One Foot in Front of the Other

Fall is officially here! With that comes sweatshirts, colorful trees, and spooky costumes. It also was the beginning of our incremental discussion. This particular topic excites me because it is part of my focus for my framework. I was interested in how in depth we were going to dive into the topic and also to hear all my classmates opinions about it. Since it was an axis part of our ecotypes surveys, everyone has an idea somewhat on which side they fall on. Incremental change or radical change. 

Incrementalism is an implicit theory “change which presumes that small steps can lead to big outcomes” (Proctor). I personally believe that incremental change is great, but is not what is going to solve our immediate global climate issues. They are great for local and individual action that wants to change communities. Recycling programs, reusable tote bags for grocery shopping, not using plastic straws, etc. are some examples of step-by-step action. They are choices that the everyday person chooses to do and yet there are many that do not. They still litter, use mass amounts of plastic, and don’t even know about the harm plastic straws do to our turtles. Yet, incrementalism IS vital to promote change in the long term. To me, radical institutional action still is the best way to enforce the changes we need for more immediate problems, while incremental changes help at the homefront.

Where do we draw the line between incrementalism and radical action as well? I think the best way to answer this is by looking at empirical cases. I don’t believe there is a clear line. It is case dependent because of the people and organizations that are connected to the incremental change. Some incremental actions do eventually become big and radical after the movement has grown enough and some have never grown beyond where it started.

I’m curious to know what others opinions on this topic are, so please leave a comment with what you think!

Work Cited

“Environmental Theory Around Us.” 2019. Words (blog). September 29, 2019.

1 thought on “One Foot in Front of the Other

  1. Agreed! I think incremental action is a means to an end, whether it be individual or institutional incremental action. It is needed to drive radical action and needs to be valued to see changes in our world. I also agree that it is a sliding scale. Some issues need more incremental action than others. What type of issues do you think need more or less incremental action? I am trying to think of some now and would love to discuss in class!


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