Psychological Distance of Climate Change

Compassion and the Psychological Distance of Climate Change


Compassion and the Psychological Distance of Climate Change

Wednesday 3 June, 2020 – Wednesday 3 June, 2020
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Newton Park Campus, Commons, G24

For most people, climate change is distant in space and time. Yes, it is a threat and most are concerned about it. But it is abstract, happening to others, and not able to compete with the immediacy of day to day troubles.

Only during times of crises brought on by extreme weather are there opportunities for climate change to become a national or even global arena of great compassion. For this reason, extreme weather events are arguably the best possible time to communicate climate change.

This talk looks at two events in Australia - the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 and the Brisbane floods of 2011 - to examine the forms of compassion that emerge for people impacted by these events as well as the emotional framing of them by media reporting.

About the speaker

David Holmes is Founder and Director of the Climate Change Communication Research Hub, and is based in Communications and Media Studies at Monash University, Melbourne.

He is co-editor of the forthcoming Edward Elgar Research Handbook in Communicating Climate Change and conducts extensive field research into audience views of climate change beliefs, literacy and behaviour response.

Having authored the first ever chapter on the sociology of climate change in an Australian sociology textbook (Holmes D, Hughes K and Julian R, (2015) Australian Sociology: A Changing Society, 4th edition), David is committed to inter-disciplinary responses to climate change. David was columnist for The Conversation from 2013 to 2018 with a column called Changing Climates: communicating the relationship between political climates, media power and climate change, publishing over 90 articles in that time. His articles have also appeared in SBS online, Business Spectator (The Australian), Reneweconomy, Independent Australia, and CNN.

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