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Climate Change chat with Polar Bear-Free Communication

My friend, Joe G, thoughtfully sent me a link to an excellent article in Grist that outlines some important pointers for those of us doing climate communication. I think the next episode of Climate Stew podcast (the penultimate one) I will talk about it in more detail, but I wanted to make sure you have a chance to look at it. I’d like to open a discussion about it and share some best practices.

Amelia Urry writes: Here’s everything we know about how to talk about climate change

Over the past year, we’ve asked experts — activistspsychologistspolicy wonks, even therapists — for their best advice. The conclusion? There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but here are some broad do’s and don’t’s to help you get your message across.

I’m sticking with my story!

graphic credit: Grist

graphic credit: Grist

No surprise, Amelia leads with storytelling, perhaps one of the best tools for all kinds of communication, especially climate communication. Just yesterday I spoke to 400 high school students about climate change. I covered lots of ground, but mostly I stuck with stories, particularly my own story. When I got into the storytelling mode, the room quieted down and I got to communicate important information in a creative personal way that was tailored for my audience.

Urry explains:

Some climate scientists and activists think that if the American people only knew the solid science behind climate change, they’d be motivated to fight this big problem. But most people just aren’t going to be inspired by hearing, “There’s overwhelming consensus among scientists.”

Much better is to tell a good story. Give it a gripping plot, with a beginning, a middle, and an end (and it never hurts to have a villain). And put people at the heart of the story — not icebergs or atmospheres or endangered tree frogs. Help people understand what climate change really means on the ground, today, and what is at stake for them.

Amelia Urry provides lots other ideas for us to consider. Oh, and like me she says we need to leave the polar bears about of the conversation. People are self-interested–find out what is closest to their hearts.

Let me know what you think. I’d love to share your thoughts on the podcast. Thanks.

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Here’s everything we know about how to talk about climate change

 

Polar bear puppet photo taken at Cambridge Friends School

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Peterson Toscano

Author: Peterson Toscano

Peterson Toscano is a quirky queer Quaker concerned about Climate Change. His website is www.petersontoscano.com

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