Climate change “is a problem for everyone and everything,” says Kathryn Hayhoe, a noted climate scientist at Texas Tech University. To make it clear, we need to communicate in a different way about facts and solutions. “It’s not about the head, it’s about the heart.”
As a climatologist in conservative West Texas, Hayhoe found himself in a lion’s den. But through her church, neighborhood associations, and social media, she’s actually gotten into a conversation with people who aren’t concerned with the climate crisis or who deny science.
in her book Hope on Earth Hayhoe writes that the gap between climate skeptics and climate activists — and everything in between — can only be bridged by talking to each other.
We need to talk not only about how climate change is actually affecting and affecting our lives, but also about the solutions that exist to prevent the worst consequences of global warming.
You write that it doesn’t help to keep pouring out scientific facts about climate change on people who don’t believe in it. That must have been a painful idea for the world.
“Very painful. We scientists believe the facts will set us free. People take the right steps based on the facts. But 50 years ago we’ve been telling people the facts and in those 50 years we produced 70 percent of our carbon dioxide emissions. So we have to communicate differently. We have to We understand that it is not about the head, but about the heart.”
We especially need to talk about the consequences of climate change on our lives, Hayhoe writes in her book. It’s not so much about melting ice caps or the fate of people on the other side of the world, but about how it affects our hobbies, work, or immediate living environment. About the consequences of an exacerbation of drought for farmers or the consequences of warmer winters for enthusiastic skiers.
“Climate change affects our health, the safety of our living environment, the air we breathe and the water we drink. It affects every aspect of our lives.”
How can individual conversations lead to the massive changes needed to combat climate change?
“I often hear from people that the time to talk is over: it is time to act. My response to that is: How can people act together without communicating? Show me examples of major changes that have occurred without people communicating with each other. None of them “.
“See how our society has changed in the past. Until the end of apartheid, how did women gain the right to vote, in the civil rights movement in the United States. How did these changes happen?”
“Not because the prime minister or the president or the king or the CEO of a big corporation decided that apartheid had to end. They came because ordinary people who didn’t have much power or fame, but with the courage to follow their conscience demanded change.”
In the age of social media, it’s often all about bubbles: the people around us actually agree with us. How do you reach people who think differently about climate change?
I often hear it: “Everyone around me is really worried.” Yes, of course! Even in the United States, 70% of people are concerned about climate change, 86% of young people globally are concerned, the difference is that rarely anyone is actively involved in climate change, in the United States it is only 8%. . If it continues like this, we will never solve the problem. “
“So why do we need to talk? It is usually to show what we can do about it. We are all part of something bigger: a school or a university, a sailing club or a group of people walking the dog together. But also for an entire country. And if we use our voices to advocate for change We can make a difference.”
“Let’s say you start a conversation about wasting energy at work and we manage to reduce energy consumption by 15 percent. Or you talk to the canteen about reducing food waste or introducing climate-friendly products. Then you make a big change.”
Your book is called Hope on Earth And you stress the importance of the message of hope. But if you check out the latest climate reports, you will come across a lot of bad news. How do you stay optimistic?
“When everything is going well, you don’t need to hope. It is important to realize that hope means things are getting worse now and are likely to get worse. But hope is about the chance of a better future, however small and uncertain it may be.”
“And that is possible. Because if we stop using fossil fuels, we also end up with ten million deaths a year from air pollution. Then we provide more affordable energy to the whole world, not just rich countries. We reduce food waste and make sure there is enough for everyone.” We can tackle many of the world’s problems with climate solutions.”
“Hope then is that little chance of a better future, a little light at the end of the dark tunnel we’re in right now. We have to fight as hard as we can because we know something better awaits us.”
“That’s why we need hope, but realistic, rational hope. It starts with saying that climate change is real. It’s dangerous. It really affects us today. But we can still prevent the worst consequences. I know that, because I know that company and look at the scenarios.” The future. And I know it depends on us in which of the different scenarios we end up. Our choices determine the future.”
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