Earth’s resources and access to them are at the root of many conflicts against peace of mind and competing actions taken on the land. Resources for food, shelter, water, space, distribution corridors, security, civilization, and self- enhancement use the environment or affect it in some way. Peoples’ choices lead to conflict. Obtaining needed and desired resources led to human expansion, over-exploitation, pollution, human servitude, wars of protection, wars of conquest, and personal angst. We may never truly attain peace, but we can work toward conflict management and civil behaviors. If we cannot influence nations, we can influence our associations, and ourselves.
Follow 10 civil steps to be more at peace.
- Acknowledge that problems exist.
- Discuss directly with those in conflict using open minds.
- Listen, learn, and understand together about the roots and symptoms of conflicts considering all six sides of my decision-making hexagon:
- physical and biological processes;
- economics, money and trade;
- individual, personal and psychological beliefs;
- group norms of culture and society;
- formalized laws and politics;
- administration including skills, and technology.
- Review issues as close to the source as possible – in the forest, at home, around the office, in the country – where the issues and opportunities can be experienced.
- Focus on interests of humans and land; not on positions.
- Express your interests and understand interests of others.
- Seek outcomes that benefit most.
- Listen, hear, and learn even more.
- Agree on thoughts and behaviors that can be changed. Explore differences more clearly.
- Live up to your agreements and cycle back through the process when needed by practicing the Rotary 4-way Test for what we think say and do:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Everyone is correct from their point of view. Changing minds and behaviors is not easy. Civil discourse makes greater progress toward peaceful treatment of the environment and humans.
Del Benson is a Professor and wildlife specialist for Extension at Colorado State University. His work is with wildlife and recreation enterprises on private land, conservation education, hunter attitudes and behavior, public input to resource management decision making and campus environmental management. He had conducted research on land management for wildlife and recreation in Colorado, Morocco and Honduras. His 1999 book Wildlife Stewardship and Recreation on Private Lands received The Wildlife Award for Conservation Education. Another book of his, Living With Nature and Wildlife: Doing Our Part, is a primer for students and teachers to learn, in simple terms, how the environment works and how people can do their part to manage it.