Framing Messages around the Climate Emergency | Webinar Recording

Our September webinar featured guest Michael Hanne.

Portrait photo of Michael Hanne

The vast majority of people in industrialised countries now accept that global overheating constitutes a serious environmental crisis and that it has been largely caused by human action. Nevertheless, public commitment to making changes at household and community level and, most importantly, to demanding meaningful action from governments, both nationally and internationally, remains weak.

Michael Hanne asks how climate activists can “frame” discussion more effectively to turn public anxiety into upward pressure on government to act. He analyses the presentations of the many wonderful previous speakers in the Our Climate Declaration series, assembling a repertoire of the most effective devices they use to talk about the climate emergency. Those devices, he argues, take the form primarily of linked metaphors (or analogies) and narratives (or stories). Choice of metaphor is crucial in framing discussion and a fresh metaphor may reframe that discussion entirely. He goes on to propose broad communication strategies that climate activists could be using in their struggle to inform and persuade the public.

Michael Hanne founded the Comparative Literature Programme at the University of Auckland and directed it for 15 years. His research over the last 25 years has focused on the key roles played by narrative and metaphor in disciplines as diverse as medicine, politics, the law, and education and he has convened conferences on these topics in New Zealand, the US, and the Netherlands and edited books from each. Most recently, he has been looking at how discussion around poverty, housing, crime, and Covid has been framed, seeking to reframe that discussion in terms which embody a human rights perspective. Articles he has published on these topics can be found at:

Date: Wednesday, 13 September, 2023
Time: 7pm