Effective Communications for Climate Action


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eDemocracy Webinar Series - Social

Webinar Summary 

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5:20 - Andrea Reimer introduces the Webinar topic, provides context for the upcoming discussion, and introduces the panel of climate communications specialists.

5:47 - Andrea Reimer conducts the first poll, asking participants to respond with their biggest challenges for communicating about climate change. Popular answers are urgency, priorities, relevance, exhaustion, and reach.

12:56 - Cara Pike reflects on what has changed since she first entered the field of climate communications. She mentions the expansion of environmental advocacy to be more broad, diverse, and reflective, as well as address intersections of climate and other social issues, as significant and promising changes to the movement. - “There’s been a lot more focus on the integration of climate and equity, climate and health.. we’ve made some progress. It is a mainstream conversation.”

14:55 - Cara discusses the overlap between COVID-19 and climate, as an opportunity for a green recovery, stating “It feels like a lot of people are realizing there’s no going back.. normal was really not good, it was unsustainable and unjust.”

17:26 - Andrea introduces the second panelist, Karen Blondel, to elaborate on her background and what lead her to environmental advocacy. Karen discusses how she was introduced to climate communications following Hurricane Sandy, working with public housing residents to educate them on environmental issues.

26:00 - Karen explains her strategy for translating information from governments and advocacy organizations to community members, mentioning the importance of connecting climate to things community members are passionate about. “This type of information from an engineer or a scientist - A lot of times [it’s] just too monotone and too mechanical … some people are visual learners, and so I always try to use a combination of visual and real-life experiences all together, in order to convey the message”.

29:39 - Cara draws upon Karen’s mention of finding commonalities between members of a community and tying that to climate change, specifically through the use of “local wisdom”. Cara discusses the importance of reaching out to local community members to support outreach initiatives, to help gain community trust and “capture people who don’t even think that they have climate as their issue”.

32:22 - Andrea introduces the final panelist, Ben West, who builds off of Karen and Cara’s mention of engaging communities through local community leaders. “As much as we need the engineers and the climate scientists to really make these sort of solutions a reality, we need to know where the points of friction are, what would actually lead to people supporting projects in their neighbourhoods. And that’s the kind of information you only really have if you’re local.”

50:42 - Cara responds to Andrea’s prompt - how do we make climate a priority alongside the Covid-19 response? “What we have to do in our communications, is we have to take the connections… [and] actually paint a picture of that for people, showing you health, Covid, climate, the economy, racism, these things are all connected.”

51:40 - Ben explains that there is “no one size fits all answer “ to bringing people together to find a common cause and support effective action. “It’s a mixture of online and offline… As much as the platforms themselves are important… you could have the best tools in the world, but if you’re not using them appropriately, it’s not going to get you where you need to go.”

54:38 - Andrea asks all the panelist what their biggest hopes are for climate communications in 2021.

59:24 - Closing notes from Andrea Reimer and Meagan Blandizzi.


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