Messaging About Environmental Literacy
Once you have gathered information about the school district and community priorities, you are ready to craft a compelling message about why this work is important. Two ways to do this are through storytelling and calls to action.
You might also consider how the use of media (video, photos, infographics, etc) can support you in crafting the message that will resonate most with your stakeholders.
In 2020, the Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education partnered with FrameWorks to create a framing guide for advocates, educators, program leaders, and other communicators called How to Tell a More Effective Story about Environmental Education. This resource equips advocates of environmental literacy with an empirically proven strategy for sharing a clear and compelling story about the value of environmental literacy.
It is not enough to assert that environmental education delivers significant benefits. We must demonstrate how those benefits are delivered through evidence-based framing. We can use evidence-based tools to connect with the values of our stakeholders and use metaphors to better communicate.
There are five framing recommendations:
Set the scene. Provide a clear definition of environmental education.
Invite people to the story. Paint a big picture of why environmental education matters to all of us.
Reveal the plot. Explain key processes and cause-effect relationships.
Feature the full cast of characters. Use inclusive language to place disparate outcomes in the context of universal needs and shared responsibilities.
Offer a compelling conclusion. Provide concrete solutions that we can implement together to strengthen environmental education and become the global society we want to be.
Within How to Tell a More Effective Story about Environmental Education, you can find specific tools and examples to use or build upon in your own messaging.
Calls to Action
Another way to spark enthusiasm and share information is to create a call to action that speaks specifically to the priorities and values of the audiences that you aim to reach. You might consider including a call to action at the end of your story or multiple differentiated messaging strategies for separate audiences. A call to action creates a sense of urgency for the audience and provides a specific benefit-oriented outcome. Here are a few examples:
The Center for Sustainable and Climate Resilient Schools has created a number of resources including the Sustainability Imperative for Educators, which outlines the essential case for why educators should integrate environmental literacy and sustainability into all aspects of school life, including foundational frameworks and philosophies.
The California Environmental Literacy Initiative developed A Teacher Call to Action for Environmental Literacy, which contextualizes both the imperatives for environmental literacy and a roadmap for instruction.
The United Nations’ Greening Education Partnership has a call to action around Transforming Education to Transform the World, calling on countries to commit to a series of targets in a set period of time, including a process for monitoring and tracking.