Rural Community Resilience in a Low-Carbon Future

How can we build near and long-term resilience in rural communities as the world transitions towards a low-carbon future?

 

Defining the Challenge

The Issue: Community leaders in Alberta are questioning how their communities can participate and thrive in the global energy transition. 

The Opportunity: To help rural Alberta communities generate deeper understanding and engagement around the opportunities and challenges their jurisdictions may face as a result of energy transition. 

Response to the Innovation Challenge: Bringing the combined knowledge, skills and networks of the Energy Futures Lab Fellows into rural municipalities and First Nation communities across Alberta as part of the EFL’s Energy Futures Roadshows program.

Unlocking the Challenge

Because every community is a little different, we design and deliver workshops that are tailored to a community’s unique needs and capacities. We strive to leave communities with a clear understanding of how they can move from the development of concepts discussed in community workshops to enabling action in their local areas.

This challenge is guided by the following question: How can we build near and long-term resilience in rural communities as the world transitions towards a low-carbon future?

In response to this Innovation Challenge, identified by Energy Futures Lab Fellows and Partners, we are committed to facilitating solutions-oriented experiences for rural communities in Alberta.

Innovation Approach

The Energy Futures Roadshow is one approach to working collaboratively with rural communities in Alberta. Each Roadshow is collaboratively developed with a host community and includes a series of interactive multi-day workshops, featuring a diversity of community members, including businesses, governments, schools, economic and community developers, and the public. With support from the Energy Futures Lab team and Fellowship, workshops mobilize community members and inspire collaborative action on energy transition opportunities. 

Kick-off workshops typically feature a facilitated role-playing simulation that allows players to experience decades of energy transition in one day. This experience, called The Newtonian Shift, helps participants better understand the dynamics of transition and what they mean for their community. During subsequent workshops, communities explore local energy narratives, take stock of their actions, reflect on their learnings and prepare to move initiatives forward. People working on community initiatives are invited to apply to be part of the Energy Futures Lab Impact Studio to receive further support.

Energy Futures Roadshows occur yearly and are typically hosted between October and March. The intake process for future Roadshows formally takes place in spring, but our team is continually working with communities to better understand their needs and opportunities. This year, we are working directly with one municipality to allow for a more in-depth exploration of community needs, and to provide additional support to prospective community-led projects.

Innisfail has been selected to host the 2022 Roadshow.

What We’ve Accomplished

  • Completion of Energy Futures Roadshows in communities across Alberta including Brooks, Rainbow Lake, Grande Prairie, Hinton, Devon, Crowsnest Pass, Drayton Valley, Red Deer, Whitecourt, and Athabasca.
  • Initiation and continued development of the e-venture electric vehicle charging network in northwest Alberta to bring tourism and other economic development opportunities to communities in this area.  
  • Hosted regular calls with community leaders from all Roadshow communities to share knowledge and experiences across the province. 

Challenge Partners

This work is made possible thanks to funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Climate Action and Awareness Fund. Their generous contribution will allow us to continue engaging with rural communities across Alberta as the energy transition unfolds.

Next Steps

Applications for the additional Roadshows are currently closed, but will open again in 2023. If you are interested in participating in one of our current Roadshow workshops, please contact Laura MacTaggart.

If you would like a Roadshow in your community, or for questions or inquiries please contact:

Connect

Energy Futures Lab
info@energyfutureslab.com