From the ground up: Changing the conversation about climate change

From the ground up: Changing the conversation about climate change

This policy briefing, produced by BBC Media Action, draws upon the world’s largest study of people’s everyday experience of climate change: the Climate Asia Project. The project involved speaking to over 33,500 people across seven Asian countries, and uses both quantitative and qualitative research to build a regional picture of how various groups live and deal with climate change in the areas of values, livelihoods, use of water, food, and energy, family life, media habits, and future hopes and concerns.

The policy brief is structured in four parts: drawing on data from Asia and beyond with an emphasis on health and livelihoods; laying out central insights from the two years of research involved in the Climate Asia project, delineating three identified barriers - lack of information, cooperation, and institutional support; examination of the policy context through the perspective of new approaches to utilising communication; and finally conclusions and recommendations, including:

  • Use language people will understand: rather than talking about climate, talk about water, food and livelihoods in the context of problems and solutions people will understand from their daily lives.
  • Focus on needs first: ascertaining a communities present perspective - their needs, motivations, resources, etc - is crucial for effective and inclusive planning.
  • Media can help: the Climate Asia results reaffirm the importance of communication in motivating people to take necessary action. It is important for the media to not focus on technical aspects, nor to portray the developing world solely as victims.
  • Learn from the audience: while some solutions may seem obvious, others can become apparent through the actions of communities themselves and should be seriously considered.
  • Tailor responses to local sociopolitical realities: potential constraints on what is feasible resulting from local, provincial, and national institutional structures need to be appreciated.
  • Treat adaptation as a development problem: by re-framing adaptation as a matter of resilience building, its link to development challenges and solutions becomes clearer.
  • Re-align adaptation funding toward those on the front-line: Nobody understands the issues better than those experiencing them first-hand; these actors should be listened to and funding channeled as appropriate.
  • Use article 6 of the UNFCCC an opportunity to better define affected audiences and their information needs, although there is still some way to go to ensure article 6 is conceptualised in a developmental context, rather than a diplomatic one.
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