratory democracy.

BIO: Kyle Bozentko utilizes over a decade of civic engagement, public policy, and political organizing experience to oversee the strategic, organizational, and programmatic development of the Jefferson Center. In this role he has overseen and contributed to civic engagement and deliberative projects on diverse issues such as media engagement and elections, the impacts of climate change on rural communities, patient health data privacy in the United Kingdom, local government reform, and nuclear waste storage and disposal in South Australia. His work on citizen participation, democratic reform, and civic engagement has been published in GOVERNING Magazine, MinnPost, and InDaily (Adelaide, South Australia) and via Independent Sector. Kyle serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) USA and as a Co-Chair of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC) Executive Committee and as an Advisor to Forum dos Cidadaos (Portugal).

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Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation

Edinburgh

EH8

United Kingdom

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