Posted by Stuart Wood
After spending decades in public service, spanning work in health, faith, community, and the environment, social entrepreneur Jonathan Parfrey turned his attention to climate change. To facilitate climate communication, Parfrey founded Los Angeles-based Climate Resolve, to develop “practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while creating a better city for Angelenos today and in the future.” Jonathan Parfrey and his team work to make climate change approachable and relevant on the community level, inviting citizens to get engaged in issues that directly affect them.
FACING A CHALLENGE
“While hard science and data are critical to understanding our climate future, it is not enough if we want to engage with all Angelenos and community members throughout Southern California.” — Jonathan Parfrey, Executive Director, Climate Resolve
Climate Resolve’s first project was in answer to the question: How can we increase awareness of Los Angeles citizens and climate change relevant?
FINDING A SOLUTION
In 2010, Climate Resolve began working with UCLA’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences on a series of climate studies. By studying information about heat and precipitation predictions, they could provide predictions on anticipated climate change impacts on the local, and even neighborhood, level.
To make reading these studies more enticing, Climate Resolve launched a user-friendly web portal and blog, C-Change LA, which translated the findings of the reports into common language. To market the findings broadly, Climate Resolve recruited unique voices for a campaign, with human-centered stories that brought the reports to life.
The second study, released in June 2013, was in cooperation with UCLA and LA Mayor Villaraigosa, and featured a detailed analysis of the region’s predicted snowfall. Mid- and End-of-Century Snowfall in the Los Angeles Region includes data and opinions from the leaders of Protect Our Winters, a nonprofit of winter sports enthusiasts and CalTrout, a nonprofit that protects and restores wild trout, steelhead, salmon and their waters in the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority. They coordinated the wide release of the reports to gain greater public and press attention. The report was covered by TIME magazine, LA Times, KCET, KCBS and more than 40 additional news outlets. Climate Resolve posted a robust media roundup on their C-Change.LA blog as a go-to source to access information.
KEY TO SUCCESS
Collaboration. By working with non-traditional organizations, Climate Resolve successfully broadened the public’s perceptions of climate impacts. Because of this unique approach, the organization’s publications led to a widespread discussion about the changing climate in Los Angeles. And by making climate change approachable and relevant on the community level, citizens have become more engaged as they see climate change directly affect them.
Climate Resolve continues to expand work on climate change in Southern California and has become a formidable voice in the climate movement.
- Collaborate with others – Utilize the expertise of others and leverage your own strengths to deliver results.
- Translate complex information – Make complex data relatable and accessible in ways that matter to people.
- Localize – Find ways to break broader issues down to a local level and use stories about people to connect with your audience.