Discussing climate change is complex. Oftentimes, we’re bogged down by the terminology, or the mixed messages we see in the media, or through our experiences that make discussing climate change unapproachable. Terms like global warming and even sustainability have confusing definitions. Unusual weather conditions like this year’s unseasonably wet summer doesn’t necessarily imply climate change, but the nuance of a changing climate is unpredictability like this.

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As a sustainability writer for South Portland’s Sustainability Department, my goal is to effectively convey the meaning of climate change, the impact our community can expect to experience, and to support education and introspection at the community level.

I consider the importance of climate change communication in every aspect of content creation, but even so, communicating anthropogenic or human-influenced climate change can be contentious … and downright difficult.

Not Just a climate crisis, but a crisis of communication

Climate change is already impacting lives across our community, and it has the potential to change our way of life across Maine’s coastline. Beyond physical impacts are the emotional burdens of a changing planet and how we collectively heal ourselves and the planet, stems back to effective, accessible communication.

Do you want to learn how to talk to your friends and neighbors to discuss the ways that our community can be better prepared for the impacts of climate change? I sure do.


Coffee & Climate: How to Talk About Sustainability

Join us Friday, Oct. 13 from 9 to 10 a.m. for this month’s Coffee & Climate: How to Talk About Sustainability. John Hagan from Our Climate Common is joining us to teach strategies for effective communication when it comes to talking with neighbors, friends, and colleagues about climate change and sustainability. Learn tips to better navigate meaningful conversations and engage more people in climate action.

Grab a cup of coffee and join us online to learn effective communication skills and more. Sign up for the Zoom get-together at https://portlandmaine-gov.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIocu2hqj8vGNaD2NWj35piKvt2ycIRbln_.

Our Sustainable City is a recurring column in the Sentry intended to provide residents with news and information about sustainability initiatives in South Portland. Follow the Sustainability Office on Instagram @soposustainability.

Steve Genovese is an AmeriCorps/Greater Portland Council of Governments Resilience Corps fellow serving in the South Portland Sustainability Office through September 2023. He can be reached at sgenovese@southportland.org.

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