Presentation on theme: "A Break from the ‘Doom and Gloom’ Will have your mid-term assignments back to you on the Tuesday after Reading Week; if you haven’t gotten your outline."— Presentation transcript:
A Break from the ‘Doom and Gloom’ Will have your mid-term assignments back to you on the Tuesday after Reading Week; if you haven’t gotten your outline back, I haven’t received it – talk to me!
Geography is looking for volunteers next week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) to talk to Grade 10s about their experience taking Geography courses between 11 and noon in Building 355, Room 211 (the Activity Lounge). Anyone interested? I wasn’t able to find anything out about coastal toxic waste dumps in Oregon. I did find an article on the impacts of wolves on the ecosystem parameters of Yellowstone and, had I had time, I’m sure there’s a lot in the scientific journals one can access through VIU’s Library web site. Since we’re a little ahead of ourselves, I thought we could use the time to discuss something I usually discuss towards the end, but which sometimes gets squeezed out – how we can make social change to build a more sustainable society. First, what are the main barriers to change, and what are your ideas as to what’s most effective?
For institutions: Examples: lobbying (protests, letters to politicians and corporations, on-line petitions), electoral (voting for people who stand – at least in theory – for the right things), and legal work (challenging government decisions in court); policy development (showing governments and corporations that there are alternatives that have worked in other jurisdictions and that can be win/win); influencing public opinion through opinion-makers (celebrities and religious leaders – Suzuki, Bishop Tutu, etc.) and the media, both mainstream and alternative (documentaries, web sites, and capturing injustices on film); direct action – political (such as sit- ins, as at Clayoquot) and lifestyle (modeling a different way of doing things while challenging by-laws and old conventions – front yard gardening/ urban agriculture, selling medicinal marijuana).
For individuals and households: Examples: education (dangers of smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, need to adopt more environmentally-friendly lifestyles, getting kids when they’re young); citizenship (fostering public discussion where people feel an ownership of the final result, as with charrettes and study circles); incentives and disincentives (people are responsive to their pocket books – make bad behaviours more expensive and good behaviours less expensive; the same applies to corporations); alternatives (creating and demonstrating the existence of – e.g. blue boxes for recycling, enhanced transit). It’s also good when you can combine strategies and combine arguments – cycling as environmentally virtuous, but as a boost to health (see TED talks by Jeff Speck and Majora Carter).
If you do decide to get involved in social change work, find a niche that matches your talents and what you enjoy doing: Are you a good organizer? Do you like to do research and come up with alternative policies? Are you a good educator/ communicator? Do you like to document things through text, photos, or film? Do you like to be at the centre of activity and confront authority? Do you want to reform institutions from within? Do you like to create and popularize alternatives?