Peer Support Workshops are a great way to launch peer support for climate activsts in you community or organization. Typically about 25 people with a common interest or background come together at or after dinner on Friday night in a residential retreat center or campsite and stay together until lunch on Sunday. The weekend includes a presentation of the core assumptions of peer support along with its basic practices (one-on-one Listening Turns and small Support Groups) with opportunities to share information about climate activism in the area or organization in Topic Group Discussions and then form into Action Groups for ongoing work.
The Executive Director of NIPS, Dr. Jim Driscoll, is eager to lead such workshops for your community or organization if you or the attendees can cover the expenses. He has led over fifty such workshops. The schedule for the first peer support workshop specifically for climate activists, held in Tucson, AZ, USA, is given below.
Climate Action Workshop Schedule, August 12-14, 2011
Noon Greet attenders, assign rooms, lay out materials from different groups, complete pre-surveyss
7 Welcome/Goals—if enough people were listened to, if enough activists were well supported and more effectively organized—New approach to social change, teach basic skills-uninterrupted listening tuns, how use for different key functions in activiss, create a community using these skills cutting across other organizations, but also on at least one major project for NIPS: ‘LISTENING FOR THE SAKE OF THE PLANET”
Reverse Global Warming
NEW ORGANIZATIONAL MODEL, THEDA SCOKPOL, MICHELS—HOW WE ORGANIZE PREVENTS US FROM HAVING AN IMPACT, 50 YEARS IN U.S.
NEW MODEL: LOCAL NOT DC-BASED, GRASSROOTS, NOT CENTRALIZED, VOLUNTEER-BASED, NOT PAID STAFF, EVERY PERSON A POTENTIAL LEADER, THEREFORE—EQUALITY AND EMOTIONA VALUED NOT SUPPRESSED.
THREE KEY FUNCTIONS OF ORGANIZATION—SUPPORT, INFO, ACTION
Introductions—long, name, why do you care about this issue, what have you been doing about climate change to date, including organizational connections, what do you want to get out of the weekend
Personal background—Harvard jock, Vietnam Marine vet, lots of degrees, MIT Prof. 30 years of full-time social activism, done it all—biggest demonstrations ever (FREEZE, elected lots of people to Congress (HARKIN, KOPETSKI, KEY FOR GRIJALVA, biggest civil disobedience actions STOPPED NUCLEAR TESTING, passed AZ Clean Elections Law, co-founded and funded six national organizations from my bedroom, all with national or international impact—think peer support skills are most important social change tool—already set up one national organization for returning vets VETS4VETS.
Guidelines—Be on time, keep confidential in support groups/listening turns, no new romantic relationships, no alcohol or drugs
What is a support group, model for what we are doing, uninterrupted listening—what is on your mind that might distract you this weekend WHY DO PEOPLE COME TOGETHER—FIRST REASON, TO BE LISTENED TO, LIKED, SUPPORTED, BUT HABITS GET IN THE WAY
8 Support groups—timers, no interruptions, feelings okay, no advice
8 Breakfast, Support Group Leaders Meeting
9 Lecture—Assumptions—people good, loving, cooperative, decisive, powerful, process tons of info; so why global warming, war, meanines, because they got hurt, stop processing info, patterns, feel or behave as when got hurt, but healing natural, cry, laugh, shake, just need to be listened to, but have to take turns,
PERSONAL AND OPPRESSION—SEXISM, RACISM, ADULTISM, HOMOPHOBIA, CLASSISM—protects status quo, big business, CEOs, before this, feudalism, slavery—victims think helpless, perpetrsators think only way to avoid scary situations, loss,
KEY TO GLOBAL WARMING—only patterns, people would not put up with it, not easily deceived, no powerless, hOpeless, skeptical, addicted to comfort, terrified, business would not just be greedy, seek profit, heat planet, like Al Gore and green entrepreneurs
Activists—urgency (fear), hopelessness (sad), , angry/hate polluters, isolated, addicted, no $, powerless
This is the biggest peer support challenge of all time. We are all peers on this planet.
If we can get enough of us listened to so we stop believing the nonsense on Fox news or the more nuanced excuses from Obama and so called moderate politicians—it’s complicated, have to go slow, etc. BUILD OUR BASE
If can get activists to listen to each other—LESS BURNOUT, PERSONALITY FEUDS, MORE EFFECTIVE ACTION, RECRUIT MANY MORE, LEAD THEM EFFECTIVELY
DEMONSTRATIONS—2 WOMAN AND MAN—PATSY, WILL
11 Support Groups–PASTY
12 Lunch—other groups as offered
1 Recreation—pool, Picture Rocks, I meditate
2:30 Session-long with Workshop Buddy
4 Listening for the Sake of the Planet (LSP)—POWERFUL TOOL, NOT UTILIZED, NIPS PRIORITY, GOAL—GET MILLIONS OF PEOPLE LISTENED TO W/O INTERRUPTONS AND ENCOURAGEMENT TO FEEL FEELINGS ON LSP QUESTIONS, START WITH “LISTENING DAYS” 9 19-23, TRAIN MILLIONS—RECRUIT MILLIONS OF ACTVISTS, POST QUESTIONS-GOAL, NOT TO CHANGE MIND IMMEDIATELY, GIVE THEM CHANCE TO THINK, OK IF DON’T CHANGE, MOVE ON TO OTHERS.
DEMONSTRATION—WHAT WOULD GET IN YOUR WAY OF ASKING YOUR FAMILY, YOUR FRIENDS. WHO WOULD BE HARDEST, WHAT GET IN WAY OF ASKING HIM/HER
PAIRUP—ASK THE QUESTIONS, WHAT WOULD GET IN THE WAY OF ASKING MOST DIFFICULT PERSON
5 Topic Groups—SECOND REASON PEOPLE GET TOGETHER—SHARE INFORMATION, EXPERIENCE, SOLVE PROBLEMS
Mostly we mimic corporations in what we do, one person in charge, sets agenda, does most of the talking, people out, withhold their thinking;
Prefigurative organizing—work together the way we want the world to be, every one a leader, everyone thinking counts; practically, if don’t treat this way, won’t get those millions involved.
Topic Group rules
Fishbowl—what would make LSP work
Nominate topics—what would increase size and impact of Moving Planet, e.g. organizing for bike ride, Tucson City Sustainability Committee, NEXT STEPS FOR LSP, NIPS, MOVING PLANET, LISTENING TURNS
6 Supper, groups as offered—PICTURE TAKING
7 Class and action groups—Third big reasons people come together—Make decisions, take action. Again, usually, one or a couple of peole dominate, the boss, usually one who has money or access to money, older, better educated, often men, taller, louder, ones who understand Roberts Rules of Order (making motions, point of order, etc.
Consensus—lot of progressive groups use instead, taken from Quakers, used a lot in civil disobedience affinity groups—problems—long, tyranny of the callouses,
Peer support has new way
Action Group,–FOUR QUESTIONS—TWO ALREADY COVERED IN TOPIC GROUPS, IF NOT THEN DO ALL FOUR, Advantages—individual creativity and action, sum of individual greater than group that has lots of low committed comrpomisers; quick, allows collective action when subgroups agree, doesn’t need whole group.
FISHBOWL: What are you going to do to make LSOP work? What might get in the way—LISTENING TURN
GO BACK TO SAME TOPIC GROUPS AS THIS AFTERNOON, ALLOW TO SWITCH GROUPS BECAUSE ALL HAD INFO IN REPORTS possible groups might include: raising climate change in the city election, lobbying Congress, connecting climate change groups, next step for TIPS Cool Planet
WHAT WOULD LSP ORGANIZATION LOOK LIKE (HANDOUT)
LOTS OF LISTENING, LOTS OF ACTTIVISTS, SUPPORT GROUPS, TOPIC GROUP CONFERENCES, ACTION GROUPS MEETING RARELY AND TAKING LOTS OF ACTION, LSP GROUPS IN ALL THE ENVIRO GROUPS AND OTHERS (CHURCHES, SCHOOLS, WORKPLACES, LOOSE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COORPERATION, LOTS OF ALTERNATIVE INSTITUTIONS BEING BUILT8:30 SINGING, 350 SONG
8 Support group leaders meet, other groups as offered, e.g. Action Groups from night before
9 REVIEW THREE NEEDS: SUPPORT, INFO, ACTION=LISTENING TURNS, SUPPORT GROUPS, TOPIC GROUPS, ACTION GROUPS,
THIS MORNING, GOAL SETTING–WHAT ARE OUR NEXT STEPS AND WHATWILL IT TAKE OF US AS INDIVIDUALS
BIG AGENDA—SAVE PLANET, RECRUIT MILLIONS, NOT BURN OUT IN THE PROCESS
LISTENING TURNS, SUPPORT GROUPS—BURN OUT WITHOUT IT, MAKE STUPID DECISIONS OUT OF OLD, UNAWARE HABITS
WHAT ELSE—LESSONS FROM PEER SUPPORT WORLD
PERSONAL WELL-BEING: DIET, EXERCISE, MEDITATION/PRAYER, JOURNALING, PLAY, SUSTAINABILTIY–$10K PER PERSON! DO WE NEED TO GET THERE, WHO GOES FIRST, I.E. THE RICH, WHAT POLICIES MAKE SENSE FOR THE POOREST?
INTERPERSONAL WELL-BEING—PERSONAL INVENTORY, WHO HAVE I HARMED, WHICH RELATIONSHIPS ARE NOT “COMPLETE”; MAKE AMENDS LIST, MAKE AMENDS;
NEED FOR A SPONSOR/REFERENCE PERSON, SOMEONE WHO GOES BEYOND PERMISSIVE LISTENING
PRESENT TIME—ATTENTION AWAY FROM DISTRESS
ACTION GROUPS—THREE PERSON—WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO FOR PLANET AND FOR YOURSELF IN THE NEXT PERIOD; WHO ARE YOU GOING TO SHARE THIS LIST WITH AS YOUR “REFERENCE PERSON” WHO CAN CHECK UP ON YOUR PROGRESS IN A MONTH—GIVE COPY TO NIPS
10:30 Support goups
12 Lunch, groups as offered
NIPS Peer Support (Listening Turns with Peer Partner, Support Groups, etc.):
Personal (diet, meditation, play, etc.):
Activist (Moving Planet, Listening Days on 9/16-23, Tar Sands, etc.):
Table of Contents
NIPS New Model for Organization
Support Group Script
NIPS Assumptions (excerpt from website)
Listening Days (9 16-9 23)
Draft of Listening Questions
What should a longer term project “Listening for the Sake of the Planet” look like?
Some tactics for social change
Midwest Academy Strategy Chart
Topic Group Script
Action Group Script
Personal Goals Chart
Music and lyrics to “Three Five 0” by Fred Small
National Institute for Peer Support (NIPS)
4151 E. Boulder Springs Way
Tucson, AZ 85712