We believe that engaging in climate conversations with our friends and neighbors will raise much needed awareness about climate change and create a wave of support for smart changes in policies that will reduce CO2 emissions. Also, discussing our individual actions such as walking, biking, using mass transit or carpooling, line-drying laundry, using energy efficient light bulbs, eating less meat, etc., gives us an opportunity to learn best practices from each other while challenging us to do more in our communities. All of these steps add up to making a BIG impact for ensuring a livable planet for our children and future generations.
But how do we begin this important conversation, especially when it seems that many of our acquaintances are in deep denial? Here are some of the best resources we have found to help with communicating the urgent message of climate change, starting with the definition of climate change denial:
Climate change denial: According to Wikipedia, climate change denial is a set of organized attempts to downplay, deny or dismiss the scientific consensus on the extent of global warming, its significance, and its connection to human behavior, especially for commercial or ideological reasons. Typically, these attempts take the rhetorical form of legitimate scientific debate, while not adhering to the actual principles of that debate. Climate change denial has been associated with the energy lobby, industry advocates and free market think tanks, often in the United States.
Yale Project on Climate Change Communication – Bridging Science + Society
On this site, you will find a Bill Moyers & Company interview (45 minutes) with Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, on Ending the Silence of Climate Change which details the best way to respectfully engage with people with varying beliefs on the issue of climate change.
- Global Warming’s Six Americas in May 2011 – The Six Americas study reveals the attitudes and level of concern on the issue of climate change in the U.S. From the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication
This Cheat Sheet Will Make You Win Every Climate Argument – By James West, Climate Desk
The Climate Reality Project introduces Reality Drop, an new online tool built to spread truth and destroy denial around climate change.
SkepticalScience.com: The quintessential resource for “Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation”
“Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to improve their understanding. Yet this isn’t what happens with climate change denial. Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that purports to refute global warming.” SkepticalScience.com contains basic, intermediate and advanced explanations for 174 common climate myths as well as many other resources including a slideshow for myth debunking for educators and science communicators and a free App for iphone and android phones providing easy access to organized global warming skeptic arguments.
- Revealing study: For Psychology Research, Climate Denial is the Gift that Keeps on Giving – SkepticalScience.com
Climate Denial Crock of the Week – Peter Sinclair
The name of Peter Sinclair’s blog reveals its aim to provide an educational and fact based counterpoint to popular climate misconceptions in the media today. He accomplishes much more than that by providing well produced videos, media clips, the latest news and science about what is happening in the climate today. Examples follow.
- Study Links Tobacco, Tea Party, Climate Denial,… and Fox News – ClimateCrocks.com
- Donor’s Trust: ATM for Climate Denial – ClimateCrocks.com
- New Research Links Climate Change to Extremes – ClimateCrocks.com
ClimateDenial.org: George Marshall – How to talk to a climate change denier (dissenter)
In this 20 minute video, George Marshall gives us six useful strategies for talking to people who do not accept climate science. He tells us how to avoid a debate about the data and content of the science, and concentrate instead on addressing the values and emotions from which people construct their beliefs. The strategies are: finding common ground; expressing respect; clearly holding your views; explaining the personal journey that led to your own understanding; speaking to people’s worldview and values, and finally offering rewards that speak to those values.
More insightful resources
- It’s Cold and my Car is Buried in Snow. Is Global Warming Really Happening? – Union of Concerned Scientists
- Powerful Climate Change Infographics – Learnstuff
- How to talk to a climate skeptic: responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming – Grist.org
- Conspiracy Theorists Fear Loss of Control: Open, Honest Dialogue Helps Facilitate Civil Discourse – Sustainable City Network