Talk to people
Stop “Climate Silence!”
The reality that most people are concerned about climate change but don’t commonly talk about it with people they know is referred to as “climate silence.” Not talking about climate change leads to a perception that caring about and taking action on climate issues is not a social norm. Increasing public discourse is important because people are more likely to act on something if they think it aligns with their identity and is supported by people and groups they associate with.
— from Hennepin County Climate Action“One thing we can all do to ease this gridlock is to alter the language and messages we use about climate change. The words we use and the stories we tell matter. Transforming the way we talk about climate change can engage people and build… political will.”
Learn about effective climate change communication
…and then talk about it!
Conversations are important. They promote social change, develop social norms, and can be deeply influential to the people involved. When starting conversations on climate change, remember that most people are concerned about the issue, and you may find more areas of agreement than you expect.
Follow some guidelines
- Be curious and listen. “People will not listen unless they feel heard.”
- Find common ground
- Talk about what is happening locally
- Talk about what is happening now
- Respect differences
- Use imagery, metaphor, and experiences
- Balance scientific stories with personal stories
- For skeptics, talk “environment” instead of “climate”
- Engage mutually trusted people in group settings
Learn more about effective communication
▶ Act locally: Green your town:
▶ Know that it’s better to post your opinions in a video (or linking to one) if you post to social media. In-person discussions are shown to be much more effective than social media posts.