Opinion: Why you need to talk about climate change at the Christmas dinner table

Baked Turkey. Christmas Dinner. The Christmas Table Is Served Wi

This Christmas make climate change a part of the Christmas dinner table conversations. Photo credit: Timolina via Bigstock.

By Anders Lorenzen

Christmas. It is that time of year again. It is the time of year when you might want to avoid sitting next to a certain family member just because you don’t see eye to eye on certain issues.

For that reason, many would avoid difficult conversations, and instead prefer a discussion about who will win Masterchef? Or who will reach the top of the Premier League after the Christmas period?

This is a year that certainly has had its share of crises, whether you talk about climate change or international politics. And you might, therefore, think that Christmas is for relaxing and avoiding more controversy and stress. So why not stick to safe topics. Most of us, understandably, do not want to enter conflict zones, at least not at Christmas.

But you would be wrong to avoid talking about climate change. Whichever way you look at it, climate change has affected all of us this year. The challenge lies in finding the right way to discuss it.

To deal with the most pressing problem of the 21st century, one thing we certainly can’t afford to do is to pretend that it does not exist.

You may not have experienced some of the many extreme weather events this past year. And if so, you have been lucky. Because in 2018 our fragile planet has been hammered by extreme weather events from North to South and East to West, which have been made much worse by climate change.

Perhaps while you were on holiday, you noticed a huge amount of pollution from plastics or electronics, all produced by fossil fuels which drive climate change.

Or perhaps you were one of those who decided to take action on climate change, and you have been heartened by how awareness has grown in 2018.

From economic stability to the spread of diseases, the consequences of climate change are all around us. The problem is that too many people just do not realise it. Not yet.

From whichever viewpoint, the Christmas dinner table provides a perfect opportunity for discussion.

It is up to you how you conduct those conversations. But remember it is important that you drop the blame game no matter how tempting it would be. Remember everyone’s experience is different. Don’t forget to listen. It is perhaps the most important tool we have and remember to not be constantly needing to express your own opinions.

In general, there are two strands to these discussions. One is to understand our own impacts on the planet and limit it. The other is to understand what is going on around the world. What is the science saying? What are the politicians doing? How is it impacting around the world? How are the solutions playing out and who are developing them? And what can we all do to speed up actions?

Merry Christmas!


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