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. We have more control over some forms of pollution than others, but the whole issue of environmental pollution is rife with questions. What level of pollution is ok in our air, water and homes? What are the roles of citizens, business, government and legal system in protecting the environment? How do we identify and look out for the interests of people as well as business? When are environmental regulations helpful or harmful for individuals, businesses, and communities? Is keeping our environment clean good or bad for the economy?

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 five 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.

ONE: Why are we here?

What interested you or drew you to this topic?

TWO: Your core values

Answer one or more of the following:

  • What sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?

Environment and Pollution

Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions, and goals.

Answer one or more of the following:

  • What effect has environmental pollution had 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?

FOUR: Reflection

Answer one or more of the following:

  • 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?

FIVE: Accomplishment and moving forward

Answer both of the following questions:

  • 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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