Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Building Political Capital: Recommendations for the Movement

Build Political/Representational Capital:


Literature in environmental communication focuses a great deal on the need for better public participation processes and greater representation and opportunities for citizens to have their voices heard in public forums. The need to address public participation models and for better representation in public forums is also important for the sustainability education movement in BC. In order for the movement to advance it’s goals it must ensure it has respected, articulate and informed voices speaking on the movement’s behalf in public forums and political debates. It also has to encourage and facilitate dialogue and open discussion to increase the opportunities for achieving consensus and support for movement goals.

1. Take stock of the forms of social capital that movement members have access to that can be converted into political capital specifically

2. Prioritize which forms of social capital may need to be developed and which ones can be converted in the near and medium term future. For example the vast network of respected academics in BC could be mobilized to get sustainability education on the agenda for the next federal election. A few individuals in the movement may be the ones with many connections who could build the momentum

3. Provide training on effective public speaking and utilization of message frames

4. Track public forums on political issues in BC and inform members of these opportunities to attend and represent the voice/perspective of sustainability education

3. Connect with and inform those respected and influential individuals who might have access to many of these forums (or the development of them) and communicate the movement’s goals, story frames and connection to other political issues which might be listed as higher on the agenda at the current time.

4. Develop community forums across BC to connect and communicate with BC citizens. Educating and empowering citizens across BC will likely increase dialogue and a favorable public discourse around sustainability education.

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