6 November 2017

#TalkClimateNow: Having Conversations about Climate Change

Posted by Shane Hanlon

By Caitlyn Camacho

As we approach Thanksgiving and the other end of the year holidays, and we’re spending more time with family and friends, science communicators can take the opportunity to turn the conversation to science. According to a Pew Research study, just one-third of Americans say they get their science news from friends and family members and at lower rates than they discuss general news and politics. Clearly there’s room for improvement.

As science communicators, we can use the opportunity to emphasize the important role science plays in your family members’ and friends’ lives—especially with regard to climate change. A conversation that brings climate change from a global or national context down to a local one can have a much stronger impact on those who may not consider it something they need to act on. In fact, a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that the majority of Americans want climate change policies but are unwilling to pay even $1/month more to lower their emissions.

AGU recently launched an online campaign #TalkClimateNow to encourage scientists and the science-interested public to have constructive conversations with peers, family members, and friends about climate change, the scientific consensus, and how it may impact your community. We know starting a conversation like this offline can be challenging, so we’ve compiled resources to help you. You can use these resources to help frame your conversation, learn how to promote behavior changes, encourage friends or family to watch or listen to the videos and podcasts on the list—anything that gets people talking about how climate change is impacting them directly or how it may in the future.

We want this campaign to go beyond AGU— so far AAAS and the American Psychological Association have joined us and offered their support online—will you join us? You can sign on to our online Thunderclap here to lend your social reach to our cause. Signing on to the Thunderclap platform with your Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr account, allows the platform to post one message to your social media account on a pre-selected date, in our case, 21 November. AGU has provided a suggested message within Thunderclap but you’re free to customize it once you sign up.

Let your followers know why it’s important to have this conversation, share your favorite resources, contact your legislators, or just show your support for building a community that cares about climate change action.

-Caitlyn Camacho is Program Manager, Strategic Communications, at AGU.