Expand Pathways for Climate Communication, Speaker Says

            More than 60 people attended a webinar October 1 co-sponsored by the State College chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and the Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University.

            The speaker was Dr. Max Boykoff, director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He spoke on “Creative (Climate) Solutions–Productive Pathways for Science, Policy and Society” which also is the title of his latest book.

            He called for more creative communication efforts to make the case for combatting climate change, saying that “naming, shaming and blaming is counterproductive.”

            Dr. Boykoff said that the “deficit model of communication,” whereby the thought is that if you just give people enough of the correct information then they will make the right policy decisions, is largely ineffective. Experiential, visceral, and emotional communications strategies and vehicles need to be employed also.

            There is no single “silver bullet” communication strategy, he said. Instead he advocates a “silver buckshot” approach employing a variety of methods. At the University of Colorado, he has been experimenting with comedy as a delivery mechanism for climate messages, for example.

            He called for finding common ground with the targets of our messages and focusing on the benefits of engagement—principles that certainly resonate with the CCL approach.

            This event was to have been a talk given in-person by Dr. Boykoff at a location in State College. Dr. Boykoff also was supposed to speak with students in the Bellisario College of Communications while here. COVID-19 intervened.

            Our CCL chapter is grateful to Dr. Jessica Myrick, Dr. Lee Ahern and Dean Marie Hardin of the Bellisario College of Communications for their support and excellent work in bringing Dr. Boykoff and his message to us.

September 2020
October 2020

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