Popular Climate Science and Painless Consumer Choices: Communicating Climate Change in the Hot Pink Flamingos Exhibit, Monterey Bay Aquarium, California

Merav Katz-Kimchi and Lucy Atkinson

Using critical discourse analysis, we examine the communicative potential of science centers to engage the public in climate change science. Drawing on a theoretical framework combining climate change engagement and communication, science centers as sites of engagement and communication, ecological citizenship, and insights from social cognitive theory, our analysis shows that along with popularizing climate science and making it accessible to the general public, the Hot Pink Flamingos exhibit prioritized individual, marketplace-based action on climate change over solutions requiring large-scale social change or collective action. Responsibility for climate change was individualized, and the political realm was mostly reduced to lifestyle choices.

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