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It can he hard to find the right words to talk with eachother about the climate crisis.
I laid myself down on the exercise mat and closed my eyes.
I was early for the class — it’s a popular one and you need to get there handy to bagsy a good spot.
It was nice just to have a few minutes, as others arrived, set themselves up and chatted about this and that.
The instructor arrived.
“So, tell me, how many times did you all have to drive around the car park to find a space?”
Cue lots of chatter about how ridiculous it is in the car park.
I stayed quiet.
I stayed quiet because I’d walked.
I walk or cycle there, probably nine times out of ten.
I just kept my eyes closed and waited for the class to start.
So why didn’t I say anything?
Why couldn’t I think of some clever comment, that might at the same time make people smile, and think?
Maybe consider, occasionally at least, not driving to the gym.
Or at least realise that not everyone drives to the gym.
Or perhaps not moan when just about everyone else has driven to the gym too and are therefore taking up all the parking spaces.
Why am I telling this story?
Because it’s often hard to find the words, and it’s often hard to find the right time, to challenge eachother about the things we do and the things we think.
The gym is the place I go to forget about everything else. I don’t want to get into conversations about this stuff there. I doubt many other people do too.
And if I’m honest, I don’t want people thinking I’m that weird bloke who bangs on about cycling and stuff when actually it’s not possible for me to cycle or walk to the gym for this good reason and that good reason and who does he think he is anyway.
But we need to have these conversations, somehow.
Probably not two minutes before an exercise class when people are a bit wound up because they’ve been driving around the car park for ten minutes.
We need to find the right language. We need to find the times when people are receptive. We need to build relationships, and create environments, which mean we can have these conversations. Conversations that involve listening and understanding — including me understanding the good reasons why, for example, people often choose to drive.
But if I’ve learnt anything over the years, there’s never a perfect time to have these conversations. There’s always a reason to put things off. To not say anything.
Maybe next time, we tell ourselves.
Except the problem is that when it comes to questions relating to the climate emergency, we’re running out of next times.
So how do we have conversations about difficult things, with people who may not be immediately receptive to what we’ve got to say?
I originally shared a version of this post on LinkedIn