Putting Climate Communication Into Practice

081314Preparedess_OrigHow we communicate around climate change plays an enormous role in shaping whether people tune in or tune out. But communication strategies don’t just guide how we talk and write. They can also guide how we act on climate, and more importantly, how we shape opportunities for others to act.

A recent blog post from Climate Access shows how one city is using its overarching climate communication strategy to inform a campaign to encourage residents to prepare for climate change. Planners at the City of Baltimore’s Office of Sustainability carefully designed all aspects of the campaign, including the campaign’s messengers, intended audience, and communication channels, to align with the city’s larger climate communication framework and goals.

The campaign organizers are even using the campaign itself to further refine the city’s strategy. Key lessons learned included keeping the message simple, connecting climate preparedness to what’s already important to the city’s residents (like health, savings, safety, and comfort), and encouraging engagement through peer-to-peer networks and neighborhood ambassador programs.

Building Community Conversations Around Preparedness in Baltimore

Kristin Baja, Climate and Resilience Planner with the Baltimore Office of Sustainability & Contributor to Climate Access

The Make a Plan. Build a Kit. Help Each Other campaign is being run by the City of Baltimore, Office of Sustainability to encourage Baltimore City residents to start engaging in conversations about preparing for climate impacts with a specific focus on neighborhoods most vulnerable to climate change impacts.

The campaign is focused on preparedness for all natural hazards and predicted impacts from climate change in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Region. Our first step was to develop a communications framework for all sustainability and resiliency work coming out of the Office of Sustainability. The framework acts as a guide for campaign development by helping us identify the intended audience, messengers, channels for communicating the message, and frequency of communication. After creating the framework, we moved directly onto utilizing it for a campaign focused on preparedness to the impacts of climate change.

Read more.

Image credit: Kristin Baja

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