How can we improve the information stream used in decisions that affect us? Where do decision-makers get their information? Is that information available for public review – in order to establish its veracity and completeness? What institutions already exist to fortify better decisions? How can we join together to ensure better decisions are being made?
Environmental conflict resolution requires equity in the representation of interests. It also requires good information about baseline social and environmental conditions. That baseline is best informed by public participation. However, public participation is more than an open house and a bit of Facebook action. Public participation requires excellent analysis by great researchers of qualitative research conducted with science-based rigor.
There are few individuals trained and experienced in this rigorous social fieldwork to study social and ecological sustainabiity. It is a wonderful new field in which to find work, and as part of restoring our social and ecological selves. Think big and think real. We need new generation of professionals whose scientific work includes profound human understanding in economic and resource-based decisions. Artificial intelligence is artificial, and cannot replace real experience in real life.
In the aggregate, unresolved local resource management disputes are culminating in irreversible changes within the earth’s biosphere. It is time to create a new path forward to support local voice. Local communities are responsible for stewarding the complexity of their landscapes. No one else can do this for them. And, we need to trust local associations who engage in participatory conversations that matter.
draft. not for distribution. pre-launch
photo credit: creative commons ©2020 photopoet.earth