Building a Culture of Engagement
Apathy is all around us. Most people have become disengaged not only from politics, but also from our schools, workplaces and associations or organisations. Increasingly, those in leadership positions are asking themselves “How do we boost public participation?”, “How do we engage our students?” and “How can we inspire our membership to get involved?”. Dave Meslin encourages us to recognize apathy as a web of barriers that reinforce disengagement – and that we can work together to dismantle the obstacles. His seven-minute TED talk about apathy has more than 1.4 million views. This in-depth version of the talk for NSB clients, incorporates anecdotes, humour and examples of best-practices. He reminds the audience that we all have something to contribute and that the strongest cities, schools and associations are the ones that have learned how to tap into the collective creativity, passion and knowledge of their constituents.
More Than a Feeling: The Unlimited Potential of Community Organizing
With anecdotes from the non-profit sector, the electoral scene and the vibrant world of grassroots community organizing, Meslin paints an optimistic and inspiring picture of the possibilities that lie within all of us. With a sense of hope and urgency, audiences hear how we can build a new culture of political engagement in our communities. Dave Meslin offers concrete tips on how ordinary people can make an extraordinary impact on the world around them. The presentation can be tailored to be relevant to large well-funded non-profits, small grassroots student groups, or anything in-between.
FPTP, PR, MMP, STV, WTF? A Crash-Course in the Mechanics of Electoral Reform
CBC’s most popular video on Canada’s 2015 Election Night wasn’t Justin Trudeau’s victory speech, or Stephen Harper’s concession speech. It was Dave Meslin’s 90-second video clip, using colourful stacks of Lego bricks to explain how our voting system fails us each and every election. (The video has over 2.5 million views on Facebook alone.) Canada holds the unfortunate distinction of being the only OECD country that uses “First Past the Post” as its exclusive voting system for all levels of government. Increasingly, citizens, activists and politicians themselves are calling for change and renewal. But what are the alternatives? Using clear language, humour and interactive exercises with the audience, Meslin explains the pros and cons of various alternative voting systems. This topic might be relevant to any audience who’s interested in politics, and also to any organisation that wants to look at their own internal voting systems (regional chapters, school councils, etc) and think about how they could increase engagement by reforming their process.
As our bodies age, we visit our doctors for regular check-ups just to make sure everything is working properly. As Canada turns 150, perhaps it’s time to take a look at our country’s vital signs as well: Is political participation increasing or decreasing? Do Canadians feel connected to their government? Do voters have faith in our system? Do our elected governments reflect the rich diversity of our population? What would a democratic makeover look like for Canada? Dave Meslin has been researching 100 Remedies for a Broken Democracy as a follow-up to his 2010 TED Talk, “Antidote to Apathy”. The results of the project will be published in book format by Penguin Canada in 2017. Birthdays are a time to celebrate and also a time to reflect, adapt and to grow. Canada’s 150th is a perfect opportunity to revitalize our democracy and transform a culture of disengagement and cynicism into a culture of meaningful participation.
Community Leadership Award | 8-80 Cities
12 People to Watch | Toronto Star
Leadership in Cycling Award | Cycle Toronto
Top Ten Activists | NOW Magazine