New Brunswick Environmental Network Survey Shows Public Support for Nature-Based Solutions to Climate Change 

Moncton – May 17th, 2023

A new survey fielded by the New Brunswick Environmental Network evaluated New Brunswicker’s understanding and knowledge of, and support for, approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation that work with nature.

Approaches that work with nature incorporate natural ecosystems, or elements of natural ecosystems, in infrastructure to respond to the most prominent effects of climate change felt by New Brunswicker’s, including sea level rise, coastal and inland flooding, heatwaves, and decreased water and air quality. Nature-based approaches serve as tools to not only reduce the risks of those climate change effects to communities, but also serve a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving habitat availability for species at risk, filtering water, and providing green spaces for recreation and physical activity.

The New Brunswick Environmental Network, along with their partner Nature NB, are leading a project funded by Infrastructure Canada and the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund to support municipalities with climate risk mitigation through the implementation of nature-based and natural climate infrastructure.

NBEN Project Coordinator, Lilian Barraclough, shares that “municipalities are on the frontlines of climate change. Their services and communities are the most directly impacted by the effects of the changing climate, and their action have a large impact to the lives of their residents and their environment.”

New Brunswickers are feeling the effects of climate change, and they are concerned about their preparedness to respond. This survey asked how prepared respondents felt to deal with the impacts on climate change on a personal level, and how prepared they felt their provincial and local governments were. The vast majority felt unprepared, with 78% feeling unprepared on a personal level, and 88% at the provincial and municipal government levels.

Nature NB’s Director of Conservation, Adam Cheeseman, reflects that, “this result clearly indicates the need for ongoing support to help individuals and governments prepare and adapt, particularly given the impacts communities are already facing across the province.”

They surveyed over 660 residents of all demographics in the province. The survey found that overall, when given the choice between a traditional, human-made solution and a nature-based solution, the vast majority of respondents would choose the nature-based solution, even if it took longer to implement. Their support for nature-based solutions was further supported by their desire to have the associated co-benefits, including improvements to mental and physical health, overall community wellbeing, improved water and air quality, increased economic opportunities for residents, and decreased greenhouse gas emissions. However, only 21% of respondents were familiar with nature-based climate solutions before filling out the survey, and only 18% were aware that there was a new provincial climate action plan recently published.

The results of this survey have made it clear that there is public support for nature-based climate solutions. Residents are feeling the need for more support in place as the risks of the climate crisis worsen, from increased education to climate action and adaptation plans, to direct benefits and support in their everyday lives. This evening, from 7-8 pm the NBEN will be sharing the results in detail publicly through a virtual webinar open to residents, non-profits, government, and any interested parties.

 © 2018 NBEN / RENB