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The Gulf of Maine is one of the fastest warming marine areas on the planet: The industries and creatures that call it home face an unprecedented shift in their interactions and existence. Scientists, policy makers, and practitioners often want to communicate to the public about the seriousness of the situation to encourage mitigation and adaptation. Many standard communication strategies that rely on fear and scientific authority alone—rather than comprehensive explanations that include solutions—can leave audiences feeling overwhelmed and disengaged, instead of hopeful and motivated to act. In this practice bridge, we showcase a social science research-based climate change communication “tool-kit” for the Gulf of Maine, using one example for each climate driver addressed at the Gulf of Maine 2050 Symposium (temperature and circulation: lobster fisheries; coastal and ocean acidification: seagrass restoration; sea-level rise: coastal development). Communication models that involve the head (understanding of climate change), heart (hope through agency and efficacy), and hands (intentions to participate in community action) further engagement in climate change conversations. We explain the research behind our communication framework, enabling practitioners to extend this case study to their own work.


This article was originally published in Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, volume 9, in 2021.


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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