This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
We’ve all heard about the changes in our climate in the past years. Many people have started to look for ways to go greener in an effort to reverse the effects of climate change and live a more sustainable life. However, some people simply do not understand or know the dangers of the changing climate or simply refuse to understand.
For those who feel passionately about the environment, it can be frustrating to try to convince someone else to make changes in their own life or to look into some of the studies that exist on this topic. It is possible to get people to learn more, but you do have to be patient.
Here are some ways to use persuasion to bring awareness to the reality of climate change in our rapidly growing world.
Be Patient With Them
It can be difficult not to go on a huge rant about something you feel passionate about right off the bat when trying to convince someone of something. However, it’s essential. The majority of people who don’t understand the severity of the climate crisis likely don’t understand that it’s urgent.
They may not understand what you’re saying if you start going into a tirade about carbon zero and net emissions, which are words frequently used by people who already know what they mean.
Use simple language and be patient. Express why it’s important to you and also why they should listen. If they try to argue, tell them you understand their concerns but bring up counterarguments that are backed by hard facts.
Understand Generational Divides
Many people in older generations do not believe in climate change or simply have not seen any “proof” that it exists in their lifetime. They may use their life experience as an argument as to why climate change isn’t a threat.
It’s important for you to understand this response but not to let it deter you. Use examples that they might understand of how the climate is changing today and let them put the pieces together. Express that even though they might not be alive when the climate gets worse, their children and grandchildren will be. Show them why it’s important for them to think of the younger generations.
Start Small and Back Up Your Facts With Real Studies
Start with the basics when you’re explaining how climate change impacts the world. Before discussing this with someone, you should, ideally, have put together as much information as possible from high-ranking sources. Find sources from:
- Online scholarly journals
- Scientific studies
You don’t want to utilize articles or blog posts as sources, as they’re not as credible as the sources compiled by experts. There are tons of sources that can back up your claims when you go to persuade someone.
NASA even has its own government webpage dedicated to the facts and research on climate change as it stands today. Share this with the person who wants to learn more. In the end, remember that you can’t force someone to read studies.
However, if they try to bring up counterarguments, remind them which sources are credible and show them the actual data being collected, as well as the evidence of leaders worldwide meeting at climate conferences to make a change.
Explain How It Affects Them, Even if They Don’t See It
In the end, climate change affects us all. Even if someone is older and won’t be alive during the worst of it, their children likely will be. For younger generations, there is a lot of fear about the future. Many people in generation Z have even opted not to have children out of fear of bringing a life into a world where they won’t survive or will have problems.
Explain that climate change will affect the person by:
- Causing temperatures to rise and more discomfort
- Causing air quality problems, which can cause lung discomfort, breathing difficulty, and more
- Causing fires in many towns, burning down homes
- Causing population increases as people move away from dangerous climate zones
These are all immediate impacts of climate change that we already see, along with more natural disasters.
Use Gentle Urgency
You do want to be gentle when using persuasion to convince someone of something. However, it’s good to use a sense of urgency and explain why you feel so strongly about it. If someone truly doesn’t believe in something, explain why that hurts you and the people in society and why it’s important to you that they try to listen and hear you out.
Be a Good Example
Finally, be a good example of someone who cares about the environment. Although most of the world’s carbon emissions come from large corporations, making changes in your personal life can make changes to the planet. Show the people in your life that you care by:
- Planting a garden
- Using sustainable practices at home
- Riding a bike or walking to work
- Protesting for causes you care about
- Voting for officials that care for the environment
- Trying to limit waste
- Not shopping from corporations that don’t make efforts toward sustainability
- Spreading the word on important climate news
In the end, leading by example and showing people that climate care doesn’t have to be hard can help persuade someone to listen.
Not everyone will hear you out about climate change, and that’s okay. The most important thing you can do is continue to value the conversation in your own life and continue to try to help people make healthy changes for themselves. However, you can only control your own actions, so living a more sustainable life for yourself is a good way to be proactive for the environment.
If you want to learn more about persuasion and similar difficult topics, check out BetterHelp today. They’ve got an excellent site dedicated to advice and techniques, so you feel confident and comfortable in any conversation and learn more about the psychological aspects of how people interact on these topics.