Presentation on theme: "Working with stakeholders and informing the science for energy decisions Or at least why stakeholders should play a bigger role and how (should) ecologists."— Presentation transcript:
Working with stakeholders and informing the science for energy decisions Or at least why stakeholders should play a bigger role and how (should) ecologists and environmental managers play a bigger role?
Dialogue has been on the decision agenda for a very long time
Now there are so many of us we can’t all be involved at once! So our decision making systems need to mature. Some are not convinced we started off right!
We are at a cross-roads in our dialogue and decision processes. There are tensions between participatory and traditional elected democratic decision making. Environmental management and science also needs to move on in terms of how it plays a role.
We need to work with people We need more at a local level not just policy We need methods not policy statements We need to build peoples understanding and play a positive role or be persecuted.
Ensure our role is understood and provides positive support
Challenges of involving stakeholders in energy because currently as a nation we are focused on the ‘species’ not the ‘ecology’? The wind debate; the nuclear debate; the energy from waste debate;…… Where is the energy debate? Local communities are ready for a mature debate, are we?
Some of the challenges: Policy in isolation of local engagement. Too often starts from top, not from local discussion upwards. Tendency to use science to tell not inform (we know, you don’t). Such that we communicate the science as a set of messages, rather than building a common language and using science to inform debate. Strategy is set by a directive or policy and then ecologists and environmental managers just focus on specific science of delivery (e.g. EIA’s) Lots of what not to do, not enough how to do it. The constant splitting up of the debate between organisation /department functions
Need to think about innovative ways of working which join up, from local to policy. Ref the Cambrians Ecosystem Services discussion Ref CCATCH Stories of Change Ref participatory auditing in African marine fisheries Ref citizen science Ref community energy projects - Valleys hydro-power Ref Lightfoot We need a lot more of this!
Basics of engagement: Define the system and context Confirm and clarify the ‘boundaries’ of the engagement Stakeholder mapping and analysis Design the process Start the discussion Learn from it and start to then study what is actually needed. The hypothesis for science to answer or investigate is set by the debate Develop the debate Reach consensus (not the same as a agreement!!)
Lets be realistic Science will not make the decision e.g.GM That’s a mix of science, philosophy, culture, values, religion, etc etc BUT this does not mean it should not play more of a role….. Politics may be trying but it is often reacting to public opinion based on visual effects, not dialogue to understand the causes of problems; starting nationally not locally; and creating frameworks without any delivery method. Is it time for ecologists and environmental managers to step up to the mark?
What is our role? Are we here to survey? Or help find ecological solutions? Is it time to move from negative to positive role? Can we apply permaculture type principles more effectively in our work? – People in their ecosystem.
The challenge……. Lets reframe how we set the hypothesis Lets reframe how we have debates Lets think in a systems way Lets use our skills properly and not just focus on ‘species’ alone Lets re-consider our role in challenging and informing future decisions ( so that they balance science, politics’ culture, etc and are not just politics alone ) The future is dialogue and a systems approach The approach is a shift from negative to positive The challenge is who and when
Some first steps Build engagement into our toolkit Recognise people as part of the ecological system Lead the thinking and practice of engagement of people in an ecosystem approach Build and support better systems thinking Think and start more locally.
Work together with people in an integrated way, throughout the decision making levels, Define the problem’s causes with change conversations Then use scientific study to answer the needs for information to inform decisions where it can. Lets use our skills and start the energy debate, local to national (not interest and national led)!