Making it Personal: The Ways in Which We Communicate Sustainability, and How to Target the Individual Using Effective Language

Research Paper
Author:McPherson, Katherine, Global StudiesUniversity of Virginia

This paper will provide a detailed review of tactics that should be employed in sustainability communication with the final goal of targeting individual behavior change. Three major areas of communication are to be examined: 1) using an individual’s cultural identity as an access point to sustainability education on a values-based level, 2) navigating scientific language and the social role one must fill to understand it, and 3) the advantages of a narrative-based approach in sustainability communication. These three areas may seem divided, but through applied research I hope to make a case for their interconnectedness. Ultimately, I will prove that through a strategic synthesis of each area discussed, we can improve the language used to communicate sustainability and elicit tangible results from the individuals who listen to it. This work was completed in completion of the Global Sustainability and Environments distinguished major in Spring 2020 under the guidance of Professor Willis Jenkins.

sustainability, communication, cultural cognition, narrative structure, individual behavior, environment, GSVS, GSVScapstone, GSVS2020
University of Virginia
Published Date:
August 24, 2020