Talk to us fb li tw in
Back to blog

EP#151: Climate Communication, Community Engagement and Strategic Storytelling

In this episode of GovComms Podcast, we are joined by Ruth Dewsbury, a communication strategist with more than 20 years’ experience in government communications in the Australian federal government. Her most recent role was as a Senior Director of Communications at the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

Along with host David Pembroke, Ruth reflects on the significant changes in the communication landscape, particularly the shift from traditional methods like typewriters and carbon paper to the digital revolution, which introduced new communication channels and tools, and the impact of the 24-hour news cycle.

“Things have changed massively in the whole communications land... Especially with the digital revolution.” – Ruth Dewsbury

Ruth emphasises the need for clear communication objectives by ‘going back to the basics’, and clear outcomes to effectively determine target audiences, messages, and channels.

“While there have been massive changes, a lot hasn't changed like the general approach to communications, strategic communications in its entirety hasn't changed, and in some ways, I think there's a real need to get back to basics." – Ruth Dewsbury

Ruth also talks about the unique challenges of communicating about climate change, including dealing with disinformation, engaging diverse audiences, and the importance of addressing climate anxiety, especially among young people.

“Disinformation has just gone wild, and different groups in the community are responding in different ways. There's huge climate anxiety with young people, in particular, something like 67% of young people think." – Ruth Dewsbury

Tune in to gain insights into gathering authentic stories to make government communications more relatable and effective, and more.

Stream the episode on Spotify:

Watch the episode on YouTube:


Discussed in this episode:

  • Evolution of government communications
  • High-pressure environments and reactive communication
  • Challenges of climate change communication
  • Engaging with communities for authentic stories.


Show notes:



A transcript of this episode can be found here.

About the Author