Engaging People in
Biodiversity Issues

Frustrating isn’t it? All this effort, and yet somehow levels of public engagement with biodiversity issues remain stubbornly low, with 30% of the English population unaware of any loss of biodiversity, and a further 25% aware, but taking very little or no action. It can seem that the biodiversity message is getting lost in the noise of everyday life.

So what can we do differently? We need to rethink how we talk about the variety of life on earth, the threats to it, and the consequences of its loss. We must not assume that we are projecting our messages into a vacuum, but work with, rather than against, the existing stories that people hear and tell about the natural world and our relationship with it.

Drawing on original audience research, this guide offers a starting point. This is not a guide as to how we might better explain biodiversity, or shout louder to ensure our messages are heard. It is a set of principles for reframing this difficult concept so that it resonates with people, and makes sense on their terms. The research identifies four big stories that people already tell about nature: Nature finds a way, Nature can’t keep up, Humanity finds a way and Humanity can’t keep up, and develops five key principles for reframing biodiversity that seek to work with these stories.

These principles work best as a whole, but could be used separately, and some will better suit different contexts. They are designed to be used by anyone already communicating biodiversity issues to a public audience, and for those thinking about how to start. These ideas are not the complete answer, so try them out, test them, and let us know what works as we seek to develop these principles further.

Reframing Biodiversity Principles