How to have ‘the climate conversation’ this Christmas

Alexandra shares some tips on ways to approach this sometimes tricky conversation:

For some, Christmas with your extended family and friends can be a hotbed of chardonnay-fuelled friendly banter verging on downright aggressive arguments.

And given that this year we have the added pressure of the vaccine mandate and all that that brings with it, there could be some very interesting/lively Christmas dinners!

There is also the climate conversation. Climate change deniers are getting fewer and fewer, but they are still there. We all still have that Great Uncle Pat who loves to tell you that the climate has always changed, or says something like ‘how can climate change be real when it’s so cold outside’.

And lots of people would really rather just not talk about it, and hope they never have to deal with it in their lifetime.

So here are some ideas of how to talk to these people; which at best will totally convince them that you are right and they will make a New Year’s resolution to join Greenpeace and buy an electric car, or at worst, it might help to avoid a nasty argument and a trip to A&E with a broken nose!

  1. Really listen to them and find out why they think the way they do, then start just planting little seeds that will get them questioning what they believe. You might not convince them at the table, but hopefully later when they have had time to think more about it
  2. Don’t bombard them with the science – lots of scary facts can be overwhelming and often shuts people down (eg. people know how bad smoking is for them but this does not necessarily stop them smoking)
  3. Find something you both enjoy, or a shared value, something they really care about. Maybe their children, grandchildren, beach house or pet – and then talk about how these will be affected if temperatures keep rising
  4. Rather than discussing the negative effects of climate change, try talking about the positive effect reducing it will bring.

And don’t forget to explain how doing positive things for the planet – no matter how small – will make them feel better about themselves, and the problem. And they might be very pleased to hear that it will often also save them money!