Between the flame wars and the echo chamber
We’ve all had scarring (non)conversations with people who hold very ‘contrary’ views on climate change. Also, unchallenging ones with our own tribe. Flame wars vs echo chamber? Perhaps there’s a Map of Temperaments as to which type we each enjoy most in different company; but, more importantly, I like this handy guide from Karin Kirk at Yale Climate Connections, on a ‘spectrum of persuadability’ of those pushing back on climate change.
Three groups – ‘informed but idle’, ‘uninformed’, ‘misinformed’ – inhabit the less dogmatic end of the spectrum, most open to genuine conversations. “Give-and-take exchanges can make better headway when they simply skip the flame wars and serve as a sharing of views between peers. ‘Activating and empowering these groups is one of the most productive things we can do to achieve social momentum on climate change,'” she quotes a colleague. And while some people deliberately spread misinformation, “others may have unwittingly latched onto information that is simply incorrect. An easy way to tell the difference is to open the dialog with a question.”
Start from where others are, rather than where you are, and your conversation will be more interesting. And might get you both somewhere non-echoey, less inflamed.