Why do some people find it easier to believe that space lasers and ANTIFA started the fires in BC this summer instead of climate change making conditions riskier for fires? Why do some people oppose mundane planning work by associating it with vast and terrifying conspiracy theories instead of just emphasizing how it might impact them and why they find that concerning? As BC communities face complex and fast approaching challenges (Related to climate, artificial intelligence, etc.) misinformation risks exacerbating divisions and confusing communities about our risks, options, and opportunities as we face uncertain futures in which there are changes we could choose to make or those mother nature will make for us.
Wes has worked in community advocacy and capacity building as a non-profit leader, as a municipal planner, and as a public health policymaker during the COVID-19 pandemic, where he has experienced and observed issues of trust and distrust, communication, and disinformation from different vantage points. This inspired his concerns about and fascination with issues of power and trust and effective public engagement and deliberation amidst the growth in digital disinformation and misinformation.