Climate Change and Popular Culture: reframing climate change to incite action
Anthropogenic, or human caused climate change is no longer a hypothetical, future risk. It is wreaking havoc on our landscapes and weather patterns, and the effects of it will only continue to increase in severity and frequency. There will be significant costs. Economic and social activity, as well as environmental and human health will experience many direct and indirect effects. It is thus imperative that we work towards finding ways to adequately address climate change. In North America, more than 90 percent of the public is presently aware of climate change, however many still do not believe it is a result of human activity. People systematically misunderstand the issue, their role in it, and and the actions required for mitigation. Most consider it of low risk because they believe it will affect people and places that are geographically distant. What is needed is a way to convey the fact that this is an existential emergency, one that requires coordinated action on all fronts. This portfolio seeks to explore ways in which communicators and educators can use popular forms of communication such as literature, photography and media to help disseminate information on climate change and incite action within the general population. This portfolio is informed by a wide body of popular and academic literature including nonfiction books, fiction, peer reviewed articles, and manifestos. A literature analysis was conducted to explore the scientific and cultural aspects of climate change as well as how media interprets and represents the many complexities relating to climate science and the ways these representations influence public understanding and engagement. Meaningful visualizations depicting climate change are argued as a way to bridge the gap between what many see as an abstract concept not affecting them, and informed action with local and individual relevance. A photo essay depicting different aspects of climate change, a piece of creative non-fiction, and an annotated bibliography seek to bring the world of climate change down to earth. It is hoped this study will inform communicators and educators who will ultimately help the general population learn about climate change in ways they can understand, while creating a desire within them to participate in actions that will create lasting change.