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Volunteers wanted


We will 'pay' you with USB drive that you can keep with a powerpoint ... out the nature of the place, it quirks of wind and weather, its well-tried ways, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Volunteers wanted

Volunteers wanted
  • Are you prepared to visit your old school during
    the mid year break and give a talk on Fenner
    School courses?
  • We will pay you with USB drive that you can
    keep with a powerpoint presentation on it
  • There will be a briefing session on Monday 25 May
    1300-1400. Sandwich lunch provided if you are
    interested email Cathy.Gray_at_anu.edu.au

Lecture Outline
  • Some key issues about public participation in
    resource management
  • Global trends of greater public participation
  • Need to define participation and community
  • Role of social capital
  • Australian Landcare movement as case study of
    public participation
  • Finish if time by drawing some connections
    Landcare has with common-property system and
    learning communities theories

People dont like being told what to do! How
does we deal with attitudes like this?
  • The latest water restrictions are an Orwellian
    nightmare come true. What next? Restrictions on
    the days we are allowed to go to the toilet? I
    shall water my garden on such days as I desire!
  • Tom Levi Sydney Morning Herald 24/5/4

Why involve the community in resource management?
  • Teach me, I will forget
  • Show me I may remember
  • Involve me and I will understand
  • Chinese proverb

Value of community involvement in resource
  • Locals often have the best understanding of the
    nature of environmental problems and therefore
    are well placed to contribute well targeted ideas
    on how to address the problem (ie they are often
    best placed to act at the appropriate scale)

IUCN basic policy statement Caring for the Earth
  • Acknowledges that local people are most likely to
    care for natural resources when they maintain
    control over both their natural resources and the
    development process and in so doing are able to
    satisfy their needs.

Value of community involvement in resource
management cont
  • Involving locals gives them a sense of ownership
    in the process and therefore greater commitment
    to the resource management activities
  • Community group processes recognise the power of
    the culture in which it operates and incorporates
    local values, attitudes and world-views in
    designing action strategies

Growing international acknowledgment of the value
of community participation in environmental issues
  • Principle 10 of the Rio declaration Environmental
    issues are best handled with the participation of
    all concerned citizens, at the relevant level

Public Participation
  • More rhetorical fluff attaches to community
    than most other words in the social science
    lexicon (with the possible exception of
    empowerment). We still seem to have a romantic
    conception of community all unitary values and
  • Edwards, J., 1997. Urban Policy The Victory of
    Form over Substance?, Urban Studies, 34(5) 825

Participation can means different things in
different settings
  • As White (1994 16) notes the word
    "participation" is kaleidoscopic it changes
    colour and shape at the will of the hands in
    which it is held. And, just like the momentary
    image in the kaleidoscope, it can be very fragile
    and elusive, changing from one moment to another.
    The kaleidoscope analogy fits because
    participation is a complex and dynamic
    phenomenon, seen from the "eye of the beholder",
    and shaped by the "hand of the powerholder".
  • White, S. A., 1994, Participatory communication
    working for change and development, eds.
    Shirley A. White with K. Sadanandan Nair, Joseph
    Ascroft. Thousand Oaks, New Delhi

Public participation can be empowering
  • ideally public participation results in community
    empowerment and devolution of decision making to
    local and regional communities
  • inherent in this devolution is an acknowledgment
    of the value of local knowledge and ways of doing
    things Wisdom lies in places
  • of particular interest to geographers is the
    degree to which this local knowledge takes the
    form of reading the landscape skills that I will
    elaborate on when we come to talk about Landcare

But public participation can be tokenistic
  • governments can if they wish keep a lid on
    communities by setting up impotent processes that
    diffuse rather than harness community energies

The role of Social Capital in making public
participation work
  • Social Capital Theory developed by Putnam
    (1995), suggest that democracy cannot endure a
    lack of participation
  • Putnam describes social capital as a mechanism
    that enables participants to act together more
    effectively to pursue shared objectives, a bridge
    that enhances co-operation to serve broader
    interests (Putnam 1995, p 664-665).

Eva Cox
  • discussing the concept of social capital in an
    Australian context, describes it as the processes
    between people which establish networks, norms
    and social trust, facilitating cooperation and
    coordination for mutual benefit, what she also
    calls social glue or social fabric
  • A Truly Civil Society Eva Cox 199515

What happens when social capital is lost
  • Cox argue that as people become less involved in
    the community and withdraw from social networks
    they lose the capacity to engage in public life
  • She argues that this leads to a situation in
    which extreme opinions and an inability to
    compromise are fostered, where tolerance and
    inclusiveness are lost, where unrealistic
    assessments about what community and governments
    can achieve are developed and a sense that
    everything is out of control and other people are
    to blame is reached

Criticisms of public Participation include its
  • capacity to be dominated by interest groups
    favour middle class, articulate people
  • allow economic interests to predominate
  • diminish the decision making role of government
  • encourage the mobilisation of antagonistic
    forces (see Ronnie Harding Environmental
    Decision Making Federation Press pp. 1998

Why look at landcare?
  • a case study of social capital
  • a case study of community participation in
    resource management
  • being heralded around the world as Australias
    great contribution to managing the commons
  • has been exported to New Zealand, the
    Philippines, Iceland and South Africa, and is
    also being investigated by Kenya, Uganda,
    Tanzania and Ethiopia to name a few.

Example of the importance of social capital
  • It is about growing communities not just trees!
  • If you want one years prosperity grow grain, If
    you want ten years prosperity grow trees, If you
    want one hundred years prosperity grow people -
    Chinese proverb.
  • Quoted in a great site on Landcare

Arnalds, A. 2005 Approaches to Landcare - A
century of social conservation in Iceland Land
Degradation and Development 16 113-125
  • Better farms, was established in 2002 and is
    gradually evolving. It combines the forces of
    soil conservation, forestry, extension and nature
    conservation in aiding land users to produce
    their own property plans. It is partially adapted
    from Australian experience in participatory
    farm-planning approaches, based on a study tour
    by two Icelandic individuals p120

Landcare about valuing country
  • There is a long history of this that we can learn
  • Eg
  • Aboriginal Australia
  • Other Indigenous peoples

Reading the land
  • before you set plough to unbroken ground take
    trouble to find out the nature of the place, it
    quirks of wind and weather, its well-tried ways,
    since each spot differs in what it bears or
    rejects, one spot suits corn, another grapes, yet
    another plantations of trees and grass that needs
    no planting.
  • Virgil, The Georgics, about 30 BC

Country has many values
  • Me? Im only momentarily here. But I must do
    everything in my power to ensure that the country
    I leave to my sons is the most beautiful
    possible. For it is rich in thought, in wisdom,
    in flowers and in food
  • Jean-Marie Tjibaou, slain Kanak leader (quoted
    in Waddell 1993 67) The margin Fades
    Geographical Itineraries in a world of Islands

  • offers a radical model of community empowerment
    and involvement in resource management that could
    be applied to many other environmental issues
  • need to stress that I am not saying it is perfect
  • far from it, I am arguing that we need to learn
    from both its failures and successes  
  • the successes highlight the value of community
  • the failures highlight the barriers that often
    exist to community participation

What is landcare
  • local community action to repair land degradation
  • a grass roots voluntary movement at the brown end
    of the green spectrum
  • a group extension program (as opposed to
    traditional government based extension programs
    eg soil con)
  • a framework for delivery of government funds and
    technical aid
  • a way for the state to shift responsibility for
    land degradation to the community level (part of
    economic irrationalism, govt getting out of
    everything it can)
  • a strategic approach to land conservation issues
    demanding cooperation at scales greater than the
    individual property

What is Landcare cont.
  • an awareness raising organisation
  • a means of enhancing farmer to farmer
  • a forum for local people to discuss, learn about
    and act upon issues of common concern
  • an outlet for land users keen to improve land
  • a social focus for sharing the stresses of rural
  • a greenie or govt plot egs of both from Braidwood
  • is all of the above

Landcare needs to be seen in a historical context
  • Long history in Australia of land degradation
  • Past attitudes (eg exploitive, dominate nature,
    progress etc) played key role
  • Past government policies have fueled land

Boom - Bust cycle
  • Australian agriculture patterns of expansion and
    contraction each bust has resulted in massive
    land degradation

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Long history in Australia of land degradation
  • 1889 major problems with drifting sand led in WA
    led to the legislating of the Sand Drift Act, had
    little impact and concern was such about land
    degradation in WA that in 1901 a Royal Commission
    was established to look into land degradation of
    the states rangelands

History of land degradation
  • similar severe erosion problems of the late 1920s
    and early 1930s led to growing community concern
    and eventually led to the NSW Govt establishing
    in 1938 the Soil Conservation Service Recurring
    pattern of Public policy responses to such
    problems being after the event attempts to
    address symptoms rather than causes of this

Proportion of land in each state requiring
treatment for soil degradation in 1975
  • State of the Environment in Australia Source
    book,1986 Department Arts, Heritage and

Role of government policy
  • Requirements to improve properties
  • Focus on engineering solutions NSW Soil
    Conservation and its fleet of bulldozers
  • Drought and flood relief
  • Fertiliser subsidies

Government policies have played a major role in
creating these problems
  • Government policies of the many decades have
    encouraged land degradation. Tax concessions for
    clearing native vegetation drought assistance
    schemes closer settlement schemes inappropriate
    subdivision of land ill-conceived badly designed
    and poorly managed irrigation schemes all are
    examples of policy driven constraints to
  • Andrew Campbell 1992 National Landcare
    Facilitators Finals Report

As social scientists working in developing
countries have long pointed out land degradation
is as much about social processes as physical
ones Blaikie, 198550 The Political economy of
soil erosion in developing countries, Longman.
The technical scientific model of addressing land
degradation has clearly failed
  • The current extent of land degradation in
    Australia highlights that the technical
    scientific model of addressing land degradation
    has clearly failed.
  • The main reasons this approach has not worked is
    that it has ignored so many of the cultural
    factors that need to be addressed.

Landcares potential Landcare has enormous
potential to address the land degradation crisis
because it addresses many of these social
processes. It is based on the principle of
individual and group ownership of land
degradation. This is a recognition of the fact
that the necessary remedies will not materialise
unless landowners are committed to ensuring that
they occur.
Huge growth in landcare groups
What motivates landcare groups to form
  • Major environmental problems
  • Should be noted that these problems have been
    created by a combination of bad government policy
    and inappropriate land uses

Role of salinity
  • As Campbell and Seipen, (199429) noted it is no
    coincidence that many early Landcare groups
    formed in areas with rising saline watertables.
  • When you have a rising tide of salty ground
    water beneath your farm, it is obvious that (a)
    you need to act, and (b) you cannot solve the
    problem unless other people act, so that
    cooperative efforts at a catchment or district
    level are essential.

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What do Landcare groups do?
  • Have a committee which organises activities to
    raise awareness of issues related to the use of
    land and water resources.
  • Issues of concern are diverse and vary from
    region to region.
  • They include, weeds, feral animals, water
    quality, soil erosion, soil structure decline,
    salinity and rising water tables.
  • Responses to these issues are equally diverse as
    a result of local environmental and cultural

A revolution in the bush
  • An indication of the magnitude of the cultural
    change Landcare has brought is the number of such
    community forums now being held.
  • Most Landcare groups meet one night a month, so
    (based on the figure of 3,000 active groups) on
    any given evening there are about 100 meetings
    being held in rural Australia to discuss local
    environmental issues.

Reading the landscape
  • Each group would hold on average about two field
    days a year, on any given day in Australia there
    would be about 15 field days being held.
  • Such field days typically consist of groups
    walking around each others farms to develop (to
    use the Landcare jargon) land literacy skills.

Reading the landscape cont.
  • These reading the landscape walks teach
    landowners to read the warning signs of emerging
    environmental damage and to share ideas on how to
    address these problems.
  • An important aspect of walking each others farms
    and being open about land degradation problems is
    the mutual accountability (Lockie, 19958) that
    it brings.

Ownership of problems
  • Landcare is based on the principle of individual
    and group ownership of land degradation. This is
    a recognition of the fact that the necessary
    remedies will not materialise unless landowners
    are committed to ensuring that they occur.
  • Cows in your gully story

Emerging Landcare dilemmas
Scaling up landcare?
Emerging Landcare dilemmas
  • Scientist and farmers often lack the knowledge
    about what needs to be done in order to solve the
    problems they have identified
  • when solutions are known the costs are often
    too expensive
  • know what the problems are but don't have the
    resources to do much about it!

Dilemmas cont. The limits of local action
  • By and large participatory approaches have been
    highly successful at the local level.
  • However only so much can be done at the local
  • Participatory approaches have not been very
    successful in bringing about broader scale change
    or in cultivating participatory approaches at
    higher levels within the various institutions,
    policy processes and systems of bureaucracy and
    government that must ultimately support local

Dilemmas cont. Not addressing the wider social
  • The emphasis has been placed on changing the
    ethics, attitudes and knowledge of individual
    landholders as the primary solution to land
  • The implicit assumption is that it is the
    individual landholder and not the wider social
    structures that need to change.

Dilemmas cont. The need to take a wider view
  • It is not enough to look locally for the
    solutions to land degradation.
  • The causes of land degradation and the barriers
    to its remediation lie at all levels from the
    local to the global.
  • There is little incentive in the globalised
    market place for the protection of the natural
    resource base, and at regional, state and
    Commonwealth levels there remain significant
    policy and institutional barriers.

What are the characteristics of a learning
Characteristics of a learning society
  • utilises a wealth of information
  • finds better ways to disseminate and utilise
  • emphasises integrative and probabilistic
  • emphasises values as much as facts
  • is critical of science and technology
  • combines theory with practice
  • is consciously anticipatory
  • believes that change is possible

Characteristics of a learning society cont.
  • examines outcomes to learn from them
  • develops institutions to foster systemic and
    futures thinking
  • institutionalises a practice of analysing future
  • reorientates education toward social learning
  • supports research
  • maintains openness and encourages citizen
  • (Milbrath Envisioning a sustainable society
    learning our way out. New York, State University
    of New York Press 198995-113)

What makes common-property resource systems
work or fail?
Making common property systems (CPS) work
  • need established relationships, trust and
    commitment - and hence the difference between the
    group house from hell and the successful ones
  • need shared understandings of the CPS that come
    out of point 1 - clearly in the lack of such
    understandings no communal system is going to work

Making CPS work
  • management systems that rely on local ecological
    practice ie are aware of local natural cycles and
    possible unpredictable events and which produce
    social mechanisms that make the human-resource
    relationship more resilient
  • clearly defined boundaries of the resources and
    the participants able to exploit them - need to
    know who is in and out of the system and equally
    what resources are in and out

Making CPS work
  • transparency - ie it is possible for other
    members to observe that other are obeying (or not
    obeying agreed rules) - Japanese garbage eg
  • monitoring systems (that are made possible by the
    previous point) these usually need to be self

Making CPS work
  • graduated sanctions for those found out by
    monitoring systems to be breaking the rules, need
    an effective set of sanctions that provide
    effective and appropriate punishments that are
    accepted by the community involved - if not
    accepted will not be upheld
  • internal conflict resolution systems to deal with
    those who have broken the agreed rules

Landcare addressed 1-6 not 7-8
  • Trust and commitment
  • Shared understandings of the CPS
  • Use local knowledge
  • Clearly defined boundaries
  • Transparency of rules
  • Monitoring systems
  • Gradated sanctions
  • Internal conflict resolutions systems
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