Communicating Climate Change – Motivating Civic Action: Opportunity for Democratic Renewal?

This chapter, from a book on the politics of climate change in North America, looks at mobilizing civic engagement in relation to the public and private sectors’ climate governance efforts.

It focuses on how civil society has the power to push for policy changes in government and how it can make behavioral changes in relation to mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Key Takeaways:

  • Effective communication helps build and sustain a community acting in the public interest, which in turn will support better communication.
  • Making connections across issues creates a common cause and understanding, leading to greater public engagement.
  • Communication strategies should focus on increasing the motivation to change as well as decreasing the psychological, cognitive, social, political and structural barriers individuals face.
  • Communication needs to be tailored to a specific audience, framed in an influential context and delivered by a credible, trustworthy messenger.
  • Communicators need to consider people’s emotions when disseminating information – feasible solutions and actions should be presented to avoid denial and disengagement.
  • The nature of the scientific process – pushing back frontiers that often lead to revisions in what was thought to be true – needs to be explained in order to guard against dissenters.
  • Communicators need to shed light on individual actions people can take while acknowledging that larger policy and structural reforms are also needed.  



Date: 2009
Authors: Susanne Moser
Organization: MIT Press
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing, Other
Organization: MIT Press
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing, Other

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