social change

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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Towards a better understanding of people’s responses to renewable energy technologies: Insights from Social Representations Theory

Susana Batel, Patrick Devine-Wright

In the past few years, social research has been examining what contributes to the attitude–behaviour gap in people’s responses to large-scale renewable energy technologies. The NIMBY explanation for the gap has long dominated that area of research, but has also been criticised. Alternative proposals to NIMBY were advanced, but it is still evident that some of those maintain presuppositions of NIMBY and that this area of research needs more integration, namely at a theoretical level. In this paper we argue that to overcome those aspects it is relevant, first, to situate the promotion of renewable energy production as a social change process in today’s societies, and, second, to therefore consider the socio-psychological aspects involved in people’s responses to social change. We discuss specifically how the Theory of Social Representations may help us with that and contribute to a better understanding of people’s responses to renewable energy technologies.

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Public health programs as surrogates for social action in Suriname, South America

Daniel Peplow, Sarah Augustine

This paper addresses the merits of public health activism that advocates for social change in which health is the outcome of interest. We acknowledge that while efforts at the individual level are important, social network models consider the underlying mechanisms that lie outside the public health sector. This paper considers the inequitable health of Indigenous people who bear a disproportionate share of the negative health consequences due to economic development programs that follow an assimilation model. This paper discusses a combination of theoretical constructs to understand and solve the problems at hand. It concludes that while the attention paid to technological and behavioral solutions at the individual level yields important health outcomes, attention should also be paid to structural causes that address social, political and economic barriers to prevent disease, disability and premature death.

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