There is very little to report this week. I have 3 interviews set up for this week, but I’m not hearing back from all the people I’m reaching out to, since the time of year is insanely busy for everyone. I still want to talk to people on Saturday at the Cascade Climate Convergence, although I know the timing of that event stresses certain people out. I still feel like it’s a good spot for me to work my head around what “activism” means to my generation.
I guess a struggle I’m having is thinking about it way too much. I’d say I spend more time just thinking about activism – what I’ve seen of it in my life, how I feel about it, attempting to withhold judgments, connecting it to my other classes – than really doing anything, or feeling like it’s worthy of documenting, and I think that’s probably a problem. It’s a ton to think about, and I’m talking to people about it as well, but I’m not really getting the help or feedback that I need. So, I don’t really know what to do, other than what I’ve been attempting, which is to set up “interviews”. And what I’ve been attempting to do is not really helping me to achieve my goals, because people aren’t getting back to me. However, I have had some more casual conversations, just by bumping into people, and those are giving me stuff to think about but I don’t know how to make it into a tangible… Thing.
Further, there’s something to be said about expectations… I have expectations, for myself – what I want to get out of this. Honestly, I’m kind of just having fun thinking about it, engaging with Divest, and talking about it with people, and hope I can do some more with that. I even talked with my older brother who was involved in an organization that he felt had turned into “tunnel vision” activism, and he’d decided to start distancing himself from it. But I’m hoping to get the other side of this as well – the people who feel really strongly about their activism (I’ll mention this more below), because obviously people are different and therefore are going to have different opinions about activism and some people are going to do their best work through activism, like the super smart girls at this school who are making Divest a reality, and others are going to do their best work outside of activism, like my brother who started out a mechanical engineer, tried the activism thing, and now is a teacher at an outdoor-education preschool. Anyway, the expectations for myself are to hear people’s perspectives, and kind of grapple with that, since honestly I don’t really know anything behind the mindset of an activist. I can barely donate money to an organization I know is doing good work. The expectations that others have of me, however, is something I’m a little less certain of. Obviously this project has become much more “casual” than what was initially intended. But I’m still not convinced I haven’t put my all (and then some) into what I’m trying to accomplish here.
Anyway, here is something productive I have done:
I talked to someone about their involvement in Divest briefly, and she said something helpful. Roughly, she described how how it’s good to focus energies on one specific action, such as Divest, because if you try to think about all the pros and cons, and weigh what it is accomplishing versus what it’s not accomplishing, then it’s easy to get overwhelmed and not do anything. So it’s best to just commit, especially if that’s where your heart is. To get a little personal, this is definitely something that is hard for me – it’s really hard for me to commit to something (a hobby, a major, a person, a mood), because I tend to think of most things as a combination of bad and good, and that’s just the way it is. If I’m angry, I can stop being angry by spinning something about the situation as good. If I like something, I won’t fully commit to that because I feel like everything is transitory, and maybe something else is even better. So, I think maybe this is why some people are better suited for activism than others, and definitely why I’m having a hard time fully committing to the Divest campaign, even though it fully aligns with my values. Hopefully, I’ll be able to talk with this person more about it, and call it an “interview” for this project.