Inspire Hope, Not Fear: Communicating Effectively About Climate Change and Health

This article outlines effective ways climate communicators can reach their audience with key messages and strategic framing.

After years of participating in climate action, Wendy Ring shares best practices in communicating about climate change and health from her personal experience.

Recommendations and Insights in Communicating Climate Change:

Fear Doesn’t Work
Research shows that communicating health issues and risks associated with climate change is successful at generating concern but produced little in the way of action.

We Have a Silent Majority
There is a widespread belief that voters have no power in climate solutions amongst governments and are in the minority.

Identify the Target and Focus
As climate communicators, we should choose who we talk to, what we say to them, and how we say it with a specific goal in mind.

Establish a Connection
Get personal and acknowledge emotions. Contemplation of climate change provokes strong negative emotions such as fear, sadness, anger, and anxiety in almost everyone.

Emphasize Solutions and Benefits
Be positive. If evidence of human-caused climate change doesn’t motivate action, the solution is not to make it scarier but to communicate hope.

Educate to Empower
Successful education starts from where people are and builds on their life experience.


Date: 2017
Authors: Wendy Ring
Organization: Elsevier Inc
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing
Author: Wendy Ring
Organization: Elsevier Inc
Strategic Approach: Engagement, Framing

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