“I became aware only recently. It’s been 3 years. I wasn’t interested in the subject before, and I thought it was a tree and animal problem, not a human problem,” explains Aline. The two cousins share a common belief that most people suffer from a severe lack of information about climate issues, just as they did a few years ago. Remembering how far we’ve come is fundamental to developing and maintaining empathy.
They also rely on what has affected them to help them choose the most impactful information: “What had affected me personally was the example of the ice age and the fact that there is only a 5-degree difference between that time and today. When I discovered this, I realised that I knew nothing about climate.
Between remaining silent and engaging in endless debates, Ombeline tries to find a balance. She has decided to highlight everything she does to move towards an eco-responsible lifestyle, without taking a directive stance. Seeing her act makes her family question her regularly and wonder about the reasons for these changes.
For Ombeline, this is a more effective technique than being confrontational: “I don’t want to get upset. That would have the opposite effect of what I’m looking to accomplish. So, I take a step back and say to myself that I mustn’t get angry and ruin my life by taking negative remarks to heart. You have to be patient, and it works! Seeds have been sown, and my family is talking about it more and more without me bringing the subject up myself.”
Meals traditionally rich in meat and fish, over-consumption, high use of polluting materials and energy… The Christmas season is difficult for people who care about climate and environmental issues. For Aline, “Christmas with the extended family can be complicated. It’s easier with my parents and brothers, who are a bit more aware. They still eat a little meat, especially because they don’t know how to live otherwise. During lockdown, I suggested several new recipes, and we tried them together. As a result, making a vegetarian meal at Christmas became a challenge!” Cooking vegetarian or vegan recipes and sharing them with loved ones can be a good idea to break stereotypes and show that gourmet alternatives exist.
The question of gifts is also delicate, as Ombeline tells us: “I have 10 nephews and nieces. My godson, for example, loves Spiderman. I try to give him useful gifts like second-hand shoes, but I’m always afraid he’ll think his godmother isn’t much fun because I don’t necessarily give him Spiderman toys. It’s the same for Aline, who has been giving immaterial gifts like show tickets for years.
What’s the next step in making their family more aware of these issues? The two cousins plan to play Climate Fresk with Ombeline’s parents and other relatives!
We are still the same! We just changed our name ;)