In recent years, communities in Georgetown County, South Carolina have been dealing with the impacts of thousand-year rainfalls and Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, along with rising sea levels, but have struggled to develop proactive strategies to manage these risks. This project developed and implemented a novel approach to climate adaptation planning, following a model used in New England (see New England Climate Change Adaptation Project). The Georgetown Climate Adaptation Project (GCAP) team created a customized role-playing simulation that was used in workshops to immerse community members and municipal officials in a fictional, but realistic, climate planning process. A series of workshops helped set the stage for local government action on climate adaptation by gathering diverse perspectives on challenging decisions and allowing leaders to try out collaborative methods for decision-making.
The project engaged nearly 300 people in Georgetown County in role play simulation consensus building workshops. Participants in community workshops were from a wide range of backgrounds and affiliations. Pre- and post-workshop surveys were used to assess knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions regarding climate impacts and adaptation planning. Debrief discussions captured the experiences and reactions of participants. Community workshop participants also practiced utilizing downscaled climate projection data in decision making and expressed support for incorporating climate projections in real-life future planning by local government. Project results provide insight into the diversity and range of experiences and values within a community that should be considered in management and planning decisions.