Lessons Learned Using Innovative Infographics: Public Education And Engagement of Policymakers On Extreme Events From Sea Level Rise To Wildfires

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014: 12:00 PM
Room C107 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Melanie Fitzpatrick, Union of Concerned Scientists, Berkeley, CA; and R. Cleetus, E. Spanger-Siegfried, and T. Sanford

Improved communication of the risks of weather-related disasters is critical to better inform local decision makers, to help motivate communities to action, and to encourage adaptive management. Communities across the United States are becoming increasingly vulnerable to extreme events including wildfires, floods, winter storms, droughts, temperature extremes, storm surges, and tropical cyclones. In this paper we present a number of examples of reports and graphics designed by the Union of Concerned Scientists to appeal to broad demographics. The materials were used in outreach efforts across the country. These include summaries of the effect of extreme heat on the Midwest, wildfire risk in the mountain west states, the risks of increased storm surge on East and Gulf Coast communities, and the impacts of sea level rise on the insurance sector. Translating the latest relevant science into materials that can be understood and utilized by those working at the local level is essential to ensure that the best available science informs policy decisions. Designing infographics that convey high impact weather events in a way that is useful and informative is more an art form than a science. This paper discusses tools and tips for translation and design of difficult concepts, and highlight examples that have worked well and continue to be resonant and sought after. Graphic Caption: Translating the latest science accurately will continue to be an essential part of educating both the public and policymakers about the impacts of extreme weather events. Source: UCS