Dead Poets

6 thoughts on “Dead Poets”

  1. Well said, Rob. Feels to me that in my world of river & fisheries conservation, views on lots of issues (impacts of farming, fish stocking, fish predators etc) are becoming ever-more polarised, with nought gained. My American friend, John Zablocki, taught me a fundamental lesson in the need to “reframe the debate”, to see the needs of the “other” side and to make ground for both through that process.

  2. Brings to mind that Thomas Dewar quote – ‘Minds are like parachutes – they only work if they are open’.
    Also related – if you haven’t already, read ‘Framespotting’ by Alison and Laurence Matthews –

  3. Rob

    Its a very interesting balance to achieve. Do you need to have vision, ambition and agitators to help shift the debate? Ultimately however someone needs to get on an do something and entrenched positions cause gridlock.

    I am a forester and at the first estate I worked at forestry and game keeping ‘didn’t get along’. This lead to un-thinned dark woodlands that were poor for timber, wildlife and game. By trying to understand the position of the game keepers we started thinning the woodlands bringing them back to life. Replicate this situation across the country in this and other scenarios and you can see how crucial compromise and understanding are to land management.

  4. Compromising is ok in a stable system, but the pendulum has gone so far into the ‘bleed resources dry’ area that eco-systems are failing. Meeting half way will not change much and urgent unilateral action and legislation is needed to control the profiteers.

  5. As a professional facilitator for many years, and an instinctive one for far longer, framing that encourages meaningful exploration of many perspectives on a theme and the involvement of systemic thinking is something I have seen work time and again. This type of process reduces risk, helps people make better decisions, and co-deliver better outcomes. In my experience these significant conversations need to be convened, hosted and supported with purpose, they don’t just happen. The subject and context is complex, and can’t be explored thoroughly in an afternoon or day or a month…..
    There is pressure to reach conclusions too soon, without having really looked outside the box (or having stayed in a box that’s too small, or for too short a time).

    It’s easy to regard people with entrenched views as barriers to deliberation, perhaps because they are perceived as bullies and won’t listen, or are show offs, too critical. They aren’t difficult people, they’re essential people to gather in – otherwise we risk losing their potential for leadership, energy, enthusiasm, providing and analysing information. Ditto those who may appear passive-aggressive, their positive potential is too important to discount.

    I’m all for more facilitators, but what we really need is truly enlightened conveners!

  6. Landscape scale strategic planning should be encouraged and led by landscape architects with an understanding of landscape urbanism, who as a profession have the greatest understanding of how diverse systems link together, and can be a mediator to bring all the other more partisan stakeholders together. For example regarding our uplands we often hear how important grouse shooting is to the ‘local economy’, that may be so on occasion but a landscape architect would go further and take into consideration the long term effects on soil fertility, biodiversity, erosion, flooding and local and wider economy and adaptability to climate change. Our landscape would look very different but would function far better in my opinion.

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