How to communicate biodiversity?

One of my main areas of research is in biodiversity communication and advocacy. While I can provide all the proper definitions of biodiversity recognised by the UN there is always an issue in its communication in that you are basically talking about EVERYTHING.

Europe is facing a crisis of falling insect populations. Yet this is a difficult issue to catch media attention with as it is not inherently interesting outside of the cries of doom, doom, the end of days.

Maybe it’s too big?

So you try to focus in. I film the bee species in my garden, talk about monitoring and monitoring apps and habitat loss, but perhaps that is too small?

When we’re talking about protecting biodiversity it’s everything from reducing plastic pollution in oceans to reforestation. It can relate to climate change or agriculture or tourism.

The new David Attanborough series Blue Planet II and the connected Twitter account of @BBCEarth have highlighted the effect of plastic pollution on ocean ecosystems and biodiversity. But it highlights a system so huge that it is difficult to see how we could effect them as individuals.

There are so many people doing fantastic work all over Ireland and the wider world to protect biodiversity.

So MY research (let’s make this about me now) is about those groups and how their using Twitter to engage people in their work. Ireland’s NGOs have been raising their profile in recent years now that they have their own ways to communicate with people. The Irish Wildlife Trust uses photos in particular to catch people’s attention in particular. The Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC) uses similar strategies as well as videos they can share across social media platforms.

I’ve been slowly writing Wikipedia pages for the charities I’m studying for a bit of fun but also because I’m going their the newspaper archives for mentions of them anyway. Social media means these groups can go from one article a year that mentions them (and sometimes got the names wrong) to posting everyday.

So what does that mean in terms of best practice and how we share encourage people to love biodiversity?

Let me get back to you in a year.


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