Climate Access offers customized climate communication training programs for nonprofit and government leaders. Our interactive, hands-on training sessions unpack barriers to building public and political will for action on climate change, explore best practices, and help participants develop effective framing strategies and inclusive engagement approaches that involve a diverse range of stakeholders as partners in understanding risk and creating and implementing policies and programs.
BARRIERS AND BEST PRACTICES
Barriers and Best Practices in Climate Communication and Engagement: Most people accept the reality of climate change and are becoming increasingly worried about how the issue will impact their lives. At the same time, it remains a low priority compared to other issues. In this workshop, the Climate Access team outlines the political, cognitive, emotional and other barriers that hinder progress and offer strategies to overcome them. Participants gain new insights on what is blocking action for their target audiences and a set of tools for using public opinion and stakeholder research to shape outreach plans. ̈
This two-hour session can be tailored by focusing on barriers and strategies for a particular stakeholder group (elected officials, youth, business, communities most vulnerable to climate risks, etc.).
FRAMING THE CONVERSATION
Framing the Conversation and Making the Case: People’s understanding of climate change and their motivation to act is not just based on the facts. Information is filtered through values and worldviews, and our behavior is shaped by influencers and peers and social norms. Effectively communicating about climate change requires framing the conversation based on what stakeholders care about and amplifying a clear story about the challenge, what can be done, and the benefits of taking action. In the Framing the Conversation and Making the Case workshop, participants learn about framing best practices, and develop and share a values-based narrative aimed at opening the conversation with target stakeholders. ̈
Inclusive Engagement Best Practices: Effective framing can open climate conversations. It is also essential to think through the most strategic ways to engage stakeholders in climate change. People process and respond to risk best when hazards are co-explored and solutions co-created rather than being prescribed. This is particularly true for those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and/ or affected by fossil fuel development. An inclusive climate engagement approach ensures that local knowledge and concerns about impacts are factored into climate planning, and stakeholders are partners in developing and implementing mitigation and/or adaptation policies and programs. In this workshop, the Climate Access team presents engagement barriers as well as opportunities for implementing inclusive engagement and motivating public support for equitable climate solutions. Participants have a chance to work in small teams to solve climate engagement challenges and then apply learnings to the creation of an inclusive engagement strategy for their target audience or stakeholder. ̈
SUPPORT FOR SOLUTIONS
Talking About and Building Support for Solutions: While there is strong bipartisan enthusiasm for energy efficiency and renewable energy, several barriers stand in the way of full support. Climate solutions are often perceived as being expensive, unreliable, not yet ready to meet our energy needs, and/or inaccessible. Yet there are ways to correct these misconceptions and engage stakeholders in developing and implementing climate solutions. The Talking About and Building Support for Solutions workshop outlines framing and engagement best practices to address common barriers that hinder progress. Participants outline a solutions-based narrative for their organization or issue area that balances the climate threat with the path forward and benefits of taking action. They draw from 100% Renewable Energy and Just Transition case studies to create their own plan for involving stakeholders in advancing climate solutions. ̈
This workshop can be focused on a particular issue, such as community resilience or renewable energy. It can be combined with the Barriers and Best Practices workshop or be offered as a stand-alone training that goes deeper into generating hope and efficacy, developing equitable solutions, and reaching particular audiences/stakeholders.
Using Visuals to Effectively Communicate about Climate Change Impacts and Solutions: Visual communications play an important role in increasing awareness of climate change impacts and solutions and motivating action, especially in the age of digital and social media. In this workshop, participants explore how people learn and engage through visual communication and gain access to a set of best practices and tools for developing a visual storyline, image selection/creation and testing, and incorporating emergent approaches, such as the use of virtual reality. ̈
This workshop can be combined with the Barriers and Best Practices session for those new to climate communication, with the Framing the Conversation and Making the Case training for those looking to create an integrated narrative and visual communication strategy, or offered on its own for practitioners with experience in climate communication.
CONNECTING THROUGH DIALOGUE
Finding Common Ground Through Dialogue: When issues are contentious, a deliberative dialogue process helps build trust and a sense of combined ownership of solutions by bringing together diverse stakeholders to address the complex challenges in a non-polarized, inclusive environment. Dialogues are also effective ways to create peer-based support that helps overcome fatalism, generate efficacy, and establish new social norms. In the Finding Common Ground Through Dialogue workshop, participants learn from examples of effective dialogue approaches and design a dialogue strategy for engaging their stakeholders. ̈
COMMUNITY OUTREACH STRATEGIES
Framing and Engagement Strategies at the Local Level: Local governments and community-based organizations are taking action to reduce carbon emissions and increase resilience. The Framing and Engagement Strategies at the Local Level workshop is designed specifically for leaders who are working within a local or regional context and want to improve their capacity to make the case for action and develop inclusive engagement approaches. The Climate Access team provides examples of best practices in communicating and engaging at the local level and participants generate an outreach strategy for their organization or agency. ̈
Overcoming Political Polarization: For decades, opponents to climate action have spread misinformation, cast doubt on scientific consensus, and propelled a politicized debate over the reality of climate change. As a result, climate change became a highly divisive issue and political affiliation continues to be the most significant gauge of an individual’s climate attitudes. In the Overcoming Political Polarization workshop, the Climate Access team provides an overview of current public opinion trends, explore the social and psychological dynamics of support and opposition to climate action, and offer tools for overcoming resistance to action. Participants apply these findings and approaches to develop strategies for framing climate-related conversations with target audiences in politically polarized contexts.
INNOVATION & PROBLEM SOLVING
Climate Communication Innovation: Climate Access helps organizations and agencies solve climate communication and engagement challenges and develop new innovative approaches through its Climate Communication Innovation workshops. Our team works in advance to understand the nature of an organization’s climate communication or outreach challenge, and designs and facilitates a problem-solving workshop that involves staff and partners in developing new strategies. Following the workshop, organizations are provided with a summary of possible approaches, recommendations from Climate Access on where to focus, and links to resources such as public opinion research and case studies of best practices. ̈
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