Tips for Talking About Climate Change

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe is the leading expert in how to have difficult conversations about climate change—like the kind when facts aren't enough.
July 10, 2018, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz

Conversations about climate aren’t always as simple as the realities of climate change: "Climate change is real. It’s us. It’s bad. And there are all kinds of solutions," according to the premise of an article by Aven Frey.

Frey is sharing the work of Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, who writes and lectures on the subject of climate change, and how to talk about climate change. Dr. Hayhoe recently wrote for Science on the same subject, and Frey caught her lecture in Washington in May.

Increasing numbers of Americans, liberal and conservative, say they are worried about climate change, but too many (including plenty of the people in charge, elected or otherwise) are in different stages of complacency or compartmentalization—or denial. Dr. Hayhoe says the best thing we can do is talk about climate change more with people we know—and in personal terms. She reminds us to start with values, not facts. Piling on more facts and data doesn’t work and can even backfire.

Frey answers the question why that last statement is true and reveals Dr. Hayhoe's three-part formula for climate change conversations: bond (find common ground and shared values), connect (find personal ways to show climate change matters), and inspire (demonstrate real-life successes).

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Published on Thursday, July 5, 2018 in Sightline Institute
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