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Words Edge Doc Essay

1474 words - 6 pages

From the opening lines of the movie, the activists in the documentary made clear, this movie would abandon the traditional tactic of “making a sufficiently depressing film.” The activists now believe there are individuals at different stages in their environmental advocacy. Knowing people are along different stages in their environmental advocacy, a one size fits all framing tactics will be insufficient to promote further environmental change.
One of the first diagnostic frames the film addressed was energy consumption. More specifically, they address society’s reliance on coal, oil, and natural gas. These big three enables tremendous explosions of economic growth, propelling society ...view middle of the document...

There are so many aspects of environmentalism that the movement could shoot off into multiple sub-movements and still be considered environmentalists. With all these sub-movements, it is nearly impossible to accurately pinpoint any social movement organizations collective identity with complete certainty. With every group there will be some who dissent with the tactics used to achieve the particular ends, but agree with the ends. Other may believe the tactics used by the group work, but the desired ends should be different.
Regardless of the many subdivisions within social movements, most social movements agree on their collective action frame. Environmentalists overall agree that resources of the earth are exploited by corporations seeking a profit from the resources. This collative action has, what Bernstein calls, an identity goal of challenging the preconceived notions of society that capitalism always works and is flawless in the achieving of profits.
Bernstein would have a hay day dissecting environmentalists strategy deployment. Environmentalists are the perfect example of framing and reframing. The old tactics of doom and gloom have come and gone. Now the movement’s identity deployment centers on economic growth. This economic growth, as currently structured, is supposedly unsustainable due to its use of nonrenewable resources as the means of economic growth.
The tactics used in this documentary are effective. They initially have someone in academia explain the problem with the current societal construction, then use individuals experiencing that aspect of society as a means to personalize the struggle. This is a very effective strategy. Individuals are much more likely to mobilize if they are aware of, or believe, the current structure of society effects them.
This documentary does a nice job of personalizing the current problems the environmental movement faces. One of the most effective means of frame resonance was the use of the computer programmer who was attempting to grow her own food. She provided an example of how individuals are able to make a difference by growing their own food, yet be a part of mainstream society. The woman growing her own food also illustrates how growing ones food, allows them to connect to the environment.
Another effective use of a good collective identity, that is also a prognostic frame, is sustainability. Sustainability proves to be an effective frame because it is politically friendly. It’s politically unwise to go against something as popular is sustainability. Sustainability is interesting politically because it allows individuals to take actions that are good for the environment, improve societal health, while also saving money. The fact that something can do the first two components is important. The fact that sustainability can potentially save money makes the topic difficult to oppose.
An example of proper implementation of the sustainability frame at UNI is the new composting program....

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