communication is clearly an essential piece of the puzzle, might there not be an ‘art’ to it too? For individuals and organisations communicating climate change, it is easy to forget that most people don’t live their lives in a series of dislocated behaviours that can be influenced or nudged in a more sustainable direction. Ask yourself: what are the things that make you laugh, inspire you, or fill your conversations with friends? For most of us, the answer will involve culture, not cognition. It follows that mobilising our cultural and creative resources might be as important for public engagement with climate change as technological or political changes – and there is evidence that this is starting to happen. To take one topical example, the charity Do The Green Thing (a reliably creative and unpredictable group) are publishing a series of posters by a leading artist throughout March, under the heading of “creativity versus climate change”. These are not po-faced posters, but playful provocations – and they stick in your mind for that reason. A conference planned for June in Aberystwyth will focus on the potential for syntheses between science and art in responding to climate change. Uncivilisation, a music, literature and storytelling festival (organised by a network of writers, artists and thinkers in search of “new stories for troubled times”) is now in its fourth year. The campaign group Platform continues to oppose BP’s links with the Tate Gallery by using innovative methods like alternative audio tours, which challenge the legitimacy of oil-sponsored culture. And organisations like Artists Project Earth (a group of artists, scientists, journalists, environmentalists, film makers and authors) have been working for many years to support climate change and environmental campaigning. But given the importance of the issue, it is surprising how little overlap there has been between the social science of climate change communication and the creative world. That art provides a vehicle for bringing dry political sentiment to life is certainly not a new observation – but save for a few notable exceptions, there has been a gaping hole where creative energy should be. And closer to home, a project aimed specifically at overcoming the limitations of conventional climate change communication strategies (ie that they tend to reach only a very narrow group of the population) offers an exciting blend of art and social science. Named the Aspects project, it represents an attempt to connect discussion about climate change to people’s everyday lives through the medium of digital storytelling. The Aspects website hosts a series of short films, featuring people who have a story to tell about their lives, about the weather, about their local communities – and indirectly about climate change. What’s interesting about the Aspects approach is that while the medium appeals on a cultural level – films, storytelling, and anecdotes about the world around us – the films are also putting into practice good principles of climate change communication. The abstract, invisible nature of climate change is rendered real through everyday stories, while the fact that the storytellers are members of the public, rather than activists or campaigners, creates a positive social norm. Typically, the challenge of climate change communication is thought to require systematic evidence about public attitudes, sophisticated models of behaviour change and the rigorous application of social scientific research. All of this is true, but it is human stories, not carbon targets, that capture people’s attention. The science of climate change communication is essential to engage people’s minds, but the art of engaging people’s imaginations may be just as important. by Adam Corner The Guardian  ]]>