Environmental Activism in the Digital Age NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering April 2 nd, 2014...

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Environmental Activism in the Digital AgeNYU Polytechnic School of EngineeringApril 2nd, 2014Environmental activism in the digital age:One guiding principleEdward Maibach, MPH, PhDGeorge Mason University

1The guiding principle:

Simple clear messages, repeated often, by a variety of trusted voices.

About Simple clear messages,:

The less you say, the more you are heard

Say the things that have the most value (in achieving your communication objective)

Use audience research to determine what to say (i.e., which messages have most value)*

About repeated often,:

Repetition is the mother of learning (as well as liking and trust)

Adapt it, elaborate it, but no matter what, say it early and often

When possible, say it with words, visual images, and verbal images (i.e., metaphors)

About by a variety of trusted voices.:

Determine who is most trusted

Ask (and enable) them to convey your message(s)

Ideally, your message(s) should be so simple and clear that even members of your target audience will start saying it to their friends and family members after all, friends and family members are most peoples most-trusted sources.

To enhance the odds of success, create a team.Effective public engagement is a team sport involving collaboration between:Content expertsSocial/decision science expertsCommunication experts

Fischhoff, B. (2007) Non-persuasive Communication about Matters of Greatest Urgency: Climate Change. Environmental Science & Technology Online. 41:7204-8.A current example

The AAAS What We Know Initiative

http://whatweknow.aaas.org/Climate change is realIts human-causedIts harmful to humansIts solvableDesire forSocietal ResponseSupport forClimatePoliciesThe big five key beliefs contribute to a range of helpful attitudes and actionsSources: Ding-Ding et al., 2012; Lewandowsky et al., 2012; Roser-Renouf et al., 2011; Krosnick et al., 2006Political &ConsumerActivismExperts agree: human-caused climate change is happening{The big five key beliefs8WWKs three messages:

1. Climate scientists agree: climate change is happening here and now.

2. We are at risk of pushing our climate system toward abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts.

3. The sooner we act, the lower the risk and cost. And there is much we can do.

In conclusion: What is the guiding principle?