Web Seminar: Effective Climate Communication and How to Apply it in Your Work

Published: 30 November 2023

Whether you work closely with policymakers, with the general public or with other stakeholders, any success in climate action is dependent on good communication. But what exactly is good climate communication? How do I integrate it into my work? The EUKI Academy Web Seminar titled “Effective Climate Communication and How to Apply it in Your Work” focused on strategies for effectively communicating climate action. The seminar was led by Luisa Melloh, researcher at Climate Outreach.

Key Insights and Strategies

1. Understanding Climate Communication:

  • Climate change is a complex topic, often abstract and perceived differently by individuals.
  • Communication about climate change is not just about stating the facts but also about engaging with a social construct.
  • Effective communication acknowledges the complexity and diverse perceptions of climate change.

2. Challenges in Climate Communication:

  • Climate change concepts can be abstract and complex, leading to disengagement.
  • People may experience anxiety, cognitive dissonance, or indifference towards climate change.
  • There is often a lack of interest, resources, and belief in positive change.

3. Role of Emotions and Stories:

  • Facts alone are insufficient; emotional engagement is crucial.
  • Personal, true-to-life stories that are immediate and present a sense of morality are effective.
  • Utilize the concept of the story of “self, us, and now” (Ganz, 2009) to connect personally with the audience.

4. Values and Trust in Communication:

  • Understanding and aligning with the audience’s values is key.
  • Trust and belonging are vital; trusted messengers can significantly influence perspectives.

5. Moving from Concern to Action:

  • Awareness of climate issues does not automatically lead to action.
  • Overcome pluralistic ignorance and highlight visible, relatable climate action.
  • Address the gap between broad concern and concrete impacts.

6. Strategic Storytelling and Framing:

  • Avoid repeating clichéd narratives; use authentic, relatable stories.
  • Focus on local, immediate impacts of and solutions to climate change.
  • Use inclusive language and avoid alienating or overly technical terms.

7. Identifying and Engaging Target Audiences:

  • Determine your audience’s political leanings, engagement level, and values.
  • Identify trusted messengers for your audience.
  • Tailor your call to action to be achievable and meaningful for your audience.

8. Application in Practice:

  • Reflect on seminar insights and discuss them with colleagues.
  • Conduct further research on your target audience.
  • Experiment with different communication techniques and refine based on feedback.

Participants were encouraged to reflect on these insights, share their experiences, and develop strategies tailored to their specific climate communication goals. The seminar emphasized the importance of understanding the audience, using emotionally resonant storytelling, and aligning communication with audience values for effective climate action advocacy.