Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What Can/Should I Person Do?

I was standing in line at the grocery store yesterday and wondered what I could do right then to help.  I decided to chat with the next person in line. I simply tuned to the person and said, "Hi! Darn, I forgot my reuseable bags today. Did you know . . .

An estimated one million birds and 100,000 turtles and other sea animals die of starvation each year after ingesting discarded plastic bags which block their digestive tracks.
  • A person uses a plastic carrier bag on average for only 12 minutes; in contrast, a plastic bag can take between 500 to 1000 years to break down in the environment.
  • There is now six times more plastic debris in parts of the North Pacific Ocean
    than zooplankton.

    At least 267 different species are known to have suffered from entanglement
    or ingestion of plastic marine debris.

    Instead of using a bag I asked the checker to simply put everything back in the cart since I have bags in the car. Then, I bagged my own groceries when I got to the parking lot.

    My next few blog posts will focus on a series of suggestions, litlle changes that anyone can and should make in their dailiy lives that will have great impact in our community and in our world.

    Here's a list so far:
    1. Talk to people and convince at least one person to refuse a plastic and paper bag today.
    2. Convince that one person to convince at lieast one other person and pass it on . . .

    We could save . . .

    What simple things can you do?

    Thursday, February 21, 2013

    Creating Writing Assignments with a Real Purpose

    As an English teacher and writer, I often wonder how I can use writing with my students as a vehicle for change. Each semester I try to create writing assignments that evoke interest in my students and that also serve a larger purpose. Last semester I created a writing assignment, a research paper, about the use of plastic bottles in our community. I wondered: "Why do people buy water in plastic bottles when they can get water for free?  What impact does the plastic water bottle craze have on our community?"  I have similar questions about the use of plastic bags.  Europe has been using their own bags for over a decade, but Americans are still stuck on using the plastic bag or paper bag in stores.

    Here's a link to a mockumentary video on the topic of plastic bags that effectively advocates for change:

    I asked my students to research this topic and to inspire people to make a change. The purpose of the research paper was to change the habits of the average American consumer. This topic worked well, for some, but others were not inspired by these issues.

    I need more ideas. What other research paper topics might work to inspire change in our community? Let me know what you think!

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    Writing for Social Change

    The power of words can inspire people to change the world. This blog serves to inspire writers to write for social change. The blog is based on the concept of using writing as a tool for social critique, as a means of calling for social change and justice, and as a tool for social transformation. The blog combines traditional methods of literary and cultural analysis with creative, personal writing, exploring  the ways writers impact communities, and examining the role of writers in addressing pressing social issues.