October 21, 2011

The Six Americas of Climate Change

In 2009 Yale and George Mason universities teamed up to do a study called “Global Warming’s Six Americas: An Audience Segmentation Analysis, which groups Americans into 6 groups, based on their views on climate change:  Alarmed, Concerned, Cautious, Disengaged, Doubtful, and Dismissive. (I would also include Dopey, Bashful, and Grumpy, but maybe they wanted to limit things to an easy half-dozen.)  They did an updated version, “Knowledge of Climate Change Across Global Warming’s Six Americas,” which talks about where people get their information and which groups trust which sources.

A Columbia blog checked out the study and says:

It is clear that the same message, no matter how scientifically accurate, will not reach all of “the six Americas.”  A messenger must also possess the same values and beliefs as the audience being addressed.

Wonder what the results would be if they did this study in Canada? I’m guessing Freaked, Frustrated, Embarrassed, Polite, Pessimistic, and Hockey.


October 21, 2011

How to Be a Climate Hero

I like this article from Orion Magazine a lot.  It’s by a woman named Audrey Schulman who tries to make us snap out of it and take action on the environment. And how an incident on board a train with a little boy and his epileptic mom actually illustrates the point perfectly.

Uhhhhhhhhhh... somebody do something!!!

She thinks people don’t do anything because of a phenomenon called the Bystander Effect, which means people are passive because everyone else is too. She says,

We bustle about our normal lives, assuming it can’t be as bad as it seems because surely, then, everyone would be marching in the street about it.

She talks about realizing how urgent it is to protect the Earth after her first child was born.  And she says she’s cut her family’s carbon emissions by 50%.

Even though it took her becoming a mom to do it, she woke up and did her part.  Good job, Audrey.

October 19, 2011

8 principles for talking about climate change

CRED Guide cover



Columbia Univesity’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (also known as CRED – best acronym ever) has a great publication called “The Psychology of Climate Change Communications:  A Guide for scientists, Journalists, Educators, Political Aides, and the Interested Public.” 

You can order a hard copy for free or download it for free from their website.

The team that put it together says it’s “had an amazing response and
is being used by a really diverse number of organizations.”

The principles include such wisdom as “Translate Scientific Data
Into Concrete Experience” and “Beware the Overuse of
Emotional Appeals”, as well as one I often forget,”Make Behavior
Change Easier.”

Well worth reading, especially for those prone to wondering what exactly will make people pay attention to the environment. 


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