Mark S. Meisner “Consciousness Raising,” in Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices, Vol. 1, Ed. Debra Rowe, pp.155-158. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2014.
“As a strategy for social change, consciousness raising can be defined as a form of communication or any activity aimed at increasing people’s awareness of specific conditions and/or ways to address them. In the sustainability context, this means raising awareness about social and environmental issues and problems, as well as about sustainable alternatives. For example, consciousness raising can mean educating people about the risks of biocides and the industrial food system as well as promoting local organic agriculture as an alternative. Either way, the purpose is to get the broader public interested in the cause and then engaged in doing something about it. Consciousness raising is thus a crucial first step in solving social problems….”
IT SEEMS CRAZY to me how often environmentalists try to dissuade people from ravaging the planet by appealing to their self-interest. Do you know what I mean? Don’t pollute because you’ll be poisoned; think of the money you’ll save by not driving your car; protect the rainforest for it might contain a cure for cancer. Environmental discourse is rife with arguments based strictly on narrow individual and collective human welfare.