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Rhyme and Reason-Using Poetry to Talk to Underserved Audiences about Environmental Change

Illingworth, S and Jack, K (2018) Rhyme and Reason-Using Poetry to Talk to Underserved Audiences about Environmental Change. Climate Risk Management, 19. pp. 120-129. ISSN 2212-0963

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Abstract

The effects and consequences that environmental change will have on our society are not solely dependent on the ways in which the Earth system responds to anthropogenic effects. They are also affected by the way in which our society decides to mitigate against them. Similarly, the way society reacts to global environmental change is not wholly dependent on the scientists that are observing its effects, but is rather the collective responsibility of everyone that is affected by these observations. However, in raising awareness to engender positive change, it is often the most vulnerable communities that find themselves neglected. This study presents a new approach to discussing environmental change with underserved audiences, via a series of facilitated workshops in which participants were encouraged to engage with experts through the creation of poetry. By analysing these poems through an interpretive phenomenological approach, we demonstrate that this creates a powerful way of generating what underserved audiences really know and think about environmental change, presenting a framework through which to understand differently, the lifeworld of these communities.

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