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Real Climate Action: How to Engage People in Climate Change

Engage with and motivate others to join you in the fight against climate change using a variety of approaches.

828 enrolled on this course

Three people with linked arms
  • Duration

    5 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Inspire climate action in others with strategies that really work

EIT Climate-KIC EIT Climate-KIC and Project InsideOut will show you how to take effective climate action.
This five-week course will explore how to communicate and engage with others around climate change, while achieving audience buy-in and behaviour change.

Give your environmentalism a psychosocial edge

Traditional messaging, systems innovation, and the powerful Quadrant of Engagement tool by psychologist and climate strategist Dr Renee Lertzman are all brought together on this course. The transdisciplinary approach will help you engage others in a whole new way.

Inspire behavioural change for climate change

Over the duration of the course, you’ll discuss why fear tactics are ineffective for facilitating climate action, why an empathic approach is more effective, and how to use the Quadrant of Engagement tool to map out strategies that motivate people to make important behavioural changes.

See Dr Lertzman’s environmentalism first-hand

This course does more than share Dr Lertzman’s message on how you can turn climate anxiety into action. It provides the ideal platform to teach you herself. Supported by the respected European Institute of Innovation Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (EIT Climate-KIC), she’ll show you how to create truly effective engagement campaigns for climate change.


  • Week 1


    • Welcome to the course

      In this activity, you will be introduced to the course and have the opportunity to introduce yourself to your fellow learners.

    • The engagement challenge

      This activity will help you find out why and how a deeper empathetic and human-centred approach - in combination with other kinds of engagement - is vital when designing any aspect of our communications and engagement work.

    • Getting off the starting blocks

      In this activity, we discuss what you need to explore which will help explain where we are now and how to identify issues/gaps in current approaches.

    • The Three A's

      Explore three key dimensions of engaging with our changing world; Anxiety, Ambivalence and Aspiration.

    • End of Week 1

      We have come to the end of Week 1 and it's time to reflect on what you have learnt and look forward to Week 2.

  • Week 2

    Guiding principles

    • Welcome to Week 2

      Welcome to Week 2, where you will learn about the guiding principles of engaging people with climate change.

    • Attune

      Learn how to apply attunement to how we communicate the need for change with our communities.

    • Reveal

      This activity is about being emotionally honest with ourselves and others to build trust and credibility.

    • Convene

      When we try to engage people, we might default into a mode of messaging and promoting. In this activity you will learn how to see your organization as a convener versus a messenger or storytelling machine.

    • Equip

      This activity is about providing people with tools, resources, and guidance that builds influence and efficacy.

    • Sustain

      Sustaining is about keeping your community working towards the long-term on goals that endure past the thrill of a big push.

    • End of Week 2

      We have come to the end of Week 2 and it's time to reflect on what you have learnt and look forward to Week 3.

  • Week 3

    The Quadrants of Engagement

    • Introducing the four Quadrants

      The Quadrant can help you understand and investigate what assumptions underlie your work. These orientations reflect trends in the field, our own proclivities, experiences, training, and organizational culture.

    • Quadrant 1 - Innovation/Systems

      How can we design a better world/solution?

    • Quadrant 2 - Behaviour

      How do we get X people to do Y behaviour?

    • Quadrant 3 - Messaging

      How can we appeal to people's attitudes, values and beliefs about climate change?

    • Quadrant 4 - Experience

      How do people feel about what is happening?

    • Summary

      We have come to the end of Week 3 and it's time to reflect on what you have learnt and look forward to Week 4.

  • Week 4

    Deep dives into psychosocial

    • Welcome

      This activity will provide insights into how the psychosocial dimension can help us be effective change agents when it comes to climate change innovations.

    • Psychosocial deep-dives

      The deep-dives are structured around conflict and human defence mechanisms, using psychology to re-think how we communicate and insight gathering and psychosocial research.

    • Week 4 summary

      You have come to the end of the penultimate week.

  • Week 5

    Insights and research

    • Welcome to Week 5

      Welcome to the final week.

    • Applying psychosocial methods

      This activity is about understanding that the essence of applying a psychosocial approach is to consider the full context of a behaviour.

    • An integrated approach

      We explore three case studies to help you get inspired to design campaigns.

    • Putting it into action

      Explore how to start designing campaigns and engagement strategies which integrate the four Quadrants of Engagement in a way that are most likely to support behaviour change.

    • Summary

      Welcome to the last section of this course.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss why presenting facts about climate change or using fear tactics often fail to engage, persuade or facilitate behaviour change
  • Describe why engagement on climate change is far more than a messaging exercise
  • Apply the Quadrants of Engagement mapping tool to identify where you may have gaps in your current engagement efforts
  • Explain how psychosocial aspects of climate change, such as conflicts, denial, ambivalence, and cognitive dissonance, mean we need a more empathetic approach when talking about climate change
  • Create engagement campaigns that take into account all four Quadrants of Engagement.

Who is the course for?

This course was designed for anyone who is tired of feeling anxious and ready to take climate action for real change. It’s perfect for students, entrepreneurs, innovators, and activists alike.

Who will you learn with?

Michelle is a system change facilitator & consultant, who supports leaders and their companies through change. She works at the intersection of systems change, innovation, and impact.

Renée Lertzman is a researcher, educator and eco-engagement strategist who uses psychological insights to change our approach to the environmental crisis.

Who developed the course?

EIT Climate-KIC

EIT Climate-KIC is a European knowledge and innovation community, working towards a prosperous, inclusive, climate-resilient society founded on a circular, zero-carbon economy.

EIT Climate-KIC creates digital courses and resources for the general public, and for its own blended programmes and those of its partners.

Project InsideOut (PIO)

Project InsideOut (PIO) is a unique platform, online tool, and resource hub that brings together changemakers, activists, and clinical psychologists to drive sustainable behavior change for our planet. PIO also provides guiding psychological principles for effectively working in climate change.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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