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[GreenYes] Re: Better Framing the Issues of Climate Change



There is a training opposrtunity available (mostly on-line) here in
Minnesota:
http://cgee.hamline.edu/GlobalWarmingColloquium/index.html

Curt

These on-line courses enable designers to use their visual/design skills
to communicate sustainability:
http://www.mcad.edu/showPage.php?status=1&pageID=1304

Gary Liss wrote:

> Apologies for Cross-Postings
>
> The FrameWorks Institute drew several conclusions for communicating on
> climate change in the United States:
>
> * It recommended placing the issue in the context of higher-level
> values, such as responsibility, stewardship, competence, vision
> and ingenuity.
> * It proposed that action to prevent climate change should be
> characterised as being about new thinking, new technologies,
> planning ahead, smartness, forward-thinking, balanced
> alternatives, efficiency, prudence and caring.
> * Conversely, it proposed that opponents of action be charged with
> the reverse of these values - irresponsibility, old thinking and
> inefficiency.
>
> The need to evoke the existence and effectiveness of solutions
> upfront, the FrameWorks research stressed, was paramount.
>
> See full story below.
>
>> To: ZERI Practitioners Yahoo Group <ZERI_Practitioners@no.address>
>> From: Michael O'Hara <mohara@no.address>
>> Date: Mon, 22 May 2006 15:07:56 -0400
>> Subject: [ZERI_Practitioners] Communicating Climate Change
>> /
>> Excerpts:
>> An opinion poll survey of thirty countries (including the United
>> States) published in April 2006 found that a large majority of people
>> believe that climate change is a serious problem. But any change in
>> attitudes is having little impact on behaviour./
>>
>> /[A recent study of effective communication on climate change] found
>> that the more people are bombarded with words or images of
>> devastating, quasi-Biblical effects of global warming, the more
>> likely they are to tune out and switch instead into "adaptationist"
>> mode, focusing on protecting themselves and their families, such as
>> by buying large vehicles to secure their safety./
>> ************************
>> *Communicating Climate Change*
>> By Simon Retallack
>> Open Democracy
>>
>> Wednesday 17 May 2006
>>
>> A new way of framing the climate change issue that makes sense in
>> people's daily lives is needed in order to translate passive
>> awareness into active concern, says Simon Retallack.
>>
>> More newsprint, broadcast time and web space is being devoted to
>> the issue of climate change than ever before, so it would not be a
>> surprise if journalists were to pat themselves on the back for their
>> efforts. Far from it. On 18-21 May 2006 at a country retreat in
>> northern Germany, journalists and writers from Britain, Germany and
>> the United States will be meeting to discuss where they are going
>> wrong and how they can do better.
>>
>> Writers taking part in the "Ankelohe Conversations" on the twin
>> problems of climate change and the oil endgame will be asking
>> themselves why - despite all the coverage they are now giving these
>> issues - the public is doing so little to take action.
>>
>> It would be unfair to say that the higher profile climate and
>> energy issues are receiving has had no impact. An opinion poll survey
>> of thirty countries (including the United States) published in April
>> 2006 found that a large majority of people believe that climate
>> change is a serious problem. But any change in attitudes is having
>> little impact on behaviour.
>>
>> In Britain, for example, the statistics are sobering:
>>
>> * Less than 1% of the population has switched to an energy
>> company supplying renewably-sourced electricity.
>> * Under 0.3% has installed a form of renewable micro-generation
>> such as solar PV or thermal panels.
>> * Many people admit to not even trying to use their cars less.
>> * Purchases of highly-efficient cars represent less than 0.2% of
>> new cars sold.
>> * Just 2% of people claim to offset their emissions from flying.
>>
>>
>> That situation will need to be reversed. Using fossil fuels more
>> efficiently and deploying alternative sources of energy is essential
>> if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and rising oil
>> prices. Some of the changes necessary may in theory be achieved
>> entirely by governments through regulation. But others will require
>> individuals to choose to behave differently and allow or encourage
>> politicians to introduce policies to reduce our carbon emissions
>> rather than punish them for trying at the polls.
>>
>> The role of the public is clearly critical and the adoption of
>> effective policies for removing barriers and creating incentives for
>> people to change their behaviour is imperative. So too, however, is
>> the deployment of effective communications. And here we may be
>> getting it wrong.
>>
>> *A New Script*
>>
>> Research conducted in the United States as part of the Climate
>> Message Project led by the FrameWorks Institute discovered that some
>> of the ways in which climate change is commonly being reported is
>> actually having a counterproductive effect - by immobilizing people.
>>
>> The FrameWorks Institute conducted a linguistic analysis of elite
>> discourse on climate change in media coverage as well as of
>> environmental groups' own communications on the issue, followed by
>> one-on-one interviews and focus groups with members of the public and
>> a national poll.
>>
>> What the FrameWorks Institute found was startling. It found that
>> the more people are bombarded with words or images of devastating,
>> quasi-Biblical effects of global warming, the more likely they are to
>> tune out and switch instead into "adaptationist" mode, focusing on
>> protecting themselves and their families, such as by buying large
>> vehicles to secure their safety.
>>
>> FrameWorks found that depicting global warming as being about
>> "scary weather" evokes the weather "frame" which sets up a highly
>> pernicious set of reactions, as weather is something we react to and
>> is outside human control. We do not prevent or change it, we prepare
>> for it, adjust to it or move away from it. Also, focusing on the long
>> timelines and scale of global warming further encourages people to
>> adapt, encouraging people to think "it won't happen in my lifetime"
>> and "there's nothing an individual can do".
>>
>> As importantly, the FrameWorks Institute found that stressing the
>> large scale of global warming and then telling people they can solve
>> it through small actions like changing a light-bulb evokes a
>> disconnect that undermines credibility and encourages people to think
>> that action is meaningless. The common practice of throwing solutions
>> in at the end of a discussion fails to signal to people that this is
>> a problem that could be solved at all.
>>
>> These findings were significant because they applied to modes of
>> communication that represented the norm in terms of US news coverage
>> and environmental groups' own communications on the issue. They
>> showed that a typical global warming news story - outlining the
>> scientific proof, stressing the severe consequences of inaction and
>> urging immediate steps - was causing people to think that preventive
>> action was futile.
>>
>> Developing more effective ways of communicating on these issues
>> is a huge challenge. Every country is different and will require its
>> own approach. The FrameWorks institute developed proposals for use by
>> US climate communicators in the first few years of the Bush-Cheney
>> administration using a distinctive approach - the strategic frame
>> analysis.
>>
>> According to this approach, how an issue is "framed" - what
>> words, metaphors, stories and images are used to communicate about it
>> - will determine what frames are triggered, which deeply held
>> worldviews, widely held assumptions or cultural models it will be
>> judged against, and accepted or rejected accordingly. If the facts
>> don't fit the frames that are triggered, it's the facts that are
>> rejected not the frame.
>>
>> Based on that understanding, it can be decided whether a cause is
>> best served by repeating or breaking dominant frames of discourse, or
>> reframing an issue using different concepts, language and images, to
>> evoke a different way of thinking, facilitating alternative choices.
>>
>> Applying this approach to communications on climate change in the
>> United States, the FrameWorks Institute drew several conclusions:
>>
>> * It recommended placing the issue in the context of higher-level
>> values, such as responsibility, stewardship, competence, vision
>> and ingenuity.
>> * It proposed that action to prevent climate change should be
>> characterised as being about new thinking, new technologies,
>> planning ahead, smartness, forward-thinking, balanced
>> alternatives, efficiency, prudence and caring.
>> * Conversely, it proposed that opponents of action be charged
>> with the reverse of these values - irresponsibility, old
>> thinking and inefficiency.
>>
>> FrameWorks also recommended using a simplifying model, analogy or
>> metaphor to help the public understand how global warming works - a
>> "conceptual hook" to make sense of information about the issue.
>> Instead of the "greenhouse-gas effect", which was found did not
>> perform for most people, FrameWorks recommended talking about the
>> "CO2 blanket" or "heat-trap" to set up appropriate reasoning. This
>> would help, it argued, to refocus communications towards establishing
>> the man-made causes of the problem and the solutions that already
>> exist to address it, suggesting that humans can and should act to
>> prevent the problem now.
>>
>> The need to evoke the existence and effectiveness of solutions
>> upfront, the FrameWorks research stressed, was paramount. And if the
>> consequences of climate change are cited, the analysis concluded they
>> should not appear extreme in size or scale, should put humans at the
>> centre, made to fit with personal experience and involve shorter
>> timelines - twenty years not 200.
>>
>> Research will be published later in 2006 by the Institute for
>> Public Policy Research on how climate change can better be
>> communicated in Britain. Initial findings confirm many aspects of the
>> FrameWorks Institute's analysis of the problem, if not all their
>> recommended solutions.
>>
>> Wherever we are in the world, the way we communicate about
>> climate change deserves far greater attention and care. As levels of
>> public concern about our climate and energy problems rise, it is
>> urgent that we communicate about them in a way that helps people feel
>> motivated and empowered to act.
>>
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>


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