Panel discussion

C. A. Klöckner; W. Abrahamse; S. Bamberg; J. Fraser; I. Fritsche; S. Jury; E. Matthies; A. Nordlund; U. Olausson; L. Steg; J. Thøgersen; B. Verplanken. Location: Heymanszaal

Do we need to change the way we speak about environmental problems? A panel debate on the future of environmental communication

C. A. Klöckner, W. Abrahamse, S. Bamberg, J. Fraser, I. Fritsche, S. Jury, E. Matthies, A. Nordlund, U. Olausson,  L. Steg, J. Thøgersen, & B. Verplanken

Environmental problems our societies are facing – such as for example global climate change, mass extinction of species or resource overuse – demand that not only politicians and industry act, but that also citizens as consumers take their share of the necessary actions. Thus, communication about environmental problems, their causes, possible solutions and consequently actions to take is essential. Whereas we as researchers in this domain have made a lot of progress to get environmental challenges represented in people’s minds, the level of action and behaviour change is often still limited. Consumers are not often an active part of the development of the discourse. This session aims at finding new perspectives on this problem by challenging the state of the art of environmental communication. What do we, as researchers with our diverse scientific backgrounds, know about environmental communication and where do we see options for improvement and innovation? What could be new approaches that we have overlooked or not dared to touch? The session leaves the normal session structure behind in favour of a panel where about ten profiled researchers with a background in psychology and/or communication first give a three minute statement, describing their personal view on the topic (and hopefully rocking some of our assumptions). Afterwards they enter an open discussion with each other and the audience. Ideally, the session will be moderated by a journalist and also include a consumer representative (both aspects are still under development). Depending on the outcome of the discussion, the panel debate might be the starting point for a programmatic paper jointly written by the panel members and additional researchers.