Talking about climate change
One of the most important things you can do about climate change is to talk about it.
People trust their peers, family members, and loved ones more than they trust experts, scientists, and environmental organisations.
You can talk to the people you know about climate change in ways that we can’t. You are more likely to open people’s minds.
The most important thing to remember when talking about climate change with those who don’t share your views is that people cannot communicate effectively when they feel threatened. Direct attacks — whether in the form of arguments, evidence, or name-calling — limit our capacity for reason, empathy, and self-reflection.
First, we must make people feel safe and heard and then find common ground.
You could join the 26,000 climate conversations challenge or find out more about having impactful climate conversations:
- Climate Outreach’s how to have a climate change conversation
- How and Why to have climate change conversations
- How to talk effectively about climate change
Advice on having conversations about climate change from Climate Outreach’s #TalkingClimate handbook, using the REALTALK method:
- Respect your conversational partner and find common ground
- Enjoy the conversation
- Ask questions
- Listen, and show you've heard
- Tell your story
- Action makes it easier (but doesn't fix it)
- Learn from the conversation
- Keep going and keep connected
Reducing your personal carbon footprint
In terms of reducing your personal carbon footprint, among the most impactful actions an individual can take are:
- Reducing meat consumption, particularly beef and lamb
- Limiting the number of flights you take, especially long-haul flights
- Buying fewer new things
- Reducing the amount you drive, if you have a car
Less quantifiable, though potentially more impactful actions include voting, campaigning and lobbying, and shifting pensions, investments and banks to ensure your money isn’t driving climate change.
If you'd like to know more about what the biggest things you can do about your personal carbon footprint are, this article gives a nice rundown of the big issues.
For the University’s organisational carbon footprint and what we can do on campus, go here.