Climate change messaging

2017-01-20

in Economics, Internet matters, Language, Politics, Psychology, Science, The environment, Writing

A paper by Pearce, Brown, Nerlich, Koteyko (“Communicating climate change: conduits, content, and consensus“, 2015) contains some interesting ideas about effective communication about climate change. They cite one “best practice guide” which explains that:

in order for climate science information to be fully absorbed by audiences, it must be actively communicated with appropriate language, metaphor, and analogy; combined with narrative storytelling; made vivid through visual imagery and experiential scenarios; balanced with scientific information; and delivered by trusted messengers in group settings.

It also notes that: “Messages focusing on fear and predictions of adverse events can increase skepticism, perhaps because they disrupt underlying ‘just world’ beliefs and can reduce people’s intentions to perform mitigating actions”.

This kind of research is important. Motivation may be the trickiest part of the climate challenge: getting people to care about the welfare of people impacted all over the world by climate change, and well into future generations. Then making people willing to demand political and economic change to prevent the worst potential impacts of excessive fossil fuel use.

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