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Communities – key insights

Setting up trays with food for iftar, the evening meal that breaks the Muslim fast during Ramadan, in Sudan

The language, images and narratives around climate change have traditionally been developed by and for white, middle-class western environmentalists. Many communities around the world – and in particular those most impacted by climate change – don’t recognise themselves in these conversations, or have a voice in how to respond to climate change.

Yet rapid changes to policies and lifestyles can only be achieved with the consent and active engagement of a diverse range of people. We work with communities across the world to find ways of communicating climate change that reflect their values, sense of identity and worldview. Our communities programme is currently working to develop climate change narratives around regional and national identities, communities of faith and with young people.

Key insights from our work 

    • People often find climate change campaigns off-putting and don’t engage with them if they can’t see their own values, worldview or concerns reflected in what is being said. This has contributed to a polarised conversation and ultimately to delaying the changes we need to see.
    • By understanding a community’s values, identity and worldview it is possible to create narratives about climate change that tap into what people care about and how they see the world.

    • Most in-depth research on communication and engagement has been carried out in a narrow and fairly unrepresentative set of nations – the UK, North America and Australia particularly. New research is needed to identify what climate change means to people in other parts of the world. 

Aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, March 2019

    • A great deal of existing climate change communication and campaigning speaks powerfully to a particular set of left-wing political values. But it doesn’t have to be this way – climate communications has the potential to tap into the values of people across the range of political perspectives

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A new conversation with the centre-right about climate and energy

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