Wednesday 7 January 2009

visions and grunts

An American publisher emailed, after reading my post Making Climate Change Hot, to mention a forthcoming book Getting Green Done, which argues 'we need fewer visionaries and more grunts'.

The RSA's William Shaw also saw my post and also reflects on the gap between great ideas and what's actually happening. He writes,

'The difficulty is not so much the lack of new models though, but the lack of success of those that are being worked on. There are dreams like Winy Maas's brilliant new city in Seoul, but in reality those dreams are proving extremely hard to make concrete.'

Shaw says that plans for Dongtan, the eco-city in China (which I wrote about here), 'appear to be slipping as economic will disappears.'

One activist who's very astute at closing the gap between ideas and actions is Van Jones (above), President of Green For All and the man who's 'greening the ghetto'. (He's profiled by Elizabeth Kolbert in this week's New Yorker).

My post had argued that groups like to hear messages from other people like them who share their values. Jones takes that one step further. He doesn't just change the way he speaks ('my street rap', 'my elite rap'), he has changed the way he listens.

'I’m not looking for the points of difference,' he tells Kolbert, 'I’m looking for the points of commonality. I’ve trained my mind so that people can say twenty-seven things that might be objectionable, but as soon as they say one, that twenty-eighth thing, that’s in the right direction, that’s where I’m going to go in the conversation.'

No comments:

Post a Comment