Framing Nature

How can the conservation sector – and all nature lovers – seek to encourage our better selves and those of the wider public? Framing Nature (and Common Cause for Nature before it) seeks to explore this question and find practical, unifying techniques for doing so. We do this in the firm knowledge that we can create a greener, fairer, more wildlife rich world if we work together.

Framing Nature Toolkit launched 2

This week we  launched the Framing Nature Toolkit. Packed with activities, tools and advice, the toolkit aims to make our words work for wildlife.

The goal of conservation is to help the natural world thrive.

To do this we need the support of decision-makers and the public. Research has shown that framing—the language and associations around any given topic—plays a key role in gaining and maintaining support.

So our language is integral to our goals.

It is time to subject the language we use to the same level of scrutiny as other traditional conservation activities, such as managing the water levels on our nature reserves or understanding the population trends of threatened species.

You’re framing all the time.

Choosing to forefront ‘biodiversity’ over ‘wildlife’, puppies over badgers, or ‘protection of’ over ‘connection to’ nature are choices with implications. The different associations that are conjured up in the public imagination through these different frames have significant effects on the public response.

You can change your frame!

We hope this toolkit will help you to:

  • Spot the jargon: Technical language and abbreviations can trap us in particular ways of thinking and distance us from non-expert groups.
  • Define problems differently: The words you choose to use to describe the problems and issues you face at work will impact on the solutions you come up with.
  • See framing everywhere! It is harder to think of something that isn’t ‘framing’ than something that is. Even your surroundings—your office layout, the signs in a nature reserve, and the location and surroundings of your meetings—are framing understanding and responses to nature. Are the frames you’re using helping or hindering?

If we communicate with an understanding of framing we are more likely to convince, motivate and inspire others to help our cause.

We have filled this toolkit with exercises and examples to enable you to put framing into practice. If you want to get stuck into more of the theory that this toolkit draws on check out our earlier publication Common Cause for Nature.

Download the Framing Nature Toolkit here!

About the toolkit

It builds on the work of Common Cause for Nature concentrating on the practical application of communication tools in conservation.

The content was created during the framing nature project and has come from working closely on projects with the Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Fresh Water Habitats Trust and ZSL.

Download

The toolkit is be available for download here.

Order

Framing Nature Toolkit: Order for £8.

 

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PIRC’s follow-up project to Common Cause for Nature

We all share values that are associated with justice, compassion and environmental concern, and we also all share values associated with image, competition and self-interest. These two sets of values are psychologically in conflict. This means that reading about the beauty of nature – or the experience of being in a park – can engage environmental values and at the same time suppress self-interested or materialistic values. It also means that being encouraged to think about profit and image will suppress environmental concern.

How can the conservation sector – and all nature lovers – seek to encourage our better selves and those of the wider public? Framing Nature (and Common Cause for Nature before it) seeks to explore this question and find practical, unifying techniques for doing so. We do this in the firm knowledge that we can create a greener, fairer, more wildlife rich world if we work together.

The project is in its second phase.

Phase 2: Framing Nature

Framing Nature builds and expands on the findings of Common Cause for Nature and is focused on practical advice and implementation. The project aims to bring the sector together through:

  • Providing tools and resources to enable conservation practitioners to understand and apply framing and values in relation to their work
  • Providing real-time support and advice to partners
  • Piloting new approaches to engaging the values associated with our better selves through engagement with conservation.

Get in touch

If you’re interested in a workshop or would like to find out more about Framing Nature contact Ralph: .

Phase 1: Common Cause for Nature

Thirteen UK conservation organisations, including WWF and RSPB, came together in 2012 to commission this project. Tom Crompton of WWF-UK, Ruth Smyth of RSPB and Catrina Lennox of MSC were key to initiating the project which was subsequently led by PIRC. Original linguistic analysis was carried out by academics at Lancaster and Essex Universities of six months of external NGO communications. Through this analysis, and supplemented with input from interviews, workshops and surveys, Common Cause for Nature explores the values the sector promotes in its communications, campaigns and activities.

By learning from what works, and reforming what doesn’t, the sector can ensure its work cultivates the values that inspire lasting action.

The research built on the work of Common Cause. Common Cause: The Case for Working with our Cultural Values, was written by Tom Crompton and published in 2010 by COIN, CPRE, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam and WWF-UK and has since led to extensive debate within the third sector.

Downloads

Find the Common Cause for Nature reports at the Common Cause website:

Download the Practitioner’s Guide | Buy a copy.
Download the Full Report

Latest Framing Nature posts:


New report: Common Cause for Nature

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Creating and maintaining a sustainable, wildlife-rich world requires active, concerned citizens and a political system capable of rising to the challenge. Governments, businesses and the public will need the space and motivation to make the right choices. The UK conservation sector is large and well-resourced yet, as the recent State of Nature report attests, biodiversity is still in decline. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

Where is the public concern and political will to address these issues?

In 2012, thirteen UK conservation organisations – including WWF-UK, the John Muir Award, RSPB and CPRE – came together to commission an analysis of the values they promote in their work. Led by PIRC, academic researchers from Lancaster University, Royal Holloway, and Essex University carried out innovative linguistic analysis of six months of external communications of these organisations. The analysis was supplemented by interviews, surveys and workshop discussion with those in the conservation sector. Today sees the release of the resulting report.

Download the Practitioners Guide Read more