135 Participatory decisionmaking: using games to understand the implications of decisions related to drought

Monday, 8 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Dawn E jourdan, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX; and A. Taylor and A. Taylor

Public policy decisions related to climate science are enhanced by two factors: the presentation of scientific data and stakeholder participation. Urban planners have been reaching across disciplinary lines to assist climate scientists in developing tools that will help engage the public in discussions and decisionmaking related to adaptation. This presentation seeks to describe a research project undertaken to enhance the Chickasaw Nation’s understanding of the perceived impact of drought on its stakeholders. Designed and tested by a University professor and her students, this presentation seeks to present a tool that was developed as a part of a pedagogical practice that would allow students to learn how gaming may be used to generate public input through the design and implementation of the activity. As a part of this presentation, attendees will be given the opportunity to play one iteration of the game.

In 2016, the Chickasaw Nation Department of Environmental Services entered into a contract with the University of Oklahoma’s Division of Regional and City Planning to design and host stakeholder workshops to provide input to assist in the development of the Nation’s drought plan. Working with Wayne Kellogg, Environmental Engineer of the Chickasaw Nation, and April Taylor, tribal liaison for the South Central Climate Science Center, Dr. Dawn Jourdan and Dr. Meghan Wieters led a team of graduate students in the development of a presentation about the potential impacts of drought on lands owned by the Nation and its members. This presentation was informed by interviews with a series of tribal experts in the following fields: land development, eco-tourism, agriculture, health and human services, water resources, and disaster response.

Based on this preliminary inquiry, the research team formulated a design for a series of stakeholder workshop. As a part of this workshop, the participants participated in a game that allowed them to have input on the viability of a spectrum of adaptation strategies under the lens of another stakeholder, i.e. one of the six stakeholder groups previously identified as critical to this workshop (agriculture, eco-tourism, health and human services, water resources, hazards management, and planning and land development. The adaptation strategies considered included:

1) Do nothing and let the market decide how water will be allocated

2) Price available water supply based on necessity of the use and availability

3) Creation of reservoirs to hold water for use by the tribes

4) Require efficient water use and conservation

5) Limit farming activities, including livestock cultivation

6) Limit the amount of future residential development that can occur within a 25 year period based on the amount of water available at the time of development

7) Prohibit the development of water-intensive land uses like slaughterhouses

Upon being seated at the table, each individual was asked to choose a stake of 6 game coins representing one of the stakeholder groups. The exercise was performed in three iterations.

In the first scenario, participants were asked to read a paragraph describing their assigned role. After considering this paragraph, participants were asked to place their chips on the adaptive strategies they felt would be most beneficial to their assigned sector. They did not deliberate during the first placement of their chips.

Subsequently, each participant was encouraged to tell the group why and how they voted. After hearing these statements, the participants were given the opportunity to modify their votes and to explain why. This was the second scenario.

In the third and final scenario, the participants were allowed to drop their chosen persona and to represent their own interests. They voted again and discussed the reasons they chose to move (or not) their game coins.

This process was replicated with 1-4 groups in the course of six meetings. The results were compiled into a report for the Chickasaw Nation to inform their drought plan.

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