The Marine Mammal Center, NNOCCI to Expand Climate Communication Efforts
- Climate change
Through evidence-based climate communication and enhanced training programs, the project will help NNOCCI provide high-quality tools for educators and change-makers to effectively communicate the causes, effects, and solutions to climate change.
The Marine Mammal Center has partnered with the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI) to create a training enhancement program for climate-based communications. The program will help expand training opportunities within underrepresented communities and enhance knowledge of climate change and a willingness to engage in climate action, ensuring a more equitable and inclusive approach.
The program is funded by a two-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). By providing high-quality communication tools to educators and change-makers that reach wide public audiences, the program will directly support the mission goal of NOAA of having “an informed society anticipating and responding to climate and its impacts.”
NNOCCI, a network of informal science educators and scientists with a mission of changing the national discourse on climate and ocean change through evidence-based communication techniques, developed their first-ever Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) team in 2020.
In collaboration with these efforts, NNOCCI and The Marine Mammal Center aim to build out a training program that can effectively reach diverse individuals in communities with the greatest need by training, partnering with and providing resources to climate communicators at local, underrepresented organizations.
“Nearly two-thirds of Americans are not a part of the national conversation about climate change, and that’s a disturbing trend that we need to buck in order to make significant progress in our fight against climate change,” said Dr. Jeff Boehm, DVM, CERO of The Marine Mammal Center.
This program is a crucial first step in creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive conversation about the world’s most pressing problem.
The Center’s Associate Director of Conservation Education, Adam Ratner, will lead the project as the Principal Investigator. Drs. Lauren Watkins, former President of NNOCCI and Principal of Social Science, Research, and Behavior Change at Impact by Design, and Emily Moberg, interim NNOCCI President, will provide overall project oversight with Ratner.
“Climate change is a dire threat to the safety, security and health of communities – especially historically marginalized ones – but not all communities are being included equitably in what we do about it,” said Dr. Watkins.
Through a combination of online training, in-person practice, and a reliable national support system, we hope to make the conversation about climate change more inclusive so we can find better solutions together.
The project will enable NNOCCI and The Marine Mammal Center to expand and create a lasting impact through updated and more efficient training systems. They will accomplish this by:
- Developing and piloting a new train-the-trainer model: By offering more in-person courses, the program will be able to significantly increase the number of trainers, which in turn will allow for the expansion of nationwide trainings.
- Updating trainings through a lens of environmental equity and justice: Climate change has disproportionately impacted low-income communities and people of color. By creating new content, the program will help address the important intersectionality between justice and climate change.
- Creating a revamped virtual training platform: A more functional online platform will allow for increased accessibility to NNOCCI resources and training materials.
- Supporting the volunteer network of highly-skilled trainers and communicators: By hiring a part-time program manager, this will allow the program to run smoothly and empower volunteers to contribute more effectively, and ensure these new efforts are integrated and sustained.
Joining the partnership will be Knology, a collective of scientists, writers and educators with a mission to produce practical social science for a better world. Knology will lead the evaluation of new curricular elements. Additionally, Frameworks Institute, a think tank that helps mission-driven organizations communicate about social issues, will support the NNOCCI team in reviewing and updating existing curricular materials.
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