Talking about climate change

One of the most important things you can do about climate change is to talk about it.

You can talk to your peers, family members, children and loved ones about climate change in ways experts, scientists and environmental organizations can’t. You are more likely to open the minds of people who you have a trusting relationship with.

But it can be daunting to talk to people who may not share your perspective on climate change. Here are a few resources to help.

Alliance for Climate Education

The Secret to Talking about Climate Change

Katharine Hayhoe | Climate Scientist

The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it.


13 Misconceptions About Global Warming

The 5-step conversation technique

Backed by social and political psychology, here is a conversation technique to try following when you are next having a difficult conversation:

Climate Change conversation cycle
Climate chnge conversation cycle key

The climate action toolkit

Make climate change relevant, concrete and local

The Climate Council’s Climate Action Toolkit (which is well worth a read in its entirety) recommends talking about the impacts of extreme weather events – record-breaking summers and winters, droughts, severe heatwaves, supercharged storms, and more intense bushfire seasons – as a consequence of climate change that most Australians will understand and connect with.

So next time someone asks you about the weather, why not try turning that into a conversation about climate change? (here’s a quick guide for how to best do that)

If you need to brush up on the facts, check this quick primer. But remember that facts don’t change peoples’ minds, empathy does.

Solutions are desirable, possible and inevitable

The toolkit suggests focusing on solutions that already exist, like rooftop solar and wind, and the many ways they are already benefiting people and industry in Australia.

If you have been implementing changes in your life, tell a story of why and how you have done that.

Making climate solutions as relatable as possible helps people realize that it isn’t so hard and scary to take climate action.

How do you talk to someone who doesn't believe in climate change?

In an inspiring and pragmatic TED talk, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe shows how the key to having a real discussion about climate change is to connect over shared values like family, community and religion – and to prompt people to realize that they already care about a changing climate.

Researchers at Stanford University have reviewed the psychology behind climate change rejection, and suggest four approaches to sway climate deniers and help overcome obstacles to implementing solutions:

  1. Reframe climate solutions as ways to uphold the social system and work toward its stability and longevity
  2. Talk about the purity of the Earth, rather than how we harm or care for it (this will reduce the ideological divide)
  3. Only have conversations about the scientific consensus around climate change with trusted individuals
  4. Encourage people to explicitly discuss their values and stance on climate change prior to engaging with climate information


If you’d like to take your understanding up a notch, check out these organisations who offer training to help members of the public talk about climate change:

You might also like to practice talking about climate change with this fun and simple chatbot.

Common climate myths, and how to address them

Take a look at this comprehensive list of responses to climate myths

Or, you could also send your climate skeptic acquaintance this lighthearted but informative video.


13 Misconceptions About Global Warming