Monday, November 13, 2023
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
How Can Hyper-localized Information Be Used to Motivate Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Behaviors?
Session ID
E3 - Community Engagement
Climate Change
Cindy Frantz

Interactive online tools now make it easy to see hyper-localized projections of climate impacts at the level of individual zip codes. Tools like Climate Explorer display salient data such as days per year greater than 90 deg F and number of flooding events under low and high emissions scenarios. How might hyper-local predictions be most effectively used by organizations and governments to motivate mitigation and adaptation behavior? In this hybrid symposium/problem-solving session, Petersen will describe a unique collaboration between students, faculty, city government, community stakeholders and ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) that used hyper-local climate data as key input for a community-wide climate vulnerability assessment. The resulting co-authored City of Oberlin Climate Vulnerability Report has spurred planning and action across the community, with a particular focus on addressing the needs of the city’s most vulnerable residents. Anecdotal reports suggest that participants found the process concurrently sobering and empowering. Frantz will share early-stage research (focus groups and surveys) that document the range of psychological impacts of hyper-local climate data on threat perception, efficacy, and motivation to act. Data suggest that interacting with hyper-localized predictions may help reduce the psychological distance of climate change by bringing these impacts home (literally) and making them concrete and actionable. Yet they also can trigger feelings of anxiety, suggesting localized information must be paired with a robust climate action planning process. The potential to use climate models to encourage planning in ways that enhance social justice efforts will also be discussed. The session will close with an interactive discussion. Attendees will be invited to share their expertise and suggest strategies for designing and evaluating the most effective ways to use hyperlocal climate data and resilience planning to motivate action.

Supporting Document 1