Monday, April 1, 2013

Light Green. New. Improved. Better Tasting.

When I was a teenager, I saw a story on the news that really disturbed me. It was about a study that found that most activists had parents who were also activists.

"Well," I said, looking over at my parents, who were also watching the news (and possibly reading Vogue if the parent was my mother), "I guess I won't be an activist then."

Haha! Little did I realize at the time, my parents were stealth activists.

You see, I had a picture in my head of activists as slightly-unclean, too-skinny young people waving signs and being arrested in front of the School of the Americas.  While direct and disruptive actions - such as protests - are important for galvanizing support, introducing issues to a broader audience, and communicating large-scale messages to those in power, often they don't create the lasting change we would want. After all, the School of the Americas is still open - even though it did change its name.

Dr. Gene Sharp, one of the primary researchers into non-violent actions for social change, identified one hundred ninety-eight ways that people can take non-violent action in order to transform the status quo. Those range from the big demonstrations to the daily actions that we can all take - such as using alternative forms of transportation, boycotting certain products, and establishing new social patterns. The most successful social movements have used combinations of the grand and the small to impact the power structure.

This daily social activism is the kind that my parents modeled for us throughout our lives. They chose to live modestly, often in rural settings, so that my father could work as a teacher and later as an administrator for several American Indian tribes. My mother made daily choices about what we ate, watched, and bought so that we would grow up healthy and conscious of helping other people. And you know what? It worked. My sister and I both went into social service careers - she as a social worker and I as an instructional coach for new teachers. I've spent my life as an activist for educational equity. Thanks to my parents, I learned that activism takes many forms.

So, you'll probably notice that Light Green has had a bit of a make-over. Lately I've been wanting to expand the reach of this blog to not only encompass daily actions that help the environment, but also daily actions that influence the issues that I care most about, including actions that you can take no matter WHAT you're passionate about. And frankly, I feel like I've written about as much as I can about using vinegar to clean your house. 

My time, action, and money tend to concentrate in the following issues (so you'll probably see posts about these things)

1. Social justice, particularly educational equity and the well-being of children
2. Civil rights for women and minorities
3. The environment, especially the intersection of our food culture with its environmental impacts
4. Media and popular culture

But don't worry! There will still be lots of recipes (see number 3), cute cat pictures, and updates from the farm. Because to me, these are all (well, maybe not the cat pictures) part of how daily life can be lived as a form of protest against a culture that doesn't support the health and well-being of all its citizens. The cat pictures? Well, who doesn't want to see a cute cat picture?


Anonymous said...

I like the makeover. And huzzah for stealth activism!

Anonymous said...

Wow, and it let me comment this time! That almost never works!