This article is designed to inform you of essential facts, prompt you to reassess certain behaviours and empower you to be part of the solution.
Why do we need to talk about climate change?
Because the climate and ecological emergency is the greatest threat our species has ever faced. If we do not take action commensurate to the scale of this crisis now, then the future of life on Earth as we know it will end within most of our lifetimes.
Despite this clear and proven threat, we still aren’t talking about it nearly enough. This means we’re not acting. The climate and ecological emergency should be front page news every day, and yet it is mentioned on television less than beer, dogs and tea. So, we all have a role to play in driving it up the agenda.
How to get be an educator
- Get informed. There is a wealth of science and information out there to get informed. Make sure the information is from a reputable source (see our guides below) and soak it up.
- Don’t seek to debate. When you speak to people about the emergency, don’t get dragged into debates on minutia. Everything needs to change, from energy to transport to consumerism to politics. Getting into an argument on the carbon emissions of wind turbines is irrelevant when there are millions of actions across the planet that need to happen.
- Highlight the urgency. This is an emergency. If we are not alarmed we are not paying attention. And we don’t have time to not pay attention. When you’re faced with an emergency, you act. Don’t dampen down this issue when speaking about it.
- Talk in the present. Climate change is here. Many equatorial, tropical and island nations are already in the throes of climate and ecological breakdown. Even for temperate nations, 2050 is far too late. We need to act now. Right now.
- Get emotional. It is not enough to be informed. We have to really feel what is happening. Only once we feel the threat ahead of us will we understand it and feel empowered to act.
- Hope, not optimism. Governments are flaying. Companies are delaying. People are ignoring. We are all facing extinction. There is little to be optimistic about. But there is still hope. We have the solutions to solve this crisis and the people to do it, so hope still flickers in the darkness.
- You don’t have to be an expert. As Greta Thunberg said, “people say I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can solve the climate crisis. But we already have all the facts and solutions.” You don’t have to be an expert but you do need to be involved. Learn the fundamentals and then drive the conversation.
Top tip. Don’t waste your time debating or trying to convince climate change deniers. The time for debate is over. You don’t need to waste your time convincing people who won’t be convinced. Focus on those who are engaged but haven’t acted yet
For some reason, many cultures and societies have made it uncomfortable and difficult to talk about climate change properly.
We also struggle as individuals because the issues are so big and the results so catastrophic that we struggle to understand it. It’s easier to put our heads in the sands. But we mustn’t. We must talk about this as though our lives depend on it.
Be part of the solution and help educate people on what they need to solve the greatest threat we have ever faced.
Non-arguments and how to counter them
We strongly recommend against debating with climate change deniers. Not only is it a waste of time and energy, but there is no positive outcome. They are not looking for intelligent conversation, but only to spout untruths and misconceptions.
However, some people you speak to may have genuine or nagging questions in the back of their mind that you could help to dispel. Here are some of the most common questions about the validity of urgent climate action and how to quickly, truthfully counter them.
In all arguments, tune in to people’s emotions. Remind them that this isn’t really about polar bears and whales. This is about their survival and the survival of their children and grandchildren. That this is our only planet, we cannot escape it, that we rely on it and are utterly connected to it. That the globe, including them, is facing a mass starvation and extinction event.
“Climate change is natural“
Yes, the climate has changed a lot over the course of Earth’s 4.5 billion year history. But what we’re experiencing today is different to anything that has happened before. The rate of change is currently 50 times faster than the most rapid previous events in history. This is because humans are burning fossil fuels and releasing CO2 and methane into the atmosphere. End of story.
“It’s far in the future and won’t affect me“
Climate change is already here and is causing mass destruction. Equatorial, tropical and island nations are being devastated by the changing climate right now. So, it just hasn’t massively impacted their individual life yet. Remind them that 97% of scientists around the world agree we have until 2030 to stem the tide. If they talk about the 2050 deadlines and the fact they won’t be here anymore, ask them how old their children or grandchildren will be then.
“If the planet is warming, why is it so cold outside“
Because there is a difference between weather and climate. Climate is a general, seasonal structure of temperature and precipitation whereas weather is localised pockets of change. Not everywhere is going to get hotter. Western Europe will likely get wetter and colder as ice melt from Greenland slows down and disrupts the Atlantic drift.