Did you know many people in Merri-bek are concerned about climate change*?
Yet how often do you hear your local friends and neighbours talking about it? Rarely, right?
This is because most of us are scared to talk about climate change because we think other people aren’t interested (they are) or we avoid it because we’ve had prior conversations that haven’t gone as planned. It’s time to reconsider.
Breaking the climate silence
Talking about climate change is the single most important thing we can do to fight climate change, says TED presenter and climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. David Attenborough has also said that “saving the planet is now a communications challenge.”
Ending passive denial
When we avoid talking about climate change we’re enabling climate silence and buying into the idea that if we actively avoid something it goes away.
Instead, we need to talk climate change whenever we can with whomever we can. Talk about it with old friends, new friends, family (yikes!), people we meet walking the dog….
You might want to start safe and small. Perhaps bring it up once a week with a good friend first, then when you’re feeling practised you can branch out to others.
Keep it local
Experts like Dr Rebecca Huntley in her book, How to talk about climate change in a way that makes a difference, says we don’t need to be experts on the science and should instead focus on local issues and shared values. Things that are already happening around us and what we care about most.
In Merri-bek, this could be conversations about damaged street trees from the recent storms, flooding down Merri and Moonee Ponds Creeks, active transport in our neighbourhoods, and how hot are those streets in summer!
Climate for Change is a non-profit set up to support climate conversations throughout Australia. It’s a great resource for training and other pointers to support your climate conversations.
*City of Merri-bek, Climate Change Perceptions and Literacy report, 2018