Friday, February 16, 2018

Reclaiming Environmentalism: How I Changed My Mind Without Changing My Values


This post originally featured in The Breakthrough Institute's Winter 2018 Journal.

In hindsight, I don’t blame them for being hostile. I was insufferable. I would come from Boulder, Colorado, with my long, straight hair and peasant skirts to a remote field location in, say, rural Georgia. My job: introduce oil and gas workers to the importance of environmental management practices. After a long flight and drive, I’d walk into a shop smelling of grease and diesel. A skeptical field hand would open a folding table and set up two rows of cold metal chairs. I would set up my projector and laptop and cast images on a white wall, or, if I was lucky, a stand-up projector screen. With all the enthusiasm of an adolescent puppy, I would begin.

Their crossed arms and narrowed eyes stunned me. I was hurt, embarrassed, angry, and self-righteous at the reception I got. If only these people could understand how important this was! They needed to listen to me!

I tried different tactics to soften the atmosphere, some more effective than others. But most importantly, I learned to begin all the sessions with questions. I asked questions, and I listened — about their work, about what was important to them, about what “environmental” meant to them.
By learning the language of these oil and gas workers, by listening to their stories about their work and their lives, I quickly found common ground with them. They cared about their families and their communitiesThey wanted to protect them. They valued clean air, clean water, and proper management of waste. The key was changing the way I communicated.

To read the full essay, visit The Breakthrough Journal.

9 comments:

  1. Hi Tisha
    I came from WUWT..Anthony Watt's blog, and read your sea change of life wrt to fossil fuels, fracking, wind farms etc. Be prepared for something a bit bigger this time, Tisha...."climate change" is crap. There's no such thing as a "greenhouse effect" and no such thing as a "greenhouse gas"...First, note this comment...
    https://sciblogs.co.nz/guestwork/2017/07/19/inaction-climate-change-risks-leaving-future-generations-530-trillion-debt/#comment-262396
    Here's where to start reading in earnest...
    https://sciblogs.co.nz/griffins-gadgets/2017/07/12/climate-sceptic-end-chris-de-freitas-dies/#comment-261280
    Take particular notice of this comment and link amongst my comments....
    http://jennifermarohasy.com/2016/09/13040/#comment-582401
    If ,now, you're still a little uncertain about the lack of any "greenhouse effect", it's summarily encompassed in this comment....
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/11/24/can-a-cold-object-warm-a-hot-object/#comment-2685034
    And finally , for your interest, here's a recent conversation of mine with one of our local political aspirants....
    https://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2018/01/climate-change-just-got-personal.html
    Hoping you can cope with all this, Tisha,..and hope you enjoy the reading.
    Very kind regards,
    Mack.

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  3. i liked your essay but as a scientist who has closely followed the science &brisks from a hotter planet; felt you should have addressed the risks from continued burning of nat gas. either we phase out of burning methane or capture the CO2 and bury it. and we need to stop all methane leaks even if they are less than bio sources. have you read the SHELL OIL scenario "Sky". very informative.

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