When it comes to communicating about environmental issues, it turns out we have a lot to learn from psychologists and audiences alike. Along with colleagues Zeynep Altinay and Amy Reynolds, I recently had a paper published in the journal of Environmental Communication, in which we used Louisiana's coastal crisis as a case study for best practices in environmental communication.
In our study, we interviewed communicators and psychologists, and surveyed Louisiana residents, in order to identify gaps in what we should be doing vs. what we are doing as environmental communicators. We found that both environmental psychologists and communicators emphasize knowing one's audience, telling local stories and building relationships with target audiences. We found that according to environmental psychologists and successful communicators, it is vital to avoid controversial terms and to focus on issues, impacts and solutions with which the target audience can relate.
A representative survey revealed that Louisiana residents are most interested in hearing about how environmental issues such as climate change and coastal land loss are affecting their own communities. We conclude that environmental communicators everywhere could do a better job tapping into place attachment and sense of community among coastal residents to promote action.Read More