One group of people who make our environmental conservation work difficult is that of the global warming skeptics. As you may have read elsewhere in this blog, our work revolves around trying to achieve a target of 40% reduction in greenhouses gases emissions by the year 2020. That is meant, in turn, to reduce global warming. But then, global warming skepticism tends to come up early on in most of the conversations that we have with the people who matter in the society. We thus finding ourselves having to deal with global warming skeptics frequently, while pushing our conservation agenda.
In my experience, what works best when dealing with global warming skeptics is to (genuinely) try to understand their points of view. Then having done so, we try to sell our point of view to them as well, with a disclaimer that they don’t have to accept it: they just have to understand it and take it into consideration. This approach has so far seemed to work well, at least in terms of getting the conversations with the global warming skeptics going.
Thus, in dealing with global warming skeptics, we try to avoid the major mistake that other conservationists make: where they become defensive, and try to portray the global warming skeptics as people who have ‘lost it’. Our approach is different, and we also try to get the global warming skeptics to support our conservation efforts, even if they don’t believe in global warming. That is after getting them to appreciate that even in the absence of the danger of global warming, there is nonetheless the danger of degrading our environment completely. Thus, the things we advocate for, like using more environment-friendly energy sources, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and so on are sensible measures (given where we are environment-wise) — and even in the absence of the danger of global warming.