Fall 2019

30 REAL-LEADERS.COM / FALL 2019 TO GET PEOPLE TO GO GREEN, NEVER START WITH CLIMATE CHANGE Howdo youpersuade people to tackle climate change? Not talking about it — at least at first — might be the way to go. In an increasingly polarized world, where many people stick firmly to beliefs rooted in their politics, presenting new facts and scientific evidence rarely changes minds, says George Marshall, an expert on the psychology of climate change with Oxford-based Climate Outreach, a think tank that aims to boost public engagement on climate change. Around the world, more powerful hurricanes, together with worsening droughts, floods, and wildfires, are claiming lives and causing hundreds of billions of dollars in losses each year. But those realities are doing little to drive action on a problem that remains far down the worry list for most people, if it makes the list at all. “The biggest problem is that the majority of people do not think or talk about climate change,” Marshall notes at a recent meeting in Oxford, England, on improving communication about climate change, particularly with faith communities. So how do you get people to think about — and react to — climate threats? Research done with faith groups offers some insights, Marshall says. Interacting constructively with anyone on climate change has to begin by finding common ground, from concern about their children’s future to a gut feeling that wasting things is wrong. Religion makes that task easier. “Faith is something we have in common that can bridge political divides,” Marshall says. Most people of faith — conservative or liberal, right- or left-wing — believe in loving and caring for one another, feeling gratitude for what they have, living moderately, avoiding greed and waste, and taking collective responsibility By Laurie Goering YOUR FAITH, BELIEF SYSTEM, AND VALUES, CAN CREATE MASSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE WHEN SMALL IMPROVEMENTS TO A PRACTICE OR ATTITUDE ARE MULTIPLIED BY BILLIONS OF FOLLOWERS. SOCIAL IMPACT