Discussion suggestions for instructors
The most frequent question from prospective instructors is, “How can I incorporate climate change into my art classes?” Some of us are more apt to encourage open-ended discussion than others, but it is important to establish an atmosphere of sharing in our group events.
Here are some of our suggestions for encouraging discussion. We would like to hear more from you about how you facilitate conversations about climate.
Distribute the Climate Action Toolkit
Point everyone to the online Climate Action Toolkit, "There's an ART to it!". For in-person workshops, we'll provide everyone the postcard, with a QR link to the online Toolkit. Have participants look it over and discuss points of interest.
If you are a person who likes everything in one place, see our 4-page Climate Action Toolkit.
Find time for conversation
While teaching or during lunch breaks, find time for conversation.
Ask your participants to share local tips on sustainable shopping, recycling, etc. Ask them how they successfully talk to relatives and friends about climate change.
Use more questions than answers
Begin your introduction with questions such as:
- "Let us know who you are"
- "What do you paint?"
- "What are your environmental passions?"
- "What do you want from this workshop?"
- "What are you doing to help the environment?"
These are openers for further group discussion.
Avoid being preachy
No one likes a lecture, even when we're in agreement.
- Use the word "can" instead of "should." Encourage others to do so as well.
- "Did you know that...?" is a good opener.
- In terms of acting on climate change, say something like, "How does this action work in your life?" or "What other options fit you?"
- Again, give your participants the opportunity to share their viewpoints by asking questions.
Find out how to talk to others
It is important for all of us to feel comfortable talking to others about the concept of climate change. The only way we will influence others to take climate action is to increasingly make it a non-controversial and regular conversation, much like the weather. Here are some resources:
- Read why communication is critical to tackling the climate crisis: https://www.siliconrepublic.com/innovation/katharine-hayhoe-climate-crisis
- Check out Your Guide to Climate Action from the National Audubon Society
- See Lessons on Communicating the Climate Crisis, from Climate-Exchange.org
- Get the free eBook from Goodside: The Good Guide to Effective Climate Action in the 21st Century
- Download Making Climate Change Fun, from My planet Action New Zealand
- Read Katharine Hayhoe's book, Saving Us: A Climate Scientist's Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World