Metro pres lertzman

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Metro pres lertzman

  1. 1. Between dire and hopeful: communityoutreach, communications and climateRenee Lertzman, Ph.D.Fellow, Portland Center for Public HumanitiesPortland State Universitylertzman@pdx.edu
  2. 2. Interrupting the cycle
  3. 3. Where we’re at…
  4. 4. psychology of climate change communications• Focuses primarily on cognition, information processing and rational processes• Emphasis on proximity, abstraction and immediacy• Using a “barriers” to engagement framework• Focuses centrally on values and the so-called “attitude-behavior gap”
  5. 5. Reframing: from barriers to opportunities• Emotions as central for how we respond to climate change issues (Norgaard, 2011)• Unconscious dimensions such as anxiety, fear, hope and loss (Randall, 2009)• Necessity for creative engagement and participation (participatory processes)
  6. 6. Research study: The Great Lakes and Green Bay• Chose a field site ecologically troubled, industrial• Interviewed ten participants in “not engaged” range• Conducted interviews using psychosocial methods
  7. 7. Research study: The Great Lakes and Green Bay• Chose a field site ecologically troubled, industrial• Interviewed ten participants in “not engaged” range• Conducted interviews using psychosocial methods
  8. 8. inspiration and context
  9. 9. living the Great Lakes
  10. 10. Desires, dilemmas, hopes, fears• In-depth interviews• Accounting for contradiction, dilemmas• Attention to emotions and affect• Exploring relations between information and actions
  11. 11. What I found• Strong narratives of concern and care• Ambivalence regarding action and involvement• Pride and honor of place (industry)• Sadness and dismay, despair of degradation• Self-opting out of action (identity, ambivalence)• Contradicting desires and fears
  12. 12. Howard, 69, Green Bay native• Deep love of nature, water, environment• Strong stewardship• Father’s accident with the paper mill• Attachment to “Paddle to the Sea”
  13. 13. So what does this mean for us?
  14. 14. The importance of emotional (irrational) dimensions Most social behavior from SUV ownership to frequent flying, far from being a simple response to inducements or threats, is mediated by meanings, narratives, identities and feelings.As communicators and engagement professionals we need to build this into our work.
  15. 15. communications that allow for:- Coexistence of conflicting desires and aspirations- Addressing potential anxieties at the get-go- Anticipating potential fears and loss- Focusing on solutions and strategies in context of the above
  16. 16. Rethinking ‘engagement’• Investing resources for exploring concern, fears, hopes, etc.• Meeting people where they are• Development of tools to encourage creative investment• Accommodation for difficult or reactive responses (to climate-related initiatives)• Focus on concern, rather that it’s absence (‘apathy’ or ‘barriers’)
  17. 17. How effective are our communications?

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