While writing about environmental engagement, I have to tread carefully. I grew up in Los Angeles where I volunteered and organized my high school’s march for our lives walkout. Then I moved to Portland to go to a liberal arts school for environmental studies. Obviously, my experiences with activism and engagement are not universal in the slightest. However, while discussing the idea of taking action, environmental or otherwise, I feel like my life has given me a little bit of insight on what makes people tick.
An important distinction to make is the difference between types of political actions; those carried out by individuals or nongovernment groups like protesting or voting, and actions taken by committees and politicians to get motions passed. I favor direct action myself, but that’s beside the point. The point is that these groups (if they’re smart,) will want to be able to say what they’re doing, how they’ll do it, and why. Often what befalls organizations that fail this step is paralyzation from infighting. What’s sad is that often the infighting is trivial, and ends a movement before it begins.
About the reading, I believe that is precisely what is happening when it comes to California trying their damnest to rehydrate a place that was a desert, and always will be (its actually a chaparral biome, but you get the idea). You have to get the water for the
golf courses people of SoCal from somewhere, and since everyone has NIMBY all the time, no one wants to be that somewhere. This is where you run into what is mentioned in the second paper, Clumsy Solutions for a Complex World.
I feel that the idea that current solutions are “clumsy” is a kind of discredit to said solutions. Unless everyone wakes up tomorrow with all the same values and priorities, all solutions will be clumsy, which is ok. We were all taught about compromise somewhere in elementary school, but along the way, we forgot what it was about. A compromise means when two parties are about to go through with action but disagree on some aspect. They negotiate and come to a middle ground, and the agreed-upon action is taken. Compromise is always a little clumsy just because it’s not exactly what either party envisioned. But you don’t love a cat with inner ear problems any less just because it falls off the couch sometimes, right?