Global Narratives and the Vulnerable Frontiers: A critical assessment of global climate change communication processes and traditional retentions
Hall, Tyrone Christopher
MetadataShow full item record
Contemporary ecological issues compound environmental communications primary challenge of raising public consciousness and effectively mobilizing agency to mount robust systemic and practical actions. This fundamental challenge persists amidst capitalist enclosure that exacerbates anthropogenic climate change in a manner that indicts current models of macrosocietal planning (Steffen, 2011; Garnaut, 2008). Yet, we know little about our capacity to raise public consciousness and therefore incite reparatory actions in the environmental domain (Foxwell-Norton & Lester, 2017). This is most consequential in resource-dependent communities, the frontiers of climate impact. Critical aspects of life, including subsistence on rainfed agriculture, are manifestly undermined by current and projected climate change related impacts. Given the urgent existential implications of inaction or even inadequate action, this study seeks to optimize climate change communication in accordance with transformative and reparatory consciousness. It links the field of climate change communications with critical perspectives in Communication for Social Change and integrates the reparatory notion of climate justice to explicitly highlight the ethico-political terrain on which communicative actions must be directed to be commensurate with the distinct variability, high degree of permanence and multidimensionality of anthropogenic challenges. The comparative and cross-cultural study is based on a representative purposive sample of 300 drawn from across 17 indigenous and traditional villages in Fiji, India and Belize that typifies heightened and disproportionate levels of vulnerability. It employs a socio-cultural elicitation and analytical framework to delineate and probe climate change perception, disposition and actions across 14 dimensions with keen attention to contextually variable group membership, alongside standard demographic variables. Probing these interpretive communities uniquely illuminates how discrete group membership structures climate disposition. It also highlights contextual intervention levels for knowledge improvement and mobilization generally and across specific dimensions, including religious and nature-oriented fatalism, discrete motives and potential sources of leadership. Definitively, it offers globally relevant recommendations for optimizing communication processes in resource-dependent communities across three pathways: coping, resilience and transformation. This is premised on comparative analysis of the findings of the socio-cultural elicitation process against climate change communications general acceptance of core communication principles regarding risk perception, message construction, resonance, motive, intervention levels and engagement frames.