Moving Past Misconceptions

Moving Past Misconceptions

In every meeting, CCE-trained volunteers seek to learn about the concerns, beliefs, and values of the people they hope to educate about the benefits of climate action. Over the course of thousands of meetings with congressional offices, this view of education as a two-way process has allowed CCE-trained citizens to build respectful relationships and to facilitate collaborations such as the recent Gibson Resolution, which attracted 13 GOP representatives to publicly declare the need for bipartisan climate action.

CCE encourages such learning through protocols such as Moving Past Misconceptions (MPM). MPM was created after CCE’s Field Development Director, Elli Sparks, realized that an elected official still misunderstood basic aspects of a national carbon fee-and-dividend program after several conversations. Rather than confronting the misunderstanding, thus possibly—if unintentionally—creating embarrassment or even resentment, Elli developed a system of active listening to draw out numerous misconceptions. Misconceptions thus serve as a source of follow-up conversations, rather than frustration. MPM training is now a regular feature of our regional and national conferences, and the subject of a weekly support call.

Along with CCE’s respectful and appreciative approach, MPM will further enable volunteers to learn as they educate, helping them to plan future meetings and CCE to improve its communication tools as it builds a nationwide climate constituency.