Thursday, May 25, 2017

Vox explains how to talk to conservatives about renewable energy

Just yesterday, I showed my students the video that formed the core of Seeker/DNews on when and why environmentalism became a partisan issue.  As far as I can tell, it made the point I wanted, that the environment had once been a bipartisan issue and could be again.  Last month, Vox posted a video on a related theme, I’m a Tea Party conservative. Here’s how to win over Republicans on renewable energy.

Activist Debbie Dooley has some choice words for individuals who believe that fossil fuels have no impact on the environment. “If you think fossil fuel is not damaging the environment,” she says, “pull your car in a garage, start up your engine, and inhale the exhaust fumes for a few minutes and see what happens.”

You could be forgiven for suspecting that Dooley might be a Democrat. According to a Gallup poll conducted last year, 85 percent of Democrats believe humans are contributing to increases in global temperature. But she’s not. Dooley is a conservative, gun-owning Trump supporter who also happens to be a co-founder of the Tea Party.

Dooley runs Conservatives for Energy Freedom, where she advocates for the expansion of renewable energy and for cuts to government regulations she believes hinder that growth. Through her efforts, she has even won over unlikely allies such as Al Gore.

The problem, according to Dooley, when speaking of her fellow conservatives, is that “they've been brainwashed for decades into believing we're not damaging the environment.” As a result, Dooley speaks with her fellow conservatives about renewable energy in a political language conservatives respect, using phrases like energy freedom, energy choice, and national security.

According to Dooley, when speaking to conservatives in these terms, “you have a receptive audience and they will listen to you. If you lead off with climate change, they're not going to pay a bit of attention to anything else you say.”
I'm perfectly amenable to using "energy freedom, energy choice, and national security" as well as competition and innovation as selling points for renewable energy.  I would have been using those long before I had ever heard about climate change (but not the greenhouse effect; I heard about that in the late 1960s).

That's not the only appearance of Dooley in a Vox video about climate and the environment.  She appears about four and one-half minutes into Scientists really aren’t the best champions of climate science, which was posted yesterday.

Facts and data alone won’t inspire people to take action in the fight against global warming. So what will?
This isn't just a way to talk to conservatives, but to anyone who isn't convinced by science.  This makes the advice in this video useful to all kinds of environmental advocates.  Handy!

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