November 23, 2020

Best Practices for Effective Climate & Health Communication

all right good afternoon and good morning to everybody who's joining us today it's the top of the hour so we're gonna get started welcome to today's webinar and we're gonna talk about climate and health best practices for effective communication we're gonna dive right in as we've got a lot of cover a lot to cover during this hour and we want to make sure we leave time for questions at the end this is Meg Sansa Barrow with marketing for change speaking and first I just want to cover a couple of housekeeping items with all of you so first all participants joining here you should be on mute by default but as a courtesy to us and everybody else joining please make sure that your mic icon is on mute while you're listening and second if you have any questions for our presenter today please make sure that you type those into the Q&A box so not the chat box on the right side of your screen but the Q&A box that you should see a link to you on the bottom of your screen that's how we'll get the questions to answer at the end this webinar is being recorded and anybody who registered and participated live today will get a link to that recording which will be made available after today next slide so we're really excited today that this is the first of six webinars scheduled for this year as part of our first ever amplify series this series is designed to help health officials increase their capacity to effectively communicate the public health impacts of climate change and help their communities prepare and respond it's led by the behavior change communication experts at marketing for change and we're very grateful at support through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Digital and Prevention and we just want to really say thank you to CDC for making this exciting learning opportunity available this year to all the grantees as part of the climate ready states and cities initiative you can just bump back to the previous slide or get started no problem thank you and just a quick disclaimer that the contents of this slide presentation are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC all right and today's speaker is dr.

ed Maybach dr.

Maybach as a professor at George Mason University's Center for climate change communication he's expert in the uses of strategic communication to address climate change and related public health challenges and we're really lucky to have IDI here with us today and to share his learnings to date please do take advantage of the opportunity to ask him questions at the end without further ado I'll let you take over ed Thank You Meg and good morning good afternoon everybody thanks for joining us today I'm gonna try to use your time well try to be as brief as possible to share a few ideas with you like to maximize the opportunity to actually engage with you so we're gonna be a lot of time hopefully for Q&A at the back end of the hour I have essentially four major points I want to make I want to provide you a little bit of background on what we know about public understanding of climate change in health like to provide some thoughts about what I consider to be an evidence-based guiding heuristic for communicating important public health information in the case and I'll customize it and make it relevant to climate and health today but it's really a more general guiding evidence-based guiding heuristic for effective communication provide a little bit of message guidance or at least share the message guidance that CDC has has developed and is encouraging you all to use then I'll introduce you to some some highly local data and message tailoring information both both communication materials that you can use as well as resources that you can use to better understand people in your community with regard to how they think feel and and our acting whore would like to see us collectively active policy to address climate change and then really the conclusion is simply just a chance to interact with you all and hear your thoughts and answer your questions so with regard to public understanding about climate change in health what I want to say is the we actually just released a poll this week earlier this week we did not have time to change the slides to reflect the most current poll data it I'm happy to say the public is changing in their views about climate change they're developing a more reality based understanding of climate change but what I'm about to share with you is is really a much more in-depth study that we conducted about five four years ago actually to really look at fundamentally what what do Americans know about the relevance of climate change to our health sort of the good news even back then in 2014 when we did this study is that most Americans understood that the climate is changing it really wasn't then and certainly is not now the contested issue then we are often led to believe in the media most Americans do understand that it's happening however they saw it at that time in 2014 and to a great degree they still see it as a distant threat people see it as distant in time so we tend to think of climate changes something that will affect our lives or whose whoever is around on the Year at the year 2100 lives so we don't see it as a 20-19 problem but more a 2100 problem in in part that's because in when we when we hear about the results of climate science we often hear projections about what is to happen in the future often the distant future an inadvertent consequence of that and I would suggest an unhelpful consequence of that is that most Americans as I've said do tend to see it as as a threat that is distant in time it has not come home to roost in our communities yet people Americans also see it as distant in space maybe Bangladesh but could be a country that probably most Americans couldn't find on the map but not Boston not their community and the one of the you know probably the most important finding the most important top-line finding from the National Climate Assessment which was released last November was in fact that no climate change actually is has come home to roost in communities across America today so the National Climate Assessment makes clear that the climate change is a here-and-now problem and it also makes clear that it's not just a plants penguins and polar bears problem but that is fundamentally the way that most Americans see it they see the polar bear as the iconic species that is being harmed by climate change and they don't so much see us people in that picture um we like to say that that all three of these ways of misperceiving climate change create a psychological distance between us and and the issue which tends to give us the latitude if you will for not thinking about it today not worrying about it today but in fact assuming I would say correctly or incorrectly assuming that we have plenty of time to deal with the issue later so this is simply a another way of representing the idea the data that I've just walked you through over on we asked people the question how much do you think global warming will harm and then we finished that sentence by posing a variety of difference group individuals and groups of people and and non peoples at the very right end of the slide and you this was data from the survey that we released in March 2018 so this is about eight months old now but you can see that earlier it last year essentially four out of ten Americans felt that they personally would be harmed by climate change and you know slightly more than one out of ten felt they personally would be harmed a great deal as you move across that slide from left to right from a person themselves to their family members people in their community other Americans people in developing countries the world's poor future generations of people and implants other plants and animal species you can see a really clear pattern that most of us are convinced that harm will be done or is already being done but again we see it as distant from us all of you know it's a that it's nonsensical to talk about the public as a a single totality there really is no such thing as the public but there are many different publics out there in every one of our communities in our research with since we focus exclusively on the issue of climate change global warming um we have done an audience segmentation analysis to identify that different ways that Americans think about global warming the way how that how that relates to how they feel about it what if anything they are personally doing and what if anything they would like to see us as a as a community or as a nation do about it this again this these were the prevalence so we call this global warming 6 America this was the prevalence of the six Americas again in a spring of 2018 it has actually changed most recently I saw the data for the first time today from our most recent survey I'm happy to report that there are significantly more members of the alarm segment than there were now than there were only eight months ago something very helpful is happening out there in America with regard to public understanding and acceptance of global warming unfortunately one of those factors is likely that more and more Americans are being personally harmed by global warming or having their family members armed or witnessing other members of other other fellow countrymen and women being harmed for example when we us all saw the town of Paradise California literally burned off the face of the map last fall so coming back to the point it's helpful to understand the different how different groups of America think about the issue really won't spend a lot of time talking about sort of introducing you to each of these six Americas but I do want to make a couple of points about the distribution so the first point I want to make about the distribution is you'll notice that it is perceptibly loaded on the right the excuse me the left side of the distribution there are far more Americans who are alarmed and concerned about climate change then there are Americans who are doubtful or dismissive about climate change um so this notion that there are two Americas those who are convinced and worried and those who are dismissive it really isn't so the the dismissive segment over on the extreme right hand side they are fewer than one out of ten Americans yes I'm gonna anticipate the question you will be asking yes there are difference that these these distributions differ from community to community in deep red states there will be more people on the right side that the continuum will shift slightly to the right in deep blue states or deep blue communities the continuum shifts perceptibly to the left but in every in your community in every community across America and we know this because we've looked the six Americas are there and by enlarge the distribution is stacked towards Americans who are alarmed concerned and kasha Millar been concerned about this problem it's a really important point to make because for those of us who are worried that when we do our job and educate the public about the health implications of climate change it's reasonable for us to worry that we may end up creating some blowback generating some blowback but what I want you to understand is that most members of your community will appreciate this information and based on the data I'm about to show you very few members of your community will have heard the information that you can share with them so back in 2015 using the data from our fall 2014 study we really looked deeply at this question of what do Americans know about the implications of global worming for our health and the very first question we asked people what about global warming is held is do you think global warming is a bad or good for the health of Americans it's a very broad question and what you can see is that the sick some there's a lot of difference among the six Americas in terms of those who tell us that they see global warming is bad for our health the health of Americans what I'd like you to do when you look at this this data is pretty much discount anything that isn't a a relatively robust color of blue so the darkest blue steppe represents people who say it's very bad negative three then I guess more royal blue color represents people who gave it a score of negative two so just just a tad under very bad you can see that most of the alarm almost all of them said it was very bad or almost very bad um but you get a fairly steep drop-off as you go across the six Americas continuum from from there the reason why I personally discount this as being meaningful information I don't just I don't discount it entirely but I discounted a little bit because of a very well known fact that when you ask people a question that they don't know the answer to they will generally speaking substitute the question for a question they do know the answer to and they will give you that answer so when I see that essentially nine nine out of ten members of the alarm segment say they think it's it's global warming is bad for the health of Americans I think what they're actually telling me is they think that global warming is bad and therefore they're answering this question if they're substituting because they really does about to show you in a moment they really don't know very much about the ways in which it's bad for Americans so they're just answering a different question that they're fundamentally much more confident of and much more convinced about we follow up that question by asking people well before taking this survey how much if at all had you thought about how global warming might affect people's health and again I would encourage you just to look at the darkest blue wedge or bar and the end that the royal blue bar above it you can see that the alarmed most members the alarm told us yeah I thought about this a lot or or a moderate amount but once you move over to the concerns segment you can see that it drops down to only about four out of ten and only about two out of ten members of the the cautious the the net-net here is that most americans in at least in the fall of 2014 were telling us they really hadn't given the issue a lot of thought we followed that question by asking them in your view and in your own words because this was an open-ended question what health problems are Americans experiencing from global warming if any now this is a hard question because this is not a question that people can take their general belief about global warming and substitute a specific answer to because this is asking a very specific question and it I'm sorry that the slide is probably the figure is probably a little bit small on the slide but I'll just take you through my interpretation of what you see there the dark blue bar are the proportion of people in each of the segments who gave us at least one who accurately named at least one health problem that Americans are experiencing as a result of climate change and you can see that six six out of ten members of the alarm segment could name at least one health problem three out of ten members of the concern segment two out of ten members of the cautious segment and and essentially one out of ten for the remaining segments we and then we coated the open-ended answers that they gave us and that is the data displayed on the right hand side of the slide the takeaway is that most people who could name a single way in which the health of Americans are being affected by global warming most people said they gave an answer essentially consistent with it's affecting us through our lungs whether that's asthma COPD or other respiratory problems so that is in terms of understanding the mental model of Americans with regard to the issue of how does climate change influence our health to the extent that there is anything out there in the mental models of Americans it's really the fact that it's affecting the health of our lungs our our respiratory health if you will and it's mostly that knowledge that mental model is mostly constrained to the alarm segment and then a question of crate concern and interest to us in public health is well do you know who is most likely to have their health harms so we asked the question which types of Americans do you think are more likely than others to experience health problems related to global warming um and as you can see relatively few Americans were able to answer that question at all and most of the quote goes who chose to gamely try Gabe right answers a small proportion gaming correct responses but even among the alarm segments it was only half and about a third of the concern segment and then virtually non non-existent among members of the other four segments so relatively vague awareness that climate change is harming our health but little specific knowledge about who whose health is most likely to be affected or in what ways their health is most likely to be affected so that is essentially our educational opportunity our communication opportunity if you will we can answer those questions and I would suggest we really have an obligation to answer those questions because as public health professionals we understand all too well as was discussed very nicely in the National Climate Assessment that in fact climate change is harming the health of Americans already in a variety of different ways um I'll get more to specific messaging that that CDC is recommending in a moment but before I do I just want to introduce this notion that I call it a heuristic for spreading important ideas about a about human health and well-being and the reason I it's a little weird and out of context in this presentation but the reason I represent it with a rocket a NASA rocket over there on the left hand is because I'm this heuristic is a wave that you can use to give lift to important information to make sure that that that important information gets out of your office out of your head out of your office out of your health department and into the lives of people in your community and the the the important heuristic that I want you to think about is is um Sencha lee every public health campaign that has ever succeeded i would contend has succeeded because it used simple clear messages it it's it's succeeded in having those messages repeated often um and those messages were brought to members of the target audience by a variety of trusted voices voices whom they trust whom the top members of a target audience trusts so I'm gonna break down break this down into the three components and tell you a little bit more but the reason why I call this an evidence-based heuristic is because this is only eleven words between those three those three recommendations eleven small words but there is a ton of social science that supports why this is so why this is a reliable approach to sharing important ideas or important information that we know to be true based on epidemiology and and other public health methods so simple clear messages why what these the topics that we often want to communicate about are not simple there really is very little simple about the ways in which climate change is harming our health but we have no choice but to simplify what we know because the less we say the more were heard and the simpler we say it the more likely members of our audience are to understand it so we can strive to communicate complexity but the harder we the the more we buy into the fallacy that because it's complex we have to communicate it about about and communicate in all of it in all of its complexity um that really is the exact wrong thing to do so the corollary to the less we say the more were heard is that we need to say the things that have the most value to our audience we know a lot about the ways in which climate change is harming the health of Americans um but it the hooves us it is very much in our best interest to figure out what parts of that members of our community already know because we don't necessarily want to tell them what they already know we want to make sure we use our limited communication opportunities to give them the information that's gonna have the most value to them in understanding the risk and in understanding what they can do about it because that's ultimately what effective communication looks like and sort of the corollary to that is audience research is our greatest asset in terms of determining what information is gonna have the most value to our target audience we can't as experts look into our own hearts and our own minds and say well that's the thing that's gonna be most valuable that's a perfectly good starting point for forming a hypothesis but ultimately we have to make the effort to engage with members of our audience to find out of what facts that we know and that we know to be true we'll have most value to them members of our audience so why can't we just say it once why do we have to say it often um because that's the way the human brain works rep Aristotle taught us 2500 years ago that repetition is the mother of learning um social scientists over the past 50 years have also taught us that repetition is also the mother of liking and the mother of trust the more we hear things not only the more we come to learn them but actually the more we come to like accept the information and the more we come to trust the information and it all comes down to this notion that neurons that fire together wire together so every time we hear new information we're hell or every time we provide new information we are reinforcing a neural network in people's brains and the more we strengthen those neural connections between the ideas that are already resonant in people's brains but suggesting novel connections between in this case what people know about global warming and what they know about their health it the more we strengthen it through repetition the more they will come to learn it like it and Trust the information we don't always have to say it in the same way we can adapt it we can elaborate on it but most importantly we've got to deliver our message as frequently as we can because that is how we ultimately end up reshaping people's mental models their understanding of the issues that we're trying to enlighten them about in ways that are consistent with the information we're trying to share and then finally it we don't have to do it all with our words we can use visuals to to reinforce the words we can use metaphors verbal images analogies to reinforce our words all of these things are ways in which essentially we can accentuate what we're trying to share only in words so I don't often cite Frank Luntz because I find I am often um not supportive of the of what Franklin's is trying to do in our society but I have to say Frank Luntz a political strategist is quite brilliant and insightful about human understanding and human communication and this comes straight out of his book and he says there's a simple rule yes say it again and say it again say it again say it again say it again I won't read of all times but he concludes by saying and about the time you are absolutely sick of saying it is about the time that your target audience has heard it for the first time that is so true so if you feel you have said it but you haven't felt you have said it so many times that you're absolutely sick of saying and your audience hasn't yet heard you finally trusted sources the importance of trusted sources is because if there where there is no trust there is no successful exchange of information um it might not be us we might not be the most trusted sources fortunately public health professionals health professionals we are among among the most trusted members of any community so I would actually suggest that we are trusted but we are certainly not the only trusted members of a given community and we might not even be the most trusted because most people in a community don't know us by name many people don't even necessarily know us by profession if we were if we were pediatricians they would totally understand what we do we are public health professionals we all know they've got a relatively hazy understanding of what we do but we are trusted and Trust is so important in accepting information that is offered up for consideration when we feel that there are other more trusted people in our community we want to enlist elicit ah elicits excuse me we want to bring them on as our partners in sharing this information lots of well intended members of every community in America are highly motivated to share what they know about how they and their fellow citizens can live more healthfully so it is not difficult for us to enroll allies in our effort to share important information but the point I want to make is the better job we do of developing simple clear messages the easier will be for those other trusted voices in our community to share our messages with members of their social network and ideally success in communication happens when members of our target audience are the ones who are sharing our messages with their friends family members and co-workers because the most trusted person people in everyone's lives are their friends their family members and their closest colleagues so really that is the objective of a successful compelled communication campaign when our target audience members our become the messengers and the extent to which we offer up simple clear messages that will that are have value to members of our target audience the more able they will be to play that role with us so next I'd like to just point you to actually something you may well have seen from from that climate and health folks at CDC but they've worked with us they've worked with all of the experts who are studying with what the public knows about climate and health and they've offered up essentially a trip ditch at the tripe ology of messaging that they feel is really sort of hits all of the major points that they would like you to hit in your community and it's pretty darn simple climate change is harming our health now in in communities across the nation and and in our community and whatever you know about the ways in which climate change is already harming the health of people in your community that is how you support that message you give people the information about increasing prevalence of heat related illness or or vector borne diseases or you know increasing incidence of food or water borne or foodborne outbreaks um secondly is the fact that while all of us are at risk of having our harm our health harmed by climate change some of us in this community face heightened risk that's our children are our student-athletes pregnant women the elderly people who already suffer chronic illnesses and allergies and and the poorest in our community those are the people in our community who are most likely to have their health harmed by climate change but the sort of the final message is is really the the most important message and that is there there are actions we can take right now both to prepare for these impacts and to prevent people in our community from being harmed by these impacts and the sooner we get on with the business of implementing those actions both as a community and as individual families that the more will be able to safeguard our health and ultimately the more will be strengthening our community and building in resilience to kinds of health harms that that none of us want to see more of in the future I can tell you from my own personal experience that people across the six Americas continuum will respond well to this information even members of the dismissive segment who don't believe that global warming is real they actually see values in value in this kind of messaging because they do believe that we're experiencing that extreme heat events for example cause harm and so the better we you know more capable we are about in our community of planning how to deal with those extreme you Nikita vents so that our children don't get hurt the better off we all are these are simple clear messages that will be a value to people across the six Americas continuum in your community so let me just conclude by offering up a couple of resources for you these are resources that are localized and I think will be of real value to you in starting a conversation about how climate change is harming the is influencing the health of people in your community the first set of resources comes from a program that I developed over the past eight years with my colleagues at Climate Central and NOAA and NASA and the American Meteorological Society the program was actually created to help TV weather casters educate their viewers about how weather is changing in in their community bringing climate change home so that Americans understand that climate change is happening here now to us in our community but we've worked pretty hard in over the past really over the past five years since we've scaled this up as a nationwide program we've worked hard to tell to find data that is customizable at the local community level so if you come to our media library our climate matters media library and I'll tell you how to do that in a moment you will actually find Story packages like these three-story package on on mosquito disease danger days how many how many days in our community are people at risk of being infected by a mosquito-borne disease and the in most communities in America that number is going up a story packaged on on each streaks and summer sports how many you know how what is happening during our summers and and what kind of risk does that caused to our student athletes and other people who are outdoors on those summer days so this is an example of the kind of graphical information that we produce as I've said it's entirely localized so this happens to be the the number of the increase in disease danger days in Birmingham um you can see between 1970 and 2017 there's 17 more disease danger days in Birmingham there's a lot of difference from community to community but generally speaking that the trend line is up in every community in America so if you would be so kind right now to take out your smartphone and take a picture of this slide this is how you can subscribe to receive these free localized materials from our climate matters program you either text the words climate matters 2 3 4 5 3 4 5 or you go to media library climate central org will ask you a couple of questions including your email address because this is how we deliver them the materials to you every week trust me we won't we are not intrusive we you can undisciplined that people really really like having access to these materials and I'm confident you will too so if you keep your phone out and take a picture of this slide to please my dear friends and colleagues at the Yale program on climate change communication have taken our national polling data that we collect we can collect with them every six months and they have developed a statistical algorithm that allows them to downscale that data all the way to the county level so these Yale climate opinion maps the most recent data of which is from 2018 our downscaled to your metro area to your county um and they will teach you they will show you exactly what members of your jurisdiction think feel and would like to see done about climate change this is incredibly useful information to help you profile members of your community and unlearn to sort of titrate the messages that you are offering about climate and health health based on what they already know I would not represent these as the final word in your audience research but they are a huge leg up so in this case you can see the map this map of Alabama is the map of the degree to which people understand that global warming is affecting their weather and this map represents the proportion who believe that global warming is harming them will harm them personally there's one other place I would like you to get information I don't have a slide of it but it happens to be the website of my Center um climate change communication org or just remember George Mason University's Center for climate change communication and on my home page right now under right there in the top of the top of the fold if you will you will see a report under our most recent reports called medical alert it's a report that we developed on behalf of the Medical Society consortium on climate and health and in that very brief report we have tested messages about the impacts of climate and health and climb and solutions that we know work because we've conducted research and we've actually published a study in geo health last year showing that these are highly beneficial messages in helping Americans understand the threat and understand the opportunities for response so I guess I just want to conclude on the incredible things that that CDC the program on climate and health is already helping you all do whether you are actually funded in the climate ready states and cities initiative I hope you all are if you are not I hope there's an opportunity for you to receive that funding in the not-too-distant future but but that their program has developed the brace framework and they have all kinds of other wonderful resources for you to use you are all probably much more expert in them than I but I felt like I wanted to bring them up in this context so in conclusion I cannot as a career public health professional I cannot tell you how appreciative I am of all you are doing you are doing the most important work that I think can be done um I hope that our work is proves to be of some value to you in in that important work you are doing so why don't we just open up to your questions because I'm really eager to hear what you all think and and maybe you all have important recommendations to share with each other that are better than the insights I have offered up for you great thanks so much ed this is Meg again so it looks like we have a number of questions in the Q&A and we will go to the top of the hour at T p.

m.

Eastern as long as there are enough questions so go ahead and continue typing those in as we're going to answer them and I'm just going to start with the first which is great so Sarah is asking can we get the slides where can we get the CDC is messaging so yeah that's great so again this is being recorded everybody who registered and is attending today will get access to that recording where you'll also see these slides as well as you have access to public communication tools that CDC has made available at cdc.

gov forward slash climate and health we will type that URL one of my colleagues into the chat box as well if you didn't get all of that and if you look under resources you can see some of the latest communication materials that they have made available and I know Ed may have some resources as well great ok and Jessica asks are there simple and clear messages about what a person can do to take action against climate change on an individual level fantastic the unfortunate answer is yes there are but they're all over the place I am I'm actually gonna respond to your question specifically with regard to take action against climate change to protect ourselves and our family members from the health consequences of climate change um we actually did a study last year in which we asked members of the public what they think is the most important actions they can take to protect their health and what's the most important action they think their community can take to protect members of the community's health from the health arms of climate change and when we because we were fairly sure that most people would not have an answer um once we collected that data encoded it we realized we don't have that answer either so we are right now starting a study where we're polling climate and health experts and we're asking them to rate essentially all of the behavioral recommendations that we learned about through a variety of different methods not the least of which is through the ones people suggested to us in our survey I am hoping that that can become us an impetus for us developing a set of recommended individual level actions that protect health from climate change but it doesn't exist yet so maybe um maybe Meg knows about what she consider to be the most helpful set of Nations or maybe somebody else on this conversation does but I myself don't yet have it thank you and yeah it's great timing for that question I didn't know you are in the middle of conducting that research – yeah I know know if I have anything great to add there but again there is perhaps other than the great work that the brace grantees have been doing on the ground over the past few years and and they have founded their settings and locally you know to be the most simple and clear messages around actions so yeah I would say the work they're doing as well as what you're doing and edit where can folks stay up to date on that information like as you're doing that research and you're releasing those results how can folks make sure they they're getting access to that thanks Meg for cueing me up to answer that no but when you come to my website climate change climate change communication org on the homepage you will see a subscribe button that essentially will just subscribe you to our research which we we pump out our research reports first and as fast as we humanly can right to the people who we think can use the information and then we get around to the business of publishing it in academic journals so um you know we feel the public health mandates to respond to this is so overwhelming that we're not we don't slow down the dissemination of our findings through through the peer-reviewed literature we do get all of our work peer-reviewed eventually but we so come to our website sign up hit the subscribe button enter your email address and and as we develop it it will go right into your inbox great thanks dad okay question this is from Michael so political connotations aside how should we frame messaging when we confront when confronted with quote fake news unquote as it pertains to climate change in health should we stick to our consistent messaging or debunk misinformation or both that's a great question um when you come to my website you can actually find a something that my colleague John cook took the lead in developing it's called the debunking handbook it's a simple clear guideline guide set of guidelines about how what the evidence-based tells us about how to most effectively debunk misinformation but let me give you sort of that the top line recommendation because I know that most of you probably don't have time and so the way Michael set up this question I think is really nice he said did do we stick to our guns and continue to communicate what we came to communicate or do we debunk the information or or both I would suggest when you don't have time to debunk misinformation just stick to your guns keep communicate the information you came to look to communicate and when people um essentially raise misinformation essentially just say well that's not actually true but what is true is and you go right back to the information you came to share there is a downside to repeating misinformation and the downside is sort of a corollary of what I mentioned earlier by repeating that information that misinformation people become more likely to remember it and you're simply reinforcing that that neural pathway so generally speaking um it's it's helpful not to repeat misinformation great thank you thanks for that question my class I'm suspect it's one that many of us have had okay see Laura she says I like how the climate matters materials are localized but I'm concerned that the graphs are hard and for the layperson to interpret do you have survey results on the effectiveness of these graphs with different audiences well it's a great question and and yes we've put a lot of resources into developing these graphs and and therefore we put at least some resources into evaluating their impact we know that from the very first pilot a test of these using this information in a community that community was Columbia South Carolina our our one weather caster on the CBS affiliate in in Columbia that's WL TX his name was he's their chief meteorologist named Jim Dandy he essentially used he aired 13 stories over the span of 12 months using graphics that were the forerunner to these graphics but they're very much like these um and we did pre and post surveys over the course of a year in which we compared how his viewers his viewers understanding of climate changes a local issue in Colombia changed over the course of that 12 months as compared to the viewers of competing stations and what we found is so it wasn't just using the materials but it was activating Jim Gandhi's trusted voice as a climate educator so it was the combination of these graphics and what he would say about how he would help audience members interpret these graphics um but what we found is that over the you know that in that pilot test we we actually had a pretty unexpectedly large impact in terms of helping the the WL TX viewers understand climate change is a here-now problem in Colombia we've done other evaluations of use of these graphics we're currently trying to finalize a national impact evaluation that isn't yet finished it turns out to be quite a heavy lift but in all of the controlled studies where we've used these graphics as explained by a trusted messenger we find that that people don't actually have a difficult time understanding them they take away a key message that things are changing in my community and not necessarily in a way that's good for me and my family that queues up our next question perfectly just from Antonio who are found to be the most trusted messengers yeah so great question um in long-standing polls that have been conducted nationwide item in actually mid Nations over many many years right now America in 2019 the most trusted messengers are the most trusted institution in America is the military so military leaders are highly trusted messengers you won't hear them saying a lot about climate change and you certainly won't hear I'm talking about climate change in health but the good news is that the next tier of most trusted messengers are health professionals doctors nurses pharmacists we don't ask about the polls don't ask about public health professionals but just because the public has a relatively fuzzy notion of what public health professionals who they are and what they do but you make sure that people know who you are and what you do and they will trust you so when I'm suggesting to you that you educate members of your community about the health relevance of climate change I do so for two reasons for three reasons one is because they don't know much about it right now two is because they find great value in it when we do take make the effort to educate them and and three because you are trusted messengers even if they don't know you personally when you introduce yourself and you introduce your role in their community that most of them the vast majority will inherently trust you and not question your motives great thank you okay this next one is from Matt you emphasize simple messages repeated often I see got that yet many people feel the fatigue of too much information what does the social science research say about this problem and what is the best way to get a message to people who are already feeling overwhelmed yeah unfortunately ah the research is really clear about this point the only way to succeed is through message repetition and the more information fatigued people are the more that is true because the less attention they're going to be paying to you and therefore the harder you have to try to make sure that they do understand what you're trying the important information you're trying to share with them so if any of you are not Watchers of Fox News I would actually encourage you to spend a little bit of time watching Fox News and watch the incredible message repetition that you will see every night of the week on virtually any show on Fox Network and and it isn't an accident why that happens it because they those commentators are absolutely convinced that that is the way they get through and they put a lot of emotion into it by the way so they're not just droning on in a calm unaffected voice but they're getting very emotional about what they say and as they say it over and over and over again and I recognize the irony in this it just is creating that polluted information environment in which we all live but it is the only way to break through in this hyper crowded information environment yeah yeah absolutely something yeah we're all dealing with not just in the climate and health space so yeah thank you and and Matt I'll just add as well that a feature webinar in this series called la acquisition is going to be talking a little bit more about that and and the need to just really understand the people you're talking to and make sure that you are reaching them in breaking through with those messages and another one from Antonia you discussed what people are most familiar with or the health climate impacts that people are most familiar with have you ever surveyed what health impacts people find in most scary and thus perhaps most motivating them to take action yeah we have and if you want to read the peer-reviewed version of that um just Google my last name and and the journal name geo health my colleague John contra was actually the first author on the article but I am an author so you can either Google John Connor and geo health or or at maybach geo a health and you'll you'll find the article in which we we used the the National Climate Assessment climate and health report from 2016 as the starting place to answer this question that Antonio has placed put to me and and in the the 2016 climate and health report it broke down the impacts of the health impacts of climate change into essentially eight categories and what we did is we wrote about a hundred and fifty hundred and forty 150 word explanation of each of those eight categories of health impacts of climate change and for each of the explanations we broke it into three pieces once in our climate how is that harming our health and who is most like who is most likely to have their health harmed in each of those eight categories of impacts and what we were really most interested in learning was which of since since we do have limited opportunities to to get in front of audiences and share what we know as I've already said we want to we want to share the information that has the most value to members of our audience so what we learned from that from that piece of research we learned for example that that the heat effects effects from extreme heat events um it's not that's people are most aware of that um they're most aware of the effects of air pollution and they are much less aware of vector-borne diseases essentially outbreaks due to water and food borne disease and particularly relevant to another question that we haven't gotten to yet but they're particularly not aware of the mental health impacts of climate change and so we had people rape this information in terms of how novel it was how new it was to them how useful they found it to be in terms of helping them understand the health impacts on climate change and essentially whether or not they which how likely they are to share it with other people they know keeping in mind what I said earlier that real success from a public health communication campaign comes from when members of our target audience share our messaging with other members of the target audience so from that we really identified of these eight categories well all of them are about the important categories to talk about but if you read that article you'll see specifically which categories we think have most value in a general US population we did not have the latitude to do this kind of study it you know in individual states or individual communities great thank you for sharing more about that research Edie John asks any recommendations with how to do the audience research to determine what is most important to them so a little more about about how somebody might do their own audience research yeah so I guess I would suggest start start with them the messaging that's in the climate and health alert report that's on my web my home page right now you'll find in there not only top-line messages but you'll find those 850 word essays that I mentioned a moment ago that we've tested look at the findings in the geo health article and and then just use your best judgment about what information you think will have the most value to members of your people in your community and and then you know I actually am NOT a big fan of focus groups anymore so I wouldn't recommend you run focus groups but I am a huge fan of individual interviews so bring in 10 or 20 people from your community or or send a member of your team out to a local librarian and engage with 20 people and and show them you know essentially the the information that your interests that you're considering sharing more broadly with members of your community and find out from them which information they tell you has most value if you were to collect 20 you know conduct 20 brief interviews that's a whole lot better than doing nothing if you could do a larger more systematic study all the better but it's that kind of qualitative response to the information that you're considering sharing that that I think will be of greatest value to you in finalizing from a broader set of messages a broader set of things you know to be true which ones you're gonna put your trusted voice most prominently behind ok these are great questions everybody thank you so much so I'm going to pull I've one more so we can wrap up on time this comes from Laura do you have any advice about the balance between a message of hope slash agency versus message of urgency or slash serious yeah I do although I'm gonna feel totally inadequate and giving this answer because I wish I had a set of evidence-based actions that individuals and communities can take because that's you know being very specific is very much more helpful than being general so I forgot I'm sorry I forgot to ask that question earlier but that was the right question to ask Laura to your point I that evidence is pretty darn clear that urgency and seriousness messages are helpful but they are more helpful in the context of ending on hope and agency messages we need to give people actions they can take because if we simply raise their sense of fear or anxiety there's a real possibility that we just drive them away from us that because we haven't been helpful they would rather not think about what we've shared with them in the first place so I you know I I personally would be completely comfortable with you leading with the hope and agency and I have great news to share with you kinds of messaging and then following up by supporting that messaging with the reason why those actions the many reasons why those actions are so in the interest of individuals families and and members and and your community at large um because there really are so many good reasons to take these actions um almost regardless of what action you're gonna recommend there are lots of good reasons to recommend it we've again coming back to just to repeat something I said earlier when I am conducting um inter in-depth face-to-face interviews with members of the dismissive segment I find that they and I often agree on many of the recommended actions but we we see different value in them so many members of the dismissive community will tell me they completely accept recommendations that I am making but not for the reasons I'm making them and that's okay with me I don't care what their reason for finding the recommended action to be important I'm just interested in them considering the recommended action and hopefully taking all right great memorable point to end on all right thank you all so much for joining us today and if you could just bump to the next slide and we'll share about what's next oh it may be stuck all right so thank you all again we just kindly ask that you please take a couple minutes to respond to a very short questionnaire that you will be getting via email in the next couple of days your feedback is really important to us and we want to make sure these webinars are meeting your needs and and we'll do what we can to use your feedback and improve so our next event in the series is going to be in late February it's going to be on social media best practices and of course tailored again this whole series is to the topic of health effects of the changing climate so we hope you will join us and keep an eye out for those reminders and again I just want to thank dr.

ed Maybach for for joining us and giving us a lot of great things to think about today so thank you everybody take care.

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