1,2,3,4,5! We did it! Hats off to everyone!

For my project, I accidentally did something illegal — accidentally on purpose, I guess. I had a great time doing this project, and am grateful that I had the platform to do what I did, the freedom to do what I did, and the support to do what I did.

For my project, I painted 14 electrical poles on my street — Dewey Street — and used each one as an opportunity to write about the art that I do and the things that go on in my head while I do the art that I do. Some are lists of things, some are more-or-less incoherent essays, and other are essays that proved very fruitful to write — those about privilege, race, audience, motivation, and more.

In the end, I’m very proud of the work that I did as well as incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to learn a surprising amount about the work that I do and why I do it. I really did this project to paint, but am walking away from this project with a much more sophisticated answer about why I do the work that I do and how to tie the two seemingly disparate sides of myself — my art and climate activism.

Thanks to all those who gave feedback and to Shelley for being a light in a dark and bizarre time. Hang in there everyone!

HERE WE GO: https://hansju.wixsite.com/pantingondeweystreet



Julian Hansen
Tuesday March 26, 2019

Part I: Decision Blog Post

For my fully realized experiment, I’ve chosen to write an op-ed. I’ve struggled a lot with this decision (which I see as a good thing) because I could see myself realizing all 3 of the projects. I choose the op-ed, however, because I think it would be the most intellectually challenging, and beneficial to ‘force’ myself to really do research to justify and back-up my opinions.

My origin piece (an empirical research essay written in the IMRAD structure) was written out of frustration. I was frustrated that very few of my environmentalist peers and friends were taking collective action to fight climate change, and wanted to find out why. I am a person that dedicates a significant time to organizing events and actions around climate action on U-M’s campus, and found that despite occupying a variety of different environmental circles, few people showed up to these events, and even less were in the planning rooms.

I asked my environmental peers “what actions do you take to fight climate change on a daily basis” and found that many people were taking very individual actions (not eating meat, walking instead of driving, recycling) and few were taking collective action (education, awareness raising, organizing, event planning). Again, being born out of a sense of frustration, I realized that I wasn’t frustrated with the lack of environmental action, but rather the lack of ​collective e​ nvironmental action.

I want to write this op-ed to those who think of themselves as environmentalists but are absent in the planning rooms. I want to write this op-ed to those who think that recycling is enough, or who think that walking instead of taking the bus is enough. Is it needed? YES. Is it enough? No, well not in my opinion. I want to write this to convince those who don’t take collective action that collective action is ​necessary​. The issues of climate change are not being solved fast enough, and we need ​everyone​. Using collective action to change large-scale policy is much more beneficial and impactful than forcing the responsibility on individuals, forcing them to fix the problems and carry the guilt of not doing everything possible. We need collective action.

I believe in this experiment because I think it would challenge me to very articulately write out my beliefs, and also find fact to back-up these opinions. All successful op-eds use fact to explain opinion, thus forcing me to do research for exact numbers about the impacts of collective action versus the impact of individual actions. Again, both needed, but we can’t just have individuals doing individual action. I am excited to do the research so that I can both have more a more sophisticated and nuanced argument, both in my writing and daily life. I find myself talking about this a lot, so having figures will be very beneficial for me. I’m also excited to get the opportunity to carefully craft my opinion and get it down on paper.

This is a strong genre because fact and opinion is a strong balance, and, like previously mentioned, the op-ed needs both. One challenge is that people don’t like being told what to do, especially over writing, so it might potentially come across as accusatory or threatening.

I want to publish my peace in the Michigan Daily. I recently published one about my reflection on the March 15 Climate Strike, and it was a great platform to voice my opinion. It is easy to get it published, and is close enough to home that I can bring in specific examples of U-M collective action to back-up my point.

Blog Post 2: A Day In The Life of a Journaler

For this piece, I am going to be looking at a writer who posts regularly on their blog on the website: Open Diary. This person doesn’t have a real name available, but rather goes by mythinking. This person is not a professional journaler, and mentioned that they recently started a startup company with some of their friends (and didn’t go into any more detail).

Since this writer is not formally a writer, and does a very specific type of writing—journaling—the answer to some of the questions might be slightly different. First off, the author ‘conducts’ research by simply being aware of the thoughts in their head and deciding to write them down. Almost everyone has strong thoughts and feelings, but not everyone writes them down. Journalers, however, take the time and energy to constantly write down what they are thinking and feeling, so surveying oneself and being aware of the emotions in one’s head is the bulk of the ‘research’ done by these writers.

Journalists usually don’t publish their work, but rather write it in their private journals (like I do). However, since these journals were published online, it offers a window into someone’s life. These journal/diary entries that are online are usually published on journal or diary blog sites, where one can sign up for an account on one of the many sites and then have a platform to journal.

Journals are usually very stream of conscious, so when the writers have ideas, they usually write them down. Personally, I journal once a day, and can see that these writers for the most part are doing the same thing. The word ‘published’ is an interesting one in this case because yes they are publishing their work on their sites (by clicking the publish button), so publish means something slightly different in this case. They are not getting published by anyone, but rather by themselves. Again, not much stands between idea and publication, except for the actual action of writing their feelings down.

These writers and ‘journalists’ do get to write about whatever they want, and are very very honest with their writing. They don’t get paid because these aren’t professional jobs, but rather places to just get thoughts and feelings down on paper (or computer).

This is a very interesting genre because it is different than many others out there, and I found myself answering these questions in ways that were different than I anticipate many others will answer them. I am glad that I am focusing on the genre of personal journal writing because it a) juxtaposes my origin piece (a formal research paper) and b) allows me to write very personally and honestly.

Introduction, Origin Piece

Hey all! My name is Julian Hansen, majoring in International Studies (Global Health + Environment sub-plan) with minors in Writing (obviously) and Energy & Science Policy. I hope to dedicate my life to somehow helping solve climate change. I am from Boston, MA. I wanted to get a MiW because I want writing to take a major role in my professional life. I am becoming more and more interested in environmental journalism/reporting, and think that it is a great way to use my skills in the fight against climate change. I think writing is an important tool in all fields, and outside of the professional world as well.

For my origin piece, I will be using an empirical essay that I wrote in my ENG 225: Academic Argumentation class. I wrote about/did research on the actions that specifically environmental students take in their daily lives, asking if those actions were enough to help in the fight against climate change. I consider myself an environmentalist, and also involve myself heavily in campus environmental activism. This topic came out a frustration over the lack of action that my fellow environmentalists were not taking. I think it’s a good starting point because the structure of the empirical essay is so rigid that it leaves no room for creativity. From this rigid starting point allows for infinite possibilities, and I believe that the subject of climate action and student action lends itself well to alterations. I liked doing the research and creating the surveys/survey questions, but I did not like how rigid the IMRAD structure is. It felt very constricting and didn’t allow me to take rhetorical liberties that I usually like taking. I’m excited to take this opportunity to transform this rigid text into a variety of more dynamic pieces.