The social dimensions of climate change and vulnerability are discussed by Dr. Jesse Ribot, who leads a new initiative in the Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy at University of Illinois’ School of Earth, Society and Environment. Dr. Ribot conducts research on, among other issues, decentralization and democratic local government and household vulnerability in the face of climate and environmental change, both of which he discusses in this podcast.
His faculty profile is at http://www.geog.uiuc.edu/people/jesseribotprofile.html
Episode 8. Jesse Ribot (duration: 30:52)
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This episode presents a different perspective, from a climate communication practitioner, photojournalist Gary Braasch. He discusses his new book, Earth Under Fire, highlighting his reasons for telling the climate story as he has and offering some insights into the reception that the book’s been receiving. Passionate and committed, Braasch is definitely one of those “out on the front lines,” translating and communicating climate science for public audiences. As such, his experience may have particular interest to this Web site’s audience.
Braasch’s own site presents the two photographs that he discusses in the conversation:
Episode 7. Gary Braasch
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[Note: the following news story highlights the podcasts to date; follow the link to the complete story]
Presidential hopefuls and policy-makers across the political spectrum seem to have absorbed the news that the changing global climate is a cause for serious concern and action. But communicating successfully with the American public about the issue is still very much a work in progress.
“People are convinced that climate change is here,” said Susanne Moser, of the Institute for the Study of Society and Environment at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). But “people don’t know a lot about the solutions,” she added. “They feel quite disillusioned or pessimistic that their little action will address this global overwhelming problem.”
Dr. Maibach is a professor in the Department of Communication at George Mason University and also the director of the Center of Excellence in Climate Change Communication Research. Among topics of our conversation are a communication model which he has been developing, the results of a recent and very large climate survey he conducted, and Americans’ perceptions of the threat from global warming.
As with the conversation with Baruch Fischhoff (below), this one is divided into two parts. Both parts are linked here in this one post.
Episode 6: Ed Maibach
Part one (duration: 15:57)
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Part two (duration: 17:57)
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Dr. Chess is a human ecologist at Rutgers University who studies public participation in government decision-making. In our conversation, she offers insights about effective public participation and also highlights challenges, including those associated with climate change.
While the conversation would be ideal to hear as a continuous whole, for those who like to jump to topics that might be of particular interest, I’m including a table of contents with the start time and topic “headline.” Click on the link below and the table of contents will pop up in a window alongside your media player. Then use the control bar on your player to advance to the desired start time. Friendly disclaimer: I’m not responsible for missing-context effects which may occur.
Dr. Susanne Moser, a natural scientist, social scientist, and communicator with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, explores communication and social change, discussing such ideas as the information deficit model of communication, the social tipping point, barriers to action, and the development of positive myths and narratives. Says Moser, “The reason I think social science would be really, really helpful for communicators is that it allows us to actually be effective. To actually achieve what I assume communications can achieve. Theories and practices of communication have evolved over time. We ought to stay up with that. . . .”
In a wide-ranging conversation, Dr. Leiserowitz discusses insights from the study of public risk perceptions and underscores for communicators the importance of appreciating that decision-making about risk involves more than a rational process. People’s perceptions are also influenced by emotions, images, values, and experiences which they feel to be related. And he highlights just how big a change to the global economy adapting to climate change will bring: “We are talking about changing the energy foundations of modern civilization. Everything that we do, the buildings we live in, the cars we drive, the food we eat, . . the clothes you’re wearing, are all fundamentally infused at some point in their production with fossil fuel use. . . And so, we’re talking about having to re-engineer the entire global economy to a non-carbon future. That is an enormous task. And yet, it presents enormous profitable opportunities. And that’s why some of the world’s largest companies are scrambling and moving very, very fast and investing literally billions of dollars into trying to find those solutions. Because that’s ultimately what we have to do.”
Dr. Leiserowitz is director of the Yale Project on Climate Change and a research scientist who specializes in risk perception and decision-making.