A novel approach for co-producing positive scenarios that explore agency: case study from the Canadian Arctic
The planet’s social–ecological systems are expected to change in rapid and surprising ways in the coming decades, with consequences for ecosystems, ecosystem services, and human well-being. One way to support local communities and decision-makers at higher scales in addressing such surprising changes is to develop scenarios that are locally actionable and that can inform understanding of social–ecological dynamics across scales. This study focuses on three areas that require advances for developing globally relevant scenarios that support local action: (1) mobilizing Indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) in scenarios; (2) using scenarios to explore agency to affect the future; (3) probing a vast range of plausible positive futures. For scenarios to be relevant to communities in supporting positive change, approaches that engage with ILK to explore how human action, or agency, can shape the future are needed, as well as positive scenarios that feature a wide range of good outcomes for nature and people to inspire and guide action. We propose a novel set of methods for participatory scenario planning—developed and tested through a case study in the Canadian Arctic—designed to carefully explore what ‘positive futures’ could mean to different populations faced with growing impacts from environmental and social change, and how positive outcomes can be achieved even in light of these changing dynamics. This scenario approach provides direction to engage multiple ways of knowing in developing knowledge about future changes that can direct sustainable action.
KeywordsScenarios Participatory Indigenous and local knowledge Agency Positive visioning Knowledge co-production
We thank the Ekaluktutiak Hunters and Trappers Organization (EHTO) for their guidance and help as we were developing this participatory scenario planning project. We are extremely thankful to the seventeen participants of the workshop, and to all the community members who contributed to interviews, surveys, and focus groups. We thank the community of Cambridge Bay for supporting this research. Thank you to the fifteen scientists who contributed to the expert opinion survey on regional trends for climate change. Thank you to the Marine Environmental Observation–Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) network and the Northern Scientific Training Program (NSTP) for funding support. Thank you to Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR) for funding and in-kind support. We thank the staff of POLAR for their assistance throughout this project. MF received scholarships from the W. Garfield Weston Foundation, the Fonds de Recherche du Québec—Nature et Technologies (FRQNT), MEOPAR, and the NSERC CREATE program in Environmental Innovation. This project is also supported by an NSERC Discovery Grant and EWR Steacie Fellowship to EMB. We thank all the team of Elena Bennett’s laboratory for feedback during a test run for some of the scenario activities. We thank M. Les Harris, and professors Brent Else, James Ford, Murray M. Humphries, Donald McLennan, Jean-Sebastien Moore, C. J. Mundy, Garry Peterson, and Christopher T. Solomon for feedback and/or field support during this research. Thank you to the Inuit Circumpolar Council-Canada for giving a remote presentation at the workshop.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- (AMAP) Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (2017) Adaptation actions for a changing arctic: perspectives from the bering-chukchi-Beaufort region. AMAP, OlsoGoogle Scholar
- (DFO) Fisheries and Oceans Canada (2014) Integrated fisheries management plan, Cambridge Bay Arctic Char commercial fishery, Nunavut Settlement area. DFO Central Arctic Region, Resource Management and Aboriginal Affairs, Winnipeg, p 38Google Scholar
- (MA) Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being: Synthesis. Island Press, Washington, p 137Google Scholar
- (NTI) Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians (2010) Nunavut land claims agreement. NTI, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, Ottawa, p 282Google Scholar
- Bennett EM, Zurek M (2006) Integrating epistemologies through scenarios. In: Reid WV, Berkes F, Wilbanks T, Capistrano D (eds) Bridging scales and knowledge systems. Island Press, Washington, pp 275–294Google Scholar
- Bennett EM, Solan M, Biggs R, McPhearson T, Norström AV, Olsson P, Pereira L, Peterson GD, Raudsepp-Hearne C, Biermann F, Carpenter SR, Ellis EC, Hichert T, Galaz V, Lahsen M, Milkoreit M, Martin López B, Nicholas KA, Preiser R, Vince G, Vervoort JM, Xu J (2016a) Bright spots: seeds of a good anthropocene. Front Ecol Environ 14:441–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Carpenter SR (2002) Ecological futures: building an ecology of the long now. Ecology 83:2069–2083Google Scholar
- Carter NA, Dawson J, Knopp J, Joyce J, Weber M, Kochanowicz Z, Mussells O (2018) Arctic corridors and northern voices: governing marine transportation in the Canadian Arctic (Cambridge Bay, Nunavut community report). University of Ottawa, Ottawa, p 24Google Scholar
- Decker DJ, Riley SJ, Siemer WF (2012) Human dimensions of wildlife management, 2nd edn. Johns Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
- Evans K, Velarde SJ, Prieto R, Rao SN, Sertzen S, Dávila K, Cronkleton P, de Jong W (2006) Field guide to the future: four ways for communities to think ahead. In: Bennett EM, Zurek M (eds) Center for international forestry research (CIFOR), ASB. World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, p 87Google Scholar
- FAO, IFAD and WFP (2015) The state of food insecurity in the world, Meeting the 2015 international hunger targets: taking stock of uneven progress. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Rome, p 62Google Scholar
- Henrichs T, Zurek M, Eickhout B, Kok K, Raudsepp-Hearne C, Ribeiro T, van Vuuren D, Volkery A (2010) Scenario development and analysis for forward-looking ecosystem assessments. In: Ash N, Blanco H, Brown C, Garcia K, Henrichs T, Lucas N, Raudsepp-Hearne C, Simpson RD, Scholes R, Tomich TP, Vira B, Zurek M (eds) Ecosystems and human well-being. A manual for assessment practitioners. Island Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
- IPBES (2016) The methodological assessment report on scenarios and models of biodiversity and ecosystem services. In: Ferrier S et al (eds) Secretariat of the intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services, Bonn, p 348Google Scholar
- Lundquist CJ, Pereira HM, Alkemade R, den Belder E, Carvalho Ribeiro S, Davies K et al (2017) Visions for nature and nature’s contributions to people for the 21st century, NIWA science and technology series Report No. 83. NIWA, Auckland, p 123Google Scholar
- Mistry J, Tschirhart C, Verwer C, Glastra R, Davis O, Jafferally D, Haynes L, Benjamin R, Albert G, Xavier R, Bovolo I, Berardi A (2014) Our common future? Cross-scalar scenario analysis for social-ecological sustainability of the Guiana Shield, South America. Environ Sci Policy 44:126–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Oteros-Rozas E, Martin López B, Daw TM, Bohensky EL, Butler JRA, Hill R, Martin-Ortega J, Quinlan A, Ravera F, Ruiz-Mallèn I, Thyresson M, Mistry J, Palomo I, Peterson GD, Plieninger T, Waylen KA, Beach DM, Bohnet IC, Hamann M, Hanspach J, Hubacek K, Lavorel S, Vilardy SP (2015) Participatory scenario planning in place-based social-ecological research: insights and experiences from 23 case studies. Ecol Soc 20(4):32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rathwell KJ, Armitage D (2016) Art and artistic processes bridge knowledge systems about social-ecological change: An empirical examination with Inuit artists from Nunavut. Canada, Ecol Soc, p 21Google Scholar
- Rosa IMD, Pereira HM, Ferrier S, Alkemade R, Acosta LA, Akcakaya HR, den Belder E, Fazel AM, Fujimori S, Harfoot M, Harhash KA, Harrison PA, Hauck J, Hendriks RJJ, Hernández G, Jetz W, Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen SI, Kim H, King N, Kok MTJ, Kolomytsev GO, Lazarova T, Leadley P, Lundquist CJ, García Márquez J, Meyer C, Navarro LM, Nesshöver C, Ngo HT, Ninan KN, Palomo MG, Pereira LM, Peterson GD, Pichs R, Popp A, Purvis A, Ravera F, Rondinini C, Sathyapalan J, Schipper AM, Seppelt R, Settele J, Sitas N, van Vuuren D (2017) Multiscale scenarios for nature futures. Nat Eco Evo 1:1416–1419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Schultz W (2015) Manoa: The future is not binary. APF Compass, Methods Anthology Special Edition, 22–26 April 2015Google Scholar
- Statistics Canada (2017a) Kitikmeot region, Nunavut. 2016 census profile. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-316-x2016001, Ottawa. Released November 29, 2017. https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/dp-pd/prof/index.cfm?Lang=E
- Statistics Canada (2017b) Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. 2016 census profile. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98-316-x2016001, Ottawa. Released November 29, 2017. https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/dp-pd/prof/index.cfm?Lang=E
- Steiner N, Azetsu-Scott K, Hamilton J, Hedges K, Hu X, Janjua MY, Lavoie D, Loder J, Melling H, Merzouk A, Perrie W, Peterson I, Scarratt M, Sou T, Tallmann R (2015) Observed trends and climate projections affecting marine ecosystems in the Canadian Arctic. Environ Rev 23:191–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Trochim WM (2006) The research methods knowledge base, 2nd edition. http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/index.php (version current as of Oct 20, 2006)
- van der Heijden K (1996) Scenarios: the art of strategic conversation. Wiley, New York, p 382Google Scholar