The Best Thing You Can Do To Fight Climate Change
Other than vote, of course
A recent piece of research from the Yale Program on Climate Communication1 sheds light on which kinds of factors predict if global warming will be an important voting priority for registered voters here in the US. There was only one criterion that predicted global warming’s importance in both the absolute and relative scales employed by the study: “discussing global warming with family and friends.”
Talk about it! While a straight line of causation isn’t explicitly laid out, the connection is clear. Talking about global warming and climate change, bringing up interesting news articles, mentioning relevant events, exploring new press releases and research findings, arguing about best policy steps, sharing related media, making it a point of conversation is one of, if not, the strongest tools we have in raising global warming’s importance when it comes to voting. And past one’s own voting, for most of us, there is little one can do to have more influence than having the ability to convince others to vote similarly.
The study has a lot more quite intriguing findings, like the strength of worry as a predictor, so I highly recommend giving it a peruse. Though, I want to focus on this one result because it hits so close to home with how I personally have been going about climate communication. From discussing news events, to sharing books, to making videos, to even this very newsletter, most of my communicative reach has been to those close to me, friends and family. So, while I could use this research as a point of justification that what I’ve been doing has been worthwhile,2 I would rather use it as a reassurance to keep moving forward with this and other projects safe in mind knowing that I can expect some (likelihood of) good coming from it.3
This is also to say to all of you reading this that you can be a part of the fight, too, and without going too far out of your way in your daily life. Obviously, activism for climate action is something I recommend. For example, the Citizens’ Climate Lobby is an accessible volunteer group that pushes for a single, common-sense policy of national carbon pricing. I joined somewhat recently and if any of you are interested in climate advocacy, I think they are a great place to get involved! But maybe you are already part of a group like that. Or maybe you don’t feel you have enough time or energy to be active in this specific cause. That’s more than understandable. But even without the outward volunteering, we can all still promote action and fight back against the change, through simple things that we all do, like talking to our friends and family.
Regardless of our time commitments and engagements and cause-concern-stamina, we all (hopefully) spend time existing and talking with our friends and family. Now, I’m not saying you should co-opt that time for climate lectures. But, I am saying that if, during those times, climate change becomes a topic of discussion, a theme to muse on, then the importance of the issue could rise, for everyone involved. If our daily lives continue as they have been, with the only added difference that climate change gets brought up a few more times, the reality of the situation will be more apparent. We will come closer and closer to collectively realizing the magnitude of the problem and the need for corresponding size in solution.
If you feel so inclined, proselytize the bad news (and the path towards solution) as much as you can. And for anyone running low on inclination, we can all, at least, talk about it.
Oh, and Happy Birthday, Dad!4
And George Mason, Center for Climate Change Communication (these org’s are very often joint in their research and projects)
Which I am sure that I am doing, but hopefully not too much
Are these justification and reassurance really of any difference?
You’ll only see this if you’re reading on the actual site.