The Challenges for Climate Communication Post-COP21

Last fall I was in Helsinki to give two presentations at the 2nd ICOS Scientific Conference. ICOS is the Integrated Carbon Observation System, a European-wide research infrastructure that is developing a harmonized system for collecting and disseminating carbon cycle and greenhouse gas data. In their words, ICOS is an “organisation of eleven member countries and over 100 greenhouse gases measuring stations aimed at quantifying and understanding the greenhouse gas balance of the Europe and neighbouring regions.”

 Needless to say, the conference delegates were almost all bio-physical scientists who, I assumed, knew little or nothing about communication theory generally or climate communication research specifically. Keep that in mind as you read on because that informed my approach to the two talks.

In other words, if you are somewhat familiar with the research on climate communication, this should be pretty familiar ground. But if you are new to the topic, I hope this will be a good primer for you.

The first presentation, a keynote, was about the challenges of communicating about climate change in the Post-COP21 context. The second was about some of the main things we know about good practices in climate communication. Both of these talks were meant to synthesize of some of the current thinking among scholars and practitioners on these topics.

What follows is the approximate text of the first talk, edited somewhat for this context. I’ll do a post on the second talk shortly. Continue reading

Edward Abbey was here

EEdward Abbey wrote this about 39 years ago and never was it more true than now.

And the Enemy says, “Behold, how sleek and fat I have become. Am I not the wonder of the world?…”

Continue reading

Reflections on my Online Environmental Communication Course

I have just finished up grading and other final tasks for the January 10-week session of IECA’s online course Environmental Communication: Research Into Practice. I almost called it the Winter session, but I am not sure we had Winter here in the northeast US and I know it wasn’t winter in other parts of the world where some of the participants live.

From my perspective, this was a great session, the best yet. The course was over-full and we had an amazing group of participants, including practitioners, graduate students, the curious, and even a couple of profs. They hailed from India, the US, Singapore, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Ecuador, and other places. All of this led to some really rich discussions and the sharing of diverse perspectives and experiences. Continue reading

Communication for the Commons book published

commonsOver at the International Environmental Communication Association (IECA), we have finally completed work on Communication for the Commons: Revisiting Participation and Environment. It’s an anthology that pulls together selected papers and posters from the 2013 Conference on Communication and Environment. The conference took place in Uppsala, Sweden, June 6-11, 2013.

The book is edited by myself, Nadarajah Sriskandarajah of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and Stephen P. Depoe of the University of Cincinnati. Continue reading

Visual Environmental Communication book

Visual Environmental CommunicationRoutledge has a new book out now on Visual Environmental Communication, edited by Anders Hansen and David Machin. The book contains a number of papers that were part of a special issue of Environmental Communication. My paper with Bruno Takahashi, “The Nature of Time: How the Covers of the World’s Most Widely-Read Weekly News Magazine Visualize Environmental Affairs” is included in the book.

It’s a great collection of papers, certainly suitable for a course. And in case you are wondering, I get no money from the book sales. I signed the paper over to Routledge and that’s that. Continue reading

What should environmental and sustainability communication focus on?

What should environmental and sustainability communication focus on?

Should it emphasize the science of environmental issues or the risk of what could be lost? Should it focus on the responsibility people have to do something? Should it stress the future we want and the implications for nature? These are complex questions that we should be asking before we start talking about what frames, language, and images to use in our communications. Continue reading

Environmental Communication: Research into Practice, round 2

Once again I will be offering an online introductory course on environmental communication through the International Environmental Communication Association (IECA). Environmental Communication: Research into Practice will run for 10 weeks from  September 15 to November 21. Continue reading