When was the last time you had a really good conversation about climate change? Nope, we’re not referring to casual passing mentions, we mean a real conversation. Ya know, the kind that includes a rich, lively exchange of stories and ideas, hopes and fears, convictions, predictions and interpretations?
If the answer is ‘uh, never,’ then you are not alone my friend. But, hear us out, maybe talking about climate change is one of the most powerful things we can do. By talking about it, we can get the problems and solutions out in the open and make it a normal thing to chat about—to friends, family and people in power. We gotta talk it out!
Why it’s hard
If you’ve ever tried starting a conversation, which, if you’re an adult human of some sort I’m thinking you likely have, then you know it isn’t easy. Climate change is a BIG topic, and there’s lots of feelings around it (hello guilt, fear and blame) that aren’t the peachiest of things to try and talk about.
So, because it’s not always easy, and because it’s not always peachy, but it is important (we established that, right?) here’s some top tips to help (us all) have good conversations about climate change.
1. Tell your story
Why are you interested in climate change? What worries you? What inspires you? Be real and vulnerable, and your friends will feel more able to be honest too.
2. Ask questions
You may think you know what your mate thinks about climate change but asking questions could uncover some hidden depths to their views. Climate conversations aren’t about showing you know all of the right stats, I mean that’s definitely fun, (graph and chart happy anyone?) but make your questions more about how we feel about climate change and then connect with that.
3. Listen up!
It’s ‘listening’ for the win, ding ding ding! Listening is one of those underrated skills that we should probably all be bringing to conversations on big topics like climate change. Showing that you’re listening and understand where someone is coming from brings much more positivity and goodwill to the conversation. Sounds so simple, but sometimes it’s harder than ANYTHING. Which probably means we should definitely be doing it.
4. Moderate, don’t just advocate
Even if you’re the most passionate believer in climate action, try not to be THAT person who’s always trying to convert everyone. Instead, give people the chance to explore climate change in their own way without feeling loads of pressure.
5. Let silences happen
Don’t let awkward silences throw you off. Sometimes silence is good. Like when the dog finally stops barking at the squirrel or when your alarm clock abruptly stops buzzing every morning, at the same time, seven consecutive times, which you’re positive has nothing to do with you (it never does). Moments of silence can be opportunities to think and to reflect on the discussion. And this is a tough topic people so let’s give our brains the space they need huh?
6. You don’t have to do it all in one go
It's better to have an interesting, respectful exchange that leaves the door open for next time, than to rush towards some kind of conclusion. Let’s take our time!
This blog post was written by our climate activist pals over at 10:10.