For our final session we gathered in the comfortable and homely surrounds of Alona's house to discuss our last topic: how to communicate about climate change to other people. Kalina could not join us but took part via Skype, adding an extra comms twist to the proceedings.
In many ways this was the most important session of all. The question of how to communicate the problem of climate change to sceptics, or people who are apathetic, or paralysed over taking action, is probably the biggest challenge of all. Governments won't take action on climate change until their people demand it, and their people won't demand until they see for themselves that it is an urgent and pressing issue.
We proposed lots of ideas for action to take: recruiting more people to Carbon Conversations groups, organising people in local housing associations, reaching out to faith groups, among others. My personal favourite was the idea of 'Green Nose Day' - an annual day of co-ordinated mass action. Perhaps it's time that Red Nose Day is rebranded....
Plenty of positive ideas came out on how to draw people into these conversations:
• Talking about our individual personal journeys rather than bombarding with facts
• Accepting that we all have our own personal journeys and special interests
• Encouraging people to join Transition Towns because they're fun, social and local.
• Getting together with friends to map our own personal carbon reduction plan
• Reaching faith groups via their religious leaders; talking to student groups; considering what approaches we can use to talk to different interest groups
• Involving famous personalities to help spread the message
• Using fun games and activities to stimulate discussions and get the message out
• How about having a dedicated Climate Change TV channel with positive messages?
Less positive but also important:
• Pointing out links between climate change and violent conflicts in areas where climate change is already having a major impact
• Inviting speakers to talk on Climate Change - ones that will inspire people to act, rather than present gloomy messages that make people feel helpless.
Our conversation continued over a convivial shared meal washed down with homemade wine, rounding off what has been a great experience - exchanging positive ideas with like-minded, positive people. Many thanks go to Ben Cuddon, who facilitated our sessions so skilfully. He knows exactly when to interrupt politely and move on and when to continue talking, while always finishing on time!
So much to think about as we go on the next stage of our carbon reduction journey... but this is not some dreamy ideal for the future. The time for action is now!
Next Carbon Conversation
We are very pleased that Ben is offering another course in early 2016. Full details of time and location are still to be confirmed, but if you wish to express interest or book a place, please email Ben on firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be ten places. £16 for the whole course, with concessions available.
Carbon reduction support group
Some of us who completed the course want to continue meeting to give each other support in taking practical action to reduce our carbon footprint. All welcome to join us. More details in the New Year...