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Communicating the Crisis between Science, Emotions and Action – Arpae Emilia-Romagna

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[L’articolo è stato pubblicato su Ecoscienza 5/2021]

“What we must do now is unite as a global community with a shared sense of urgency, cooperation and fairness.”. This is how the second ends An appeal from world scientists on the climate emergency by William J. Ripple and colleagues, published last July in the journal Biological Sciences It was signed by more than thirteen thousand scholars [1]. Experts are often accused of communicating through boring and incomprehensible numbers, hypotheses, and estimates. Ripple’s calls are broken cliche, provides the world with a simple and comprehensive update on the state of the climate on our planet, and summons “A transformative change, needed now more than ever to protect life on Earth and to stay within as many planetary boundaries as possible.”
It is a strong and clear message from thousands of scholars who came quietly mare magnum Media information focused on managing the pandemic emergency and struggling with distal updates and rose water on Covid-19 recovery goals, environmental transformation, green deal European and on Cop26 in Glasgow.

People’s emotional reactions to today’s climate emergency are most mixed, between disaffected activists on the streets and climate-affected people mingling in a society dominated by public indifference and disinterest. Given the urgency of environmental transformation and the significant changes that will occur in the world’s economic systems and in our lives, Climate Emergency Communications has all the elements to win the title of the greatest risk reporting challenge in human history.

Precautionary advocacy and asymptomatic people in the climate crisis

with the term precautionary callPsychologist Peter Sandman points out useful measures to alert populations who are not worried enough about a serious danger. In the case of the climate, we are talking about the communication of institutions, scientists, opinion leaders, the media and activists with the aim of educating people about the climate emergency and its effects. As the Covid-19 experience shows, communicating and managing a global emergency is no trivial task. On the other hand, reporting on the climate crisis is more difficult than reporting on an epidemic. The perception of the effects is actually limited by an innate psychological distance of a spatiotemporal and social nature. Added to this is the complexity of the phenomenon, including important links and trade off Solutions for climate, biodiversity and community well-being. In this regard, the experts’ suggestions are to communicate climate change, its impacts and scenarios as current and local risks, and to favor people’s emotional and experiential involvement by limiting the transmission of technical data and complex scientific information. [2-4].

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Another criticism of the elephant in the room precautionary call From the climate relates to the widespread reaction to indifference of the people. Many “climate crisis symptoms” can inadvertently mask high levels of fear and discontent, stifled by an instinctive reaction to resist the unsustainable psychological impact of the grief, anguish, and guilt of climate change and its effects. [5,6]. With this in mind, enabling communication about risks – such as institutions and scientists, Rai leaders, Media and activists – it is necessary and most urgent to ensure the effectiveness of the transition. In fact, emotions play a fundamental role in conditioning response to emergencies and crises, which is why risk communication experts recommend working by informing people while at the same time preventing excessive anxiety, fear and discontent. The main focus of precautionary call He is therefore alert without fear, in favor of clear decisions and helpful and cooperative actions. Strategies range from organizing awareness campaigns, to paying attention to conveying effective messages to avoid the risks of excessive anxiety and frustration in the face of a narrative of risks and effects, to paying special attention to people’s feelings. [5,7].

Environmental Transformation Communication

The second big elephant in the communication room on climate risks is the so-called Crisis Communication. According to Sandman’s risk communication model, the goal is to appropriately guide the people involved in dealing with a significant risk. Such is the case with environmental transformation communications. The valuable strategy then relates to the promotion of co-benefit policies, to identify joint efforts and interventions to reduce the exploitation of the planet’s resources, capable of reconciling the fight against climate change with the protection of people’s well-being and health of ecosystems [8].

also for Crisis CommunicationThe climate problem makes it necessary to set very ambitious goals. In addition to developing solutions capable of responding to relevant health and environmental crises and clearly informing the population of “digestible” climate policies (which is a challenging task in itself), the dimensions of the problem and the complexity of local contexts also require strong participation of people to fuel constructive public debate and the process of co-production of knowledge. In line with the nuances of experts who define risk communication as an interactive exchange of information between experts and the public [9]In fact, the contribution of all people to the development and implementation of solutions can prove to be essential to ensuring the success of the response. To make room in this direction is the so-called Make original climate decisions, which refers to the responses of indigenous peoples and communities to climate change, based on internal decision-making processes rather than imposed from above or from without. [10]. In general, from a psychological point of view, experts recommend paying attention to people’s feelings and experiences, social norms and shared values, and identifying concrete practical solutions with an emphasis on the local perspective. [2-4].

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We have the tools to do that

Communicating and dealing with climate risks is not easy, but today we have everything we need to better respond to this global emergency, to ensure that our species and our resources are protected. The response to Covid-19 teaches many mistakes that must not be repeated and brings with it an unprecedented experience of effective engagement and collaboration to achieve common goals. Arguably, a successful response to the climate crisis may not involve excessive denial. to persuade NS Can’t cross of transmission, and to reduce these risks it is essential to ensure effective communication as soon as possible to all people. Ripple and colleagues’ call is an important potential tool available to “climate risk reporting experts” to understand and interpret governments’ current and future climate policies, and is based on three pillars: Knowledge, providing evidence of (extremely worrying) trends about climate trends and impacts at the global level, etc. Little progress on the part of humanity in tackling climate change (precautionary call); The Telecommunications, and offer an upgrade to a group of Planetary Vital Signs (The precautionary call is communication in crises); NSa jobcalling for urgent changes of direction in the areas of energy, air pollutants, nature, food, economics and population (Crisis Communication). In terms of information transmission methods, we now have the precious pointers of risk communicators, sociologists and psychologists to ensure effective climate and transmission communication. [3,4].

Given the fundamental importance of conveying clear and honest messages to populations in crisis and emergency situations, recognizing and communicating climate change as a threat to our species and our resources – thus transforming the usual discourse of “save the planet” with which we have long habitual and possibly addicted – would represent An excellent starting point for initiating communication on climate risks capable of encouraging a response from communities. “In a broad sense, climate change education should view humans as individuals who are able to change their behavior to reduce riskScientists say on Biological SciencesRecommending the inclusion of climate change education in primary school curricula worldwide [1]. However, with the goal of zero carbon emissions within thirty years, the commitment of future generations is not enough. At the hands of scientists, institutions, journalists and educators, it is hoped that soon men and women, young and old, will be able to enjoy and participate in this responsible and collaborative communication that is only the first of many important steps of cooperation against the climate crisis, as well as the right of scientific citizenship.

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Simona Ri
Institute of Earth Sciences and Georesources, Igg-Cnr

Bibliographic references

[1] Ripple WJ et al., 2021, “World Scientists Warn of a 2021 Climate Emergency,” biology, biab079, Supplementary Material.

[2] Corner A., ​​Shaw C., Clarke J., 2018, “Principles of Effective Communication and Public Participation on Climate Change: A Guide for Authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,” Oxford: Climate Awareness.

[3] van der Linden S. et al. 2015, “Improving public engagement with climate change: Five ‘best practice’ insights from the psychological sciences,” Perspectives on psychology, 10 (6), 758-763.

[4] Mah AYJ et al., 2020, “Dealing with climate change: Three insights for research, intervention, and communication to enhance adaptive adaptation to climate change,” Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 75, 102282.

[5] Re S., 2021, “Environmental transition, a commitment to social renewal that can no longer be abolished”, science on the web, 09 April 2021,ù-revocabile/simona-re/2021-04

[6] Sandman MP, 2009, “Communicating the Risks of Climate Change: The Problem of Psychological Denial,” Danger = danger + anger, Peter Sandman Risk Communication Website, February 11, 2009, Available here.

[7] Witte K., Allen M., 2000, “A meta-analysis of fear appeals: implications for effective public health campaigns,” health and behavior education, 27, 591-615.

[8] Vineis P., Carra L., Cingolani R., 2020, 2020, to prevent, Einaudi.

[9] World Health Organization, 2020, Emergencies: Communicating about risksJanuary 15, 2020 Communication

[10] Muralakrishna IV, Manekam F, 2017, “Chapter VIII – Environmental Risk Assessment”, Environmental management, science and engineering for industry, 135-152.

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