A Social Science Guide for Communication on Climate Change
Abstract:Researchers from the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) published “The Psychology of Climate Change Communication: A Guide for Scientists, Journalists, Educators, Political Aides, and the Interested Public” in 2009. This landmark guide provided climate change communicators a synthesis of the social science research that was pertinent to understanding how people think about climate change and how the practice could be improved.
In the fall of 2014 this guide will be rereleased, with a new title, and in a partnership between CRED and ecoAmerica. The updated guide addresses how and why Americans respond in certain ways to climate change and explains how communicators can apply best practices to their own work. The guide, which includes research from a range of social science fields including psychology, anthropology, communications, and behavioral economics, is designed to be useful for experienced and novice communicators alike. Included in the guide are strategies to boost engagement, common mistakes to avoid, and best practices that organizations around the world have used to meaningfully engage individuals and groups on climate change.
The proposed presentation will provide an overview of the main findings and tips from the 2014 climate change communication guide. It will provide a deeper look at a few of the key points that are crucial for increasing audience engagement with climate change including understanding how identity shapes climate change, how to lead with solutions, and how to bring the impacts of climate change close to home. It will highlight tips for motivating positive behavior change that will lead people down the path toward solutions. Finally, it will address the benefits and challenges associated with producing a communication guide and insight into synthesizing social science research findings into a usable format for a variety of audiences.