Monday, October 6, 2008

Deliberative Democracy Forum on Climate Change

On Monday, September 29th, I attended the final session of the Deliberative Democracy Forum on Climate Change at the U of A. Event organizer, David Kahane (U of A, Pol Sci Dept.) explained what had happened over the three-day event. By all accounts, it was an incredible opportunity to hear from people of many different backgrounds- politicians, people in the oil and gas industry, people from the left, people from the right... all together in one room talking about the environment and there was no bloodshed!

It gave me lots to think about--- especially in the area of engaging the public in the decision-making process by allowing them to own the problem in all its complexities. There will be no easy answers to many of the problems we face, but if we agree to listen to each other and find some common ground, we can move forward.

At my table, I encouraged the organizers to keep children in the equation. Most children I speak with are incredibly aware of the environmental issues and, in fact, are years ahead of the adults. As the ones who will inherit whatever mess we leave behind, children deserve to be heard. They had already thought of engaging youth (high school and university), but hadn't really thought about younger children. We spoke about how to engage different cultures and make the conversation accessible for all (not just the university-educated.)

For more info on the sessions and where it will go next, visit: http://climateconversation.ning.com

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