Climate Conversations

Let’s talk! The single most important thing we can all do is to talk to family, friends and neighbors about climate change. 

Our August action is to start conversations with three people about climate change — family, friends, or neighbors. While the large majority of Americans believe that the climate is changing, and millions are suffering its effects, 63% of Americans say they rarely or never discuss climate change with family and friends. 

It has been demonstrated that the more awareness and conversation happens about a topic, the greater the groundswell of support that is necessary for meaningful and effective policy changes. As we’ve seen with other social movements in history, the more people become aware and involved, the faster critical change can happen.

This action may seem like an easy task, but talking about climate change and “saving the earth” can feel uncomfortable for many people. Here are some tips for getting a conversation started. 

Share personal observations rather than stating facts. Weave a climate discussion into a conversation about some things you care about and value, like parenting or being in nature. Share what you have personally been noticing recently. Perhaps you could talk about some local anomalies, such as smoke from wildfires, warmer water temperature at Long Sands, higher tides, or stranger weather patterns. Don’t feel the need to state facts, but make this about your own observations. Find common ground. Ask questions and listen. 

Chat with others about how they are trying to reduce energy costs or limit carbon emissions. Ask questions of a neighbor who has installed heat pumps or composts food scraps. Solicit recipes from friends for plant-based meals. Learn from other people’s experiences and sustainability habits. Remember that everyone is in a different place on this journey. Sometimes you can be the one doing the informing, and sometimes you are the learner. Remember, this is not about judging or placing blame, but about finding common ground and working together.

Look for or create opportunities that lead to comfortable discussions. If you have children, suggest nature walks with other families. Being in nature provides a natural environment to talk about the environment! Invite a neighbor to join you at a public event where information is being shared about a climate or sustainability topic.

Take it a step further. If you feel that the person you are talking to is a climate and sustainability advocate, you now have a person with whom you can talk more freely, and perhaps call on to engage in more actionable activities together. If they aren’t already a part of York Ready for Climate Action, encourage them to get involved! 

We’d love to hear about your conversations! Tell us how it goes on our FaceBook page

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