How we can find common ground on climate change

The Big Story


When we cover climate change, and we do cover climate change on this podcast. We get feedback. We get Email. We get responses on social media, and we get reviews, and I'm going to describe for you, the two typical replies. I is probably familiar. It is pessimistic and depressing. We have destroyed the earth with our greed. There's no point in even having children the predictions are catastrophic. And they're getting worse. It's already too late and our leaders don't care and fair enough. Lord knows I do feel that way. Sometimes more often recently. In fact, the second type of response, and this usually comes on social media is either denial or anger this winter was freezing. So how can this be true? Scientists are fudging the data the earth has been warmer than this and cool to gain in the past and any way I didn't cause climate change. Personally. What does the government expect me to pay for? And no, I don't understand that. Response, but I also don't engage within because I have learned that nothing. Good comes of yelling at people about how wrong they are on the internet. So we sat down last week after another set of bad news stories that you may have heard and we asked ourselves not how we should cover the latest round of awful climate news. But if there was a way to discuss this issue that would help us have a better conversation. If we could find a way to focus on the issue that would help those among us who are despairing find some hope and would also offer an olive branch and an invitation to talk to the people who just don't want to believe because honestly right now, not wanting to believe can feel kind of understandable. Today's discussion is our attempt to do that. And today's guest is the perfect person for it. I'm Jordan heath Rawlings. And this is the big story. Catherine Heyhoe is a climate scientist, she's a Canadian who's working as a professor at Texas Tech. And she is the guest editor of this month's edition of Chatelaine magazine. Of all the magazines to guest at it as a climate scientist, why a lifestyle magazine, my favorite thing to do is talk about climate change in places in an outlets where you would never expect it so people think of climate change as this green issue, or this environmental issue or increasingly this political issue, but climate change affects every aspect of our lives. And the choices we make in every aspect of our lives can go a long way towards helping us fix this problem. So in that sense where better to talk about this then in a lifestyle magazine. So give me a sense. And maybe from a broader perspective, but maybe if you have some specific examples of the way lifestyle choices can actually make an impact because we do talk about climate change every few weeks here because it's always a big story now, and one of the things that always comes up is that the little things sometimes feel too small to make a difference and the big things feel impossible that is exactly it. And so if we feel like nothing we do will ever. Ever make a difference. Then why even talk about it because it just gets depressing? Yeah. And so so what is where is there a sweet spot? I guess where you can do some things that won't, you know, won't make you change your lifestyle and move off the grid and start, you know, using one hundred percent recycled everything, but also aren't just insignificant things that actually do make a a measurable difference. Yeah. There. Absolutely. Are so often we have that perception of while, you know, if I really wanted to live in environmentally friendly life. I would move up to the Yukon and go off the grid. But the reality is I live in Toronto Montreal Vancouver or Edmonton. And that's not the way that my life is structured or set up to be. So what can I do interestingly, I think one of the most effective things that every single person can do whether they're a student or somebody who rents so they can't make a lot of changes even in their light bulbs little in their home. Whether we feel like it's really out of our budget to go with something super fancy like plugging car. No matter who you are. And where we. Live the number one most important thing that we can do about this issue is talk about it. Because surveys have showed that hardly anybody actually has a conversation about it. Because maybe we're afraid it might start an argument with uncle Joe or next door neighbor or often, we're just afraid it would be depressing. We don't have anything positive or constructive to say. And so we don't talk about it. And here's the connection if we don't talk about it. Why would we want to do anything about it? And if we don't want to do anything about it. Why would we make changes in our own lives? And why would we encourage others to do so too so talking, but it is really the most important thing. But not the science little details. Rather talking about what we talk about in the Chatelaine issue. How is climate change affecting our lives today in the places where we live if we live in the Maritimes if you live in BC, if we live in the prairies, if we lived in cities, if we live out in the country, if we live up in the Arctic how is it affecting our lives today, first of all as Canadians and then second of all. What are some things that we can do to fix it? And there's a whole range so there's individual lifestyle choices one of the most important things. We can do individually is step on the carbon scales. Google carbon footprint calculator and fill in your life. And it will tell you where the biggest bang for your buck is so for some of us if we live out in the suburbs, and we commute downtown on. We drive ourselves. It might be our commuting. That is actually the biggest part of our footprint for others of us. It's what we eat. If we eat very beef and meat intensive diets to route three times a day that contributes a lot to heat trapping gas emissions for me, the biggest part of my carbon footprint was my flying. Because I live down in Texas all my family's up in Toronto and Ontario. I also travel around to talk to people about climate change. And so I've been investing very heavily the last couple years in trying to transition I'm actually up to about three quarters of my talks to virtual talks online. And then when I do travel somewhere to give talks I make sure I have a bunch of them lined up. I was just in Indiana this past week, and I had seven talks and ate more meetings. That I didn't four days it was a lot of work, but the carpet per print of each individual event was actually quite low. What's the biggest problem that you see when you're trying to convince people that they really need to take this seriously and make those changes in their lifestyle. What do they doubt? Well, we often think that they doubt the science that the idea that somehow science is a matter of opinion, I can decide whether it's real or not. And if you follow the headlines, especially listening to politicians, you would certainly think that's the case because that's a lot of the talking points that they use. I just don't believe that stuff. It's just not real. But when we actually look at polling data across Canada and the US cross North America, we see that actually most people agree climate is changing and most people agree. It will affect plants and animals and future generations and polar bears where the rubber hits the road, though, is almost none of us think it's going to affect us personally. So it's something. That sure I would like to care about it for future generations or people in developing countries. But if it's not gonna affect me in the places where I live my family my community. Why does it matter? So I really do think that the most dangerous myth that the largest number of people have bought into is it doesn't matter to me. And if it ever does get serious or dangerous than somebody else is gonna fix it for us. Tell me a little bit about how you have those conversations with people you're a Canadian climate scientists in Texas, how did those conversations go? Do you meet a lot of climate change resistance? I think we have the stereotype up here. The Texas is deeply conservative. And there are a lot of people there who don't believe in climate change it is. And there are a lot of people who are very suspicious of the science. But today it's gotten to the point where almost anyone can point to some way in which climate is changing around them. Whether it's hurricanes getting stronger with a lot more rainfall associated with them whether it's wildfires burning out of control, greater and greater area record breaking floods or heatwaves people. Point two, something unusual. That's happening today. So today, many more people are curious even down here in Texas, then ten years ago, when we first moved here, I'm getting calls from landowners, and farmers and producers and water managers and people who are traditionally very conservative. But they want information on what's happening. So that's kind of a clue where to begin a conversation. Whether it again is with a family member, a friend colleague neighbor or somebody in our city or area who we want to talk about about making a difference begin the conversation not with something that you most disagree on. But begin the conversation was something that you most agree on. And if you don't know what that would be will then spend some time getting to know that person or that group. I figure out what makes them tick. What do they value? What's important to them? Start the conversation with something that you genuinely share with them. And then connect the dots because we both live in this location because we are both parents because we both are fiscal conservatives who care about. The economy because of who we are. Then actually were we already care about climate change. We just might not realize it because if we are person who cares about the place

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