Counter Narratives of Environmentalism?

Dominant narratives pervade our everyday lives, often going unnoticed and unquestioned. Every space we inhabit possesses and often perpetuates these dominant narratives. For instance, Ohio State displays a dominant narrative of strength, tradition, success, intelligence, and athleticism, and those who dare to question that narrative and discourse or simply oppose it by nature are viewed as the oppositions—as Delgado explains—they are oppositionists.

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed does not identify itself as an activist group whatsoever, nor does it identify itself as an advocacy group. This appears to me as an explicit move away from a not-so-dominant narrative. It is difficult to split environmental protection and conservation into two narratives—one having a wider spread, more salient message.  Rather, there are generally two ideologically opposed narratives that signify some sort of group affiliation.

In order to digest this concept, I’ll pose two narratives. Look at FLOW in the context of the Ohio State University community. It is full of students, staff, and faculty—thousands upon thousands of them. Is conveying a story of preservation, nurturing, and care for the environment oppositional to the dominant masculine narrative of “conquer and defeat” that’s often displayed by an athletics-obsessed university?

For instance, on football Saturdays, I have often volunteered with the Zero Waste initiative, sorting compostables and recyclables from garbage in order to divert waste from the landfill. Throughout this process, there is an educational component with fans, and most are unopposed to the process, but many are surprised or apathetic toward the zero waste program. In this context, those focused on environmentalism are the counter-narrative, opposing the pervasive attitude of consumption and enjoyment without concern on game day. It is much more difficult to identify this dichotomy in a more general setting, however.



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