1st Edition

Communication Strategies for Engaging Climate Skeptics Religion and the Environment

By Emma Bloomfield Copyright 2019
    188 Pages
    by Routledge

    188 Pages
    by Routledge

    Communication Strategies for Engaging Climate Skeptics examines the intersection of climate skepticism and Christianity and proposes strategies for engaging climate skeptics in productive conversations.

    Despite the scientifically established threats of climate change, there remains a segment of the American population that is skeptical of the scientific consensus on climate change and the urgent need for action. One of the most important stakeholders and conversants in environmental conversations is the religious community. While existing studies have discussed environmentalism as a factor within the religious community, this book positions religion as an important factor in environmentalism and focuses on how identities play a role in environmental conversation. Rather than thinking of religious skeptics as a single unified group, Emma Frances Bloomfield argues that it is essential to recognize there are different types of skeptics so that we can better tailor our communication strategies to engage with them on issues of the environment and climate change. To do so, this work breaks skeptics down into three main types: "separators," "bargainers," and "harmonizers." The book questions monolithic understandings of climate skepticism and considers how competing narratives such as religion, economics, and politics play a large role in climate communication. Considering recent political moves to remove climate change from official records and withdraw from international environmental agreements, it is imperative now more than ever to offer practical solutions to academics, practitioners, and the public to change the conversation. To address these concerns, this book provides both a theoretical examination of the rhetoric of religious climate skeptics and concrete strategies for engaging the religious community in conversations about the environment.

    This book will be of great interest to students, scholars, and practitioners of climate change science, environmental communication, environmental policy, and religion. 

    For the 2020 communication awards cycle, Communication Strategies for Engaging Climate Skeptics: Religion and the Environment has won the following distinctions:

    Book of the Year - Argumentation and Forensics Division of the National Communication Association

    Outstanding Book Award - Spiritual Communication Division of the National Communication Association

    Book Award Finalist – Association for the Rhetoric of Science, Technology, and Medicine of the National Communication Association

    Table of Contents


    Introduction: The Intersection of Christianity and the Environment

    1. Defining the Separators: War, Melodrama, and Authority

    2. Separator Strategies: Asking Questions, Accepting Premises, and Making it Personal

    3. Defining the Bargainers: Revolution, Modification, and Negotiating with Environmentalism

    4. Bargainer Strategies: Working within Frames, Joining the Revolution, and Employing Examples

    5. Defining the Harmonizers: Harmony, Collaboration, and Acceptance

    6. Harmonizer Strategies: Shifting Frames from Private to Public, Communicating Urgency, and Thinking Globally

    Conclusion: What We Learn at the Intersection of Christianity and Climate Change

    Executive Summary: Talking Points and Strategies for Engaging in Climate Change Conversations


    Emma Frances Bloomfield is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, USA.