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Towards Day 21 (Tues, 11/17): "Greening the Ghetto"

Anne Dalke's picture

I. 11:25-11:35: coursekeeping
* Madi settling us in Taft Garden; 
Khadijah owes a posting about Rock Commons;
Maryam on for Thursday;
after that we have three classes before we spend
the last week with Jody's group in Taylor--
where do we want to meet: return or go to?

* For Thursday,
read Paulo Freire, The Importance of the Act of Reading.

* Also please review the instructions for your final Portfolio & Checklist;
I won't walk you through these, but will be glad to field your questions
about the process....

*For Friday by 5: revise this week's paper; I've responded on-line
to your first drafts--any questions of general use/interest?

II. Before (and as preparation for?) turning to Van Jones' work, I want to
give some space to talk about what happened in Paris and Beirut
since we last met, and the various responses to it;
and/or to discussion of current activism on campus/climate;
our course (as you know!) is about the linked relationships of
identity and environment; these events are certainly playing out
these relationships in different ways...

Maryam's web event about the need to see
these intersecting crises holistically; i.e.
"The War on Terror fits snuggly into the converging crises in regards to
the fossil fuel frenzy," suggesting that "what most people think is
about human rights" is "really about access to resources."

See also
* Rene Girard's "The only way we will be able to meet the terrorist challenge
is by radically changing the way we think …. The defensive thought by which 
we oppose the phenomenon...reveals a desire to not understand"

* David Wong's "The reality ... is that your most automatic, unthinking reflex
is always to hit back, and that growing up means resisting it ... It's the
thinking part — the human part — that says to stop, resist the initial
urge, and actually think about what action will make the world better."

* Mark LeVine's "let's be honest about how much all of our most
cherished ideals, identities and ideologies have contributed to the
death and destruction piling up around us."

* on campus protest, intervention, dialogue?
what was the "environment" (what caused the flyers to go up)?
how did you read KCass's first e-mail
(reminding us of the Bias Incident Response Team, of
"our protocols and procedures for handling incidents that
may involve elements of bias")?
how did you read the second e-mail from Tom King
and Lil Burroughs (directors of Campus Safety), describing
commitments to involve students both in hiring safety officers
and in shaping their diversity training, and to have 
officers identify themselves by name @ the
beginning of any interaction)?
cf. story told @ end of my essay on "Slipping,"
about the refusal to discuss profiling in the fac'y mtg:
described as "personnel issues,” not public matters.
But they are structural, environmental...

III. Your postings
* those of you who went to Vázquez's talk:
tell us what happened/you learned
Alison: presentation was so constrained to the book
Angela: realizing that environmental activism requires intersectionality,
that it needs to be centered on people and communities that
experience environmental degradation to the greatest extent.

* you all had fun responding to Van Jones' call,
in the voice of a character we've met/author we've read this semester:
bothsidesnow and aazyah both wrote as Frankie, identifying with Van Jones,
calamityschild wrote as Geek, wanting to join the combined movement,
haabibi wrote as Phoenix, idealizing Jones [though she also wrote, more
skeptically, as herself, that "he is leaving the responsibilities to the poor
to fight for the climate change by leading them to work"]

Grace wrote an excerpt from“The Collapse of Western Civilization”, about
organizations started by passionate individuals who stretched themselves
and their organizations too thin, trying to mix two ideals, being unable
to put the focus, energy, and money into achieving one or the other, while
Ladyinwhite identifiedvarious phrases from Van Jones’s various speeches
encompassing the concept of economic and env'l interdependence, as
identified by Oreskes and Conway

Paddington: all of our social status is determined by the environment
where we were born...unless a miracle occurs we cannot remove this
inequity … we can…make the gap as small as we can….share hapiness
with people around me.

IV. So: what is Van Jones’ pitch?
What is his argument?
Be him: convince me!

V. The believing and doubting game, by Peter Elbow
A) think of every reason you doubt this approach
B) what character from any text we’ve read
(Eli Clare, Lloyd or Geek?) could “answer the doubt”?

Reading Notes
We could see underneath all of it was the idea of disposability....The idea that you've got disposable people, a disposable planet."

"The green economy should not be just about reclaiming thrown-away stuff. It should be about reclaiming thrown-away communities."

Let us connect the people who most need work with the work that most needs to be done."

"I think Van Jones is a big part of the future of environmentalism…He is bringing together a concern about the environment and a concern about social justice.”

“…something really bad has to happen before something really good can happen. It's when you …have to look at yourself and figure out,
What am I going to do now? And we're at that moment. Sometimes a breakdown can lead to a breakthrough."