Talk Climate to Me
Project Neutral’s Talk Climate to Me is a fun, free, welcoming, online, team-based climate education experience designed to serve an underserved yet critical audience for climate activation: women. Over seven cohorts, the project engaged 1,300 women in climate literacy; imagining climate-safe futures; developing their sense of agency; and building a supportive community. After completing the course, 75% of participants said they felt confident in talking about climate change with their peers, and 95% reported having taken climate action. Project Neutral, a project on MakeWay’s Shared Platform, saw a gap in the climate conversation and found a way to help women fill it.
Women are a critical, yet underserved segment for climate concern and action. Research shows that women are more worried yet less certain about the facts of climate change, making them an important “moveable” demographic. What’s more, their valuable opinions and ideas are often excluded from community decision making processes, including those concerning climate policy and action. There’s a proven link between women’s leadership and better environmental outcomes––including more protected land areas, stricter climate change policies, and lower carbon footprints but it’s clear that a lot of women, in print, in person and online aren’t speaking out.
All this not-talking became the prompt for Sarah Lazarovic and Project Neutral to start talking! Sarah had been leading a workshop called Talk Climate to Me for women but knew it could be something bigger. Project Neutral, a project on MakeWay’s shared platform, was a small charity developing new climate education and engagement tools for everyday climate leaders. Together they saw that Talk Climate to Me could become a nation-wide phenomenon.
From that came Talk Climate to Me (TCTM) a multi-platform climate awareness program designed for women in Canada. Project Neutral saw a gap in the climate conversation and set out to get it filled in.
Sarah Lazarovic’s preliminary research showed that while women wanted climate information, the topic gets little play in the leading female-focused websites and publications in Canada. Over the course of running large-scale climate campaigns around 2020, Sarah noticed an intriguing thing––women were consistently more responsive to climate messaging, and much more likely to act, often by upwards of 50% more than men being shown the same climate ads.
All this confirmed that there was a need for accessible, women-focused climate literacy tools. Further inspired, Project Neutral set about developing, testing, and honing “Talk Climate to Me” and getting it out there. Powered by Project Neutral, with the support of Environment and Climate Change Canada, the TCTM course consists of four episodes, supplementary sessions, and shareable outreach materials for participants. Each episode ends with concrete calls to action. Participants can further develop their confidence talking about climate change with other participants in breakout sessions. On- ramp materials and resources for women who are starting their climate journey, including introductory videos, topic backgrounders, a website with curated content, authored articles, and opinion editorials, are also provided.
Talk Climate to Me website
The goal is to engage women to engage more women, encouraging women to see and position themselves as climate leaders in the scope of their own lives, families, and communities. The approach, while informative, is light and witty, even modelling possible ways to take what’s learned and start other climate conversations.
Learning how best to do that has been a process. Tweaks to the program were made in response to early input, including efforts to be diverse and inclusive. In developing the course, the Project Neutral team engaged several Indigenous organisations and members of BIPOC communities to review and critique their materials to ensure that their content was inclusive of diverse perspectives. The course featured guest speakers from diverse backgrounds. Reviewers and guests were paid an honorarium for their time.
The success of Talk Climate to Me proves the importance of trusted messengers to bring new people into the bigger climate conversation. As the program evolves, Project Neutral is seeking opportunities to bring diverse facilitators to adapt and deliver the course.
Over seven cohorts, Project Neutral, has engaged 1,300 women in climate literacy; imagining climate-safe futures; developing their sense of agency; and building a supportive community. After Talk Climate to Me, 75% of participants said they felt confident in talking about climate change with their peers, and 95% reported having taken climate action.
These actions include everything from attending their first climate rally, to writing to their local MP, to researching heat pumps for their homes, to creating and sharing climate solutions-themed art, to advocating for change at work, and initiating conversations about solar panels with their condo board.
These are the results of an innovative, responsive, program that is, in the words of one reviewer, “truthfully optimistic.”