We've Got the Policy Team, Now We Need an Office of Climate Change Communication
Think Progress, the blog for the Center for American Progress, has a detailed run down on the Obama administration's announced appointment of Steve Chu as Energy secretary, Carol Browner as the head of the new National Energy Council, and Lisa Jackson as head of the EPA. At Dot Earth, Andrew Revkin has more background on Chu.
The plan is for this new policy team to be working with Congress and the states to pass bold new initiatives on energy and climate change, but it is not necessarily a given that strong public support for these policies will follow along.
These policies--along with recommended changes in consumer behavior and action--need to be communicated in a way that reach important audience segments and that resonate with the background of these audiences. In short, no matter how innovative, smart, progressive, and "science-based" the policy, public support will only follow if the policies are carefully communicated.
That's why we need a national Office of Energy and Climate Change Communication, a coordinating center that funds audience research on energy and climate, designs and implements national scale public communication campaigns, and that coordinates message strategy across agencies and non-governmental organizations. Along the model of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, this office should also invest in nonprofit news initiatives on climate change, an important step for building up the national and local infrastructure needed for climate adaptation.
On this idea, my colleague Edward Maibach and co-author Karen Akerlof recently reviewed three possible models for such an office based on campaigns in Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Canada (PDF, page 4). As they recommend, any national campaign to shape individual and collective behavior in the US should be based on three broad categories: carrots, also known as incentives, sticks as regulations, and sermons, in this case communication campaigns.
As they note, and as I have often "sermonized" at this blog, effective communication about energy and climate change will only come with research that segments audiences and that tests and implements messages tailored to the background of that audience.
Setting a simple intention and coming prepared can help you — and those around you — win big.
- Setting an intention doesn't have to be complicated, and it can make a great difference when you're hoping for a specific outcome.
- When comedian Pete Holmes is preparing to record an episode of his podcast, "You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes," he takes 15 seconds to check in with himself. This way, he's primed with his own material and can help guests feel safe and comfortable to share theirs, as well.
- Taking time to visualize your goal for whatever you've set out to do can help you, your colleagues, and your projects succeed.
The Amazon Rainforest is often called "the planet's lungs."
- For weeks, fires have been burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, likely started by farmers and ranchers.
- Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has blamed NGOs for starting the flames, offering no evidence to support the claim.
- There are small steps you can take to help curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which produces about 20 percent of the world's oxygen.
How do we combat the roots of these hateful forces?
- American Psychological Association sees a dubious and weak link between mental illness and mass shootings.
- Center for the study of Hate and Extremism has found preliminary evidence that political discourse is tied to hate crimes.
- Access to guns and violent history is still the number one statistically significant figure that predicts gun violence.