Planetary Fever – The Climate Change Communication of Health Professionals

Climate change is closely intertwined with human societies, cultures and their various differences. One of the aspects centrally affected by climate change is public health. Climate change is estimated to have a range of adverse consequences on human health including first and foremost extreme weather events such as heat waves and extreme precipitations, their various fallouts such as floodings and droughts, and subsequent issues such as particulate or allergenic air pollution. 

In light of the various public health impacts of climate change, health professionals have formed organisations around and are engaging with communication about the issue in public, to their peers, and to their patients. Efforts of this sort, closely related to enterprises such as risk, health, or science communication, have been grouped under the term climate change communication. To date the research on climate change communication, including as a health issue, has focused on the effects of particular communication strategies on different audiences, prominently under the umbrella of framing research. How climate change however is understood by health professionals, what communication efforts they actually engage in, and their reasonings for doing so, has received little attention. 

My research aims to contribute to such an understanding of health professionals and their engagement with climate change. Through qualitative analysis drawing on surveys and interviews with health professionals in the contexts of the UK and Germany my research will develop a comprehensive account of what climate change communication efforts different health professionals are engaging in and provide an interpretation of their reasonings for doing so. Through this research I hope to strengthen the understanding of health professional groups within a sociology of professions, contribute to the analysis of climate change in science and technology studies, and provide insights for the efforts to mobilise and facilitate the climate change communication engagement of health professionals.

I am an editorial board member of the Sheffield Student Journal for Sociology, and once in a blue moon I tweet @AugustLindemer.

Publications

August has co-authored an article ‘Urban sprawl, food security and agricultural systems in developing countries: A systematic review of the literature’. Read it here.

ugust Lindemer