How Alnoba Has Borrowed a Tactic from the Past to Look Toward the Future

In troubled times, how do people find a path for to helping make the world a better place? Sometimes, inspiration comes from the past. And sometimes, it comes from the young.

That was the case in the 1960s, when opposition to the war in Vietnam led to a cultural revolution that transformed our approaches and attitudes toward a multitude of issues, from sexuality and drugs to politics, women’s rights, and the arts.

One of the tactics of America’s cultural revolution was the “teach-in.” The idea was developed by anthropologist Marshall Sahlins in March 1965, when faculty at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor planned a one-day strike to protest the war. Dr. Sahlins’ idea was to demonstrate that the professors weren’t shirking their duties, but rather affirming their responsibility toward their students by holding overnight seminars on issues surrounding the war.

Many people today believe that—not unlike the 1960s—we are standing at the cusp of another cultural revolution, where those frustrated by the “Establishment” seek ways to create political and societal change.

On October 16 of this year, the Lewis Family Foundation held an Alnoba Environmental Leadership Teach-in Day, in conjunction with its annual leadership awards event. The day-long teach-in event consisted of eight seminars designed to educate environmental leaders in the urgent issues confronting us. And, like the teach-ins of the ’60s, they were intended not only to inform, but also to inspire participants to action.

Seminars focused on issues swirling around the environment, including marine life, national parks and state forests, science, and fossil fuels. And they offered tools such as civil disobedience, research, technology, videography and communications, and plain old Yankee ingenuity to effect change. Presenters included leaders of such visionary organizations as Compass Light Productions/Conservation Media Group, Friends of Cedar Mesa, Shoals Marine Laboratory, Citizens Count,, Grist, ReVision Energy, and The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. The biographies of many of these leaders may be found on the Grand Circle Foundation website.

We hope that teach-ins such as this one and other forms of protest will help propel the movement for change that is already gathering strength—for example with September’s student-led global climate protest. It is our belief that there is always hope for the future when we energize the young. We invite you to join the cause with your donation.