11 – Climate Communications (Part I)

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Now that we have a fully formed foundation for climate literacy, how can we use this information to foster a space for action?


Why We Disagree About Climate Change

Why We Disagree About Cliamte Change is a book about the idea of cliamte change: where it came from, what it means to different peope and places, and why we disagree about it…” 

Read the Preface, p.4-6 of the chapter (as viewed in in the Google Preview) not required

2009 • Cambridge University Press 

Closing the Action Gap

“The scientic case for climate change has been made, and solutions for reducing emissions are now readily available. However, there is a signi cant action gap between what the scienti c evidence shows must be done to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, and what we are currently doing…” 

Read up to the first half of p.7, the remainder is assigned for Week 12

April 2016 • Imperial College London 

Social & Psychological Challenges to Climate Communication

Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change

“As world leaders meet today at the United Nations in New York, they will face intense pressure to act. The discovery that North Korea has been secretly pumping climate-altering chemicals into the atmosphere in an attempt to destroy agricultural production across the US has sparked an international crisis...”

September 23, 2014 • The Guardian

Giving Up On Facts

“It’s time to give up on facts. Or at least to temporarily lay them down in favor of a more useful weapon: emotions...”

February 8, 2017 • Slate

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

“What motivates human behavior? Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is one of the best-known theories of motivation…”

June 3, 2020 • Verywell Mind

Beyond Maslow’s Hierarchy

Ever feel unease that the natural environment around you is changing for the worse? There’s a word for that…”

November 1, 2015 • Post Carbon Institute

We Need to Talk! How to Have Difficult Conversations about the Climate Crisis

Watch from 40:00-59:30. The rest is optional

Communication for Individual and Collective Action

People have to grasp how climate change impacts them, and we need to value environmentally sound behavior...”

May 19, 2017 • The Guardian

There Must Be More Productive Ways To Talk About Climate Change

Rachel Martin talks to climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, who stresses how unproductive it is to label someone a ‘climate denier’…” 

Listen to podcast or read transcript

May 9, 2017 • NPR

Climate Change in the Media

Al Jazeera: Climate Change Coverage in the Media

Signals and noise: Mass-media coverage of climate change in the USA and the UK

“How mass media cover scientific subjects matters in many ways, whether scientists like it or not…” 

2007 • European Molecular Biology Organization

Breaking the Communication Deadlock

Climate change communication is trapped between the norms that govern scientic practice and the need to engage the public…”

September 2014 • Nature Climate Change

Disaster News, Media, and Cultural Bias

Rarely a week goes by without a natural disaster hitting the headlines...”

May 23, 2018 • Cost of Living

Information Ecosystems

Borrowed from environmental studies, the term“information ecosystem” is used to describe howlocal communities exist and evolve within particularinformation and communication systems...”

Read p.10, 13-17

May 2015 • Internews

Facebook Policies on Climate Change

The company recently overruled its scientific fact-checking group, which had flagged information as misleading...”

July 6, 2020 • Scientific American

Media coverage of climate change in 2019 got bigger – and better

And there are good reasons to conclude that the additional coverage, coupled with increased weather extremes, helped change public opinion...”

March 10, 2020 • Yale e360

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Optional Resources

Talks at Google: Why Our Brains are Wired to Ignore Climate Change

Cognitive Science of Believing

A comic on the cognitive science of believing.

Classroom-friendly version available (no foul language)

Accessed September 2020 • The Oatmeal

Narrowing the Usability Gap

“Climate-change-related risks pose serious threats to the management of a wide range of social, economic and ecological systems...”

See Figure 1

October 26, 2012 • Nature Climate Change

Resources on Climate Change and the Media

“Key books and reports on climate change and the media, 2012-2017…”

March 28, 2017 • Yale e360

Communication Resources For Scientists and Academics

“This Handbook provides a resource for IPCC scientists in theirpublic engagement and communication activities…”

January 2018 • Climate Outreach

Cognitive Biases

The human brain is capable of incredible things, but it’s also extremely flawed at times…”

September 25, 2017 • Visual Capitalist

Social Amplification of Climate Risk

“The social experience of risk is not confined to the technical definition of risk, that is, the product of probability and magnitude…”

See Figure 1

2011 • WIREs Climate Change

TEDx: Let’s Change The Way We Talk About Climate Change

Monthly Summaries of Climate Change in Media

We monitor 120 sources (across newspapers, radio and TV) in 54 countries in seven different regions around the world...”

Accessed September 2020 • Media and Climate Change Observatory

History, Challenges, Process, and Future Directions of Climate Communication

“Since anthropogenic climate change first emerged on the public agenda in the mid- to-late 1980s, public communication of climate change and—more recently—the question of how to communicate it most effectively have witnessed a steep rise…”

February 2010 • WIREs Climate Change