Environment and Pollution
We all want to live in a healthy environment, yet most of us make compromises to enjoy the benefits of modern society. And some forms of pollution we have more control over than others. How much influence should citizens have over the quality of the environment they live in? How much pollution is ok in our air, water and homes? When are environmental regulations helpful or harmful for individuals, businesses, and communities? Is keeping our environment cleaner good or bad for the economy? What is the government’s role in protecting the environment? Does the government look out for the interests of people or business? And when are those interests the same and when are they different?
Background Information:Interested in having further conversations? Additional guides you may be interested in include Climate Change, Energy and the Environment, and Communitarianism & Conservationism.
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your family, community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
Environment and Pollution (~40 min)
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- What effect has environmental pollution had on on your life?
- If you were able to dictate how to manage environmental pollution what would you do?
- How would you prefer clean-up projects to be managed? By public oversight, private oversight or both?
- Based on your experience, how close to optimal are current environmental practices around pollution control/reduction?
- What, if anything, should we do as a society to reduce harmful effects of pollution? Education? Regulation? Criminal prosecution? What works?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- What was most meaningful / valuable to you in this Living Room Conversation?
- What learning, new understanding or common ground was found on the topic?
- How has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?