Communicating Risk Information with Stakeholders. Much technical information is about assessing and controlling risks. Public and other stakeholders are part of process of making decisions based on risk information. . What risk communication is not:.
Much technical information is about assessing and controlling risks.
Public and other stakeholders are part of process of making decisions based on risk information.
Lundgren and McMakin, 1998
Risk = Hazard + Magnitude
Won’t work for public decision-making.
Peter Sandman’s new formula:
Risk = Hazard + Outrage
Risk = Hazard + Values/Emotions
“The risk of dying from cancer is 10-6.”
“This site is considered safe for human health and the environment.”
“Is this site safe for my children to play on?”
Paul Slovic 1999
radon from landfill
Difficulty of handling uncertainty
Failure to consider qualitative factors
Failure to elicit information on social and cultural values
Difficulty of communicating quantitative info. to public
Disagreement about terms
Many others . . .
Difficulty of understanding uncertainty
Difficulty of understanding complex information (physical, chemical, biological mechanisms)
Difficulty communicating social and other values
Little training in quantitative methods and information
Disagreement about termsAnd then there are all these barriers to successful risk communication:
Peter Sandman says, “There is no neutral way to present risk data” (1986).
Problem: Imagine that the US is preparing for the outbreak of an unusual foreign disease that is expected to kill 600 people. Two alternative programs to combat the disease have been proposed.
Science, January 1981
Which of the two programs is best?
2/3 probability that 600 people will die.
Which program is best?
If language influences risk perception, which words/terms (common to environmental-risk situations) are perceived as negative or confusing?
4. You do not like flying in airplanes, but you want very much to get to a family reunion half-way across the country. You do not have time to drive or take any other form of transportation. Please respond to this statement: “Modern technology has a number of risks, and I can accept some risks if I know I will benefit from the advances associated with them.”Questions 3 and 4 compared environmental and non-environmental risks.
You live near a leaking chemical facility. “Qualified investigators and experts” agree there is no health hazard. How much of a risk to you?Questions 2 and 3
3. You live near a leaking chemical facility. “Qualified investigators and experts” agree there is no health hazard. How much of a risk to you?Question 2 considered riskier
These words had positive connotations:
Get representative sample, e.g.,