Talk of the city: engaging urbanites on climate change

This letter examines ways of communicating with urban dwellers that will result in positive engagement towards mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Cities are useful places to focus on because they influence energy supply, management, traffic control, waste management and urban planning due to their large populations. 

Key Takeaways:

  • In order to ensure the best success rate, policies established at higher levels of government should be coupled with ground activities developed by individuals, and vice versa.
  • When identifying an audience, it is important to consider where and when to reach them, what their values and concerns are, what language will resonate with them the most and what specific actions they can take given their social and economic position.
  • Besides a sufficient understanding of climate change science and implications, best practices for climate communication include localizing the issues of global climate change, identifying unique conditions that may exist and tailoring the message to a group.
  • Scare tactics often lead to avoidance of the issue and denial. Solutions-based discussions and messages of hope are more useful.
  • A message sent from a trusted member of an audience’s own group could elicit a better response because they can translate issues into more identifiable terms.
  • An audience’s values can be strong motivational tools.
  • Smaller-scale community efforts can help with the transition to new behaviors and choices by offering support and accountability.


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