Entry 1: Role of ActivistsBefore this session, I did not know that activists play such an important role in ensuring social and environmental sustainability. I learned that activism comprises of a team of people who have political forces and they take action so as to protect the environment and the social welfare of all human beings. Activists are involved in a range of activities with the aim of protecting the environment. I learned that environmental activism started in the 1960’s as a widespread movement to fight against overexploitation of resources, toxic chemicals and nuclear technologies.
Activists have made the public to understand the increasing vulnerability of the environment. Activists have been able to make great achievements including reduction of acidic rain as well as rescuing of the ozone layer. I also learned that social activists can act as citizens, change agents, reformers and rebels. As a citizen a social activist can engage in the following: Maintain or support a widely held vision of a democratic and good societyDemonstrates ordinary citizens support for social changeGives the activist movement lawful acceptabilityMakes it more difficult for authorities to harm the reputation the movementReduces the likelihood of violent actions and attitudes within the activist movementI also learned that as a reformer, an activist plays the following roles: Make the authorities to understand the goals and values of the movement Carries out the legal and parliamentary efforts including lobbying, filling laws suits and participate in referendaWorks towards creating new policies and laws Acts as a watchdog to the ordinary citizens so as to make sure that new policies and laws are actually carried out and funded Also learned that as a Rebel, the activist plays the following roles: Bring out issues on the social and environmental agenda through sudden and nonviolent actionsBring out social and environmental problems swiftly and Dramatically Demonstrate how institutions, persons and official authorities disregard public trust through creating and perpetuating critical environmental and social problemsInfluence the society to confront its problemsEncourage democracyFinally, I learned that as a change agent, the activists play the following roles: Encourage the association of large numbers of people in the process of solving social problemsEncourage a new social and political majority consensus favouring positive solutionsEncourage and support human values and democratic principles Encourage the development of coalitionsCounters the actions of the authoritiesMoves society from reform to social change by promoting a paradigm shiftEach of the above roles is crucial in bringing about social and environmental change.
Activist has made it possible to challenge power structures which have been an obstacle to social change. Activists have made it possible for ordinary citizens to join movements to fight for their rights. I learned that activists have attracted many people who were initially not interested in social and environmental sustainability but who were willing to build a community that would be able to respond to all the challenges pertaining to environment changes and social changes.
In conclusion, I realized that anyone, including me, can become an environmental or social activist. It is a good course considering the increasing negative impact of climate change as result of environmental degradation. This is a course I intend to take after finishing my undergraduate studies as environmental conservation is going to reduce the climate changes.