1 July 2020

Digital climate-activism in a Scandinavian corona-era

Demonstration poster: 'There are no jobs on a dead planet' The management of the corona pandemic has, for good reasons, attracted a great deal of attention from citizens, the media and politicians in recent months, and especially as societies like the Danish have been completely or partially shut down from March 2020.

At the same time, however, a struggle for public risk awareness has been raging, where the green NGOs in particular have worked diligently to retain a public concern with the climate and the green transition. This struggle has not least taken place on social media, whose importance for public dialogue, attitude formation and political agenda-setting has grown significantly over the past decade.

A new research project headed by Anders Blok, Associate Professor at Copenhagen Center for Social Data Science (SODAS) and the Department of Sociology at UCPH, looks into how green NGOs in Denmark, Norway and Sweden have continued their climate political efforts during the lockdown.

In a blog post, members of the research project analyse how the fight for risk awareness has taken place on the social media Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the three Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, with a particular focus on the activities of the green NGOs.

In brief, the study finds that there are both similarities and quite significant differences between the three Scandinavian countries regarding the type of active NGOs and the nature of discussions about the possible overlap between climate and corona as two global risks. For instance, the challenges and opportunities for what is called the 'green restart' (#grøngenstart) in the Danish debate are part of the most important dimensions of the public conversations during and after the corona pandemic. This differs in the context of Norway and Sweden, where discussion are either more focused on the preservation of nature, or the role of fossil fuel companies.

It is the authors' hope that the blog post will give interested citizens, activists, journalists and others, new insights into the the climate politics during the lockdown, and thus also provide inspiration for continuing, and possibly rethinking, the debates in the future, including by way of making comparisons between the three Scandinavian countries.

Figure: Weekly Twitter-activity by type of NGO in Denmark

Number of tweets during the corona lockdown, grouped by the different types of NGOs.

Read the full blog post (in Danish)