Connecting with Americans on Climate Change

Thursday, November 04, 2021 at 12:00pm to 1:15pm

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 the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI) as six speakers share their learnings from connecting climate with their audiences’ values and perspectives. We’ll explore strategies for understanding your audience, balancing environmental education with storytelling, and the role of bridge-building in activating action on climate change, among other themes.

Tristan Baurick, Dustin Bleizeffer, Nora Hertel, Melba Newsome, and Alex Schwartz are ESI’s MIT Environmental Solutions Journalism Fellows, who developed deeply reported pieces from across the country that connect climate science and solutions with local priorities and opportunities.

Prof. Arlie Hochschild is a professor emerita of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and bestselling author of Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, which relates five years of ethnographic research she undertook to understand the worldview of Tea Party supporters in Louisiana, especially as it related to environmental topics.

Moderated by Laur Hesse Fisher, ESI Program Director, this event will shed light on real experiences and best practices for building bridges between Americans and climate change science and solutions.

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


Arlie Russell Hochschild is an emerita professor at the University of California, Berkeley and author of Strangers In Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, a finalist for the National Book Award and a New York Times best-seller.

Tristan Baurick is an environment reporter for The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate. His work focuses on coastal restoration, fisheries, and the oil industry. He was named the 2018 Louisiana Newsperson of the Year by the state’s managing editors association and was a Pulitzer Center Connected Coastlines grant recipient in 2019.

Dustin Bleizeffer has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 22 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily covering the energy industry in Wyoming. He is a 2021-22 Report for America Corps member covering education at WyoFile, a nonprofit news organization based in Wyoming.

Nora Hertel is the government and investigations reporter for the St. Cloud Times in central Minnesota. She likes to tie personal stories to policy, data, and public records. Before moving to Minnesota, Nora reported for the Wausau Daily Herald in central Wisconsin, The Associated Press in South Dakota, and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Melba Newsome is an award-winning independent journalist with over 20 years of experience contributing news, health and investigative features to some of the country’s most widely-read publications. In the past decade, her reporting has focused primarily on education, health and issues of social justice.

Alex Schwartz is an environmental journalist and Report for America corps member at the Herald and News in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Originally from Central Florida, he has traded subtropical swamps and beaches for the mountains and high deserts of Southern Oregon and Northern California.

Event Type



climate change, Journalism, Communication, outreach, climate


Environmental Solutions Initiative
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