Woman with backpack standing in a forest with trees around her
'It is important to talk about the challenges we are facing when it comes to the biodiversity and climate crises - but highlighting solutions and what others are doing to make a difference helps people feel empowered rather than powerless and defeated.' ©

Jake Melara, used under license and adapted from the original

How can we take negative climate headlines and use them to motivate others to take action to help the environment? We spoke to Julia Migné who is on a mission to share inspiring stories of regeneration and positive change in the natural environment.

Could you tell us a bit about your work and why it’s important to get people on board to support your mission?

I am the Director of Conservation Optimism, a global community dedicated to inspiring and empowering people around the world to make a positive difference for nature. Conservation Optimism is a programme from the Department of Zoology of the University of Oxford in the UK. 

We are all about empowering everyone to act for nature. We do this by reframing the environmental narrative away from the doom and gloom.

We believe it is important to talk about the challenges we are facing when it comes to the biodiversity and climate crises - but highlighting solutions and what people are doing to make a difference helps people feel empowered rather than powerless and defeated. 

How can we help people to progress from being aware of climate change to making positive steps in their own lives?

We believe that sharing stories of what other people are doing can be a powerful way to get more people to take positive steps in their own lives. Once you see that someone else has been changing their habits and hear about their personal experience it becomes easier to imagine yourself making those changes.

Social media groups, such as Zero Waste Facebook groups for example, can also be helpful when it comes to keeping your motivation going and getting tips from other people who are also trying to make positive steps for the planet.  

What are your top tips for aspiring conservationists and environmentalists who want to start their own campaigns?

  • Think carefully about whom you are trying to reach with your campaign. The clearer you are on your audience, the easier it becomes to tailor your message to them. 
  • Decide what you want people to do as a result of your campaign. Do you want to raise awareness? Do you want people to change their habits? Do you want them to write to their MPs or elected officials? A strong call to action can help a campaign take off. 
  • Find your tribe! Are there other people doing similar campaigns or any groups on social media that are tackling similar issues? Joining forces is a great way to amplify your campaign. 
Julia Migné portrait photo outdoors
'We are in a point in time where we need all the science communicators we can get. We need people who can bridge the gap between science and the general public in as many countries as we can.'  ©

Julia Migné, used with permission

Why do you think climate science initiatives like FameLab Climate Change Communicators are important?

We are in a point in time where we need all the science communicators we can get - so initiatives like this are a great way to foster the next generation of climate change communicators.

We need people who can bridge the gap between science and the general public in as many countries as we can. Taking part in this initiative is a fantastic way for climate communicators to get their message out there while also getting some useful training! 

Julia is Director of Conservation Optimism and a multimedia journalist.

FameLab Climate Change Communicators is a global online competition and training event to build trust in climate science, taking place as part of the British Council's Climate Connection programme in the run up to COP26 - the UN conference on climate change taking place in the UK this November.

The FameLab Climate Change Communicators Online Final is open for entries until 27 July 2021, and the Online Final will be streamed on 23 September 2021.

See also