5 Things Climate Skeptics Are Dead Right About

Let's start this off by saying that I'm all-in for climate change action. But there are plenty of people who don’t agree with me about climate change and what we should do about it (and I count friends among them). Honestly, this completely baffles me. How can we be so far apart on such an important issue?

Instead of throwing up my hands, I decided to write out the things I'm absolutely, positively sure they are right about. Here's my list:

5 Things That I Completely Agree on With Climate Skeptics

1. Climate science is complicated and scary

2. We're all worried about our job/kids/house

3. We all really hate having the same argument over and over

4. No one likes being told what to do/not to do/can't buy/should think

5. We can and *will* figure it out

This list reminds me that there’s plenty of common ground. From astronomical property taxes to job growth to rebuilding after Sandy, we definitely agree on many of the things that need fixing. It’s the how-to-fix-it part where I get stuck. So the first step for me is to learn how to listen better and understand more about where people are coming from.

That’s why I encourage you to bring your friends to NJPPN’s Feb. 20 event, especially the ones who aren’t sure about climate change or are fed up with it. It’s called America's Future: Communicating with our Neighbors on Climate Change.  It will be a guaranteed friendly, flame-free evening with one of the country's best-informed researchers on why climate change is so incredibly hard to talk about. No judgments, no blaming.

The night will start with small group discussions about climate change conversations run by Climate Nexus. And then we'll hear from Geoffrey Feinberg of Yale University's Project on Climate Change Communication and other panelists. Dr. Feinberg studies the different ways that Americans think and feel about themselves and climate change. There will also be time for your questions and comments.

NJPPN is hosting this event with the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise at Fairleigh Dickinson University. I'm committed to bringing 4 friends who don't feel the same way about climate change and politics that I do. I'm not planning on changing anybody's mind. But I do hope to hear and understand more about what they're thinking and why.

Claire Sommer is an independent sustainability writer based in West Orange. Reach her at claire@kayakmedia.com, @Kayakmediatweets and her blog at kayakmedia.com. She co-wrote NJPPN’s 2013 “Agenda 21 and Your Town” toolkit to help NJ’s municipal leaders deal with anti-sustainable development activists.

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