Section 2.D: Content Overview



The suggested START course format has 24 sessions divided into eight segments. Note that we use Roman numerals to label the eight segments and Arabic numerals for each of the 24 sessions. The next section (2.E) has suggested agendas for each segment.

I. Introduction to START

We have discovered that it is important — particularly for groups whose members do not know each other well — to spend some time at the beginning of the START course sharing basic assumptions, goals, visions for a better society, and personal expectations of the START course. This is also a time for the group to deal with logistical details — setting the meeting time and place, deciding on format and topic variations, arranging childcare, etc.

Session

 

Number

Topic

1

Introduction to START and Personal Introductions to Other Participants

2

Exploration of START

II. Another World is Possible

There are many real life examples from around the world that offer a positive vision of the kind of society we might be working toward. Commencing our journey by learning about these examples can be very enlightening — and heartening.

3

Another World is Possible — A Few Positive Examples


III.-VI. Understanding Problems and Identifying Solutions

The next four segments provide basic information about the social and economic difficulties we currently face — emphasizing the inter-relationships among problems, their basic causes, and possible solutions. Each topic includes readings that provide a historical overview, describe contemporary issues, offer various proposed solutions, and cite hopeful (and successful) examples of positive change.

III. Meeting Basic Human Needs — Physical Systems

4

Air, Water, Land, and Food

5

Industrialization and Energy Use

6

Environment and Sustainability

IV. Meeting Basic Human Needs — Economic Systems

7

Economic Systems

8

Meeting Basic Needs in the U.S.

9

Global Economics

V. Providing Safety

10

International Security

11

Personal Safety

VI. Living Together

12

Governance

13

Ways We Are Divided

14

Community

15

Communicating Information and Values

16

Exercises AND/OR Planning a Change Activity

VII. Strategies for Positive Change

Once participants have a basic analysis of the problems we face and a handle on possible solutions, this segment offers a variety of approaches to bring about positive societal change — how to get from our present situation to our desired vision. It also includes ideas about empowering ourselves and others.

17

Earlier Movements for Change

18

Later Movements for Change

19

Personal and Cultural Transformation

20

Building Alternatives

21

Challenging Existing Structures

22

Theories and Strategies

VIII. Next Steps

This segment provides tools and suggestions to help move a START group from study to concrete change work.

23

Exercises AND/OR Planning a Change Activity

24

Next Steps

Because it can be confusing to keep track of all these separate topics, sessions, and the recommended collections of reading sets, we have prepared an overview table that can be accessed on the web or downloaded (pdf). You can also download a version of this table in Microsoft Word format so that you can modify it to reflect the details of your own START course and distribute it to the participants in your START group.

Next Section: 2.E. Suggested Agendas