Climate Media Lab to Increase Communication Effort Around Climate Change

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 25, 2020) – Researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) recently launched the Climate Media Lab, an initiative to increase strategic communication strategies that motivate action on climate change. The project is funded through a two-year grant by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Led by Sabrina McCormick, PhD, MA, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health, the Climate Media Lab will build a platform to evaluate how stories related to climate change motivate audiences to act and identify narrative approaches that best convey these complex issues. The project focuses on four areas of study: justice, cleaning up air pollution, film impact, and communicating effectively about climate change.

“Climate change is the biggest public health crisis we will face in the 21st century,” McCormick said. “We need to have a greater understanding of how we can motivate society to act in order to protect public health.”

Media plays an influential role in attitude formation, risk perception, social-psychological conditions, and determinants of behavior, McCormick further explained, and improving the understanding of how media affects behavior change is critical to effectively addressing climate change. The researchers aim to create an instrument that helps filmmakers and other storytellers bolster future climate communication efforts.

Climate Media Lab is McCormick’s latest work in fusing together her expertise in public health, law and filmmaking to create social change that addresses the climate crisis. In December, she released “Sequestrada,” a film McCormick produced, co-directed, and co-wrote that used a fictional narrative to address how massive development in the Amazon and the resulting deforestation is contributing to climate change.

Click here to learn more about the Climate Media Lab.