17 October 2010

Models for Changing the Conversation

Posted by Admin under: Economy; Energy; Events; Forum; Future; Inspiration; Leadership; Organization; Policy; Sustainability .

We had a very interesting discussion at our first “challenge and strategy” session on October 16. It was a large and energized group that focused on to move the dialog forward around the paper issued through the Institute for Sustainable Enterprise at Fairleigh Dickinson University on “Developing and Implementing a Sustainable Growth Strategy for New Jersey.”

In order to present the paper, I extracted key highlights for a slide presentation (which we also distributed as a handout), and then Rob Benjamin and I invited people to think about how we could go about having a major impact on policy and public discourse in this area. In particular, we asked them to consider

  • Who are the audiences?
  • What data do we need?
  • How do we engineer the change?
  • How do we handle breakdowns?

By way of context, we also discussed:

  • Ways of Managing the Conversation
  • Models of Effective Communication
  • The Language of Policy Discourse
  • The Role of the Institute (ISE) as Catalyst

We then broke into small groups, and asked the groups to report back. Remarkably, the five groups had many common recommendations, and essentially shared the view that it was important to build public awareness and support for a strong advocacy effort to support our policy assessments. Some of the specific ideas included

  • using social media to “go viral”
  • getting ten thousand signatures on the discussion paper
  • visiting state legislators
  • getting local people to be spokespersons at the community level
  • creating a coalition or common meeting ground for environmental, social justice, and community groups to come together around a common agenda for a sustainable future
  • creating a meetup so that we could spawn multiple discussion groups
  • working with service clubs such as Rotary, NJFuture, chambers of commerce, the League of Municipalities, etc.
  • creating a speakers’ bureau
  • creating a Wikipedia page
  • crowdsourcing a logo
  • having a message that is clear, hip, and attractive to young people

While these may seem daunting, there was at least one participant who indicated that he could create and manage such a campaign if we could get funding for it; and several others who volunteered to help with it in various ways.

In the earlier discussion, there was also a concern expressed about restoring faith and trust in government, especially at a local level; the temptation for corruption because individuals are underpaid to manage large budgets; and about the issue of how we measure prosperity and sustainability. Peter Burgess asked, “what are we doing about Value Accounting?” — accounting, that is, that looks at some underlying measure of real value to the community — and this may well be the basis for a follow-on discussion, hosted either by SLF or by the ISE.

In the end, because there were so many new faces, there may have been some commingling between the role of the SLF and that of the ISE, but I believe this is an area of common interest and commitment for us. I invited the participants to assist us in hosting additional events to present the paper, and to dialog about “changing the conversation” in New Jersey, and several agreed to do so. Several also agreed to join SLF as volunteers and members.

If you’re interested in being involved in further discussions and action around the development of a sustainable growth strategy for New Jersey, I invite you to join our email list, come to one of our meetings (or agree to host one and invite us to lead it in your area), or contact us directly. One of the things that the SLF can become is a coalition, a voice, a common meeting-ground for a wide variety of groups and individuals. We have a holistic, “post-partisan” perspective; a transformational model and mission; and a practical, action-oriented vision. Join now by going to Join Us, and stay in touch for more events and programs of interest to those committed to fostering sustainability initiatives in their communities and organizations.

Leave a Reply

Join Our Email List

Subscribe Here for newsletters and occasional emails.

Latest Posts (see more below)

Past Events

Correction: We'll be hosting this year's holiday potluck — "Bringing Solar Power Home for the Holidays" — on Saturday, December 15, 2012 from 4 to 9 p.m. Click here for more details. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, November 17, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Sustainable Neighborhood & Community Conversations (III).
Saturday, October 13, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods and Communities II.
Saturday, September 8, 2012, 10 a.m. Eastern: Transforming Neighborhoods & Communities.
Saturday, June 16, 2012: SLF Potluck June 16: Sustainable Living Communities.
The Sustainable Haiti Conference took place April 23-25, 2012 in Miami.
"Inside Job" Movie Party. Saturday, February 11th, 6:00 PM, Liberty Ridge, The Hills, Bernards Twp, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920.
2nd 'Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti Conference', January 26, 2012, Karibe Convention Center, Petion Ville, Haiti
Dec 11 SLF Potluck: "Bringing Sustainability Home for the Holidays" Basking Ridge, NJ. RSVP to [email protected].
Saturday, July 9, 2011, 4 p.m. Open House Party & Potluck, Saturday, July 9, 4 p.m., Basking Ridge, NJ.
RSVP to [email protected]
Saturday, May 21, 1-4 p.m. EcoCenter Update. At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960.
Saturday, April 16, 1-4 p.m. "Haiti & Us: The Leading Edge of Sustainable Development." At the Morristown EcoCenter, 55 Bank Street, Morristown, NJ 07960. A copy of the update presentation has been posted here.
Saturday, March 19, 1-4 p.m. "Creating the Morristown EcoCenter." Held at 55 Bank Street, Morristown, the site of the proposed EcoCenter.
Saturday, February 19, 1-4 p.m. Monthly meeting, ""A Profound Transformation in Consciousness," Morris County Library, Whippany, NJ. Click here for details.
Saturday, January 15, 1-4 p.m. Putting Idealism into Practice: Tour of Half Moon House. Click here for details.
Saturday, December 18, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "Reinventing Wealth," followed by our annual "Potluck for the Planet" from 4 to 8. Click here for details.
Saturday, November 20, 1-4 p.m. Challenge & Strategy Session: "How Do We Measure Sustainable Value?". Click here for details.
Saturday, October 16, 1-4 p.m. Challenge and Strategy Session: "Toward a Sustainable Growth Strategy for New Jersey".
Download the slide presentation here, and the discussion paper here.

Please note

In addition to joining our email list, you can also register at this site to receive notifications of new articles and add comments, but because of the number of "spam users," we have implemented a screening mechanism to prevent automated registrations. Please contact us if you have any problems with it. Thanks.


Leadership Quotes

"Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That's not the place to become discouraged."
(Thomas A. Edison—thanks to Regan Caton)

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” (G.B. Shaw)

"There is the true joy of life: to be used by a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; to be thoroughly worn out before being thrown on the scrap heap; to be a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that life will not devote itself to making you happy." (G.B. Shaw)

"Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others. It is not an opportunity to satisfy personal greed." (Mwai Kibaki, President of Kenya - thanks to Christine Comaford, Rules for Renegades)