Dear Partners in Green,
Communicating your concern for the environment can be tricky and can feel somewhat like a dance. You want to make a point, but you don’t want the other person to feel as though you are stepping on their toes.
And today, in this country, our opinions on Climate Change are based more on our politics than on our knowledge.
In her chapter in “All We Can Save,” Katharine Hayhoe tells of her talk at a Rotary Club in West Texas. She might have begun her presentation with the topic of science, but on her way into the hall, she happened to read a giant banner stating the Four-Way Test, the Rotarian’s ethical guidepost:
“Is it the truth?”
“Is it fair to all concerned?”
“Will it build goodwill and better friendships? ”
“Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
Hayhoe quickly considered:
- Is what we know about Climate Change the truth? Yes, absolutely.
- Is Climate Change fair? Absolutely not.
- Would it build goodwill and be beneficial to address Climate Change? Yes, it would.
So, she decided to forego the lunch and rewrite her talk.
At first, there seemed to be skepticism, but as she continued to speak, she saw faces change and heads nod. And then the local banker had the final word: “I wasn’t too sure about this whole global warming thing, but it passes the Four Way Test!”
I know it will not always be this easy, but if you can find Common Ground, whether one-on-one or in an organization like the Rotary and show respect, you just might persuade skeptics.
It is certainly worth a try; our future depends upon it.
It’s as simple as that.
Thank you for being on this journey.
Wishing peace and health to you and your loved ones, and again, Happy New Year!
Till next time,
* Katharine Anne Scott Hayhoe is a Canadian atmospheric scientist. She is a Paul Whitfield Horn Distinguished Professor and an Endowed Chair in Public Policy and Public Law at the Texas Tech University Department of Political Science. In 2021, Hayhoe joined the Nature Conservancy as Chief Scientist.
Johnson, A. E., & Wilkinson, K. K. 1. (2020). All we can save: truth, courage, and solutions for the climate crisis. First edition. New York, One World.