Why we don’t change for climate change : motivational effects of different perspectives

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

Abstract: Lately, climate change communications have shifted focus from confirming the problem to promoting solutions, a move that involves more complex cognitive functions of motivation and social contexts. Increased media coverage of climate change solutions has not lead to an increase in climate engagement, implying that it’s not the volume but the design of climate change communication that matters most. Using data from expert interviews with respondents who have experience of people’s opinions of climate change, different perspectives of climate change and engagement were collected. Based on social cognitive theory by Albert Bandura, these perspectives were analysed with regards to how they affect engagement. Several key factors to the lack of engagement were found, such as a problem focus instead of solution focus and a lack of connection between individual action and large emissions. Common disengagement practices that aid in justifying personal lack of engagement were also identified. These results can be used in further communication to inform how messages can be constructed to create ideal conditions for climate change engagement in parts of the public.

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