Tips for Talking About Climate
With summer temperatures soaring high enough to ground planes, climate change may come up while chatting with your ornery uncle at a cookout or while talking with co-workers on break. Here are five tips to keep conversations productive and inspire real conversations about meaningful action.
Climate change can cause heated debates, but it’s important to keep a cool head. It is okay to walk away if Uncle Bill has already made up his mind and is looking to pick a fight.
Find common ground
Try to determine what values you and your conversation partners share and how those values are threatened by climate change. Your co-worker may not care about polar bears and melting ice caps, but she may care about health and safety effects of climate change. She may also be interested to hear about the pros of clean energy, which include cleaner air, increased energy independence, and clean energy jobs.
Know the facts, or where to find them
While facts won’t convince anyone by themselves, it’s useful to have trustworthy sources of information to share. Websites like Inside Climate News and the University of Washington’s Puget Sound State of Knowledge Report provide accurate national and local information on how the changing climate will affect your life and landscape.
Go for the gut
As frustrating as it may be, facts alone don’t change minds. Personal experiences do. Speaking from experience can move the discussion from the “head” to the “heart,” you’ll have an easier time connecting in a positive manner.
Inspire hope, not fear
Climate change is frightening, but fear can be paralyzing. If a problem seems too dire, a person can feel powerless. They may disengage rather than act. Focus on the solutions, and show them how acting collectively through their union can create meaningful change.