Sea ice is a complex and vitally important part of the Arctic ecosystem––and one of the most ethereal parts of our planet. But as climate warming heats up the Arctic, the sea ice that polar bears rely on is melting, with critical impacts that extend well beyond the bears to our own backyards.
The threat of climate warming is something we all have in common. Each of us reacts differently to this challenge––some may experience denial or numbing. Others may feel anger or despair.
Talking about it is the first step to acknowledging our shared challenge, making room to imagine other possibilities, and sparking the will to act.
Here are a few tips for having these important conversations:
Ditch the facts. Focus on what you share. Beginning with shared values offers natural openings for talking about climate warming. Instead of bombarding people with facts, try grounding these conversations in what connects you to the other person––whether it’s skiing, a local extreme weather event, national security, or children and grandchildren. Then connect the dots between what you both care about and a changing climate.
Show respect, for other person’s experiences by actively listening in the conversation. Ask questions and talk about their concerns. Interacting from a place of mutual respect will help you maintain a more honest and open dialogue.
Don’t pretend to have all the answers. You don’t need to understand complex climate models or all the proposed solutions to talk about the climate crisis in a meaningful way. The point is simply to talk about the issue and share concerns instead of avoiding them. By making climate change an everyday topic, you’ll help normalize caring for the environment and the need to change systems—bringing your friends, family, and community into the conversation.
Talking about climate warming may sound small, but it is incredibly important. If we can’t converse about this shared challenge, we can’t address it. Open conversations about climate warming are critical building blocks toward larger policy solutions, collective action, and a brighter future for all of us.