Communicating Climate Change Beyond Western Societies: A Tale of the Czech Republic and India
Despite being a global problem, climate change has disproportionately large impacts on non-Western countries in the form of extreme weather events, threats to food security, and displacement of communities. Climate change mitigation is therefore an immediate priority requiring both international and local efforts. Motivating public action is especially important because pro-climate policies require public mandate to be approved and implemented. Behavioural scientists have identified communication strategies that can effectively motivate public support for climate action. However, most of this research has been conducted on Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, and Democratic (or WEIRD) populations, making it unclear if these strategies can be applied elsewhere. In this perspective, we discuss climate change communication strategies that have been developed on WEIRD samples. These include using partisan messengers, conveying social norms, and citing experts. We posit that these climate communication strategies developed in Western societies may not be applicable in other populations. We then consider the cases of two countries–the Czech Republic and India to discuss how context-specific insights about citizens’ priorities, concerns, and experiences with nature can be used to communicate climate change. We build on these case studies to propose INCLUDE, a framework that can be adopted by communicators such as policymakers, elected officials, scientists, and activists in non-WEIRD societies to develop effective climate communication strategies informed by context specific and culture-specific insights.