Communicating climate change in rural coastal communities

Michelle Mycoo (Department of Geomatics Engineering and Land Management, the University of the West Indies, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago)

International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management

ISSN: 1756-8692

Publication date: 16 March 2015



This study aims to, using Grande Riviere, Trinidad, as a case study, determine levels of climate change knowledge and awareness in the community. Second, it seeks to provide new knowledge on appropriate techniques for developing climate change literacy. Third, it attempts to highlight action needed for messages to be widely communicated and policy implications for government agencies, non-governmental organisations, communication specialists and educators.


A face-to-face questionnaire was administered to all households, focus group meetings were held and a training workshop was conducted.


A key finding is that despite vulnerability to climate change, climate change literacy is low and is influenced by multiple variables such as household income, level of educational attainment, access to technology, governance structures and political commitment to communicating climate change. A major finding is that access to modern communication modes is limited and therefore verbal communication remains the most powerful means of transmitting messages on climate change. Moreover, opportunities exist for the use of participatory and indigenous communication techniques.

Practical implications

A major policy conclusion is that a practical blend of traditional and modern technologies, which emphasises verbal communication and promotes innovative participatory communication technologies, including indigenous ones, would be effective in strengthening adaptive capacity.


This paper is useful to policymakers, communication specialists, academia and civil society in understanding that there is no universally applicable technology for climate change communication; the type of technology adopted must be tailored to the economic, social and cultural peculiarities of a community.



Data for this paper were collected from a study funded under the Benefit-Sharing in Latin America and the International Community-University Research Alliance (ICURA). ICURA is a joint funding initiative of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). The ICURA project is on Managing Adaptation to Environmental Change in Coastal Communities: Canada and the Caribbean. The Caribbean research team is from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.


Mycoo, M. (2015), "Communicating climate change in rural coastal communities", International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 58-75.



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