Laura Keil
Laura Keil, Publisher & Co-owner

by LAURA KEIL, Publisher

Look where to you want to aim. It’s a common refrain in sports, but equally in other parts of life. Where our focus is, we are drawn.

I think of that principle when I see “anti-protests” – that is, protests that are opposed to some development. The people protesting feel passionate, no doubt, and have good reasons for thinking the way they do. The trouble is, where are they aiming?

If they simply don’t want something to happen, what do they want? There is nearly always a trade-off, some alternative that could be made possible.

Why not voice the alternative? I’ve often thought it’s a waste of publicity for protesters not to voice an alternative. If they are protesting fracking, why not promote geothermal or solar? Even one person with such a sign could change the message of the whole campaign. The TV cameras would ask – why are you promoting geothermal? That can’t possibly be as good as fracking! And thus a discussion starts – one based on rational alternatives, not merely emotions.

The general public is usually intrigued by protests and well-spoken protesters can sway public opinion.

Protesting can be a powerful tool, but, with few exceptions, it must go beyond the contrarian and begin a public discussion.