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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Winthrop chapter.

To most of us, it seems as though climate change is so obviously happening, the damage we are doing to the earth has been catching up with us for years. The evidence is all around us with the dramatic changes in extreme weather like ice storms in Texas to the rising ocean levels. It is not so subtle anymore, and yet there is still a large group of individuals who refuse that is something that is happening. I want to share with you how I have in the past discussed climate change with a non-believer. Some things that have worked and some that have not worked.

When talking to individuals who deny the existence of climate change a thing that comes up probably the most is weather. They say things like climate change/global warming is that it is not happening because we had a cool day the other day, or it still snows a lot. That is weather which changes on a day-to-day basis what we really must look at is climate which is the trends of weather over several years. When you look at that data the information supporting climate change is much clearer. You can even pull up this information, so you are able to engage with them visually. Always stick to the facts that you have personally checked and know to be true.

Before engaging in the conversation firstly, as much as possible try to remove your own bias from the conversation. While this is such a huge issue and it’s easy to want to fight because it is a personal topic, it is our Earth, and we want to protect it. If you are going into the initial conversation with a clear mind, you are less likely to get angry or defensive. Try to have the conversation in a neutral space where if it does get heated you are able to take a step back and maybe breath a little if you need to (so not at the dinner table at Thanksgiving).

Body language a very key point of any conversation, but it becomes even more important when you add the type of tension that comes with having this kind of conversation can bring. It can be the difference between someone hearing you out or just completely ignoring what you have to say. Doing things like physically paying attention when they speak, even if what they are saying is something you do not agree with or is just wrong. Doing things like listening and letting them speak and not interrupting. By doing this you create a space where you both can say what you need to. Of course, I know that there are going to be people who behave hostile and aggressive, those are not the kinds of people you should debate with. Calmly withdrawing from the conversation is best in this situation.

Overall, as important as it is to spread knowledge about the topic of climate change, it is even more important to make sure that you are knowledgeable on the topic and that you are in a safe space both physically and in your mental state before engaging in a debate with someone. Also, knowing when someone is actually going to listen to you or when you should step back. This can be a difficult thing to pick up on first but as you discuss with people more and more you will slowly master the art of conversation.  

I am a Junior interior design major with a minor in sustainability. I love hiking, mountain climbing, and traveling. I like folk music and watercolor painting. My dream is to become a sustainable designer for a commercial firm in Charlotte.