Search below for resources covering the intersection of climate engagement, social science and data analytics.
Have a resource you want to share?CONTACT US
Voters widely agree that “environmental justice” is important when the concept is explained to them. Voters also generally support the Justice40 initiative, despite disagreements on how to implement it. 77% of voters say that it’s important for lawmakers to consider environmental justice in creating environmental laws after reading a brief definition of the term “environmental justice,” including 42% who say it’s “very” important for lawmakers to consider environmental justice. Voters support the Justice40 initiative by a 54%-33% margin after reading a brief description of it.
Based on political narratives in 2022, here are some key narrative predictions for 2023: the tension between American identity and personal identity, the ongoing erosion of trust in institutions, a lack of certainty about the future, precarity versus safety, and the type of experiences we are dreaming about in our communities and our lives. Some narratives within “American identity crisis” include “What is America?”, “Who is American?”, “The expanded self,” “Identity used to divide or unite,” “The never-ending woke wars,” and “Generational divides.” Some narratives within “Erosion of trust” include “Everything is broken,” “Ongoing attacks on media and journalism,” “The return of the moderate,” and “Taking care of us.” Other narrative categories include “Multipolar world,” “Big tech lives, big tech dies,” “Search for stability,” and “Experience and authenticity.”
2022 Trusted Messengers Study: The Annual Study of Who Americans Trust On Social and Societal Issues
Americans seek the advice and opinions of people they trust for information on key social issues—those they deem honest, consistent, informed, and unbiased. Americans most overwhelmingly trust to the people closest to them (spouse, friend, family), as well as experts (doctors, scientists, accredited professionals) and news messengers. This resource describes some key communication lessons, given these truths. First, pick your messengers carefully. Second, meet your audience where they are along the knowledge journey. Third, leverage trusted messengers to develop the creative strategy, not just activate it. Fourth, use the outer circle to influence the inner circle. This report describes these lessons in more detail.
Most young adults in Europe want to be involved in action to tackle climate change and have little faith in current leaders to take significant climate action. Survey results show that almost one in 10 respondents said they would be prepared to break the law to tackle climate change. A large majority (81%) agreed that we need a social transformation – changing our economy, how we travel, live, produce and consume – in order to tackle climate change. However, there were also some contradictions and gaps in their understanding of the issue: most did not draw a connection between someone’s gender or racialization and their likelihood of being impacted by climate change. Smaller “workshop” conversations showed concerned young adults: agree that climate change is a systemic problem but may struggle to know what the solutions are and to see themselves in them; think that the status quo isn’t working and want to see big changes, but frequently feel powerless to bring this about; care about social justice issues like racism and sexism, but don’t readily connect them to climate change; think responsibility lies at the top but don’t believe their government will do the right thing; want more balance in who has power and voice, but don’t like language about taking power or resources away from anyone; see that climate change has roots in the past but many want to look forward rather than back; believe some actors are more culpable than others but often raised questions about the theory and reality of paying compensation for loss and damages resulting from climate change.
Social movement leaders (aka “risktakers”) in Europe argue for four key lessons that could prove valuable for other movement leaders in the U.S. Unleash the power of networks: partnerships within and across countries can exponentially increase the effectiveness of each participant and the network as a whole. Tell a compelling narrative, also in collaboration with artists and creative minds: it’s important to tell a clear and accessible story about who they are and what they want to achieve—there is great potential in teaming up with artists and creative minds, who are often risktakers in their own right. Fight misinformation and disinformation: it’s important to fight misinformation and disinformation by (1) building strong relationships with media outlets and media personalities, (2) using social media strategically and (3) liaising more directly with government officials. Diversify systems of funding: the larger social movement ecosystem can offer quick and unbureaucratic access to much-needed resources.
Climate change is largely absent in scripted entertainment—but there are ways for entertainment creators to improve. Just 2.8% of all scripts included any climate-related keywords, and only 0.6% of scripted TV and films mentioned the specific term “climate change.” When extreme weather events are mentioned, they are rarely linked to climate change (10%). Similarly, when climate change is mentioned, it is rarely discussed alongside the fossil fuel industry (12%) or individual climate actions (8%). And yet, there is audience demand for climate portrayals. Survey respondents believe the average American is less concerned about the climate crisis than they are personally. Still, they retain hope. Those who are hopeful about climate solutions are 3.5 times more likely to say they want to see climate portrayals in fictional entertainment. To improve climate references in mainstream entertainment, consider climate in all genres, connect the dots between climate causes and effects, give voice to climate anxiety, show the intersections between climate and other issues, and promote various climate actions.
California activists paved the way for defining climate change as an air pollution problem—now it's federal law. Connecting climate change with something visceral and dangerous brings more immediacy to a problem that’s often seen as unfolding far away or in the future, even though it’s causing suffering now. “Climate pollution” is becoming common on the websites of green groups and atop news stories. It wasn’t always a popular move to link global warming with air quality. Environmental justice activists in California tried to popularize the phrase “climate pollution” starting around 2012. Framing climate change as an air quality problem is good persuasion strategy (as research shows), and it also validates long-standing concerns from communities that are threatened by industrial pollution.
Climate fiction is an opportunity to imagine a future built on sustainability, inclusivity and justice. This second-annual short story contest invited writers around the world to envision the next 180 years of equitable climate progress. The 12 finalists are featured in this collection, including the winning entry written in Jamaican patois.
Advocates can frame migration as a key solution to the new era of climate-driven extreme weather and displacement, build solidarity with displaced peoples, and build a more intersectional and powerful movement for climate action. Call for protections for people displaced by climate impacts alongside demands for decarbonization. Start with values like family, care, compassion, solidarity and treating other people how we would want to be treated. Provide aspirational calls to provide something good. Offer clear solutions and alternatives. Pivot the narrative to the real villains. Point the finger of blame and name the motivation that underpins anti-immigrant policies and narratives. Center the leadership and experiences of those directly-impacted by the climate crisis and anti-immigrant policies.
Various climate groups have recently used messages invoking “climate anxiety” to spur grassroots action. Science Moms and Action for the Climate Emergency have joined the Environmental Defense Fund and Climate Emergency Fund in running Facebook and Instagram ads about climate anxiety in recent weeks. A group called RepublicEn has been running Meta ads using conservative messengers like evangelicals, military figures, and elected officials to create a permission structure for Republican voters to support climate action. The dominant narrative about climate change or energy on social media last week concerned a report showing that some of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve was shipped to countries like China. Pages like Breitbart and Tucker Carlson seized on the news to accuse the Biden administration of “treason”, but their content went mostly unchecked by progressive pages.