Fortunately, the vast majority of people, when exposed to the pro-human, whole-picture framework will recognize its superiority and agree to discuss issues in those terms. That is why this framework works for me—and, even more importantly, why those who are exposed to it report a dramatic increase in their own persuasiveness.
Therefore, it is a great framework for re-educating employees about the impact of their industry—and about how to converse with others about that impact.
The energy education millennials need
A proper energy education needs to seriously and systematically address both the benefits and concerns about fossil fuels. Here is an overview of how to do this, taken directly from a curriculum I have developed and have made available at energyambassador.net.
On the benefits side, a proper energy education needs to explain our life-and-death need for cheap, plentiful, and reliable energy, and the fossil fuel industry’s unique ability to provide that energy on a scale of billions.
On the concerns side, it needs to address the three leading concerns about fossil fuels: catastrophic climate change, catastrophic pollution, and catastrophic depletion.
And it needs to cover all of that while focusing on the impact on human flourishing, giving the whole picture—not just positives, not just negatives, without sloppiness and without vagueness.
Although learning the whole picture of fossil fuels’ impact on human flourishing by itself is incredibly motivating and empowering, there is one more step that makes a huge difference, especially for millennials—learning how to apply their knowledge persuasively in one-on-one conversations.
Based on practicing one-on-one conversations with thousands of people—and teaching thousands of others to do the same—I have concluded that they key to constructive conversations is to frame the conversation in pro-human, whole-picture terms.
While I’m sure there are many ways to do this, here are the essentials of what I have found most effective in teaching constructive conversation, which I call the Constructive Conversation Formula.
- Express eagerness
- Focus on the decision question
Energy employees need—and deserve—a solid education in the moral case for fossil fuels and the art of constructive conversation.
Will “the great crew change” bring in a generation of uniquely conflicted people who are not capable of leading or fighting for an industry that is essential to humanity? Or will it bring in a generation of uniquely educated and morally confident leaders and advocates?
This is a choice that will affect hundreds of companies’ profitability—and their legacy.
Alex Epstein is the author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels and founder of the Center for Industrial Progress – energyambassador.net