These are some of the questions and answers that the ambassadors raised at the training sessions. These answers are just ideas to help you if you are struggling to address concerns. The most important things are:

    • Remember you don’t have to be the expert; and

    • Don’t answer with emotion, stay calm, listen, acknowledge their perspectives and re-direct back to the presentation.

    Feel free to direct people back to the City for more information. They can connect at

    Whataboutism: What about the Carbon tax, pipeline, etc? What about China, India, USA, etc?

    Don’t get distracted; keep the focus in the local action in the community of Vernon – that is what we are trying to achieve.

    Defeatism: Why should I care?

    You can’t tell them why they should care but speak from the heart about why you care, ask them what they love, and why they think they should care? Its not your job to make them care – just share why this is important to you and the City.

    It’s too late, I’m giving up, it’s hopeless.

    It is an overwhelming problem that we don’t have an easy answer for. We have to work together and tackle one piece at a time knowing that this is one of those problems that we will constantly be learning and changing as we address it.

    We are being told there is still time, if we make big changes in the next 11 years.

    Another answer: If everyone gives up we will be in serious trouble. People felt like this during WW2, but in the end, managed to pull together to defeat the dangers they were facing.

    Attack the messenger: • I agree that we should do something about climate change, but I just can’t the way that the pipeline protesters/David Suzuki/any activist is going about it.

    We don’t have to agree with what other people are doing – but that shouldn’t stop us from taking action. Everyone has a different way of getting involved.

    No-one is perfect, but we are doing the best we can. This issue is too important not to do anything because we can’t do everything perfectly. It’s best that we all take some action imperfectly, so let’s keep trying. It’s important to have a variety of things to focus on when tacking climate change, everyone has to find the ones that work for them

    You are a hypocrite, you drive a car

    We are all doing the best we can. Not everyone can go car free or switch to electric but we can still reduce our emissions through carpooling, driving less and being efficient with our trips.

    Conspiracy theories: Climate change isn’t real, it’s a conspiracy, etc

    The science is settled on this. The City understands that climate change is real and accepts it. Now we are focusing on figuring out where to take action.

    If they want to learn more, recommend that they look at the IPCC website or those of other reputable scientific bodies.

    Don’t try to change their mind – move back into focusing on what is happening here in Vernon.

    Accusations of alarmism Climate scientists are just being alarmist, it can’t be that bad.

    Scientists are clear on the serious nature of what we are facing and that we need urgent action. Vernon has accepted these facts and is current figuring out how we can reduce our contributions and get ready for the impacts. Direct the focus back to the presentation.

    George Marshall’s Tips when being questioned about Climate Change

    Do not:

    • Argue the science

    • Put people down or disrespect their views

    • Be defensive and believe you have to prove the science

    • Try to be an expert (or believe you have to be one)

    • Argue that media skeptics are all in the pay of oil companies


    • Recognise their entitlement to their view (as a personal view)

    • Establish scale and importance of consensus (every head of state, every scientific institution in the world). Say ‘it is settled’.

    • Focus the debate on solutions and argue for their merits in all circumstances

    • Use familiar metaphors for areas of created dissent (eg smoking, asbestos)

    • State clearly that you personally believe and that the vast majority of people they know do too (establish social norm).

      Last but not least, we don’t have to convince everyone, so do recognize when it’s time to end the conversation.