Yarra Council recently approached us to run a webinar on 'Climate Conversations' together with the Australian Conservation Foundation. Here are the tips Carly, one of our volunteer facilitators, shared with the attendees on how to talk to family, friends and passers-by about the climate emergency.
Like many other local councils around Australia, Yarra Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2017, and since then they’ve been committed to urgent action. Part of this has been offering a range of events and training to empower and educate the community.
So when they decided to host a ‘Climate Conversations’ webinar, naturally they approached Climate for Change, because that’s what we do! This webinar in June 2020 focused on how to talk to family, friends and passers-by about the climate emergency, and as a Climate for Change volunteer facilitator since 2017, and I was thrilled to be involved and lend my perspective.
The webinar started with a discussion about the why of conversations about the climate emergency - the role and power of conversation in creating effective, sustained and positive change. Tessa Fluence from the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and Angela Rutter from Common Cause shared their vast experience and knowledge.
For the second part, I joined Joel Marlan-Tribe from ACF in presenting the how – practical, step-by-step techniques and tips to having a conversation about the climate emergency. Here are some of our conversation tips:
- The importance of being present and authentic: making a genuine connection, being willing to be vulnerable and open about what you’re unsure about.
- Asking questions and listening carefully: trying to understand people’s genuine concerns and doubts, finding common ground between each other, and asking rather than making assumptions.
- Speaking from personal experience: sharing your story of caring and taking action, connecting the dots between your experience and systemic issues.
- Invite people to get more involved and deepen their understanding of the issue: sharing resources with others, sharing what you do (or want to do) to take action and asking if they’ll join you.
And here are some ideas I shared about where + how we can start conversations about climate change:
- Incidental conversations: having a one-on-one with friends or family, in the workplace, on social media, on public transport, or in the park on your daily walk!
- Intentional conversations: hosting a Climate for Change conversation, movie night, book club, or starting your own MP Engagement group
- Public conversations: getting involved in a local group like Friends of the Earth or an ACF Community Group, where you might do things like run market stalls, door-knocking or calling parties
For me, facilitating Climate for Change conversations in people’s lounge-rooms and public conversations within the local community has been one of the most effective ways I can take action on climate change. I intend to continue this important work and keep looking for new ways to engage with my friends, family, passers-by and the wider community on how we can all step up and demand the change that is needed to address this global crisis.
I’m grateful for initiatives like this webinar from Yarra Council that aim to empower and inspire everyone to jump in and have a go!