The Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub (MCCCRH) has partnered with Leader Newspapers to provide Melburnians with an easy-to-digest, local perspective on climate change.
The ‘Pressing the Climate – Community Newspapers as Climate Educators’ project will provide readers with a weekly climate graphic and a 170-word column hosted by a Monash climate scientist.
The graphic will outline climate trends over the past 25 to 50 years, adopting a hyper-local approach by using data from local weather stations and noting comparisons with other areas. It will be apolitical, easy to read, and is expected to improve the climate literacy of Melburnians substantially.
Reaching an estimated weekly audience of around 1.6 million people, the MCCCRH will deliver 2,496 climate graphics packages to the 26 Leader News mastheads across metropolitan Melbourne over a two-year period.
MCCCRH Director, Dr David Holmes, said the initiative will deliver easy-to-process climate information to large audiences, but will avoid advocacy, and will stick with the facts.
“The impact here is to gain high exposure of the science to a very large community. We will be surveying both Leader readers and non-Leader readers to see if we can measure learning effects from the program after 12-18 months,” Dr Holmes said.
Dr Holmes said the partnership, which commences early next year, is an exciting opportunity to illustrate how Monash’s unique research can reach the broader public in an influential manner.
The project has been made possible thanks to a $259,359 grant awarded to the MCCCRH by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.
The grant team includes Dr David Holmes and Dr Briony Rogers (Monash Arts), Dr Ailie Gallant (Monash Science), Tim Morrow (Bureau of Meteorology), Ed Maibach (Director, Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University, US) and Bernadette Placky (Director of Climate Matters at Climate Central, Princeton, New Jersey).
MCCCRH combines nine of Monash University’s faculties and institutes, with the overarching goal to improve public understanding of climate change and its solutions, through presenting well-researched information via repeated messages in the media. Since its inception in November 2016, it has quickly gained a reputation national-wide as the go-to for climate change communication.
The Hub is currently also delivering Melbourne-wide climate packages with well-known weather presenters, including Jane Bunn (Channel 7 Melbourne) and Paul Higgins (ABC Victoria), to integrate climate segments into their bulletins.