Climate change and biodiversity loss trigger policies targeting and impacting local communities worldwide. However, research and policy implementation often fail to sufficiently consider community responses and involve them. We present the results of a collective self-assessment exercise for eight case studies of communications regarding climate change or biodiversity loss between project teams and local communities. We develop eight indicators of good stakeholder communication, reflecting the scope of Verran (2002)'s concept of postcolonial moments as a communicative utopia. We demonstrate that applying our indicators can enhance communication and enable community responses. However, we discover a divergence between timing, complexity, and (introspective) effort. Three cases qualify for postcolonial moments, but scrutinizing power relations and genuine knowledge co-production remain rare. While we verify the potency of various instruments for deconstructing science, their sophistication cannot substitute trust building and epistemic/transdisciplinary awareness. Lastly, we consider that reforming inadequate funding policies helps improving the work in and with local communities.