The BUILDING BRIDGES Discussion Group

The climate crisis is not a science problem. It’s a relationship problem. We know what needs to be done, technically, but we can’t come together as a society to get it done.

We lack the broad societal support for solving the climate crisis. Viewpoints have been hardened by politics. We’re divided by race, geography (rural vs. urban), education level (H.S. vs. college elite), religion, gender, cultural origin, occupation, age, to name a few. We no longer trust or respect one another across these many divides. Interpersonal trust in the U.S. has declined continuously for the past 50 years.

Because of these expanding divisions we can’t combine our skills to solve problems together. This has to change or we will likely never solve the climate problem in time.

We need an antidote to this division and polarization. We begin by learning how to trust and respect each other again. That means having the courage to build bridges and forge relationships of trust with people who are different from us.

The Building Bridges Discussion Group was formed to explore how we can repair our frayed social fabric and get on a path to solve climate change from the bottom up.

The group is comprised of individuals who have experience creating relationships of trust with people or groups that are different in some way. This work takes courage and humility. Courage is required because you have to be open to alternative ways of seeing the world—you have to be open to changing yourself. Humility is required because people who are different know things that we do not and cannot know. Building bridges is not for everyone. It is some of the hardest work that can be done to make the world a better place.

At our first meeting, our group will explore what we have each learned from our own experiences about building bridges. Are there common “principles,” or methods that we have used to do what we do? If so, could we expand a community of bridge-building practice, or create a larger community of bridge-building practitioners who repair our social fabric and start to solve big problems that affect everyone, such as climate change?

Depending on the interest of the group, and the potential for growing a community of bridge-building practitioners, we may continue to meet into 2023.

– Tyler and John

organized by

Relevant Reading and Resources

Haidt, J. 2022. AFTER BABEL: How social media dissolved the mortar of society and made America stupid. The Atlantic. May 2022.  link

Maxmin, C. 2022.  What Democrats Don’t Understand About Rural America. Guest essay, NY Times, May 2, 2022.  link

(more coming…)