Research Brief and Insights for Practice – Enhancing Capacity in Adult Climate Literacy: Investigating Sustainability Mindsets in the U.S. Emergency Management Profession

Research Brief and Insights for Practice:

This case study investigated how climate change education can meet the learning needs of U.S. emergency management (EM) professionals. The study focused on understanding EM’s experiences and learning processes regarding climate change impacts by leveraging the expertise of six certified emergency management professionals as key informants. Data collection included surveys, semi-structured interviews, the Sustainability Mindset Indicator (SMI) assessment, and a boosted sample survey of 56 participants for broader trend identification. The findings reveal an increasing recognition among U.S. emergency managers of the complex impacts of climate change on their roles. They expressed a preference for localized climate information considering cognitive, social, political, and historical dimensions, and emphasized practical, long-term thinking-oriented climate training. The study identified strong motivation, preparation for future learning, and a sense of purpose among emergency managers, suggesting the potential integration of climate change information into existing emergency management frameworks. Emergency managers stressed the need to refine roles and foster collaboration across sectors to address climate change effectively, acknowledging resource limitations. Despite challenges, the study highlighted the potential for climate literacy to transcend personal, professional, and sectoral boundaries, providing insights for shaping future training programs and guiding researchers and practitioners to engage with the emergency management community.