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Broadening Worldviews with Climate Dialogues 

                   What They Are                                   

Inspired by Carbon Conservations in the UK, Rural Climate Dialogues in the USA Midwest, and recent articles in Sierra magazine, we are promoting Climate Dialogues. These are locally organized sessions in which six to eight people, led by a trained facilitator, get together to discuss climate change related concerns / possible solutions and action.  Depending on the participants and the knowledge / skill of the facilitator, the sessions can thought-provoking and comforting / healing. We are setting these up as three ninety minute sessions once a week for three weeks, the last one would be preceded by a shared vegan or vegetarian meal. This is inspired by the fact that a large % (up to 40% ?) of greenhouse gas emissions can be traced (directly or indirectly) to meat-based diets.  Objectives / guidelines follow.
                                                        click here for handouts and other support materials. 

 

Objectives 

1) To educate people as to basic climate science and documented climate change, simplifying and

    bringing the complex, technical aspects “down to earth” as appropriate

 2) To alert people to climate change related problems / potential dangers including local impacts

 3) To educate people as to solutions to these problems, considering them at individual / family,

      community / city, state, regional, and global levels with emphasis on the first two

 4) To get people to take action related to implementing those solutions, including lessons

      from psychology about inspiring such action

 5) To help people deal with the psychological aspects of climate change, including feeling grief / loss,  

      powerlessness, guilt, self-deception, etc, and use the psychology of climate change communication

 6) To bring people w/ different beliefs together for discussion, search for common

      ground, including appreciating the difference between arguing to learn vs. arguing to win

 7)  To deepen individual commitments and develop leaders / climate action activists


 Guidelines

A. Mechanics / Content

i)  Arrive by stated time for beginning of session

ii) Recognize we are engaged in constructive dialogue with objectives (see below) and limited time frame and

     the facilitator’s job is to promote that, and potentially manage conflict, within these guidelines

iii) Recognize when the facilitator is introducing a topic, intervening to give others a chance to talk, get

     discussion back on track, transitioning to another topic, etc., you should politely defer to him or her

iv) Try to not talk too much (ideally all participants who seek it should have roughly equal time to talk)

v)  Speak from your own experience by succinctly sharing knowledge / stories as appropriate

vi) Avoid doing harm by spreading misinformation—if you speak with some uncertainty let us know

vii) Recognize that the best stories involving climate change actions or solutions (perhaps energy saving or

      renewable energy use related) are those relevant to our here and now and/or with positive outcomes

viii) Recognize that we prefer to celebrate “small victories” / accomplishments rather than focus on failures

ix)  While maintaining grounding in reality, try to adopt a “we can make it happen” attitude and avoid cynicism

B.  Interpersonal

i) Treat others with respect 

ii) Try to be sensitive to the importance others attach to what they share, discomfort they express, etc

iii) If you must error, try to do so on the side of humility rather than arrogance

iv) Try to avoid giving unsolicited advice 

v) Avoid criticizing others while allowing for critical consideration of information, ideas and beliefs

vi) If you find yourself arguing, try to argue to “learn / promote learning” rather then “win / humiliate”

 vii) Avoid being judgmental, pointing fingers, assigning blaming, making people feel guilty