Foundations Modules

Alberta's Adaptation Resilience Training (ART)

Build your climate change literacy in order to inform, guide, and support discussions and decision making that better account for climate change. The Foundations modules below cover several core subjects, and are pre-requisites to ART’s sector specific Practice Area modules. Each module contains a recorded workshop presentation by experts, the slide decks and a list of additional resources.

Climate Science

This foundational module is an introduction to climate science, including the basics of the global climate system and observed climate trends in Canada and Alberta.

You are introduced to:

  • Different types of climate models that are used to evaluate climate trends and make projections of future climate conditions.
  • Basic terminologies to help you navigate the climate change conversation.
  • Key tools and resources for understanding and accessing climate science data and information.

The module also discusses how changes in average and extreme climate conditions that Alberta is projected to experience relate to risk of floods, droughts and wildfires. The next module will dive into the social, environmental and economic impacts of climate change in greater detail.

Module Presentation:

Key Terms: adaptation, climate model, bias adjustment, downscaling, climate extremes

Download: Slide deck presentation

Download: Additional Resources

Module Presenters:          

Dr. Jeremy Fyke, PhD., Coordinator, Environment Canada and Climate Change 

Jeremy is a climate scientist with over 15 years of experience in applied climate services, climate science, and environmental consulting. He has led pioneering efforts to apply climate models, observations, and theory towards projections of future climate change. Jeremy has extensive experience in providing targeted climate service analyses for critical planning efforts, such as for Arctic road design, regional drought/flood preparedness and long-term water management, drinking water facility climate risk, and agricultural and recreational industry strategic planning.

Dr. Dave Sauchyn, PhD., Climate Science, Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative (PARC) at the University of Regina

Dave is Director of the Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative at the University of Regina and Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies. His expertise and interests are 1) how knowledge of the climate and hydrology of the past millennium can inform our understanding of future climate and water supplies, and 2) planned adaption to minimize the adverse impacts of climate change. Dave has given more than 450 invited presentations and co-authored about 150 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, including as Coordinating Lead Author of the Prairie Provinces chapter in the current and previous national assessments of climate change.

Risk Identification & Management

This two-part foundational module is an introduction to risk with a focus on climate change. As professionals, you may be worried about questions like: What if our community is flooded? What if there is a wildfire? What if it gets too hot in the summer? What if drought impacts our water quality and food production? It is vital to understand, identify, and assess the risks that climate change imposes.

The module, divided in two parts, explores:

  • Risk identification and assessment, starting with “what do we mean by risk”, “why thinking about risk is important” and “what has risk got to do with climate change”.
  • Risk-related terminology, such as likelihood and consequence, their definitions in the context of risk identification and assessment.
  • The basic process for identifying, quantifying, and evaluating risk with a case study.

The second part of the module shifts to risk management and covers:

  • Tools available to support decision-making and action.
  • The basic principles, processes, and tools commonly used for managing risk.
  • Introduce industry standards and frameworks to guide and support decision making for risk treatment, monitoring, reviewing and reporting.

Throughout this module, case studies will be shown to help illustrate concepts.

Module Presentation: 

Key Terms:  consequence, likelihood, risk management, vulnerability, residual risk, uncertainty

Download:

Download: Additional Resources

Module Presenters:          

Owen James, M.SC., CEnv., CWFM, MIAM, Asset Management Specialist, Associated Engineering

Owen James has over 23 years of experience developing and implementing asset management capability both in the UK and Canada. Owen offers a considerable depth of experience in policy and strategy development, risk management and decision making. Owen supports organizations across Canada to improve their approach to asset management and risk management is fundamental to this.

Economics

This foundational module is an introduction to the economics of climate change, focusing on economic risk in the context of adaptive climate risk management.

You are introduced to:

  • Common terminologies and parameters that are used to discuss adaptation cost and benefits
  • Approaches to estimate potential climate change costs

This module will also discuss economic decision-support tools to manage uncertainties, along with key economic barriers and limits to adaptation.

Module Presentation: 

Key Terms: costs of inaction, co-benefits, effects, cost-analysis, adaptive management, adaptation pathway, financial disclosure

Download: Slide deck presentation

Download: Additional Resources

Module Presenters:

Richard Boyd, PhD., Director, Economics and Research, All One Sky Foundation

Richard is Director of Research at All One Sky Foundation. An environmental economist, his research interests include climate change risk assessment methods and applications, evaluating the costs of inaction, and the use of economic tools to support climate mitigation and adaptation decisions. Over the last 25 years, he has led numerous studies of the impacts of climate change on the built environment, human health, water security and ecosystem services, as well as the costs and benefits of adaptation strategies and GHG reduction policies, programs and projects to inform decision-making at all levels of government, both within Canada and internationally. 

Communication

This foundational module is an introduction in effectively communicating about climate change to increase audience empowerment, engagement, and action.

The module goes through the keys to successful communication including:

  • The importance of knowing your target audience.
  • How to tailor discussions to fit the interests and values of different audiences.
  • Tools to achieve different communication goals.
  • Understanding common barriers to communication.
  • How to find common ground.
  • Using the right format to engage with people of different learning styles.

Throughout this module, the Alberta Narratives Project is used to illustrate successful language for effective conversations.

Module Presentation:

Key Terms: active listening, framing, target audience, change management, perceptions

Download: Slide deck presentation

Download: Additional Resources

Module Presenters:

Garry Drachenberg, P.Eng., Corporate Water Practice and Operations Leader, Associated Engineering  

As Corporate Water Practice and Operations Leader, Garry is responsible for project management, multi-discipline project coordination, staff coordination, and process/mechanical designs of water and wastewater treatment projects and processes. With over 39 years of experience, Garry has a diverse consulting background in water and wastewater engineering.  As an educator, he designed and implemented training programs to ensure communities across Alberta continue to meet and exceed the Alberta drinking water quality standards at their water treatment facilities. Garry has run countless training sessions, spoken at open houses, and facilitated numerous workshops and meetings with educators, community leaders, council members, regulators, policy makers, and operators in rural areas, Indigenous communities, and large cities across Alberta.  Garry is also actively involved in training with the Western Canada Water for professional water practitioners across British Columbia and Alberta.