Today was the first day of the Conference of the Youth. It was full of energy and great stories from youth coalitions from around the world. One of the best stories was about the African Youth Initiative for Climate Change Caravan which started in Kenya and travelled all the way to Durban, with concerts and awareness campaigns along the way; they were 150 young people. It was great to see so much passion from our host continent :D
There were a series of youth-led workshops, and the one I liked most from the day was called "Theories of Change". It started out with questions like, "Do you believe humans are selfish or altruistic?" and moved to "Is Climate Change an Opportunity or a Threat?" We moved to the poles of the room and defended why we were there. Hearing the different perspectives was a "mind growing" experience for me. It is a nice change learning from peers, who all have so many ideas to share.
Part of that workshop was prioritizing different tools for social change. They included education, influencing people in power, opposing people in power, social change through personal change, building alternatives, and caretaking (stewardship).
In the small group we were in, we all definitely agreed that Education is the most important tool for social change, and not necessarily in the context of the classroom, just exchange of information and knowledge sharing. From there, alternatives can be formulated. Social change through personal change came next. For my group, we felt that personal change is very slow and depends on personal values and priorities (eg vegetarianism as a choice, but is convincing people to make that lifestyle change? That's very difficult). We all thought that influencing, rather than creating conflict with influential people is the way to go, and that in the end, stewardship and caretaking will happen naturally.
It was a busy day, and we had adventure on the way home... More on that next time ;) My stomach is happily filled with "bunnies" and good curry, and my heart is full with happiness and excitement from new friendships and experiences. Good night! :)
How would you prioritize the following six tools for social change?
education, influencing people in power, opposing people in power, social change through personal change, building alternatives, and caretaking (stewardship).