Last week, June 24th, Climate Outreach presented their report “Communicating climate change in Tunisia, Egypt & Mauritania – with lessons for North Africa & Levant region” through an online event where FASTER was glad to participate. Their social research work tested language on climate change, creating advice that climate advocates across civil society and in government, media and business can use to resonate with their culture and experience. The analysis focused on a local audience, including rural women, fishermen, local and national politicians, students, farmers and herders.
- The voice of impacted people and climate awareness
It was interesting to see the results and conclusions. The three countries have high climate impact, for example in Tunisia, water availability is expected to decline by 28% by 2030. However, there is a low climate concern and awareness among the population. What people living in North Africa and the Levant region did notice were the changes they observe on a day-to-day basis in their field of work. Therefore, the report suggests that in order to communicate climate change, the voice of the people who are witnessing climate change should be amplified. Also, it is important to use these local and nationally recognised impacts as a starting point to create awareness and understanding of climate change.
- Social solidarity, resilience and action
Another way to engage with the public is to use a language that speaks to the shared and strong values, for instance in Tunisia the value that predominates is “respect.” It is necessary to support the idea of mobilising together and building a robust community in times of change. For this, it is helpful to provide people with things to do.
- Take care and learnings
When communicating climate change, it is important to take special care of the language used. We should avoid addressing it as personal responsibility and individual blame. Rather than pointing out the problems or the guilty, we should say what we can do to make them better, to provide tangible and real solutions. Another issue to keep in mind is avoiding Western terms and methodologies. On the opposite side, it is essential to focus on the overriding importance of listening to what is needed by the community and build relationships.
In conclusion, we learnt it is important to use simple language that is contextual and localized so that it can be easily understood by everyone. We must avoid the “blame” tone, and highlight their great quality of resilience and adaptation, instead. The FASTER project will continue working to tackle the obstacles in communicating climate change and climate adaptation. Learning how to transmit our objectives is very important to reinforce research and knowledge transfer capacity related to innovative land and water management in view of climate change and its implementation through the use of Farm Advisory Systems (FAS).
If you want to learn more about how to communicate climate change, you can download the full report here: https://bit.ly/361GnjI
For our Arabic speakers, there will also be a webinar in Arabic on July 5, 2021. Remember to register here: https://bit.ly/2U7N8xy
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