Lessons for communicating from climate change to climatedogs august 2012
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Lessons for Communicating - from Climate Change to ClimateDogs August 2012. Graeme Anderson Climate Specialist DPI Farm Services Victoria. DPI Climate extension. 4 yr state govt program Climate integrated into industry extension teams (Grains, Dairy, Horticulture, Meat & Wool)

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Lessons for Communicating - from Climate Change to ClimateDogs August 2012

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Lessons for Communicating - from Climate Change to ClimateDogsAugust 2012

Graeme Anderson

Climate Specialist

DPI Farm Services Victoria

DPI Climate extension

  • 4 yr state govt program

  • Climate integrated into industry extension teams (Grains, Dairy, Horticulture, Meat & Wool)

  • Market research & Farmer surveys on climate and carbon issues

  • E-newsletters such as The Break, The Fast Break, Milking the Weather, ClimateReady Hort, Carbon Toolkits in Ag,

  • Climaterisk website, climate webinars, training events, case studies

Climate Extension

  • Capture, package & context key information

  • “Timely, Relevant, Accessible” for farmers

  • 854 face to face sessions delivered to over 22,606 people past 4 years – most via request/referral

  • Via multiple networks (NRM, VFF, grower groups, etc)

  • 60% to farmers and public

  • 25% to service providers

  • 15% to our own DPI staff

Survey of 1500 Victorian farmers in 2009 and

1300 farmers in 2011

Human induced?

Growing seasons changing?

Understanding of carbon?

Confusion around climate & carbon issues

Insights into language……….


Understanding your audience needs


Graduate Certificate Climate Change for Primary Industries (Melb Uni)

  • 1) Staff climate change, seasonal risk and emissions capability in the DPI Farm Services teams has increased since 2007

  • 2) Team capabilities are strongest in understanding the impacts of CC as well as the impact of CC on local farming systems.

  • Key climate influencers for Victoria’s rainfall:

  • ENSO – Pacific Ocean moisture source

  • IOD – Indian Ocean moisture source

  • SAM – the fronts….

  • STR – the highs…..

  • Key drivers of our seasonal variability in Victoria – always have been and always will be!

  • (BOM, CSIRO reports etc)





The Climatedogs





  • Testing new tools

  • Upscaling – providing local data and context.

  • Acknowledge local history, observations and experience as a foundation

“The Break” Survey & effect on decision making?

Belief vs Knowledge……

Percentage of Victorian farmers aware of the climate driver AND agree it affects their local district seasonal rainfall

Website, climatedogs, e-newsletters, face to face sessions


  • Capture & understand key science, policy or practice information (credible sources)

  • Understand the needs of farmers (market research)

  • Build capability of trusted messengers (extension links in each industry)

  • Package key information into good products

  • Climate – what’s normal, what isn’t, what’s next?

  • Make information & services readily accessible

  • Ensure information is timely & relevant (currency – for decision making today)

Carbon & Farming………

“The 5 action areas” for farm carbon & emissions:

  • Energy story (efficiency, production, farm & supply chain)

  • Farm forests (vegetation, C-sink, farm planning, landcare)

  • Soil carbon (soil health, C-sink, organic matter, biota, whc)

  • Nitrogen efficiency (production, leakage, water quality etc)

  • Methane (animal productivity, feed, genetics etc)

  • (Farmers are doing these for business benefits…. )


  • Belief vs Knowledge – what’s more important for actual practice change?

  • Windows of change – opportunities, timing & resources will come and go

  • Capability & mainstream – leave a legacy

  • Language & framing will open doors

  • Solutions focus (not just problems) engages, and is more rewarding!

  • We all change practices/behaviour when:

  • PROVEN TECHNOLOGY (It Works!) The technology/practice is known & proven to work (not a risky experiment)

  • ATTITUDE - I want to! (It makes sense to change for some benefit I value)

  • CAPACITY – I can! (We have capacity to do it (time, labour finances, services/providers to make it happen and maintain it)

  • “Getting 2 out of 3 of these isn’t enough!”

Thank You


Site has climate dog animations, seasonal climate newsletters, carbon toolkits, case studies of farmers taking action , webinars series etc…….

[email protected]

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