[ASC-media] Climate change needs radical people change

Jenni Metcalfe jenni at econnect.com.au
Mon Mar 23 07:09:53 CET 2009

- Hot Air Symposium - Communicating the science of climate change in a
sceptical world, Perth Tuesday 24 March, Burswood Convention Centre

Radical changes in human behaviour are needed to deal with climate change,
say speakers at the first Hot Air symposium being held in Perth tomorrow
[Tuesday 24 March].

"While scientists and policy makers have talked about dealing with climate
change, few have stopped to consider the most effective ways of producing
the necessary and substantial changes in our individual and collective
behaviour," says plenary speaker, Dr Carmen Lawrence, ex Federal MP and
Premier of Western Australia and now a professorial fellow at the University
of Western Australia. 

"Whether it is modifying our transport use, rates of reproduction, energy
use, patterns of settlement, food consumption and the design of our homes or
accepting higher prices for some products and services, there is no doubt
that just as human behaviour lies as the root of the problem, so it must be
a major part of the solution."

But changing people's behaviours is not at all easy according to other
speakers at the symposium, including Dr Graeme Pearman who was CSIRO's chief
atmospheric scientist before becoming a consultant seven years ago.

"As scientists, we have failed to understand how people act in response to
advice about things like climate change. And often it's not at all
rational," he says.

The Hot Air symposia, being organised by Australian Science Communicators,
are seeking to use panels and small group discussions to explore strategies
for better communicating about the science of climate change. 

The first symposium is focusing on dealing with the specific challenges of
communicating in a sceptical world. Challenges include the uncertainty and
complexity of science, the roles of scientists and science communicators,
how the media acts to balance or unbalance the debate, and the difficulty of
engaging people in a sceptical or uncertain environment which is influenced
by vested interests.

More than 70 scientists, government managers, journalists, NGOS and science
communicators will participate in the first Hot Air symposium which is part
of Greenhouse 2009.

"We believe this mix of people will identify ways that people can
communicate more effectively to governments, businesses and communities
about the science of climate change and the responses that are needed," says
Jenni Metcalfe, Hot Air convenor for the Australian Science Communicators.

The next Hot Air symposium is being held in Brisbane on August 19 as part of
the 10th International Congress for Ecology. It will focus on communicating
the science of climate change to industry, business and governments. 

The third Hot Air symposium will be held in Canberra in November and will
look at how we can better engage rural and urban communities in the science
of climate change.   

Guidelines for communicating the science of climate change will be produced
by the Australian Science Communicators from the outcomes of all three Hot
Air symposia and will be available online by the end of the year, thanks to
the support of the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change. 

Media are invited to attend the Perth Hot Air symposium on Tuesday, 24 March
in Perth at the Burswood Convention Centre. 

For further information, including the full program of Hot Air see:
www.asc.asn.au <http://www.asc.asn.au/> 

For interview, further information and to arrange interviews with other
plenary speakers, contact: Jenni Metcalfe, 0408 551 866,
jenni at econnect.com.au

Podcasts (video and audio) of the plenary sessions of Hot Air are available
to accredited members of the media. Contact Jenni for details.

The Hot Air Symposium is being run as a Carbon Conscious Ltd event.




Jenni Metcalfe


Econnect Communication

PO Box 734

South Brisbane Q 4101

Ph. 07 3846 7111; 0408 551 866

jenni at econnect.com.au


Skype Jenni.Metcalfe


Subscribe to Econnect's free monthly e-newsletter on our website.


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