22 May 2009
My Conference – Audaye from Exeter
Ciaran writes: “Well, Audaye promised me several times he would give me his reflections of his first day at the conference. . . . . however after posing for a photo and seemingly busying away writing for the blog, he started drinking beer in preparation for the EDAP session . . . I have not seen him since.
If you see this man wandering around glassy eyed and stumbling along his energy descent then remind him he is a marked man. I know where you live Audaye!
Hey Audaye, you have re-appeared . . . .”
Audaye: “So what do you find as the most pertinent thing to say to the Minister for Energy and Climate Change when he’s sitting across the table from you?
Inevitably not what you think about saying when you’re writing about it an hour or so later. Ministerial questions about climate change always seem like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube puzzle by taking off the stickers and then arguing about where they should go. Specific and focused, but on the wrong things.
In a conversation about transition culture we didn’t, as you might have expected from that session, speak about interconnectedness, coherent design of activities, community or the ‘inner- work’. Instead the conversation was about the components of our lives, like jobs, flying and central heating; how could we sell change that means less jobs as we know them, less consumer goods, a life style overhaul and no infinite growth?
Targeting questions based on what we think the ‘public’ know and what they want to hear seems like an interminable struggle and I felt the onerousness of that task in the discussion – it seems an unwinnable situation. Constantly banging heads against the ‘public’ just is not working and it’s making those who do it deaf.
Resoundingly, during the conference we hear peoples’ stories and get a glimpse of their journey, I’m grateful for that; there is commonality and difference and what is revealing is that many of us here today are prepared to engage and listen. So why restrict our questions by our beliefs, when testing is so much more rewarding ?
In the end I said most of what I wanted to say to his aid, a faceless and nameless civil servant who had a face and a name, and he listened. The impasse it seems happens when we don’t put a face to the people that we talk to whether that’s politicians or the public.