Document Type



David Chavanne

Publication Date



This paper is restricted to users on the Connecticut College campus until November 24, 2024.


As the climate change crisis worsens, it is more important than ever that communicators understand the role that specific messaging plays in the formation of public opinion and the overall strength of the call for action. This study seeks to determine the most effective methods of communicating climate change-induced environmental issues to the general public to raise awareness of the issue and encourage solution-focused behavioral change. A review of current climate change communication techniques reveals that it is up to communicators to understand the limitations of their chosen media and the most effective tactics for communicating the complex issue with the goal of bridging gaps, increasing awareness, and creating lasting change. A study of one, dialogue-based form of climate change education demonstrates that new and innovative forms of communication have the potential to increase understanding of the phenomenon and influence an audience to consider pro-environment behavioral change in their daily lives. A final econometric study determines that climate change stories with statistics-based language may be more effective at increasing levels of concern and willingness to change daily behaviors than stories with more narrative language, and that the effects of a hopeful tone versus a fearful tone depend on the specific climate-change-related issue being addressed. These results stress the importance of understanding the pre-established beliefs of specific topics, the outcomes of different forms and mediums of messaging, and the impacts of language choices, when designing climate change communication around the goal of creating lasting change in public opinion and behavior.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.