Paths to efficient communication in conservation biology
Convened by: Barbara Pietrzak, Szymon Drobniak, Zofia Prokop
In the times of misinformation, post-truth, fake facts and polarized attitudes, it is crucial to find efficient ways of reaching the public with current knowledge on the functioning of ecosystems under human pressures and on the ways our individual and collective behaviours contribute to the planetary wellbeing. As scientists, we are responsible for developing evidence-based approaches to preserving biological resources, but it is the general public, the citizens, that impact the surrounding environment, both directly (through everyday choices) and indirectly (through influence on policy makers).
One of the primary issues which make the task of communicating conservation science difficult is the fact that the content we are trying to communicate often conflicts with people’s strongly held prior beliefs, values, or/and perceived interests. Thus, how to communicate it in a way which offers a chance to get across the barriers of conflict, rather than strengthening them? Grappling with this question led us to study models of communication and conflict, developed by social scientists and practitioners. In the workshop, we would like to share and discuss some of what we have learned so far, as well as some of the challenges and questions which have arisen on the way. We will use an interactive setting, whereby participants will work in small groups to (i) discuss the proposed communication models and guidelines, in the context of a case study, and (ii) prepare, in checklist form, practical sets of key guidelines on how to reach the general public with honest, science-backed and respectful messages concerning conservation topics.
About us: We are evolutionary ecologists by profession, and conservationists and science communicators by heart. For the last two years we have been involved in launching and co-ordinating a grass-root movement of scientists in our country (‘Nauka dla Przyrody’), whereby one of our chief goals is communicating important conservation issues to broader public.
Some things you'll need during the workshop will be here: