Also See: Table of Contents, Editor's Note, Endorsements, and Purchase Information
"One far wiser than I has stated that, '[t]he brotherhood of the well-intentioned exists even though it is impossible to organize it anywhere.' This book epitomizes the above statement. Resolving Environmental Conflicts contains new ideas about an important subject, and defines a new paradigm as to how we must begin to think about they we live, the way we use our resources, and the way we interact with our fellow humans and other life forms within our biosphere.
"Over the last 60 years or so, our environmental consciousness has been raised considerably. Rachel Carson warned us in 'Silent Spring' that our actions have dyer consequences. Nevertheless, we have enjoyed the fruits of our industrial production with relative abandon, but at a cost of unsustainable consumption of resources and perhaps the irreversible poisoning of our environment. Despite our rampant consumerism, however, a worldwide environmental movement was born, our consciousness was raised, and we began to understand some of the unrealized costs of our miraculous 'progress' as we lept boldly into a 'brave new world' of plenty and prosperity.
"Simply put, Resolving Environmental Conflicts is a working manual for those involved in mediation. It discusses techniques and methods of mediation, provides principles useful for understanding the milieu of environmental conflicts, and examines the varying responsibilities of the participant parties to the mediation process. It also lays the foundation for arriving at cooperative solutions to unresolved environmental dilemmas. The specialist reader will appreciate the readiness of the work in describing the difficulty of the process and the importance of the outcomes sought. Being considerably more than a 'how to' directive, the book examines the 'whys' of the mediation process and broadens the knowledge base by providing the philosophical underpinnings of 'a new environmental responsibility.' This broadening aspect makes the work of instant value not only to raising the consciousness of the responsible citizen in critical aspects of social-environmental sustainability but also by training the mediator in the art of bringing environmental conflicts to sustainable conclusions.
"Since the Middle Ages, we have had exceptionally good weather, allowing improvements in agriculture, combined with advances in our sciences. Our human population bourgeoned in this abundance, and we have eradicated many common diseases that long plagued humankind. Advances in manufacturing, transportation, medicine, hygiene, and healthcare have all combined to bring our species to a position of preeminence on this planet. Moreover, we have even begun some small steps toward leaving our earthly confines and exploring the greater universe beyond our planetary home. This progress has been marvelous, nee breathtaking. Unfortunately, it actually does take our breath away because we have so polluted the air and water that we are suffering unprecedented rates of environmentally related ailments in addition to rendering numbers of sensitive species of both plants and animals nearly extinct within one human lifetime.
"The authors provide an irrefutable truth for the potential mediator to consider: The children of today, tomorrow, and beyond are unheralded participants in every environmental mediation that takes place. They, who have no voice, are the ultimate recipients of our largess and our folly as well as our wisdom, and must be considered in the environmental bequest we pass forward. Our natural patrimony is neither unlimited nor indestructible. It must be accounted for in light of sustainment, efficient use, and careful nurturing. The commonwealth has need for a healthy biosphere into the indefinite future and our husbanding of resources, conservation of nature, and protection of our environment are priorities that must become part of the body politic, the common culture, and our economic order if this planet is to continue as our home. Our longevity as a species is directly related to our willingness to conserve our environment. To be successful, it must to be a collective task.
"When nuclear weapons appeared during the last century, J. Robert Oppenheimer quoted the Hindu scripture as the first atomic bomb was being tested: 'Behold, I have become death, the destroyer of worlds.' Thousands of these weapons were stockpiled during the cold war, and now we have begun to realize the futility of a weapon too terrible to use. Our security is not enhanced, and our resulting instability is something that should frighten any sane individual. At least in this one regard there is almost universal agreement that nuclear weapons must be eliminated from the world's arsenals because their unmanageable destructive power has made them an anathema. The call to eliminate nuclear weapons was perhaps our first global step in prescribing our environmental priority and choosing to protect the natural environment in recognition of our bid for survival.
"Over 95 percent of all the scientist who ever lived are alive today, and we are told by some that the polar ice caps are shrinking at an alarming rate, the great ocean currents responsible for our weather are diminished, and the oceans are undergoing substantial chemical changes. In addition, the ozone layer in the Southern hemisphere is being rapidly depleted with serious consequences, 9 of the past 15 years are the warmest in recorded history, the warming of the globe has spawned more frequent and severe tropical storms, and all of these things will have combined, detrimental effects on plant and animal life on the planet. Yet, all this scientific knowledge has not convinced us to recognize that the immutable laws of nature cannot be suspended or put in abeyance to protect the profits of the unconcerned, the interests of the uncaring, or even the health and welfare of the unaware.
"Nearly all of the reputable graduate programs in public policy and law schools in this country offer courses in environmental policy and law, but these courses stress comprehensive regulations, balancing economic interests within communities. In addition, they allow limited degradation of the planetary resources to mitigate particularized losses to balance sheets and minimize balanced uses of scarce resources, which are sought within the confines of a competitive economy. But, none of these requisites recognize the inviolable biophysical principles of nature, prioritize the use of limited resources accordingly, or consider the deleterious effects of toxic wastes.
"We must begin to understand a new paradigm, and this book is a seminal text to use in beginning to teach this paradigm to personnel at all levels of government. The increasing unwillingness to change personal values and lifestyles until forced to do so has been a hallmark of humankind since the inception of agriculture and civilization, but we have reached a point at which change is increasingly being forced upon us. This book points us in that direction by examining the parameters of that change and meets out some of the skills necessary to traverse the intensifying global imbroglio. I predict it will become a standard text for training public officials, environmental specialists, and mediators and will be the subject of informed conversations for some time to come."
J. Holmes Armstead, J.D., Ph.D., LL.D., D.Litt., D.H.L.(hc)
Professor, US Naval War College (ret.)
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART I: MEDIATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONFLICTS
CHAPTER 1: APPROACHES TO MEDIATION
MEDIATION AT THE CROSSROADS
A BRIEF LOOK AT THE MEDIATION PROCESS WE PRACTICE IT
The Mediation Process As Chris Practices It
The Mediation Process As Carol Practices It
Establishing Ground Rules
Structured Decision Making
CHAPTER 2: CONFLICT IS A CHOICE
WHAT IS A "RIGHT"?
THE EQUALITY OF DIFFERENCES
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS PREDICATED ON HUMAN EQUALITY
PERCEIVED RESOURCE SCARCITY ACCENTUATES ENVIRONMENTAL CONFLICT
RESOURCE OVEREXPLOITATION: A MATTER OF PERCEIVED LOSS
CONFLICT IS A MISTAKE
CONFLICT IS USUALLY BASED ON THE MISJUDGMENT OF APPEARANCES
CHAPTER 3: BIOPHYSICAL PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABILITY
THE WATERBED PRINCIPLE
UNDERSTANDING THE LAW OF COSMIC UNIFICATION
THE INVIOLATE BIOPHYSICAL PRINCIPLES
Principle 1 - Everything Is a Relationship
Principle 2 - All Relationships Are Productive
Principle 3 - The Only True Investment Is Energy from Sunlight
Principle 4 - All Systems Are Defined By Their Function
Principle 5 - All Relationships Result In a Transfer of Energy
Principle 6 - All Relationships Are Self-Reinforcing Feedback Loops
Principle 7 - All Relationships Have One Or More Tradeoffs
Principle 8 - Change Is a Process of Eternal Becoming
Principle 9 - All Relationships Are Irreversible
Principle 10 - All Systems Are Based On Composition, Structure, and Function
Principle 11 - All Systems Have Cumulative Effects, Lag Periods, And Thresholds
Principle 12 - All Systems Are Cyclical, But None Are Perfect Circles
Principle 13 - Systemic Change is Based On Self-Organized Criticality
Principle 14 - Dynamic Disequilibrium Rules All Systems
CHAPTER 4: SOCIAL PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABILITY
THE PARADOX OF LIFE
AIR: THE BREATH OF LIFE-AND OF DEATH
SOIL: THE GREAT PLACENTA
WATER: A CAPTIVE OF GRAVITY
BIODIVERSITY: THE VARIETY OF LIFE
SUNLIGHT: THE SOURCE OF GLOBAL ENERGY
HUMAN POPULATION: A MATTER OF GENDER EQUALITY
HOW THE COMMONS USUFRUCT LAW AROSE
THE PRECUSOR OF TODAY'S ENVIRONMENTAL CONFLICTS
SOCIAL PRINCIPLES OF ENGAGEMENT IN A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY
Principle 1 - Sharing Life's Experiences Connects Us To One Another
Principle 2 - Cooperation and Coordination Are the Bedrock of Sustaining the Social-Environmental Commons
Principle 3 - The Art of Living Lies in How We Practice Relationships
Principle 4 - Success Or Failure Lies in the Interpretation of An Event
Principle 5 - There is More Beauty and Peace Than Ugliness and Cruelty
Principle 6 - People Must Be Equally Informed if They Are To Function As a Truly Democratic Society
Principle 7 - We Must Consciously Limit Our "Wants"
Principle 8 - Every Decision Is the Author of a Never-Ending Story of Cause and Effect
Principle 9 - Simplicity is the Key to Contentment, Adaptability, and Survival
Principle 10 - Marvel at the Abundance and Resilience of Earth
Principle 11 - Only Mobile Property Can Be Owned Outright
Principle 12 - Nature, Spirituality, and Human Well-Being Are Paramount
Principle 13 - Every Legal Citizen Deserves the Right To Vote
Principle 14 - We Must Choose; In That We Have No Choice
Principle 15 - We Change the World Simply Because We Exist
Principle 16 - We Must Kill To Live
Principle 17 - This Present Moment, the Here and Now, is All We Ever Have
CHAPTER 5: THE HUMAN EQUATION
A CHILD'S GIFT
WE TAKE OUR FAMILY WITH US
DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY DYNAMICS LEAD TO ONGOING DESTRUCTIVE CONFLICT
HOMEOSTASIS IS DESIGNED TO HIDE DYSFUNCTION
BOUNDARIES, THE SILENT LANGUAGE
COPING MECHANISMS: UNCONSCIOUS THOUGHTS THAT MANIFEST AS REGONIZABLE BEHAVIORS
Anger and Aggression
Standards and Judgment
THE CAPACITY FOR RATIONAL THOUGHT
EVERYONE IS RIGHT FROM THEIR POINT OF VIEW
ACCEPTANCE OF CIRCUMSTANCES OFFERS THE CHOICES OF WHAT MIGHT BE
CHAPTER 6: COMMUNICATION: THE INTERPERSONAL ELEMENT
LANGUAGE AS A TOOL
THE USE OF SILENCE IN COMMUNICATION
THE NEED TO BE HEARD
THE BASIC ELEMENTS OF COMMUNICATION
CHANGES IN THE CHILDREN'S OXFORD DICTIONARY
NATURE DEFICIT DISORDER IN CHILDREN
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION
Lack of a Common Experience or Frame of Reference
General Personality Traits
MAKING LANGUAGE REAL
INABLITY TO TRANSFER EXPERIENCES FROM ONE SITUATION TO ANOTHER
CHAPTER 7: THE PROCESS IS THE DECISION
FAITH IN THE PROCESS IS BELIEF IN THE OUTCOME
THE PRIMACY OF PROCESS
PERCEPTION IS TRUTH; FACTS ARE RELATIVE
REFRAMING THE ISSUE
CHAPTER 8: CONFLICT IS A LEARNING PARTNERSHIP
A MEDIATOR IS AT ALL TIMES A GUEST AND A LEADER SIMULTANEOUSLY
Leadership Is the Art of Being a Servant
Rethinking The Use Of "Consensus"
Mediator As Teacher
The Foundation of Learning
How People Learn
Factors Affecting Perception
THE FALLACY OF RESCUING
A MEDIATOR'S ROLE IN PARTICIPANT RELATIONSHIPS
MEDIATION MEANS TOTAL PARTICIPATION
DETACHMENT AND EQUANIMITY
AS A MEDIATOR, YOU MUST BE A SIEVE, NOT A SPONGE
AS A MEDIATOR, YOU ARE THE KEEPER OF EACH PARTICIPANT'S DIGNITY
HAVE A BEGINNER'S MIND
THE CONTINUAL LEARNING CURVE
Not Knowing an Answer Is Okay
Success or Failure Is the Interpretation of an Event
Chris' Measure of Success
Carol's Measure of Success
The labels of success or failure
ASSISTING PARTIES IN CLARIFYING AND RESOLVING THEIR CONFLICT
Being One Pointed
Coping with Change
WHEN POTENTIAL RESOLUTION IS IN VIOLATION OF PUBLIC POLICY OR LAW
PART 2: THE LEGACY OF RESOLVING ENVIRONMENTAL CONFLICTS
CHAPTER 9: PRACTICING THE MEDIATION OF CONSCIENCE
COMPROMISE AND THE POINT OF BALANCE
A CURRICULUM OF COMPASSION AND JUSTICE
MEDIATION AS A GIFT IS FREE, BUT AS A TRADE HAS A COST
CHAPTER 10: RESOLUTION: DESTRUCTIVE CONFLICT BROUGHT TO A SHARED VISION
WHO ARE WE AS A CULTURE?
WHAT LEGACY DO WE WANT TO LEAVE OUR CHILDREN
VISION, GOALS, AND OBJECTIVES
WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?
CHAPTER 11: MODIFYING OUR BELIEF SYSTEMS REGARDING CHANGE
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Editor's Note for the "CRC Press" Book Series, Social-Environmental Sustainability:
There are two primary emotions: love and fear. All other emotional expressions are merely aspects of these two. Kindness, compassion, and patience are the hallmark of love, whereas anger, violence, and impatience are the stamp of fear. Thus, where unconditional love dwells, there dwells peace and contentment also, and fear cannot abide. Where fear dwells, there dwells discord and discontent also, and peace cannot abide. Conflict is a choice born out of the fear of loss, be it for one's physical life, financial security, personal identity, or coveting the possession of another. Moreover, the dynamics of conflict are essentially the same, whether interpersonal, intertribal, international, or interreligious. Strife, after all, is dependent on the notion of inequality: I'm right; you're wrong. I'm superior; you're lesser. I belong; you don't. This is mine to do with as I wish; it's not yours.
Conflict resolution is based on the art of helping people with disparate points of view find enough common ground to sheath their weapons and listen to one another for their common good. As it turns out, people agree on 80 percent of virtually everything, unbeknownst to them, and disagree on 20 percent, which becomes the sole focus of their disagreement. If, therefore, combatants can be helped to see and move toward the 80 percent agreement, the 20 percent is more easily negotiated. Ultimately, however, it is necessary for the participants to formulate a shared vision toward which to strive, one that accommodates all viewpoints to everyone's long-term benefit. Only then can the barrier between combatants dissolve into mutual respect, acceptance, and potential friendship—only then is a conflict truly resolved.
Chris Maser, Series Editor
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"Even when faced by compelling need to act in order to support the health of our planet, and simultaneously in support of our human communities and economic wellbeing, we are paralyzed by intractable environmental disputes. Only the human species saddles itself with high-conflict, low-cooperation, and maladaptive strategies and behaviors, perhaps because the stakes are so high in that our survival as a species, and that of so many other species, is at stake.
"Seasoned veterans Chris Maser and Carol Pollio take us on a visit to our planet's 21st Century frontier — effective resolution of environmental conflicts. They make a clear case for our adaptive social evolution: Transform ourselves and live. Fail to transform ourselves and die.
"In well-written, unequivocal language, they map a way forward — a pattern of thought, ethic, word, relationship mending, and action — that can only help us save our planet and, thereby, ourselves.
"I found two chapters especially noteworthy. The first, 'Social Principles of Engagement in a Sustainable Society', proposes change in thought and values that, if we internalize them, can only help us reframe our behaviors and actions and propel us towards sustainable relationships with people and nature.
The second is 'Conflict Is a Learning Partnership.' Here the authors thoroughly develop the reader's understanding of the mediator's role as an actor in the healing service to others. Too often we experience mediators wedded to urgency and process, or acting with bias for a particular outcome or participant. Maser and Pollio correctly cast the mediator's role as a fundamentally spiritual one: first as facilitator of healed relationships, then as nurturer and keeper of positive outcomes created by others.
"If you want to save the planet, read this gracefully written book."
James A. Caplan
Veteran of 30 years working with environmental conflicts,
most of it as a senior administrator for the U.S. Forest Service (Retired).
Author of The Theory and Principles of Environmental Dispute Resolution (2010) and
The Practice of Environmental Dispute Resolution (2010).
"From the 'down and dirty' (who can shout the loudest?) to the cerebral (the Law of Cosmic Unification), Maser and Pollio's Resolving Environment Conflict has something for everyone involved in negotiating, mediating, and resolving disputes. I have spent almost forty years in the conflict resolution arena and thought I knew it all until Chris and Carol forced me to look in the 'coping-mechanism' mirror only to see my own dispute resolution weaknesses staring back. A must read!"
Michael J. Bartlett
President of New Hampshire Audubon
Field Supervisor, US Fish and Wildlife Service, New England Field Office (retired)
"One of the most important challenges facing civilization is how its natural resources will be used and protected. Too often polarization and litigation cause results with which no one is truly satisfied. Enemies are made, lines are drawn and both people and the environment are degraded. Resolving Environmental Conflict explains the transformative approach toward facilitation. It shows how to help parties empower themselves to define the issues and decide the settlement on their own terms and on their own time through better understanding of one another's perspectives. The transformative approach allows a conflict's outcome to be decided solely by the participants even though resolution may not take place for some months after facilitation is complete. Inherent in the solution is a shared vision for the community without which sustainability is not possible. Beyond shared vision, this book examines notions of development, sustainability, and community and the synergism of ecology, culture and economic needs that promote a healthy environment enriching the lives of all its inhabitants."
"Resolving Environmental Conflicts is among the best books I've ever read and has made me a better person. Don't judge this book by its cover or its textbook pricing. Maser and Pollio examine the existential plight of humans striving for peace with each other over shared resources. It is a philosophical delight that pushes the reader to self-reflect, transcend his or her defense mechanisms, and empathetically see the best in others. Despite the technical title, environmental subject matter, and mediator target audience, the bulk of this book is relevant for everyone living on this planet with other humans trying to get by. I would recommend it to anyone, but $90 is too much to pay for a self-help book. If a reasonably priced paperback version is ever marketed to the masses, I definitely recommend buying it."
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