What works and what doesn’t in mobilizing friends, groups, and community members on climate change
WHAT WORKS IN MOBILIZING FRIENDS, GROUPS, and COMMUNITY MEMBERS ON CLIMATE CHANGE:
- Inviting community-members to contribute their knowledge and get ‘hands-on’ in problem solving
- Building & maintaining trust with all partners involved
- Specifically addressing people’s concerns, values, questions, & ideas
- Focusing on solutions & emphasizing co-benefits
- Exploring future options and scenarios
- Building public literacy on climate change issues & energy solutions
- Engaging with target audiences on their turf, using media/ channels/spokespeople they already know
- Making the process fun, social, active, and visible, e.g. competitions, creative activities
- Using multiple tools & channels for engaging stakeholders, such as social & digital media, interactive workshops
- Making information local, tangible, and immediate
- Using compelling, interactive visual learning tools that attract attention and stay in people’s minds
- Providing regular feedback and mediation to contributors in social media exchanges on planning issues
WHAT DOESN’T WORK IN MOBILIZING THE PUBLIC ON CLIMATE CHANGE (and what is needed instead):
- Providing scientific or policy information on climate change without making it relevant and relatable to people’s lives
- Top-down government energy programs, even with funding incentives, without early involvement, lead-up and community buy-in
- Expecting typical citizens to come to public presentations and meetings in large numbers. One on one and small meetings are more realistic and often are more effective.
- Letting people think they are on their own in doing something about climate change. Showing how we can/are working together is more encouraging.
- Too much ‘doom and gloom’, and not enough fun, positive solutions and opportunities (and sure paths)
- Uncertainty on incentive programs (vs. sure paths)
- Lack of accessible & simple information.
- Lack of visibility of positive actions
- Work in discrete geographic areas (eg. block scale) with interested neighbors, where activities are highly visible.
- Experiment with ‘do-it-yourself’ visual media to attract attention, provoke discussion, and spread ideas
- Form local buyers’ clubs to get discounts on building retrofit supplies
Results of the social mobilization research of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions: What works and what doesn’t for motivating people to act on climate change
See also: website of the Boston chapter of GCCM, the Boston Catholic Climate Movement.