We hear about climate change all the time on the news, in magazines, and on debates. When was the last time you had a conversation with a friend about climate change? In my experience, I have found that people either don’t want to talk about it for political reasons, they think it doesn’t really exist, or they are panicked at the idea that it is even happening. Unless you are in Alaska – we see it every year as the glaciers recede farther and farther back. Climate change IS talked about here, especially with tourists, and even more so with those that didn’t believe it was happening. When you can physically show them where a glacier was just 10 years ago compared to now, it makes the topic much easier to talk about. That’s what I want to do – Talk about it.
I have spent quite a bit of time studying nature for years, but even more so since I made the move to Alaska. While in Alaska I have seen many memorable things in nature, including witnessing first-hand glaciers receding. To see climate change happening with your own eyes each year, puts the entire topic front and center. It makes me want to talk about it with others, especially my friends.
There are plenty of ways to bring up the climate change conversation, but not all of them are necessarily how you should do it. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is one of my favorite resources for all things Climate Change, including statistics, articles, and even tips on how to have these types of conversations with loved ones. As a matter-of-fact, right now at TNC, they are offering a free download of their Let’s Talk Climate ebook. All you need to do is enter your name and email and you will be on your way to learning how to start a conversation on climate change – it’s an excellent resource!
Seeing evidence of climate change up close and personal in Alaska has helped me to find tips on how to talk to people more easily on this topic. My most recent conversation with a good friend in the Lower 48 about climate change wasn’t tense or argumentative at all, like how it used to be when we tackled difficult conversations. For the most part, we listened to one another about our thoughts and ideas on the subject. I noticed the importance of this while reading my TNC Let’s Talk Climate guide and it truly did make a difference. It wasn’t one of those conversations where we listened in order to talk, but we listened to actually hear the other person’s perspective and it helped! It’s amazing what we can learn from one another if we pay attention and listen, don’t you think?
Exit Glacier 2005 Sign in Seward, Alaska.
Another thing that I found quite useful was to direct the conversation toward specific locations that we could connect to. For me it was Exit Glacier in Seward, Alaska. I visit this glacier a few times every year and can see the year signs as you near the glacier. I have pictures of when I first came to Alaska in 2014 of where the glacier’s tongue used to be. Let’s just say it has receded quite a bit in just five short years! Climate change becomes more real when it affects a place you love. It is no longer a global issue, but a personal one.