Since Shirley very thoroughly summed up last week’s class, I thought I would just write about parts of the class that really stood out to me. Learning about effective strategies for activist campaigns by looking at the Watsonville case study, we mapped out various methods to achieve our goals whether through education or an online campaign. While my group suggested using social media to organize activists, I realized that many of Stanford’s on-campus student groups opt for some form of an educational approach, such as guest lectures, as their first step towards gaining momentum in their movement. Hosting prominent speakers lends their message a sense of legitimacy, making them stand out. So with all these groups and their various messages to stop this and stop that, how does the public decide which cause to support? Which side’s argument should they believe?
An educational campaign introduces the basic facts behind an issue to allow the public to make an “educated” decision. Organizations believe that once the public knows the truth about the deleterious effects of pesticide use and monocropping on the environment, the general outcry and shock will pressure companies and the government to seek alternative methods of food production. These companies, the USDA, the EPA, were established to protect the people, yet they have bowed under the pressure of big companies, choosing to represent financial desires over the health and safety of the public. Despite various attempts to pass legislation that would remove this monopoly of control such as Proposition 37, the GMO food labeling initiative, big companies have maintained control over our choice and our decisions, telling us what food we should and should not eat. How can we make educated decisions about our food when we are presented one sided viewpoints from companies such as Monsanto? Therefore, through an educational campaign, all we can hope for is a public with an understanding of the entire truth and a desire for change.