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The blogosphere's climate constituency

I recently attended an event at the Center for American Progress that focused on "wiring the climate netroots." It was a really informative event that the Energy Action Coalition and ClimateProgress organized. I hope they do more of these! A lot of what I learned, though, could be used by the environmental community as a whole.

Matt Stoller, who writes at OpenLeft.com, explained that environmental progressives need to make a more concerted effort to blog about their issues and present the facts to counteract the other side and any details they are misconstruing. I agree - if we feel that environmental issues are not a big blogging topic, then we need to make more of an effort to blog about these issues and link out to one and other in an effort to connect on this.

Chris Mooney, who is the Washington correspondent for Seed magazine, noted that there is little global warming activism online. He explained that what we need to do is find messages that will work - if we are going to involve science in our messages, don't fall into the trap of not doing any fact checking. It's more effective to look at smaller basic examples than try to get into any exaggerations. We can even try to frame our messages in a moral or religious light - how will people be affected personally by climate change, water pollution or the loss of an animal species?

Joseph Romm, who oversees the blog ClimateProgress.org, added a few other key points. To him, there doesn't seem to be a lot of consensus on what action progressives should be taking. This is why there isn't enough debate about climate change and other environmental issues on blogs. What we need to do is improve our communication - we need to explain to our audiences what actions need to be taken and how we can work towards a solution - and don't forget to explain what that solution is!

When framing your message, think about how it affects your audience. When an issue truly touches a person's heart, when they really feel like they can be a part of the solution, they'll be more driven to act. Check out GMT's Media Training section on tips for developing an effective message.

-Yvonne Archer

July 26, 2007 in Communications Skills | Permalink

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