I recently conducted a Kitchen Table Conversations training with a local group in the Blue Mountains.
Kitchen Table Conversations explore the topic What major drivers in our society make CO2 emissions worse?
They are a cross between a conversation and presentation. We help people connect the dots and see a much bigger pattern of connection than many of us are used to. An innovative feature is using labels on beer coasters to help people keep track of the conversation. People like them.
We start by noting the connection between physical stuff that is manufactured and CO2 emissions. So, the conversation is really about what makes the amount of stuff go up. This takes us into advertising, trade agreements and economic growth on the one hand, and the psychological drivers of excess consumption on the other.
The context for this conversation is the recognition that we are in a crisis situation with global warming and other environmental issues, and the recognition that we need to profoundly change the operation of our whole society if we are to effectively deal with them.
No individual or group can have much influence on their own on the big picture drivers such as devotion to economic growth, international trade agreements, and the moneyed elites that warp our system in their favour. As Naomi Klein famously observed, to change everything, we need everyone.
We are not aiming to change personal behaviour with these conversations. Rather, our intention is to prepare people mentally and emotionally to support leadership for large-scale transformation when it emerges. My insight into this came from a Labor politician a decade ago. He commented, “Andrew, we politicians cannot get too far ahead of the people.”
Therefore our theory of change is summed up in this aphorism:
Greta Thunberg will have reason to hope when she sees that mainstream society is committed to doing everything required to turn things around.
Of course, a few conversations on their own won’t have much influence either. Our intention is to catalyse millions of conversations by inviting the members of as many groups as possible to act as citizen educators, and conduct Kitchen Table Conversations. Inspiring Transition is a platform for supporting citizen educators. It is hosted by Be The Change Australia.
Here are two informal videos of me conducting the conversation. Catalysing Mass Commitment to Transformational Change goes into more depth.
Accelerating the transition to a life-affirming culture