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Turn Climate Shock Into Climate Talk

It's pretty shocking to see all the ways climate change can affect us in Cog’s Episode 11, but we can turn that climate shock into climate talk. Leslie Davenport, in her book All the Feelings Under the Sun: How to Deal With Climate Change, really does suggest shimmy-shaking it off. Shake it six times, then take a deep breath to reset your nervous system. Okay, but the next step is to act. And an important action we can take is to start talking about climate change. Trouble is, talking about climate change is hard! I’m still struggling with it. But here are some tips I have learned to make it easier.

Cover of "A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety"

  • Don’t ask people to “give up” anything. Our brains are wired to fear loss, even if the loss is really a win. For example, rather than suggesting that we need to give up gas-guzzling cars, focus on the benefits of electric cars, like less air pollution, money saved on fuel, and low maintenance costs.

  • Stick to the hope and action feedback loop. Doom, guilt, and despair do NOT motivate action. -- The Most Important Thing You Can Do, Kathryn Hayhoe’s TED talk

Katherine Hayhoe giving her TED Talk about how to talk about climate change

  • If you're going to use data, use graphs that shows positive change. For example, the graph below shows the increasing number of people who believe in climate change. I’m using it to convince you to talk about climate change with your friends, neighbors, and colleagues, because the more we talk about it the more quickly attitudes will change. These numbers will rise.

Just thinking about talking about climate change may make you break into a sweat, but remember this graph. The majority of Americans do believe it’s a major threat. They want to act. Let them know they too can help by turning their climate shock into climate talk.


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