Jeff Masters Weather Blog

How to normalize the climate conversation » Yale Climate Connections


Advice on how to communicate about climate change — to children, to skeptics, to elected officials, and to audiences of nonscientists — is plentiful. And it’s widely understood that talking about this crisis is key.

Yet it can still feel hard to discuss this subject with the people we know best — that is, not to “give a talk” but to chat casually or have an informal but substantive conversation. Bringing up the subject at a dinner table is still likely to stop the conversation cold — or worse, to unleash a storm of frustration and anxiety that few are equipped to deal with. Many of us could use some help with how to truly normalize talking about climate — to make it not a fraught but an ordinary, maybe even productive, topic.

Here are a few especially good resources that offer such help. 

The situation:

Why don’t people talk about climate change?” Madison Mills interviews New Yorkers. Bloomberg, short video.

If climate change threatens us all, shouldn’t everyone be talking about it?” Tony Dokoupil and Katharine Hayhoe talk with people in Dallas. CBS News, short video.

Who is most likely to talk about climate change?” Multiple authors, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.*

Practical advice:

How to talk about climate change: Ask questions.” Sara Peach and Jennifer Marlon, Yale Climate Connections. Two knowledgeable people (one now the editor-in-chief of this site) put their heads together — along with colleagues — to produce this straightforward and friendly advice. 

Seeking ‘common ground’ in climate change dialogues.” Karin Kirk, Yale Climate Connections. Part of an interesting series of experiments in bringing two people together to talk.

Talking climate handbook — how to have a climate change conversation.” A website and excellent downloadable manual from the Climate Outreach program. 

How to have a climate conversation.” Talk Climate Change, a project and website from the Oxford University School of Geography and the Environment. Don’t skip the inspiring advice page. Here is a readable academic article about this student-led project.

Climate change is scary. This therapist says lean into those feelings.” Ariella Cook-Shonkoff, Grist. A psychological look at why we’re often reluctant to talk about this but will feel better if we do — along with some tips that broaden the picture.

How to speak with your family and friends about environmental issues” Laura Thomas-Walters, Viktoria Cologna, Emel de Lange, Joshua Ettinger and Matthew Selinske, Yale Climate Connections. Experts present a simple guide for how to get started.

For more:

The no-longer-active climate communication webpage, 100 Views of Climate Change, offers older but still useful resources.

*Editor’s note: The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication is the publisher of this site.





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