Flagships or phase-out models for climate change communication? An analysis of the effects of climate change imagery on the audience


Master's Thesis, 2021

122 Pages, Grade: 1,2


Excerpt

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

Table of Figures

1. Introduction

2. Theoretical Part
2.1. Climate Change Communication
2.1.1. Media Coverage Trends in the 2000s
2.1.2. Stakeholders in Climate Change Communication
2.1.3. Challenges of Science Journalism
2.1.4. Psychological Effects of Communication
2.1.5. Science Literacy
2.1.6. Summary and Comment
2.2. Visual Climate Change Communication
2.2.1. Visual Science Communication
2.2.2. Definition: The Use of the Term Image
2.2.3. Climate Change Imagery
2.2.3.1. People
2.2.3.2. Causes
2.2.3.3. Impacts
2.2.3.4. The Role of Animal Imagery
2.2.3.5. Solutions
2.2.4. Summary and Hypothesis

3. Method
3.1. Excursus: Scientific Analysis Methods
3.1.1. Quantitative Analysis of Image Types
3.1.2. Visual Communication Process Model
3.2. Conception of the Research Plan
3.2.1. Sample Selection – Research Criteria
3.2.2. Explorative Research of Image Effects via Online Survey
3.2.3. Definition of the Target Group

4. Results
4.1. Quantitative Analysis of Image Types
4.1.1. Results Germany
4.1.2. Results UK
4.1.3. Results US
4.1.4. Results Instagram
4.1.5. Summary and Discussion
4.2. Explorative Research of Image Effects – Evaluation of the Survey Results
4.2.1. Basic Statistics
4.2.2. Previous Knowledge of the Participants
4.2.3. Excursus: Scale Definition
4.2.4. The Effects of People Imagery on the Participants
4.2.5. The Effects of Causes Imagery on the Participants
4.2.6. The Effects of Impacts Imagery on the Participants
4.2.7. The Effects of Solutions Imagery on the Participants

5. Discussion
5.1. Assessment on the Salience of the Flagships
5.2. Assessment on the Self-Efficacy-Level of Climate Change Solution Imagery
5.3. Conclusion

References

Appendix 1: Google Search Results Germany

Appendix 2: Google Search Results UK

Appendix 3: Google Search Results US

Appendix 4: Google Search Results Instagram

Appendix 5: Codebook

Appendix 6: Evaluation of Image Types and Categories

Appendix 7: Evaluation Online Survey / Basic Statistics

Appendix 8: Evaluation Online Survey / Dropouts

Appendix 9: The Effects of Protest Imagery / Statistic Details

Abstract

As climate change is a development that happens slowly and is widely invisible, many photographers have made it their mission to visualize its causes and impacts on society. Since the early 2000s, they have established visual synecdoches by using repetitive formulas for their images to show the vulnerability of natural and human systems. Whereas such repetition creates awareness and recognition within society, still there is also criticism that any attempt to visualize climate change often leads to the same representations of melting ice, Polar Bears or natural disasters.

The purpose of this work is to find out which repetitive motives are used by the media and how these motives affect the people. By means of a mixed method approach, it examines if the flagships of climate change imageries (such as the polar bear) still promote salience to the audience and if images of climate change solutions evoke positive feelings and can therefore be considered as motivating.

In order to answer the question which climate change imageries are used by the media, a quantitative analysis of image types according to Grittmann and Ammann is conducted. This analysis shows that there are leading motives which are repetitively used as visualizations to accompany online news reports, among them mainly images of causes (smokestacks) and impacts (wildfire, ice imagery and extreme weather). The media rarely report on climate change solutions.

In a second step, a sample of ten images of these leadings motives is selected for the explorative research of image effects. By means of the Visual Communication Process Model (Müller, Kappas, and Olk), it examines how people visually perceive these images, how they understand and interpret them and what emotions they cause. The effects are measured with a self-administered online questionnaire. The results of the survey reveal that the repetition of motives and the use of flagships does not lead to climate fatigue.

Anyway, there is only one solution imagery that clearly verifies the positive effects on the self-efficacy level of the audience. Although such imageries receive attention on social media, they have not reached the mass media so far which could serve as a starting point for future research.

Key Words: Climate Change Communication, Climate Change Imagery, Image Effects

List of Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table of Figures

Figure 1: Media Attention for Climate Change in Selected Countries

Figure 2: World Newspaper Coverage of Climate Change (2004-2020)

Figure 3: Actors of Science Communication

Figure 4: A Man in Front of a Flooded House

Figure 5: Greta Thunberg Demonstrates with Other Activists in Hamburg

Figure 6: Cover Image of 'An Inconvenient Truth'

Figure 7: A Family Car vs. A Traffic Jam

Figure 8: Greta Thunberg, Instagram Post of 16.08.2020

Figure 9: Satellite Picture of Europe

Figure 10: Flooded Village in Bangladesh

Figure 11: Flooded City of Fowey (UK)

Figure 12: Drought in Agartala, India

Figure 13: Sea Ice Melt Pods

Figure 14: Correlation between Disgust, Danger and Protection of Animals

Figure 15: Polar Bear on a Floe

Figure 16: "The poster boys of climate change"

Figure 17: Reactions on Climate Change Imagery

Figure 18: Wind Turbines at Haydard Hill, Scotland

Figure 19: The Visual Communication Process Model

Figure 20: Survey Post Example

Figure 21: Germany - Distribution of Image Types

Figure 22: Germany - Distribution of Image Categories

Figure 23: UK - Distribution of Image Types

Figure 24: UK - Distribution of Image Categories

Figure 25: US - Distribution of Image Types

Figure 26: US - Distribution of Image Categories

Figure 27: Instagram - Distribution of Image Types

Figure 28: Instagram - Distribution of Image Categories

Figure 29: Total Distribution of Image Types

Figure 30: Top 5 Image Categories

Figure 31: Recap: VCPM - The Influence of Knowledge on Interpretation and Emotions

Figure 32: Age of the Participants

Figure 33: Gender of the Participants

Figure 34: Participants - Country of Residence

Figure 35: Participants Evaluation on the Balance of News Coverage

Figure 36: Participants Entries on Typical Climate Change Images

Figure 37: The Effects of Protest Imagery on the Participants

Figure 38: Participants Assessment on Plastic Pollution Imagery

Figure 39: The Effects of Smokestacks Imagery on the Participants

Figure 40: Participants Assessment on the Occurence of Melting Ice Imagery linked to Climate Change

Figure 41: Participants Assessment on Ice Imagery

Figure 42: Participants Assessment on the Occurence of Polar Bear Imagery linked to Climate Change

Figure 43: The Effects of Polar Bear Imagery on the Participants

Figure 44: Participants Assessment on the Connection between Coral Reefs and Climate Change

Figure 45: Participants Entries on the Message of the Corals Image

Figure 46: Participants Assessment on Heat/Drought Imagery

Figure 47: Participants Assessment on the Occurence of Wind Turbines Imagery linked to Climate Change

Figure 48: Participants Assessment on the Motivating Factor of Wind Turbines Imagery

Figure 49: Participants Assessment on Their Personal Influence to Make a Difference

Figure 50: Participants Entries on the Message of the Green Stocks Image

Figure 51: Participants Previous Knowledge on Green Stocks

Figure 52: Participants Willingness to Invest in Green Stocks

Figure 53: Participants Assessment on Zero Waste Shopping Imagery

Figure 54: The Flagships of Visual Climate Change Communication

Figure 55: Comparison of the Image Effects

1. Introduction

The mass media coverage of and about scientific content is a decisive factor in the everyday decision-making processes of recipients. Mass media spread and moderate information on scientific research and thereby make it understandable for laypersons. Thus, it can be suggested that the mass media serve as information source for climate science and politics for the general public (Taddicken & Wicke, 2019, p. 146).

Anyway, climate change is a complex subject that requires detailed scientific descriptions. Many people do not experience climate change directly or personally. It is an unobstructive issue that reaches people primarily via communication. Therefore, communicators need to find answers on how to explain something that is basically invisible and which consequences are hardly assessable (Schäfer & Bonfadelli, 2017, p. 316).

Since the very beginning of science history, scientists have used illustrations to visualize, complement or proof their theoretical texts. Especially within the field of natural sciences, illustrations serve as visualizations of indiscernible or hypothetical phenomena (Geise, 2019b, pp. 314–315). Amann and Knorr Cetina put it as follows: “in the natural sciences […] the notion of evidence is built upon the difference between what one can see and what one may think, or have heard, or believe” (Amann & Knorr Cetina, 1988, p. 134).

Many photojournalists and documentary photographers have used the invisibility of climate change as starting point for their works since the early 2000s. They have made it their mission to show and illustrate physical phenomena and to underline the importance of climate change on society by explaining its causes and impacts (Heine, 2019, pp. 55–56). During an analysis of 19 different projects of climate change photography, Heine noticed that photographers often use repetitive formulas for their images to show the vulnerability of natural and human systems (ibid., pp. 313-314).

Whereas the repetition of motives creates recognition on the one hand, it might evoke a certain kind of climate fatigue on the other hand. According to the results of a group discussion guided by Taddicken and Wicke, participants criticize that any attempt to visualize climate change always leads to the same representations of polar bears, smokestacks and natural disasters (Taddicken & Wicke, 2019, p. 158).

The Climate Outreach project frames it as follows: “Climate change has an image problem. The images that define climate change shape the way it is understood and acted upon. But polar bears, melting ice and arrays of smoke stacks don’t convey the urgent human stories at the heart of the issue” (Climate Visuals, n.d.).

This claim has been taken as starting point for the research conducted in this Master Thesis. At first, the theoretical part delivers some background information on climate change communication in general. The field of research is defined as part of science communication which poses different challenges to the stakeholders as well as to the journalists reporting on climate change. In a next step, the current state of research in terms of visual climate change communication is presented.

The Thesis does not only focus on the image content but on the image effects as well. The four visual domains identified by O’Neill are taken as guideline for the theoretical part as well as for the conducted research: people, causes, impacts and solutions (O’Neill, 2019, p. 7). A mixed method approach is chosen to examine both aspects: the image content and its effects on the audience.

The first purpose of the Master Thesis is to find out which climate change imageries are used by the media. The research thereby focuses on online news websites as they serve as the main source for news in the selected countries (Germany, UK and US). Especially within the US, Social Media play an important role as news source, too. (AudienceProject, 2020). Therefore, an additional search on the images shared on Instagram is conducted as well. The image content is analyzed and categorized by means of a quantitative analysis of image types according to Grittmann and Ammann.

In a second step, a sample of ten images is selected for the explorative research of image effects. By means of the Visual Communication Process Model [VCPM] by Müller et al., it is evaluated how people visually perceive images picturing climate change, how they understand and interpret them and what emotions they cause. The effects are measured with a self-administered online survey.

Initially, the results of both researches are presented, interpreted and discussed separately from each other. A summary and comprehensive conclusion completes this work.

2. Theoretical Part

2.1. Climate Change Communication

2.1.1. Media Coverage Trends in the 2000s

Climate change is a relevant media subject. A lot of studies examine the quantitative aspects of media coverage with reference to climate change issues showing that the media attention has risen since the mid-2000s (Schäfer & Bonfadelli, 2017, pp. 327–329). Figure 1 shows how the media attention has developed in selected countries since the mid-90s. The peak is to be seen in the UK where climate change issues represent almost 4% of the media coverage in 2010.

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Figure 1: Media Attention for Climate Change in Selected Countries

Source: Own representation based on Schäfer, Ivanova, & Schmidt, 2012, pp. 127–128

The content refers to certain events, mainly weather phenomena or political events such as the yearly Earth Summit. Journalists interpret hurricanes or floods as symptoms of climate change and thereby raise attention at the audience. In this context, Schäfer and Bonfadelli describe it as the socialization of climate change. The focus of the coverage changed from scientific examination to the effects it has on society. Whereas climate change was primarily covered by science journalism in the early 90s, it has become more diversified containing political, economic and social aspects, too (Schäfer & Bonfadelli, 2017, p. 329).

A longitudinal study on climate change imagery in UK and US newspapers within the first decade of the 21st century delivers similar results. The visual coverage has rapidly increased since 2004. Anyway, it is not only the increasing number of images that is remarkable. Just as the coverage in general, the image content has changed as well. Therefore, O’Neill divided the decade into two phases and characterized them individually as follows.

Phase A (2001-2004) was characterized by the use of distancing visual frames. Photos of polar landscapes indicate a distant climate risk and in general the level of visual coverage was quite low. Phase B (2005-2009) in contrast showed a rapid increase of visual coverage and contested visual frames. O’Neill links this development to an increase in political and societal attention triggered by several events such as the Kyoto protocol and the film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. However, the growing public attention was accompanied with climate skepticism and the proliferation of doubt as concerns about the costs for change came up (O’Neill, 2019, pp. 13–15).

The world financial crisis in 2009 could be considered as one of the reasons for the concerns. People were worried about the economic situation and feared that the costs for climate change may even worsen the crisis. As the economy began to slowly rise again in 2010, the public anxiety declined and a growing concern for environmental issues could be observed. Reports from the US reveal that the increase in concern closely correlates with media coverage of climate change. “The three – public opinion, economic well being or malaise, and general media coverage – are closely intertwined” (Svoboda, 2020).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2: World Newspaper Coverage of Climate Change (2004-2020)

Source: Boykoff, Daly, et al., 2020

As can be seen in figure 2, the media coverage remained on a rather low level until the mid of the latest decade. In 2014, the US and China committed to a binding legal agreement on emission reduction targets and reaffirmed their cooperation one year later at the United Nations [UN] Climate Conference in Paris. Although one may consider this as a turning point in global climate politics, the media attention towards climate change still stayed far below the earlier years. It was another event that triggered the coverage: the Volkswagen emission scandal was a well-covered issue raising worldwide media attention (Boykoff & Luedecke, 2016, pp. 11–12).

In contrast to its signing, the withdrawal from the 2015 UN Climate Agreement by US President Donald Trump rose more attention. Especially in June of the year 2017, the Media and Climate Change Observatory (MeCCO) observed a high level of coverage in the US media as well as on a national level in Australia, Canada, India, Spain and the UK (Boykoff et al., 2018).

Whereas the media reported mainly on political events and persons throughout the first part of the decade, the latest news focused more on extreme weather conditions that are linked to climate change such as the Sub-Saharan African drought and Australian bushfires. In addition to that, global youth-led movements have changed the media landscape since 2019. Personalities like Greta Thunberg “contributed as ‘discernible human influences’ on media coverage of climate change across the year” (Boykoff, Katzung, & Nacu-Schmidt, 2020).

At this point it is important to know that the MeCCO monitors newspapers, radio and TV reports only (MeCCO, 2020). Their statistics do not include any data taken from the new media such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter where there are numerous accounts, posts and hashtags related to climate change and what is known as the FridaysForFuture [FFF] movement. Up to now, the scientific research on climate change communication in social media is quite limited. The main part of the scholarly work focuses on big data analysis of text-based social media communications, primarily executed on Twitter (Pearce, Niederer, Özkula, & Sánchez Querubín, 2019, p. 8).

One of the key findings of these studies is that mainstream media remain prevalent in the discussion despite the widely spread argumentation that social media platforms disturb common media power structures and reduce the influence of mainstream media organizations. Furthermore, just as one can observe a political polarization of the topic, polarization is a persistent research subject in social media, too. A network analysis showed that the climate change discussions on Twitter are led by active users (either activist or sceptic) with strong attitudes separating the community into like-minded communities. Although there are some mixed-attitude communities as well, the qualitative content of these interactions has not yet been analyzed (ibid., pp. 5-6).

In order to further evaluate the polarization of climate change communication, it is important to know its stakeholders first. The following chapter will take a closer look on the participants of the discussion.

2.1.2. Stakeholders in Climate Change Communication

“Frames highlight some bits of information […], thereby elevating them in salience” (Entman, 1993, p. 53). Communicators select different aspects of a certain topic and make them more noticeable and meaningful than others in order “to promote a particular problem definition, causal interpretation, moral evaluation and/or treatment recommendation” (ibid., p. 52).

As the media are the central source of information for many people, the different stakeholders of climate change communication seek to place their position in the media to influence the perceptions and decision-making processes of their respective audiences. A lot of researchers examined these efforts based on agenda-building theories. Summarizing their descriptions on the input of human, monetary and symbolic resources, there are four different frames leading the debate on climate change (Schäfer & Bonfadelli, 2017, pp. 323–326).

The anthropogenic climate change as global problem

This frame was established in the early 90s already and emphasizes the existence of climate change caused by humans. Stakeholders of this frame are convinced that socio-political measures are necessary to fight climate change such as limiting the global warming to a maximum of 2°C above the pre-industrial level. The main representatives of this frame are well-respected scientists, non-governmental organizations [NGOs] and – in many countries – an essential part of the political landscape (ibid., p. 325).

Scientific Uncertainty

The scientific uncertainty frame came up in the mid of the 90s. Representatives of the US and Australian oil and automotive industry argue that yet there is no unambiguous evidence for the existence of the anthropogenic climate change and that any actions taken to slow down global warming would come too early and should therefore be avoided. It is a popular frame among industry representatives, conservative think tanks and politicians, especially common in the Anglo-Saxon regions. In Europe and other countries, it has not been that widespread and lost further influence since the mid-2000s (ibid., p. 325).

Economic Costs

This position accepts the anthropogenic climate change but emphasizes the high costs of any counter steering measures. Therefore, climate protection restrains economic progress and could potentially cost millions of jobs. Representatives of industries that are highly dependent on fossil fuels such as oil, automotive and coal, formed this frame during the negotiations of the Kyoto protocol (ibid., pp. 325-326).

Ecological Modernization

Stakeholders of this frame acknowledge climate change as the central challenge for humankind and underline the importance of technological progress for the fight against global warming. Developed countries and companies could serve as pioneers which will in turn lead to new jobs, economic success and national economic growth. Representatives of this frame are European multinational corporations, NGOs and politicians from the liberal left. Established in Europe of the late 90s, this frame is still commonly used in many countries (ibid., p. 326).

The Media

Each stakeholder tries to communicate his frame through the media but still, the media have their own frames and follow their own rules of storytelling. The media should report impartially on different aspects of climate change in order to comprehensively inform the audience. Anyway, there are many reasons how and why journalists are influenced at multiple scales. Among others, they need to stick to regulatory frameworks of their editorial offices or the country they work in. Furthermore, they face institutional pressures such as short timelines, always carrying the weight to have the story first and make it an economic success (Boykoff & Luedecke, 2016, pp. 12–14). There are several interrelated factors and dynamics that influence journalistic frames and the journalist’s work in general. The following chapter will offer a deeper insight into the challenges of science journalism.

2.1.3. Challenges of Science Journalism

Journalists are important gatekeepers who decide which contents, actors and frames are represented by the media. Different surveys indicate that climate change communication is covered by journalists from varying resorts such as science, politics and economics (Schäfer & Bonfadelli, 2017, pp. 326–327).

Among these resorts, especially science journalism has been confronted with economic and structural erosion during the last years. Journalists often lack the time or the budget to investigate a story in detail. Science divisions diminish or get closed completely. Editorial offices outsource their tasks and hand them over to freelancers. The fees are so low that the freelancers struggle to pay their bills for a living. For monetary reasons, they are not able to conduct extensive research, participate in laboratory tests or science conferences which in turn leads to the situation that sometimes they undertake the complete research online. Anyway, not being able to experience a story at the spot could make it difficult to deliver a well-balanced report in some cases (Schwägerl, 2020, p. 186).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 3: Actors of Science Communication

Source: Own representation based on Könneker, 2020, p. 27

In general, it is to say that the number of actors in the field of science communication increases. It’s not only the journalists anymore who communicate scientific information to the audience but scientists themselves, public relations agencies and other actors get in contact with society as well (see fig. 3). Whereas journalists are supposed to report independently, the motivation of the other actors is not always clear at first sight.

These developments might have serious consequences for the public. Science corporations and labs hire professional communication staff, headhunt for journalists and build new PR departments while the number of science and technology journalists is decreasing. What if editorial offices just adopt the communication products of these departments without asking critical questions (Schwägerl, 2020, pp. 186–187)?

If the stakeholders and their frames (see chap. 2.1.2.) are not questioned by the media anymore, how can the audience build an own opinion based on different arguments? Corporations, NGO’s and politicians have the chance to bypass the journalists as gatekeepers and address their audiences directly via social media or other platforms. Such platforms work with algorithms to personalize the flood of information for their users. Based on the users’ interests, algorithms choose sources and contents that they consider as relevant and preferentially present these results to the user (Schweiger, Weber, Prochazka, & Brückner, 2018, pp. 7–10).

2.1.4. Psychological Effects of Communication

Taking this into consideration, it is almost logical that the debate on climate change communication is becoming polarized, especially when it is led online. If the user once shows interest in one of the stakeholders’ frames, the algorithm will notice that and select further content based on this information. Simultaneously, other stakeholders’ frames get sorted out automatically. Könneker describes the psychological effects that work on people whenever they share or discuss information and opinions (Könneker, 2020, pp. 34–39).

Confirmation Bias: People preferably select, interpret and remember information that confirm their already existing perception. In social media, this quite natural behavior gets supported by technological effects such as algorithms and leads to the formation of homogeneous and polarized communities, so called echo chambers.

Partisan Ban: People devalue information from opposing groups. At the same time, incoherent or false information of the own reference group are rated softly.

Motivated Reasoning: Both previous mentioned biases can be considered as variations of motivated reasoning. People are never completely neutral. They always select, use and value information based on an inner motivation. From a psychological view, this is kind of an attempt to regulate emotions. Cognitive dissonance occurs once one tries to unite contradictory moral concepts or assumptions and leads to psychological stress. In order to regulate this stress, people react positively on information which support their original opinion or feeling.

Backfire Effect: If false information gets proven as such by a neutral actor, sometimes this will make people defend the wrong proven information even more.

Group Polarization: No matter if offline or online, people tend to speak out an already existing, predominant direction. The same arguments get repeatedly activated in the memory and are therefore easier to recall on both sides: the speakers and the audience. Some participants sharpen the tone of the discussion to raise attention which leads to the phenomenon that other participants tend to have extremer attitudes afterwards than they had before.

Emotional Contagion: People who take part in group discussions tend to adapt the affective state of their peer. Studies showed that Facebook users often post happy or sad comments after reading their friends posts in an equal tone. In this connection, content which raises anger spreads exceptionally successful in online environments.

False News Value Effect: Könneker adds this one as suggestion to the other six established psychological effects of communication. It describes the dynamics of fake news and tries to explain why they spread quickly in social media but also in general. He suggests that the sharers could increase their social reputation by sharing important or surprising news.

The number of science-skeptical voices does not increase but their voices become louder. The changing media landscape and the media usage behavior enable these voices to contort the discourse. The before mentioned psychological effects of communication further support these developments. Weißkopf considers it as alarming when people do not believe in the scientists’ statements regarding climate change anymore. Therefore, he states that science and science communication need to regain and keep the audiences’ trust. The target must be to enable the audience to – at least partially – range and rate scientific information, perceptions and results on their own. This requires effort and literacy, so called science literacy (Weißkopf, 2020, pp. 227–229).

2.1.5. Science Literacy

Throughout the years, many definitions of science literacy have emerged. The Committee on Science Literacy and Public Perception of Science identified seven commonly proposed aspects of individual science literacy among these definitions and describes them as follows (Snow & Dibner, 2016, pp. 30–31).

Foundational Literacies include textual and visual literacy as well as numeracy and a basic understanding of graphs and charts. Being able to interpret a text is the foundation of science literacy. Snow and Dibner point out that it must be distinguished from “disciplinary literacy” which is the skill to understand specific forms of specialized texts.

Content Knowledge is another decisive factor of science literacy. It involves understanding scientific terms, phrases, concepts and facts. Anyway, the scope of required knowledge is widely discussed and not agreed upon.

Understanding of Scientific Practices means the ability of non-scientists to design and evaluate scientific research in order to assess whether a question has been approached according to scientific standards or not.

Identifying and Judging Appropriate Scientific Expertise is about the standing and the prestige of scientists. Many experts consider it as an important part of science literacy because people need to judge the creditability of the scientific source.

Epistemic Knowledge is related to the before mentioned dimensions but refers to a deeper understanding of the principles of scientific work. Such knowledge enables people to understand the strengths of science but also its limitations in terms of uncertainty.

Cultural Understanding of Science is a less widely discussed dimension of science literacy. It is based on the assumption that science as a major human achievement interrelates with and contributes to society.

Dispositions and Habits of Mind such as a general curiosity and open-mindedness shape how people engage with science and may therefore be necessary preconditions of science literacy.

That demands a great deal of the audience. Considering the aforementioned aspects, science literacy appears to be something for sophisticated societies only. Therefore, the actors of science communication use visual representations in order to reach a broad audience of laypersons and to make science understandable to them.

Images serve as visual proofs of scientific perceptions and may contribute to knowledge transfer. They illustrate complex correlations which are difficult to comprehend and thereby make scientific arguments visible. This specific associative logic of visual communication offers access to intricate knowledge not only on a personal level but on a societal level, too. Thus, images can support the implementation of new knowledge bases within society (Geise, 2019b, pp. 317–318).

2.1.6. Summary and Comment

As summary of chapter 2.1 it is to say that the media coverage of climate change has increased within the last decade which seems to be a hint for a growing public interest in the topic. Anyway, the available research is mainly related to traditional mainstream media and different quantitative analysis executed on Twitter. So, especially the research conducted on the new media is quite limited. Based on the number of monthly active users, Twitter is not even in the Top10 of the biggest social networks and messenger services anymore. The big players such as Facebook, YouTube or Instagram are largely excluded from the discussion (We Are Social, Various sources [Company data], Hootsuite, & DataReportal, 2020).

With millions of users not taken into consideration by scientific research, it remains unclear which direction the public online discourse really takes. As the technical basis of social media networks intensifies the psychological effects of communication, it is suggested that the discussion becomes increasingly polarized but the scientific evidence for this assumption is missing.

In any case – no matter if online or offline – it is always worth to have a second thought on the communicator, his background and his motivation. However, the requirements of science literacy appear to be disconnected from reality. It presumes a high educational level of the society and this is – at least for the time being – wishful thinking rather than the current state of play. Some regions in the world still struggle with literacy in general, among them Africa, South Asia and the Arabian states with an illiterate rate of appr. one third (UNDP, 2019). One cannot expect people to understand the complex processes of scientific research when they do not even have access to the basic education on reading and writing.

So, how to reach these people? How to reach people that may have access to education but still cannot understand theoretic scientific texts? Science literacy can be measured by textual questions about scientific content. Interviewees are given a text and need to respond to text-related questions after reading it. Although science literacy has slightly improved in recent years, still 16% of the interviewees are not able to answer these questions correctly. A similar study using images instead of texts shows different results: only 0.8% of the respondents could not recognize the image content correctly (Bucchi & Saracino, 2016, pp. 813–814).

According to these results, it can be assumed that images play an important role in communicating scientific content. Visual communication may be the key to address a larger audience. Chapter 2.2 provides deeper insights into the field of visual science communication with a focus on climate change imagery. Based on current research findings, it describes which images are used in climate change communication and what effects these images have on the audience.

2.2. Visual Climate Change Communication

2.2.1. Visual Science Communication

Since the very beginning of science history, scientists have used illustrations to visualize, complement or proof their theoretical texts; among them drawings, figures, graphs or later photographs. Especially in the field of natural sciences, illustrations have played an important role during the centuries. They have served as visualizations of indiscernible or hypothetical phenomena such as embryos and its different development stages for example (Geise, 2019b, pp. 314–315).

Amann and Knorr Cetina bring it to the point as follows: “in the natural sciences evidence appears to be embodied in visibility; in a literal sense, it is embodied in what we can see on a data display. Thus understood, the notion of evidence is built upon the difference between what one can see and what one may think, or have heard, or believe” (Amann & Knorr Cetina, 1988, p. 134).

There is a wide range of different kinds of scientific visualizations and as the technical progress continues, even more possibilities of visual representation emerge. One only needs to think of three-dimensional computer animations of simulations. At this point it is important to state that scientific images are not necessarily a copy of reality but rather the result of a scientific translation process. Accordingly, visual science communication includes not only photographs but other representations as well such as numeric information, physiological processes in an electrocardiogram or spatial correlations in a map (Geise, 2019b, pp. 315–316).

2.2.2. Definition: The Use of the Term Image

As there are so many different forms of appearance of scientific images, it is important to define the use of the word image for the following chapters of the Master Thesis at first. This work will focus on photographs of climate change. Therefore, the word image will be used as a synonym for photograph. Similar terms such as imageries, pictures or visualizations might substitute the word photograph, too.

Authenticity has always served as major attribute of photographs. The camera is used as mechanical instrument to create a precise and veridic representation of reality. Scientists discovered the value of photographs in the late 19th century, especially with regards of their objectivity and reliability (Krämer & Lobinger, 2019, pp. 107–108). According to this basic understanding, images can be considered as witnesses of climate change.

Nevertheless, it is to say that the characterization of photography is ambivalent. There is a broad discussion whether it is a copy of reality or rather the interpretation of reality by the photographer. He decides on the selection, framing and way of presenting the motive, so the expression and meaning of an image can never be objective. Furthermore, sophisticated picture and picture editing technologies in the digital age allow even amateurs to take an almost perfect photo (ibid., pp. 108-113). Such developments put the credibility of photographs into question.

2.2.3. Climate Change Imagery

The photojournalist Gary Braasch initiated a long-term documentary project dedicated “to tell the story of rapid climate change […] and the actions it makes necessary” (Braasch, 2014). He considered climate change to be a “generally misunderstood and muted issue” (ibid.) because the influence of human activities on global warming was still largely excluded from the public discussion in the late 90s. It was his aim to correct this misunderstanding and to make climate change visible und thereby understandable for the public.

Since the early 2000s, many photographers have followed Braasch’s approach using the invisibility of climate change as starting point for their work. During her analysis of 19 different projects of photojournalists and documentary photographers, Heine noticed that different strategies are used to solve the problem of invisibility.

One strategy is to capture the vulnerability of natural and human systems. Photographers use ideals of intact ecosystems and contrast them with landscapes that are strongly impacted by climate change, such as a vivid coral reef vs. a dead coral reef (Heine, 2019, pp. 230–231). Another strategy is to draw the attention to the actors and practices of climate research like the portrait of a researcher at work (ibid., p. 310).

O’Neill identifies a total of four different visual domains whereof three dominate the visual imagery coverage: images of identifiable people, causes and impacts of climate change. The fourth dimension of solutions covers only a small proportion of the overall coverage (O’Neill, 2019, p. 7) but will be taken into consideration anyway because of the perceived effects such images have on the audience. Besides the pure coverage, the image effects are of particular interest, too.

In order to acquire some deeper knowledge on the effects of climate change imagery, O’Neill, Boykoff, Niemeyer, and Day conducted a study asking participants to rank climate change images on dimensions of salience (“this image makes me feel climate change is important” (O’Neill et al., 2013, p. 415)) and efficacy (“this image makes me feel I can do something about climate change” (ibid., p. 416)).

It turned out that images of climate impacts were ranked highest in terms of salience, among them aerial views of floods, ice sheets, deforestation, polar bears, cracked ground and coral reefs. Images of climate pollution such as smokestacks, often characterized by feelings of disgust, promoted salience, too. However, the same images were ranked lowest in terms of efficacy. That means that although they make climate change seem important, they also disengage the viewers. In contrast to that, images of energy futures (e.g. solar panels, electric cars) and lifestyle choices (e.g. red meat, ecohouse) appeared to be empowering and enhance feelings of self-efficacy (ibid., pp. 416-420).

The following chapters offer a deeper insight into the different dimensions, show examples and evaluate the image effects on the audience based on current research findings. Unless otherwise stated, the examples are collected from the library of www.climatevisuals.org because it is an evidence-based climate change photography resource where all images are captioned with an explanation of what they show and how they stick to the seven principles for a more attributable and diverse visual language for climate change (Climate Visuals, 2016). Whenever it was possible, the original sources of the photos are stated in the list of references. Where it was not possible to access the original sources, these photos are then handled as screenshots for research purposes, retrieved from the Climate Visuals Website.

2.2.3.1. People

The people domain is dominated by images of politicians (O’Neill, 2019, p. 7) but research suggests that such images are not considered as authentic. Viewers regard them as staged photographs with only few emotional power. Some even claim that politicians abuse the topic, just pretending to be interested in climate change to catch voters, which makes them less trustworthy (Climate Visuals, 2016, p. 19).

Across countries, there is considerable consistency that images of identifiable people do not promote salience. On the one hand, viewers miss the connection between the displayed people and climate change. On the other hand, especially images of politicians are levelled with a lack of trust, leadership and transparent policy action. In one study, images of Bob Geldof, Prince Charles and Richard Branson are chosen as representations of public figures linked to climate change issues and although some participants consider them as inspiring, far more judge them as guilty of greenwash or just being ineffectual (O’Neill et al., 2013, p. 419).

Nevertheless, the presence of people in climate change photography is important. Images that show humans expressing an identifiable emotion can be powerful, especially when it is only one or two individuals rather than many.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 4: A Man in Front of a Flooded House

Source: Saadati, n.d.

The “Carpet in the Flood” shows a man wearing a carpet in front of a destroyed house. It seems as if the carpet is the only thing he could have saved from the floods. It was taken by Kianoush Saadati in Golestan Province of Iran after some heavy rain falls. Research shows that pictures of a devastating flood paired with a personal story is likely to be remembered by the viewer, especially if the subject makes eye-contact.

Nevertheless, it is to say that such imagery provokes strong negative emotional reactions which might create a certain distance. Therefore, it is suggested to pair them with constructive messages that offer solutions in order to direct the viewer ‘s attention and emotions in a pro-active way (Climate Visuals, 2016, p. 14).

When thinking about people and climate change, there is one person to name who has dominated the discourse in the recent years: Greta Thunberg. The Swedish pupil started the FFF movement in August 2018 by quitting school and protesting against climate change policies. Since then, the media attention for this “young heroine” (Bergmann & Ossewaarde, 2020, p. 282) is huge. Bergmann and Ossewaarde analyzed the German newspaper coverage of Greta Thunberg with special regards to ageist depictions. They found out that the construct of her as an icon can be found in 71 out of the 98 analyzed articles presenting her as a role model and a leader.

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Figure 5: Greta Thunberg Demonstrates with Other Activists in Hamburg

Source: EPA, 2019

The German newspapers FAZ and taz frame Greta as an icon of green-minded behavior underlining this impression with different rhetorical elements. They often compare her to other prominent and influential personalities such as Donald Trump or Abba. This very abstract and exaggerated iconicity creates a certain distance because the reader/viewer cannot identify himself with this very special girl (Bergmann & Ossewaarde, 2020, pp. 282–283).

Protest imageries in general need to be handled carefully as they might arouse negative reactions or even cynicism. Images of environmental protestors often appear to be hypocritical such as a child taken to a protest carrying balloons and holding a foam finger. Viewers consider such images as “a classic example of jumping on the bandwagon” (Climate Visuals, 2016, p. 36). Again, this is a matter of credibility and authenticity: participants of climate protests should not be framed as people having a fun day out (ibid., pp. 36-37).

2.2.3.2. Causes

Almost non-existent before 2006, smokestacks imagery has become a flagship of climate change imagery in recent years. It is often used to symbolize the causes of global warming by indicating the contribution of traditional industries driven by fossil fuels.

O’Neill presumes that the movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ might be the reason for smokestacks becoming icons of climate change imagery. The documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim used a designed combination of smokestacks producing a cyclone on its cover (see fig. 6). As on the film cover, such imagery typically features dark-colored scenes of industrial landscapes where towering chimneys blow huge clouds over the scenery. Another variation is the coloring in red and orange tones evoking feelings of heat, threat and danger (O’Neill, 2019, p. 10).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 6: Cover Image of 'An Inconvenient Truth'

Source: Guggenheim, 2006

Anyway, it is noticeable that although prior studies have found smokestack imagery to be especially salient, they seem to have only few emotional effects when paired with texts (Feldman & Hart, 2018, p. 598). Research suggests that viewers could easily understand such classic images and quickly assign them to climate change but at the same time, they provoke cynicism and fatigue. The more often an image is used, the more lessens its impact (Climate Visuals, 2016, p. 20).

Instead of reusing the same motives in the media coverage, it is recommended to link the causes of climate change to individual daily behavior. Anyway, this should be done at scale. People do not necessarily understand the link between their daily routine and climate change. They may not recognize their individual contribution or if they do, they tend to immediately defend themselves.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 7: A Family Car vs. A Traffic Jam

Source: Climate Visuals, 2016, pp. 25–26

Figure 7 should explain what is meant by communicating climate change causes at scale. A family stepping into a car is not recognized as a problematic behavior but as a normal daily activity. In contrast to that, the traffic jam is more easily related to causes of global warming (Climate Visuals, 2016, pp. 25–26).

The underlying motive of both, smokestack and traffic images, is carbon emission. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] 4th assessment report, the successive increase of carbon dioxide in the air since mid of the 19th century is the driving force of climate change. The industrialization accompanied by increasing production and the use of fossil fuels are considered to be the main causes of this development. As you cannot take pictures of a non-visible gas, many photographers use the originator to visualize carbon emission (Heine, 2019, 232-233).

It was two year ago, that a post of Greta Thunberg got viral and opened up another discussion on carbon emission and traffic. This time it was not about cars but about planes: it was a photo of herself wearing a shirt with a crossed out airplane on it, a clear statement against air travel. The hastag #jagstannarpåmarken below her post can be translated with: I’ll stay on the ground (Thunberg, 2018).

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Figure 8: Greta Thunberg, Instagram Post of 16.08.2020

Source: Thunberg, 2018

The media picked up the discourse on air travel and since then have frequently reported on the consequences of travelling by plane on the environment. Often, such reports are accompanied by photographs of aircrafts, its turbines or vapor trails, see for instance Vidal, 2019. The effects on the audience of both, articles and images, are difficult to interpret. Whereas there are a lot of people saying that they take sustainability into consideration when planning their travel, only few actually do so. There are less people buying sustainable travels than there must be according to survey results (Raab, 2019).

- Comment -

It remains to be seen if and how this discussion will be continued after the Covid19 crisis. While this is valid for a lot of other points, too, especially the aviation and the tourism industry face a lot of challenges. On 15.12.2020, the big German airports Düsseldorf (DUS) and Munich (MUC) register a loss of more than 80% with regards to the number of flights compared to the valuation date 17.12.2019 of the previous year (Eurocontrol, 2020). With almost every business trip cancelled in 2020 and replaced by digital meetings and video conferences, there are reasonable doubts if business travel will ever be used as frequently as it was in the past. It is a different story for the private sector. Will people rather stay at home because they discovered the beauty of their home or will they travel more than ever because they feel like they need to catch up what they have missed? And will sustainability play any role at all then?

- Comment End -

Another point is that using the internet, for example as alternative to personal meetings, produces carbon emissions, too. Recent studies discovered that if streaming services such as Amazon or Netflix were a country, they produce as much carbon dioxide as Chile. If you compare Google to the carbon emissions of a car, the search engine drives around the world every ten minutes (Leidinger, 2019).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 9: Satellite Picture of Europe

Source: Image by El Nino, 2019, taken from Leidinger, 2019

Yet there are very few attempts to visualize this aspect. Saskia Leidinger uses a satellite picture of Europe to illustrate her article on the climate-damaging use of the internet (see fig. 9). The image equalizes energy with light and so it is not very surprising that the industry regions in Western Europe and Northern Italy as well as the big capitals such as Madrid, Paris and London shine the brightest.

2.2.3.3. Impacts

Images of climate impacts are attention-grabbing and emotionally powerful but often leave the viewer helpless and/or hopeless because they lack practical guidance on actions that can be taken (Climate Visuals, 2016, pp. 29–30). There are several flagships within this category which deserve a detailed consideration: images of extreme weather, among them floods, drought and heat and images of melting ice.

Extreme weather

Although the link between extreme weather events and climate change is hotly debated, images of such events are used as documentary evidence of the reality of climate change. Extreme weather is often disastrous and therefore considered to be helpful to convince people of the dangers and threats posed by global warming. Whereas climate change is a largely abstract phenomena, extreme weather is tangible displaying the “perceptible real-world consequences for human beings” (Nerlich & Jaspal, 2014, p. 257).

However, research suggests that recipients often consider reports on climate change issues as unilateral, little innovative and sensationalist, especially when it comes to the media coverage of natural disasters. Broadcasting shocking images and videos raises attention on short notice but at the same time leads to long-term disappointment and frustration (Taddicken & Wicke, 2019, pp. 159–163).

Different studies in health psychology and climate change show that the communicator should avoid the risk of overwhelming the audience. Fear appeals can not only disengage the viewer but also lead to denial of the problem. Apocalyptic messaging can even result in questioning the messengers’ trustworthiness (Thomas-Walters, McNulty, & Veríssimo, 2020, p. 1140).

Floods

According to Nerlich and Jaspal, flood images can be separated into two groups: flooding in developing countries depict extreme weather as geographically distant while flooding in the industrial world represents it as closer to home (Nerlich & Jaspal, 2014, p. 262).

Figure 10 shows 10-year-old Moyna who is taking a bath in front of her flooded home in Bangladesh. She tries to keep clean but at the same time bathing in contaminated flood water makes her vulnerable to water-borne diseases and respiratory problems (Rahman Raqu, 2009). In contrast to that, figure 11 shows a flooded street in the city of Fowey (UK).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 10: Flooded Village in Bangladesh

Quelle: Rahman Raqu, 2009

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 11: Flooded City of Fowey (UK)

Quelle: Prawny, n.d.

Nerlich and Jaspal analyzed a total of 25 images of floods similar to the ones shown in figure 10 and 11. They came to the conclusion that visual representations of extreme weather in developing countries tend to depict the resilience of people. They are represented as if they are just “continuing with life, rather than ‘fighting for’ their lives” (Nerlich & Jaspal, 2014, p. 263) which distances them from the category of being victims. Therefore, they assume that the level of compassion at the viewer’s side is not that high.

In contrast to that, viewers from the Western world are expected to identify the kind of buildings shown in figure 11 which might transfer a sense of concern or even fear. The photo could have been taken randomly in any city in Germany, the UK or in smaller towns in the United States. That could make people think of the ‘what if’ – what if this would be my hometown? Seeing recognizable places affected by flooding reduces the psychological distance of climate change and can trigger a strong negative response but it may also have the opposite effect. Some people might identify local flooding as less serious than in other countries because they assume that the Western infrastructure will readily recover. Insurances will compensate the flood damages to the victims, so there is no need to worry (Climate Visuals, 2016, pp. 32–33).

Drought and Heat

Drought and heat imagery cannot always be separated from each other because the one often causes the other. Whereas heat imagery mostly shows a burning sun over a city or a landscape, cracked earth has come to symbolize the effects of drought. The presence of (human) life is mostly eliminated from such imagery which conveys the impression of an uninhabited and morbid planet. Often, symbols of death such as dead plants or trees or even animal carcasses are used to create a link between drought, death and destruction (Nerlich & Jaspal, 2014, pp. 265–266).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 12: Drought in Agartala, India

Source: Springer / Reuter, 2005

Figure 12 shows an Indian farmer who walks through a parched field with a hungry cow on his hand. Only few tufts of grass cover the ground, obviously not enough to saturate the emaciated animal. Often such images lack any sign of communal action leaving the impression that humans as well as animals are isolated and left alone. It constructs a sense of powerlessness and futility towards any attempts to protect life, may it be human life animal life or life on the planet in general (Nerlich & Jaspal, 2014, p. 266).

Ice Imagery

The overarching theme in ice imagery refers to melting ice and rising sea levels. These images mainly show isolated or remote islands, atolls or icebergs, sometimes accompanied by a lonely polar bear (see chap. 2.2.3.4). Figure 13 shows crew members from a NASA’s mission who investigate how changing conditions in the Arctic affect the chemistry and ecosystems of the ocean. Such images have become flagships of climate change imagery and are therefore frequently linked to the topic (Nerlich & Jaspal, 2014, p. 268).

The photos’ perspective leaves an impression of vulnerability, not only with regards to the ice but to humanity itself. Nevertheless, the Arctic is not a familiar terrain for most people which frames climate change as a far-away issue, remote from the daily life (Thomas-Walters, McNulty, & Veríssimo, 2020, p. 1136).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 13: Sea Ice Melt Pods

Quelle: Hansen, 2011

2.2.3.4. The Role of Animal Imagery

Whereas one could add animal imagery to the dimension of climate change impacts, still it is considered separately within this Master Thesis because of its perceived importance.

Animal imageries can have a positive effect on peoples’ attitudes to animals and their willingness to protect them. There seem to be links between the amount of exposure to wildlife media and the recipients’ feelings and behavior towards conversation. Anyway, it is not yet clear how this relationship really works.

Research shows that aesthetics play an important role in raising donations. There are clear hints that people donate more money to campaigns featuring appealing species (e. g. polar bears) than to the ones featuring unappealing species (e.g. stoneflies). Despite aesthetics, anthropomorphism seems to be an important factor, too. Species with brighter body mass and forward-facing eyes give the impression of a certain similarity to humans (Thomas-Walters et al., 2020, pp. 1138–1139).

Flagship Species

Such species are often referred to as flagship species: “Flagship species are generally popular, charismatic vertebrates […] that can serve as a focal point for a campaign, or may generate revenue for conservation” (Thomas-Walters & J Raihani, 2017, p. 582). The public likes flagship species for their charisma and therefore campaign managers expect them to generate interest and funds although the scientific evidence for this correlation is missing. In addition to that it is feared that the use of flagship species can imply that other species are less important (ibid., p. 582).

Furthermore, many endangered species are not ideal flagships because they simply are not aesthetically pleasing. As they may still be of significant relevance to biodiversity, it is recommended to not focus campaigns on flagship species only (ibid., p. 1139).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 14: Correlation between Disgust, Danger and Protection of Animals

Source: Prokop & Fančovičová, 2013, p. 461

Indeed, Prokop and Fančovičová discovered a correlation between the perceived disgust and fear and the willingness to protect an animal. Participants rated e.g. spiders with the highest amount of disgust and the lowest willingness to protect them. On the contrast birds and mammals were ranked with the lowest amount of disgust but considered as species necessary to protect. So, in general birds and mammals receive higher support from conservationists as well as from the public in general. Scientists suggest that it is because they are more positively socially constructed than other species like reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates (Prokop & Fančovičová, 2013, pp. 461–463).

Besides the preference of flagship species, research suggests that exotic animals are preferred over local ones. This phenomenon seems to have its roots in the childhood ages already. A study among schoolchildren (7-11 years old) in France showed that most of the species regarded as priority protection species were exotic animals, especially highly iconic ones such as the polar bear or the giant panda. Similar surveys were performed in other European, African and Asian countries delivering the same results. Overall, only 256 different species are considered as primarily in need of protection, representing not even 3% of all threatened animal species listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] (Ballouard, J.M., Brischoux, F., Bonnet, X., 2011, pp. 4–5).

The Polar Bear – An Icon of Climate Change Communication

The polar bear is kind of a classic in climate change communication. It has been used sporadically before 2005 but the media coverage has increased thereafter (O’Neill, 2019, p. 8, fig. 2). It has been utilized to accompany reports about the threat of climate change to the species because the direct impact of global warming on the natural habitat of the polar bear is visible at first sight (see fig. 15): the arctic ice is melting and there is not much space left to live for the Polar Bear. It is literally clinging on the last remaining ice floe.

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Figure 15: Polar Bear on a Floe

Quelle: Image by Arne Naevra, taken from O’Neill, 2019, p. 10

It may be because of the frequent use that polar bear became a “tired and hackneyed icon” (O’Neill, 2019, p. 10). The reason for this development has not been scientifically approved yet but as many other previously established synecdoches, the polar bear became subject to parodies. In some newspapers, mostly right-leaning ones, they no longer framed as an endangered species but as a ridicule (O’Neill, 2019, pp. 6–13).

A Daily Mail headline in 2013 titled: “The poster boys of climate change thrive in the icy Arctic: Polar bears defy concerns about their extinction” (Graham, 2013). The article states that many of the Canadian polar bear populations were stable or even increasing. Only one area out of 13 shows declining numbers. Among others, the report was accompanied by a photo of a Polar Bear, surrounded by ice (not by water) which seems to be waving (see fig. 16).

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Figure 16: "The poster boys of climate change"

Quelle: Image by Rupert Thorpe, taken from Graham, 2013

Paired with the content of the text, this image raises doubts on the real condition of polar bear populations and on the extent of climate change in general. Moreover, the repetition of motives leads to a declining interest. According to the results of a group discussion guided by Taddicken and Wicke, recipients notice very well that the attempts of visualizing climate change often lead to the same presentations, such as the polar bear on the floe (Taddicken & Wicke, 2019, p. 158).

2.2.3.5. Solutions

What is special about climate change solutions imagery is that it evokes positive reactions at the audience. Where causes and impacts arouse strong negative emotions, solution imagery stands out (see fig. 17).

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Figure 17: Reactions on Climate Change Imagery

Source: Climate Visuals, 2016, p. 31

[...]

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Details

Title
Flagships or phase-out models for climate change communication? An analysis of the effects of climate change imagery on the audience
College
SRH - Mobile University
Grade
1,2
Author
Year
2021
Pages
122
Catalog Number
V1156909
ISBN (Book)
9783346561596
Language
English
Notes
Weitere Quellenangaben und Nachweise, die nicht im PDF enthalten sind, können bei Bedarf vollumfänglich zur Verfügung gestellt werden (z.B. Fragebogen, Excel-Dateien etc.).
Tags
Climate Change, Climate Change Communication, Climate Change Imagery, Visual Communication, Image Effects
Quote paper
Jana Mengede (Author), 2021, Flagships or phase-out models for climate change communication? An analysis of the effects of climate change imagery on the audience, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1156909

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