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Ensuring a sustainable energy future involves technical complexity, but some of the biggest challenges are social: such transitions call for new politics, investment, cultural norms, and landscapes. Public knowledge about, and support for, energy alternatives remains quite low. Energy development proposals are polarized and disconnected from discussions of overall energy mix and conservation measures. Yet together, we must create a new sense of what is needed, desirable and possible for Canada’s energy future, and map a way to get there. Social understanding is critical to making the transition successfully and democratically. This research contributes by using:

(1) elicitation and visualization techniques to understand how individually held landscape values influence citizen responses to energy development;

(2) Q methodology (statement- and image-sorting) and survey research to understand cultural values and gauge technical literacy related to energy development in Canada; and,

(3) deliberative democratic techniques to facilitate citizen deliberations and learning to identify acceptable energy alternatives.

This project seeks to contribute to public understanding of alternative energy development, encourage an appropriate mix of energy supply and conservation measures, improve energy development protocols and contribute to the adaptation and mitigation of climate change.

We have research happening at a national scale, as well as detailed cases in Peace River, AB, Mactaquac, NB, and Southern Ontario. This site provides overviews and outputs from that work, in conventional report and new media forms. Thanks for visiting.