Loving Glacier National Park Online: Climate Change Communication and Virtual Place Attachment
Dori L. Gorczyca '15, Gettysburg College
Elizabeth A. Cooper '17, Gettysburg College
We evaluate the use of place attachment and recommend best practices for the use of this tool in communicating climate change online. Focusing on the case study of Glacier National Park, Montana, USA, we used a mixed methods approach to: (1) design a website to evoke senses of identity, dependence, and emotion central to place attachment while also incorporating information on climate change science, adaptation, and mitigation; and (2) assess visitors’ sense of climate change concern at various geographic levels via pre- and post-website viewing survey analyses. Quantitative survey results show statistically significant differences between climate change concerns before and after viewing the website, with concern increasing for Glacier National Park irrespective of demographic and ideological identification. Qualitative analyses of survey comments adapted Schweizer et al.’s (Environmental Communication 7(1):42–62, 2013) and Leiserowitz et al’s (Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, New Haven, 2009) Six Americas categories to interpret how respondents’ engage with climate change. The results of this pilot study indicate that place attachment shows promise as a tool for online climate communication and is useful in engaging different types of audiences.
Monani, Salma, Sarah Principato, Dori Gorczyca, and Elizabeth Cooper. "Loving Glacier National Park Online: Climate Change Communication and Virtual Place Attachment." In Handbook of Climate Change Communication: Vol. 3, edited by Walter Leal Filho, Leal Filho, Evangelos Manolas, Anabela Marisa Azul, Ulisses Azeiteiro, and Henry McGhie. New York: Springer International Publishing, 2018.