#10. They don't think that way. Also: many events
Climate Week NYC has started (today!) and it has a lot of UX / design related talks - see Events below.
Nature publishes metacognition study on climate attitudes, and it’s basically optimistic?
Ecograder upgrade (another one?)
What we think they think, is wrong: most US people are ready to talk climate
An authoritative new study on attitudes to climate change shows that most people are concerned about climate change, but that they assume that most other people disagree. What?
We find that roughly 80–90% of Americans underestimate the true level of concern for climate change as well as support for transformative climate policies like a carbon tax, 100-percent renewable energy mandates, and a Green New Deal. Not only are these misperceptions nearly universal in the country, but the magnitude is large enough to fully invert the true reality of public opinion: although polls show that a supermajority support these climate policies (66–80%), the average American’s estimate of public opinion suggests it is just a minority.
Some of the research came from the Yale Climate Communication lab, which we’ve talked about at SustainableUX before (in 2016?). They are worth a follow.
Ok great, but what about the rest of the world?
Nature’s results above make intuitive sense in a country as polarized as the US. I assumed that most European countries have a more elevated form of climate discourse than the US (leaving aside the UK, which has Rees-Mogg instead). But the old line about not assuming comes true again: according to the OECD concern for the climate is about 7% higher in middle-income countries than high-income countries. Turkey, South Africa, and Indonesia lead the way.
Yale Climate Comms also studied the topic: International Public Opinion on Climate Change, 2022
Willingness to join an organized group for climate action: Respondents in Zambia (75%) and Malawi (74%) are the most likely to say that they are currently participating in, or “definitely” would join, an organized group working to convince leaders to take action to reduce climate change. Respondents in Finland (9%) and the Netherlands (10%) are the least likely.
WTF Finland and the Netherlands?! Is this because those countries are already on top of the issue (no), or something else?
Why it matters
This is all interesting in it’s own right (well, I think so). But why put it in a UX newsletter? Short answer: audience research. There are lots of potential practical applications:
If your product/website is a bit coy about talking climate for worry of offending the doubters - don’t be. Most folks are accepting of the need for action;
Dig deeper into the reports to get a sense of what language people use around these issues, so you can tailor content accordingly;
Building a service for community engagement? Don’t bother launching in Finland :(
Web carbon calculator Ecograder has had it’s second update of the year. Details.
I want to dig more into the maths - how does ecograder calculate the CO2 per page/kilobyte? They have published a guide and acknowledge that it is hard to get one answer to the question. My own figures from past SustainableUX presentations are wildly out of date - I have a lot of slides to update.
Climate strike Sept 23rd
Climate Week NYC 19th-25th Sept
I trawled through the Climate Week listings and found a few events that might appeal to a SustainableUX reader:
Blockchain, if you like that sort of thing
The full program covers urbanism and agriculture and justice and equity … and a few iffy topics like “Carbon Capture will save us” and “Nuclear: simply the best” that got my back up a bit.
Elsewhere and online
Let's measure the environmental impact of digital products & applications.
September 20th, London. Run by Nula, who look interesting.
Design for Planet from the Design Council
November 8th & 9th, Northumbria, UK
Last year's event brought together 120 sustainable design leaders, 6,000 online attendees and was awarded Gold in the GOV Design Awards 2022.
Beyond 2022 Cardiff and Online
This year’s theme is Zero Carbon Future. Check out the showcase.
Green Tech Southwest Bristol UK & Online
Special topic: fear vs. hope as a behaviour change mechanism! This conversation was started last month in our #behaviour-psychology channel. We'll continue the conversation during this event but there's no need for you to read up on the conversation. Simply showing up and joining the conversation is good!
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