On Sept. 20, youth in the United States and more than 100 other countries will be leading a global climate strike, demanding further action from world leaders to address climate change. The protests are scheduled in advance of the UN Climate Action Summit, where representatives from government, business, academic, arts, and non-governmental organizations will convene in New York City.
Nathan Geiger, an assistant professor of communication science at Indiana University’s Media School and a sponsored faculty of IU’s Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge, has studied public perception of recent climate protests and the strategic effectiveness of climate demonstrations.
Geiger said his research has indicated that demonstrations such as the Global Climate Strike can leave a positive impression on bystanders, in part because they appear to reduce negative stereotypes about climate advocates. Organizers, however, could improve the effectiveness of demonstrations by reaching out directly to those on the sidelines.
“One thing future marches could benefit from is for the people organizing the march to work really hard to show bystanders that they are similar to the people engaging in the march,” Geiger said. “That could be through publicizing images with people’s friends and family on social media or working on some sort of impression management goals to really connect with bystanders. Ultimately, showing that this kind of action is a common thing that average people do would go a long way.”
To speak with Geiger, contact Jonathan Hines, Indiana University, [email protected], 812-856-3610.