Resolving Environmental Conflicts, Second Edition: 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Resolving Environmental Conflicts, Second Edition

By Chris Maser, Carol A. Pollio

© 2011 – CRC Press

271 pages

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pub: 2011-07-12
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True progress toward an ecologically sound environment and a socially just culture will be initially expensive in money and effort. The longer we wait, however, the more disastrous the environmental condition will become, the more disputes will arise as a result of our declining quality of life, and the more expensive and difficult the necessary social changes will be. The second edition of a bestseller, Resolving Environmental Conflicts demonstrates how to practice the type of conflict resolution that not only settles a dispute but also heals the people.

Once the consultants and mediators leave, the work must go on. This second edition covers the basic transformative concepts vital for resolving environmental conflicts. It includes discussions of the inviolate biophysical principles, how the English language is changing, as well as the critical principles of social behavior. It also examines new dynamics in making decisions along with the effects of the younger generations shifting their interests from nature-oriented interest to technologically oriented interests and their subsequent lack of understanding the importance of the natural environment to a sustainable society.

No biological shortcuts, technological quick fixes, or political rhetoric can mend what is broken. Dramatic, fundamental change is necessary if we are really concerned with bettering the quality of life. It is not a question of can we change or can't we, but one of will we change or won't we. Change is a choice, a choice of individuals reflected in the collective of society and mirrored in the landscape throughout the generations. Considerably more than a "how to" directive, this book examines the "whys" of the mediation process and broadens the knowledge base by providing the philosophical underpinnings of "a new environmental responsibility."


From the "down and dirty" (who can shout the loudest?) to the cerebral (the Law of Cosmic Unification), Maser and Pollio's Resolving Environment Conflict has something for everyone involved in negotiating, mediating and resolving disputes. I have spent almost forty years in the conflict resolution arena and thought I knew it all until Chris and Carol forced me to look in the "coping mechanism" mirror only to see my own dispute resolution weaknesses staring back. A must read!

—Mr. Michael J. Bartlett, President of New Hampshire Audubon and retired Field Supervisor, US Fish and Wildlife Service New England Field Office

Seasoned veterans Chris Maser and Carol Pollio take us on a visit to our planet’s 21st Century frontier—effective resolution of environmental conflicts. They make a clear case for our adaptive social evolution: Transform ourselves and live. Fail to transform ourselves and die. … In well-written, unequivocal language, they map a way forward—a pattern of thought, ethic, word, relationship mending, and action—that can only help us save our planet and, thereby, ourselves … If you want to save the planet, read this gracefully written book. Onward to the healing frontier!

—James A. "Cap" Caplan, veteran of 30 years working with environmental conflict, senior administrator for the U.S. Forest Service, and author of The Theory and Principles of Environmental Dispute Resolution and The Practice of Environmental Dispute Resolution

Praise for the First Edition:

This book is very readable and also offers additional valuable references for facilitators as well as those immersed in environmental conflicts.

Environmental Network News, January/February 1996

Maser's experience has proven that the facilitation process works best at the local level.

FORUM For Applied Research and Public Policy

Table of Contents


Approaches to Mediation

Mediation at the Crossroads

A Brief Look at the Mediation Process We Practice It

Conflict is a Choice

What Is A "Right"?

The Equality of Differences

Environmental Justice Is Predicated On Human Equality

Perceived Resource Scarcity Accentuates Environmental Conflict

Resource Overexploitation: A Matter of Perceived Loss

Conflict is a Mistake

Conflict is Usually Based on the Misjudgment of Appearances

Biophysical Principles of Sustainability

The Waterbed Principle

Understanding the Law of Cosmic Unification

The Inviolate Biophysical Principles

Social Principles of Sustainability

The Paradox of Life

Air: The Breath of Life-And Of Death

Soil: The Great Placenta

Water: A Captive of Gravity

Biodiversity: The Variety of Life

Sunlight: The Source of Global Energy

Human Population: A Matter of Gender Equality

How the Commons Usufruct Law Arose

The Precursor of Today's Environmental Conflicts

Social Principles of Engagement in a Sustainable Society

The Human Equation

A Child's Gift

We Take Our Family With Us

Dysfunctional Family Dynamics Lead To Ongoing Destructive


Homeostasis Is Designed To Hide Dysfunction

Boundaries, The Silent Language

Coping Mechanisms: Unconscious Thoughts That Manifest As Regonizable Behaviors

The Capacity For Rational Thought

Everyone Is Right From Their Point of View

Acceptance of Circumstances Offers the Choices of What Might Be

Communication: The Interpersonal Element

Language as a Tool

The Use of Silence In Communication

The Need to Be Heard

The Basic Elements of Communication

Changes in the Children's Oxford Dictionary

Nature Deficit Disorder in Children

Barriers to Communication

Inability to Transfer Experiences from One Situation to Another

The Process Is The Decision

Faith in the Process is Belief in the Outcome

The Primacy of Process

Perception is Truth; Facts Are Relative

Reframing the Issue

Conflict Is a Learning Partnership

A Mediator Is At All Times a Guest And A Leader Simultaneously

The Fallacy of Rescuing

A Mediator's Role in Participant Relationships

Mediation Means Total Participation

Detachment and Equanimity

As A Mediator, You Must Be A Sieve, Not A Sponge

As A Mediator, You Are The Keeper Of Each Participant's Dignity

Have A Beginner's Mind

Being Oneself

The Continual Learning Curve

Practicing the Mediation of Conscience

Compromise and the Point of Balance

A Curriculum of Compassion and Justice

Mediation as a Gift is Free, But as a Trade Has a Cost

Resolution: Social-Environmental Conflict Brought To A Shared Vision

Who Are We As A Culture?

What Legacy Do We Want To Leave Our Children?

Vision, Goals, and Objectives

Modifying Our Belief Systems Regarding Change

About the Authors

Chris Maser is an Author and Consultant in Corvallis, Oregon.

Carol A. Pollio is a Consultant and Professor at American Public University, Amherst, Massachusetts.

About the Series

Social Environmental Sustainability

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Environmental
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / General
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Botany