National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf Program, with support from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, is exploring climate change communication in the Gulf of Mexico region through innovative community engagement.
Our project focuses on the Tampa Bay area and analyzes how storytelling and field trips resonate and grow awareness of climate change risks and solutions. Our goal is for this work to grow the understanding of how to effectively communicate to foster engagement on climate change issues.
Tampa Bay, with 700 miles of gorgeous shoreline and more than 3 million residents, is one of the areas in our nation most vulnerable to climate change. Referred to as an area with high risk and low readiness, the region has large populations and extensive development in flood-prone areas. The area has not faced a direct hit from a major storm in over a century and is increasingly experiencing other climate impacts. In order to foster broad support for climate resilience planning efforts and implementation, it’s critical to grow awareness about the challenges faced and solutions at hand. Building from our experience across the Gulf Coast engaging with other communities highly vulnerable to climate impacts, we are engaging with community leaders in Tampa Bay through a storytelling film and guided boat tours.
Our film, Dear Tampa Bay, shares personal stories from neighboring Gulf coast community leaders in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Dear Tampa Bay explores how communities across the Gulf have faced and are working to address the same climate impacts facing Tampa Bay, showcasing actions that could be applied to the Tampa Bay area.
Dear Tampa Bay, directed by Wildpath’s Katie Bryden, features community leaders across the Gulf who face serious threats from climate change impacts:
Arthur Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement & Development - Louisiana
Rosina Philippe, a leader from the Atakapa-Ishak/Chawasha Tribe - Louisiana
Robert “Bob” Stokes, President, Galveston Bay Foundation - Texas
Dr. David Perkes, Director, Gulf Coast Community Design Studio - Mississippi
Maya Burke, Assistant Director, Tampa Bay Estuary Program - Florida
Through surveys administered with film screenings and boat tours, we are assessing the effects of storytelling and experiential learning on climate risk and resilience beliefs, attitudes, understanding of risk, sense of ability to act, and support for available solutions. The findings of this work can be applied broadly. The more we understand how to effectively communicate climate risk and solutions, the greater success we’ll have in addressing climate change.
Learn more about climate risk and resilience facing Tampa Bay by downloading the pdf handout in English or Spanish.
Research reported above was supported by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine under award number 200013200. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Gulf Research Program or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
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