A review of the University of Michigan's Erb Institute/Union of Concerned Scientists seminar, "Increasing Public Understanding of Climate Risks and Choices: What We Can Learn from Social Science Research and Practice" that gathered leading climate communications experts.
In the article, Bud Ward offers a rich commentary on the conference and includes a valuable list of climate communication insights that he saw emerge from both presenters and attendees. The following is an abridged list of the key messages that he identified:
- Tailor climate engagement strategies and messages to specific audiences.
- Messengers are as important as the message. Repetition of the points made by respected messengers is critical.
- Speak directly to an audience's values, not just about facts and figures.
- Acknowledge the present situation, express a vision, then provide the roadmap.
- Create a culture where climate protection is heroic.
- Focus on climate threats through risk storytelling to motivate concrete actions.
- Uncertainty is not an excuse for inaction in the face of overwhelming evidence.
- Engage corporate interests through emerging technologies and long-term business opportunities.
- Consider "local warming" instead of "global warming" to focus on specific community impacts.