Talking Turkey About Climate

Without starting a food fight

Climate change has become one of those divisive, polarizing issues that confound our political system. It's often hard to even have a civil conversation with folks who disagree, even with close relatives or friends.

But it is clear that the climate crisis has arrived. And the key to solving it is educating those around us.

Chances are your friends and family fall into one of the following six categories:

The way people in each category respond to the climate issue varies. If you want to have an effective conversation, the way you talk about climate with different types of people should adjust accordingly.


Alarmed Aunt Anna & Concerned Grandpa Christopher

They believe the science is real, but may doubt our ability to solve the climate crisis.

Here are a few points that may inspire them to keep up the fight:

Trump Card

Yes, this is challenging. Yes, it will take time to rebuild support for national climate action. But what choice do we have? There is no time to waste, and we need to act now.

Cautious Cousin Charlie, Disengaged Grandma Denise and Doubtful Brother David

These folks probably (and wrongly) believe that there isn't a true consensus on the science of climate change. We know that's not true, but don't go on the attack! They tend to be more open to changing their minds if they are engaged in effective conversation.

Here are some basic facts that they'll find engaging:

Trump Card

You don't have to accept all the science. But, if you had a health condition and 98 out of 100 doctors agreed on the diagnosis, would you base your treatment on the views of the other two?

Dismissive Aunt Debbie

The truth is, there is almost no chance of changing her mind, and it's probably not worth trying unless you like banging your head against a wall. Ironically, research shows that the more facts you try to present, the less likely she will be to agree. However, even Dismissive Aunt Debbie will be open to arguments about stimulating the economy and protecting national security.

Try steering the conversation towards those issues:

Trump Card

Whether climate change is real or not, the benefits of a clean energy economy are undeniable. Not only will we rid ourselves of dangerous pollution that can make us sick and even cause deaths we can finally be energy independent. What's the downside?