Climate of Unity
This guide was created in collaboration with Living Room Conversations a collection people across divides – politics, age, gender, race, nationality, and more – through guided conversations, they have proven to build understanding and transform communities.
We all want to live in a healthy environment, yet most of us make compromises to enjoy the beneﬁts of modern society.
And some forms of pollution we have more control over than others. How much inﬂuence do citizens have over the quality of the environment they live in? Is keeping our environment healthy good or bad for the economy? What is our role in protecting the environment?
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Each participant has 1 minute to introduce themselves.
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Climate of Unity (~40 min)
One participant can volunteer to read the paragraph at the top of the web page.
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- How would you describe your relationship with or stewardship of the environment?
- How has nature, open space, and conservation of land been a positive or negative force in your and your friends’ lives?
- Have you made changes to your lifestyle or energy consumption due to your views on climate change? Why or why not?
- Planet Earth is literally our common ground. How have you seen or experienced this “common ground” as a unifying force? A divisive or polarizing force?
- What do you see as the most promising opportunities to leave a healthy environment for future generations?
- Where do you feel the most hope in ﬁnding common ground to care for our planet?
Reflecting on the Conversation
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation?