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These stylists are using their jobs to talk with clients about an unexpected everyday issue: '[We're] the unpaid therapist'

"We're relationship builders."

A Brush with Climate, climate change

Photo Credit: iStock

In our fast-paced world, we rarely get time just to sit and talk to someone for a while without any distractions. One exception, though, is when we get our hair done. That chunk of time is good for the soul, and some stylists in Australia are using it to do something good for the planet, too. 

A Brush with Climate is a project that trains stylists on how to talk to clients about our planet's changing climate. Paloma Rose Garcia, who owns a salon in Sydney called Paloma, spearheads the climate conversation movement among hairdressers.

According to the Guardian, Garcia is assisted by a climate scientist and a social scientist in these workshops, which have worked with more than 400 hair stylists. In the sessions, hairdressers learn the basics of climate science and even role-play what it's like to have these conversations with their clients.

Hairdressers build relationships with their clients over many years, so people trust their stylists enough to have conversations with them that they may not have with others. 

Jose Bryce Smith founded the environmentally-friendly haircare company O&M and is partnering with Garcia to help grow the project. 

"Some women keep their hairdressers for a long time, and they'll tell them their secrets — they're the unpaid therapist," Smith told The Guardian. "For women, hair is so much a part of our identity, and there's a lot of trust that goes into that. You're letting someone touch your hair, and so you have to like them. That trust allows them to start that conversation."

According to climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, starting conversations is the most important thing we can do to help our changing climate. During a TED talk, Hayhoe said that two-thirds of people in the U.S. say that they never talk about it. 

Hayhoe ended her TED talk by saying, "We can't give into despair. We have to go out and actively look for the hope that we need that will inspire us to act, and that hope begins with a conversation today."

That's precisely what Garcia and others are trying to accomplish with A Brush with Climate. 

"We're relationship builders," Garcia explained to The Guardian. "We suggest some easy ways to introduce climate to the conversation, and the biggest one is definitely the weather. But we encourage all the hairdressers to make it their own story."

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