This article is part of a special series from our fall 2019 climate issue on how you can level up your actions against climate change. Visit the full Climate Action Guide here.
One of the most important things you can do to fight climate change is also one of the simplest: Talk about it. Research shows that discussing global warming with family and friends reinforces that the crisis is real and the science unequivocal. And yet, nearly two-thirds of Americans say they rarely or never have those conversations.
Facts alone won’t cut it—to really connect, you need a story with heart. “When you share from your own experience, when you lead with that, it does something different in the conversation,” says Jothsna Harris, community engagement manager with the nonprofit group Climate Generation. “We all are eyewitnesses, and we all have a story to tell.”
Your climate story might involve changes in your backyard, a favorite place that’s threatened, or how you moved from apathy to activism. To find it, carve out time for quiet journaling with these tips in mind:
- Build an emotional connection through shared values like compassion and love of family.
- Focus on a pivotal moment in your relationship to climate change. How did that moment feel, sound, smell?
- Tie it to the big picture with a fact or two, such as how much your town has warmed or how high seas are likely to rise.
Then share your story, starting with those close to you and then work your way out. Consider including your climate story in an op-ed for your local newspaper, or weave it into a meeting with your city councilperson, member of Congress, or other elected official. “The sharing of it does something inside of you,” Harris says. “It feels like, ‘My voice is important and what I have to say does matter.’” (You can find more inspiration or submit your story at climatestories.org.)