Folk Around Town
  • 03 May 2021
  • 3 Minutes to read
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Folk Around Town

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  • PDF

Article Summary

Folk Around Town


Found across a collection of towns and backroads in rural Nova Scotia, places commonly home to downscale singles, empty-nesting couples, and widowed individuals. Education traditionally hasn’t been a top priority here, and those still working or not on assistance earn lower incomes from blue-and grey-collar jobs in accommodation and food services. However, their downscale incomes go far in their neighbourhoods where single-detached or public housing is inexpensive. That said, a significant percentage live in low-rise apartments or mobile homes. They attend craft shows and auto events, and they're media traditionalists, enjoying sports, classic rock and country music on the radio. Occasionally, they’ll spring for tickets to a home show event, tractor pull, harvest festival or auto race. Typically frugal shoppers, they join rewards programs, use digital coupons and frequent bulk food and second-hand clothing stores.

What they think about climate change

Similar to rural longtimers and oldtimers, these folks have a limited knowledge of what climate change means and how it affects them. Because they don’t see the effects in their day-to-day lives the way that livestock, crops and forest folks do, there is less interest in learning about it, and maybe some resistance to taking the threat seriously. After all, it’s hard to care about something as abstract as climate change when you’re busy worrying about whether next month’s cheque will cover the whole utility bill. With more priority being placed on daily expenses, members of this group might not be as welcoming to adopting new technologies or to government policy that will cost them more money now, even if it saves them money in the long run. A carbon tax, for example, has the potential to disproportionately affect rural communities, as they are more reliant on vehicles and have less access to cleaner energy options. As a result, these folks can be more easily persuaded by the news when it highlights the cost of climate change on the consumer - they can see it on their utility bills and in the higher costs of more sustainable product options at the grocery store. If you can catch them between work, running errands and enjoying their pass time, they might be receptive to conversations about reducing their energy or grocery bills through more environmentally friendly product options.

Top Issues

  • Transit expansion
  • Increased trips by transit
  • Housing densification
  • Residential retrofits

How to Talk to Them about Climate Change

"Climate change affects everyone. We're working to ensure you can benefit from the progress we make together as a community by saving money and getting greater access to services to improve your lifestyle. Find out how you can benefit from efficiency and climate change resiliency. As part of our commitment to lower our emissions, we're expanding transit."


Case Study: ComEd Energy Reports compare energy use among neighbours, using the power of peer pressure to encourage residential utility users to conserve resources. With each bill, customers receive a report that tells them how much energy they used compared to their neighbours. A study conducted found that after receiving these reports, the highest energy users reduce their consumption by an average of 6%.

ComEd Home Energy Reports: comparing energy use among neighbours

Chicago Tribune: Energy Comparisons

Peer Comparisons Reduce Residential Energy Use

Case Study: Thunder Bay’s EarthCare program connected municipal employees directly with members of the community. They created working groups, each with a different focus on climate, to discuss impacts already being experienced and find community-based solutions for addressing them.

Resource: Communicating effectively with the centre-right about household energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Learn the DOs and DON'Ts of communicating to right-leaning community members and what language to use.

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