Looking forward to the debate later. Just wondered what people think organisations could do to communicate more effectively about biodiversity. Forty years after the world's first Earth Day, awareness about environmental issues is greater than ever. Yet with species extinction and habitat destruction accelerating, do we need new ways to get the message across?
Think it depends on who we are communicating with, and about what.
Biodiversity is difficult because it is at once broad, complex, scientific, cultural diverse, global, local, economic, aesthetic and lots more. We can see themes within this broad stream of discussion and action where public and other communication is more successful in terms of awareness and impact: wildlife conservation, for example, or environmental pollution control (although this has a signficant human health element which may make it easier).
Why does climate seem to have a higher profile? For the sake of argument, I would say that it is because at the core there is one question over which there has been strong political disagreement and controversy - with consequent media interest and involvement: the question is of whether global warming is happening, and whether human activity is responsible.
Possibly also there appears to have developed a simplified personal understanding of the connection between the use of fossil fuels and climate change - if I drive my car/leave the light on/use aeroplanes, I know fuel is used. I also hear about islands sinking and deltas disappearing, glaciers melting and sea levels rising. We lose count of the times that people have said to us that rain/snow/heat/cold/storms/wind is due to global warming. There is a popular perception out there - a mixture of fact and speculation. But powerful.
If we try to identify the target age-group of people that we should communicate to, that would cause the maximum change in consumer habits ( that would cause a reduction in demand for products that are a threat to rainforests/wildlife), we will invariably zero-in to the 18-35 years age group in all the countries.