The role that Carbon Conversations, as a model of deliberative workshops, can play in increasing carbon literacy with a group of low-income social housing tenants living in Glasgow
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This paper considers the role that Carbon Conversations, as an example of deliberative workshops, can play in increasing carbon literacy among a group of low-income social housing tenants living in Glasgow. With some adaptations, Carbon Conversations was shown to be an effective model to generate systematic understandings of climate change, stimulate emotional engagement and discussion, and encourage personal carbon reductions. However, this was tempered by socio-structural constraints relating to poverty and poor infrastructure, and was directed more towards consumerism and waste than travel and diet. The unanticipated outcome was the way in which Carbon Conversations strengthened pro-social self and social identities which focused on community resilience over and above a pro-environmental narrative. This is certainly a topic that could be integrated into future Conversations for this audience and demonstrates the path to carbon capability. This paper is novel in its focus on low-income tenants’ attitudes and actions towards climate change, which has been less well represented to date. It has demonstrated that social housing tenants, on low incomes and with less formal education, are interested and concerned about climate change from a multiple of perspectives. Similarly, it has shown that deliberative workshops can promote both carbon literacy and capability within a discourse of community regeneration and tackling social inequalities. However, further critical mixed methods research is required to tease out the level of contribution deliberative processes can make towards carbon literacy across a wider sample of low-income households.