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This article is part of the Research Topic

Public Will, Activism and Climate Change

Perspective ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Commun. | doi: 10.3389/fcomm.2018.00055

To Support a Stronger Climate Movement, Focus Research on Building Collective Power

  • 1University of California, Santa Barbara, United States
  • 2Climate Advocacy Lab, United States

Building public will to address the climate crisis requires more than shifting climate change opinion or engaging more people in activism. Despite growing activism, the climate movement still needs to do more to translate public action into the power needed to effect meaningful change. This article identifies the kinds of research questions that need to be answered to bridge the gap not only between opinion and action, but also between action and political power. We draw on discussions from a conference that brought social scientists together with climate advocates in the United States. At this conference, movement leaders argued that to better support building a robust climate movement, research should move beyond traditional public opinion, communications, messaging, and activism studies toward a greater focus on the strategic leadership and collective contexts that translate opinion and action into political power. This paper thus offers a framework for synthesizing research on movement-building that demonstrates ways to focus research on power, and emphasizes the importance of organizing collective contexts in addition to mobilizing individuals to action.

Keywords: Climate change-, Social Movements, activism, organizing, power

Received: 30 Aug 2018; Accepted: 23 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Neil Stenhouse, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States

Reviewed by:

Dave Karpf, George Washington University, United States
Adam Levine, Cornell University, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Han and Barnett-Loro. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Hahrie Han, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, United States, hahrie.han@gmail.com