How a Southwest CASC Researcher Thinks like a Folkorist

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Borderlore online journal describes how Alison Meadow forms relationships with the communities she works with who are adapting to a changing climate in the Southwestern U.S. 

Image: Beaver Creek Rapid

Researchers observing Beaver Creek Rapid in Arizona. 

(Credit: Justin Pressfield, U.S. Geological Survey. Public domain.)

Read the original news story posted by BorderLore, here

Southwest CASC researcher Alison Meadow and her husband, Dan Ferguson, an assistant professor of environmental science at the University of Arizona, were recently interviewed for a piece in the online outlet BorderLore to discuss how they engage with communities in the Southwest that are planning and adapting for climate change. Meadow’s science background is in environmental anthropology and urban planning, and her research focuses on linking scientists with decision makers to improve the usability of climate science. Meadow and Ferguson  explain their approach to sharing climate science with communities in the Southwest and what that science might mean for the future of climate adaptation.  Both prioritize relationships over outcome, conduct interviews and talk to people, listen, note patterns and context, show dignity and respect for others, practice reciprocity, and make sure culture and heritage are at the table, the way folklorists do. Meadows and Ferguson both cite their backgrounds and training in community-based research and mentorship from Indigenous leaders as major influences on their research methods today. 

Meadow acknowledged, “We protect the things that we love, and that we’re really connected to. So much of culture and heritage and language and knowledge is embedded in place, so you mobilize people to really to act out of great love and attachment for a place.” 

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