We need to talk more about climate change. I am consistently surprised by how little people know about the topic. Even people who recognize the problem are surprised to hear how dangerous our situation is. They know about sea-level rise, but not about food system collapse. Others know about the danger, but think our international treaties have things under control. And those who DO know how big the problem is are often despondent because they don’t know about the solutions that already exist. They don’t know that we can build houses without furnaces (!) or absorb some of our emissions through rewilding.
With politicians, I’m honestly not sure if they don’t understand the severity of the problem or if they’re lying to us because they think that’s what we want to hear. Either way, they need to hear from us about this issue much more often.
We need to talk to politicians, but also with friends, neighbours, family members and coworkers. Unfortunately, it’s awkward. Some people don’t feel informed enough to call their representatives. I know I have not communicated with my representatives as often as I should have — and I’m a climate activist! Others don’t like bringing up such an emotional topic with people they have to interact with every day. I definitely talk more freely with people I have identified as friendly audiences. We’re launching the #climateconversation challenge to help people get over the hump! And because we know some people communicate better in writing we are letting you choose if you want to take on a #climatecallchallenge or a #climateletterchallenge.
- Write a message or take a picture of yourself with either the #climatecallchallenge or #climateletter challenge hashtag;
- Post it on social media with a brief explanation of the challenge;
- Commit to making one call or sending one letter for every share you get!;
- Challenge a few friends to do the same.
If you’re worried about the time commitment, you can set a cap (max twenty letters or whatever).
Write your letters or make your calls anytime in December. Or January, we’re not the police.
Of course we recommend you approach the challenge a little differently if you’re contacting politicians or acquaintances.
For politicians, we recommend you communicate
1) the severity of the crisis and
2) Canada’s failure to live up to our own international pledges (https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/canada-climate-action-1.5355517).
And don’t be afraid to let your feelings show through.
With friends, neighbours and coworkers, we recommend you engage with questions and emotions. Tell them how you feel about climate change, tell them what you’re doing in your own life, ask them what they know about the issue. Start with a lot of listening and build the conversation with sensitivity, as though you were talking about a death or an illness. Don’t hide from the emotions that will inevitably emerge — bringing them out in the open will make them feel more manageable.
If you’re sending letters to politicians, print them and mail them instead of emailing. You can send the same or similar letters to different politicians. Postage to Members of Parliament is free. If you’re writing letters to people you know, try writing them by hand — these days it’s so unusual to receive a hand-written letter that you will surely get their attention. You can also write up a letter to neighbours and drop it in all the mailboxes on your block.
If you want to sign-up click here: SIGN UP. Or you can go rogue and post it without even registering (you rebel)!
Now get out there and talk climate! The future depends on it!