Planting Seeds

Planting Seeds

Planting Seeds: Empowering our Children with Ways to Protect the Environment while Cultivating the Earth

Monday, April 10, 2006

Success, and cynicism

I can't express how pleased I am with how our project has come together. We survived the scheduling problems and time restraints, the search for the perfect classroom- teacher- and school, the logistics of a realistic curriculum. My experience is, I think, similar to those of my partners, in that I was so surprised and impressed by the boys interest in our topics as well as the knowledge they already had. They were smart and articulate, but sometimes rambunctious. Dr. Gilberg, Diane, Amanda and I travelled a little less than an hour to the Park Slope Food Coop where we sent the kids on a scavenger hunt for organic yogurt, natural toilet paper, tofu, etc. They were enthusiastic and happy throughout the day. Now is the time where we look back to see what we could have done better, and what we did well. We are now in the process of working on our final paper to assess these things, as well as others. We are taking the project beyond the present by sending letters home to the boys parents about our project along with a list the boys will write of things they can to to support local and organic agriculture at home.

Regarding the reading, Don't Think of an Elephant, I was immediately turned off by the idea of a book that seemed to me to be completely about rhetoric. Putting out ideas of how can we bloviate in a way that will catch certain people's attention or bring attention to certain issues? That was my inital impression of the book's intentions. But I came to see that it truly is important how "we" or how progressives frame issues and promote or concentrate on certain values. It still annoys me when Lakoff writes so adamantly of "us" and "them" because I feel he ignores the majority of gray area voters and citizens. It is not so black and white, but I can see the use in his framework of getting to the morals of the environmental movement and providing more accessible issues to the public. I started reading the chapter on "the terminator" and right away thought, he better mention Enron. He did soon after I thought this, and I am glad that the connection was exposed. (If you haven't already, see the Enron documentary, The Smartest Guys in the Room- its maddening and frustrating to see the evil and greed of some of the nations richest men and women.) I think it is really important to reach out to the public in a way that people can see that all of these issues are related, but even after reading Lakoff's guide, it seems like a long difficult struggle to promote issues that will not make you rich, get you a faster car, or a bigger house. It seems difficult to think that we can just promote wind power and all of our country's top executives will be okay with not profiting off of oil anymore. I don't know, I see our government as too deep in institutionalized corruption to change the energy policies, and our culture as to materialistic to waste less, want less, spend less. I just don't know how to penetrate this complex matrix; the politics, the money, the weapons, the oil. Am I just being cynical?

This page has been created and published by a Columbia University student, faculty or staff member as part of course or other requirements. The ideas and information expressed in this publication have not been approved or authorized by Columbia University, and the University shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever resulting from any action arising in connection with its publication. Columbia University is not responsible for the contents of any off-site information referenced herein.