Communicating With Conservatives

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Description
This training demonstrates how solutions-focused climate change communicators can convey their message more effectively to conservative audiences.

This training is also part of the Core Volunteer Training series.
Breadcrumb

/topics/communicating-across-the-aisle

TOC and Guide Section
 
Background

In the “Watch” tab Jim Tolbert, CCL’s Conservative Outreach Director, explains how to discuss climate change policy referring to values that conservatives hold.  To effectively communicate, it is important to consciously project and frame our message our audiences values onto the material being discussed.  

Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory

Jonathan Haidt provides a framework to understand values that conservatives may hold as they evaluate what is an appropriate response to climate change.  Understanding these values can help us create effective messages and engage in a meaningful dialogue.  People who are liberal or progressive tend to rely on two moral values when deciding what is acceptable behavior: 

  • Harm vs. care
  • Fairness vs. cheating

People who are more conservative, typically rely on those two values, but less than more liberal people; and they also bring in a combination of four other values when considering what is acceptable behavior:

  • Loyalty vs. betrayal
  • Authority vs. subversion
  • Purity and sanctity vs. degradation
  • Liberty vs. oppression

When we talk on climate change to conservatives, it is important for us to bring in this broader range of values - and to avoid some common pitfalls that these values can help us understand. Let's briefly review how each of the four values that conservatives tend to prioritize can relate to conversations on climate change:

Loyalty vs. betrayal
Authority vs. subversion
Purity and sanctity vs. degradation
Liberty vs. oppression
  • Frame a carbon price around preserving peoples' choice on how they respond to a price signal.
  • Stress that this path assures that government does not try to pick what the solution is - markets and individuals are much better at creatively evaluating new technology and innovations.
  • The reason people with lower incomes get back more cash in the dividend than they see in increased costs - stress that this is due to the choices people make - people at the lower end of the income scale typically get on air planes less frequently, own smaller houses, and cause less emissions.  
  • Our preferred policy is all about giving people freedom to respond to the price signal and living with their decisions. 
Length
Press play to start the video (35m 59s)
https://vimeo.com/album/5967594
Video Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Intro & Agenda
(from beginning)

Moral Foundations Theory
(2:56)

In-Group Loyalty & Betrayal
(8:53)

Authority vs. Subversion
(15:06)

Purity vs. Sanctity
(17:00)

Conservative Messaging on the Energy Innovation Act
(21:13)

Resources on Community
(33:22)

Instructor(s)
Jim Tolbert
Downloads

Download PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation.

Download the video.
Audio length
Press play to start the audio (35m 59s)
Audio embed code
Audio Outline

To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Intro & Agenda
(from beginning)

Moral Foundations Theory
(2:56)

In-Group Loyalty & Betrayal
(8:53)

Authority vs. Subversion
(15:06)

Purity vs. Sanctity
(17:00)

Conservative Messaging on the Energy Innovation Act
(21:13)

Resources on Community
(33:22)

Instructor(s)
Jim Tolbert
Go Deeper
Discussion Topic
To Print
Instructions for printing this page on Community.
Category
Training
Topics
Communicating with Others
Format
Audio / Video, Presentation
File Type
Google Slides, PowerPoint (.pptx)
Training Resources
Download PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation.

For additional conservative themed outreach resources, check out CCL's Conservative Caucus.

Online links covering Jonathan Haidt’s work:

Examples of solid voices speaking on climate policy and pricing carbon:

Recommended Books on Communication

  • The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. 2012
  • Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen (Harvard Negotiation Project). 2000.
  • ecoAmerica Climate Talking Points