Challenges in Communicating Climate Change to Extension Audiences

Challenges in Communicating Climate Change to Extension Audiences

Martha Monroe, Professor and Extension Specialist, University of Florida; Claire Needham Bode, Public Policy Education Specialist at Michigan State University Extension; and Mark Megalos, Extension Associate Professor at NC State University

Conservation Education, Environmental Management, Forest Management, and Issues

challenges_1_12_15.pdf — PDF document, 374Kb

Unusual weather, high fuel prices, coastal erosion, and severe wildfires have one thing in common: they generate headlines that suggest climate change is upon us. Media reports often spawn editorials that present alternate interpretations of the evidence, point to uncertainty in the climate models, and rebuke the implications. Anyone can be easily confused by the plethora of information. Extension agents are trusted sources of information and can play a valuable role providing educational programs to clients seeking to understand climate changes and appropriate adaptation strategies (Franz, Piercy, Donaldson, Westbrook, and Richard 2010). This fact sheet explains four key challenges of climate change communication to help Extension agents successfully provide science-based perspectives and avoid ideological conflicts and problems.

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