This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Nature Conservancy. All opinions are 100% mine.
DID YOU KNOW that 7 in 10 Americans believe climate change is real, but less than half of us talk about it with friends or family with any consistency?
As someone who loves adventuring in our wild places, I’ve seen first-hand the impact of global warming. Most of my friends know it’s happening, but it’s true — we don’t often talk about it.
I’ve been traveling in Arizona this week. It’s been a solo trip, camping and hiking, but as usual, I met lots of hikers along the trail and had an opportunity to try out my climate change conversation skills.
As longtime readers know, I generally avoid getting political here on SoCalHiker, preferring to focus on our common interests in the outdoors. The beauty of it is, the subject isn’t political.
My favorite tip from the guide? Focusing on an area of shared concern (i.e. the outdoors). I started there and here’s how it went.
Hikers are almost universally friendly. It’s unusual to pass someone on the trail without a neighborly “hello” or “where are you headed?” I tested the waters as I met a couple hiking the Sunset Trail in Picacho Peak State Park.
Joel and Gail were older, and were actually on a blind date. We chatted as we hiked the last two miles back toward the trailhead. They were both avid hikers, so I asked them what changes they’ve seen in the climate over the years.
Turns out, they’d see a lot of change in their lifetime, but foremost were the bigger and more frequent disasters, whether the ever-larger wildfires in California or the destructive hurricanes pounding the coast. I shared that my wife has asthma and how the smoke from the Paradise Fire in California even affected the air quality up in Bend, Oregon.
We agreed that climate change is real, but it also seemed like one of those “bigger than life” problems that Joel and Gail felt powerless over.
The interesting thing that I learned through our conversation? It was that the very act of talking about climate change made all three of think a bit more. How can we respond? What can we do on a personal level to make a difference?
That very mindfulness was a positive step forward.
Check out Let’s Talk Climate from The Nature Conservancy and start your conversation.