Blog Post 10—feedback, research, revision


On Thursday, we had the opportunity to work with one of our fellow classmates in order to dissect and critique our draft proposals and thus receive suggestions on how they could be improved. I found this process really useful, particularly because I was paired with someone looking at the same issue as me—climate change—which meant that she was able to share deeper insights with me about the issue than someone who had just general knowledge of the issue.This exercise allowed me to discover flaws and gaps in my proposal that I had not picked up on my own, as well as helping me to think of new ways to approach the proposal.

In response to my focus area looking at the factors that influence a person’s views on climate change, my draft proposal, as seen in blog post 8, laid out a concept for some type of service/generative design that would deliver tailored climate change messages to people, showing them the realities of the issue, based on information collected about a person’s values and experiences. Both my partner and my tutor agreed that it was a very interesting concept, but they gave me some very useful feedback, which I have discussed below:

1. It may be difficult to visualise

Because the concept still seems quite broad, it may be difficult to visualise the service that it is providing. In order for this concept to work, the service it is delivering will need to be well thought out, and really consider the audience of 18–25 year olds that it is targeting. My partner and I brainstormed some possible options in response to my proposal, including an anthology (inspired by Ella Cutler’s work); a field guide; or a climate change ‘package’. I think that whilst all of these sound really interesting, I perhaps need to venture into the digital space in order to utilise more generative design systems, and also a system that can continue to be updated to produce a more accurate response for each individual user.

2. It should definitely be a service design

In my draft proposal, I also suggested the idea of creating a data visualisation which would utilise a visual system to present scientific facts of climate change in a non-biased and neutral manner. Whilst my partner found this idea to be interesting as well, they suggested that it could perhaps also be a service design and be joined with the other proposal. This was an interesting suggestion, and one that I will take on board, as I still quite like the idea of developing a visual system.

3. Everyone brings their own bias to any form of communication

This idea that was raised by my partner is something that I have come to realise through my own research. My partner raised the issue in relation to my idea of creating a visual system that would present information in a neutral manner, and I realise through discussion that people will bring bias even to a visual system. In light of this, it may perhaps be better to focus more on the service/generative design proposal.

4. Come up with some personas

This was an idea suggested by my tutor and I think that it is a method that will help me to determine ways in which to realise my proposal, as well as the types of services that may help different people to understand climate change and its impact.

5. Think about the language that is used around climate change

After reading through my draft proposal, my partner pointed out that it seems very much to relate to the kind of language that is used around climate change. I thought this was a very interesting observation, and I really want to look at how to use language to realise my proposal, rather than using graphs and numbers.

Research and Revision

After Thursday’s feedback session, I came away still unsure about the direction I was heading in, and not confident about the idea I had proposed and whether it was fulfilling the ‘brief’ I had set myself in the form of the problem statement set out in blog post 8.

Prompted by these feelings, as well as a realisation that I perhaps had not done enough research to really be able to define my design proposition, I set out to find some more scholarly sources, in the hopes that I would discover a point of inspiration. Whilst initially I simply looked at more articles discussing the factors that influence a person’s views on climate change, which all cited the factors of beliefs, values and experiences, I soon stumbled across an article by Saffron O’Neill and Sophie Nicholson-Cole about ways of engaging people in the issue of climate change through visual campaigns. This provided me with a revealing insight into the prevalence of fear campaigns in the dissemination of climate change information, “…with the language of alarmism appearing in many guises.” (Nicholson-Cole & O’Neill 2009, p. 358) Whilst using fear to incite action may be effective at first, it has been shown to over time distance people from the issue as they feel helpless and are unable to see any way of taking action. The alienating impact of fear in climate change campaigns I would argue is heightened by the fact that “climate change is temporally and spatially remote from the individual.”(Nicholson-Cole & O’Neill 2009,p. 360) The article concludes that in order for climate change messages to reach people effectively, they need to be set in a local context, and that “communications approaches that take account of individuals’ personal points of reference (e.g., based on an understanding and appreciation of their values, attitudes, beliefs, local environment, and experiences) are more likely to meaningfully engage individuals with climate change.” (Nicholson-Cole & O’Neill 2009, p. 375).

In essence, this article highlighted to me the prevalence of the use of fear in the dissemination of climate change information. Considering my own exposure to climate change campaigns, as a member of the general public, I cannot recall a single one that has not used fear to incite change. The most memorable campaigns to me have been run by the World Wildlife Foundation, which uses fear as its main driver, and I can say that, whilst the campaigns have caused me to stop and think, they have not ever encouraged me to take action because they are so overwhelming. As such, my new design proposal is centred around the creation of a campaign presenting the realities of climate change in a less confronting and more relatable manner.

Because I have altered my idea, I have written a new problem statement, in order that I have an updated ‘brief’ to refer to. This can be seen below:

There are 2 problems that I have identified within the broader issue of climate change, being the confusion surrounding all the varying messages that are conveyed in relation to the issue, as well as the sense of alienation from the issue that is harboured through the continued use of fear as a means to incite change across climate change campaigns. These issues together predominantly affect the general population, but also more specifically the stakeholders who are creating campaigns to convince people of the effects of climate change, and scientists and governments. The main boundaries of the problem are a lack of understanding of how fear, rather than inciting action, actually causes people to feel disconnected and alienated from the issue. Further to this is a feeling of helplessness by the general public as the majority of imagery used in campaigns is of ‘icons’, or “…tangible entities that will be affected by climate change” (Nicholson-Cole & O’Neill 2009, p. 375), which are far removed from the audience, such as polar bears in Antarctica. The problem occurs most predominantly in the representation of climate change, as people come to feel as though any action they take to reduce climate change will not actually have any impact as they can only see the big picture. It is important that the problem is fixed in order that people feel empowered to help in the reduction of climate change, and so that they are not alienated from the issue and unable to interact with it.

My refined design proposal can be seen below.

Revised Design Proposal

Project title:
‘Bringing Climate Change Home’

Project type:
Service Design

The issue:
Through my research, I have come to understand that using fear as a means to incite change in the general population with regards to climate change is not as effective as it may seem. In addition, I have found that a lot of campaigns focus on ‘icons’, “…tangible entities that will be affected by climate change” (Nicholson-Cole & O’Neill 2009, p. 375), which are far removed from the audience, such as polar bears in the Antarctic. Thus people find it hard to connect with the message being conveyed, and feel helpless and as though any action they take will not make a difference.

The possible change:
The aims of my design proposal are:

  1. To bring the issue of climate change into a local context.
  2. To use a means other than fear to communicate the climate change message to the target demographic of 18–25 year olds, amongst others.
  3. To connect with people in their own environment.

In addressing these aims, the intended outcome of the design proposal is an increased appreciation of the realities of climate change within a local context, as well as an understanding of actions that can be taken locally to reduce contributions to climate change.

The design action to support change:
Drawing on both the feedback I received about my previous proposal being difficult to visualise, as well as the extra research I have undertaken since this feedback session, I have created a proposal which could take on 1 of 2 forms in an attempt to bring climate change into a local context in a non-threatening yet instructive and thought-provoking manner.

The first form which my proposal could take is a ‘small square book’ type publication, perhaps accompanied by posters and flyers, which presents through the use of whimsical illustrations both how climate change is affecting the local environment, as well as suggestions of small actions that individuals can take in order to reduce their contribution to climate change. The whimsical style serves to make the user feel comfortable, as well as distancing the book from the emotion of fear which is used in a lot of other climate change campaigns. Through positioning the information within a local context, as well as suggesting small opportunities for action, the book will hopefully engage the reader as they feel a connection through ‘cultural cognition’ (Schrader & Shattell 2013, p. 842), feel positively about the effects of their actions, and again move away from the alienating tone of other campaigns. In order to connect with the target demographic of 18–25 year olds, this campaign would be delivered either to all people within this age range, or placed in areas that people in this demographic visit regularly, such as universities. However, it could be used to target any demographic.

The second form which my proposal could take, which would fall more under the guise of a data visualisation, is a series of posters which would use handwritten statements to make up topographic maps of different areas in Sydney. The statements would either be the views of individuals from the local area on climate change, or facts about the effects that climate change is having on the local area. Through positioning these statements on local topographic maps, the issue is brought into a local context, and people can begin to consider the issue in their own surroundings. The fact that the text would make up the topographic map presents the issue in a non-threatening manner as people will at first just see the posters as normal topographic maps, and will only engage with the deeper message upon closer inspection. Also, the use of words rather than images makes the message more individual as people can conjure their own images in their minds as to what the effects of climate change might look like in their local environment, rather than being confronted by an imagined apocalyptic scenario. This also makes it less confronting as people are not immediately faced with this image.


  1. Nicholson-Cole, S. & O’Neill, S. 2009, ‘“Fear Won’t Do It” Promoting Positive Engagement With Climate Change Through Visual and Iconic Representations’, Science Communication, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 355–379.
  2. Schrader, S. & Shattell, M. 2013, ‘“Cultural Cognition”: What Mental Health Researchers and Clinicians Might Learn from the Climate Change Debate’, Issues in Mental Health Nursing, vol. 34, no. 11, pp. 842-843.

Emilie Glasson


Blog Post 9—pooling knowledge to encourage idea generation

This week, as discussed in blog post 8, we worked individually to compose problem statements, and then came together as a group to brainstorm possible directions that could be taken within each person’s problem statement. The following is a visual documentation of the brainstorming process, with notes on the effectiveness and usefulness of each stage, and of the finished maps.

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A blank slate, photograph by Rachel Ellis 2016

The blank page as seen in the above photo was a daunting sight as we were presented with the task of collating all our individual research into ideas for a design proposal for each member of the group. Having been mapping stakeholders for the past several weeks, I think that we all found it hard to suddenly try and recall our research from weeks 1 and 2 in order to generate intelligent and meaningful ideas, both for ourselves and for our group members.

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Beginning to brainstorm, photograph by Rachel Ellis 2016

As we began to work, I found that even though the process was slow at first, we slowly got into a rhythm and ideas started to flow readily and quickly as we began to write down anything that came to mind. One of our issues at first was that we were overthinking our ideas, which prohibited us from getting all the ‘bad’ ideas out of the way to make way for the good ones. However, once we started to loosen up, we became much more efficient, and built up a very good rapport amongst team members, which I feel was one of our great strengths in this brainstorming session. Because of our connection, there was a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, which meant that everyone was very forthcoming with their ideas, and very constructive in their input of ideas for other team members.

In progress, a map of ‘Humans Affecting Birds’ by Rachel Ellis, Emilie Glasson and Megan Wong, photograph by Emilie Glasson 2016

As we were creating the maps, it became apparent that it was extremely useful having 2 other people to generate ideas who had been researching different aspects of climate change. These different points of view and different points of research meant that each person brought new dimensions to each map. However, because we were still very unsure about what we should be centring our design proposals around, and none of us had a very focused idea to begin with, the majority of the statements written on the maps were quite broad, and will need a lot more research done on them before they are ready to be used as areas to create design proposals around. I also found personally that it was hard to give very in-depth ideas because I had limited knowledge of my group member’s focus areas, so I was only able to offer insights based on my own focus area, and other general information I had picked up through all my textual research.

A map of ‘Humans Affecting Birds’ by Rachel Ellis, Emilie Glasson and Megan Wong, photograph by Emilie Glasson 2016

This was the first map we made, around the problem area of ‘humans affecting birds’, and I think that it ended up being the most detailed because as we went on to the other 2 maps, we slowly lost energy and focus. Through this map, I came to realise the large amount of ideas that can be generated by 3 people when they work together. I myself would have struggled to come up with half of these ideas. Whilst the aim of this brainstorming session was to generate 100 ideas for each problem area, we struggled to generate 50 because of the time constraints. I felt that overall we were not given enough time to really consider each map, or to have meaningful group discussions about the ideas that were being put forth on the maps.

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A map of ‘Indigenous Communities Affected by Climate Change’ by Rachel Ellis, Emilie Glasson and Megan Wong, photograph by Rachel Ellis 2016

This was the second map we made, around the problem area of ‘Indigenous communities affected by climate change’. This ended up being the least detailed map, due to the fact that only the group member who was examining this focus area had any solid knowledge of it. The rest of us could only offer ideas based on our broader knowledge of Indigenous communities, and perhaps some incidental knowledge we had gained in our readings.

A map of ‘Values Shaping Stances’ by Rachel Ellis, Emilie Glasson and Megan Wong, photograph by Emilie Glasson 2016

This was the third map we created, and it had the most connections drawn between different points. Whilst it didn’t have as many ideas as the first map, I think that it had the most detailed points because 2 group members had been researching this focus area, even though one had switched at some point to a different focus area. I also think that this was the broadest focus area in terms of the research that could be drawn on to generate ideas—everyone will have come across debate on the issue of climate change, and each person will have their own views on the issue which have been shaped by their values.

By the end of the brainstorming session, I had come to realise that these were really the first maps that seemed to me to have a purpose—I have always found the stakeholder maps confusing in that they have never really had any visible connection to all the textual and visual research I did in weeks 1 and 2. Through these maps that we created today, I have finally been able to begin to use the knowledge I gained in those first 2 weeks to start thinking about possible ways of visualising all the data I have collected in an interesting and thought-provoking manner.

Emilie Glasson

Blog Post 8—what direction am I heading in?

This week presented me with the opportunity to start considering possible directions I could explore around my focus area, being the factors that influence a person’s views on climate change. I found this slightly daunting, and found that after many weeks of mapping stakeholders and participants, I had perhaps lost my direction slightly, and needed to reacquaint myself with my earlier research.

To begin the session, we each spent some time working individually through a series of questions in order to define a problem statement, identifying who, what, where, when and why. I found this quite difficult as I was really forced to narrow down my answers in each category, in contrast to the past several weeks where we have been encouraged to provide as many answers and directions as possible. Nonetheless, eventually I was able to come up with the following statement:

The problem I have identified within the broader issue of climate change is the idea that the discussion around climate change is not black and white, as there are a number of factors that will influence any given person’s views on the issue, as well as the information they will respond to. This problem affects the general population, but also more specifically stakeholders who are creating campaigns to convince people of the effects of climate change, and scientists and governments. The main boundaries of the problem are both a lack of understanding of how different people may view climate change, and perhaps also a general lack of action by organisational bodies such as governments on the issue of climate change. The problem occurs most predominantly in the representation of climate change, as each person is going to respond differently, based on factors such as cultural values and current knowledge. It is important that the problem is fixed or at least more well researched so that messages about climate change may be more successfully received by the general population as a whole. By understanding this problem, we will also be able to more successfully target different groups of people with different cultural values with more specialised information.

I found that in writing out this problem statement, I was able to condense all the thoughts in my head into a coherent ‘brief’. I can see that it definitely needs a lot of refinement, and I think that this will come over the next few weeks as I continue to read more scholarly sources in order to get my ideas clearer in my head, as well as through the continued discussion with group members, and the visualisation of the research process, which will be undertaken for task 3.

Once each group member had a problem statement written out, we reconnected and began a process of brainstorming as many possibilities for a design response for each problem as we could, a process which resulted in 3 mindmaps, one for each group member. Photos and descriptions of the process are presented in blog post 9, however, overall, I found the brainstorming session to be extremely useful. It opened up a lot of new avenues and ideas that I had not considered before in relation to my own problem, as well as opening my mind to other problems outside my own that other group members had identified. Like with the stakeholder maps that we have been creating over the past several weeks, I found that working in a group allowed a much richer and deeper consideration of each problem. Going through the process of brainstorming also presented the opportunity for discussion between group members, as well as the opportunity for resources and possible directions for further research to be shared.

As a result of the brainstorming session, I have received a detailed map with numerous ideas for areas/directions to pursue in relation to the problem of people’s views on climate change differing due to a number of different influencing factors. The five most promising directions in my opinion are discussed below.

  • Looking at how to shift people’s stance on climate change.

Within this idea, there is the potential for a lot of different design responses, both in the areas of generative design and service design. At the moment I am thinking that further research on this area could lead to the possibility of the creation of a campaign to convince people of the realities of climate change, taking into account all the factors which influence a person’s view on the issue. However, I also realise that this is still quite a large issue, and maybe one that I cannot tackle at the moment given my limited time and resources.

  • Looking at how people’s views of climate change are affected by their geographical position, i.e. whether they are in the city/country or whether they are close to climate change related events.

This is an idea which interests me greatly, and the idea of geographical proximity is something that I have touched on both in blog post 3 in one of my mindmaps, and in blog post 6 in relation to data scraping. Within this idea, there is the potential to create a data visualisation in order to demonstrate how much geographical proximity shapes a person’s views of climate change. There is also the potential to create a service design proposal, which aims to generate more awareness of climate change across all groups, so that there is an equal level of awareness and concern.

  • Looking at how government policies either reflect or shape a society’s views on climate change, as well as their effects on individual values.

This idea could be very interesting to investigate given the prominence of the government as a stakeholder within the issue of climate change, something I have come to realise through mapping the stakeholders, seen in blog posts 3 and 7. I feel that this avenue could lead to a data visualisation showing the relationship between government policies and the general public’s views of climate change. I also think that this avenue has the potential for the production of a service design, one that provides all the information that the public is not receiving from the government, in a straightforward and honest manner.

  • Examining the issue through the lens of religious values—how do people filter knowledge they receive based on their beliefs, and how do they manage information that conflicts with their inherent values/beliefs?

Again, this idea has the potential to be formed into a data visualisation, showing the relationship between religious/cultural values and views on climate change. I am very interested in exploring this idea, however, I need to consider that the information I would be dealing with here would be very personal and quite sensitive, so would need to handle it in a respectful way. It might also be difficult to gather a suitable range and volume of different religious views.

  • Looking at how attitudes towards climate change have altered over time, and, in doing so, drawing out possible influencing factors.

I am extremely interested in this idea also, as it would give me the opportunity to look back in history and see how attitudes towards climate change have changed. This avenue has the potential to lead to a data visualisation, showing the above, or a service design in which the collected information is collated and used to create a new campaign or similar which takes into account the values of today’s society. It could also use the ignorant attitudes of the past in order to inform the people of today.


As I have mentioned across several of my previous blog posts, my research has led me to a focus area looking at the factors that influence a person’s views on climate change. Originally, I was focused very much on simply how people’s cultural values affect their climate change stance, due to Andrew J. Hoffman’s statement that “…cultural identity can overpower scientific reasoning” (Hoffman 2015, p. 4). However, this has evolved to include a whole range of influencing factors, such as geographical proximity and government policies, as cultural values could be seen as quite personal, so it may be difficult to gather solid data in this area.

From my research, I have come to form the view that whilst there are abundant scientific and other sources to back up the existence and indeed gravity of climate change, there is a fundamental problem as to why people are so unsure of the issue, and why so much confusion surrounds it. ‘Cultural cognition’, the human method of interpreting information based on cultural values, causes people to sift through climate change facts and choose what information they want to take on board, according to their own views. However, cultural cognition “…is not simply a bias or heuristic, but a natural mechanism by which human beings collect and interpret information.” (Schrader & Shattell 2013, p. 842) I believe that the confusion amongst the general population about the real dangers of climate change and the extent to which it is occurring are a direct result of this cultural cognition, but I also believe it could be linked to the fact that the majority of sources that people get their information about climate change from, which I understand to be mostly mass media sources, such as newspaper and magazine articles (Nicholson-Cole & O’Neill 2009), fail to address or take into account the factors that influence people’s perceptions of the issue. Indeed, it could be seen that the authors themselves are writing in a vacuum, clouded by their own perceptions, leading to articles which people feel no connection to.

In response to the ideas presented above, I propose to create a design response within the area of service/generative design. I want to create some kind of campaign that could be run across both print and digital media, that responds to each individual’s experiences and values and delivers them a message about climate change which takes these factors into account. Alternatively, I would like to create a kind of data visualisation which presents the scientific facts of climate change in a neutral manner, eliminating all possibilities for cultural values and personal experiences to influence a person’s interpretation of the data. This data visualisation would involve the collection of facts and statistics which are commonly misrepresented or misinterpreted, which would then be presented through a visual system developed to eliminate personal bias. I feel that this would be an extremely interesting route to take, and it would force me to view information and statistics objectively as well, in order that my own views are not pushed in the representation.


  1. Hoffman, H.J. 2015, How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate, Stanford University Press, California.
  2. Nicholson-Cole, S. & O’Neill, S. 2009, ‘“Fear Won’t Do It” Promoting Positive Engagement With Climate Change Through Visual and Iconic Representations’, Science Communication, vol. 30, no. 3, p. 357.
  3. Schrader, S. & Shattell, M. 2013, ‘“Cultural Cognition”: What Mental Health Researchers and Clinicians Might Learn from the Climate Change Debate’, Issues in Mental Health Nursing, vol. 34, no. 11, pp. 842-843.

Emilie Glasson

Blog Post 6—what can a Tweet reveal about the motivations behind a person’s climate change stance?

This week, in order to extend my knowledge of my chosen issue, being the factors that influence a person’s stance on climate change, I undertook a data scraping exercise using Twitter. Twitter is a social media platform which allows uses with an account to ‘tweet’ their own messages as well as ‘retweet’ the messages of others. The retweeting feature creates a kind of network amongst users, and, in a way, allows users to express their point of view without being directly connected to the tweet as they did not write it. Twitter is limiting in the amount of detail that users can go into in their tweets because of the 140 character limit that applies. It is a very sharing-oriented platform, as are most social media platforms, and the use of hashtags allows tweets to be grouped together, which can generate interesting and often unexpected connections between tweets. In undertaking some broad research into the use of Twitter in the climate change debate, I came across an article by Simon Pollock which said that “most social studies show online interaction is reinforcing pre-existing beliefs and values, rather than opening minds”. This was very interesting to me, as it highlighted that the nature of social media is such that it often groups people of similar views together, as opposed to generating discussion amongst groups with opposing views.

I used the Advanced Search feature on Twitter in order to conduct my data scrape. Whilst creating a Twitter bot would potentially allow access to a deeper, more refined, and more specific data set, I am limited in my coding ability, so this is beyond my capabilities at the moment. However, I would like to explore in the future the possibilities opened up and patterns that can emerge in tweets through the creation of a Twitter bot.

Data Scrape 1

My initial data scrape involved the very general search term of ‘global warming’, with no other parameters. As could be expected, this provided an extremely broad spectrum of tweets from people across the world, reminding me of the international reach both of the issue of global warming, and of Twitter as a social network. The first feature that caught my attention on this initial data scrape was the fact that a tweet by Barack Obama, the American President, was the top tweet in the global warming category by virtue of the number of likes it had received so far.

(Obama 2016)

This interested me greatly because it shows the amount of attention a tweet by a well-known figure can receive and, by extension, how much influence this figure can have on the general population. It suggests that if someone is popular or well-known, their point of view on controversial topics such as climate change, is likely to be viewed many times and thus influence the views of their followers. In relation to this, it could be seen that on the platform of Twitter, the views of well-known people are the views that will be spread around and talked about, whilst the views of ordinary people, even though they are important, will be lost amongst hundreds of other tweets. In this way, Twitter as a social media platform has incredible power to inform people about what other people’s opinions are on controversial topics, and to subsequently influence their opinions.

Within this general search, as I was scrolling through the tweets, I came to notice that there were several relating to various levels of concern about the lack of action being taken by governments, who are major stakeholders or ‘actors’ in the issue of climate change. In this, I also found that there were several people who were suggesting that climate change is a hoax being perpetuated by governments. This was extremely interesting, and a view I have not come across before.

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This raised the idea that governments across the world need to do more to tackle climate change, an opinion which has been recurrent in my other research, particularly in my visual research, as well as the idea that governments perhaps need to communicate more with the general population as to their reasoning behind their lack of action. In this general search, I also came to notice the #blacklivesmatter hashtag cropping up repeatedly, in response to a protest in the UK claiming that global warming is racist.

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This raised for me an important thought around the idea of trends on Twitter, and the potential issues this may create in regards to the legitimacy of the opinions shared by people on Twitter—they may simply tweet about a particular ‘trending’ issue to make themselves appear informed, and in order to suggest to their followers that they are actively invested in these issues, particularly when they are related to social justice causes. Another issue raised around ‘trending’ topics on Twitter is the potential for incorrect and uninformed viewpoints on different issues to be widely circulated, causing people to become confused, as well as perhaps to form incorrect views about the issues.

I found that across a lot of the tweets about global warming there were links to news articles, demonstrating that these are the sources that people get a lot of their information about climate change from, rather than from more trustworthy journal articles and other scholarly sources. This finding also really made me think about how far these not-so-trustworthy sources can travel and how easily accessible they are to people. I would suggest that these sources are a major factor in influencing people’s views on climate change because they are sources which generally get shared on social media platforms, and because they are convincing in their writing style, which often contains bias. I found that the majority of tweets were quite biased and opinionated themselves in their tone, perhaps a result of the strict character limits on the tweets, which force people to get their point across in a very limited amount of space. However, whilst this emotive quality of tweets gives an interesting and first-hand account of the feelings people have towards climate change, it also warrants caution as it shows that people are only pushing their view of the argument, presumably with limited consideration of other points of view.

Data Scrape 2

Whilst this initial search provided me with some excellent general insights into both the discussion around global warming, and features of Twitter itself, I found that there was no specific information that I could gather which would be useful for my focus area of factors that influence a person’s views on climate change. As such, inspired by the ‘World of Change’ data visualisation project I examined in blog post 4, I decided to search for tweets within a particular city. Still using the search term ‘global warming’, I conducted 3 separate searches, one for Sydney, one for New York, and one for New Delhi. In undertaking these searches, I noticed that whilst the tweets for Sydney and New Delhi were more general and focused on a range of concerns about the causes and effects of global warming across the world, the tweets for New York were focused on the recent floods in Louisiana, with many citing sources that blamed the floods on global warming.

Louisiana Floods 2016-09-09 at 12.12.05 pm.png
(Robinson 2016) (James 2016) (Cheli 2016) (Zoudis 2016) (Boss 2016) (Becker 2016)


This demonstrates the view of Andrew J. Hoffman, whose article I examined in blog post 2, and who states that “…personal experiences with extreme weather, both direct…and indirect…increase individual belief in climate change” (Hoffman 2015, p. 10). This presents to me an interesting insight into the types of events which may convince people with different cultural views of the realities of climate change, and I believe that this idea of geographical proximity, an area that I mapped in week 3, could become an interesting data set to explore.

Data Scrape 3

After conducting these 2 searches, I decided that I still had not gathered any useful specific information about my focus area, the factors that influence a person’s views on climate change. In considering how I could achieve this on Twitter, I came to realise that there is often a lot of information about people in their personal profile, which can be gathered through their log of tweets, their bio, and their country of origin. As such, I again conducted a general search of ‘global warming’, but, instead of taking an overview of all the tweets, I selected a few and went into that person’s profile. There were a few profiles with limited information that could be gathered, however, there were others that I could take a wealth of information from. In these cases, I was able to begin to piece together what factors were influencing the views that person expressed in their tweet. I have included some of these profiles below.

Profile 1

Danielle Peters identifies her account as one “looking at all the ways we are mitigating and adapting to climate change” (Peters 2016). Already from this bio description, it is clear that the individual is very much concerned with climate change, and one could assume that she believes strongly that climate change is occurring, and probably shares her views with others. Upon further inspection, it can be seen that Danielle follows a lot of other conservation and climate aware profiles on Twitter, suggesting that she is very much invested in this cause, and will be influenced by the views expressed by these people and organisations. These assumptions are made clearer through the log of tweets that is available on Danielle’s profile.

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I found that whilst she is trying to show people that climate change is real and that it is a big threat, she puts her point across in a very non-threatening way, mostly posting pieces of information such as news articles which she encourages her followers to go and read. She joined Twitter very recently, in August 2016, so there is not a lot of data that can be collected so far as to her influences, but it could be inferred that she takes a lot of her information from general news sources, and that she is already firmly established in her views, so is unlikely to alter her current position on climate change. Also, it could be suggested that Danielle will most likely only tweet articles which match her current views, and also perhaps only look for information which furthers her views.

Profile 2

John Beard is a “news anchor, writer, skeptic, optimist. [His] goal is to make you think, and on occasion…change your thinking” (Beard 2016). He has been a member of Twitter since 2008, and has built up a log of 29 700 tweets. In his bio, there is no specific mention of climate change, and, indeed, on inspection of his tweets, it is clear that this issue is not his only concern. Whilst he tweets regularly about climate change related stories, he also tweets regularly about political issues, and appears to mostly tweet about current news stories in order to encourage his followers to become informed, and also to put his own views forward.

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John’s obvious interest in politics stems from his own position as a news anchor, and, as such, it could be suggested that he has formed strong political views through his job. These views are likely to play into his position on climate change, which appears from his tweets to be on of support. The fact that John mostly posts his own tweets, rather than retweeting the posts of others, suggests that he is very sure of his own position on the issues and thus is unlikely to be persuaded to alter his views. The amount of tweets John has linking to news articles suggests that these are the sources he gets most of his information from, also his own position as a news anchor suggests that these are the sources that he is mostly surrounded by. These sources are likely to be the ones shaping, as well as strengthening his views. John’s statement in his bio that his “…goal is to make you think, and on occasion…change your thinking” (Beard 2016) suggests that he is quite influential amongst his friends and followers, and that he is actively trying to get people to engage in his views, and hopefully mould to them.


  1. Tweets that get a lot of likes or that are ‘trending’ have the potential to become extremely influential due to their widespread reach across the world. As such, a tweet about climate change that reached this status could become one of the factors that influences a person’s views on the issue. By extension, a tweet by a prominent figure with hundreds or millions of followers could achieve a similar result.
  2. A lot of people in their tweets about climate change link to news articles. This suggests that these often-biased sources are the main source of information about this issue for a lot of Twitter users. As such, these news articles are a factor in shaping these people’s views on climate change.
  3. The geographical proximity of a person to events that may be seen as being caused by climate change influences their view as to the severity of the issue. If a person is close to a climate change related event, they will be more likely to believe in climate change than someone who is removed from the event.
  4. The information that can be gathered through a person’s bio, tweet log, and country, can provide an insight into their views on a certain issue, in this case climate change. Looking at people’s personal profiles is one method that I could use to gather my own data set around my focus area of the factors that influence a person’s views on climate change, although it is very time consuming, and may not be accurate as people may not put truthful information in their profile.
  5. Climate change is a global issue, and, as such, platforms such as Twitter which collate data from across the world can be very useful tools. They allow people to connect with people in other countries and see what is happening in terms of issues they are interested in. To me, a platform such as Twitter is invaluable as I am able to collect data about areas such as geographical proximity to climate change events and how they affect a person’s views of the issue. However, it is advisable to be wary when using platforms such as Twitter that not all viewpoints may be represented, as only people who feel very passionate about an issue will generally tweet about it, resulting in a lot of tweets presenting extreme views of the issue.


  1. Beard, J. 2016, ‘California extends its ambitious climate change law by 10 years’, Twitter post, 6 September, viewed 9 September 2016, <;
  2. Beard, J. 2016, ‘How Donald Trump retooled his charity to spend other people’s money-The Washington Post’, Twitter post, 9 September, viewed 9 September 2016, <;
  3. Beard, J. 2016, ‘Scientists See Push From Climate Change in Louisiana Flooding-The New York Times’, Twitter post, 6 September, viewed 9 September 2016, <;
  4. Beard, J. 2016, ‘Still doubt global warming? U.S. Endures its Sultriest Summer Nights on Record | Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog’, Twitter post, 6 September, viewed 9 September 2016, <;
  5. Beard, J. 2016, ‘Trump wants moreUS military spending, ignoring (or not knowing) it’s bigger than next 10 countries combined including Russia and China.’, Twitter post, 7 September, viewed 9 September 2016, <;
  6. Becker, J. 2016, ‘Study finds global warming increased the odds of Louisiana downpour #global #warming’, Twitter post, 8 September, viewed 8 September 2016, <;
  7. Bickmore, G. 2016, ‘In other news: More floods on way due to Corbyn’s failure to hold government to account over global warming.’, Twitter post, 7 September, viewed 8 September 2016, <;
  8. Boss, J. 2016, ‘Deadly Louisiana deluge had a major climate change assist study finds: The 7.1 trillion galleons of torrentia…’, Twitter post, 8 September, viewed 8 September 2016, <;
  9. Cheli, J. 2016, ‘Deadly Louisiana deluge had a major climate change assist study finds: The 7.1 trillion galleons on torrent…’, Twitter post, 8 September, viewed 8 September 2016, <;
  10. Chickfactor 2016, ‘Dear US Government: End fossil fuels. End coal. Do more to combat global warming.’, Twitter post, 7 September, viewed 8 September 2016, <;
  11. Crowley, M. 2016, ‘#BlackLivesMatter You’d think global warming would be one thing, the one cause we could unite behind, wouldn’t you? Well you’d be wrong.’, Twitter post, 6 September, viewed 7 September 2016, <;
  12. Fabian the Meerkat 2016, ‘@LBC Oh so only black people are effected by global warming? #BlackLivesMatter UK is a JOKE’, Twitter post, 7 September, viewed 7 September 2016, <;
  13. Freddoso, D. 2016, ‘We’re from the government, and we’re here to…not help actually. Just to say that global warming caused your flood.’, Twitter post, 7 September, viewed 8 September 2016, <;
  14. Green City Media 2016, ‘Is the government of Florida too afraid to talk about #climatechange?’, Twitter post, 8 September, viewed 8 September 2016, <;
  15. Heaphy, J. 2016, ‘Billions of dollars go to scientists who push the global warming scam for the government.’, Twitter post, 7 September, viewed 8 September 2016, <;
  16. Hoffman, H.J. 2015, How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate, Stanford University Press, California.
  17. Jacob 2016, ‘@dancedad420 global warming is a government plot’, Twitter post, 8 September, viewed 8 September 2016, <;
  18. James, S. 2016, ‘Deadly Louisiana deluge had a major climate change assist study finds’, Twitter post, 8 September, viewed 8 September 2016, <;
  19. Melton, H. 2016, ‘@WhiteHouse @WHLive @POTUS Ha warming is just a money making machine for the government..scientists out there that say fraud’, Twitter post, 8 September, viewed 8 September 2016, <;
  20. Minna 2016, ‘Tbh I am with #BlackLivesMatter but what they’re protesting in the UK is a bit stupid just saying global warming effects everyone’, Twitter post, 6 September, viewed 7 September 2016, <;
  21. Obama, B. 2016, ‘Rising sea levels are already flooding homes and roads along America’s coasts. The time to #ActOnClimate is now.’, Twitter post, 7 September, viewed 7 September 2016, <;
  22. Peters, D. 2016, ‘Arctic sea ice video shows it has shrunk this year almost to 2012 levels via @NPR @NASA’, Twitter post, 20 August, viewed 10 September 2016, <;
  23. Peters, D. 2016, ‘In the village of Ashton Hayes, England, the act of reducing emissions is a fun community project’, Twitter post, 21 August, viewed 10 September 2016, <;
  24. Peters, D. 2016, ‘Proud of the research that is happening to understand #climate change in NYC’, Twitter post, 10 September, viewed 10 September 2016, <;
  25. Peters, D. 2016, ‘Will a price tag on climate change get people to act?’, Twitter post, 22 August, viewed 10 September 2016, <;
  26. Pollock, S. 2016, Social Media echo chambers are hurting climate debate, viewed 22 September 2016, <;
  27. Robinson, S. Jr. 2016, ‘Deadly Louisiana deluge had a major climate change assist study finds’, Twitter post, 8 September, viewed 8 September 2016, <;
  28. Simms, L. 2016, ‘So #BlackLivesMatter is now focused on Global Warming? And you say it was never a puppet organization? lol’, Twitter post, 6 September, viewed 7 September 2016, <;
  29. Zoudis, J. 2016, ‘Deadly Louisiana deluge had a major climate change assist study finds: The 7.1 trillion galleons of torrentia…’, Twitter post, 8 September, viewed 8 September 2016, <;

Emilie Glasson

Blog Post 7—broadening knowledge through collaborative mapping


In class in weeks 4 and 5, we undertook collaborative mapping exercises, both within our larger issues groups, and in pairs. In this way, we came to synthesise group knowledge and unpack individual understandings of particular areas within the broader issue, in my case climate change.

Week 4

The first mapping exercise undertaken in week 4, done within our larger issues group, involved each person writing down at least 20 words that they individually associate with climate change and/or their smaller focus area within this broad topic. This generated a huge volume of words, and showed me just how broad our issue is, as well as how many different ideas and associations can be made within the topic of climate change. At the start of the exercise, I thought that everyone would come up with similar words, however, on the contrary, it has showed me that my knowledge/view of climate change is actually quite narrow and concentrated within my own focus area, the debate surrounding climate change and the different influences that affect a person’s stance on the issue.

In the next stage of the exercise, we laid all the words out across a number of tables and began to try and take all the information in. I found that with this method of collaborative mapping, it was difficult to summarise single insights into the nature of the collected data because there was so much of it. However, it could be seen that whilst there were the obvious words and phrases commonly associated with climate change, such as global warming, greenhouse gases, ozone and factories, there were also more obscure ones such as ghost nets, extinction, death, and moral obligations. I found moral obligations to be particularly interesting because I have been researching in my own focus area the factors that influence a person’s position within the climate change debate, and one of the major factors I have come across is a person’s cultural values.

Word map created by various members of the climate change issue group

I found that the most interesting and insightful aspect of this particular group mapping exercise was when each person was asked to choose the word that most represented their current view/understanding of the issue as a whole, the results of which can be seen below:

Issue Summary
A summary of the issue of climate change by various members of the climate change issue group

The majority of the chosen words focus on the negative aspects and consequences arising from climate change, as well as groups being affected by these consequences. This suggests to me that the people who are researching the same issue as me are coming to draw the conclusion that climate change is a huge issue which is having negative and far-reaching impacts on the earth.

In week 4, we also undertook an exercise where we mapped the stakeholders involved based on the words which had been generated, however, I found that the stakeholder list was the same as the one produced in week 2, so I did not gain any new insights from this particular task.

Week 5

In week, 5, we undertook 2 group mapping exercises, both of which were mentioned in my blog post 3, but which I will expand upon in this post. The first map created in week 5 was one based on the basic stakeholder map created in week 2, but with more specific details about the stakeholders included. On the map created in week 2, we simply listed generic stakeholders, such as government, NGO’s, and media, giving a general overview with limited depth of information (and possibly knowledge). However, on this new map, having undertaken more research, we were able to go into more detail, expanding under each stakeholder with names of specific political parties, organisations, people, media sources, etc. Undertaking this task with a partner made it very beneficial as it opened up a number of specific stakeholders who I had not considered before this point. In particular, my partner had a good understanding of different not-for-profit organisations, an area which I so far had not ventured into because my focus area of the factors that influence a person’s stance on climate change has led me more towards researching political parties/views and different media news sources. One thing I did notice from undertaking this expanded stakeholder map was that whilst I expected it would provide more clarification on each stakeholder, it actually broadened the categories out, and even led to the consideration of additional stakeholder categories.


The second map created in week 5 was a ‘polemic’ map, where we listed the controversies around climate change on the left-hand side, and the emotions that are related to each controversy on the right-hand side. After this initial mapping, we listed all the stakeholders involved with each controversy. This mapping method was extremely interesting, as it allowed myself and my partner to begin to think about and discuss the different emotions felt by different levels of stakeholder, an aspect which we have not really considered before. I found also that this related quite strongly to my research, in looking at what factors may influence a particular stance or, in this case, a particular emotion. Through this polemic map, I have come to gain a greater understanding of the dominant stakeholders within the issue of climate change as a whole, a trend which emerged through the placement of the stakeholders underneath each controversy—it could be assumed that the stakeholders who are concerned with more controversies, such as the government and media sources, are more dominant. However, with this came the realisation that the more dominant stakeholders, and thus the ones with more power, are actually quite far removed from the issue, and often possess perhaps an apathetic attitude, and take limited action. By contrast, the less dominant stakeholders probably feel more passionate about the issue, but feel powerless because they are not in a position to take any action, or they feel as though any action they do take will be pointless.



From undertaking the series of group mapping exercises as detailed above, I have come to gain a number of insights into the process as well as the benefits that are gained through the process. The co-creation of maps, first and foremost, presents an opportunity for the cross-pollination of ideas, as each member of the group has a different background in terms of their research and so each will have different insights based on the particular sources they have read. This sharing of knowledge provides an opportunity for each group member to expand their own knowledge within the particular issue, garnering a more comprehensive and detailed understanding in the process. In relation to this idea of shared knowledge, the maps created in this process also tend to paint a richer and more wholistic picture of the issue as there are a number of viewpoints/opinions involved, as well as information and ideas being drawn from numerous secondary sources across all members of the group. The differing viewpoints and opinions inherently present within each individual in the group also provides the opportunity for discussion and debate, which can lead to the emergence of interesting new ideas.

From my own collaboration with my peers on the creation of maps relating to climate change, I have come to gain a number of interesting insights which I had not considered before. First and foremost, I have come to understand the enormity and complexity of the issue, and the many different facets that it encompasses, as well as the many different associations people have with climate change. In light of this realisation, I will be approaching the issue of climate change with a much more open mind and more actively engaging with the views of other people on the issue. Another understanding I have gained through the co-creation of maps is the enormity of the web of stakeholders which make up the issue of climate change. There are stakeholders which have been introduced to me by my peers which I had never considered before, and this richer understanding has opened my mind to the need to perhaps go back to doing broad research, in order to myself find connections between stakeholders. Co-creating maps has also reminded me of my own bias in relation to climate change, and the need to accept that not everything I believe may be correct, and other people have their own bias.

Emilie Glasson

Blog Post 5—understanding the climate change debate through primary data

The Interview

Having completed extensive background research on the broad issue of climate change, and having myself narrowed down my focus area to the factors which influence any given person’s stance on the extent to which climate change is occurring, and whether or not humans are substantially involved, I discovered that in order to extend my understanding further I would need to begin the process of conducting ethnographic research in order to gather primary data which I can analyse and compare to data and facts which I find in scholarly sources.

The first form of ethnographic research that I undertook was a series of 2 interviews with fellow classmates, both with a basic level of knowledge about the issue, and both with firmly planted views regarding the extent of climate change. Undertaking this interview brought to the fore the fact that climate change is a topic in which people feel strongly either for or against, and the majority are very sure of their own personal view and unwilling to budge. This ties in to my scholarly research, and could be seen to demonstrate the extent to which values can inform a viewpoint more than knowledge.

In order to get the most out of the semi-structured interview as possible, I devised a series of 6 questions, as follows:

  1. What do you know about global warming?
  2. Where have you gathered most of your information on this issue from? How have these sources shaped your understanding/desire for action?
  3. Do you have a particular position on the issue?
  4. Are you willing to listen to other views on the issue or are you firmly positioned and reluctant to budge?
  5. How have the views of others around you influenced your own position on the issue? Do the people around you share a similar standpoint on the issue?
  6. Do you believe that the media sources you engage with are reliable indicators of the realities of the issue? Do you feel as though you are receiving balanced arguments or biased arguments?

There were several intriguing findings that came out of the interview process, and I found that even though the interviewees occasionally didn’t directly answer the question asked of them, they went on a tangent and ended up giving me new information that I had not considered before. I ended up gathering 2 important insights from this task:

Finding 1:

The most important piece of information that I gathered from the interview process, was the idea that people of my age are quite certain that climate change is a real issue, and also that they are generally quite well-educated on the issue. I was extremely interested to learn that one of my interviewees regularly engages with more reliable news sources than just mass media articles, including the National Geographic, TED talks, and some journal articles, and this showed me that there are people who do their research and make informed decisions on issues such as climate change. Before the interview, I had assumed that all my peers would simply engage with the issue on a coincidental basis, when they saw a post on Facebook with a link to an article, but this has been proven wrong, and is an insight to take away and consider when I am creating my design proposal.

Finding 2:

Another important insight I gained from the interview process was a more personal understanding of the role that cultural values may play in shaping a person’s views around climate change. Leading up to the interview, I had simply read about the possible links between a person’s position and their cultural values, but had not had a chance to engage with this idea personally. In the interview, I found that both my interviewees felt that they were influenced by their own personal experiences, from science classes to discussions with family and friends. This opens up for me the opportunity to explore the types of cultural influences and personal experiences that can affect a person’s standpoint on climate change, and indeed it informed the creation of my ‘probe’ kit.

The Probe

In designing my ‘probe’ kit, I wanted to ensure that I collected data that I would find useful in further unpacking my chosen focus area within the issue of climate change. Taking on board all the knowledge I had gathered both from my secondary research, scholarly research, and interview, I created a probe which utilised quadrant mapping. I felt that this data collection method would allow people the flexibility to really consider their positions in relation to each quadrant, whilst also providing me with valuable data. I decided on a quadrant mapping probe rather than a survey or questionnaire because I feel that these two methods are quite restrictive, both in the answers that can be given, as well as the data that is received. A quadrant map allows a lot more interpretation, and a wider range of applications are opened up for the data that is collected.

I devised a series of 4 quadrant maps, each with a different question, and a set of axes relating to the specific question. The data I received is as follows:

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 12.44.47 am
(Glasson 2016)
Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 12.45.48 am
(Glasson 2016)
Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 12.46.48 am
(Glasson 2016)
Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 12.47.25 am
(Glasson 2016)

Whilst my probe gave me interesting insights into the 4 different questions that I asked, I feel as though, looking back, I could have developed quadrant maps with more insightful and less prescriptive categories. Whilst at the time when I developed the probe I felt that it would provide me with the data I was looking for, I feel that upon receiving it, there are other questions I could have explored that would have helped to expand my knowledge further, rather than just reiterating things that I already have a level of understanding of.


The most interesting and useful finding that came out of the probe was the idea that all the participants felt more influenced in their climate change views by their knowledge than their values. This is ironic as all the sources I have been reading in relation to this focus area have suggested that values play an equally important if not more important role in shaping a person’s view than knowledge. It is also in contrast to my finding in my interview where the 2 respondents stated that personal experiences influenced their understanding of climate change. In justifying this surprising finding, I believe that people maybe do not fully understand what values means, so opted for knowledge which they do understand. Also, perhaps people are not aware of how much their values influence them, and perhaps mistake values for knowledge. This is a finding that I want to look into further, perhaps by going to each respondent and asking for clarification as to the nature of their response.

Five Point Summary

  1. Data you receive from an interview or probe may not always be as you expected.
  2. Allowing people flexibility within an interview or probe space is beneficial.
  3. Some people within my age range (and the age range for the design proposal), engage with more trustworthy sources than just mass media sources.
  4. People believe that their knowledge is more influential in their views of climate change than their values, contrary to the findingd in many scholarly sources.
  5. I have come to understand that a probe should seek to extend your current knowledge, and should also perhaps try to expand on knowledge gathered from an interview, rather than simply gathering similar data.

All images were created by Emilie Glasson as a visualisation of the collected probe data.

Emilie Glasson

Blog Post 3—fleshing out the stakeholders and collecting visual references


In beginning to map the stakeholders, both human and non-human, within the broad issue of climate change, I have been able to begin the process of understanding the intricacies of the connections within the issue, as well as beginning to discover who the major stakeholders are, through the frequency in which they are appearing across the different maps. In a broad sense, everything and everyone in the world is a stakeholder, so the following maps have allowed me the opportunity to narrow down the stakeholders within the issue of climate change, and place them in particular categories under the umbrella of climate change as effectors of the trajectory of the debate and the actions undertaken to combat the issue. The following maps have also helped me in beginning to understand how the roles of different stakeholders overlap.

Map 1

Stakeholder map created by Emilie Glasson, Ji Young Bang, and Duo Sun, 2016

This first map was created in week 2. In this first map, we began to map the stakeholders involved in the broad issue of climate change. We divided the stakeholders up into ‘human’ and ‘non-human’, two very broad yet effective categories in which to start placing different groups. I found that it was hard to know what groups to start with because the breadth of people involved in the issue is so broad, but once we started, it got easier. From this first map, I took away an understanding of the complexity of identifying the stakeholders, as well as an initial idea of how different stakeholders might be connected, and how both human and non-human groups may affect each other and interlock.

Map 2

Stakeholder map created by Emilie Glasson, Ji Young Bang, and Duo Sun, 2016

This second map was created in week 2 as well, as an extension of the first map. In this second map, each member of the group began to map the stakeholders relating to their particular focus area, rather than climate change as a whole. As a group, we chose to map our individual issues around the idea of ‘geographical proximity’. This narrowed the stakeholder groups down, and allowed each person to go into a lot more detail, as well as allowing members to begin to draw connections between stakeholders. This began to build up a much richer overview of how different stakeholders are involved with one another, and drew the insight that no stakeholder can ever really act alone when dealing with an issue as large as climate change—there will always be another person/thing that will affect that stakeholder.

Map 3


This was an extension of the previous map, which I did at home in order to extend my understanding further. In completing this map at home, I was really able to consider what might constitute ‘geographical proximity’, and came up with the idea that a stakeholder can either be physically close to the issue, or emotionally close to the issue. This was a really interesting way of looking at my own focus area, being the factors that influence a person’s views on climate change, because it allowed me to draw out the idea that being physically close to events that could be attributed to climate change would probably influence a person in that they would be more likely to believe in the issue, an idea that was presented in some of my textual sources. Similarly, being emotionally close to an issue, either through social media sources or through friends/family who have been personally affected by a climate change related issue, would presumably elicit a sense of belief in the issue.

Another interesting thought to come out of this map is the fact that, whilst the majority of stakeholders can be linked to at least one other, the government and social media groups in the context of geographical proximity appear to be the most dominant. Both link to numerous other stakeholders, and both could be said to be instrumental in eliciting a person’s response to the issue of climate change, and, more importantly, they could be said to influence directly a person’s views of climate change.

Map 4

Stakeholder map created by Emilie Glasson and Christine Trajkovska, 2016

This map was created in week 5, and is a more detailed version of the map created in week 2. This map was created with the intent of providing the names of specific organisations and things that sit within each stakeholder category. Whilst I thought that this would provide more clarification of each stakeholder, it actually broadened the categories out, and caused me to start thinking of additional stakeholder categories that I had not considered in week 2.

Map 5

Stakeholder map created by Emilie Glasson and Christine Trajkovska, 2016

This map was created in week 5, and it aims to extend from the previous map by connecting individual stakeholders to the controversies that exist within the issue of climate change, as well as considering the emotional responses of the different groups in relation to each specific controversy. After the initial mapping of controversies and emotions, and the stakeholders involved, I was shown by my tutor a method of refining and dissecting this information to build up an even richer understanding of the relationships between stakeholders, as seen below.

Map 6


This exercise could be carried out across each of the controversies identified in the previous map. Indeed, this particular mapping exercise has been the most beneficial to me in terms of extending my understanding of the role and influence of different stakeholders under the banner of a particular issue, and it has highlighted to me the idea that the major stakeholders within issues, and the ones with the most power, are actually the groups who are least affected by climate change, yet they are the ones who are not taking any action. This relates back to my readings, as well as my third map, which suggested that people who are in close proximity to an issue are more likely to believe that it is occurring. Through this particular mapping exercise, I was able also to begin to gain an understanding of the motivations behind each stakeholder in their involvement in the issue.

Image Archive

After analysing all 10 of my images, I have come to realise that as visual pieces, they are aiming to create a striking and lasting visual impact, and as such, they all present just one side of the argument. However, unlike text sources, they are not created to give a balanced perspective, and are very successful in communicating the single viewpoint of the author. Also, throughout all the images which depict humans, the gender is male, perhaps hinting that men are ultimately the ones who have the power to fix the issue of climate change, and equally that they are the ones ignoring all the signs and making no attempts to combat the issue. Men are also often the people in positions of power.

‘The Global Warming Hoax’:

'Elaborate Climate Change Hoax'
(Luckovich 2009)

This political cartoon is representing the extreme right-wing view of politics, and is using humour and satire to almost mock the views of people with this political inclination. Throughout the text sources I collected, the overall idea I found was that, whilst people do generally acknowledge that climate change is occurring to an extent, they are reluctant to fully commit to a definite standpoint on the issue, particularly when it means that they must impart some of the blame onto themselves. This cartoon addresses this issue by establishing the extent to which some people will go to deny climate change, despite overwhelming evidence which surrounds us everyday in media reports. In a way this cartoon draws people more towards the left-wing as they do not want to appear completely ignorant, even if they are not completely convinced by all the evidence pointing to climate change. The medium of a political cartoon is extremely effective in communicating very succinctly a particular view of an issue, and in this case it is much more effective than a written piece because of its immediate visual impact. A political cartoon will generate a different response from different people based on their cultural values, and knowledge, so ties in with my own focus area.

‘Melting Men’:

'Melting Men' 2
(Azevedo 2009)
'Melting Men'
(Azevedo 2009)


This art installation is a particularly sobering reminder of the effects of climate change on the human race. The artwork was created to draw attention to the melting ice caps in Antarctica and Greenland, highlighting the World Wildlife Fund’s warning about the consequences of melting ice caps, mainly sea level rises. The installation is extremely effective in its communication of the message as it brings an issue which is not visible to us in our everyday lives to our doorstep, making us stop and consider our impact on aspects of the planet which we normally feel no connection to. Indeed, this project links in with my text sources as in these sources, I found arguments that when people personally experience an event that could be blamed on climate change, they are more likely to engage with the issue, and believe in it. In this installation, people are confronted visually with hundreds of melting people, drawing an emotional response as they come to realise that this could become the fate of the human race if we do not tackle climate change.

‘Stop Climate Change Before it Changes You’:

'Stop Climate Change Before it Stops You'
(Germaine 2008)

The main aim of this poster is to scare and shock people into taking action against climate change by presenting visually a possible consequence, albeit extreme, of the issue, should we continue to ignore it and take no action. Unlike the textual sources I have read, there is no concrete explanation behind this visualisation, and it is open to interpretation. The message of the poster, ‘stop climate change before it changes you’, is very effectively conveyed in the image, and the use of the human figure, rather than the typical animal images used in a a lot of climate change posters, makes the viewer feel very personally connected with the campaign because they can come in a way to feel sensually all the modifications which the individual in the poster has experienced. It uses scare-mongering to generate a sense of fear, in turn presumably encouraging people to take action against climate change. This poster differs to a lot of other textual and visual sources because it shows a possible effect on the physical bodies of humans, rather than on animals or the environment.

‘Today’s Society’:

'Sure Glad the Hole isn't at Our End'
(Today’s Society n.d.)

Whilst this image does not strictly relate to climate change and could be applied to any issue, it resonated strongly with me because it shows visually an idea that has come up in my readings, particularly in Robert Kenny’s article ‘We Don’t Want to Believe in Climate Change’ (Kenny 2013–2014). Here, Kenny suggests that we are all in part climate change deniers because we do not want to admit that we individually are playing a part in climate change. In this cartoon, we are presented with the harsh reality that we all like to pass problems off to others to deal with, even when they are problems, like climate change, that will affect us all in the long run. The irony of the situation plays on the emotions of the viewer as they come to realise that they in fact are probably guilty of choosing to ignore an issue which is extremely pressing.

‘I Don’t Believe in Global Warming’:

'I Don't Believe in Global Warming'
(Banksy 2009)

This artwork uses irony to demonstrate the ignorance of people who deny the existence of climate change. Whilst this artwork by Banksy is not literally a victim of climate change, its placement below the water line really makes people stop and consider the impact of rising sea levels. Like the ‘Melting Men’ installation, this artwork brings an often invisible consequence of global warming to the fore in people’s minds as they suddenly see the issue in their own environment, and are forced to confront it in their mind. This creates the opportunity for people to reflect on their own practices which may be contributing to climate change.

‘Follow the Leaders’:

(Cordal 2009)

This installation artwork is a small-scale sculpture located in Berlin created by Issac Cordal. It is commenting on the fact that no matter how much evidence there is supporting the occurrence of climate change, politicians will continue to be in a state of inaction as they cannot come to a consensus. It works extremely well as a form of social commentary, and I feel as though it makes more of a statement/impact than any written piece could. The fact that it is on a small scale adds more meaning to the artwork, as it serves to create the impression that no matter how important politicians think their views are, they will amount to nothing if the politicians do not take action at some point in the near future.

‘Problem Me, Solution Me’:

(Le n.d.)

This poster resonated particularly strongly with me because of the articles I have been reading which discuss the idea that people are reluctant to hold themselves accountable for climate change, and they often tend to try and pass the blame onto others, ignoring the issue. Here, the viewer is confronted with two large ‘me’ words, which serve to relate directly to the viewer, and draw a very personal connection with them. The use of both first person and third person in ‘me’ and ‘you’ centres the issue on the viewer and essentially puts the blame on them, causing them to deeply consider their own contributions to climate change, and, by extension, possible ways they could reduce their footprint. Rather than just blaming the viewer for climate change, however, the poster also suggests that they can take action to combat global warming, a call to action.

‘Poster for a Contest About Global Warming’:

'Global Warming-Extiction'
(Dovnorovics 2008)

This poster captured my attention because of its extremely clever representation of extinction of animals caused by climate change. It shows both that we are running out of time to stop the extinction of animals through climate change, as well as the idea that animals are becoming extinct at a faster rate than we realise, hinted at in the allusion to the egg-timer, which generally runs for 3 minutes. The graphic nature of the animals passing through one half of the timer and coming out the other side as bones is extremely effective in conveying its message, and reminds people that once animals have become extinct, time cannot be reversed, and the animals cannot be brought back.

‘Please Stop Global Warming’:

Polar Bear
(Please Stop Global Warming… 2014)

This poster captured my attention because of the sense of naivety conveyed through both the colour palette and the illustration style. This visual style draws the viewer in emotionally, as they want to help the polar bear. However, it also makes the viewer feel somewhat responsible for the polar bear’s plight, even though there is no mention anywhere on the poster that it is making a comment about climate change. Whilst it is a serious message being conveyed, there are also humorous undertones—the viewer knows that taping the ice together will not stop it from breaking apart, but the innocence of the polar bear makes the viewer feel sorry for the creature in that it doesn’t understand what is happening. It also serves, through the use of a cute polar bear, to act as an inciter of change, as people feel the need to act in order to help the animal. This illustration would not have the same visual impact if it had used a human child.


(Madden n.d.)

This illustration captured my attention first and foremost because it presents a very confronting issue in a naive and childlike way. This makes the message it is conveying more palatable to the viewer, as it comments on the possible outcome on earth if we do not stop polluting the atmosphere. Rather than a typical gas mask which is used in a lot of apocalyptic imagery, this illustration rather uses an oxygen tank with a tree as the oxygen source. This can be seen as a suggestion that nature is the life-source of humans, and that we will not realise how much we rely on nature until we destroy it.

  1. Azevedo, N. 2009, Melting Men, viewed 25 August 2016,>
  2. Banksy 2009, I Don’t Believe in Global Warming, viewed 25 August 2016, <;
  3. Cordal, I. 2009, Follow the Leaders, viewed 25 August 2016, <;
  4. Dovnorovics, K. 2008, Poster for a Contest About Global Warming, Behance, viewed 25 August 2016, <;

  5. Germaine 2008, Stop Climate Change Before it Changes You, Ads of the World, viewed 25 August 2016, <;
  6. Kenny, R. 2013–2014, ‘We Don’t Want to Believe in Climate Change’, The Monthly, December–January, viewed 10 August 2016 <;
  7. Le, S. n.d., Problem Me, Solution Me, <;
  8. Luckovich, M. The Global Warming Hoax, viewed 25 August 2016, <’s+Editorial+Cartoons.php&gt;
  9. Madden, C. n.d., Untitled, viewed 25 August 2016, <;
  10. Please Stop Global Warming… 2014, viewed 25 August 2016, <;
  11. Today’s Society n.d., viewed 25 August 2016, <;

Emilie Glasson

Blog Post 4—researching an existing design example

Based on the information and opinions I collected from the articles and scholarly sources I read for blog posts 1 and 2, I have decided, as mentioned in my second blog post, that the area I want to investigate within the broad issue of climate change is that of the extent to which any given individual is influenced, by either inherent characteristics or external factors, to accept or to reject the existence of climate change, and, by extension, to accept or reject the extent to which climate change is caused or contributed to by human activity. As a result of this, in seeking to identify an existing design example within an emergent practice context, I wanted to find a project which visualised a data set from which I could deduce information about factors which may influence people’s opinions on climate change, either individually or collectively.

The project I found was ‘A World of Change’, a data visualisation created by Pitch Interactive in collaboration with Google’s News Lab. Geared primarily towards journalists (Wiederkehr 2015), this project explores the issue of climate change through the presentation of Google Search results in a simple and easy to use platform. The project utilises current/emerging technologies in that it was created as a “…linked experience between a multi-touch wall and four Chromebook pixels.” The wall, much like on the current website version of the project, showed a spinning globe on which Google search queries would appear, originating from the city in which it was most frequently asked. “Using real data, the piece simulates the activity of users constantly querying Google on our eight topics around global warming. The Chromebook Pixels allowed users to dive into some of the more qualitative data and excerpts of recent publications on topics in these major cities and towns around the world” (Wiederkehr 2015). The project has made use of data collected from Google Search results about climate change across 20 of the world’s major cities, which has been divided into 8 different categories in order to synthesise the content. The 8 categories can all be seen as sub-categories under the umbrella of climate change— ‘Energy’, ‘Recycling’, ‘Oceans’, ‘Natural Environment’, ‘Drinking Water’, ‘Global Warming’, ‘Wildlife’, and ‘Air Pollution’. The most relevant category to my own research is global warming, but it was interesting to view the other categories, and it has opened up some new ideas and other potential areas I could look into. Within each of the 8 categories, the data has been collated and normalised in order to generate the 3 most common Google searches in each city under each category. Each category generates a different insight into the values and extent of knowledge which people across the 20 cities possess in relation to climate change, and an analysis of the data within each can draw interesting parallels between countries as a whole, as well as reveal gaps in knowledge within certain cities, which may be attributed to political climate or perhaps just general ignorance or a lack of discussion amongst the population, and an absence of scientific information.

When a user enters the site, they are presented with a spinning globe on the right-hand side which can be used to select a particular city; and a list of categories on the left-hand side, as well as a short introduction and a prompt to select a category.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 11.30.20 pm
(Google News Lab, Pitch Interactive 2015)

Once a user has selected a category and a city, they are taken to a page which lists the top 3 search queries people have requested in relation to the chosen category and city. It also shows the ranking of the selected city in relation to the other 20 on the basis of the number of Google searches performed in the specific category, as well as showing the ranking of the selected category in relation to the other 7 for the specific city, based on the same criteria. In essence, this page allows the user to see at a glance whether the citizens in that city are concerned with the chosen category, as well as how concerned the searchers are about the problems within the category compared to searchers in the other 20 cities. This is interesting as studying this data will allow a user to understand which city’s citizens are interested in what issues, and, by extension, will allow the user to link this understanding to current events and media coverage that may be occurring in any given country.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 11.30.43 pm
(Google News Lab, Pitch Interactive 2015)

From this page, the user can select to ‘see searches over time’, which takes them to a page where they are able to view trends in the amount of Google search activity within the selected city and category across time from 2004–2015.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 11.35.43 pm
(Google News Lab, Pitch Interactive 2015)

An interesting observation derived from analysing search data across all 20 cities is that many recorded peaks in the ‘global warming’ category in the 2006–2007 period (Mooney 2015), an analysis of which would suggest that there was significant coverage of climate change issues across these years, and, by extension, that people are likely to become more interested in issues, and seek knowledge about them, when an issue is at the fore in the media. Indeed, according to Frederick W. Mayer, “…by 2007 there was a strong consensus among scientists that the problem [of global warming] was real and its consequences potentially devastating, and there was broad public support for action in the US and across the globe” (Mayer 2012). Mayer goes on to provide figures which show that 77 percent of Americans, by mid-2006, believed that the average temperature on Earth was getting warmer, a figure which remained consistent across early 2007, when “…mainstream press…declared the science to be settled”(Mayer 2012). From this analysis, it would be reasonable to assume that people were more aware of global warming and the debate surrounding it, and thus were more likely to want to get involved and be informed, so that they in turn could form their own views, prompting an upward trend in relation to the number of Google Searches made on the topic in that period.

One of the people involved on the World of Change project, Simon Rogers, the data editor at the Google News Lab, said that through the site, the producers “…wanted to show how [the issue of climate change] looks when viewed through the lens of Google Search data. Google data is so big—there are over 3 billion searches a day—that our challenge was to make those huge numbers meaningful” (Mooney 2015). I believe that they have achieved this as they have created a site which at a glance shows the user a condensed visualisation of the most common Google searches within each of the 8 categories, which by extension gives a glimpse into the level of knowledge people have within each category. The site allows users to view a collated data set so that they do not have to go and conduct their own data-scrape. Whilst the data is extremely useful for gaining an overview over a cross-section of countries about the knowledge set of people in general regarding climate change issues, there are some limitations to the conclusions that can be drawn from the data. The main limitation is that there is no way to get an accurate representation of the views of people across the whole world because there is only the data from 20 major cities presented. This means any conclusions drawn from this data will contain a level of bias, which will tend to favour developed nations. There is also an issue of comparing data across different cities within a single country because most of the countries only have data from a single city presented. In this way, users cannot assess whether knowledge sets differ across cities, so they cannot feasibly gain an accurate picture of how levels of knowledge may change as you move across a country, if they in fact do.

This project, on the whole, is interesting in the context of my area of investigation, described in paragraph one, in that it is highly suggestive that individuals will be influenced in their opinions of climate change by the amount of media coverage and by the slant put on the scientific evidence by the journalists doing the reporting. It also shows that there are differing levels of knowledge across cities, by extension raising the idea that people’s opinions of climate change are influenced by their cultural values and personal experiences. I will bear this in mind in my further investigation of the issue.

  1. Google News Lab, Pitch Interactive 2015, A World of Change, viewed 22 August 2016, <>
  2. Mayer, F.W. 2012, ‘Stories of Climate Change: Competing Narratives, the Media, and U.S. Public Opinion 2001-2010’, Joan Shorenstein Centre on the Press, Politics and Public Policy Discussion Paper Series, p. 2.
  3. Mooney, C. 2015, ‘Google just created a stunning visualization of how the world searches for ‘global warming’’, Washington Post, 17 June, viewed 24 August 2016, <>
  4. Wiederkehr, A. 2016, A World of Change: Climate Change through the lens of Google Search, viewed 24 August 2016, <>
  5. Wiederkehr, A. 2015, ‘Seeing Climate Change through Google Search’, Pitch Interactive, weblog, viewed 24 August 2016, <>

Emilie Glasson

Blog Post 2—gathering deeper knowledge from scholarly sources

After undertaking extensive secondary research using more mainstream media news sources, I came to be extremely interested in the different opinions people have formed around the issue of climate change, and the question of what factors operate to shape the views of any given person regarding the extent to which climate change is driven by human influence. As such, in collecting scholarly sources, I endeavoured to  find some which discussed in more detail this aspect of the climate change debate.

The first scholarly source I found was ‘How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate’, a book by Andrew J. Hoffman, the Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan. Hoffman, throughout the book, argues strongly for the idea that opinions on climate change are shaped for the most part by people’s cultural values, rather than their knowledge, going as far to suggest that “…cultural identity can overpower scientific reasoning” (Hoffman 2015, p. 4), and that even if you provide people with scientific facts and evidence, they will view that knowledge through a cultural lens, choosing the parts which fit with their existing views and discarding the rest. Whilst Hoffman provides an extensive list of reputable sources to back up his statements and claims, it would still appear that he is presenting quite an extreme view of the extent to which cultural values shape perception. I feel that there is a level of bias present, although it is greatly reduced in contrast to the secondary sources I read last week, because Hoffman does present both sides of the argument, he just appears to favour one side in his selection of evidence.

The second scholarly source I found was ‘Knowledge as a Driver of Public Perceptions About Climate Change Reassessed’, a journal article by Jing Shi, Vivianne H.M. Visschers, and Michael Siegrist, all from the Consumer Behavior Group, Institute for Environmental Decisions (IED) in Zurich; and Joseph Arvai, from the School of Natural Resources & Environment, and the Ross School of Business, both at the University of Michigan. These authors present a much more balanced view of the issue than Hoffman, arguing that whilst cultural values do play a role in shaping people’s opinions on climate change, people will also use scientific and general knowledge to inform their views, effectively collating relevant scientific information and viewing it alongside their cultural values to inform a more wholistic picture of the issue. The overall argument throughout this source is based on a new scientific study carried out across six countries which tested the factors which influence people’s views on climate change in a much more reliable manner than previous studies. Whilst the article is based on this study, it also makes an effort to mention and comment on a number of other studies, increasing reliability and demonstrating in a concrete manner the reasons why the current study would appear superior. Further increasing the reliability of the source is the fact that there are a number of authors, generating three different opinions which have been collated into this single source. These authors come from a wide range of disciplines, including Shi, Visschers and Siegrist, who appear to have a psychology background, suggesting that they are in fact more qualified to comment on the factors that influence an individual’s position on the climate change debate than a climate change specialist.

In summary, overall, I think that both arguments have merit, it is just that one presents a more extreme view than the other, bringing into question its reliability and accuracy. Reading these two sources has opened my eyes to a new aspect of the climate change debate, one which I will continue to look into further.

  1. Arvai, J., Shi, J., Siegrist, M., Visschers, V.H.M. 2016, ‘Knowledge as a Driver of Public Perceptions About Climate Change Reassessed’, Nature Climate Change, vol. 6, no. 8, pp. 759–762.
  2. Hoffman, H.J. 2015, How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate, Stanford University Press, California.

Emilie Glasson

Blog Post 1—building a broad knowledge base using mass-media sources

Article 1: The Real Story on the Great Barrier Reef

This article comes from ‘The Saturday Paper’, an Australian-based weekly newspaper “…dedicated to narrative journalism.” Written by Martin McKenzie-Murray, chief correspondant and regular contributor to the paper, the article discusses the substantial role that climate change is playing in the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as the lack of action coming from large, influential organisations such as the United Nations. As a former Labor political speechwriter, it could be reasoned that the author is inclined towards more left-wing views regarding the impact of climate change, evidence of which is seen throughout this article.

The main argument made in the article is that climate change is the major factor behind the demise of the Great Barrier Reef, an argument backed up through reference to a number of high-profile people who would be considered experts in the area of climate change, most notably Professor John ‘Charlie’ Veron, the former chief scientist of the Australian Institute of Marine Science. The use of these experts makes the article appear more trustworthy and more believable to readers. Looking deeper, however, it is reasonable to conclude that the author has chosen his references on the basis that they align with his own position on the issue, quite possibly possessing strong left-wing orientations themselves, and neglecting to refer to sources which may contradict this position, thus calling into question the validity of the author’s argument. Further, the article presents as fact the evidence claiming that climate change is the sole or main factor damaging the reef, rather than presenting the evidence both for and against that position, and weighing the two. In this way, whilst the article is factual and well-researched, both characteristics of narrative journalism, it also possesses strong bias, diminishing its reliability and trustworthiness. Overall, whilst I feel there are some strong arguments around the issue of climate change and its harsh impacts on the Great Barrier Reef presented both in this article and across the majority of others which I read, it would in my view be unwise to treat this article as definitive proof of the issue due to its failure to acknowledge that there are two sides to the debate.

McKenzie-Murray, M. 2016, ‘The Real Story on the Great Barrier Reef’, The Saturday Paper, 4 June, viewed 2 August 2016, <;.

Article 2: Mangrove Desolation Linked to Climate Change

This article was published in ‘New Matilda’, an independent news source which covers both local and international politics, media and culture. According to its website, it is not affiliated with any particular political organisation, suggesting that its articles should be unbiased. Written by Thom Mitchell, the environmental and industrial relations reporter for the news source, the article discusses the recent loss of large areas of mangroves near the Gulf of Carpentaria. The overriding tone of the article is one of support for the linking of this event to climate change, and, whilst the linking of climate change to the degradation of the natural environment is a common theme in current news articles, it is reasonable to question the validity of the argument in this particular source. Throughout the article, the author references just one single source—Professor Norman Duke—without any description of his qualifications. Mitchell uses large volumes of quotes from Duke, making no obvious attempt to analyse the content, nor question any of the points of view presented. This decreases significantly the reliability of the article, and highlights the strongly opinion-based nature of it. Overall, it would appear that this article is under-researched, with very little attempt made to mention that there may be other explanations as to the mangrove’s demise. In an attempt to increase the validity of the source, Mitchell draws connections between this event and the coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, both of which allegedly occurred around the same time. Whilst on the surface this would appear to demonstrate the close associations between climate change and the loss of natural environments, Mitchell provides no scientific studies to back the statement up. I agree that all evidence provided by Mitchell appears to point to the loss of the mangroves as stemming from climate change, however, it must be noted that the ‘evidence’ that he relies on is extremely selective and no attempt is made to weigh up alternative evidence in order to facilitate a balanced, scientific and educated analysis of the position.

Mitchell, T. 2016, ‘Mangrove Desolation Linked to Climate Change’, New Matilda, 12 July, viewed 2 August 2016, <;.

Article 3: Shrinking Shorebirds Pay the Price for Arctic Warming When They Reach the Tropics

This article is from ABC Science Online, a section of ABC News dedicated to articles on science. It was written by Dani Cooper, a freelance writer for ABC Science with over 20 years experience as a journalist, and it discusses the possible links between physical changes occurring in a subspecies of Red Knot Bird, and altered conditions at the bird’s migration ground, being attributed to global warming. Overall, the article appears very well-researched and factual, making reference to the views of a number of experts, as well as the Science journal which published the study on the birds, which it uses as a springboard to explore the issue and arguments surrounding it. The article could be seen to be quite reliable because of its exploration of both sides of the argument, as well as the recognition that the study undertaken on the birds is quite recent, so whilst present research points to the physical alterations being an indirect consequence of climate change, there is still the possibility that this position could change. It would appear that, unlike in the previous two articles, this author is simply relaying facts that have been distributed by experts, rather than attempting to argue a specific point of view. This makes the article very reliable, allowing the reader to make their own judgement from the facts presented, and contrasts strongly with the majority of other news articles I have read, which all advocate strongly for a particular viewpoint, and carry strong bias. In light of this, I very much agree with the facts presented in the article, and feel that the author has done a very good job of curating different sources together in order to present a balanced and informative source.

Cooper, D. 2016, ‘Shrinking Shorebirds Pay the Price for Arctic Warming When They Reach the Tropics’, ABC Science Online, 13 May, viewed 27 July 2016, <>.

Article 4: Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Would be Almost Impossible Without Climate Change

This article was published on ‘The Conversation’, an independent news source which promises “academic excellence, journalistic flair”, and which is arguably more trustworthy than general news sites because it gathers its content from academic sources. This particular article was authored by Andrew King, Climate Extremes Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne; David Karoly, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Melbourne; Mitchell Black, PhD Candidate at the University of Melbourne; Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland; and Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales Australia. It discusses the possible extent to which climate change is contributing to coral bleaching events, such as the one which occurred in the Great Barrier Reef in April 2016, allegedly the worst to date. Throughout the article, there is an obvious push towards the view that climate change caused by human influence is having a large impact on the likelihood of bleaching events, however, the article can be considered relatively unbiased because it is backed up by strong and detailed evidence of studies which have been carried out in this area, and it balances both sides of the argument. This is unlike some of the other articles I read which pushed strongly for a particular viewpoint without presenting both sides of the argument. Increasing the reliability of this article further is the fact that it was authored by five different people, each with a different job title and qualification. This means that the views of each separate person have had to be collated and synthesised into one coherent argument, leaving little room for bias, the result of which is presented in this source. Overall I feel that this is a very well-presented argument which is very factual and well-researched, and one which I am very much inclined to agree with.

Black, M., Hoegh-Guldberg, H., Karoly, D., King, A. & Perkins-Kirkpatrick, P. 2016, ‘Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Would be Almost Impossible Without Climate Change’, The Conversation, 29 April, viewed 4 August 2016, <>

Article 5: We Don’t Want to Believe in Climate Change

This article appeared in the December/January 2013–2014 issue of The Monthly. Whilst this would not necessarily be considered a recent article, I have chosen to include it because I found the views and arguments that it put forward challenged my existing perceptions of people’s views on climate change. Written by Robert Kenny, a writer and scholar with a PhD in history, the article promotes and discusses the idea that we are all, in part, climate change deniers, despite the concrete scientific evidence which supports climate change, and we often try to pass the blame from ourselves to others, reasoning that whatever part we are playing individually in climate change, there are other people/companies who are having more of an impact. Overall, this article is strongly opinion-based, with apparent left-wing influences, and it makes little use of other reputable sources to back up claims and statements. This is combined with the use of emotive language to appeal to the viewer’s emotions, rather than the use of facts and data to appeal to the viewer’s mind, creating a seemingly biased and unreliable source. However, it would appear that the intention of this article is in fact not to educate people on climate change facts and provide them with reasoned arguments, but it is rather to incite conversation and really get people to take ownership of their own impacts on climate change—an aim which it achieves very well. Certainly for me, the argument put forward in this article that we all are to an extent climate change deniers resonated strongly as I came to realise that this is true in my own experience, and that it is not something that I ever admit to myself, but which deep down I know to be true. This is not a mainstream idea put forward in other secondary sources, perhaps because journalists and indeed scientists do not want to admit their faults, but it is an idea that I will carry with me as I continue to research and read numerous other articles.

Kenny, R. 2013–2014, ‘We Don’t Want to Believe in Climate Change’, The Monthly, December–January, viewed 10 August 2016, <>

Three Directions

Through analysing the 5 secondary articles, I have come to identify the following 3 positions which I think are worth investigating further:

• People’s views on climate change are influenced by their cultural values.

I believe that this is an interesting position to explore as it would hopefully open up a range of new perspectives on the issue of climate change, whilst at the same time allowing me to explore how a piece of visual communication design may need to be targeted at more personal aspects of people’s lives, rather than at their assumed knowledge base.

• Climate change is caused solely by human activities.

I feel that this is an interesting position to explore because of the debate that will be uncovered through a further investigation. Whilst the majority of the articles I have read so far point to human-induced climate change, I am interested in looking further into the evidence for and against this argument, so as to form my own informed view on the position.

• We are all in a sense climate change deniers as we try to pass the blame of the issue to others.

This position resonated very strongly with me because it made me really consider my own denial of my contribution to climate change, and also my general lack of consideration of my daily activities which may contribute to climate change. I would be interested in looking at how this position resonates with other people, and whether they tend to avoid this viewpoint or whether they are very aware of their actions.

Emilie Glasson