We all know how it feels to sit at the dinner table with family and friends and have climate change brought up as a topic of interest. We sit back and hear others mention how climate change “could be a hoax” or disputes against the science behind climate change. It’s a difficult situation and a difficult conversation to have but we are here to help. It is the future of our planet and the end is near. If conversations around and about climate change aren’t addressed now, we will have no future on this planet.
As confusing as it can be hearing denial from someone close to you, your relationship means you can play a key role in opening their minds in ways others simply can’t. You may not be able to change their mind with one conversation but you can start the process of internal questioning that may lead them down the path to revisit or possibly abandon old ways and patterns of thinking.
Here are four tips on how to hold the climate change deniers in your inner circle accountable without letting them take the reins.
1. Don’t react stay calm and focused - Introduce the topic casually
You can bring climate change up in a multitude of ways. You can start by mentioning climate change in a casual conversation or by talking about current events. This makes the transition to a conversation about a serious topic much easier and it helps to gauge different levels of interest in different topics. Use these conversations as an opportunity to get an understanding of their concerns and where they are coming from. Denial, in most cases, starts with people’s beliefs about themselves and their background rather than the actual science behind the topic.
Remember to stay calm and focus on the conversations ahead. This won’t be a one-time conversation so remember to breathe and stay present. There are a few ways to calm yourself down in the moment where it feels you might explode. Remember to take a few calm breaths, center yourself by counting to 10 in your head very slowly and imagine a shield of white light surrounding you. This white light will bounce back any negativity and heat off of you and back to wherever it came from. When you are feeling overwhelmed always remember to come back to your center, try to remember why this topic means so much to you and why you enjoy talking about it. Always come from a place of love and light rather than a place of negativity and confrontation.
2. Ask lots of questions and come prepared with evidence
When having a conversation about a topic such as climate change, it is crucial to ask questions to understand where the other person is coming from and to be able to back up your statements with facts and figures. It’s easy to start out the conversation with the other person by asking questions centered around their own personal beliefs, and why they do not believe that climate change is real and happening currently. After this, you will have a baseline understanding of how to proceed with the conversation. After a point is brought up, it is a good idea to ask follow-up questions to their statement, such as where they got their information from or why they believe that is the truth. During a conversation such as this, facts are going to be helpful in backing up your claims. Be prepared to defend yourself and your viewpoints, as I’m sure they will be asking you to have proof of what you are saying. Key facts to bring to the conversation include what causes climate change, how humans have accelerated the process, statistics about how activities such as mining, oil drilling, deforestation, and pollution affect climate, and what is currently happening across the globe in regard to the environment.
3. Know when to back off and find points of connection
If we can’t have sustained and productive conversations about climate change, we will certainly never be able to fix it. This is why knowing how to start an initial conversation is important but also making sure it's productive. One of the main difficulties with this is the hostility that occurs when having a discussion about a polarizing political issue. One thing to remember is “It’s a conversation, not a conquest”. We see it all the time and have likely experienced it ourselves. We get carried away with our passion and end up getting too heated. In response, the other person becomes defensive and suddenly it's a stalemate. This is why discovering points of connection early in the conversation is so important. It allows you to tailor the conversation to the individual rather than trying to expand it to a global scale. This allows you to make a more personal impact while also connecting with the other person on a more personal level.
4. Continue the conversation
This won’t be a one-time conversation, remember to let it flow. This could be the first conversation in a long process of many different c conversations further down the road. Make sure not to push your close ones too hard in this first conversation. Remind them you care about them and validate their concerns. The only way we can fight an issue as big as climate change is to come together in an even bigger way. Remember you got this and our organization, Image We Could, is always here for support.
More About Our Organization - Image We Could
At Imagine We Could, we work hard to create high-quality educational content like blogs, book recommendations, and tips on how to stop climate change to empower students, just like us, and people all over the world to fight for climate solutions; we will stand together to be the change we want to see in the world. We are a student-led organization that believes there is power in unity and education. Together we can build a sustainable future.
If you enjoyed what you’ve just read and would like to see more please visit https://www.imaginewecould.com/ to learn more and join us in our fight against climate denial. If you are a student like us interested in joining our fight against climate change go to https://www.imaginewecould.com/ to learn more.