A call to arms for climate change? How military service member concern about climate change can inform effective climate communication

M. Motta, R. Ralston, J. Spindel

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Abstract

Military service members are a highly trusted group–especially among ideological conservatives. Consequently, we devised an environmental communication strategy that attributes pro-climate messages to military service members, aimed at convincing conservative climate skeptics to express elevated concern. In a large survey experiment, we show that conservatives are more likely to express concern about climate change when framed as a national security concern and communicated by members of the armed services. Supplementary analyses of an original military service member survey suggest that this approach is externally valid, as many past and current armed forces express concern about the effects of climate change. Our study demonstrates the effectiveness of appealing to trusted sources to communicate climate change risks to skeptical audiences, and suggests several promising avenues for future environmental communication research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-98
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Communication
Volume15
Issue number1
Early online date31 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Climate communication
  • climate opinion
  • international relations
  • national security
  • national security attitudes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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