A new report by COIN argues that language built on people’s shared sense of national identity can create a common commitment to action, providing an important strategy for overcoming the political and attitudinal divides around climate change.
The report, Hearth and Hiraeth: Constructing Climate Change Narratives around National Identity draws on the findings of a major programme COIN led for the Welsh Government. This programme developed language and narratives that could work with all social groups and be applied in all its communications.
The two-year programme built on the latest research into climate change attitudes and a detailed analysis of cultural values. It conducted rigorous testing of messages in groups that had been recruited according to a values-based segmentation model. It is one of the first programmes in the world to apply the research into values-based climate communications across an entire country.
Key findings of the report found that:
- an approach that starts with national identity markers and values can generate fresh, creative and more effective language;
- national messaging can draw on the ‘intrinsic’ values of cultural belonging rather than the ‘extrinsic values’ of nationalistic superiority and competitive leadership;
- some of the main narratives favoured by politicians and government have never been tested and actually speak very poorly to the values of the general public;
- the programme provides a model that can be replicated in other countries – or in any large institution, business or network with a distinct cultural identity.
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