Activity: Addressing the root causes of multiple social and environmental issues

Unpacking the dominant values that have brought us to this moment in time.

The values that our society has impacts on many social and environmental issues at once. Often resistance, persistence and defiance in one area, is connected to other areas too.

  • Often one injustice leads to another, which can feed back, or be connected to, the other. The diagram below, for example, shows us that injustices contribute to environmental damage, which in turn make the injustices worse. Focusing on the root cause of both of these is helpful.

Rachel Bolstad and Sinead Overbye, Climate Justice: What is it and why does it matter? Research briefing 5, 2022. New Zealand Council for Educational Research Rangahau Mātauranga o Aotearoa

  • So what are the root causes of so many injustices in so many spaces? This is a REALLY big question! But it sure is an important one. Talk with a range of activists in your community who are involved in a variety of protest spaces.


You might like to ask them such questions as:

  • What is your quest for justice focused on?
  • Do you think that your pursuit of justice is related to other quests for justice? What makes it similar? What makes it separate and distinct?
  • What are the values that you think need to change for a better world?
  • Where do these values come from?
  • What can we do to change things for the better?
  • Review the themes that have emerged from the discussions you have had with a variety of activists. If you are unable to interview activists directly, you might like to watch interviews online with activists from within a variety of causes to notice themes in their pursuit of equity and justice.

  • You may like to write a diary entry reflecting on the values that you currently see in the world around you, the values that you want to help cultivate and the ones that you would like to evolve or improve. Use these as a basis for talking with others around you. What meaningful acts in our school, community or neighborhood could take place to contribute to these changes?