Why Do You Care About Climate Change? How Making It Personal Can Drive People to Action
Climate change can seem overwhelmingly big and abstract – though people increasingly believe it’s happening, many still feel it’s a distant threat. To be motivated to take action, people need a personal connection with the issue, some moment of illumination that says, “This is important to me, now.” In Grist magazine, David Roberts called it a “Climate Thing,” an intersection between climate change and one’s personal interests that makes the issue real and relevant.
In the video below, Audubon staffers reveal their own “Climate Things” that have inspired them to action. As you might expect, many of them are motivated by bird conservation, but the reasons also include family and a love of spending time in nature. “Climate Things” are as varied and individual as people themselves, and are linked to other aspects of personal identity. A businessperson might be motivated by the risks climate impacts pose to their company, a doctor by the need to protect the health of their patients, and a churchgoer by the responsibility to care for creation. Finding ways to connect with people through their identities and passions is one of the most effective ways to inspire climate action.
David J. Ringer and Lynsy Smithson-Stanley, contributors to Audubon in Action
In a brilliant post on Grist last week— Everybody Needs a Climate Thing—David Roberts put forward a Big Idea. A “Climate Thing,” he wrote, is “that one angle at which climate has intersected with [your] interests and caught [your] attention.”
Climate change in the abstract can be confusing and overwhelming. But our Climate Things make it real because we experience them personally. Climate Things are tangible, and they inspire us to act. For many of us at Audubon, birds are our Climate Thing. We see them lingering farther north in the winter; we see them nesting in new places. Our science shows that nearly half of North America’s bird species are seriously threatened by climate change, and many could go extinct if global warming continues at its current pace. We and our members think that’s unacceptable, and we’re taking action.
We asked a bunch of Audubon staffers to name their #ClimateThing, and here’s what happened:
#ClimateThing from Audubon.org on Vimeo.
Image credit: Audubon