This one, featuring leading research on how our minds respond to the threat of climate change, is neatly synthesized in a new guide, “The Psychology of Climate Change Communication.” Says Grist:
The 43-page booklet was released Wednesday by the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) at Columbia University, which conducts fascinating laboratory and field research at the intersection of psychology, anthropology, and behavioral economics (The New York Times Magazine profiled it last spring).
Aimed at scientists, journalists, educators, political aides, and “the interested public,” the guide begins with the blunt admission that climate communicators are failing. Global warming slipped to the bottom of a list of Americans’ concerns in a January Pew poll. CRED offers reasons why and suggests how to do better.
For example, people work harder to avoid losses than to seek gains, so “save money” might not be the best pitch for convincing people to buy efficient home appliances. A message like “avoid losing money on higher energy bills in the future” does better at appealing to this loss-aversion instinct.
CRED’s (principles) include using:
Happily, the guide has cartoons. CRED graciously allowed us to reprint them.
- data plus narrative storytelling
- analogy and metaphor
- a trusted local messenger
- a group setting
- an experiential scenario
Read more -- and check out the cartoons>>