Although most Americans accept that climate change is happening, most also perceive it as a distant threat. They see it as someone else’s responsibility, and feel helpless to do anything about it anyway.
For practitioners on the front lines of climate adaptation, that’s a problem. We see the impacts of climate change in flooding rivers, drowning salt marshes, and pest-infested forests. We recognize the need to act now. But without buy-in from colleagues, landowners, community leaders, officials, and funders, we can’t.
Effective communication is essential for engaging diverse stakeholders in climate adaptation, but many practitioners need guidance on how to reach target audiences with messages that are empowering, not overwhelming. Practitioners in the land conservation sector have a unique role to play in advancing climate adaptation on the ground, but many are just starting or haven’t yet started having those conversations.
In response to this challenge, the Massachusetts Ecosystem Climate Adaptation Network (Mass ECAN) -affiliated Climate Communications Working Group partnered with the Land Trust Alliance and the Open Space Institute to create a set of climate-communication recommendations based on social-science research, a searchable database of example climate-communication products developed by Northeastern land trusts, and a gallery of real communication products developed by practitioners that embody best practices, with accompanying interpretive text explaining why.
These products can help practitioners develop effective communication techniques based on research and examples from peers that bring best practices to life.
While this project grew from a partnership with organizations focused on land trusts throughout the Northeast, the Work Group is continuing to collect and share good communication examples from practitioners in other sectors here in Massachusetts. If your organization has an outstanding communications product, please feel free to share it with massecan at umass.edu.
Explore the products:
Example communication products with interpretive text: