Climate Change: Communication, Facilitation and Stakeholder Capacity Building


Date and Time:

Sunday, March 17, 2019, 12:00am to Saturday, April 13, 2019, 11:59pm

Registration Deadline:

Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 11:59pm

Summary: There is broad scientific consensus that climate change is occurring and is caused by human actions. However, there is limited implementation of climate adaptation to help create resilient local communities. Local and regional governments have access to a wide range of resources that can help them become more resilient to climate impacts. However, even with this information, communities still face significant barriers bridging the gap from planning to action.  In fact, the US Third National Climate Assessment lists implementation as the number one significant gap in the success of adaptation. In order to overcome many of these barriers at the local level, civic engagement is needed to support municipal action on implementing their climate mitigation and adaptation goals. Engagement is a broad term that is often a precursor toward a specific action or behavior. In order to sufficiently engage the public on climate change, it is important to understand how people relate to this issue. In particular, what prompts individuals to take action or become involved in an issue. If we are looking for community members to collaboratively solve complex issues to achieve climate resilience, then we need to have a thorough understanding on why people engage in an issue or display a specific societal level environmental behavior. It is these types of societal level behaviors, when taken collectively, that can remove infrastructure and system barriers to increase local resilience. These collective actions at the societal level (civic or political action behaviors) include involvement and support of policies, plans, and funding for implementation of municipal projects that could increase local climate resilience. Unfortunately, community engagement with the issue of climate change is lacking at the local level. How individuals feel about climate change, how much they know about the issue, and how they act are all types of engagement that are lacking for societal change. Research indicates a myriad of predictors that affect engagement. This includes: emotions, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, identities, knowledge, worldviews and values, personal efficacy, response efficacy, mental models, meaningfulness, habits, routines, and social and cultural context. This module will address approaches to building capacity and engagement at the local level to adapt to a changing environment. The module will expose tenants of an effective communication campaign, which can include visuals and meaningful dialogue. This module will provide guidance on how to effectively engage the general public in order to build the political will and public support needed for implementation. In addition, it will also touch upon the inequity of impact to populations due to climate change and to understand the social justice ramifications associated with societal vulnerabilities.

Learning Outcomes The expected learning outcomes include:

  • Be able to identify the psychological underpinnings in communication and engagement best practices
  • Be aware of the psychological underpinnings in communication and engagement best practices
  • Learn various evidence-based engagement tactics to create and facilitate a communications strategy for engagement (use of polling, surveying, microtargeting)
  • Learn basic principles on crafting an effective engagement strategy and common barriers
  • Become familiar with the role of using imagery, visualization, and meaningful dialogue to increase urgency and motivation to engage in a public planning process
  • Learn how to successfully engage vulnerable populations (income, race, ethnicity, age vulnerabilities)

Learn more: