In a recent interview with The Hill Times, vice-president of engagement at Canada’s Public Policy Forum in Ottawa and author of Rescuing Policy: The Case For Public Engagement, Don Lenihan discusses the growing complexity of public policy issues and need for governments to respond with greater citizen engagement.
Communication experts, psychologists, academics, activists, politicians, theologians, bloggers, scientists and corporate consultants in environment/leadership all came together at the 2011 Stonehouse Standing Circle to take a deep dive into the human mind and motivations behind our failure to get climate back on the public agenda.
According to two important reports that came out this week public opinion is finally rising again after a year of decline.
Today we are releasing the results of a new national survey on public responses to climate change. This report focuses on public beliefs and attitudes and finds that public concern about global warming has dropped sharply since the fall of 2008:
Happy New Year! Thank you for your interest in the work of the Office of Strategic Initiatives and the Project on Climate Change here at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
A few recent highlights to ring in the new year :
You may not like what these guys have to say but at least they are exploring THE toughest climate change question "why after decades of public education and the growth of scientific certainty aren't we doing something to fix climate change?"
Two Stonehouse members have recently contributed to new, evidence-based guides for communicating about global warming – two documents that have the capacity to make major advances in the integrity and efficacy of the conversation about climate change.
The first of these documents comes from the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) at Columbia University in New York. Entitled The Psychology of Climate Change Communications, it is framed as “a guide for scientists, journalists, educators, political aides and the interested public.” Stonehouse scholar Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change, was a leading contributor.
The second document, penned in part by Stonehouse scholar and former Earthjustice communications VP Cara Pike, is called Climate Crossroads: A Research-Based Framing Guide,offered “for global warming advocates; from global warming advocates.”
It’s clear that both papers have been extensively researched. The CRED paper, written by Debika Shome and Sabine Marx, arises more from an academic tradition, while the Climate Crossroadsdocument is a compilation of the learning of a host of environmental organizations. In fact, the contributors’ list is a who’s who of climate change activism, ranging from gold-standard traditional environmental organizations like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club to newer climate-focused groups like 1 Sky and 350.org. So, while the CRED paper is more theoretical in its approach, with some of its excellent advice originating in careful experiments and labs, the Climate Crossroads material is more likely to be experience-based – although a goodly amount has also been focus-group tested. In both papers, this is clearly information you can rely on.
A final rough distinction between the two papers is that CRED talks more about how to communicate about climate change, while Climate Crossroads spends more time offering arguments and suggestions for what to communicate, even at the (acknowledged) risk of offering advice that might time out if not acted on promptly.
There needs to be a dialogue to generate a vision of what climate solutions are possible, individually and through our governments. An open dialogue will bring out a fairer picture of the problems at hand, and present a range of perspectives on climate change, engaging a wider range of people.