We Canadians love to talk about the weather. It’s our favourite topic of casual conversation and the most often heard saying is “Have a nice day,” as we part.
Having a conversation about Climate Change, on the other hand seems to be a socially forbidden topic, even among friends. Why is this? Especially in light of the fact that the Climate Emergency is the most pressing issue of our times and it up to us to deal with it if we are to transition into a liveable future. Climate Change is on our doorstep.
We know that conversations about Climate Change can bring up all sorts of emotions like anxiety, frustration, embarrassment and despair. No wonder we want to avoid the topic. It is difficult to know even where to begin so most of us completely avoid it and continue experiencing all the negative feelings.
Yet relief comes only when we face the difficult issues and realize that we are not alone in these concerns and worries. There are many environmental and social justice groups around the world. Transition Cornwall+ is just one of them. But they all depend on individuals stepping up to take action, from the smallest to the largest steps.
According to environmentalist author Paul Hawken, in the research for his book “Blessed Unrest”, he estimates that there are over two million organizations working toward ecological sustainability and social justice. He concludes that this is the largest social movement in all of history!
Although having a constructive conversation with people who don’t agree with us is hard, we can take courage from the fact that the climate crisis is likely on others’ minds and they might welcome sharing thoughts and actions that they are taking. It is well known that sharing our concerns helps to alleviate the negative emotions.
We need hope to inspire us and that begins with a conversation.
One of the most important things you can do about Climate Change is to talk about it.
Our own City of Cornwall’s Environment and Climate Change Committee is planning an initiative that could be a great source of conversations. During Art Walk they had a poster of a bare tree and people were invited to pledge their own climate actions in the form of leaves that they could pinned to the tree. They also some climate change graffiti boards from past years, plus a blank for this event. I hope this local initiative was fun as well as leading to lots of great climate conversations.
For those of us looking for more tips, davidsuzuki.org/climate-conversation-coach offers some online coaching and handy advice, not only for the climate crisis but difficult subjects in general.
Here are a couple of photos taken by Susan Towndrow, of local people talking about the climate crisis – showing that conversations can be anywhere – anytime!
For more information and to join our mailing list: transitioncornwall.com
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