a. Do so for their perspectives, for their interests, and for their tools.
b. Ask: Who are the stakeholders?
i. Go beyond the financial stakeholders or stockholders.
ii. Include everyone who affects, or is affected by, the policy under consideration.
c. Remember Charles Peirce’s idea: science is the work of a community, not of an individual.
d. Make concept maps, and use other kinds of visualizations of the problems.
i. This is a way of utilizing a broad range of tools. Don’t just use the tools others tell you are relevant; include the arts and the sciences alike.
ii. Drawing and sketching pictures will help you to see better. As Louis Agassiz said, “the pencil is one of the best eyes.” It is often better than a camera.
iii. Music, literature, poetry, and the visual arts may be just as helpful as the tools offered by STEM fields and policy-making professions like law.
iv. If you include the arts, you wind up including the artists; similarly, if you exclude the arts, you exclude the wisdom and insight of the artists.
v. Include ordinary daily practices. Learn to fish, even if you don’t plan to fish. Hike in the woods, even if you don’t like the outdoors. These are, in a way, practices of paying attention to the world.
e. Include other voices and texts in the conversation, not just the shareholders, but all the stakeholders.
f. Define “stakeholders” as broadly as you can. Include a community across generations. Include the departed and the not-yet-born if possible.
i. Traditions might be full of wisdom, so don’t ignore them, especially if they are specific to a place. Traditions may be inarticulate wisdom that is tested by time.
ii. Plan for seven generations. I sometimes think of this as the difference between planting those crops you will harvest this year and planting hardwood trees so that they will be old-growth trees long after you are dead. Humans – and other species – need both kinds of plants.
|Bear scat along a salmon river, Katmai Preserve, Alaska|
2) Second, fill your toolbox—and your community’s toolbox—with bear poop. This is an inside reference my students will understand by the end of the semester, but I'll fill you in briefly: I take the time when I am in the wild to look at animal scat, because it is often a picture of what food is available to the animals, and that, in turn, is a picture of the problems the environment is facing. Paying attention to scat over time gives you a long-term picture of changes to the environment. Poop is a tool that is free, that is right in front of you, and that is easy to overlook as unimportant or distasteful. Bear poop that is full of salmon bones tells me one story; bear poop that is full of berries tells me another. I don't literally fill my toolbox with bear poop, but paying attention to negligible things like bear poop gives me new tools I wouldn't have otherwise. What does this mean for us?
3) Third, have what Peirce calls “regulative ideals”
4) Fourth, don’t expect perfection
5) Fifth, do expect growth, and strive to cultivate good things. This is the work of ethics.
6) Sixth, do expect to be part of a community that continues to work on the problems for a long time.
7) And seventh, don’t give up!