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Abstract

In recent years, effort has been put into developing various forms of climate visualization to create opportunities for people to explore and learn about local climate change risks and adaptation options. However, how target audiences make sense of such climate visualization has rarely been studied from a communication perspective. This paper analyses how Nordic homeowners made sense of a specific climate visualization tool, the VisAdapt™ tool. Involving 35 homeowners from three cities in 15 group test sessions, this study analyses the interpretive strategies participants applied to make sense of and assess the relevance of the visualized data. The study demonstrates that participants employed a set of interpretive strategies relating to personal experience and well-known places to make sense of the information presented, and that critical negotiation of content played an important role in how participants interpreted the content.

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... While there has been an increase in development of online climate communication tools, less work has been done to test the user experience and response to CIWs [14,15] and climate visuals [21,22]. Understanding audience and user perceptions of climate communication approaches and platforms is critical for improving their efficacy, especially in cases where material creators and users may unknowingly have differing perceptions of how information is being interpreted, which can lead to misunderstanding, or worse, actual maladaptation [15]. ...
... This finding aligns with previous research which suggests that visuals can make climate change impacts more concrete, relatable, and engaging (e.g. [21,34,35]) and further suggests that video in particular can change public attitudes on climate change (e.g. [36]). ...
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Given the climate crisis and its cumulative impacts on public health, effective communication strategies that engage the public in adaptation and mitigation are critical. Many have argued that a health frame increases engagement, as do visual methodologies including online and interactive platforms, yet to date there has been limited research on audience responses to health messaging using visual interventions. This study explores public attitudes regarding communication tools focused on climate change and climate-affected Lyme disease through six focus groups (n = 61) in rural and urban southern Manitoba, Canada. The results add to the growing evidence of the efficacy of visual and storytelling methods in climate communications and argues for a continuum of mediums: moving from video, text, to maps. Findings underscore the importance of tailoring both communication messages and mediums to increase uptake of adaptive health and environmental behaviours, for some audiences bridging health and climate change while for others strategically decoupling them.
... Research in community-based climate adaptation has highlighted a need for contextspecific approaches [6,13,30,31] that take into account place-based characteristics; meanwhile, the usefulness of concepts derived from place theory for perceptions of environmental risks has also received increasing attention in recent literature. For risks like coastal land loss that involve drastic changes to the landscape, the concept of place attachment may be a particularly important factor shaping perceptions and behavior. ...
... Our findings add additional nuance to this relationship by noting the importance of direct experience with place and the surrounding landscape as an avenue for direct experience of risk. Experiences with place and hence local risks may also reshape the interpretive schema residents use to understand and interpret climate change information more generally; prior research has indicated that residents rely on interpretive strategies related to personal experience and place to make sense of climate change communications [31]. ...
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Southern Louisiana and its coastal bayous are sites of both frequent flooding and rapid coastal land loss, exacerbated by the increasing effects of climate change. Though much work has examined flood risk perceptions in coastal areas, few studies have considered the qualitative and contextual dimensions of perceptions of coastal land loss and its associated impacts, and how these perceptions relate to local culture, place, and intentions to mitigate personal exposure to risk. We conducted six focus groups in areas with distinct exposure to coastal land loss. Participants expressed strong attachment to community, culture, and place. Personal ties to land loss through family or social connections, experiences with fishing and water-based activities, and indirect impacts on Louisiana’s seafood industry and cuisine provided a lens for understanding the immediate impacts of coastal land loss. Participants felt that exposure to the risks of land loss was inevitable and that mitigation was beyond individual efforts, a feeling that manifested both as pessimism and as a resilient focus on collective action. Considering state history with political corruption, participants generally distrusted state-level mitigation initiatives. These findings shed light on the qualitative dimensions of coastal land loss perceptions in southern Louisiana and their relation to place attachment, mitigation intentions, and sources of risk information. While participants with personal ties to risk report feelings of exposure and inevitability, they are also embedded in communities with strong ties to place. This nuance only complicates the meanings that individuals associate with land loss and the actions that they are motivated to take; impacts of coastal land loss on the landscape and distinct place characteristics of southern Louisiana may lead to significant disruption to identity and well-being, but also provide a pathway for risk awareness and potential motivation of collective mitigation actions.
... These developments alter the ways in which climate change is mediated and engaged with (Wang et al., 2018), and confront climate change communication research with new opportunities as well as challenges. For instance, rapid advances in geographic and information visualization offer opportunities to communicate advanced, complex, and abstract climate science to broader audiences, for example, through the possibilities of localizing climate change impacts and responses (Gammelgaard Ballantyne, Glaas, Neset, & Wibeck, 2018;Newell, Dale, & Winters, 2016;O'Neill & Smith, 2014;Schroth, Angel, Sheppard, & Dulic, 2014;Sheppard, 2012;Wiréhn, Opach, & Neset, 2017), but also require a certain level of digital literacy among audiences. ...
... In focus group studies, moderators often use material or interventions to spur discussions, such as images, video clips, short texts, or ranking exercises (Kitzinger, 1994;Wibeck et al., 2007). Similarly, several participatory studies, based on different methodologies, have discussed interactive visualization tools of various kinds (Bohman, Neset, Opach, & Rød, 2015;Gammelgaard Ballantyne et al., 2018;Sheppard et al., 2011;Wiréhn et al., 2017). ...
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This article explores the methodological challenges and opportunities of climate change communication research in a digital landscape. It scrutinizes the potential and limitations of combining group‐based qualitative interview methods, such as focus groups, with new digital media tools such as serious games. The paper brings together three strands of research: Climate change communication studies, methods literature on focus groups, and literature on (digital) serious gaming. Our review demonstrates that studies that deliberately combine focus groups methods with serious gaming have hitherto been scarce. There is a proliferation of digital visualization tools in climate change communication. We therefore see the need to critically explore what and how the integration of digital tools into qualitative group‐based studies can contribute to enhancing research into climate change communication and knowledge development. To illuminate the opportunities and challenges for the integration of serious gaming in focus group studies in the area of climate change communication, we bring in a few illustrative examples from a research project that integrated focus group methodology with a serious game on climate adaptation in Nordic agriculture. Introducing digital serious games in focus group‐based climate change communication studies can benefit climate change communication research in at least three ways: (a) by spurring participants’ in‐depth discussions, facilitating analysis of how sense‐making occurs; (b) by providing opportunities to evaluate features of the game itself and to develop it for different target audiences; and (c) by forming part of participatory climate change communication activities, engaging lay people and/or experts in co‐creating knowledge. This article is categorized under: Perceptions, Behavior, and Communication of Climate Change > Perceptions of Climate Change
... Additionally, there were some incidences (n = 6; 10%) of participants not understanding the nature of the exercise, potentially leading to other undesired outcomes (e.g., Ballantyne et al., 2018) (Fig. 6; Table S8). Participants also expressed a sense of anxiety or depression about the future after the exercises in Europe (n = 2; 11%) and North America (n = 1; 5%). ...
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Adaptation to climate change is about planning for the future while responding to current pressures and challenges. Adaptation scientists are increasingly using future visioning exercises embedded in co-production and co-development techniques to assist stakeholders in imagining futures in a changing climate. Even if these exercises are growing in popularity, surprisingly little scrutiny has been placed on understanding the fundamental assumptions and choices in scenario approaches, timeframes, scales, or methods, and whether they result in meaningful changes in how adaptation is being thought about. Here, we unpack key insights and experiences across 62 case studies that specifically report on using future visioning exercises to engage stakeholders in climate change adaptation. We focus on three key areas: 1) Stakeholder diversity and scales; 2) Tools, methods, and data, and 3) Practical constraints, enablers, and outcomes. Our results show that most studies focus on the regional scale (n = 32; 52%), involve mainly formal decision makers and employ vast array of different methods, tools, and data. Interestingly, most exercises adopt either predictive (what will happen) and explorative (what could happen) scenarios while only a fraction use the more normative (what should happen) scenarios that could enable more transformative thinking. Reported positive outcomes include demonstrated increases in climate change literacy and support for climate change adaptation planning. Unintended and unexpected outcomes include increased anxiety in cases where introduced timeframes go beyond an individual’s expected life span and decreased perceived necessity for undertaking adaptation at all. Key agreed factors that underpin co-production and equal representation, such as gender, age, and diversity, are not well reported, and most case studies do not use reflective processes to harness participant feedback that could enable more robust methodology development. This is a missed opportunity in developing a more fundamental understanding of how these exercises can effectively shift individual and collective mindsets and advance the inclusion of different viewpoints as a pathway for more equitable and just climate adaptation.
... Although awareness campaigns focusing on potential risks related to extreme events are very important, several studies have concluded that people tend to regard climate change as a global phenomenon that affects others living far away and so they ignore and are ambivalent to local threats until they become very serious and tangible (Ballantyne et al. 2018;IPCC 2014;Sheppard et al. 2011;Wibeck 2014). Moreover, top-down climate adaptation strategies tend to promote the passive involvement of citizens as mere recipients of relevant information, but research has shown that there is not a direct progression from information and awareness towards action concerning climate adaptation (Collins and Ison 2009;Domingues et al. 2018; Hügel and Davies 2020; Klein et al. 2018). ...
Book
This book aims to give a contribution to a more comprehensive and interdisciplinary understanding of the cross-cutting issues on energy, environment and health research topics in the current world scenario, where nations all over the world are struggling to accomplish the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and to ensure sustainable patterns for all. This interdisciplinary implies a commitment between all fields of science, working together to provide knowledge that could result in the promotion of quality of life. At the present, it is evident that not all people benefit from sustainable policies and practices and the communication between health, energy, environmental and social problems is undeniable. A call for different views could be a pathway attracting universities, stakeholders, organizations and civil society to deeply discuss how one solution does not fit all societies. Few publications are coherently handling this matter. This book is expected to fill this gap and to develop an interest in a larger audience working in general sustainable development and cross-cutting issues. This book is produced by the European School of Sustainability Science and Research (ESSSR). It gives special emphasis to state-of-the-art descriptions of approaches, methods, initiatives and projects from universities, stakeholders, organizations and civil society across the world, regarding cross-cutting issues in energy, environment and health research.
... The literature and information on climate change vulnerability and corresponding risks are growing. Yet, local communities face challenges to translate information about abstract vulnerability assessments into tangible local implications, and further, to use it in practice to steer action and find measures at an operational level [1]. As Patiño and Gauthier [2] claim, vulnerability assessments can facilitate the understanding of local risks and impacts to trigger direct interventions and thus generate applied outcomes within pre-existing capacity constraints. ...
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... More recently, Wang et al. (2018) challenged the assumption of climate change as being an object of care only if affecting the self or the social and physical surrounding. These insights resonate with current calls to go beyond a "localist perspective" to include a more dynamic and comprehensive understanding of climate change meanings including both the local and the global dimension, the distant and the proximate (Devine-Wright, 2015b; Ballantyne et al., 2018) In a similar vein, we argue that while the theory of psychological distance is binary in character, it should not be used in a dualistic way to create analytical oppositions. CLT categories and their structuring distances and proximities are heuristic devices that can be used as starting points to bring to light the dynamic character of climate change meanings. ...
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Fear-inducing representations of climate change are widely employed in the public domain. However, there is a lack of clarity in the literature about the impacts that fearful messages in climate change communications have on people's senses of engagement with the issue and associated implications for public engagement strategies. Some literature suggests that using fearful representations of climate change may be counterproductive. The authors explore this assertion in the context of two empirical studies that investigated the role of visual, and iconic, representations of climate change for public engagement respectively. Results demonstrate that although such representations have much potential for attracting people's attention to climate change, fear is generally an ineffective tool for motivating genuine personal engagement. Nonthreatening imagery and icons that link to individuals' everyday emotions and concerns in the context of this macro-environmental issue tend to be the most engaging. Recommendations for constructively engaging individuals with climate change are given.
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This paper reports on the barriers that members of the UK public perceive to engaging with climate change. It draws upon three mixed-method studies, with an emphasis on the qualitative data which offer an in-depth insight into how people make sense of climate change. The paper defines engagement as an individual's state, comprising three elements: cognitive, affective and behavioural. A number of common barriers emerge from the three studies, which operate broadly at ‘individual’ and ‘social’ levels. These major constraints to individual engagement with climate change have implications for achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gases in the UK. We argue that targeted and tailored information provision should be supported by wider structural change to enable citizens and communities to reduce their carbon dependency. Policy implications for effective engagement are discussed.
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Factors influencing support for climate mitigation policy in the United States are well researched, however, research regarding individuals’ support for climate adaptation policy is relatively sparse. This study explores how an individual’s perception of climate change impacts may influence their support for adaptation actions. Results of a survey of the U.S. public (n = 653) indicates that individuals who believe climate change impacts are unlikely to happen or will primarily affect other people in other places are less likely to be concerned about climate change impacts and less likely to support climate adaptation. However, an individual’s support for climate change adaptation measures is not influenced by their perception of when climate change impacts will occur even when taking into account concern for climate impacts. Critical for policy-makers, a belief that climate adaptation measures will not be effective attenuates the relationship between psychological distance, concern for climate change impacts, and adaptation policy measures. Our results indicate that to effectively communicate about climate change, policy-makers should emphasize that: (i) climate change impacts are occurring, (ii) that their constituents are being affected now, or will be in the future, and (iii) communicate that adaptation measures can be effective in addressing risks associated with climate change impacts.
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The complexity of climate information, particularly as related to climate scenarios, impacts, and action alternatives, poses significant challenges for science communication. This study presents a geographic visualization approach involving lay audiences to address these challenges. VisAdapt™ is a web-based visualization tool designed to improve Nordic homeowners’ understanding of climate change vulnerability and to support their adaptive actions. VisAdapt is structured to enable individual users to explore several climate change impact parameters, including temperature and precipitation, for their locations and to find information on specific adaptation measures for their house types and locations. The process of testing the tool included a focus group study with homeowners in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden to assess key challenges in geographic visualization, such as the level of interactivity and information. The paper concludes that geographic visualization tools can support homeowners’ climate adaptation processes, but that certain features, such as downscaled climate information are a key element expected by users. Although the assessment of interactivity and data varied both across countries and user experience, a general conclusion is that a geographic visualization tool, like VisAdapt, can make climate change effects and adaptation alternatives tangible and initiate discussions and collaborative reflections.
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In this article we present the design and implementation of the web-based visualization tool VisAdapt, developed to support homeowners in the Nordic countries to assess anticipated climate change and climate related risks which are expected to negatively impact their living conditions. The tool guides the user through a three-step visual exploration process to facilitate the exploration of risks and adaptation measures, specifically adapted to the user. VisAdapt has been developed over the course of two years in close collaboration with domain experts and end users to ensure the validity of the included data and the efficiency of the visual interface. Although VisAdapt is designed for Nordic homeowners, the insights gained from the development process and the lessons learned from the project could be valuable to researchers in a wide area of application domains.
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The literature on climate change communication addresses a range of issues relevant to the communication of climate change and climate science to lay audiences or publics. In doing so, it approaches this particular challenge from a variety of different perspectives and theoretical frameworks. Analyzing the body of scholarly literature on climate change communication, this article critically reviews how communication is conceptualized in the literature and concludes that the field of climate change communication is characterized by diverging and incompatible understandings of communication as a theoretical construct. In some instances, communication theory appears reduced to an ‘ad hoc’ toolbox, from which theories are randomly picked to provide studies with a fitting framework. Inspired by the paradigm shift from transmission to interaction within communication theory, potential lessons from the field of communication theory are highlighted and discussed in the context of communicating climate change. Rooted in the interaction paradigm, the article proposes a meta-theoretical framework that conceptualizes communication as a constitutive process of producing and reproducing shared meanings. Rather than operating in separate ontological and epistemological perspectives, a meta-theoretical conceptualization of communication would ensure a common platform that advances multiperspective argumentation and discussion of the role of climate change communication in society. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. Conflict of interest: The author has declared no conflicts of interest for this article.
Conference Paper
This essay reconstructs communication theory as a dialogical-dialectical field according to two principles: the constitutive model of communication as a metamodel and theory as metadiscursive practice. The essay argues that all communication theories are mutually relevant when addressed to a practical lifeworld in which "communication" is already a richly meaningful term. Each tradition of communication theory derives from and appeals rhetorically to certain commonplace beliefs about communication while challenging other beliefs. The complementarities and tensions among traditions generate a theoretical metadiscourse that intersects with and potentially, informs the ongoing practical metadiscourse in society In a tentative schedule of the field, rhetorical, semiotic, phenomenological, cybernetic, sociopsychological, sociocultural, and critical traditions of communication theory are distinguished by characteristic ways of defining communication and problems of communication, metadiscoursive vocabularies, and metadiscoursive commonplaces that they appeal to and challenge. Topoi for argumentation across traditions are suggested and implications for theoretical work and disciplinary practice in the field are considered.
Book
Information visualization is the act of gaining insight into data, and is carried out by virtually everyone. It is usually facilitated by turning data – often a collection of numbers – into images that allow much easier comprehension. Everyone benefits from information visualization, whether internet shopping, investigating fraud or indulging an interest in art. So no assumptions are made about specialist background knowledge in, for example, computer science, mathematics, programming or human cognition. Indeed, the book is directed at two main audiences. One comprises first year students of any discipline. The other comprises graduates – again of any discipline – who are taking a one- or two-year course of training to be visual and interaction designers. By focusing on the activity of design the pedagogical approach adopted by the book is based on the view that the best way to learn about the subject is to do it, to be creative: not to prepare for the ubiquitous examination paper. The content of the book, and the associated exercises, are typically used to support five creative design exercises, the final one being a group project mirroring the activity of a consultancy undertaking a design (not an implementation) for a client. Engagement with the material of this book can have a variety of outcomes. The composer of a school newsletter and the applicant for a multi-million investment should both be able to convey their message more effectively, and the curator of an exhibition will have new presentational techniques on their palette. For those students training to be visual/interaction designers the exercises have led to original and stimulating outcomes.
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The 21st century is awash with ever more mixed and remixed images, writing, layout, sound, gesture, speech, and 3D objects. Multimodality looks beyond language and examines these multiple modes of communication and meaning making. Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication represents a long-awaited and much anticipated addition to the study of multimodality from the scholar who pioneered and continues to play a decisive role in shaping the field. Written in an accessible manner and illustrated with a wealth of photos and illustrations to clearly demonstrate the points made, Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication deliberately sets out to locate communication in the everyday, covering topics and issues not usually discussed in books of this kind, from traffic signs to mobile phones. In this book, Gunther Kress presents a contemporary, distinctive and widely applicable approach to communication. He provides the framework necessary for understanding the attempt to bring all modes of meaning-making together under one unified theoretical roof. This exploration of an increasingly vital area of language and communication studies will be of interest to advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students in the fields of English language and applied linguistics, media and communication studies and education.
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This study contributes to understanding of social preferences, norms, and behaviors in residential landscapes that affect planning, design, and management of trees, which store carbon and contribute to mitigating climate change. We investigated southeast Michigan homeowner preferences for different styles of front yards and backyards that were more or less wooded, learning what landscape characteristics they preferred and how their preferences related to their own yard management behavior. We surveyed homeowners, who selected their most preferred front yard and backyard from a series of images and indicated what characteristics were important to their preferences. We developed a homeowner typology based on their stated preferences for more and less wooded front yards and backyards, distinguished each type by landscape characteristics that were most important to homeowners, and tested whether homeowners of each preference type managed their actual yards consistent with type. Our results show that homeowners are heterogeneous in their preferences, identifying different characteristics as important according to type, but that only mowing of their actual yard is consistent with type. We also found that both important characteristics and actual uses of homeowners' yards varied between front yards and backyards. Both homeowner types and front yard/backyard differences suggest opportunities for planning and maintaining larger urban woodlands on residential lots.
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The central message of this essay is to make climate change more visible and meaningful to community members through landscape architectural techniques and building literacy. It identifies general principles for opening people's eyes to climate change, demonstrating the potentially powerful role that landscape can play in helping citizens to see and foresee climate change in their own backyards, where they care the most. In this context, the author emphasizes the value of local landscape & place-based experience, as well as the importance of designing visible solutions. The essay describes two linked frameworks that address respectively the possibility of seeing and recognizing climate change, and the need to consider not only climate change impacts but also its causes, mitigation and adaptation solutions. Landscape architects and landscape planners can play an integrative, educational & visionary role in creative design and engagement of communities on climate change. The essay offers four pathways for landscape professionals to integrate & enhance public engagement and literacy on climate change, through: applying landscape messaging to make climate change more visible on the ground; using compelling visual tools that reveal signs of climate change in local landscapes and depict resilient, low-carbon futures; local climate change visioning processes to help communities understand the implications for communities; and helping neighbours to self-educate and mobilize for local climate change action. Better training and a professionally endorsed code of ethics for visual media are needed to support this vital work.
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Climate change communication on anticipated impacts and adaptive responses is frequently presented as an effective means to facilitate implementation of adaptation to mitigate risks to residential buildings. However, it requires that communication is developed in a way that resonates with the context of the target audience, provides intelligible information and addresses perceived barriers to adaptation. In this paper we reflect upon criteria for useful climate change communication gained over a three year development process of a web-based tool – VisAdaptTM – aimed at increasing the adaptive capacity among Nordic homeowners. Based on the results from continuous user-testing and focus group interviews we outline lessons learned and key aspects to consider in the design of tools for communicating complex issues such as climate change effects and adaptive response measures.
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This study explores the role of geographic visualization for supporting the implementation of climate change adaptation. Interviews and group discussions with planners and decision makers indicate that geographic visualization bears primary potential for communicative purposes. In order to respond to analytical needs a high level of interactivity including the exploration of background data and the ability to link the tools with own databases were some of the key requirements made by the participants. The study concludes that more than better climate predictions, awareness and involvement may be precisely what is needed to narrow the implementation gap in climate change adaptation.
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Climate change is an issue with fundamental implications for societies and individuals. These implications range from our everyday choices about resource use and lifestyles, through how we adjust to an unprecedented rate of environmental change, to our role in debating and enacting accompanying social transitions. This article outlines the various ways in which members of society (‘publics’) may be engaged in efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and then provides a synthesis of lessons about public engagement which span both theoretical and practical insights. These include the diverse drivers of, and barriers to, engagement; the importance of multiple forms of engagement and messages; and a critical need to evaluate and identify successful examples of engagement. We conclude by outlining priorities for future research, policy and practice.
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In 2008, we published a journal paper arguing that while scholarly work on media representations of environmental issues had made substantial progress in textual analysis, there had been much less work on visual representations. This special edition has a number of aims in this respect. It seeks to mark out where there has been progress since 2008, and the papers in this collection represent some of the fresh and exciting high quality scholarly work now emerging on an expanding number of topics and using different methods. We argue that we need to think more openly about what we mean by “the visual.” We begin by placing research into visual representations of the environment into the wider trajectory of visual studies research. We then proceed to review key trends in visual environmental communication research and to delineate core dimensions, contexts and sites of visual analysis.
Article
Understanding public risk perception related to possible consequences of climate change is of paramount importance. Not only does risk perception have an important role in shaping climate policy, it is also central in generating support for initiatives for adaptation and mitigation. In order to influence public knowledge and opinion, there is a need to know more about why people have diverging attitudes and perceptions related to climate change and its possible consequences. By using representative survey data for Norway and multivariate analysis, the authors of this article show that differences in attitudes and perceptions are partially explained by factors such as gender, educational background, and people's political preferences. However, an important factor explaining people's perception of climate change and its possible consequences is their direct personal experience of damage caused by climate-related events such as flooding or landslide. Furthermore, the results show that personal experience of damage has the largest impact on the respondents' belief that there will be more natural-resource hazards locally than in Norway or globally. The results also show that merely living in a more exposed area but not having a personal experience of damage does not affect the respondents' concern towards climate change.
Article
Fear-inducing representations of climate change are widely employed in the public domain. However, there is a lack of clarity in the literature about the impacts that fearful messages in climate change communications have on people's senses of engagement with the issue and associated implications for public engagement strategies. Some literature suggests that using fearful representations of climate change may be counterproductive. The authors explore this assertion in the context of two empirical studies that investigated the role of visual, and iconic, representations of climate change for public engagement respectively. Results demonstrate that although such representations have much potential for attracting people's attention to climate change, fear is generally an ineffective tool for motivating genuine personal engagement. Nonthreatening imagery and icons that link to individuals' everyday emotions and concerns in the context of this macro-environmental issue tend to be the most engaging. Recommendations for constructively engaging individuals with climate change are given.
Article
The influence of language on communication about climate change is well recognised, but this understanding is under-utilised by those seeking to increase uptake of action for climate change. We discuss the terms, discourse, resistance, and agency, to assist in developing ways to progress social action for climate change. Using a review of academic literature about climate change, we explore three of the many dominant discourses that constrain action: the logical action discourse; the complexity discourse; and the culture of consumption discourse. While there are more discourses about climate change, especially in the popular literature, the ways these three operate in the peri-scientific sphere is under-recognised. We suggest that by examining the different framings of climate change, there is potential to create novel discourses and to start new processes of societal response. This paper challenges the dominant scientific framing of climate change and seeks to begin the process of creating change through changing discourses.
Article
This paper sets out to develop key messages for the theory and practice of environmental education from a review of recent research literature on climate change communication (CCC) and education. It focuses on how learners of climate science understand messages on climate change, the communicative contexts for education on climate change, the barriers that can be found to public engagement with climate change issues, and how these barriers can be addressed. 92 peer-reviewed studies were examined. The analysis focuses on the goals and strategies of CCC, and how barriers can be addressed given the research findings on: (a) the content of CCC, (b) visualizations, (c) framing, (d) audience segmentation. The paper concludes that CCC and education need to address barriers to public engagement on several levels simultaneously. It recommends that scholars of environmental education focus critical attention on how practice addresses senses and spheres of agency; sociocultural factors; and the complexities of developing scientific literacy given the interpretative frames and prior understandings that are brought to bear by the public in non-formal education settings.
Article
Purpose ‐ This paper presents new research on the potential pathways for integrated adaptation that could make England's suburbs more resilient to future climate conditions. It focuses on the role of central government, local agencies and householders in making adaptations to the built and natural environment. Design/methodology ‐ This paper uses evidence from three facilitated workshops run with built environment and policy professionals associated with climate change adaptation in three cities in England: Oxford, Bristol and Stockport. The workshop contributions are presented in relation to the potential role that central government, local agencies and residents could play in adapting suburbs. Findings ‐ Central government, local agencies and householders form an interconnected network of agents responsible for adaptive action in suburbs. Professional and institutional stakeholders expect central government to take a lead and ensure planning policies and building regulations support effective adaptation. However, those local authorities and agencies that are expected to offer leadership locally do not have the resources to make adaptation happen on the ground. Overall, the stakeholders in this research believe that effective adaptation in suburbs may only happen once householders and government have experienced worsening climatic conditions. This could be a very costly stance in the long term. Originality/value ‐ This paper provides empirical evidence on how stakeholders engaged in suburban adaptation are making changes now, and on how they envisage change in the future. It reveals clearly the challenges involved in integrating mitigation and adaptation actions and highlight the complexities around implementation on the ground.
Book
This forum review is based on readings of this book by members of the interdisciplinary Climate Change
Article
This article synthesizes relevant literature and examples from practice to examine what is known to date about communicating climate change adaptation. It explores the language used to discuss adaptation, what is known about resonant frames, drawing on adaptation discourses in policy, practice, and the media. Identifying trends and widely applicable insights is made challenging not only by the variety of words used to speak of adaptation, but by the fact that ‘adaptation’ language is often not used at all. A broad literature on perceptions and experiences of climate change impacts and how these experiences affect people's valuations and emotional responses to climate change offers crucial insights to the challenges and opportunities in communicating adaptation. It reveals much about people's interest in and acceptability and knowledge of adaptation, about preferred timing and who is thought to be responsible for enacting adaptive actions. Insights from the literature on place attachment and place identity are of particular relevance to public engagement on adaptation as it goes a long way toward explaining the quality of the adaptation debate to date while offering promising opportunities for dialogue. Suggestions for improved adaptation communication practice and critical research gaps are offered. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website. Conflict of interest: The author has declared no conflicts of interest for this article. Additional Supporting Information may be found in the online version of this article.
Article
This paper uses probabilistic climate change data from the UK Climate Change Projections 2009 to define extreme climate change in order to model the effect of future temperature change, particularly summer overheating on the energy consumption of, and comfort in, existing English homes (located in Oxford). Climate change risk is then analysed as a factor of climate hazard, exposure and vulnerability. With the risk of overheating theoretically identified, the risk of overheating and the future change impact on space heating energy use is then virtually detailed for four English home types modelled using future weather years in a dynamic simulation modelling software (IES). A range of passive adaptation measures are then critically reviewed with regard to their effectiveness in minimising the negative impacts of climate change and to identify the most effective measures in reducing or eliminating the negative impacts of climate change on comfort and energy consumption. In addition the adaptation options are grouped and tested as packages in order to identify the optimal solution for adaptive retrofitting of English homes. For all homes modelled, user-controlled shading proved to be the most effective adaptation. Increasing the surface albedo of the building fabric and exposure of thermal mass were also revealed to be effective although proving to be complicated and requiring detailed consideration of the optimal locations. Ultimately among the passive options tested, the research found that none could completely eliminate the risk of overheating in the homes, particularly by the 2080s.
Article
There is an urgent need for meaningful information and effective public processes at the local level to build awareness, capacity, and agency on climate change, and support planning and decision-making. This paper describes a conceptual framework to meet these requirements by generating alternative, coherent, holistic climate change scenarios and visualizations at the local scale, in collaboration with local stakeholders and scientists. The framework provides a template for a process to integrate emission scenarios with both mitigation and adaptation strategies, and to link local manifestations of impacts and responses with global climate change scenarios. The article outlines the empirical application of this framework in the Local Climate Change Visioning Project in British Columbia, Canada. The project collaboratively localized, spatialized, and visualized possible climate change effects and community responses in the community's ‘backyards’. The article concludes with lessons learned and suggested principles for future visioning efforts to engage communities in possible policy and behavioural choices.
Article
Environmental communication scholarship is critical to the success of sustainability science. This essay outlines three pressing areas of intersection between the two fields. First, environmental communication scholarship on public participation processes is essential for sustainability science's efforts to link knowledge with action. Second, sustainability science requires collaborations across diverse institutional and disciplinary boundaries. Environmental communication can play a vital role in reorganizing the production and application of disciplinary knowledge. Third, science communication bridges environmental communication and sustainability science and can move communication processes away from one-way transmission models toward engaged approaches. The essay draws on Maine's Sustainability Solutions Initiative to illustrate key outcomes of a large project that has integrated environmental communication into sustainability science.
Article
Efforts are intensifying to design effective flood management strategies that account for a changing climate and that make use of the wealth of resources and latent capacities associated with action at the local level. Municipalities, however, are subject to a host of challenges and barriers to action, revealing the critical need for sophisticated participatory processes in support of municipal decision-making under conditions of considerable uncertainty. This paper examines a new process for envisioning local climate change futures, which uses an iterative, collaborative, multistakeholder approach to produce computer-generated 3-dimensional images of climate change futures in the flood-prone municipality of Delta, British Columbia, Canada. The process appeared to forge communicative partnerships, which may improve the legitimacy and effectiveness of the flood management and climate change response discourse in the municipality of Delta, and may lead to locally specific and integrated flood management and climate change response strategies. We concluded that, while an enabling context and normative pressures are clearly integral to effective action, so too is the type and mode of presentation of information about climate futures.
Article
Peirce's notion of abductive reasoning provides a theoretical framework in which to analyze visual interpretation, that is, how viewers understand a visual and interpret its meaning. This paper demonstrates that a different kind of interpretive logic operates for visual communication processes than for language-based communication processes, and this logic is best articulated in the semiotic literature where the notion of interpretation is more carefully conceptualized.
Article
in its causes and global in its impacts, climate change still poses an unresolved challenge for scientists, politicians, entrepreneurs, and citizens. Climate change research is largely global in focus, aims at enhanced understanding, and is driven by experts, all of which seem to be insufficient to anchor climate change action in regional and local contexts. We present results from a participatory scenario study conducted in collaboration with the municipality of Delta in SW British Columbia, Canada. This study applies a participatory capacity building approach for climate change action at the local level where the sources of emissions and the mechanisms of adaptation reside and where climate change is meaningful to decision-makers and stakeholders alike. The multi-scale scenario approach consists of synthesizing global climate change scenarios, downscaling them to the regional and local level, and finally visualizing alternative climate scenarios out to 2100 in 3D views of familiar, local places. We critically discuss the scenarios produced and the strengths and weaknesses of the approach applied.