Climate change discussions can be approached with more civility if the parties understand the moral reasons for being concerned.
That was the message presented to the Tri-Valley Citizens’ Climate Lobby during their September video by NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. Haidt is the author of “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.”
Those who base their attitudes mainly on moral considerations are more likely to listen if presented with a practical message including data. Morality includes care, fairness and liberty which allows a person to think freely about a subject before politics and religion become a controlling part of the subject, Haidt said.
When approaching an appeal to morally caring about climate change, include a sense of pride about the country’s natural beauty, patriotism and being a guardian toward decreasing the damage to the environment, he said. Doing this within the early parts of a climate conversation should help keep the discussion on a positive basis.
Starting a dialogue based on a carbon tax or changing manufacturing methods will affect the dynamic and encourage negative results, because, Haidt explained, these topics concern control by government and politics. Moral values are no longer being considered.
“The Green New Deal is perfectly crafted to turn off as many conservatives as humanly possible,” he said. “Solution aversion studies revealed that a politician’s evaluation of scientific evidence concerning world temperatures rising was very different depending on whether the implications were politically desirable or not.
“Always find something that the other person is discussing about climate change as being correct. That will put pressure on the person to agree that part of your information is valid. Keeping the conversation friendly can affect and even change viewpoints,” Haidt said.
For more information, join the Tri-Valley Citizens’ Climate Lobby on Facebook.