A holiday heat wave is brewing from the Gulf Coast to the Mid-Atlantic as Americans get ready for barbeques and fireworks. With parts of the country facing triple-digit temperatures, extreme weather is likely to be a topic of conversation at many 4th of July gatherings.
For those concerned about climate change and wanting action, this could provide an opportunity to open up a climate conversation. How to do so without causing an argument or being the last person anyone wants to talk to at the celebration requires some thought. Tips from Climate Access can get you started.
Look for opportunities to link discussions about the weather to climate change.
Getting pulled into a debate about climate science is not a recipe for 4th of July fun. If human-caused climate change is being challenged, pivot the conversation and keep it personal.
“Look, I don’t want to spend our time together arguing about climate change or science. What I care about is making sure we are prepared to deal with the heat waves, floods and fires we are experiencing. I don’t want to see any of us at risk. I think we can agree on that.”
Bring a sense of solvability to the challenge by emphasizing the transition to low-carbon and resilient communities and economies is possible and underway.
“What excites me is that reducing these risks can help address other issues our country is facing. Do things such as improving infrastructure; flood, heat and fire-proofing homes and businesses; and shifting to clean, renewable energy and more efficient ways using of energy creates economic opportunities and jobs, promotes health and security, and makes our communities better places to live. It won’t be easy to take these steps, but it is worth the effort and I think we are up for the task.”
Talk about the importance of becoming free from dependence on the fossil fuel sector. Climate-friendly crowds are ready to discuss how we accelerate the transition, yet this can also work with more skeptical folks by focusing on right-sizing the influence oil, gas and coal companies have politically and economically.
“What I don’t like is how dependent we still are on fossil fuels and how much political influence the sector has. Rather than giving more than $26 billion in taxpayer dollars each year to oil, gas and coal companies, I’d like to see this money invested in preparing for extreme weather and making the shift to renewable, efficient energy options. It just doesn’t make sense to stick on the same path when we have other options.”
Modeling climate-friendly choices can also provide an opening such as throwing a plant-based burger on the grill. Don’t announce the choice, but if asked, be ready to talk about and share what you are cooking up. Mention going meat-free for a meal is one of the easiest ways to make a big contribution to cutting carbon pollution.