Curious Climate Tasmania
A public-powered scientific engagement project that has successfully bridged the gap between experts and communities by providing local people with credible, relevant information about climate change
Tasmania, Australia | 1 June 2019 – 30 July 2019
Curious Climate Tasmania was born with the aim of catalysing climate conversations between scientists and the community – flipping the more conventional ‘knowledge deficit’ model of science communication to a more ‘dialogic’ model. Specifically, the purpose of the project was to ask the community members what they wanted to know about climate change first, before preparing extensive media content and hosting public events to provide science-based responses to these specific questions.
Our project was led by the Centre for Marine Socioecology (CMS) in partnership with Australia’s public broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and Tasmanian scientific organisations. It brought together researchers with expertise in marine and terrestrial ecology, agriculture, psychology, economics, social science, journalism, climate science and more. Through ABC’s online platform, we asked Tasmanians what climate change questions they wanted answered – more than 300 questions were received! We responded to these in two ways – first, via special weekly live radio programmes, 25+ live radio interviews with the Curious Climate Tasmania team (discussing human health, diet, renewable energy, infrastructure, emergency management, etc.), and weekend sessions on interests including gardening and birdwatching. Together, we also produced digital news articles, which reached more than 100,000 readers!
Second, we conducted a science roadshow. We created teams who travelled to local events held across the state to specifically address locally-requested questions. Almost 600 Tasmanians attended the events – exit surveys showed 90% highly trusted the information they learned, and 93% wanted to attend more Curious Climate events. Climate conversations, as achieved through Curious Climate Tasmania, can foster relationship-building between scientists and communities and help to develop genuine connections and share climate change knowledge in locally-relevant and meaningful ways.
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