Note: This letter from the editor was originally published in our weekly newsletter and is being republished here.
Happy Friday guys!
First off, thanks to those women/womxn who joined our private Facebook group ‘Women Who Love Politics‘. We now have 200+ members and it’s been wonderful to see women share opinions about political candidates, policies, media coverage, and even discuss Trump’s recent State of the Union address (and Pelosi tearing up Trump’s speech LOL). At times informative, other times entertaining, but always respectful and that’s what makes it such a great group of women politicos.
Now the other day I listened to a Big Ideas podcast called ‘Why are we so divided on climate change?’ produced by public broadcaster ABC. It featured Dr Rebecca Huntley one of Australia’s leading researchers on social attitudes and trends who works with many NGOs and universities and who last year spent time with researchers at the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
In the podcast, Dr Huntley shares how she and another researcher were commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund to analyse why, in Australia’s last election, those who say they were concerned about climate change didn’t vote Labor or Greens. In conducting the research, they specifically analysed the swing against “pro-environment” parties.
They found that the pro-environment vote was low in:
– poorer electorates
– rural and regional electorates
– electorates with older voters
– electorates with more children per household than average
– electorates with lower Year 10 completion rates
– electorates with lower tertiary education rates
Language and communication, she says, play an important role in engaging these voters as they are generally turned off by the alarm, crisis and emergency messaging and dislike the gloom and doom tone and conflict/war footing messaging associated with climate change discussions (as well as the shame, guilt, fear and negative feelings associated with it).
To effectively communicate climate change and engage the ‘disengaged and cautious,’ Dr Huntley reveals her 5 tips for effectively communicating climate change:
- be solution-focused and positive,
- understand the values of the people you are trying to convince,
- do not fuel division and conflict,
- relate climate solutions to our sources of happiness and common concern, and
- never assume that what messages work for you will work for others.
As we move towards a fresh round of elections this year including the US presidential election, we should bear in mind the language we use and how we communicate climate change and policies with others.
If you’re looking to have discussions with people who don’t think like you, are part of a political campaign or just interested to learn more about effective climate change communication, I highly recommend listening to the podcast.
And if you found it useful like I did, please share with your networks. We need more effective climate communicators in our community!
Peace, love and all that jazz,
p.s. Our latest podcast show is now up. You can access it here. A big thanks to Australian Ethical for sponsoring the show!
Love Dr Rebecca Huntley’s tips? Make sure to share the graphic below!
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Feature image by Sven Mieke.