24 February, 2020
Among the things we have failed to learn during this election (and at time of writing that includes the result) is how to have a constructive conversation about climate change.
With the televised Climate Debate failing to deliver a productive platform for discussion (among those that bothered to turn up), we have to look elsewhere for a starting point for meaningful public dialogue on the environment. Perhaps it should start with all of us.
The problem is, having conversations about climate change, particularly at Christmas, can be difficult. No one takes you out of your progressive bubble quite like that conspiratorial uncle or resolute granny. Thankfully, Climate Outreach’s new handbook, developed through a citizen science project involving 550 people across 50 countries, can help make those conversations more constructive and (whisper it) even enjoyable.
First, think about your approach to the conversation. However compelling, a lecture won’t cut it. You need to be respectful, ask open questions, and listen carefully. Being empathetic: we are all in this together and recognising that it’s not easy to know what to think or do will set the right tone. Stories are powerful at seeding new ideas, so, rather than delivering big scary facts, talk about your own experience and the actions you have taken, however small. Finally, remember you aren’t trying to ‘win the argument’ – simply having the conversation is making a difference.
That said, you really have to pick your moment. Perhaps over the roast potatoes isn’t the best time. But why not start today? As our new political landscape reveals itself, let’s all be part of building a better climate debate.