Sustainable Seattle was invited to host a table and participate in Journalism that Matters. We came to learn, to change and to affect change from this un-conference for transforming our world through the communication.
Norm Rice spoke to being a green city council member in 1978. As a grad from the School of Communications, he identifies the importance of effective communications. Norm talked about how he once worked to address the issues of how minorities gain access to electronic media and how access to electronic media transforms lives. He said that while he did not find the solution, seeking for it transformed his life. Civic engagement was and is fundamental: Being heard. Can you frame the question to bring out hopes and dreams so we can articulate and work with strategies for moving forward. Do not frame in the negative, Norm cautions us, ask for a transformation in specifics: What does sustainable transportation look like? Gathering people, facilitating meetings, helping people speak and ensuring people listen creates consensus on issues. When organizations- governmental, non-governmental and others partake in active learning after bringing people together to discourse, people step up to the plate, engage in working together to solve a problem. Accountability and political will on the part of policy makers are key to implementing civic engagement. Communicate the aspirations and goals on a civic engagement process- this process is key – it is a long process, and this process is key in success. The civic engagement process is about life and hope – civic engagement is a process by definition. Life, hope and aspirations are the engine that keeps the process alive. When the task is accomplished, the people will remark- “we have done it ourselves.” This is the mark of success.
Chris Jordan came on and asked us to reach into our hearts, to think with our hearts, to speak from the heart. Allow your heart to be broken, and to be broken again. Speak authentically. Take the templates off. Care. This is the key to transforming space, shifting our world. This is the key to reaching the wisdom we all carry, to reaching those big huge goals we are seeking, and feeling so close and yet, like Tantalus, so far. Chris Jordan is a visual artist who uses consumption products to depict and emphasize the amount of waste in the American culture.