Let’s Talk About It

In the wake of the presidential election, much has been made about the conversations we should have when family and friends come together to break bread this holiday season. When it comes to climate change, experts say, just keep talking.

 

According to a study out of Yale’s Climate Change Communications program, 72% of people in the United States report being “cautious, concerned, or alarmed” about climate change. A significant number and yet many do not express their feelings to their nearest and dearest.

 

Katherin Hayhoe, a climate scientist, tells the Huffington Post that the holidays are a great time to improve these statistics and engage others in the conversation. She offers some suggestions for a smart delivery.

 

First, don’t engage in the yes-it-is-real-no-it-is-not-real argument. Studies show that arguing doesn’t change minds, but rather deepens the divides.

 

When broaching a topic that can feel overwhelming, speak to specific solutions from familiar places. Share how several US cities and towns (20) are moving away from fossil fuels to save money, or that the happiest place on earth is installing a solar farm shaped like a certain mouse.  Mention that Elon Musk, the man who brought the world the Tesla electric car, is now advancing the solar world by offering solar shingles for residential home installation.

 

Hayhoe’s web series, Global Weirding, has a slew of other conversation starters sure to get you from appetizer to aperitif.

 

No matter the conversation, though, Hayhoe urges beginning and ending it respectfully. In this, and most conversations, we have more in common than not.

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