here - Sarah Nuss

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First found May 22, 2018

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NNOCCI is a partnership between
informal science educators, climate
scientists, cognitive & social scientists
and evaluators whose mission is to
change the world through better
communication techniques around
climate change.
The Opportunity: Audience
130 Million Visitors a
The Opportunity: A Primed Audience
70% percent of visitors agree that the
most important environmental issue
confronting the world is climate change.
(NWZAA, 2009 & Ocean Project 2009)
75% of visitors believe zoos &
aquariums should make
recommendations for how the public
can protect the environment.
(CLiZEN 2012)
Where do we start?
Knowing how
people think,
helps us construct
and deliver our
messages for
highest impact.
Framing and Reframing
When communications are effective, people can see an
issue from a different perspective
When communications are inadequate people default to
the pictures in their heads, Cultural
What trends do you notice in these pictures?
Our researchers have identified several
shared cultural models when the topics of
ocean and climate change were brought up.
Each cultural model comes with positive and
negative cues.
Nature has ways of taking
care of herself. I’m sure the
corals will be fine.
Coral reef ecosystems
are breaking down...
That must affect animals
throughout the food chain –
including me!
The Swamp
Let’s see it in action:
Canada Video 1 -
Password: Trigger1
Canada Video 2 –
Password: Trigger2
NNOCCI is committed to learning, practicing
and training others in Strategic Framing so that
we can change the public conversation to a
more productive, citizen minded, creative
dialog on climate change.
But there is hope!
The basic mechanism of
climate change can be
taught effectively in 60
seconds or less.
4 elements of Strategic Framing:
• TONE establishes the issue as explanatory and reasonable and for
‘everyone,’ not just those who already agree with the point of view
being expressed
• VALUES remind people of what’s at stake or what they already care
about that the issue connects to
understanding of processes and mechanisms in ways that help
them to think through productive solutions
• SOLUTIONS present people with ways they can join others to bring
forward systemic change that addresses the root cause of the
• May capture attention but
can’t hold it
• Can trigger confirmation
• Can promote belief that
circumstances are
• Can result in compassion
Recommended Values for Framing Climate
and Ocean Change
“We believe in protecting and preserving the world’s unique habitats, like the estuary you
see here. By taking action now to ensure that this habitat will be here for the animals that
live in it, we are also protecting future generations from the increased storms and floods
we can expect to experience due to the changing climate...”
Explanatory Metaphors
• Make an abstract idea concrete and
• Help people understand the mechanisms
at work
• When linked to causes and impacts they
motivate productive consideration of
multiple solutions
HTB Horseshoe Crab Example
Horseshoe crabs have been around for ~445 million
years, yet over the last decade we’ve seen a
significant drop in their population. As we burn
fossil fuels, such as oil and natural gas. We pump
more and more CO2 into the air. This rampant CO2
acts like a heat trapping blanket, trapping heat that
would otherwise escape. This warming is causing
glaciers to melt and seawater to expand which
causes sea level to rise. It’s projected that here in NJ
sea level will rise 17 inches by 2050. When sea
levels rise horseshoe crabs lose beaches they need
in order to spawn and lay their eggs.
Community Level Solutions:
What kind of collective, civic action are we
Energy Shift
Moving from
fossil fuels
demand for
and use of
fossil fuels
Change the
Engaging in
civic discourse
NNOCCI’S Three Theme” Strategy
for Solutions Stories
Talking about systems change…
Instead of...
“We can save energy by reducing the
amount we drive. Because our cars run
on a fossil fuel that adds heat-trapping
gases to the atmosphere, we can all do
our part by walking, biking, or taking
public transit. ”
“Changes to our own homes can make
a huge difference by reducing energy
that’s wasted through lack of
insulation. Did you know you can get a
free home energy audit from the
Take it up a level...
“One sector of our society that
uses a lot of energy is
transportation – moving goods
around the world and across the
country, and getting people to and
from the places they need to go.”
“One sector/part of our society
that uses a lot of energy is
buildings – constructing, heating,
cooling, and lighting the places
where we all work and live. “
Take-Away #1:
Well-framed conversations have power.
Well-framed conversations:
(1) get people to think like citizens
(2) activate networks of supporters.
Take-Away #2:
Social change is a marathon, not a sprint.
Conversations happen on multiple levels with
multiple stakeholders over time.
Take-Away #3:
Skilled framers in science
centers are key to shifting
the public conversation
on climate.
It is time to wake up the
“sleeping giant.”
Sarah Nuss
Chesapeake Bay NERR
[email protected]

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