Walking the Walk toward Increasing Access and Reducing Emissions: The Promise and Challenges of Virtual Climate Adaptation Convenings
1.1. Theoretical Framework: Social Learning Processes and Outcomes
1.2. Benefits and Challenges of Virtual Convenings
1.3. Interaction and Information Exchange in Virtual Environments
1.4. The Present Study
- Who attended the online climate adaptation convenings, and to what extent did online convenings achieve positive outcomes for attendees?
- How do attendees’ perceptions of virtual and hybrid convenings compare with perceptions of past in-person convenings?
- What recommendations do attendees have for future virtual climate adaptation convenings?
2.1.1. Respondents’ Backgrounds
2.1.3. Format Comparisons
2.1.4. Attendee Experiences and Social Learning Processes
2.2. Data Analyses
2.2.1. Quantitative Analyses
2.2.2. Qualitative Analyses
3.1. Socio-Demographic Characteristics of Respondents
3.2. Attendee Outcomes
3.3. Comparisons between Virtual and In-Person Formats
3.4. Likelihood of Attendance Based on Format
3.5. Benefits of Virtual Convenings
3.5.1. Increased Accessibility and More Inclusive Participation
3.5.2. Gaining New Insights and Perspectives
3.5.3. Lower Carbon Footprint
3.5.4. Access to Recorded Sessions for Continued Learning
3.6. Challenges with Virtual Convenings
3.6.1. Suboptimal Networking
3.6.2. Technology Barriers
3.6.3. Screen Fatigue
3.7. Benefits and Challenges of the Hybrid Convening
3.8. Suggestions for Future Virtual Convenings
3.8.1. Curate Conference Sessions to Avoid Burnout
3.8.2. Create Opportunities for More Discussion
3.8.3. Offer Varied Networking Opportunities
- “Excursions or field trips to visit project sites/meet people locally”.
- “Have regional hosts for a single day”.
- “Maybe there could be local hubs where smaller groups in each city could call in from, so that you minimize travel but keep an aspect of the in-person collaboration”.
- “Arrange a few in-person social get-togethers with a good plenary speaker…The speaker could be streamed for an online audience as well”.
3.8.4. Ease of Follow-up and Better Visibility
4.1. The Benefits of Virtual Convenings
4.2. Implications for Social Learning in Virtual Contexts
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
- As you return home, what are the next steps for you in terms of actions (if you are involved in local responses) or collaborations (research or policy oriented) that are informed by this conference?
- Looking back, what would have back the conference better? What changes, if any, would you make?
- What did you like most about this year’s online conference?
- What would you have liked to hear more about at this conference? Was a perspective or voice missing or underrepresented?
- Please use the space below to share any additional feedback about this conference.
- What did you find most useful about the online platform?
- What did you like most about this year’s online conference?
- Which conference session(s) did you find most interesting (if any) and why?
- Looking back, what would have made the conference better? What changes, if any, would you make?
- Please explain your (format) preference below (virtual vs. in-person). What do you feel are the primary advantages and disadvantages of each format?
- Please use the space below to share any additional feedback about this conference, including ideas for future topics to be addressed at the next conference and other organizations/listservs where the conference should be promoted.
- Do you have suggestions to improve any aspects of the conference?
- What is the most valuable thing you learned during the conference (optional)?
- Please comment on your experience participating in the Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference as a hybrid event. What worked well? What did not work as well? (optional)
- Following this event, what are the next steps for you in terms of actions (if you are involved in local responses) or collaborations (research or policy oriented) that are informed by this summit?
- What did you like most about this year’s online summit?
- Looking back, what would have made the summit better? What changes, if any, would you make?
- Please use the space below to share any additional feedback about this summit.
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|Descriptions of Convenings||Platforms||Activity Formats 1||Number of Attendees (Survey Respondents)|
|11th Northwest Climate Conference, 6–8 April 2021|
This conference has provided a networking and learning community for practitioners, scientists, tribal members, and community organizers interested in climate change impacts and adaptation in the Northwest for over a decade. The NWCC is committed to supporting equitable climate adaptation outcomes and building equity and diversity in climate science, policy, and adaptation practice. We encourage our conference attendees and presenters to advance the conversation around climate justice both as a stand-alone topic and across the many other topics and themes profiled in the conference.
Wonder networking platform
|2021 Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference, 10–12 May 2021|
This hybrid conference, hosted by the Carolinas Integrated Science and Assessments (CISA) organization at the University of South Carolina, provided a place to share experiences and knowledge about opportunities, resources, and local initiatives across a range of professions and regional experts. Although research findings will be shared, this conference is intended to foster real-world solutions to climate adaptation in the Carolinas. All recorded sessions are archived on the CISA YouTube channel, and some of the networking activities are described in this CISA report.
Wonder networking platform
|230 virtual (49) |
(17-not included in analyses)
|At What Point Managed Retreat? Resilience, Relocation and Climate Justice 22–25 June 2021|
This conference addressed a range of scientific, social, policy and governance issues around managed retreat (also known as strategic realignment and planned relocation). The conference, a major initiative of the Columbia Climate School and its Earth Institute brought together over 900 stakeholders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, together with academics, scientists, and community representatives, to help develop a common understanding of this complex issue, and move the needle toward equitable solutions. A major emphasis was on issues of environmental justice, in recognition that the people most impacted by decisions around retreat have a key role in these conversations.
|13th Annual Climate Leadership Summit 9–10, 2021|
The summit is a regional event hosted by the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact to share knowledge, showcase climate action, engage leadership across sectors, and mobilize the collaboration needed to tackle this significant challenge at scale. The summit attracts innovative thinkers and leaders from the business, government, academic, and nonprofit community to exchange dialogue and ideas on expanding the region’s capacity to respond to climate challenges and build climate resilience.
|Cvent||529 logins, (72)|
|Survey Questions||Sample Size|
|Time working in the field||476|
|Social networking||414 1|
|Satisfaction with content||480|
|Satisfaction with online platform||485|
|Comparisons between virtual and previous in-person formats|
|Networking opportunities||93 2|
|Thinking ahead to a future convening|
|Likelihood of attending future convening based on format||430 1|
|Descriptor||Pooled Mean Percentage||Range between Conferences|
|Race and Ethnicity of Respondents (Which of the following categories best describes you? Check all that apply).|
|Asian or Asian American||6%||0–12%|
|Hispanic or Latinx||6%||2–8%|
|Black or African American||6%||2–10%|
|Native American or Alaskan Native||1%||0–3%|
|Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander||1%||0–2%|
|Employment Sector (In what sectors do you work? Check all that apply).|
|For profit or private sector||9%||5–18%|
|Time working in field (How long have you been working in or adjacent to the field of climate adaptation?)|
|More than 15 years||16%||11–16%|
|Outcome||Pooled Mean||Range (Lowest to Highest Mean for Any Convening)||# of Convenings That Assessed This Outcome|
|Social Networking||3.31||3.18–3.58||3 1|
|After attending this conference, I intend to collaborate with people I met on future climate projects||3.55||3.23–3.94||4|
|I met other participants that I hope to collaborate with in the future||3.36||3.19–3.58||3|
|I had meaningful interactions with other people||3.28||3.07–3.64||3|
|I made new connections with other participants||3.19||2.98–3.40||3|
|I acquired new knowledge||4.13||3.83–4.33||4|
|I learned about resources and/or tools that will be helpful in my work||3.93||3.68–4.20||4|
|I intend to apply something I learned at the conference in my work||3.97||3.76–4.18||4|
|I intend to use resources that I was introduced to||3.82||3.68–4.20||4|
|I intend to implement an idea or suggestion||3.65||3.49–3.90||4|
|Satisfaction and Enjoyment 2|
|I enjoyed participating||4.14||3.99–4.29||4|
|Satisfaction with content presented *||4.27||4.06–4.57||4|
|Satisfaction with online platform *||4.26||4.21–4.35||4|
|Preference||% of Respondents|
|Strongly prefer in-person||38%|
|Slightly prefer in-person||26%|
|Slightly prefer online||17%|
|Strongly prefer online||9%|
|Format Comparisons||Networking Opportunities 1|
(n = 93)
|Amount I Learned|
(n = 151)
|Reflecting on your participation in both the online and in-person formats of this conference, please indicate your level of preference.|
|Online was much worse than in-person||57%||9%|
|Online was slightly worse compared with in-person||29%||29%|
|Online was about the same as in-person||10%||42%|
|Online was slightly better than in-person||3%||11%|
|Online was much better than in-person||1%||9%|
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Merritt, E.G.; Brousseau, J.J.; Stern, M.J.; Hansen, L.J. Walking the Walk toward Increasing Access and Reducing Emissions: The Promise and Challenges of Virtual Climate Adaptation Convenings. Sustainability 2022, 14, 12586. https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912586
Merritt EG, Brousseau JJ, Stern MJ, Hansen LJ. Walking the Walk toward Increasing Access and Reducing Emissions: The Promise and Challenges of Virtual Climate Adaptation Convenings. Sustainability. 2022; 14(19):12586. https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912586Chicago/Turabian Style
Merritt, Eileen G., Jennifer J. Brousseau, Marc J. Stern, and Lara J. Hansen. 2022. "Walking the Walk toward Increasing Access and Reducing Emissions: The Promise and Challenges of Virtual Climate Adaptation Convenings" Sustainability 14, no. 19: 12586. https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912586