This is part of the Difference Makers, which highlights some of the people working to make Canada a better place in 2022.
Do you have to reduce your quality of life if you want to tackle the climate crisis? What steps can you take at home to cut your carbon footprint? When should you talk to your kids about climate change – and when should you not?
Finding answers to tough questions like these can be intimidating – not to mention discouraging and depressing. Environmental activist Sarah Lazarovic believes that when it comes to climate change, the complexity of the issue presents the ultimate dilemma: When we’re given too many problems to solve, and none of the solutions seem clear or simple, we feel as if we can’t do anything. That’s where her newsletter, Minimum Viable Planet (MVP for short), comes in.
Ms. Lazarovic describes her illustrated newsletter as an attempt to help people fight climate change in simple, “undepressing” ways. Vice-president of marketing at Clean Prosperity, a Canadian organization that advocates for carbon pricing as a solution for climate change, Ms. Lazarovic knows that people respond to relatable, actionable information they can use in their own lives. That’s the type of information they’ll share with others, too.
“I’m a big believer in social contagion,” Ms. Lazarovic says. “But we need to get more people comfortable talking about climate change because our lives are on the line.”
In one issue of the newsletter, she depicts her own life with playful drawings and shares her own lessons about how she talks with her two young children about climate change.
“I try not to talk about the climate crisis too much,” she writes. “Which is why I try to talk less about my emotions and more about what we’re doing.” Instead of dwelling on the guilt or anger she feels about the warming climate, she focuses on how the new heat pump they’ve installed in their home will reduce their overall emissions.
Her advice is accessible, straightforward and sometimes even funny, and she provides a list of resources at the end to help emphasize the “doing” part of her advice.
MVP is one of a number of recent initiatives designed to get Canadians talking more knowledgeably – and comfortably – about climate change. Another one that Ms. Lazarovic supports, Talk Climate to Me, offers virtual workshops designed to equip people who care about climate change with the right tools to have challenging conversations about the issue. The sessions are aimed at women, who statistics indicate are more worried about our warming planet, yet feel less confident talking about the facts.
“So many people care about climate and do not say anything,” Ms. Lazarovic says. “We have to awaken that knowledge, that actually more people care, and one way to do that is to make it socially normative to talk about climate.”
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