According to research by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, Latinx communities are disproportionately vulnerable to extreme weather, and are also more supportive of climate action than other racial/ethnic groups in the United States. It is therefore extremely practical, as well as reflective of a commitment to justice, to engage Latinx Americans in understanding climate risks, promoting safety, and considering solutions.
The CO2 Foundation-supported Yale Climate Connections project will make Spanish-language climate change resources available in an easy-to-find online location. This “hub” will clearly communicate that climate change is causing more severe weather, creating profound societal risks, and that without urgent action to reduce climate change, extreme weather events will become even more destructive. It will feature informational resources that help Spanish-speaking audiences better understand how to stay safe during extreme weather. And finally, it will profile Latinx leaders who are working to address the problem, helping foster a social norm that encourages readers to take climate action in their own communities.
The Yale Climate Connections team will work with professional translators to make key weather-related articles accessible to Spanish-speaking audiences, including those from its archive of English-language “explainers,” written by journalists and meteorologists, that describe how climate change is intensifying different extreme events. The team also plans to translate and promote existing articles that communicate safety information, such as how to protect oneself from extreme heat and wildfire smoke. Finally, the plan includes rapidly translating breaking news articles about extreme events affecting geographic areas with large numbers of Spanish speakers, and targeting those affected by such events with information about how to protect themselves and their communities.
Published articles will be freely available to online audiences who use search engines to find information about climate change and the weather; they will also be promoted to Spanish speakers via paid campaigns that promote safety tips and core climate messages. This content will be made available to Yale Climate Connections’ distribution partner, the Hispanic Communications Network (HCN), under an agreement in which HCN republishes articles at La Red Hispana, a web portal that serves U.S.-based Hispanic audiences. As the team grows its understanding of communicating about extreme weather in a non-English language, they aim to make climate and weather news accessible in other major global languages.
This project is aligned with the CO2 Foundation’s understanding of the need for broad awareness of and preparedness for extreme weather events in our rapidly changing climate. The Yale team has found that articles about extreme weather attract significantly larger audiences than those on any other climate-related topic; extreme weather events serve as “teachable moments” in clarifying the connections between climate change and the weather people are experiencing in their communities, and they also highlight the importance of having appropriate resources to prepare for and stay safe during and after those events. We expect this project to grow beyond the pilot year as it continues to partner effectively, build an audience, and publish a stream of Spanish-language articles in the years to come.