Point 3: Make it real

Extreme warning cartoon. Illustration courtesy Ian Webster/CRED

Translate scientific data into concrete experience. Children don’t learn to keep their hands away from a hot stove through charts, or even through urgent warnings from parents. They learn best by touching one. One much-lamented problem with climate change is that by the time most of us experience it, it’ll be too late to do anything. Our minds have evolved to respond much more quickly to immediate threats (tiger! mouse!) than to long-range ones.

But we are still swayed by personal anecdotes and stories, which the guide calls an under-used tool in sharing the climate message.

“We’re not entirely doomed, because we respond to each other’s stories,” coauthor and CRED Associate Director Sabine Marx said in an interview last spring.