Let’s talk about climate change… but when do we start?
Author: Rita Campos – CES-UC – Centre for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, Portugal
- José Melo-Ferreira – CIBIO-InBIO – Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, InBIO Associated Laboratory, Un Portugal
Climate change poses numerous challenges to the environment and the survival of species, humans included. But in spite of the scientific consensus related to the influence of human activities on environmental imbalance, and the recent civic mobilization demanding political action to address climate change, there is still some resistance on the public opinion about the real impacts of the current climate crisis. Science communication can be a powerful ally to raise awareness on these issues.
“Coats for snow” is an activity to help communicating the impacts of climate change and foster new dialogues on the topic. It was designed as a “consultative science communication” activity, inspired by the “AEIOU vowel analogy” of science communication. As such, to facilitate Interest and Understanding, we tell a story inspired on ongoing research, studying how species adapted to cold environments with winter snow can be affected by increasing global temperature and consequent decrease of snow cover. To promote engagement and Enjoyment, we use a game that allows the active participation of the public. To contribute to informed Opinions and behavioural changes, we include a before-and-after debate, where different aspects of climate change can be addressed.
The activity was tested with children aged 9-10 years old after a guided visit to a Natural History Museum Gallery. It proved to be an attractive strategy, encouraging highly interactive discussions around climate change and its impact on biodiversity. However, even though climate change is widely mentioned in the media and many school students are adhering to climate strikes worldwide, almost all children that participated in the activity declared that they have never heard of it. This led us to conclude that efforts to communicate and engage the public with climate change issues should include younger children. Results from the “coats for snow” activity show that it is possible.
The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.
Presentation type: Visual presentation