assets include funding, education resources, and information sources; scientists were identified primarily as sources of new climate science findings. Universities and cooperative extensions were seen as having critical assets for translating scientific research into education resources, conducting climate and education research, and providing outreach to local communities. The primary assets of nongovernmental organizations, advocacy groups, and faith communities lie in their potential to connect with local communities. Finally, people in the groups saw audience researchers, communication experts, and marketing experts as stakeholders whose assets include knowing how to craft messages that resonate with different target groups.
When considering various stakeholder assets, people discussed the need to tailor education processes or practices to match different audiences’ interests, motivations, values, and knowledge of climate change. This approach moves away from a deficit model of education, recognizing and building on the funds of knowledge that diverse populations already possess.
One challenge discussed in a few of the groups is that some audiences have trouble understanding the underlying science of climate change, or they simply do not believe that climate change is caused by human impacts (in part because it seems counterintuitive that humans could change the whole atmosphere in such profound ways). Nevertheless, individuals in these audiences have probably experienced the effects of climate change in their local areas, whether through increased flooding, more frequent severe storms, changes in natural environments and wildlife populations, or higher energy costs. When developing education efforts for these audiences, people said, it seems important to focus on locally relevant impacts of climate change. In addition, having a trusted source of information in the community being addressed may also lead to more productive education efforts.