Tara focused more on how to talk about climate change by engaging individual and communal value systems. Beginning with an interactive segment discussing why people do not talk about climate change, reasons range from it being too complex, to being too irrelevant to their everyday lives. Thus, we need to study people’s values in different contexts, which you can easily illustrate on a Schwartz Value Map, and begin to see how climate change can be used to appeal to these values. One example would be CO’s Climate Visualization exercise, where participants asked to comment on a variety of pictures, and thus determine what they valued. Once you have these values, its time to grapple with how to talk to people about climate change. Avoiding a ‘doom and gloom’ and a blame approach is a must, along with not overly focusing on facts and figures, the economics of climate change, and distant future scenarios. Instead, the core of good climate change communication is in believing in yourself, the cause you stand for, and that you can make a difference. Through understanding what people care about, and strengthening your own conviction towards climate change, this can help us make effective, convincing arguments about climate change.
The practical activities then involved handling a Schwartz Map and various climate change associated pictures respectively, giving the audience hands on experience in how to visualize and discuss people’s value systems, and how to communicate climate change relative to these understandings. Lastly, the panel concluded with an engaging Q&A session, tackling how to communicate climate change to different extremes of the conservative-liberal spectrum, address data that does suggest a ‘doom and gloom’ climate scenario, protect examples (or annecdotes) against counterexamples, and communicate lifestyle changes, such as becoming vegetarian. Karen and Tara both offered outstanding answers that mainly focused on finding common ground, beginning with small changes – especially for lifestyle changes – and finding the right speaker for the right job.
Just as how climate change affects the entire globe, so does it affect multiple areas of knowledge. Communicating climate change should not simply be restricted to the field of statistics and hard science, but should also touch on what people value in their everyday lives. As Karen mentioned, this involves learning from other people in a multi-directional sharing of climate change information. In addition, Tara’s point on being sincere and genuine not only helps you better connect with and communicate climate change to people, but is refreshing in a world of fake news that misrepresents climate change.