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How Do We Bring About Change?

Scott Bannon Posted by Scott Bannon

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Fighting Against Problems

Fighting Against Problems

We’re all passionate about something, and often passionate about numerous things. Maybe you care most about reversing Global Warming, or want legislation that restricts or bans abortions, or maybe your passion is for getting Nipple Clamps to be socially accepted as fashionable outer-wear.

Whatever the causes may be, there’s probably something that matters deeply enough to you that you would be willing to get involved and be active on some level.

So here is my question, when you are active, involved and participating–are you spending your efforts fighting against the problems you see, or for solutions to them? There is a difference in the two approaches.

I recently wrote a review of The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones, and he touches on this in a much more eloquent way than I ever could when he puts it simply as seeing “issues vs. solutions”.

Issues are often equated to problems and promote thoughts of the  more negative aspects of society which can prompt people to tune out your message while solutions represent hope and the better characteristics of society; all suggesting that the perspective from which you begin and focus your efforts has a direct impact on “if and how” you will gain support and bring about the change you desire.

Working for Solutions

Working for Solutions

When you begin by expending energy fighting against the problems of your cause, rather than working towards the solutions you setup a situation where anyone who thinks or feels even slightly different than yourself is naturally placed on the defensive.

And that forces you to become more aggressive, and ultimately everyone is fighting to win–often silly–semantic debates rather than working to find practical solutions that could be agreeable to all.

I’m guilty of this myself. I’m deeply passionate about Green Technologies. I believe they offer not just a cleaner and safer future, but a far more economically sound future that offers more–and better–jobs for people of all backgrounds; from laborers to CEO’s.

Yet I’ve spent far more time engaging with those who oppose change and want to continue relying on limited and dirty energy than I have spent helping to actually advance Greener solutions.

Because I’m typically positioned firmly against the continued reliance on fossil fuels, I’ve framed much of my activism from that perspective. I’ve wasted time trying to “win the debate” with others who are as deeply rooted in their positions as myself, rather than investing my efforts in helping those willing to listen to understand how shifting to green technologies will benefit them, their communities and our nation on multiple fronts.

Problems or Hope

I don’t think any of us needs to change the topics we believe strongly in (well, maybe those of us supporting Nipple Clamps as acceptable outer-wear), but it sure wouldn’t hurt the cause if some of us spent more time being for solutions from the start and wasted less time and energy being against the problems or our opponent’s positions.

So, what are you passionate about, and are you fighting against the problems or for the solutions?

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Technorati Tags: Activism, debate

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