Researchers the world over almost unanimously agree that our climate is changing … But many farmers – at least Swedish ones – have experienced mild winters and shifting weather before and are hesitant about trusting the scientists.
The researcher who discovered the degree of scepticism among farmers was surprised by her findings. Therese Asplund, who led the study, was initially looking into how agricultural magazines covered climate change, but got a lesson in reality from swedish famers.
Asplund found after studying ten years of issues of the two agricultural sector periodicals ATL and Land Lantbruk that they present climate change as scientifically confirmed, a real problem. But her research took an unexpected direction when she started interviewing farmers in focus groups about climate issues.
Asplund had prepared a long list of questions about how the farmers live with the threat of climate change and what they plan to do to cope with the subsequent climate challenges. The conversations took a different course: “They explained that they didn’t quite believe in climate changes,” she says. “Or at least that these are not triggered by human activities.”
Climate change frames and frame formation: An analysis of climate change communication in the Swedish agricultural sector
While previous research into understandings of climate change has usuallyexamined general public perceptions and mainstream media representations, this thesis offers an audience-specific departure point by analysing climate change frames and frame formation in Swedish agriculture. The empirical material consists of Swedish farm magazines’ reporting on climate change, as well as eight focus group discussions among Swedish farmers on the topic of climate change and climate change information.
The analysis demonstrates that while Swedish farm magazines frame climate change in terms of conflict, scientific uncertainty,and economic burden, farmers in the focus groups tended to concentrate on whether climate change was a natural or human-induced phenomenon, and viewed climate change communication as an issue of credibility. It was found that farm magazines use metaphorical representations of war and games to form the overall frames of climate change. In contrast, the farmers’ frames of natural versus human-induced climate change were formed primarily using experience-based and non-experience based arguments, both supported with analogies, distinctions,keywords, metaphors, and prototypical examples. Furthermore, discussions of what constitutes credible climate information centred on conflict versus consensus-oriented frames of climate change communication along with different views of the extent to which knowledge of climate change is and should be practically or analytically based.
This analysis of climate change communication in the Swedish agricultural sector proposes that the sense making processes of climate change are complex, involving associative thinking and experience- based knowledge