Communication strategies of environmental NGOs and advocacy groups

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Environmental organizations have been critically important in publicizing and supplying arguments about climate change, just as with the other environmental issues facing contemporary societies. In their campaigns and activism, environmental groups need to be able to make influential and widely circulated claims about the state of the natural world or the ecological impact of human activities. To do this, they have to “manage” their relationship to science. Environmentalists (in contrast to many other campaigners) are obliged to be science communicators because the convincingness of their message depends on the underlying presumption that their claims have a basis in factual, scientific accuracy.

Facing the science and communication challenges of climate change, environmentalists have often found their role to be an unusual one. Unlike in most other ecological campaign areas, they have been committed to defending or bolstering mainstream scientific opinion about the nature and causes of climate change. Nonetheless, they have sought ways of distancing themselves from some of the policy and technological options apparently favored by leading scientific figures. And they have pioneered approaches based more on long-term investment strategies and normative values which, to some degree, allow them to sidestep difficulties associated with the adoption of a subordinate role in the science communication arena.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Encyclopedia of Climate Change Communication
EditorsMatthew C. Nisbet, Mike S. Schäfer, Ezra Markowitz, Jagadish Thaker, Shirley S. Ho, Saffron O'Neill
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780190498993
ISBN (Print)9780190498986
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2018

Publication series

NameOxford Research Encyclopedias
PublisherOxford University Press


  • ENGOs
  • environmental NGOs
  • science communication
  • authority of science
  • scientific authority
  • unburnable carbon
  • fracking
  • decarbonization
  • quality control
  • peer review


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