1.1. Communicating Climate Change: The Decline of Bees
1.2. Communicating Climate Change: Sight vs. Sound
‘Academic research in the social sciences and media studies has shown that whilst images of polar bears, melting glaciers, retreating polar ice caps, floods, droughts and hurricanes circulating in the mass media have helped to provide important visual evidence of the impacts of climate change, they have done very little to encourage people to address this issue’.
‘Given the investment of scientific epistemologies in the discourse of empiricism, which privileges observable “fact” over prediction and the unseen, both the science of global warming and its effective communication [have been] limited by the discursive frameworks of scientific knowledge’
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Workshop Event: Using Bee Sounds to Imagine Futures
2.2. Interview Method
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Participant Responses to Bees as a Subject Focus
‘it’s something that people can really relate to because it’s quite a, almost domestic thing, like beekeeping, and it’s quite homely. And it has a lot of tradition built into our culture. Whereas, […] if you think about fossil fuels or something, it’s too much on a big scale and it doesn’t actually feel like something we have a part of and we are so distanced from it. So actually bees, working with bees is something that people can actually do something about quite easily’.
‘…I sometimes do feel that bees are kind of like the panda of the invertebrates, you know, they’re cute and they’re fluffy and people like them and they make honey and so they often get a lot of press, whereas kind of rarer species or less attractive species perhaps [do not]. Whereas they’re also kind of in decline. But then again on the other hand […] like the pandas, perhaps they’re a gateway bug […] to get people interested in other kind of things about insects.
3.2. Participant Experiences of Soundscapes as a Tool for Communication
‘I think that the […] more creative approach is perhaps […] more useful for kind of getting a more kind of emotional reaction, rather than a kind of knowledge-based reaction […] It’s less kind of facts and figures and more […] how do you feel about it, which I think is […] an important way to engage people.’
‘…it was an interesting way of thinking about it in a way that you wouldn’t necessarily think about it, and not through […] the apocalyptic rhetoric that everyone’s gonna die, kind of thing.’
‘…something like climate change, or even loss of an entire species, is very hard to think about or even rationalise. So through doing a creative activity it really kind of puts that into practice a bit more so you can directly think about a topic put on a very personal and practical level rather than […] through kind of scare tactics which is often used by the media to […] sell newspapers for example.’
‘…in order to make a change in the environment I think people need to be actively engaging with something all the time and I think creative outlets like fiction, like the soundscape, like anything basically that has a kind of sensory involvement where you’re imagining another or an alternative future is really useful.’
‘helping people to really engage with the topic in a way that isn’t just […] reading an article and being really interested in it for a snippet of time and then going away and completely forgetting about it […] I think creativity can be like a form of activism kind of in relation to environmental issues.’
‘I think it was an interesting activity in […] that obviously one of the main ways that we think about bees is through obviously their sight, they’re a very distinct insect in terms of their visuals, but I think also their sound. So we’re used to summer days where they are buzzing around and having to kind of conceptualise a place without that was quite interesting. And […] the access to other sounds that we had through the Soundbank, so quite industrial sounds or […] apocalyptic sounds or natural sounds […] it made you really think about what it would actually mean to have none of those sounds […]’.
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