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Research article 18 May 2018

Research article | 18 May 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Geoscience Communication (GC).

Representing the majority and not the minority: the importance of the individual in communicating climate change

Sam Illingworth1, Alice Bell2, Stuart Capstick3, Adam Corner4, Piers Forster5, Rosie Leigh6, Maria Loroño Leturiondo1, Catherine Muller7, Harriett Richardson8, and Emily Shuckburgh9 Sam Illingworth et al.
  • 1School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK
  • 210:10, London, UK
  • 3School of Psychology, Cardiff University, UK
  • 4Climate Outreach, Oxford, UK
  • 5Priestley International Centre for Climate, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  • 6National Centre for Earth Observation, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  • 7Royal Meteorological Society, Reading, UK
  • 8National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  • 9British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK

Abstract. This research presents three case studies, through which a creative approach to developing dialogue around climate change is outlined. By working with three distinct communities and encouraging them to discuss and write poetry about how climate change affects them, we demonstrate how such an approach might be adopted at this level. By analysing the discussions and poetry that arose out of these workshops we show how this community-level approach to communicating climate change is an essential counterpart to wider-scale quantitative research. The engagement of each community with climate change is dependent on the lived experiences of their members; a failure to recognise this results in less effective communications and can also cause communities to feel isolated and helpless. By considering the individual needs and aspirations of these communities we can support effective dialogue around the topic of climate change, and in doing so can better engender positive action against the negative effects of anthropogenic climate change.

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Sam Illingworth et al.
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Sam Illingworth et al.
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Short summary
Climate change is real, it is happening now, and it will not be stopped by the sole efforts of scientists. This study shows how poetry and open conversation can be used to develop a dialogue around mitigating climate change with different communities, including faith groups and people living with disabilities. Furthermore, it shows how this dialogue can help us to better understand the opportunities that these communities present in tackling the negative effects of human-made climate change.
Climate change is real, it is happening now, and it will not be stopped by the sole efforts of...