Why Climate Conversations Matter

Sep 13, 2023

I was at a party recently when the conversation turned to the recent extreme weather around the world and several friends crowded close to me and asked how worried they should be about climate change and how bad was it going to get and what should they do?

I took a deep breath because I’ve seen these conversations, which are happening all the time now, as incredible opportunities to turn people toward climate activism.

I want to be Rebecca Solnit in these moments but I’m usually more Lucille and Ethel on the chocolate factory line, stumbling over my words like they did bon-bons.

But that doesn’t stop me.

Because showing up for these conversations is so important.

People are scared and they want to do something that matters.

Here’s what I’m trying during these conversations – see if any of this helps you:

Gauge where they are in the 5 stages of climate feelings.
🌱 This can help me meet them where they are so they feel heard. Very important!

Ask questions to get a sense of what they care about most and what they know.

🌱 What concerns you most?
🌱 What are you reading or listening to about climate change?
🌱 Have you ever participated in any climate actions in the past?

Make one or two suggestions if they seem open.
🌱 Maybe they want to work with others so I tell them about Third Act or Climate Change Makers Hour of Power.
🌱 Maybe they want to change their diet to eat less meat (Sharing recipes is a great simple way to help).
🌱 Maybe they need to learn more so pointing them toward reputable sources that are well-curated like this or this is the best suggestion.
🌱 Maybe they are very engaged on social media and need content to make them laugh and learn. And maybe share.
🌱 Or they need hope so an article like this is good or following The Garbage Queen might be my suggestion.
🌱 FYI: I keep a file of articles and sources in an email folder to make forwarding easy.

Stay away from doom or acting like I’ve got it all figured out.
🌱 People want to feel they can get involved and that what they do matters. And it does!

I do not try to convince climate deniers they are wrong. I shrug and walk away. It’s a waste of my time and energy.


It can be awkward to have these conversations because, if you are anything like me, you care so much and you want to be articulate and helpful, but you worry you’ll say the wrong thing.

But every time we talk about the climate emergency, especially when we take the time to connect as humans and truly listen to what the other person’s fears are, we are contributing to the social tipping point. That’s where enough people engage in climate action and we save our butts.

Tip the scales in our favor along with me, won’t you?

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