Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"get ready for more than 200 words" on the big topics

Hello all,

I hope this post finds you well.

I was speaking recently with someone on the topic of neonicotinoid pesticides, bees, critters being harmed ... and that led to the idea of "having everyone at the table" in order to solve problems. 
My philosophical self says, yes, I suppose you have to have the manufacturers of the poisons at the discussion tables, symposiums, study groups. My cynic self remembers the wise joke "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" while wishing "the other side" didn't take up so much time on the part of the people trying to save the world.  Really, there is a limit to our spare time.
For example, sorting out just one interview or article by a spokesperson for a major corporate lobby group takes up a lot of time:
- tracking down a statement in a report that s/he has taken out of context, and understanding the context
- figuring out how not-associated numbers have been associated ... then refiguring what the important numbers are and what they mean
- recognizing a detail that has been a focal point, to the exclusion of 10 other related things

And then, how to convey to the audience already spoken to that there are the10 plus 1 things that need to be looked at, and the numbers they heard were (at best) misleading, and the study quoted actually was about the opposite of what was said.
And, so often, response time is missed in the time taken to get the correct information. The phrase "yesterday's news" does refer to both something out of date and that no one wants to hear about.
What are the attributes of effective activist for social justice and change groups?  Whew!  There's a topic!

Have you ever read Barbara Kingsolver's book of essays, Small Wonder?  It came out in 2002.  In an essay,  A Fist in the Eye of God, she recalls a friend asked, "can you tell me about GMOs in 200 words or less?" and she replied - because the topic is not a sound byte topic:

"Sit down, I'll make you a cup of tea, and then get ready for more than two hundred words."

Many topics are like this: neonicotinoids and pesticides in general, genetic modification of plants, organic agriculture (to name just some in my area of interest).

The Fist in the Eye of God essay is a wonderful explanation of and commentary on genetic modification of seeds.  The entire Small Wonder book is filled with great ideas and images. It touches on food security, war, chickens, and family. 
I leave you with the suggestion to run down to your nearest library and take out a copy, or buy it, or borrow it.
All for now.
Best regards, as always,
Why's Woman

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