How to Talk About Climate Change that Will Inspire Group Action

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Climate change is an issue with global impacts and consequences that could span many generations. The COVID-19 pandemic that we are currently experiencing has some similarities with climate change.

Both impacts are global in scale and claim thousands of lives. The only difference is that COVID-19 is temporary but climate change will be with us long term.

Those particularly vulnerable to climate change are communities and countries with weak adaptive capacity. These populations are living in poor and developing countries, populations located in coastal areas, low-lying areas, and in urban areas with dense populations.

The consequences of climate change will only exacerbate the already difficult and challenging situations these people are living in unless climate adaptation or mitigation measures are done.

With the seriousness of climate change impact, the question remains – how can it be effectively communicated that would lead and inspire positive action, and who should it be communicated to?

Researchers have put together the short guide, “How to Talk About Climate Change.” It offers a framework to construct communication strategies.  The framework serves as a guide to communicate research and science to inspire action concerning the big issue of climate change.  The framework can also be used as a basis to discuss findings on climate action.

To apply the framework, the communicator would need to identify the following:

  • Who are the characters in your story? It could be your reader, writer, politician, fossil fuel executive or even a system. These are the people you would want to inform or want to elicit climate actions.
  • What is your vision or what do you want them to do? You need to be specific and provide facts and figures.
  • Why does your message or story matter? What shared values would you like to draw out from your audience that would make them work together.
  • Specify the barriers to achieving the vision. This can be done through attributing cause and effect based on evidence, with agents name. there may be multiple causes, barriers, and effects so try to keep it simple.
  • Provide solutions by citing better outcomes based on evidence. For example, we can limit global warming by limiting amounts of rampant carbon we emit in the atmosphere, or by accelerating on-going efforts to achieve a 100% renewable energy system.

To read the entire guide, CLICK on the button below:

Source citation:

Elliot, M. & Shaw, J.B. (2019, October). How to Talk About Climate Change, A Short Guide. The Workshop. Retrieved from

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