Environment and Pollution

Conversation Guide

We all want to live in a healthy environment, yet most of us make compromises to enjoy the benefits of modern society.  And some forms of pollution we have more control over than others.  How much influence should citizens have over the quality of the environment they live in?  How much pollution is ok in our air, water and homes?  When are environmental regulations helpful or harmful for individuals, businesses, and communities? Is keeping our environment cleaner good or bad for the economy?  What is the government’s role in protecting the environment?  Does the government look out for the interests of people or business? And when are those interests the same and when are they different?

Background Information:

While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

What are your thoughts on Environment and Pollution?

Remember that the goal for this Living Room Conversation is for all of us to listen and learn about where we have different opinions and where we have shared interests, intentions and goals. Answer ​one or more of the following questions:
  • What effect has environmental pollution had on on your life?
  • If you were able to dictate how to manage environmental pollution what would you do?
  • How would you prefer clean-up projects to be managed? By public oversight, private oversight or both?
  • Based on your experience, how close to optimal are current environmental practices around pollution control/reduction?
  • What, if anything, should we do as a society to reduce harmful effects of pollution? Education? Regulation? Criminal prosecution? What works?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

Answer ​one or more​ of the following questions:
  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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