Communicating about the Climate Crisis

Here are some questions to start off with:

  • What is the best way to bring about awareness and action in response to climate breakdown and environmental destruction?

  • How do humans take in (or not take in) information that can be scary and overwhelming?

  • Is it better to scare people in to action? Or inspire them with hopeful possibilities?

  • What is the psychological impact of words like “Global Warming” and “Climate Breakdown”?

  • How do differences in language impact behavior?

  • Why does climate breakdown receive so little attention so little attention, given the existential implications for life on earth?

Many have addressed these questions. Since we’re still in this mess, it’s clear that no one has completely answered them. That’s because there are are no simple answers. For example, fear motivates some to activism, but pushes others towards apathy or hopelessness.

Below are some resources that explore the question of climate communication from a psychological standpoint. The more we understand how our minds and hearts process information about the planet, the more likely we are to move in a direction of increased awareness, attention, and action around an issue central to our very survival.

A good place to start when exploring this topic is the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. In their own words, they “conduct scientific research on public climate change knowledge, attitudes, policy preferences, and behavior at the global, national, and local scales.” Check out their “Six Americas” framework (Alarmed, Concerned, Cautious, Disengaged, Doubtful, and Dismissive)


In addition to providing resources, articles and other visualizations, the YPCC provides a nice summary that begins to answer the question, “What is Climate Change Communication?”

One definition of Climate Communication is “the diverse processes by which climate change-related information, knowledge, ideas, emotions, meaning, values, and behaviors flow between individuals and through societies.” (Yale Program on Climate Change Communication) Below is a list of additional books and articles that seek to explore these processes.

(If you are aware of additional resources, please contact us and we will include them).