Thanks to Rosemary Randall and Andy Brown for coming down and introducing carbon conversations to us.
They posed the question of how climate change is so easy to ignore? (Don’t you feel you are talking to a brick wall sometimes?). Their introduction to their handbook ‘In Time for Tomorrow’ offers advice to anyone who feels concerned about man-made climate change but is lost, angry and powerless.
So why do we avoid it? People put up defences to order to deal with their sense of powerlessness, shame, anxiety, and guilt. It may even threaten their identity. We adopt defences of avoidance (‘oh lets talk about something more cheerful), rationalisation (‘well there is not much I can do’), projection(‘well, there is no use as the Chinese are producing so much CO2’), and regression (‘it is up to someone else’). We distort the reality around climate change by believing that technology will save us. ‘Carbon capture and storage is the answer’ even though only 14 plants all at pilot stage are active at the moment – remember this advert from Shell?
We are told that nuclear fusion is only a whisker away when in fact it has been that way for over 40 years. Oh, and if we just put some giant mirrors in space we can reflect the sun’s rays. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2004454/Huge-mirrors-sky-future-tackling-climate-change-claim-scientists.html
So how do you create constructive conversations about climate change that avoid these defences. Probably your most effective conversations were when you had time and space, you listened rather than talked (no lecturing!), you resisted being critical, you were empathetic and you didn’t give lots of facts unless sought. You were creating a safe space.
The idea of carbon conversations is that if you work in groups you are more likely to have effective change. You are sharing the problem, enabling solutions to enact changes in behaviour. When people feel supported they can lower their defences, face difficult truths and take difficult decisions. As trust develops in a Carbon Conversations group people become able to talk more openly about their feelings about climate change and the dilemmas it presents in their lives.
If you are interested in forming a group to deal with your own personal conflicts, your feelings of powerlessness, anger and loss over climate change then please contact me: Vicky Briggs – firstname.lastname@example.org. If we get enough interest we can initiate a Carbon Conversation Group.
In Time for Tomrrow? Rosemary Randall and Andy Brown – You can buy the book at: http://rorandall.org/buy-in-time-for-tomorrow/