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IF Offers Discussion Guide on Climate Change

The next round of UN climate talks began this week in Lima, Peru, and as global leaders debate how to avert the worst effects of climate change, our communities also need to be having conversations about this pressing topic. We learned from our members at the 2014 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation that D&D practitioners want more resources that will help them have real and productive conversations on this difficult topic.

Lucky for us, the Interactivity Foundation (or IF) – one of the wonderful sponsors of our conference – recently created a resource for exactly that. Based on three years of online discussions with international input on climate change and the lessons learned from their signature Project Discussions on the subject, IF produced a report on the discussions called “Human Impact on Climate Change: Opportunities & Challenges.” The report serves as a discussion guide designed to use non-ideological language that helps participants to separate potential policy directions from partisan agendas and arguments over science, and to explore possibilities for how they or their communities might respond.

The easy-to-use, 40-page guide frames the possibilities that discussion participants can consider in two categories. The first, “Setting the Stage”, focuses on immediately impact awareness and action, and the second, “Meeting the Continuing Climate Challenge”, is focused on the more complicated, long-term approaches needed to impact infrastructure and natural systems.

Here is how the report has framed six different possibilities for participants to discuss:

Possibilities for Setting the Stage

A. Promote Climate Awareness – Improve understanding of climate impact, climate science, and possible approaches.
B. Change Consumer Habits – Focus on human consumption as a source of carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.
C. Go for Results – Identify efficient and low-cost solutions that are available for short-term action.

Possibilities for Meeting the Continuing Climate Challenge

D. Heal the Planet – Plan and implement long-range recovery and rehabilitation of ecosystems.
E. Deal With a Different World – Adapt to changed conditions and plan for climate emergencies.
F. Focus on the Developing World – Assist developing nations in reducing climate impact activities and adopting clean technologies.

The guide expounds on all six of these frames as starting points for in-depth conversation and deliberation, and offers example policy suggestions grounded in all six frames for participants to explore. It also includes a great list of additional resources to help facilitate further conversations at the end.

With the wide range of perspectives and the depth of feelings that the general public has about the topic of climate change, this kind of resource can be an indispensable tool to help those of us seeking to have effective deliberations on the topic that can move our communities forward without descending into divisive and counterproductive arguments. We highly encourage you to take a look at IF’s “Human Impact on Climate Change: Opportunities & Challenges” discussion report and use it to you help you host these vital conversations.

To help these conversations be more inclusive and accesible, IF has made a PDF of the report available in both English and Spanish, and you can also view it online. You can go directly to the report summary page by clicking here, and there is even a Facebook discussion group based on the report. We hope that this great resource will help you start your communities, organizations, or institutions have better discussions about this challenging issue.

To learn more about the Interactivity Foundation and its innovative work, visit www.interactivityfoundation.org. Thanks so much to IF for creating this amazing resource!

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Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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