Climate advocacy can be a powerful tool to spread awareness and spur action in our current environment. However, often we lack humility, faith in humanity, and love in the way we convey, reflect, and express our opinions. Climate advocacy is all about engaging in a dialogue that surpasses verbalism and activism. The authentic word comes from humility–understanding, reflecting, and giving everyone a voice, regardless of their background or ideas. So yes, you should come with all your humility and engage in a reflective conversation that sparks action. This way, we can all move forward, regardless of ideologies, background, or upbringing.
Why we should do this:
Many times, when environmentalists get too passionate, their message backfires due to their lack of humility.People begin to challenge those thoughts, making the listener more inclined to try to prove their point. Everything that was just said is confused by strong emotions, sparking a gaslighting effect due to the lack of humility.So how can we use advocacy as a tool for global sustainable changes without it backfiring? Here are three ways of how to engage in a dialogue that incites praxis:
- Before engaging in debate, ask a question rather than imposing a comment. For instance, instead of saying, “You shouldn’t eat meat,” try asking, “How do you feel about eating more plant-based meals?” This way, the tone is more friendly and curious about the other person’s response rather than sounding judgemental and superior.
- If the other person begins to make assumptions or doubtful arguments regarding climate change, question them instead of attacking their views. You can ask them why they came to those conclusions or where they got that information from. This way, you can jump in with more reliable data with a humbler tone.
Have faith in humanity
- If you keep on assuming that people can’t change their minds, you are attracting negative energy that won’t help your cause at all. Your advocacy will only work if you start believing that people are capable of change, and once you feel this, you’ll stop making negative assumptions about other people.
- Once you’ve restored your faith in humanity, you’ll be sure that you are not the only person or part of a minority that wants the best for this planet and its inhabitants.
- If you have faith that a conservative or a conspiracist can change their minds, your conversations with them will be more open to finding common ground under a humble and wishful tone.
Lead by example
- People tend to imitate behaviors they regard as positive, so instead of imposing your views, show how you practice them. This way, you demonstrate that making sustainable changes isn’t impossible, but cool!
- If you are in a heated argument, regulate your voice, listen to what they have to say, and remain calm. Once you give off this vibe, other people will try to mirror your attitude, and before you know it, you will be learning from them as well.