Dr. Lucy Richardson

Monash University, Australia

Invited Speech: Integrating Climate Change Communications within Higher Education

Biography:

Post Doctoral Research Fellow at Monash University’s Climate Change Communication Research Hub

Dr Richardson’s current research focuses on understanding how people think, feel, and act regarding climate change, and how they respond to climate change messaging. Her broader research interests sit at the intersection of environmental science, communication, and social psychology. She is co-editor of the Research Handbook on Communicating Climate Change (Edward Elgar, 2020), and teaches the university's Climate Change Communication unit. Dr Richardson was also a member of the 2021 Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the British Council.

Abstract:

As Sir David Attenborough said: “Saving our planet is now a communications challenge. We know what to do, we just need the will.” Higher education institutions prepare our future workforce for their roles in society--societies that are becoming more and more impacted by climate change while mitigation actions across the world have been delayed and are currently insufficient to keep global warming within safe limits. Climate change is beginning to impact every aspect of our societies, from food production, to national security, to health and our wider economies. Due to the complex nature of climate change, it’s impacts, and solutions, every discipline taught in higher education has a role to play in helping mitigate and adapt to climate change, including lawyers, engineers, nurses, economists, social scientists, artists, and more. The communication of climate change faces unique challenges due to the nature of climate change itself, and the nature of individuals and societies across the world. It is unlike communication on most other issues, and requires specific skills and understanding to communicate effectively. To ensure our students graduate with the skills they need to support the world to address climate change, they need to understand how to communicate on this issue effectively within their discipline, with other disciplines, and with the wider public. In this presentation, I will outline the importance of climate change communication, some of the different approaches that the tertiary education sector could use to integrate climate change communication into its programs, and use an Australian case study as an example of one approach along with some challenges and enablers in the Australian context.

Abstract

Dr. Lucy Richardson

As Sir David Attenborough said: “Saving our planet is now a communications challenge. We know what to do, we just need the will.” Higher education institutions prepare our future workforce for their roles in society--societies that are becoming more and more impacted by climate change while mitigation actions across the world have been delayed and are currently insufficient to keep global warming within safe limits. Climate change is beginning to impact every aspect of our societies, from food production, to national security, to health and our wider economies. Due to the complex nature of climate change, it’s impacts, and solutions, every discipline taught in higher education has a role to play in helping mitigate and adapt to climate change, including lawyers, engineers, nurses, economists, social scientists, artists, and more. The communication of climate change faces unique challenges due to the nature of climate change itself, and the nature of individuals and societies across the world. It is unlike communication on most other issues, and requires specific skills and understanding to communicate effectively. To ensure our students graduate with the skills they need to support the world to address climate change, they need to understand how to communicate on this issue effectively within their discipline, with other disciplines, and with the wider public. In this presentation, I will outline the importance of climate change communication, some of the different approaches that the tertiary education sector could use to integrate climate change communication into its programs, and use an Australian case study as an example of one approach along with some challenges and enablers in the Australian context.