Having climate conversations

People are more aware and concerned about the climate emergency than ever. However, we often don’t feel comfortable to talk about it.

As people, we are deeply influenced by those around us, and so day-to-day conversations are a key part of social change. But conversations on climate change, with friends, family, work colleagues or strangers, are not always easy.

Climate Outreach provide amazing advice for having productive, respectful and enjoyable conversations on climate change. Read our summary below or click here to find out more!

Also for more information on groups and organisations that you can engage with on Wirral in your local areas concerned with environmental matters, who might be good to speak to on the climate emergency, have a look at Wirral Environmental Network’s Big Green List.

Respect your conversational partner and find common ground

Find out what you have in common with the person you are talking to and show them that you respect their concerns, priorities and values. Many people feel blamed and judged when they talk about climate change, which is likely to make them defensive or withdraw from the conversation.

Enjoy the conversation

If you enjoy yourself, you are far more likely to be authentically engaged with, and connected to, the person you are talking to - and they are more likely to feel positive about the conversation too.

Ask questions

Rather than lecturing your conversational partner about your views, ask about what climate change means to them. Give them the space to reflect on their own experiences and views on the issue.

Listen and show you’ve heard

Stop talking! Concentrate on genuinely listening to what the other person is really trying to say - and take the initiative to check you’ve understood them correctly

Tell your story

You don’t need to know everything about climate science to talk about climate change. Your climate change story - how you became engaged in the issue and why it concerns you - is one of the most powerful communication tools available to you.

Action makes it easier (but doesn’t fix it)

Taking some kind of action on climate change can make conversations easier to start - and make it feel less overwhelming. People make decisions about their behaviour partly based on what others they respect and trust are doing, so your actions will influence others. You may still struggle with the size of the problem, and it can help to acknowledge that in your conversation.

Learn from the conversation

See the experience as a way to learn about how others think about climate change, about the topic itself - and about how to have a good conversation. Every climate exchange is a small experiment!

Keep going and keep connected

Every climate change conversation you have is valuable. Keep having them, and find opportunities to connect with the many other like minded people around the world who are also now talking about, and taking action on, climate change.