This “Talking About Climate Change” Workshop was part of an education and research project led by the Clean Air Council, Drexel University, the National Nursing Centers Consortium, and the GreenTreks Network. The project taught community members about climate change and its impact on community health. It also taught citizens how to talk to others about climate change using social media, word of mouth, and image messaging.
In June 2015, we conducted a single workshop specifically designed for community leaders. The workshop was titled “Talking About Climate Change” and was held at Drexel’s Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships. Twenty-three community members participated in this workshop. In addition to presentations on the mechanisms of climate change, this workshop sought to engage community leaders on how vulnerable communities can both adapt to climate change and organize to fight it. Workshop organizers screened two videos focused on climate change communication strategies. The videos highlighted energy efficiency tactics specifically. Participants engaged in a lively discussion about whether solar panels offer a cost-effective solution to reduce energy costs. Passive energy use was another key point in our workshop discussion. One community leader stated that the videos, “made me think of my 3 cable boxes, TVs and microwaves that are all on at home right now” in terms of passive electricity usage. Much of the discussion focused on how, in the words of one attendee, “The lower someone is financially, the less they’ll be able to cope” with the effects of climate change.
Following the video screening, facilitators led breakout groups that focused on different communication strategies, which included social media, word of mouth, and photovoice. The workshop concluded with discussions about how both art and social media might be used to teach people about climate change and organize to combat it.