Changing Climates

Changing Climates

A science-based, data driven weekly column published in Australia’s leading online news sites seeking to improve climate literacy in the general public

Australia | 1 March 2019 – ongoing

Changing Climates is Australia’s first weekly, dedicated climate column, translating climate science into easy to understand, compelling formats, in over 30 local news outlets nationwide.

The project began as a weekly print column in Melbourne’s Leader Community Newspapers in 2019 and quickly expanded to Brisbane’s Quest Community Newspapers to a combined 2.5 million readers. In September 2020, in response to Covid-19 related newsroom closures we successfully pivoted from a print to digital model for Australia’s leading online news sites. As of this month, Changing Climates columns are run weekly across Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide and Victoria. Since inception, we have published more than 2000 bespoke columns. See links to examples below.

The project applies leading climate change communication research, which shows that effective climate change communication is based on factual, simple messages, repeated often to large audiences by trusted sources. Facts alone will not engage audiences unless they are delivered by trusted messengers. Our research shows that climate scientists are Australia’s most trusted communicators but have traditionally had low visibility in Australia.

As such, each column is hosted by local climate scientists and typically contains three core elements: 1. A long term climate trend from local Australian Bureau of Meteorology weather stations, communicated through a simple and effective graphic. 2. An interesting fact which contextualises the climate trend, explaining the broader implications of climate change to a local audience. Topics range from how rising temperatures impact the agriculture industry to the shifting migration patterns of native wildlife. 3. A comment from a local community member explaining their experience of climate change and how it is impacting their lives and their community. Contributors include business owners, farmers, volunteers, doctors, nurses, students, parents, and many more.

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Editor’s Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.