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WRITING FOR POSITIVE IMPACT: Communicating the Climate Crisis Workshop

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Scientists addressing climate change talk with experts in their own fields; journalists target specific outlets. Advocates and practitioners often reach their own communities--and sometimes beyond. Yet the impacts of rising sea levels, severe hurricanes, dangerous heat waves, and droughts remind us that there has never been a more urgent time to collaborate around the ways we communicate about climate change. This 8-day, 8 night workshop and writing retreat in the French Alps brings together environmental scientists, journalists, practitioners, advocates, scholars, teachers and writers in order to build an international community of practice that focuses on climate change communication and storytelling. It will provide the foundation for long-term collaboration and innovation among professionals and engaged-citizens with diverse skill-sets and interests, in order to increase knowledge, improve communication practices, and support climate change action in unprecedented ways.

We will focus on “hot topics”, such as migration, climate justice, visual arts, climate fiction (cli-fi), while considering the implications of various discourses from vulnerable populations to political leaders. What does the latest research say about communication strategies that can increase public understanding and empower people to take action toward adaptation and mitigation? Participants are invited to share their own experiences, insights, and interests, while learning about different strategies that take into account their audiences and the socio-cultural contexts in which their work is embedded.

During the workshop, participants will have opportunities to:

  • Work individually or collaboratively on a climate-related writing project and practice communicating the science in an accessible way to different stakeholders such as policymakers, consumers of popular media, community leaders, religious leaders, family members, students, and others
  • Draw from current research on climate change communications to experiment with new strategies
  • Develop and share a climate change narrative across a range of multimodal options (e.g. op-ed, podcast, longer feature article, scholarly piece, graphic)
  • Hike in the magnificent Alps to a backcountry hut for a 2-day retreat and work on your own communications project, or partner with others to develop a collaborative effort
  • Create a community of practice by sharing ideas and best practices, as well as develop longer-term collaborations