This is a challenging situation, and we certainly hear both their cynicism and the importance of a facilitator in a moment like this. Here are some thoughts on this: 

  • It's important to make sure that they know their points are heard and understood, and that these points are valid. Oftentimes, someone who's feeling cynical needs to be supported before feeling like they can take in more information.

  • Use some of the slides we have on hope that show clean energy trends, social movement trends, etc. (Slides 92-96 of the En-ROADS Supplemental Slides, slides 33-38 of the En-ROADS Workshop Slides). If you're speaking to a group from one particular community, you could also compile some more community-specific slides that show some positive trends/outcomes that have occurred.

  • Speak at a global scale and say something along the lines of: "The great thing about this tool/exercise is that we see what's needed to address climate issues at the global scale, and people like you are already working towards it."

  • Level with them and address that the main purpose of this tool/exercise is to educate folks on the dynamics that exist within our climate system and the solutions. More action is needed, and this is one step in the right direction. Action happens at many different levels.

  • If you’re working with a large group and you worry that one person’s cynicism might affect the others’ experience, divert the conversation to something else and let them know that you can continue the discussion separately.

  • The great part about making room for a debrief at the end of your En-ROADS event is that your participants might be able to help with this themselves. For example, we commonly will ask people to identify with whether they feel mad, sad, confused, or glad. Then ask people to share their feelings and end with the people who identified themselves as feeling glad. These people often have some positive outlook on the world that can be helpful for others to hear.