• Concrete Examples
  • Engaging


In this TED Talk, artist and social organizer Dave Meslin tackles a complex and pervasive topic: civic apathy. Meslin is passionate, and his examples are explanatory and vivid, often pulling laughter and applause from the audience. Although Meslin addresses apathy in Canada, most of his points are relevant across all developed nations. If you’ve ever wondered why more people don’t participate in the community, getAbstract recommends this video to you.


According to popular opinion, people are indifferent and do not care enough to dedicate themselves to meaningful societal change. They’re too self-centered, dim and lazy. These beliefs are false; apathy “doesn’t actually exist.” In fact, individuals do care, but they live in a world that discourages them from getting involved. Seven barriers impede participation:

  1. “City hall” – When local governments plan new developments, they publish densely worded announcements in newspapers. These ads appear in small print, making it hard for citizens to sift through the verbiage and find where to go to discuss the proposed changes. Such ads amount to “intentional exclusion.” If your city wanted you to get involved, it would...

About the Speaker

Dave Meslin is a self-described “community choreographer.” He is dedicated to entwining politics and art.

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