Upcoming Workshop: Using Public Opinion Research to Mainstream Your Climate Message

The National Adapation Forum (NAF) will convene its second national convention in St. Louis, Missouri, from May 11 to 14, 2015. 

Every other year, the National Adaptation Forum gathers the growing adaptation community together to “foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and mutual support for a better tomorrow.” The 1,000 climate adaptation practitioners that are expected to attend the NAF join the conference as an opportunity for professional development, but also a chance to contribute to the development of a broad community of practice around climate change adaptation. Presenters and attendees share information and strategies, building the capacity of the community as a whole and supporting on-the-ground implementation through the exchange of tools and resources for more effectively incorporating climate change preparedness into their work.

ecoAmerica is proud to be a sponsor of this year’s NAF conference, and I will be delivering a hands-on climate communications workshop on Tuesday, May 12. Our workshop will provide participants with values-based message frames and specific communications learnings before walking through assessments of effective and ineffective frames and language. Our goal is to provide an immersive environment where participants can deconstruct climate communications and begin to apply those lessons to their own approaches to engagement on climate adaptation impacts, policies, and programs.

Few climate adaptation professionals have ready access to polling, marketing, or communications research and training. This workshop will provide a detailed look at ongoing climate opinion research and analysis, describing recent trends and the current state of play regarding public concerns and attitudes. We will explore how specific learnings from this research have been integrated into effective climate communications, and how these materials have been refined through ongoing research and analysis. Participants will engage in Q&A, and will be challenged to rethink their notions about effective climate messaging.

The goals of the workshop are to:

1) Share and discuss the latest opinion research, data, and analysis on American climate opinions and values.

2) Describe relevant trends in opinion and values, and how these trends impact climate advocacy and public education.

3) Explore how opinion trends can be addressed through communications, framing, and messaging to reach a broad cross-section of Americans.

4) Reveal specific messages and framing that can help advocates and campaigners achieve greater success in reaching people “where they live.”

Persistent knowledge gaps about climate change and related impacts continue to hamper the abilities of advocates and other leaders to advance climate-positive specific policies and programs. Public opinion surveys show consistently high concern for issues such as health, economy, public safety, infrastructure reliability, and energy security ­– yet consistently low concern for climate change. There is ample opportunity ­– given the right messaging and framing – to advance Americans’ understanding of the climate challenge by drawing these related issues together in a manner that engages peoples’ core values and concerns while advancing positive solutions to issues related to or exacerbated by climate change.

The name of the game is mainstreaming. The implications of climate in virtually every facet of individual and community well-being requires that communicators mainstream the issue as a driving factor in health, safety, security, prosperity, and community for all Americans.

If you’re part of the climate adaptation community and want to learn how to broaden the reach and effectiveness of your climate message, register for NAF today and attend our communications workshop, "Practical Climate Communications: From Research to Implementation" on Tuesday, 1:30-3:30pm.

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