The Common Cause Handbook

Public  Interest Research Centre, 2011

Download The Common Cause Handbook in full

To build a more sustainable, equitable and democratic world, we need an empowered, connected and durable movement of citizens. We cannot build this kind of movement through appeals to people’s fear, greed or ego. As this handbook outlines, such motivations tend to produce shallow, short-lived types of engagement. They are also likely to backfire, actually reinforcing values that undermine social and environmental concern.

How, then, do we go about finding solutions to the most important problems facing us – widespread and persistent poverty, climate change, isolation and loneliness, human rights abuses, inequality, biodiversity loss? The power of protest and popular struggles has been proven time and again, in countering vested interests, and in bringing about new political and social structures. But what are the values that either promote or inhibit these movements? What values help create today’s social norms and institutions, and what, in turn, shapes these values?

Fostering “intrinsic” values – among them self-acceptance, care for others, and concern for the natural world – has real and lasting benefits. By acknowledging the importance of these values, and the “frames” that embody and express them; by examining how our actions help to strengthen or weaken them; and by working together to cultivate them, we can create a more compassionate society,and a better world.