Communicating environmental research: Harnessing the power of curation

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Dale, Ann
Clifton-Ross, Jaime
Jost, François
Hodson, Jaigris
Leighton, Hilary
Bernard, Mary
Climate change
Never before has public communication of critical research, science, and knowledge on climate change and biodiversity loss been more important. The 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report, Global Warming of 1.5 ºC, stated that we only have 12 years to limit the catastrophic effects of climate change, including extreme weather, flood, drought, and poverty. The 2019 Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services revealed that roughly 1 million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction. Given these dire warnings, the threat of climate change and biodiversity loss have never been more relevant, considering the impact these unprecedented issues will have on human survival, health, and well-being. This paper describes the results of our study, which explores findings used to develop the practice of research curation, which found that adapting and applying museum engagement strategies, using art to communicate science, and applying social media content curation and marketing strategies in combination with social learning practices are key to successful knowledge mobilization. This article focuses primarily on the methodologies and results of three projects: an art and literary exhibit, a biodiversity conversation series, and a sustainability-themed Instagram account. Based on our experience and findings, we share the lessons learned that we believe are actional for other researchers with similar goals, in particular those who are communicating research on climate change and biodiversity loss.
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