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Climate Conversations: Connecting Head, Heart, & Will

 

MNIPL’s “Climate Conversation” program convenes faith communities to host conversations that connect, inspire, and engage their communities in meaningful action on climate change. So far, we’ve facilitated conversations in more than 50 communities with over 1500 people. From these heart and knowledge based conversations we invite the community to consider their faith and their community assets as they fashion a response to climate change that will inspire and nurture the community itself.  MNIPL can continue to support your climate organizing by acting as consultants and strategic facilitators as you create a plan for your community.   

Why Climate Conversations?

Ever wonder how to move forward in effectively and meaningfully engaging your faith community on climate action?  Perhaps there are people already working on this but broader and more passionate participation is needed to be successful?  How can you build a core team of dedicated members taking sustained and powerful action?  Climate Conversations, hosted by MNIPL, are a primary way that faith communities can become sustained actors in the growing interfaith climate movement. 

What are Climate Conversations?

We have created a group climate conversation experience based on all of the best research about how to move past overwhelm and conflict, to empowered, inspired, and hopeful action.  Based on American Psychological Association’s barriers to climate action and the work of psychologist and activist Mary Pipher, Climate conversations experientially draw participants into stories of connection and shared values.  Drawing on that source of resilience and inspiration, we make the connections between the science and the social justice and environmental impacts of climate change.

Through dialogue, the community places this information in the context of their faith and draws on the sense of call and import embedded in these teachings to take action as people of faith.  We learn about concepts of climate action that are both concrete  and impactful and how we can connect our community and individual actions to join the contribute to the larger movement.  The group considers who isn’t in the circle and makes a plan to invite wider participation as we move to the next steps of creating an action plan based on the interests, skills, resources and passions of particular individuals and the faith community as a whole. 

How have Climate conversations worked in other faith communities?

Climate Conversations foster climate champions by breaking the silence around climate change, and helping neutral or passive allies connect climate change to issues that are meaningful to them. Climate Conversations have sparked and sustained climate action in faith communities across the state, you can read more about their stories here.  Climate Conversations have contributed to the creation of MNIPL’s two regional networks, the Arrowhead Regional Network, and the River Prairie Network.

The Science Behind Climate Conversations

The latest poll from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication shows that while most Americans believe climate change is a real and daunting problem, only one in three talk about it, even occasionally.  Research also illustrates that while educating people on climate change is a necessary step, it often does not lead to action.  People are most likely to take action as a result of communicating with family or friends. This disconnect between knowledge and action represents a huge opportunity for faith communities to connect the dots between climate change and the need for moral action. 

How do I know if a Climate Conversation is right for my community?

Climate Conversations have empowered climate action in all kinds of faith communities. Conversations can be designed with the unique ecosystem of your community in mind. Hosting a climate conversation if:

  • Your community has been active on climate change and is looking to take the next step
  • Your community had a green team but it fizzled out
  • Members of your faith community think climate change distracts from their other justice work 
  • Your community is looking for meaningful ways to live out its commitment to care for all of creation 

How to Host a Climate Conversation

Climate Conversations are an organizing tool to unite your community and move forward on powerful action opportunities. To schedule a climate conversation in your community contact MNIPL Outreach Coordinator, Claire Baglien, at [email protected]

What makes Climate Conversations Different?

Conversations happen all the time. Big ones, small ones. Some of them are even about climate change.  The key to this campaign is teaching the use a relational approach to conversations, by connecting climate change to personal values that people are able to articulate. For instance, an argument with someone about the existence of climate change, and how foolish they are to put their head in the sand does not count. Climate conversations are empowering, productive conversations, that shares basic information about the science of climate change, and then moves participants through connection, grief, and leads them into action.