Serving Up Climate Conversations for Thanksgiving

By Meighen Speiser

It’s that time of year again. Pumpkins are being carved, meals are being prepared, and most importantly, families are gathering. Thanksgiving is a time to catch up with loved ones, feast, and be thankful. Given the many extreme weather events that happened this year, it may be likely that a loved one has been impacted. And, given the publicity of the recent IPCC special report or elections, a conversation about climate change might arise!

Don’t despair, prepare!

Climate conversations don’t have to be filled with conflict, and the dinner table can offer some of the greatest opportunities to talk productively about climate change. To help, ecoAmerica offers guidance on how to speak authentically and effectively on climate, from words and phrases, to building your own authentic narrative! You can also watch a short skit, created in collaboration with our partners at Climate Resolve, that playfully illustrates a Thanksgiving dinner conversation-gone-wrong, then right.

To have a productive conversation, start by affirming your shared values and concerns — especially those about family and community. Next, acknowledge the varying perspectives of those around you, even if there are those with doubts. This could look like “I know we have varying perspectives on the causes of our changing climate, but we can all agree that the impacts we are seeing are concerning.”

Americans are increasingly seeing and feeling the effects of a warming climate. So, next, talk about the real, concrete changes they are all seeing — increasing temperatures, higher energy bills, and weather disasters that are stronger than ever. And more importantly, listen to their experiences — how are they personally impacted?

Transition the conversation to climate solutions. Climate change is something that we can solve, and each of us can take concrete, meaningful actions. We have solar and wind energy systems that are cleaner and cheaper than fossil fuels, and they create new, well-paying jobs for Americans. We know transportation and energy storage solutions are seeing exponential growth, and a low carbon economy is a strong economy.

And, there are so many ways to strengthen your conversation, from sharing a personal story, to avoiding argument, all outlined in the Let’s Talk Climate guide.

Thanksgiving can prove to be a great time to talk about climate with our closest family and friends. Remember, most Americans are concerned about climate and want to be a part of the solution. They just need to know what to do, and to feel hope and opportunity about climate solutions. You can find additional guidance from ecoAmerica’s latest research and talking points.

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