Tackling Skepticism: How can we most effectively communicate climate change?
24 September 2013 - Impact Hub

On 29th August, HUB Islington was packed with people eager to hear from expert speakers and share their views on how to more effectively communicate climate change. This HUB Eco Series event had people begging for tickets on the day of, as it’s a topic many people want to explore!
It kicked off with a room full of laughs from Ed Gillespie, our facilitator and co-founder of sustainability communications agency Futerra , saying ‘communicating climate change: like selling tampax to men.’He went on to mention “climategate”, accusations of propaganda being flown at Futerra, and a certain disconnect between government policy and what people actually want to do when it comes to issues such as climate change.
Both the speakers and the audience had interesting examples to share about their own experiences with climate scepticism. These included people who say climate change is all part of a natural cycle, and that we are powerless and insignificant in what we can do about it. There was also a question of whether we were talking about denial or scepticism, which is an important point to distinguish.
Dr Marianne Talbot, Director of Philosophical Studies at Oxford University, emphasised the need for change so that individual governments will lose votes if we don’t do anything, and promoted more video conferencing over flying.
Dr Alice Bell, Science Policy Researcher at Sussex University spoke about our high expectations from scientists, and the need for realistic expectations – we need to recognize that a lot of sceptics aren’t funded by the fossil fuel industry, butthen again, places like the Science Museum are. Alice recommended looking closer to home – ‘we need to reflect on the actions of ourselves and look inwards.’
Professor Chris Rapley gave an empathetic point of view, pointing out that climate science is not ‘morally neutral’ like other science subjects where ‘lives would be unchanged emotionally.’ Scepticism could be a result of climate scientists not appreciating this.
By the end of the night, it was agreed that this topic could have been discussed even further and everyone was just getting started! But, there was a sense of accomplishment in that something that can be seen as controversial was laid out in the open for people to discuss and address, by drawing on their own experiences and of course hearing from experts on the issue. Some described it as their ‘best HUB Eco Series event ever!’
BatoolRaza, Hub Islington summer intern