Working with Oregon Humanities has opened all of our minds as to a non-common way in engaging with environmental issues. Yet, the importance of having discussion such as the ones at the Conversation Project can be the spark that is needed right before taking action and policies can be implemented. But in order for that to become a reality there a few steps and ideas that as group we propose that can take this project and organization to the next level. As my group members are working on possible post-discussion projects, I want to take time in looking what happens before a discussion takes place. Such as the payments, the collaboration, the references sheets, the preparations etc. Since our zoom meeting with Adam Davis, the executive director, we were able to have a lot of our question answered that we weren’t able to get through simple research. Yet what I still questioned was how even with the different discussion topics, there is overlap as to how facilitators and host can prepare for arguments that may erupt, post truth/opinion based comments, and how not having everyone’s voice affected by the issue could impact the goal of the discussion. Which is why I would like to have a checklist of some sort for each discussion where these issues are addressed. That there are facts and statistics that are likely to be needed in order to battle post-truth, for there to be an understanding for the facilitator/host to intervene if there is a case of it happening and for their to be quick acknowledgment in the beginning to explain the privilege that the participants are able to participate and not other’s. Including these things into the discussion could help minimize the very little harm that could come out of these discussions and instead be all around good for the participants and the issue as a whole.
Quick and Easy Adjustments
This project idea doesn’t create a lot of work to be done from with our side or for the organization to do. It could be expanded to include other things, especially if we pitch it to Oregon Humanities and have their opinions based on it. All that it entails is for the facilitator or the host of each discussion to do research on the issue in the community that it is being held. Adam told us that this already happens when the topic is seriously affecting the members of the community or it being a touchy subject. What I propose is that this research be done for all discussions and with it are facts that the host/facilitator deems as necessary for the conversation. Having a word of stating that everyone’s voice affecting by the topic isn’t there, can be written in a paragraph that we students could do, and be read out loud before each discussion.
The Issue At Hand
When it comes to a discussion based organization as this, it is important to have all possible scenarios to be thought of before hand and be prepared for them. With what I have proposed above, I think that by having these addressed there will be minimal arguments and false truths be spread around, especially on such important issues such as climate change and policy reform. The reason for this is to make the participants aware of what they are joining. Like how Adam explained that the discussion isn’t exactly a safe room but it is a place where personal stories can be shared without judgement but instead expanded on for everyone to feel understood. Same goes with having the quick word beforehand, in reminding the participants the privilege that they have in being able to attend such an event ton be heard. This would also help to give the participants time to think on their stories as they think as to how other’s stories relate to it as well.
Affects Toward the Community
The way that this project could help local communities is by establishing the roles that every person in it plays in the issue and their importance. Having a word before the discussion as to keep in mind that not everyone who is affected by the issue is able to be there and participate, I believe will help for the participants to keep an open mind as to the stories that are out there that they won’t be able to hear at that moment. It also creates an even bigger circle of trust and open-mindedness that could have the participants to reach out to their community and hearing those stories themselves. By having evidence and facts on the hand, the facilitator is able to steer the conversation from becoming opinion based or not true if it comes to that. At the same time, the facilitator isn’t able t completely shut down what someone said but instead have the statistics on hand in order to prevent for post truth to spread.