Director, Institute for Environmental Negotiation, University of Virginia
Interviewed by Julian Portilla, 2003
This rough transcript provides a text alternative to audio. We apologize for occasional errors and unintelligible sections (which are marked with ???).
Another example might be looking at another one our rather longer processes that was a two year consensus building process involving a citizen advisory group that was set up because they were fighting the department of transportation, who apparently had plans to create an expansion to a highway that would take some portion of a park. There were three interstate highways that were coming together at this one point that was about a mile or so in area and quite congested, and a park that was right there. After 22 meetings, during the last meeting, there had been a person who hadn't been participating regularly, but was in the group that came and said he voted to block consensus. Everyone else had supported it. To see the strength and power of the process from the people who had been meeting all this time who were saying that we are going to meet consensus, we are going to satisfy this persons needs and we're going to address our needs. We aren't going to waste our time here. By virtue of the fact that they had worked together so well, and learned from each other, and cared for each other, these people were able to make that commitment, and instead of just attacking the individual, or the people who supported him. They said, "I'm going to join this person." They addressed his concerns, and asked, "What is it that you need?" What would be effective for you? It was very powerful, more than if we had done it as facilitators. They were able to address his concern and to reach full consensus of the group, which was a very powerful moment after 22 months of going to once a month meetings, and some public meetings added on to that too.