Practice Brief 69 -- Topics: Informal Ed Equity

Using Local Phenomena to Communicate Climate Solutions

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Why it Matters to You

Science communicators should be familiar with their audiences (e.g., how they talk and care about climate-related phenomena), and they should be involved with what local communities are doing to respond to climate change.

Organizational leadership should consistently share resources for climate science communicator professional development that support collaboration with local community members, businesses, government, tribal nations, educators, etc.—and prioritize that work.

What is the Issue?

Communicating the reasons why we should respond to climate change is no longer enough. Climate science communication must be grounded in the real actions of local communities. Focusing on the local phenomena (e.g., sea level rise and flooding in New Orleans) that are challenging communities, and local responses will allow others to envision solutions and approaches appropriate for their own community—fostering collective agency and collaborative decision-making amongst local governments, nonprofits, businesses, and the public.

Image caption: Founder of ISeeChange, Julia Kumari Drapkin, shows children a map of historic New Orleans. Drapkin highlights the parts of the city that used to be swamp. Credit: Impact Media Lab / AAAS


by Christina Guevara, Elana Kimbrell, Emily Cloyd, Tiffany Lohwater & Abby Rhinehart | v. 2, April 2021

Reflection questions

  • How are local community histories, needs, values, resources being considered in how you’re communicating your climate change knowledge?
  • How are the knowledges of youth and diverse communities being seen and included as local assets in climate change response?
  • How are the climate change responses you’re presenting adaptable and scalable across contexts?
  • Which communities are or are not represented in how you’re communicating about climate change solutions?

Things to Consider

Attending to Equity

Recommended Actions You Can Take


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