About Me

This blog is primarily geared toward staff at the zoos, aquariums, museums (ZAMs), and other conservation education organizations that are part of our growing global network. We aim to provide you with cutting edge, challenging, and creative information, ideas, and tools to become as effective as possible at communicating about and for conservation with your visitors and the public.

See our ongoing communications research, or join our growing network, at The Ocean Project's website.

October 19, 2012

Communicating Conservation: Weekly Resources and News


The Ocean Project will be posting weekly roundups of the key strategic ocean and climate communication resources we’ve been tweeting. Each link will be posted with a short description of what you’ll find—please feel free to ask us any questions!

News & Discussion

Check out these timely articles and essays which may be helpful for framing various environmental issues, connecting with specific audiences, or otherwise informing your storytelling and communications.

  • More Americans Say There is Solid Evidence of Global Warming
    As many environmentalists speak out about the lack of climate change talk from the US presidential candidates: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press releases a new study showing increasing numbers of Americans accept that global warming is occurring. A 67% majority say there is solid evidence for global warming, and 42% say human activity is to blame. Notably, an increasing percentage of Republicans (48%) and independents (65%) say there is solid evidence.

  • People at Risk to Natural Disasters and How Nature Can Help
    A very sticky argument against environmental action is that it doesn’t make good economic sense. Of course, an argument doesn’t need to be true to be effective! This article by Michael Beck counters that claim by laying out the findings of the 2012 World Risk Report – healthy ecosystems such as reefs and mangroves are cost-effective for risk reduction. They help mitigate damage caused by coastal storms and flooding better than just “gray” infrastructure (artificial breakwaters and seawalls) alone.

  •   Energy Perception And Policy Reality
    An interesting, brief article from NPR about the vast disconnect between the public’s perception energy and the political reality of energy. Bonus disturbing reminder of this bewildering Michelle Bachmann quote from 2011: “Under President Bachmann you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again," she promised. "That will happen."

Resources

Some new studies, market research, toolkits, and strategies that may be helpful when communicating about conservation and climate change.

October 12, 2012

Communicating Conservation: Weekly Resources and News



The Ocean Project posts weekly roundups of the key strategic ocean and climate communication resources we’ve been tweeting. Each link will be posted with a short description of what you’ll find—please feel free to ask us any questions!

News & Discussion

  • USA! USA! We’re No. 1! (In climate denier coverage)
    Hot on the heels of last week’s report that found the US has some of the highest levels of climate skepticism, comes this similarly distressing study. According to a new analysis of data released last year, U.S. newspapers are much more likely than their international peers to publish uncontested claims from climate deniers, many of whom are “almost exclusively found” in the U.S. media.

  • Report: ‘The Greener The Industry, The Higher The Job Growth Rate Over The Last Decade’
    A study with interesting implications for framing environmental and economic policy has just been released by the Economic Policy Institute. The group found industries composed of workers making goods and services more environmentally friendly have shown a higher growth rate in the past decade.

  • Climate Science and Science Literacy: The Strange Divergence
    Two studies published this year reveal that hearts don’t follow minds: both studies found that cultural influences trump scientific knowledge. In fact, for conservatives, higher climate change literacy is correlated with less belief that it is happening. This is important for communicators to note: more facts about climate change will not convince those who disbelieve for cultural reasons.


Resources

Some new studies, market research, toolkits, and strategies that may be helpful when communicating about conservation and climate change.

October 5, 2012

Communicating Conservation: Weekly Resources and News


The Ocean Project will be posting weekly roundups of the key strategic ocean and climate communication resources we’ve been tweeting. Each link will be posted with a short description of what you’ll find—please feel free to ask us any questions!

News & Discussion


Resources

Some new studies, market research, toolkits, and strategies that may be helpful when communicating about conservation and climate change.

October 2, 2012

NEW: Special Report on the Public Awareness of Ocean Acidification


Back in 2008 The Ocean Project tested the term "ocean acidification" (OA) in our market research and found it was nowhere on the public radar. This past spring, we decided to revisit the issue.
Our latest data strongly suggest that now is the time for zoos, aquariums, and museums (ZAMs) to reach out to their visitors on this issue. Click here to download The Ocean Project's special report on Ocean Acidification
Even though our research reveals that current awareness of ocean acidification remains low among the public - even among ZAM visitors who generally have higher environmental literacy than non-visitors – it also reveals that ocean acidification is an emerging issue with significant potential for inspiring action. While ocean acidification has generally taken a backseat to larger discussions of climate change and global warming, our research as well as work by The Ocean Conservancy shows that ZAMs can take advantage of the low awareness to define the issue and help address the critical problem of carbon pollution. 











This Google Trends graph gives a good snapshot of how recent the conversation about the issue is. Online discussion of ocean acidification was very low until around 2009, and has experienced peaks and valleys since then. In recent years, interest in the issue has risen among the scientific community, but the public has not yet caught up. Though lack of discussion on a serious issue may be frustrating to some, there’s a bright side.
Our research reveals that once the concept of ocean acidification – even the mere mention of the term – is introduced to a respondent, levels of concern about ocean health among respondents spiked significantly. This spike is emphasized when a brief description of OA is read to them. In other words, a basic familiarity with OA dramatically raises a respondent’s awareness and concern about the health of the ocean.
Therein lies the opportunity for aquariums and other informal science education centers. Our previous research has shown the public wants and expects institutions like zoos, aquariums, and museums to provide them with ways they can take action to help the environment. As trusted conservation messengers to the public, ZAMs play an important role in making people aware of the threat of ocean acidification and how they can help.
While the politicization of “climate change” can make it difficult for these institutions to address the issue of “climate change”, “ocean acidification” is largely free of this baggage. Where “climate change” is seen as a political identity, or even religion, “ocean acidification” currently appears to be able to transcend such political limitations.  

Now is the ideal time for trusted institutions such as ZAMS to shape the narrative for the public, raise their awareness of the issue, and inspire conservation action.