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Energising analogies in Ukraine

Зимний шторм / Winter storm
This case study is part of a set of case studies commissioned by the IPCC WGI TSU (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Working Group I Technical Support Unit) and collected by Climate Outreach.

Dr Svitlana Krakovska shares her personal experience of undertaking public engagement – how seeing increased understanding as a result, particularly amongst young people, encourages her to keep pushing through the challenges it poses.

Dr Svitlana Krakovska, Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute – Author for Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, @UHMI

“What I talk about depends on the topic and audience. I usually always explain the difference between climate and weather, and show examples of impacts on local weather, biodiversity, water resources, air quality. This way, people can understand how climate change is affecting them and where they live. I also find that using a health analogy works well for explaining climate change. For example, explaining how the IPCC provides health advice in SR1.5  [Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5oC] like a doctor, but it is still the decision of the patient (humanity) whether to follow it or not. At the end of my talks, I try to encourage the audience with a positive message that we still have time, but we must act now and all together.

Photo credit: INSCIENCE 2018

Doing these talks can be challenging – I used to be quite nervous at first, but now I’m more confident in simplifying the science and making it relevant for the audience. Whilst they can take a lot of time and energy (as well as emotional energy), it’s really encouraging when I see that my efforts have resulted in a better understanding about climate change in my country. I always try and say yes to giving talks at schools and to young people since they are the ones who are going to have to have to deal with this problem very soon and they should be prepared. At the same time, this young audience also gives me back a lot of energy and hope for the future.”

This case study is a great example of putting the following principles for effective public engagement into practice.

  • Principle 1: Be a confident communicator (see Handbook page 6)
  • Principle 2: Talk about the real world, not abstract ideas (see Handbook page 8)
  • Principle 3: Connect with what matters to your audience (see Handbook page 11)

Find out more about the six principles in our Communications Handbook for IPCC scientists and accompanying webinar. 

If you would like to contribute a case study of your public engagement experiences as an IPCC author, we would love to hear from you. Please share your stories with the WGI Technical Support Unit directly.

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