Loving Glacier National Park Online: Climate Change Communication and Virtual Place Attachment

Student Authors

Dori L. Gorczyca '15, Gettysburg College

Elizabeth A. Cooper '17, Gettysburg College

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Department 1

Environmental Studies


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.


Original version available online from the publisher, Springer International Publishing.

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