Rochester Climate Action

These twice a month notes from “Rochester Climate Action” are chocked full of pertinent, concrete actions/advice – very helpful!  To receive them directly, there is a link farther down the note.
Gerry Minerd

Dear Friend/Neighbor/Colleague/etc.,

The purpose of this email is to help busy people in the Greater Rochester Area find opportunities to join the fight against global warming.  These emails are distributed twice per month and include 3-4 actions you can take to help stop climate change.  Read on to learn how you can quickly and easily do your part to protect the planet.
Quick Climate Fact
Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that man-made climate change is occurring, there has been an increase in the proportion of Americans who believe global warming is not happening (23%, up 7 percentage points since April 2013).  Americans are most likely to identify their own friends and family, such as a significant other (27%), son or daughter (21%), or close friend (17%), as the people who could motivate them to take action to reduce global warming. (Yale Project on Climate Change Communication) 
Prepare for Climate Action 
Because people form their opinions about global warming based on what those around them believe, speaking up about the need to limit climate change is a hugely significant action you can take as an individual.  The better prepared you are for these conversations, the more likely they are to go well.  There are many excellent resources on the Internet that can help you combat climate change misinformation and denialism.  Simply googling “how to talk to climate change deniers” will yield tons of information about how to respond to the most common arguments deniers use to cast doubt on the science of climate change.  If you’re interested in learning all the specific counterarguments, go for it, but if that’s not your style, there’s no need to fret.  You can have very effective conversations about climate change, without being a climate expert.  Below are some tips for how to effectively talk about global warming.  Please take a few minutes to read through these tips and mentally rehearse what you might say during a conversation with a climate change doubter or denier.
  • Treat the other person with respect: Be kind and express appreciation for what you admire about your conversation partner.  We all tend to be more open to accepting ideas from people we like, so say things such as, “I appreciate that you’ve given this a lot of thought and are very passionate about the subject.”  Remember that you are communicating not only with the person you’re talking to, but also with everyone who overhears the conversation.  Coming across as a bully is counterproductive.    
  • Avoid arguing: You do not need to prove that you are right and they are wrong, nor must you convince the other person to agree with you.  Instead of saying, “You’re wrong,” which will put your conversation partner on the defensive, say things like, “You’re entitled to own opinion,” and “We can agree to disagree about that.”       
  • Firmly stick to your own views: The science is on your side!  Over 97% of climate experts agree that man-made climate change is occurring and that it will lead to catastrophe if we don’t do something about it.  In addition, all the studies and theories that climate deniers commonly cite have been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked.  So don’t cave in!  Unequivocally state, “This is what I think, and this is why I think it.”                 
  • Find common ground: Mention your shared values and experiences.  Do you both have children or are you members of the same church/organization/political party/etc.?  Do you enjoy similar activities or places that will be affected by climate change?  People pay attention to people they can relate to.  
  • Make it personal: There was a time when you were unconcerned about climate change.  Talk about your personal journey or transition from being a person who didn’t care about global warming to person who does care.  What led you to recognize that climate change is a problem?  Why are you now concerned and taking action?  Talking about this process communicates that changing your mind is nothing to be ashamed of.   
  • Point out the rewards: Few people are motivated by doom and gloom.  Instead of dwelling on all the horrible things that will happen if we don’t stop climate change, focus on the opportunities and rewards that go along with fighting climate change.  These may include hope for the future, the satisfaction of knowing you’ve done your best, the economic benefits of transitioning to a green economy and health benefits of reducing pollution, the opportunity to make friends with people who share your values and build stronger, more resilient communities, the peace of mind that comes from living according to your values and knowing you’re making the world a better place, the pleasure of doing meaningful work, etc.
  • Don’t expect immediate results: Be patient and persevere!                    
The following link leads to a video version of the advice presented above:  It’s somewhat long, so if you don’t have 20 minutes to spare, just watch the sample conversation that starts at minute 17.  It may serve as a good model for your own conversations about climate change.           
Five-Minute Climate Action
Although 400,000 people attended the People’s Climate March in NYC last week and 2646 solidarity events took place in 162 countries around the world, no major network covered the march on their Sunday morning news show, even though the event was literally happening live outside their studios!  This begs the question: What will it take for mainstream media to finally recognize that climate change is a newsworthy topic?  Please let them know that their neglect of climate-change-related stories is unacceptable.
Steps to take:
  • Send an email to any or all of the addresses below, saying something along the lines of “I was disappointed that you did not report on the People’s Climate March during your Sunday morning program on Sept. 21st.  Climate change is the most critical issue of our time and it is irresponsible of the media to ignore this.  Please step up and do your part to educate the public about how climate change endangers us all.  Thank you.”

  • Submit a similar message using ABC This Week’s online comment form:  (To be fair, a panelist on this show made reference to the march while discussing wars in the Middle East.) 

Spread the Word
  1. Forward this email to friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc.  Don’t be shy!  You never know who might be interested in saving the world.  If someone would prefer not to receive these emails from you in the future, they will let you know.  When forwarding this message to multiple people, enter their addresses using the blind carbon copy function (bcc) to protect everyone’s privacy.
  2. Visit, click on “Action Updates,” and use the share buttons to post this newsletter on Facebook and other social media sites.
  3. Become a Rochester Climate Action “frontline contact.”  Frontline contacts receive bimonthly emails directly from us, rather than having to wait for someone else to forward them on.  Frontline contacts who distribute the email to their personal contacts are acting as true leaders in the fight against climate change.  If you’d like to be a frontline contact, simply send an email saying so to [email protected].  
  4. Talk to people about global warming!  Tell them why you are concerned and politely suggest that they should be too.  Again, don’t be shy.  These are important conversations that we should all be having.  
Words of Wisdom from a Local Activist
“I’ve been concerned about global warming since 2006 and have spent lots of time brooding, trying to figure out how to make a difference, and taking action in numerous ways.  It’s hard to know what’s worth doing when the problem is so huge and pervasive.  I am so thankful for Citizens’ Climate Lobby.  I get to work with wonderful people on a very focused goal that would transition our country from carbon-based fossil fuels to renewable energy in less than 10 years, while setting an example for other developed countries.  CCL gives us the tools to make a difference, and gives me the hope I need to keep up the fight.” 
Linda Isaacson Fedele (wife, aunt, social worker, and lover of our beautiful world and all life in it)  
This message was written by Abigail McHugh-Grifa on behalf of  Rochester Climate Action is run by a group of local mothers who are concerned about how climate change will affect their children’s futures.  These mothers are unpaid volunteers and are not affiliated with any “green” businesses.  For more information, including other action opportunities, visit  We welcome your feedback on our work.  Please send comments, questions, suggestions, etc. to [email protected].
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