Also See: Table of Contents, Editor's Note, Endorsements, and Purchase Information
"There are a number of schools of thought in the mediation/facilitation world about, well, just about everything:
•Should a mediator be trained in the topic they are mediating or not? Some argue 'no,' what one needs to know is how to bridge human divides, and the topic itself is not central. Some argue 'yes,' especially when the subject matter is especially complex; that without topical expertise, one will likely miss opportunities for agreement.
•Is a successful mediation about the results or the process? Those who argue the former often suggest that whatever feathers are ruffled will smooth out with time, especially if the results are desirable to all. Those who argue the latter suggest that without healing relationships through the process, any agreement may be too fragile to last.
"On these and a host of other complex dichotomies, Chris Maser and Lynette de Silva seem to answer simply, 'yes'—all sides have value, and the dichotomies are mostly false. Perhaps because of their vast experience, both starting as scientists, then evolving to roles as mediators/teachers/trainers/researchers, their contribution with this work is not to advocate for any particular school of thought, but rather for the value in all sides of each complex setting, to be appreciated rather like the facets of a diamond.
"Maser and de Silva weave together a number of important strands—environmental sustainability, resource conflict management, and the art of teaching—any of which could be a book by itself. Their contribution is not only in each of the topics—each of which is handled thoughtfully and with nuance—but more so in the linkages between each strand, which seems to be where they find the sizzle. Just read these sentences, so emblematic of their approach:
'The aim of mediation, as we practice it, is to help parties become better human beings by stimulating growth in personal consciousness, thereby transforming human character, which results in parties finding genuine solutions to their real problems. In addition, the private, non-judgmental, non-coercive character of such mediation can provide disputants a safe haven in which to humanize themselves despite the disputants having started out as fierce adversaries. This safety helps people feel and express varying degrees of understanding and concern for one another, as they grow toward greater, mutual understanding and compassion, despite their disagreement.'
"The reader finds this exquisite blend of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual worlds throughout. This wonderful work is part description of some of the world's most seemingly intractable problems, part ethical polemic, part how-to manual, and, importantly, part how-to-teach manual. The authors are not satisfied with simply describing what's wrong with our relationships with each other and with our environment, nor do they stop when you personally are committed to action, but they will also give you both the motivation and the tools to help others learn how to do their parts in healing these relationships as well.
"This is an important, readable, thoughtful book. As they suggest, 'ways will be explored through teaching and practice that will enable society to replace non-constructive patterns and incorporate more meaningful connections'—aspirations that are sorely needed for our difficult times, and these are the guides to help us on our way."
Aaron T. Wolf
Professor of Geography, Oregon State University
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
SECTION 1: MEDIATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONFLICTS
CHAPTER 1: APPROACHES TO MEDIATION
FORKS IN THE METAPHORICAL ROAD OF MEDIATION
THE MEDIATION PROCESS, AS CHRIS PRACTICES IT
The Three-part Mediation Process
CONFLICT MANAGEMENT, AS LYNETTE TEACHES IT
It is a Practical Course with Multidisciplinary Applications
The Four Stages of Water Conflict Management Framework
Discussion Questions from the Mediation Process, as Chris Practices it
Discussion Questions from the Mediation Process, as Lynette Teaches it
CHAPTER 2: CONFLICT AND COOPERATION ARE CHOICES
WHAT IS A "RIGHT"?
THE EQUALITY OF DIFFERENCES
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS PREDICATED ON HUMAN EQUALITY
PERCEIVED RESOURCE SCARCITY ACCENTUATES ENVIRONMENTAL CONFLICT
RESOURCE OVEREXPLOITATION AND THE FEAR OF IMAGINARY LOSS
CONFLICT IS A MISTAKE
CONFLICT IS USUALLY BASED ON THE MISJUDGMENT OF APPEARANCES
CONFLICT IS MERELY A PRODUCT OF OUR MUTUAL CHOICES
Water Conflicts and Cooperation Between Nations That Share Water Resources
Water Conflicts and Cooperation Within a Nation
Conflicts and Cooperation: Me and You
CHAPTER 3: CREATING MEANINGFUL COMMUNICATION
EXPLORING COMPLEX SYSTEMS
EXPLORING GROUP INTERACTIONS
EXPLORING INTERPERSONAL INTERACTIONS
EXPLORING INTRAPERSONAL INTERACTIONS
CHAPTER 4: THE GLOBAL COMMONS AND THE SOCIAL PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABILITY
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 — You See What You Look for and Focus on
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 Social-Environmental Outcomes for all Generations
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 Eternal, Present Moment Is All There Is
CHAPTER 5: THE BIOPHYSICAL PRINCIPLES OF SUSTAINABILITY
THE PARADOX OF LIFE
AIR: THE BREATH OF LIFEŅAND OF DEATH
SOIL: THE GREAT PLACENTA
WATER: A CAPTIVE OF GRAVITY
BIODIVERSITY: THE VARIETY OF LIFE
SUNLIGHT: THE SOURCE OF GLOBAL ENERGY
THE WATERBED PRINCIPLE
UNDERSTANDING THE LAW OF COSMIC UNIFICATION
THE INVIOLABLE 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 Functional Performance
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 6: 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 7: 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 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
ASSISTING PARTIES IN CLARIFYING AND RESOLVING THEIR CONFLICT
WHEN POTENTIAL RESOLUTION IS IN VIOLATION OF PUBLIC POLICY OR LAW
SECTION II: THE LEGACY OF RESOLVING ENVIONMENTAL CONFLICTS
CHAPTER 9: PRACTICING 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 TRANSFORMED INTO 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, while impatience, anger, and violence and are the stamp of fear. Thus, where unconditional love dwells, there dwells also peace, contentment, and harmony—both inner and outer, whereas fear cannot endure. Where fear dwells, there is discord, discontent, and conflict, wherein peace cannot be found.
Conflict—like cooperation—is a choice, but one born out of one's fear of being out of control, whether of one's physical life, financial security, personal identity, or coveting someone else's possessions, such as land and its recourses. 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—hands off. I want what you have, so give it to me or I'll take it.
The challenges we humans face in today's world are the result of unconscious, competitive, conflict-prone social conditioning, which begins at birth and ends at death. There is, however, no such thing as "right" or "wrong" in the universe, which is an all-encompassing relationship based on eternal creation and novelty, wherein all change is impersonal, neutral, and irreversible, despite the outcome.
Social conditioning, on the other hand, creates a myriad of perspectives that, in turn, spawn infinite, personal perceptions (human values), each accepted as "the truth"—from a certain point of view. The paradox is that everyone is "right" from his or her vantage point, which creates a venue of "right, right, and different." So, the question (and the heart of conflict resolution) becomes: How do we negotiate the differences, while honoring one another's perceptions?
This being the case, resolving a conflict is based on the art of helping people, with disparate points of view, find enough common ground to ease their fears, sheath their weapons, and listen to one another for their common good, which ultimately translates into social-environmental sustainability for all generations. As it turns out, people agree on virtually 80 percent of everything—unbeknownst to them—and disagree on 20 percent, which becomes the sole focus of their dispute. If, therefore, disputants can be helped to see and move toward the predominance of their agreement, the differences ensconced in their quarrel are more easily negotiated. Ultimately, however, it is necessary for the participants to formulate a shared vision toward which to strive, one that accommodates the personalized perceptions to everyone's long-term benefit. Only then can the barriers among disputants dissolve into mutual respect, acceptance, and potential friendship—only then is a conflict truly resolved.
Chris Maser, Series Editor
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"Lynette de Silva's contribution brings to this new edition up-to-date educational practice for both professional development and the college classroom. The philosophical underpinnings for resolving environmental disputes benefit from the practical guidelines in this book on how to translate theory into educational practice. Two very different experts have collaborated on this important treatise."
Dr. Susan Eriksson
Independent Educational Consultant, Eriksson Associates, LLC
"Whether you are a student new to the process of resolving conflicts, or an experienced practitioner, this book will speak to you with its practical examples, its consideration for all involved with a focus on a healing approach, and its different perspectives from the authors. The reader will certainly come away with a better sense of what leads to conflict, and the path forward for a sustained and peaceful collaboration."
Graduate of the Water Conflict Management and Transformation Program
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.
"Resolving a conflict is based on the art of helping people, with disparate points of view, find enough common ground to ease their fears, sheath their weapons, and listen to one another for their common good, which ultimately translates into social-environmental sustainability for all generations. Written in a clear, concise style, Resolving Environmental Conflicts: Principles and Concepts, Third Edition is a valuable, solution-oriented contribution that explains environmental conflict management.
"This book provides an overview of environmental conflicts, collaborative skills, and universal principles to assist in re-thinking and acting toward the common good, integrates a variety of new real-world conflicts as a foundation for building trust, skills, consensus, and capacity, and explains pathways to collectively construct a relationship-centric future, fostering healthier interactions with one another and the planet.
"The new edition illustrates how to successfully mediate actual environmental disputes and how to teach conflict resolution at any level for a wide variety of social-environmental situations. It adds a new chapter on water conflicts and resolutions, providing avenues to healthy, sustainable, and effective outcomes and provides new examples of conflicts caused by climate change with discussion questions for clear understanding.
"Land-use planners, urban planners, field biologists, and leaders and participants in collaborative environmental projects and initiatives will find this book to be an invaluable resource. University students in related courses will also benefit, as will anyone interested in achieving greater social-environmental sustainability and a more responsible use of our common natural resources for themselves and their children."
Environmental Peacebuilding Newsletter
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