Transforming the Culture of Environmental Decision-Making

Registration cost to attend – £50
Date – Tuesday 29th August
Timings – 09.30-16.30
Venue – Dalhousie Building, UoD
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Culture of Environmental Decision-Making“Creating space for a transdisciplinary dialogue amongst those working on understanding and promoting transformative changes in environmental decision-making.”

Abstract

Many have argued that environmental management needs to become more participatory, more adaptive and more systemic. This entails transformative changes in decision-making processes: however achieving this is easier said than done.  A particular problem seems to be changing the culture or framings which shape environmental management.  Such pre-existing ways of working and thinking often prove very ‘sticky’ as they interact to resist change.

This session aims to tackle this challenge head on, by bringing together academics and practitioners who already have experience of studying or enabling change.  We will use carefully facilitated discussion to identify common themes and deepen understanding of strategies and approaches that can facilitate change. We are especially interested to compare experiences from different domains or target systems, e.g. freshwater, marine systems, protected species management, different habitats.

Our aim is share experiences in order to identify common themes and insights.  By providing space for transdisciplinary dialogue we will deepen understanding of how to design and transform the culture of environmental decision-making.  The main output will be a multi-author report, complemented by articles in peer networks and social media. The potential for an academic paper will also be discussed.

Background and rationale:  Innovation and transformation are widely agreed as essential if we are to safeguard natural systems and support societal well-being.  Across a variety of domains and disciplines, critics have argued that sustainable environmental management needs to become more participatory, more adaptive and more systemic.  However, this is easier said than done.  A particular problem seems to be changing the culture or framings which shape management.  Individual framings, organisational and sectoral cultures are all known to have pervasive effects on assumptions, expectations and actions. Pre-existing ways of working and thinking often prove very ‘sticky’ as they interact to resist change.

This session aims to tackle this challenge head on, by bringing together individuals who already have experience of considering and enabling change for sustainability transformations.  We will use carefully facilitated discussion to identify common themes and deepen understanding of strategies and approaches that can facilitate change. We conceptualise “environment” quite broadly and are interested to learn from and compare experiences from different domains or target systems, e.g. freshwater, marine systems, protected species management, different habitats.

Aim: To enable a transdisciplinary dialogue amongst those working to understand and enable transformative changes in environmental decision-making. To share and deepen understanding of how to transform the culture of decision-making for sustainability.

Tangible outputs: We will summarise and present the main conclusions during the main conference, then we will produce 1 multi-author report within 1 month of the workshop, with potential to develop into an academic paper.  We will also write a blog post to be published on the James Hutton website and re-post elsewhere, and a news article targeted at networks such Ecosystems Knowledge Network and OPPLA. To complement these outputs we will also release a press release which will be sent to specialist publications e.g. CIEEM newsletter (Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management).

Target participants: Academics researching challenges and approaches for facilitating change, transition and transformation in environmental decision-making, policy and practitioners with experience of achieving change in systems to prioritise, plan and implement actions affecting environmental management. Relevant practical experiences may encompass different management concepts, environmental domains or settings.

Lead facilitators: Drs Kerry Waylen, Katherine Irvine and Kirsty Blackstock are senior researchers at the James Hutton Institute who study environmental management processes, participatory and systemic approaches, human-nature relationships and behaviour change. Collectively they bring expertise on water and biodiversity challenges, ecosystems and human wellbeing with experience in the Global South as well as Europe and Scotland.  They are experienced workshop facilitators with a track record of liaising with policy, writing accessible reports and briefings, and in publishing academic papers.

For more information see http://www.hutton.ac.uk/staff/kerry-waylen (Kerry.waylen@hutton.ac.uk)
http://www.hutton.ac.uk/staff/katherine-irvine (Katherine.irvine@hutton.ac.uk)
http://www.hutton.ac.uk/staff/kirsty-blackstock (Kirsty.blackstock@hutton.ac.uk).

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