Citizen Educators: A fresh way to reach people

Tools and Methods

I expect that you are aware we are at a critical point in humanity’s journey. In response, some say that our task is to

… inspire mainstream commitment to transitioning to a life-affirming culture, rather than continuing on our present course of ecological self-destruction.

In what follows I will show a way to act on this.

We are faced with a ‘wicked problem’ – a situation with many interacting aspects, and no simple solutions. This cartoon sums up our current situation.

We have to change this whole system. I presume that you already know this.

For this to occur, we have to get the general public on board. Not easy. Maybe not possible. But essential. Nothing less will do.

Innovative communication is the key. Perhaps the most radical idea is also the most straightforward one: talk to our friends.Talk to our friends, neighbours, academic, and business colleagues about our existential emergency. Talk to them about the systemic changes necessary to pull out of our ecological nosedive.

Talk to them in a way that moves their thinking from silo thinking to the level of whole system change. Inspire passion for transformative change!

If just a few of us do this, it won’t amount to much. How might we take it to scale?

There are millions of groups that care about environmental and social well-being. The Great Transition Initiative model is to invite as many of them as possible, along with independent thought leaders, to act as citizen-educators.

Catalysing mass commitment to transformational change tells more. This TEDX talk gives a quick overview.

The website provides innovative communication tools, including sample emails, guerrilla marketing tactics and Kitchen Table Conversations.

Kitchen Table Conversations are structured conversations that help people expand their thinking.  They enable people to develop a mental framework for understanding what collectively we need to do in order to pull out of our ecological nosedive.  This is essential, because people’s behaviour is based on their mental frameworks.

At the moment our environmental and messages often reach unprepared minds. Extinction Rebellion and the School Strike for Climate are great at raising the alarm. Kitchen Table Conversations are a natural follow-on. Kitchen Table Conversations position people mentally and emotionally to support leadership for large-scale transformative change.

We can also communicate the goal of transitioning to a life-affirming culture through emails, blogs, and mentioning this collective goal in talks and presentations.

If we all just do our own thing, our communication is fragmented. Aligned towards the common purpose of shifting mainstream consciousness (while still pursuing our individual projects) we can be far more powerful than we ever imagined. Or so I suppose – let’s put it to the test!

So, I urge you to

… critically review the Great Transition Initiative approach, and if it makes sense to you communicate about transitioning to a life-affirming culture with people you know and your wider networks.

Andrew Gaines is a GTI Colleague, author of Evolving a World That Works and founder of the Alliance for Sustainable Wellbeing,  an Australian organization devoted to catalyzing the shift in consciousness necessary to achieve sustainability.

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