I was invited to be part of Festival Lampa 2018 in Cesis, Latvia. The climate change stage was organised by Riga Technical University and Climate KIC-Latvia. I did my talk alongside Latvian journalists Sandra Kropa and Julius Sleiers and Canadian-Dutch journalist Bernice Notenboom. Most of my lecture was about evidence-based communication, and how facts don’t change people’s minds. Effective climate communication is touching o what is important for people, in different contexts, in different cultures. It is also important that journalists are responsible in their reporting, which means taking the time to learn the science and its complexities.
Here are some of my slides:
The fun part was where we had our talk. It was in this amazing treehouse built especially for the event! The park also has a castle and the whole event was open to the public for free.
On the other hand, the facilitation of the panel discussion could have been better. The facilitator kept coming back to questioning of climate change was man made, if we have the evidence for it. That is no longer a discussion. This is the danger, that we keep giving space for debate on whether anthropogenic climate change is real or not. It is real. We shouldn’t be discussing it’s validity.
The discussion should have been focused on how we communicate this evidence in a way that people understand, and how we reach different audiences beyond our spheres of influence. There is a tendency to only keep on talking to people who already believe in the same things we do, thus creating an echo chamber without really reaching those who are different from us. I discussed about the universal values of Schwartz (chart can be seen above, in one of my slides) and how environmentalists can be considered to be all on the upper right hand corner, valuing universalism. But how do we get to people who value power or hedonism? How do we communicate climate change to these people?
However, while we all thought the facilitation could have been made better, the event was a good one all in all. Bernice had another lecture after, showing her work on the Arctic and how climate change has affected that side of the world drastically. People stayed until 11:30PM.
P.S. I didn’t think Latvia could be so cold in the summer! But I didn’t realize it was also close to Russia. And Riga Old Town is also a beautiful city!
Here are some more photos of Old Town Riga: