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Climate Communications - Sarah Hurtes, European Climate Foundation at ECF Europe 2018

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(c) Sarah Hurtes, European Climate Foundation, https://europeanclimate.org/

Climate change affects everyone, and tackling it requires a response right across society, from people of different faiths, nationalities and political views. But what if the ways we talk about climate aren’t just failing to get through. What if they’re even making things worse?

Sarah will talk through the latest thinking and research on how to talk about climate issues in ways that break out of the activist/environmentalist bubble, and using language, imagery and approaches that drive action and change, with lessons for campaigners no matter what your field.

Sarah Hurtes is Media Associate at the European Climate Foundation, leading the work on health, food or humanitarian issues for ECF's strategic communications network. French born and South African raised, Sarah also works as a journalist, with prior communications roles within different institutions, including coordinating campaigns whilst working for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, global outreach strategies for the European Women's Audiovisual Network in Paris and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Womens office based in India.

Presented at ECF Europe 2018. Join the Campaigning Forum and find out more about its upcoming events here: http://fairsay.com/events

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Climate Communications - Sarah Hurtes, European Climate Foundation at ECF Europe 2018

  1. 1. How do we talk about climate change in ways that inspire action?
  2. 2. Climate communication: Problems and solutions
  3. 3. First some remarks...
  4. 4. • Not here/not now (temporally and spatially distant), ‘invisible’ in many Western nations but not elsewhere • Psychologically distant – not personally threatening; nothing to link actions and outcomes • 'Affective' cues not present – we don’t ‘feel’ the risk
  5. 5. We have a limited amount of ‘concern’ to go round: economic troubles, military threats, daily problems take precedence
  6. 6. Weather and Climate Change Local weather does not equal global climate, but it is all we will ever get!
  7. 7. Which leads to...
  8. 8. The uncertainty of climate change projections allows people to play down the risks and has also been exploited by climate skeptics.
  9. 9. Do not get too positive!
  10. 10. Emphasise the benefits of taking action rather than the negative consequences of doing nothing
  11. 11. • People don’t process information as simply as a hard drive downloading data. • The human brain relies on 2 different processing systems, known as 1. System 1 (intuitive, experiential, emotional) 2. System 2 (deliberate, effortful, rational). • System 1 often exerts a greater influence in decision- making.
  12. 12. The social science of human behaviour & communication is just as important as the science of climate change and sustainability.
  13. 13. 1. Problem: the risks of climate change sound uncertain A solution: Focus on what is known, rather than what isn’t – & on ‘when’ not ‘if’ 2. Problem: fear can be disempowering A solution: combine worrying information with constructive suggestions 3. Problem: Language can only do so much A solution: … Lessons learned
  14. 14. Climate messaging in the Digital age
  15. 15. General interest Younf- middle- aged people Organisations and campaigns Journalists Politicians and decision-makers Researchers Think-tanks etc. Professionals Funders Consultancies General interest Students and young people Brings together audiences from all platforms
  16. 16. Source: 2018 NGO Global Technology Report
  17. 17. 1. ALERTS ME TO STORIES I MIGHT MISS 60% 2. SIMPLE WAY TO ACCESS VARIETY OF SOURCES 50% 3. EASY TO COMMENT AND SHARE 35%
  18. 18. • Austrians and Swiss… are most used to printed newspapers • Italians… love TV bulletins • Latin Americans… get more news via social media and chat apps than others parts of the world
  19. 19. What are the most engaged with environment/climate articles on social media this year? A few take-aways...
  20. 20. Thank you!

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