In order to better protect the earth, we need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively. Bograd and their colleagues are working to create frameworks that help scientists communicate across disciplines! In one framework, they suggest emphasizing how both social (human) and ecological (biophysical) systems are important to the world, and that they are, in fact, dependent on each other.

Developing a social-ecological-environmental system framework to address climate change impacts in the North Pacific. Bograd et al. 2019.

Recently, news stations and newspapers in North America have been changing their language surrounding the climate, switching from using the terms “climate change” and “global warming” to more serious ones like “climate crisis” or “climate emergency.” Why the change? Katherine Viner, editor-in-chief of The Guardian, said, “We want to ensure that we are being scientifically precise, while also communicating clearly with readers on this very important issue. The phrase ‘climate change,’ for example, sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.”

Is it time to retire “climate change” for “climate crisis”? Kate Yoder, Grist Magazine. 2019.

The more people hear about a topic in conversation, the more “socially validated” it becomes. Recent polls show that many people rarely talk about climate change with those they care about. The main reasons people don't want to talk about climate change are:

  1. They don't think they know enough;

  2. They don't want to talk about things that are scary;

  3. They don't think that they can make a difference, and;

  4. They don't want to create an awkward situation or start an argument. 

Can We Talk Climate? The Nature Conservancy. 2018.

Photo by Ellie Jones

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