Theories of change

Last week, I wrote a post criticising the climate change communication strategies of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about the role that theories of change play in shaping climate change communication strategies. A theory of change is essentially an idea about how things change in the world. Do you think political leaders make change happen, or do you think mass movements of people lead change? Do you think change is random, chaotic, or predictable? Do you think it happens through incremental improvement, or abrupt transformation? Everyone answers these questions differently and the combination of these answers makes up an individual’s theory of change.

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Communicating climate change: The case of the IPCC

I’m sitting here trying to write something about the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and I just can’t seem to get excited. This week, the final Synthesis Report that summarises the IPCC’s massive Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is out. It is the most important report on climate change that there is. It represents the latest agreed science on climate change, all wrapped up in a form that’s supposed to be digestible for policy makers and the media. I will use it again and again over the years ahead to help me to communicate about climate change with diverse audiences. But it fails to excite me. Why?

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What lies beyond sustainability?

There is a sustainability backlash going on. In Australia, it is obvious and in your face. You can see it in the Abbott Government’s attempts to dismantle anything at all that might help to tackle climate change. You can see it, also, in State Government efforts to dismantle “green tape”, an insidious term that paints […]

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Back to reality

I’ve just enjoyed a month off, spending time with my family and camping in some beautiful places on the South Coast of NSW – Jervis Bay and Bendalong. It was a real break, where I tried not to think too much about things like climate change and sustainability and avoided most media. We patted the […]

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The power of story

Over the last day and a half, I participated in a leadership workshop that made excellent use of story and narrative to engage participants and embed learning. The workshop employed actors to role play common scenarios you might come across as a university manager, and their portrayals were amazingly realistic. We observed and were then […]

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