At ecoAmerica, we work with America’s religious denominations, national health and medical associations, and local communities to support their efforts to understand the implications of climate change, and to develop effective strategies for them to practically support and advocate for solutions with their many millions of members. Our work starts with people – we do a lot of listening to truly understand their values, concerns, and priorities. We’ve learned a lot, and will share what we’ve learned with you in this monthly Climate Talking Points series.
Each month we will pick a topic or theme related to climate change, provide a few positive talking points and some responses to key questions or criticisms. Our goal is to open up the conversation, focus on common values, and help us all move forward, together, on climate solutions. This guidance is grounded in ecoAmerica’s extensive research on climate communications, and our experience deploying it.
One note of caution: effective communication on climate change might sometimes conflict with what you think is “common sense.” For instance, “Big Tent” Democrats think “we’re all in this together” is an effective argument – but it doesn’t resonate with more conservative Republicans. Conservatives trust faith leaders on climate change and don’t understand why progressives would trust celebrities. In the end, the truly trusted messengers are the people in your family, of your faith, in your community, from your occupation – who tend to share the same political and social values as you do.
Reach common ground and take action. Each of us can make a big difference.
There are people in your circles who share your values, but who are not ‘activated’ on climate change. Use your connections, and this guidance, to reach out to your colleagues, community, and fellow congregants. Reach common ground and take action. Each of us can make a big difference. As we enter 2018, passions are high on both sides, and the stakes even higher.
How you talk about climate change is as important that the specifics of what you say. You can have a positive conversation where everyone leaves more informed and more inspired on climate solutions if you start with common values, respect differences, listen well, and truly care about people. For more ideas, read our January 2018 Talking Points which includes Counterpoints – responses to common arguments against shifting to clean energy or addressing climate change.
Let us know what you think!