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I can change the world, can you?

When we think of “people who have changed the world,” it is easy to call to mind world leaders, revolutionaries, religious figures, people like Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc. But when we think of people like that, it’s daunting. How many of us will have the opportunity to change the world in those ways? And if we were put into situations that gave us those opportunities, how would we respond? When we start thinking like that, it becomes easier to just sit and watch TV than to try to make a difference.

So this session is meant to change our perspective about what it means to “change the world.” We will raise a few examples of various ways people are going about making change, but we also want to hear what you think -- and what you are already doing!

We will start with some opening questions such as does the world need to be changed? If so, in what ways? Is one type of change more valuable than another, say political versus social? If so, how do you determine that and then measure it? Can you even quantify change? How far reaching does paying it forward go and how would we know? Does seeing versus not seeing the effects of the change make one type of change more important than another? thinking of the idea of holding the door for someone..

We will raise a few examples of various ways people are already going about making change, as seen in the videos below. Come prepared if you wish to share some of your own ideas about ways to make change and we want to hear about your personal stories with change! We’d love to hear about something you did or had happen to you that was life changing in an almost or fully tangible way!

Different Appraoches to “Changing the World”

·Through the Arts

“Images provoke reaction in people, and those reactions provoke change.” That is the claim made by Jonathan Klein in this TED talk about “photos that changed the world.”

“Arts can go through where other things can’t. You can’t have barriers, because it breaks through your prejudices, breaks through everything that you have as your mask.” In this talk, Mallika Sarabhai argues that the arts are an effective means of creating change.

·The power of perspective

“...people often change their behavior when they can see and understand the impact of their actions.” Jamais Cascio lists a variety of practical tools his organization has created or promoted to find solutions by allowing people to see the impacts of their actions.

“What we do at the individual level really does effect the global environment.” The message of the documentary “I Am” is that we are all so deeply interconnected that even small acts can have a profound impact, so we need to start thinking in terms of cooperation instead of competition. 

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  • Katie

    Great job to our discussion leaders (Cathy and David!!), I think this was a fantastic meetup and I hope you host again. This topic was wonderful and really made me think about my actions on a different level. Thank you for the experience.

    1 · July 21, 2014

    • cathy

      Thanks Katie! We had a great time and thank you for helping us as this was our first and we were a bit nervous! So glad we did it and such a member stimulating conversation as always! Such a great meetup group! And btw please don't leave us... You have such great things to say and add, you surely will be missed!

      July 21, 2014

  • Beth R.

    Thought provoking conversation! Thanks to Cathy and David for bringing it to the group. I left with sense of hope and optimism.

    July 21, 2014

    • cathy

      Thanks beth! We found the conversation and your contributions to be mutually rewarding and had us thinking of things in so many new ways! Love this group for that very reason and hope to see you again sometime soon!

      July 21, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great meeting good people. The public space next to the Starbucks was fine though I prefer to support a local business. The disussion was fine; however, I wished it had been facilitated better or there has been a facilitator.

    July 19, 2014

  • Andrea

    sorry not to make this. Sounded like a great topic.

    July 19, 2014

  • CJ F.

    Cathy: great topic! Sorry I cannot be there.

    I led a discussion over a year ago "Are Culture, Art and Design better ways to change society?" which focused on Doris Sommer's exquisite 11 minute video "Cultural Agents All":

    The Sommer video further elucidates the idea that it is culture and the arts that change the world. Although her argument is persuasive and I agree with it, I think engineering, technology, and design are also a profound way to change the world.

    1 · July 11, 2014

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