Connecting with Americans on Climate Change

Wednesday, September 13, 2023 at 12:30pm to 2:00pm

Virtual Event

How do we engage Americans in areas of the country where many still are uncertain about the science of climate change, the seriousness of the impacts, or the practicality of the solutions?

Join a dialogue between celebrated climate scientist and communicator Prof. Katharine Hayhoe and the 2023 MIT Environmental Solutions Journalism Fellows on the challenges and rewards of connecting with Americans across the country on climate change. Moderated by Laur Hesse Fisher, Program Director at MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative, this event will share best practices for understanding your audience, uplifting local trusted messengers, and bridge-building for impact, and will answer questions from the audience.

This event is part of the People, Prosperity and the Planet lecture series produced by the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative.

Presenting Speaker:

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist whose research focuses on understanding what climate change means for people and the places where we live. She is the Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy and a Horn Distinguished Professor and Endowed Professor of Public Policy and Public Law in the Dept. of Political Science at Texas Tech University. She is the author of the book “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World,” has given a TED talk with over 4 million views, and she also hosts the PBS digital series Global Weirding. Katharine has been named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People, the United Nations Champion of the Environment, and the World Evangelical Alliance’s Climate Ambassador.

Featured Panelists:

The 2023 MIT Environmental Solutions Journalism Fellows developed deeply reported pieces from across the country that connect climate science and solutions with local priorities and opportunities.

Micah Drew covers local government, the environment and athletics for The Flathead Beacon in Northwest Montana. When not in the newsroom, Micah is routinely found running on alpine trails in Glacier National Park. 

Fellowship Project: An eight-part series in The Flathead Beacon: “Montana’s Climate Change Lawsuit

Joan Meiners is the climate news and storytelling reporter at The Arizona Republic in Phoenix, AZ. With a background in science writing and a Ph.D. in Ecology, she publishes a weekly story aimed at helping readers understand how climate change is altering life in the southwest and what we can do about it. 

Fellowship ProjectA five-part series in The Arizona Republic on climate and housing. Published pieces include: “As Arizona builds to solve a housing crisis, will its homes withstand future heat extremes?”, "How is your Arizona city using building codes to combat climate and housing crises? Check our map." and "More homes mean more heat. Can new building codes help save metro Phoenix from disaster?"

Annie Ropeik is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Maine, where she reports on climate change, energy and environmental issues for The Maine Monitor and other outlets. 

Fellowship Project: A five-part series in The Maine Monitor: “Hooked on Heating Oil,” and “Making Maine’s next generation of housing fossil-free—and affordable” in Energy News Network

Mike Tony is The Charleston Gazette-Mail’s energy and environment reporter in Charleston, WV. He has written extensively about how West Virginia’s topographic and political landscapes make its residents vulnerable to climate impacts. 

Fellowship Project: A four-part series in The Charleston Gazette-Mail: ”‘We have to move on’: WV leaders pushing state flood risk upward by favoring resource extraction over climate action,””‘More intense, more water’: West Virginians call for greater flood protection amid climate concerns from extraction projects,” “‘Focus on the solutions’: Climate change communication looms large as WV faces flooded future,””Unfunded, uninsured and ignored: Experts urge support for flood protection solutions amid mounting disaster costs” 

Ryan Van Velzer is Louisville Public Media’s Energy & Environment reporter and is dedicated to covering climate change and environmental issues across Kentucky. He has won numerous awards including regional Edward R. Murrow awards, Associated Press Broadcasters awards and Society of Professional Journalists Louisville Pro Chapter awards. 

Fellowship Project: A four-part series in Louisville Public Media: “Coal’s Dying Light


Photo credit: Hunter D'Antuono of Flathead Beacon

Events By Interest

Climate & Sustainability


climate change, Journalism, climate, climate solutions

Environmental Solutions Initiative
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