Climate Conversation Of 3/27/2015

These conversations are designed to permit the NKU community to discuss climate change in a respectful way, and to "prime the pump". We hope that conversations about climate change will continue beyond these "Climate Conversations".

Ground Rules:

Participants agree to abide by the following rules (to be invoked by the moderator, as necessary):

  1. Silence cell phones.
  2. One mic (figuratively speaking — I may use a ball!)
    • only one person speaks at a time
    • no side conversations.
  3. Share the mic (if you've been talking a lot, back off; if you've said nothing, but would like to, ask for the mic).
  4. Ask questions by raising your hand, not by interrupting: the speaker may choose to address questions, or ignore them — it's speaker's choice. But back-and-forth will be only between speaker and questioner — others who wish to join the conversation must raise their hands.
  5. Silent "louder signal" (an "L" when you can't hear). In a large group, the moderator will repeat a question from the audience.
  6. "Three minutes" — one person has the floor for three minutes (or less); then the mic passes to the next person in line.
  7. "Moderator as ref" — the moderator is "the referee", who applies these rules. Anyone who refuses to abide by the rules will be asked to leave: you can get a red card!
  8. Take care of yourself (feel free to get up to go to the bathroom, to get a drink of water, to cool off).

Upcoming Events

Starters (in case we need them)

The conversation

There was a "small crowd" of 8 for this conversation. Thankfully Rhonda showed up with four of her students!

Rosie commented that she's affiliated with a group of educators, some of whom are from South Carolina. Those folks "can't say climate change" either — only it's more in terms of what they can say with their students. Very sad.

A student took the conversation in the direction of the apocalypse: to what extent does what's happening play into that narrative? And, provided it does, what does one do about it?

There were comments about the relationship between this and "ecophobia", and how do we avoid paralysis? We need to be

  • activists, and
  • educators.

One individual expressed incredible frustration with Mitch McConnell, as he goes about trying to promote resistance to EPA policies designed to protect PEOPLE; Mitch is about protecting the COAL INDUSTRY, not his citizens. This inspired a discussion of the economics of denial, and what really motivates people. For example, why is it that people in Appalachia support coal so stridently, when it has killed their ancestors — directly, through a mine collapse or explosion, or indirectly, through black lung or poisoned rivers, wells, and streams — for generations. It's "heritage", and that seems to outweigh the more obvious downsides. Rosie shared with the group the stories of "the company store".

How can we help people become more active? Back to "what I can do that is positive", suggestions included Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. Citizen lobbying was described, and said to be very invigorating! Talking to legislators isn't so bad, and maybe even good. Another group is League of Conservation Voters.

More discussion about how the signal is being lost for the noise. There is so much activity today, so much information flying around, that it's easy to lose track of what's important. Then there's the question of "how do we know what we know?" Whom can we assuredly trust?

Someone suggested that one needs to wake oneself to go out for the info we need.

Rosie made a pitch for skill-building —> environmental education —> action.

Then there was a long discussion about whether teacher education at NKU is doing what it needs to. Some asserted that it's not — that it's only teaching what one should do by showing what one shouldn't do.

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