How to set up a Green Thinkers

The following is a brief guide on how to establish a green book club in your area:

  1. Form a team

It is helpful to have a core team (three or four people), with whom to discuss the book selection, and bounce ideas off. Also, if you know your team can attend the meeting before you publish the date you will have a core group to get the discussion going.

  1. Find a venue

In some towns and cities, it is possible to find a cafe or pub who have a room that they will hire our for free on the basis that they will sell a few drinks. Alternatively, room hire may cost about £30-60, in which case you would have to split the charge between attendees. It is preferable to meet in a public place, rather than a house, so that detail of the venue can be published, it is essential to find a space that is reasonably quiet.

  1. Select a book

Over the last few years, many paperbacks have been published on a range of sustainability topics that are accessible to the non-specialist. Many of these can be found in the popular science section of your local bookshop. The full list of books discussed by Green Thinkers in Newcastle is listed here

  1. Invite people

Start with your own contacts and those of your team, and then build an email distribution list using a tool such as Mail Chimp. Post on LinkedIn and Twitter, use hashtag #GreenThinkers on twitter and I will retweet you. I can also post details of your meetings on a region-specific page of the Green Thinkers website if you wish.

  1. Plan questions and read book

I have question lists for all the books we have read, so if you choose one of these I can send you the questions that I asked. Alternatively, write your own questions when you read the book.

  1. Host Meeting

I was quite nervous about hosting our first Green Thinkers, but it helped that I was already running another book club. For me, the best way to start the discussion is to go around the room, asking people for a ‘brief’ summary of what they thought of the book; then move onto your questions. Normally, with engaged people, the discussion runs itself. The role of the host is to ensure that everyone gets an equal opportunity to share their thoughts on the book and to move the discussion on when it gets stale.

  1. Write a review

The Newcastle group has done this for some of our books. It is not essential, but if you do it can help promote the group and attract more members.

  1. Finally – pat yourself on the back for promoting informed debate about some of the most important issues affecting life on earth.

Marek Bidwell

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