The holidays are here and we all know how difficult it can be when ‘politicized’ issues arise between family members. While it’s easier to leave these polarizing discussions at the door, if done correctly, positive discourse about climate change can be accomplished. Just ask Katharine Hayhoe, Evangelical Christian, climate scientists, and others such as Richard Cizik and George Marshall, who have worked tirelessly to bring both environmentalists and religious groups together on the issue of creation care and stewardship.
In his recent article, ‘How to Talk About Climate Change at Thanksgiving: Recipes for Good Conversations’, Aaron Huertas addresses talking points for the family and how to steer conversation in a positive tone. With growing environmental concern over Thanksgiving, issues of climate change are bound to arise. So it’s better to be prepared for them in advance as to steer talks in a positive manner, while still respecting everyone’s religious and political beliefs.
My mother’s family is politically diverse. And opinionated. As my grandmother tells it, the last time she and my grandfather voted for the same president was Eisenhower. Like a lot of families, our discussions around the holidays can veer into national issues and politics. Sometimes those discussions are enlightening, but they can also devolve into arguments.
Some people love it; others dread it, but make no mistake: Thanksgiving is as American as apple pie and it’s one of the few chances we have to come together as families.
I know many families ban political discussions around the dinner table. While that’s not how I grew up, I understand why people want to avoid raised voices and hurt feelings, especially while they’re digging into stuffing. Unfortunately, many people would consider a discussion about climate change political, too. That sentiment can create a spiral of silence, according to George Marshall, who wrote a masterful guide to how we talk about climate change.
So if you care about climate issues, should you march into Thanksgiving dinner with some graphs, charts, and talking points? I sure hope not. For one thing, those aren’t edible (except pie charts, which are delicious). But even if you’re not trying to talk about climate change, it can and does come up.