Can Farmers be Climate Leaders? Seeking Climate Change Innovation in Unlikely Places.

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Debra DAVIDSON, Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Lianne LEFSRUD, University of Alberta, Canada
As environmental sociologists, we often look to a handful of key structural sources of positive environmental change: environmental social movements, environmental states and governance, and technology. But perhaps we are not looking everywhere innovation is taking place? In this presentation, we explore the potential role of farmers as climate leaders. Farmers are not a likely place to look for climate leadership. To the contrary, a number of studies have highlighted the prevalence of climate skepticism among some farming populations. As well, given their economic dependence on agricultural production, farmers would be expected to resist the burden of additional costs that may be associated with climate change innovations. In our research, however, we find it is not quite so simple. Based on the findings of a discursive analysis of several local media sources targeting the agricultural producer population in Alberta, combined with a survey of a sample of grain and beef producers, we discuss how inter-relations among identity, emotion, information and practice can encourage different forms of farmer engagement in climate change mitigation.