Are you a bit nervous about talking about climate to friends and workmates, especially to those who seem to be doubtful, worried or disengaged?
Climate for Change (C4C) have been pioneering an award winning conversation format that really works. We met at The Marwal Centre in Balwyn North on Wednesday 26th May, and listened to Michael McEvoy and C4C’s trained facilitators, who talked us through this gentle conversation format where we can gain confidence in talking about climate with people we know.
Lighter Footprints founder, Carolyn Ingvarson, and Alison Wright, who spoke to us of her journey in becoming more active on climate, have offered to support members and guests who would like become involved in attending or volunteering. Carolyn is happy to be contacted on 0411 115 186, and you are welcome to ring Alison on 0427 340 503 to find out more about being involved in climate conversations.
A number of Lighter Footprints members have recently attended or hosted C4C’s Climate Conversations, and found the experience engaging and accessible. Lighter Footprints Co-convenor Lynn Frankes found the experience a “good fit”, similar to going to her local book club, and thinks that it will be a natural and comfortable way to increase our reach in the local area. “We have to be in it, to win it”, she says speaking on the very urgent task of increasing awareness of climate action, and gathering people to work together to build alliances with local government and speak to MPs.
Climate for Change Conversation Guide
Climate for Change has produced a high quality conversation guide, that gives pointers on how to approach people at different points on their journey to climate awareness, in a friendly and effective way.
The guide emphasises active listening skills and empathy to help us grow our ability in creating the authentic connections that will support a person in making positive steps towards climate action and advocacy.
Climate Conversations are a tool for careful listening to our community as well as increasing local awareness
Mick Nolan, Lighter Footprints Co-convenor, is excited that we are emerging from “the Covid hibernation. Things are changing – Joe Biden is a breath of fresh air.” Mick is looking to States like Victoria, Sth Aust and NSW “who are cranking up stronger climate action. Our kids don’t want to work on yesterday’s polluting industries. They want to work in the industries that improve the world.” Mick sees Climate Conversations as a positive tool not just to increase awareness and confidence, but also learn more about what local people are thinking. “We need to have fresh conversations, and find out how to talk in a positive sense with respect for all. Climate for Change is a forum to bring people together to re-connect and re-start new conversations. I’m looking forward to it.”
The Climate Conversations format is a tested model, where people are invited to a neighbour’s or friend’s house, and are guided by a trained facilitator in approaching the topic of climate damage, the solutions we have, and how to overcome the barriers we face. Climate for Change’s research shows that these conversations are effective in reaching out to people who are new to the climate movement – 58% of attendees had not been previously involved with environment organisations, 77% were influenced to positively change at least one behaviour, and 86% felt more empowered to take action on climate change.
Carolyn Ingvarson, Lighter Footprints founder, was impressed. “I would encourage people to join these conversations to meet others who share climate concerns, but don’t really know exactly what to do about it.” Climate for Change has a good record of encouraging attendees in following up with accessible actions, like working from home with the very effective group Market Forces who have had major successes in shifting global capital and insurance away from fossil fuels, or in linking with local climate groups like Lighter Footprints. Carolyn and Alison Wright will be supporting those of us who will moving forward with our local climate conversations.
You can check out the Facebook Album of the event here, and listen to MikeMcEvoy and our facilitators speak on Facebook Live here. Mike starts speaking about two minutes in, following an introduction by our Co-Convenor Lynn Frankes.