A Climate Change Gathering for Family and Friends

Last Sunday I led a gathering on climate change for family and friends. It lasted three hours and ended with a finger food[1] supper.

I remembered Tim Jackins saying something about not waiting to figure out everything before acting—that we get to try things and learn from them. So I decided to try what my mind came up with.[2]

I invited thirteen people, and eight were able to come, including my mom, sister, seventeen-year-old nephew, and partner, and three friends. I said that the goal of the meeting was not to form an action group but to have an opportunity to put attention on climate change and get support to think about it so that we could each move toward meaningful action. I said that if additional collaboration came out of it, that would be fine. I let people know why I was doing it, my thoughts on how to listen well, and my goals for the meeting.

My goals were

1) that each person get support to put attention on climate change and what he or she can and wants to do,

2) that each person come away[3] “bolstered” (lifted up, encouraged) and more hopeful,

3) that each person come away with a next step to take and some information about what others are doing.

I structured the meeting around a series of questions. We answered some of them in the large group and some in pairs. I said that we wouldn’t be discussing the questions but just letting each person think about and answer them with attention.

These were the questions:

  • Why did you come today?
  • What is some way you feel connected to the natural world?
  • What makes you a great climate warrior?
  • What have you heard about climate change?
  • What are your unanswered questions?
  • What concerns, worries, and fears do you have about climate change?
  • What makes you hopeful?
  • What solutions to the climate crisis have you heard about or thought of? What would it take to bring these about?[4]
  • What successes and challenges have you had in thinking about climate change and taking action?
  • What gets in your way of thinking about it and taking action?
  • What things have you already thought of that you would like to try?
  • What communities are you a part of?
  • How would you like to be connected with others in addressing this issue?
  • What strengths do you bring to the climate recovery movement?

(We didn’t have time for all the questions.)

We shared appreciations as we ate the finger food. My friend said that she wanted to meet again, and others agreed. All of them said that having support and hearing from others helped them think about the issue.

Wonderful for me was that my partner backed[5] me beautifully. We cleaned the house, put out flowers, and bought and prepared food. Most wonderfully he listened to me while I thought through the questions and the format. He was clear that we were doing it together and that his role was to back me. He told me afterward that what he needs is a support group of just this kind—family and friends—to think about climate change.

I am pleased and encouraged that I tried something, that it was useful for the people who came, and that they want more.

Cameron Hubbe
Eugene, Oregon, USA
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list
for leaders in the care of the environment 

[1] “Finger food” is food that can be eaten with one’s fingers (without utensils).
[2] “Came up with” means thought of.
[3] “Come away” means leave.
[4] “What would it take to bring these about” means what would it require to make these happen.

[5] “Backed” means supported.


Last modified: 2023-04-15 09:24:12+00