Giving Compass' Take:

• Chui-Ling Tam explains how labeling people "climate change deniers" is counterproductive to climate change goals. Meeting people where they are and understanding their local context is key. 

• How can funders help to shift conversations around climate change to make them more productive? 

• Learn more about climate change changing the Arctic

In the westernmost reaches of Nunavut, on the Northwest Passage, Inuit hunters have told me some pithy things about climate change.

The land is changing. It isn’t climate change. This is part of cycles. Our elders saw this coming.

Some of the most visible and profound effects of global warming are occurring in the Arctic. Some Inuit are worried climate change will permanently alter the world. Others say it will pass, as other times of want and plenty have passed through the Inuit’s long cycles of life in the Arctic.

In Inuit Nunangat, the Inuit homeland in Canada, perceptions about climate change cannot be divided into two camps of “believers” and “deniers.” The situation is far more complex.

To understand climate change communication and adaptation in maritime communities, my research team has travelled to the Canadian Arctic, Indonesia and the Philippines to find out what local communities have to say about climate change.

Climate change science alone is not convincing. Recent research suggests the public is split into two conflicting groups: those whose views align with the scientific community (believers) and those who do not. These opinion-based groups have distinct social identities, beliefs and emotional reactions to environmental change; they are set apart by cultural differences and political leanings.

A recent study found that social networks influence people’s stance on climate change. So, how you talk about climate change matters. An international survey of 24 countries found that personal experiences, beliefs, knowledge, values and worldviews are important factors that shape climate change belief.

We are not doing a good job of communicating climate change. Maybe we can do a better job if we recognize that people are not just passive receivers of climate change facts, but actors with their own history and knowledge in place and interpretations of how climate change fits into their own stories.

Read the full article about avoiding the label "climate change deniers" by Chui-Ling Tam at The Conversation.