Kitchen Table Conversations
Kitchen Table Conversations enable people to develop a big picture overview of the profound changes we need to make to pull out of our ecological nosedive, and evolve a life-affirming culture.
They are designed to quickly enable people to move from silo thinking to systems thinking.
The first step is to familiarise yourself with our approach.
The neurological theory that underpins Kitchen Table Conversations is the insight that people’s behaviour is based on their mental maps. So, our strategy is to expand and deepen people’s mental maps.
Perhaps our most important module is the Big Picture Drivers module. It is a conversation that explores the question:
What are the major factors in the way our society currently operates that tend to make environmental issues worse, including increased CO2 emissions?
The model looks like this:
The full model has more detail. Catalysing mass commitment to transformational change describes it.
The idea is to have a thoughtful conversation where people connect-the-dots. People already know much of what’s in the model. But they may not have noticed how the different elements work as a system.
This is important, because people often tend to get excited about one facet of sustainability or another, such as solar power, organic farming, or stopping new coalmines, while arguably we need to change the whole system if we are to actually become environmentally sustainable.
Changing our system requires thoughtful public will. Taking people through the Kitchen Table Conversation is a way to prompt the conversations and thinking that makes the idea of systemic change meaningful to people. The point of Inspiring Transition is to ‘mass-produce’ these conversations, so that we actually do mobilise public will to shift the culture. We aim to win!
We start the conversation simply by issuing an invitation to a friend or business colleague along the lines of:
Would you be willing to spend an hour with me having a thoughtful conversation?
We focus the conversation on the question:
What factors in our society tend to increase CO2 emissions and other environmental damage?
These are all the factors that increase industrial production, of course… advertising, international trade agreements, devotion to economic growth and the like.
The assumption here is that the person is open to such a conversation. In other words, they already accept that global warming is a real issue.
If there are doubtful about the reality of global warming, or human influence on global warming, we do not try to persuade them.
Rather, if they are open to the conversation, first we take them through our Looming Disasters module. We show pictures that illustrate different aspects of environmental decline, such as species loss, declining freshwater tables, and industrial toxins in the food chain. These provide reason enough for us to change our economic-industrial system in ways that take care of the planet and our life-support systems.
.As mentioned, devastating adverse trends provide reason enough to change our system, no matter what we may think about global warming.
Kitchen Table Conversations are designed to be conducted face-to-face. They can also be done in small groups, and adapted to large presentations (although it’s not quite the same as having a thoughtful conversation).
We can conduct them online as well.
Everything you need to conduct Kitchen Table Conversations can be downloaded here. Templates for making the physical markers yourself are here, along with training videos.
Training videos are on the Inspiring Transition YouTube channel as well.
Pre-made Kitchen Table Conversations Kits can be purchased through Be The Change Australia.
Perhaps personal conversations are our most effective way of affecting people’s thinking for the better… provided we can take them to scale.