Analogies, or comparing two things or pairs of things, are a way to use familiar examples to explain something unfamiliar, or vice versa. When interpreting climate change, you can use the current exhibit or location as a reference point in making an analogy to a larger issue or process, for example, “The oceans are like the Earth’s lungs, and they are absorbing a lot of carbon dioxide (a process similar to our lungs absorbing oxygen) but with potentially harmful results.” Another analogy involves comparing warming oceans to the water in a pot on a burner or fire, resulting in more evaporation, more heat and increased volume. When talking to children, you might compare adding carbon dioxide to our air to eating too much sugar – things get a little crazy!
Climate change can be unfamiliar and less relevant to some audiences, so by using analogies that link unfamiliar concepts to familiar examples, interpreters can engage the audience in further discussion.
Interpretive Technique: Analogy - Coral & Lemonade
A curious visitor wants to know more about ocean acidification; the interpreter uses an analogy to help the visitor understand what is happening with the ocean's changing chemistry. The visitor relates his personal actions to what may help the situation and the interpreter affirms them.
Interpretive Technique: Analogy - Clownfish
Using the visitor’s delight at seeing a clownfish, the interpreter in this video likens the loss of eyeglasses for seeing to the impacts of ocean acidification on a clownfish’s ability to “smell” its way home.
Interpretive Technique: Analogy - Coral & Osteoporosis
In this video, the interpreter builds on the visitor’s positive emotions about coral reefs and uses an analogy of osteoporosis to explain the risk corals face as the ocean acidifies.
Interpretive Technique: Question & Answer with Doubter
The interpreter in this video frames the impact of warming seas on seabirds by using question and answer along with analogies for a skeptical audience who initiated the conversation with a question.