Discover the Secrets of Better Climate Communication (Video)
Effective climate communication is no different than other types of communication – if you want to engage, use images and stories, rather than facts and statistics. As Think Progress points out here, this strategy was very much in evidence at the recent White House Summit on Climate and Health. The climate communications panel at the summit, which you can watch below, featured Ed Maibach, director of George Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication and a member of our MomentUs Research council. (The panel begins at 2:15:44 and ends at 3:02:00.) Think Progress highlights one of Maibach’s quotes, which encapsulates the strategy in just four words: “Numbers numb, stories sell.”
Personal stories and metaphors tap into the emotions, while abstract numbers do not. Pope Francis made powerful use of metaphors in his climate encyclical, which is one reason it resonated so deeply with readers of all faiths and beliefs. Whoever you’re trying to reach, storytelling can help make climate change real and relevant.
Joe Romm, Founding Editor of Climate Progress
Pope Francis has helped jumpstart a broader conversation on climate change. It is long past time for everyone who understands the dire nature of the climate threat — and the supercheap cost of action — to join the conversation.
If you want to learn some of the “secrets” of effective messaging, a good place to start is the climate communications panel at the June 23 White House Public Health and Climate Change Summit. The panel discussion, “Actionable Information: From Science to Social Media,” is one of the best I’ve ever participated in.
The moderator was Jason Goldman, White House Chief Digital Officer. Panelists included Ed Maibach (MPH, PhD), director of George Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication; Lance Pierce, president of CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) North America; and Ruth Etzel (MD, PhD), director of EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Protection.
The entire panel is worth watching:
Image credit: Alessandra Tarantino, AP