Local Meteorologist Delivers More Than a 10 Day Forecast: Educating on Climate Change
Politicians aren’t trusted as a source for information on climate change, reported NPR on Tuesday. Also – unsurprisingly – scientists are the number one trusted source for climate change research.
What caught my ear during this Morning Edition story, however, was the second most trusted source: local TV weathercasters.
That’s where South Carolina’s WLTX’s Chief Meteorologist Jim Gandy comes in. Despite a prevalent distrust of climate models and lack of knowledge of the science of climate change among many meteorologists, Gandy had done his homework on climate science and made it his mission to educate viewers. His success in doing so, as shown by polling, demonstrates a principle we often emphasize in our workshops.
Often, the key to successful advocacy is the messenger. Meteorologists are trusted by viewers, so the public is receptive to clear explanations of climate science – a topic that has too often been made political issue rather than scientific issue.
The second key to Gandy’s success was making climate change local. For example, he talked about a spike in the amount and strength of poison ivy in South Carolina due to increased temperatures.
Listen to the full story here and see what else you hear that makes Gandy rise above the noise of skeptical weathermen, politicians who lack credibility and scientists who can be reluctant to turn their science into advocacy.