Communicating Climate Change: Effective Public Engagement for Social Change
Engaging communities on climate change is critically important. Scientists and decision-makers need to help the public understand the challenges and opportunities we face; and we need everyone’s input to shape, support and implement mitigation and adaptation policies that will steer society toward a more sustainable future.
It sounds obvious, but it’s not easy. Public understanding of climate change, concern about impacts and engagement on the various response options remain variable and limited. Many experience persistent challenges in reaching their audiences, making climate change meaningful, and encouraging people to change old habits, make climate-wise decisions, and support necessary policy changes.
In recent years, a new interdisciplinary field of climate change communication has emerged, which I have helped to shape. Social scientists are developing a better understanding of what works and what does not, and thus are helping to develop more effective communication strategies.
Since 2004, my work on communication of climate change has focused on:
My work has resulted in numerous peer-reviewed articles, presentations, trainings, and an edited volume published with Lisa Dilling (University of Colorado): Creating a Climate for Change: Communicating Climate Change and Facilitating Social Change, Cambridge University Press (2007).
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