Imagine a world where political will and broad public support unite to address the pressing challenges of our time, including the climate crisis. While solutions are known, what's often missing is the connection between different perspectives and the will to act. That's where deep canvassing comes in.
This resource is also available in French. Click here to access the French version.
Co-authored by Jennifer Lerus-Roulez and Montana Burgess, Neighbours United.
This blog post was inspired by a recent webinar that the Communities Climate Transitions (CCT) team hosted. The webinar featured Montana Burgess from Neighbours United who presented the transformative potential of deep canvassing and their success in their pilot program in Trail, BC. Watch the webinar Engaging Hearts and Minds Through Deep Canvassing.
Unveiling the Power of Deep Canvassing
Deep canvassing is an engagement method that goes beyond surface-level conversations. It centres around vulnerability, honest curiosity, and non-judgment, fostering understanding and common ground. Through personal storytelling and active listening, deep canvassing bridges divides and nurtures lasting connections. Neighbours United, a global leader in deep engagement, pioneered deep canvassing programs in Canada, in partnership with deep canvassing method founders – the New Conversation Initiative, and revolutionized the way we approach climate and energy conversations.
Deep canvassing is a valuable tool for community-led climate action. It opens doors for dialogue, challenges preconceptions, and builds bridges between different stakeholders. By applying deep canvassing techniques, communities can rally support for climate action, driving real change at the local level. Through meaningful conversations and shared experiences, the barriers of resistance can crumble, paving the way for unified action.
The Trail, BC, Success Story
In the company mining town of Trail, BC, Neighbours United's deep canvassing efforts brought about an inspiring energy transition. The impact speaks volumes—1 in 3 small town residents experienced a transformative shift in beliefs and behaviours, actively supporting climate action and clean energy. This tangible outcome showcases the potential of deep canvassing to overcome polarization and drive change on pressing social, environmental, and economic issues.
Scaling Deep Canvassing across Canada
While Neighbours United has already made significant strides in BC and through an Alberta partnership, the potential to scale deep canvassing across Canada and beyond is immense. By adopting this approach, communities can find common ground on various pressing issues, from racial inequity to climate policies, creating movements for change. The power lies in deep engagement, fostering connections, and mobilizing communities towards collective action.
The statistics reinforce the significance of deep canvassing in climate communication. A recent study showed that only 64% of Canadians believe that climate change is caused by human activity, and there is a concerning gap between understanding the urgency of the issue and taking concrete action. Moreover, in BC alone, approximately 54% of residents express concern about climate change but feel unsure about effective strategies for combating it. These figures highlight the need for innovative engagement methods like deep canvassing to bridge these gaps and ignite change.
In a world hungry for solutions to the pressing climate crisis, deep canvassing emerges as a transformative engagement method, bridging gaps and nurturing connections. Neighbours United's pioneering efforts in Canada have shown that vulnerability and open dialogue can dismantle barriers and rally support for community-led climate action. By embracing this powerful technique, communities across Canada can forge their own movements for change, uniting diverse perspectives and creating a future marked by collaboration, resilience, and a shared commitment to a sustainable planet.
It's time for us to harness the power of deep canvassing and forge a path towards unified action. Let's build a world where understanding and empathy lead the way, where we collectively address climate challenges with political will and public support.
Calls to Action
- Join the Movement: Become a deep canvasser and engage with your community to foster understanding and common ground on climate issues. You can volunteer with Neighbours United and get experience deep canvassing. This can be done online from your home!
- Spread the Word: Share this blog post and Neighbours United's success stories to inspire others to embrace deep canvassing as a tool for climate action.
- Support Neighbours United: Contribute to organizations like Neighbours United that are at the forefront of deep canvassing efforts, driving positive change across communities by donating here.
Learn More about Neighbours United’s Deep Canvassing Impact
- Read Yale Program on Climate Change Communication Case Study about Neighbors
- United’s pilot deep canvassing program & an Instagram post summarizing the case study.
- Listen to Gimlet Media and Spotify’s How to Save a Planet podcast documenting Neighbors
- United’s script development process and pilot program.
- Watch a TikTok influencer describe Neighbors United’s pilot program.
- Climate Opinion Insights in Canada - EcoAnalytics (https://ecoanalyticscanada.org/climate-opinion-insights-canada/)
- Climate Change Public Opinion in British Columbia - University of Calgary School of Public Policy (https://www.policyschool.ca/climate-opinion-in-british-columbia/)
- Government of British Columbia. (2021). Climate Action Secretariat. [Online]. Available: https://retooling.ca/resources/climate-action-secretariat-adaptation-ministry-of-environment
- Neighbour United fact sheet