Public Resource

Solutions Stories: An Innovative Strategy for Managing Negative Physical and Mental Health Impacts from Extreme Weather Events

Emily Coren and Debra L Safer, Climate Change, Hazards and Adaptation Options: Handling the Impacts of a Changing Climate
12-10-2020

Dystopian plots focusing on a catastrophic future caused by climate change often immobilize rather than spur action. But decades of evidence and experience from health communication shows that techniques of entertainment-education are effective at changing behaviors. But these are rarely used for climate change (a notable [and hilarious] exception). 

Entertainment-education best practices draw on psychological principles such as social modeling (learn by watching), efficacy (empowering confidence in the ability to take action and have an impact; via interactive goal setting and evaluation), and cultural relevancy. And they tell hopeful, funny stories with relatable characters, set in the present day and are focused on specific and achievable climate solutions framed as "easy, fun and popular.” Such stories offer empathy (moving beyond hero/villain/victim stories), and can help to teach climate change adaptation, mitigation, and resilience strategies.

(Color visuals depicting key principles here)