Earth, paradoxes, and rhetoric oh my: Meta-discussion of climate change communication

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Abstract


Climate change impacts everyone on Earth and the perception of our role in this ecological phenomenon control the production of environmental policy. A divide exists amongst the public, political representatives, and scientist that often develops into the miscommunication of known scientific events. Bridging this gap is the role of science communicators – members of the rapidly growing science communication field. A powerful tool in their arsenal is to share the information entertainingly and engagingly – academically known as entertainment-education (EE). This communication theory acknowledges that entertaining media will reach a wider audience and seeks to promote social change through the creation of EE programs. The United Nations COP25 gathered a medley of scientists and diplomats to discuss the “hot” news around climate change. When interviewed, these individuals engaged with this communication strategy as a tool for social change. These conversations were guided by the famous Prisoner Paradox to establish an anchor point when discussing the current political scheme surrounding climate change and the environmental rhetoric of UN member states. A consensus exists on the need for powerful communication and a shift to selling science. Meaning, climate science must be conveyed in a way people want to consume and the public must be allowed to develop the conversation alongside climate-researchers and political-representatives. In this presentation, the current perceptions of climate change will be explored from multiple countries, the potential for new EE programs that promote environmental activism will be examined, and a breakdown how message construction can affect the ideology of nations.