Episode 14: Fear and Climate Communication

Dr. Halldor Björnsson, the head of the Atmospheric Research Group at Veðurstofa Iceland

Dr. Halldor Björnsson, the head of the Atmospheric Research Group at Veðurstofa Iceland

Citizens’ Climate Radio is a monthly podcast hosted by CCL volunteer Peterson Toscano. Browse all our past episodes here, and check out the latest episode in the post below.

Recently some climate communication experts have been freaking out about freaking out. In reaction to a New York Magazine article, “The Uninhabitable World” by David Wallace-Wells, a big debate is raging about fear tactics when talking about climate change. This episode looks at the different sides and some of the social science around fear and rhetoric. Joining host Peterson Toscano is Dr. Halldor Björnsson, the head of the Atmospheric Research Group at Veðurstofa Iceland, also known as the Icelandic Met Office. Also, we hear from Dr. Kristian Bjørkdahl, who has earned a PhD in rhetoric and continues his studies at the Centre for Development and the Environment at the University of Oslo. Oh, and Aristotle makes a surprise cameo appearance.



Art House

Sung to the tune of “Be Our Guest,” the classic “Beauty and the Beast” song, Jason Zeikowitz performs a showstopper about scientists. Zeikowitz is a master of sustainability at Arizona State University. Check out his videos on YouTube and follow Science Sigh on Twitter.


Last month’s question asked, “What is a food you love that is threatened by climate change?” We hear from three different Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteers who attended the international conference in Washington, DC this June.

This month’s puzzler rests on the power of metaphor when talking about climate change. We can relate the effects of climate change or our response to it to our own lives in many ways, including our childhood experiences. So here is your puzzler question. Fill in the blank: “When I think about climate change, it reminds me of when ___________.”

Think back to your childhood. The memory may have absolutely nothing to do with climate change. It might be about a loss you experienced, a sudden change in your life, or a revelation about your role in the world. Just fill in the blank and explain.

Send in your answers by August 15, 2017, along with your name, contact info, and where you are from. You can email your answers to or leave a voice memo of 3 minutes or less at 570-483-8194 (+1 if calling from outside the USA).

Dig Deeper

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Podbean, and now on Northern Spirit Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.