An effective communication strategy is needed to highlight the risks related to climate change and the value of adapting policies and practices to achieve resilience throughout the region.
Today’s world is marked by instant communication, immediate information and multitasking behaviors. It is difficult to communicate news and information related to climate change in a sound bite. It’s relatively easy to communicate the threat of an imminent storm, tornado or other natural disaster, but much more difficult to mobilize the public to hazards that unfold over years and decades. The state of the current economy also makes a long-term discussion on climate change more difficult when many Americans are focused on short-term housing, employment and other immediate needs. And, of course, the science of climate change is still evolving, and its core tenets are contested by some.
The strategies and actions in this area aim to educate stakeholders in all sectors and at all levels – from the general public and voters to elected officials, professionals and other decision makers. These are initiatives to inform and create a common under- standing of the benefits of energy independence, energy use reduction, water conservation, smart growth, and natural area protection that will create demand for a healthy, sustainable and resilient region. There is a need to modify existing public outreach, education and engagement programs as people engage natural areas (including upland, wetland, marine, coastal and near shore environments) to include climate change mitigation and adaptation messaging and include volunteer opportunities that will enhance green infrastructure to facilitate climate change resilience and adaptation.
Outreach to the community has already been expanded with the collaboration of the northern counties with the Climate Com- pact. A localized effort will result in the most effective climate change policy for the region.