Here’s a posting for the good folk I meet for breakfast at Selma Cafe on how to be more effective environmental activists:
- Environmental work is inherently conflictual: don’t deny, avoid or be afraid of this, but think how you can creatively use conflict (in the spirit of this blog) to achieve good outcomes
- Conflict work is inevitably emotional: don’t suppress or vent your emotions but mindfully attend to them and the emotions of the other side in your environmental conflict
- Use a disciplined process to understand and handle the conflict you face. The 7 step Creative Conflict Model behind this blog (see page at top of home page) is one process discipline you could use or use the work of Bill Ury in ‘Getting to Yes’. But use a disciplined process and don’t just wing it.
- Use interest based approaches to get behind the positional stances you may face from those who oppose your environmental initiatives
- Understand value add wealth creation be it farming, manufacturing or needed services and work with those who run such activities rather than treat them as the enemy. Without them we don’t eat, live or have stuff or services
- Don’t demonize the opposition to your environmental cause. They are human, have morals, have families. Seek to understand their interests that lie behind their often rigid positions. Know yourself and don’t off your own prejudices, insecurities, anger, whatever, onto the other side
- There is always a stage in conflict where you can become creative. Good conflict handling is inherently creative, expanding solution space and going for higher level solutions that meet both sides’ interests
- If you don’t have conflict experience, seek some advice. This blog will try to provide advice or point you to specialist resources, books etc to address your particular struggle
- Learn from your mistakes: conduct an After Action Review on each stage of your campaign. See what went well, what could be better and what to do differently going forward and be prepared to admit your mistakes and learn from them.
- Avoid self righteousness: it is a natural human failing and is rampant in the environmental movement, sometimes with good reason. There are righteous folks there, but that is not enough and may get in the way
Hope these help stimulate debate in your organization, in your campaign and we would welcome added thoughts, contesting and anything that moves this forward. Good luck with your campaigns.