How to (Really) Talk About Climate Change
As someone who cares about the environment, you likely have discussed climate change before, whether it be about current events, scientific evidence, or political stances. Regardless of the medium (e.g. text, social media, in-person chat), it can be difficult to talk about climate change, which is why this guide may help you!
Firstly, you should approach the climate conversation or, rather, the lack thereof. The most important step in discussing climate change and the subsequent actions requires actual discourse: Don’t be afraid to ignite it yourself. The ideas you care about are always better said than not. If you see someone spreading misinformation or spewing climate denial, consider replying. You can also speak up in a class discussion or ask friends and family about their thoughts.
Once you have a discussion going, you will want to voice your concerns. It is important to draw back on why you personally care about a specific issue or the environment in general. Anyone can say they care about a cause, but proving why you particularly do creates a stronger, emotional appeal. Speaking from the heart is one of the most effective ways to get someone to understand where you are coming from. Not to mention, you will need facts as well! You will not be standing on a strong platform for others to join you if you do not have evidence to prove your point. Luckily, there is more than enough climate science to refer to in case someone wants to disprove your stance.
It is almost inevitable that you will have to encounter a divided or even heated climate discussion. Many people still do not believe climate change to be a threat, and this has become a polarizing subject. Your best bet is to always remain respectful yet firm. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs but should be able to at least consider other perspectives. If someone is making you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, you can leave. Ongoing debates can also be draining, so do not feel bad if you realize you no longer want to continue a discussion that is not making progress.
You should be proud of yourself for having the dedication and bravery to engage in climate discussions. Whether the conversation leans in your favor or not, you still can create an impact through your efforts alone. That said, the last tip is to remain passionate. With your commitment, you will have the drive to continue your advocacy and move people with your heart.
Through these important conversations, we will see tangible change. So, set out to stand up for what you believe in. It can be as simple as starting an environmental club at your school to encourage implementing sustainable changes at your school. You can take to social media to voice your opinion, join a group (like YCAT!), or ask your classmates to share their thoughts. Whether it be one opinion you sway, or a thousand, your voice can make a significant impact. Good luck!