Our world is changing. Carbon pollution is thickening our atmosphere, and as a result, global temperatures are increasing. While it’s an overwhelming situation, it’s one we can address through mitigation, resiliency efforts, and more. One barrier to action is silence. Due to many factors, climate change is a taboo topic for many people, and in many communities. In a time when people can seem more and more divided, how can we begin having more climate conversations so that we can work together to address this critical issue which is shaping our future? The Climate Conversations across Differences program addresses how to hold difficult conversations across divides in Montana.
Winona Bateman has been facilitating conversations about climate change over the past few years with her organization, Families for a Livable Climate. From the organization’s weekly core team meetings to online public events, she is passionate about climate conversations happening in more spaces, supported by respectful dialogue, curiosity, and a commitment to uphold the relationships in the conversation (so that you may have another conversation), rather than “winning.” Winona believes that storytelling serves as one of the best foundations for meaningful conversations about climate change, especially across differences, opening up vulnerability in the speaker, and sparking shared concern in conversation. These conversations are critical to addressing climate change, because more than any issue of our time, it is at once a problem with clear solutions, and an opportunity for great creativity as to how we implement those solutions