The consequences and challenges related to climate change and other environmental threats, such as biodiversity loss, plastic pollution, and ocean acidification, become ever more pressing. Communication plays a key role for public awareness and understanding, as well as the development and implementation of solutions on all levels. In the words of Sir David Attenborough “Saving our planet is now a communications challenge.” The field of environmental communication therefore plays a crucial role in disseminating accurate information, fostering public understanding, and inspiring meaningful change, involving various stakeholders, such as consumers, organizations, governments, and political parties.

The temporary working group (TWG) on Environmental Communication brings together research and insights on environmental communication and behavior from various perspectives. One of our aims is to seek out synergies by bridging the different strands within Communication Science.

Research in the field of environmental communication delves into the multifaceted role that communication plays in informing, educating, and alerting individuals about critical environmental issues. Additionally, it explores how communication can effectively mobilize diverse stakeholders at various levels to take meaningful action. This mobilization unfolds through dynamic processes shaped by pre-existing beliefs, attitudes, values, cultural and individual differences, as well as contextual complexities.

The overarching goal of Environmental Communication is to comprehend these intricate processes and discern communication strategies that extend beyond merely raising awareness. The aim is to propel individuals, groups, and organizations toward actionable steps contributing to a sustainable transition. This involves investigating the development and implementation of strategies that foster behavior change, as well as, investigating the diverse roles that communication plays, including examining issues such as misinformation, polarization, and agenda-setting. Understanding these aspects is crucial for comprehending their impact on public perception, beliefs, and the potential for instigating positive change.

The division’s steering committee consists of Sophie Boerman (Chair; Wageningen University & Research), Marijn Meijers (vice-chair; University of Amsterdam), Veroline Cauberghe (Ghent University), Anke Wonneberger (University of Amsterdam). PhD representatives are Barbara Behre (Ghent University), Estefania Vazquez (Ghent University) and Ice Delvaux (VUB).