Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

It is rare to find government officials and citizens working together collaboratively to solve problems. However, for this objective I read an article titled "Facilitating Collaborative Planning in Hawaii's Natural Area Reserves", by Cynthia Josayma (http://bit.ly/aJtW0R). It details a successful conflict resolution process that was undertaken by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DOFAW) and Hawaiian pig hunters.

The conflict was over land use policies that were interfering with the activities of the pig hunters. Fortunately for both the Hawaiian government and the pig hunters "the state of Hawaii actively supports the use of conflict resolution specialists, for a wide-range of dispute
issues. Hawaii was one of five states that received the first federal
funds in the mid-1980s, to develop an alternate forum to the court
system, for resolving conflicts." According to
Josayma, the use of this conflict resolution structure "enabled a very diverse and quite polarized group of individuals to
be able to come to a series of agreements that were acceptable to all
members."

In my hometown of Buffalo, NY and in many other localities across the nation, many potentially positive changes never occur because various constituencies fail to come to an agreement over the best coarse of action. Too often the opposing sides in the debate resort to lawsuits and the courts to decide outcomes, which precludes any kind of resolution that takes into account the interests of both sides.

As I develop ReBuffalo.org (http://bit.ly/dlqnlt
), a website designed to foster online collaboration and problem solving, I hope to bring successful in person conflict resolution practices to an online environment. Instead of the prevailing combative communication that so often prevails in blogs, ReBuffalo.org will help users find "overlapping agreement in their knowledge." Users will then be able to take these areas of agreement and move forward with projects and programs that will improve the quality of live for the citezens of Buffalo.

This article has also introduced me to an organization called "The Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution" (http://www.natlctr4adr.org/). Josayma states that this organization "has been designing new models for public involvement, using
a 'conflict-anticipation' future planning model, to alleviate the need
for 'conflict resolution' which entails having to work back in history
to unfold where things went wrong, before effective future planning can
begin." Perhaps this organization will provide me with some valuable best practices in dispute resolution that I can use as I design ReBuffalo.org.

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