4 ways to have positive climate conversations 

At a time when we all need to be making bigger efforts to reduce carbon emissions, engaging others in positive conversations about the environment has never been more important. However, these discussions can often be difficult to manage without sounding judgemental or leaving the other person feeling hopeless.  

We wanted to share some thoughts on how to approach those sometimes challenging discussions, especially on a more personal level with friends, family, and colleagues. Here are 4 ways to have positive climate conversations: 

1. Strike the right tone  

Change takes time, and not everyone will be immediately receptive to your message. Be patient with those who may not share your sense of urgency or disagree with you on certain issues. Your message won’t get through if you lose your temper, or it feels like you’re lecturing them. Don’t dwell solely on the doom and gloom of climate change, shift the conversation towards actionable solutions. 

When people feel encouraged and empowered, they are more likely to engage in proactive behaviours, whether it’s reducing their carbon footprint, supporting sustainable policies, or advocating for environmental justice. 

France has been replanting forests and now has the same amount as 1600!

2. Meet them where they are  

Approach the conversation with an open mind and a willingness to listen to the other person’s perspective. If you have been thinking about sustainability for a while, you are likely more open to making big changes than someone who is new to it.  

Don’t expect everyone else to be ready to give up meat, stop flying and get an electric car on day one. The journey to a more sustainable life is often a gradual one, and that is why Giki Zero is made up of hundreds of climate steps, so there is something to suit everyone.   

71% globally expect climate change to have a severe impact on their area over the next ten years

3. Show what’s in it for them   

Help the other person understand how addressing climate change can benefit them personally. Whether it’s saving money on energy bills, improving air quality for better health, saving green spaces in your local area, or creating job opportunities in the green economy, demonstrating the tangible benefits of sustainability can make the issue more relatable and compelling.   

The deeper your knowledge on climate change and how it’s affecting people, animals and nature around the world, the easier it will be for you to have these conversations.  

In 2023 the cost of solar and wind power was half that of coal and gas

4. Inspire others with what you’re doing    

Demonstrate your commitment to sustainability through your own lifestyle choices and behaviours. Whether it’s biking to work, composting kitchen scraps, cooking a plant-based meal, or advocating for green initiatives, leading by example can inspire others to follow suit.  

Talking about what you’re doing normalises it, gives others inspiration of what to try, and shows how easy it can be. We are all much more likely to try something new if it is recommended by a friend.     

Some suggestions include: 

Conversation Starters

    DO SAY 

    • I feel like I have to do something because…  
    • It’s not always easy when I… 
    • We don’t agree on this but… 
    • I find that really hard as well… 
    • I did not always think this. It really changed for me when… 

    DON’T SAY 

    • You should be doing… 
    • Don’t you care about… 
    • You need to change what you’re doing… 
    • Our future is a disaster… 
    • Stop doing… 

    If you’re struggling to convince those around you, don’t despair, you could join a local sustainability group or club to find like-minded individuals. But don’t give up, by approaching difficult climate conversations with empathy, patience, and a focus on solutions, we can effectively engage others in the fight against climate change. Together, we can make a difference, one conversation at a time.