We make decisions every day. What time we need to wake up for work/school, which route to take to best avoid traffic, etc. What is common about these decisions? They are largely individual choices you make for yourself.
Now what if you had to plan a family trip. Well you would discuss it as a family. "Where do we want to go? Where should we stay? Should we book that excursion or not?" If the kids want to go to Disney but Mom wants a spa treatment the same day, there would discussion and conversation to see how to make everything work in a comfortable way. The aim would be to have everyone enjoy the vacation and come back happy.
So it makes sense then that if we had to make a decision for a group of people, they should all be involved. Right?
Unfortunately there are environmental issues that are affecting communities and they aren't given much say in the matter. For example, Indigenous people have felt excluded from the conversation when it comes to the climate crisis. Despite their knowledge and their offering of this knowledge, exclusion still exists. But does that make sense? If the crisis affects their life, their land, their community, then they should get a voice and an inclusive platform to speak out.
I guess my vision for the future, therefore, is that everyone involved in a problem, or an issue, should get a say. Whether that's a local, regional or national issue. And maybe more importantly, let's also listen and come to a solution together. So that we are all happy with the decision we make as a collective.
I really like your analogy. The people who have conversations to reach consensus in people's little families must want to play the same role in this country, because the country is their home too. Indigenous people who are not involved in decision making can feel that they are pariahs of the country and feel marginalized.
Wow! Great post! I really loved your analogy about the vacation. I completely agree with you that while it seems so simple to include everyone in the conversation when it comes to big decisions but in practice it's actually a much more complex issue. I also hope that we can work towards a future where all stakeholders a seat at the table not just those with economic incentives.
Great analogy! Consensus based decision making is definitely a great thing to strive for... places like Nunavut that do not have political parties and embrace consensus decision making for some of their governance are certainly models to look at.
Hey Arshi, I really liked your efforts to empathize in this post by correlating the situation with a real life scenario lots of us experience. You talk about your vision for the future being that "everyone involved in a problem, or an issue, should get a say", I would love to hear your thoughts on specifically how this vision can be implemented? What can we do but, but more importantly what can others as well as larger organizations do to fulfill your vision?
Hi Arshi! I love that you included an analogy in this post as it further demonstrates how ridiculous it is that communities affected by environmental issues often don't have a voice in decision-making. It may not be life-changing if the mom in your analogy doesn't get her spa day (or if the children don't get to go to Disney), but it is definitely life-changing when the environment around you is being harmed and there is little you can do about it. As you said, hopefully in the future we can all come together to make decisions that lead to minimal harm to all parties involved :)
I agree with everything you've said here Arshi, and your analogy is a great example of how we already have good practice including individuals in decision-making processes...so why don't we do that with all decision-making processes? It is definitely frustrating. I think one of the most frustrating parts is when the literature and the articles and the governments have all written and stated just how valuable and knowledgeable the Indigenous people of the world are in fighting climate change and the ecological crisis we are facing. It has even been stated that they will be one of the only ways we can solve this problem. But still we continue to exclude them from any conversation or decision-making process that allows their perspective to have an equal vote in the matter.
This is such a great point! It seems like it would be obvious that those that would be impacted would have a say, but that is not true in many cases, especially those who are in marginalized groups.
Hey Arshi! I think your point about the lack of logic with these processes really makes sense. It is really weird to me that there is very little logic in how all of this is organized. This lack of logic really goes all the way back to colonial times, when indigenous peoples were purposefully excluded from this. We are working with equations and industries that rely on logic built by people who wanted to exclude indigenous peoples because they didn't want them to exist here. We cannot go forward in reconciliation without addressing this and fixing it properly.
Great post! I thought it was great how you started off with those examples - they really help the reader get a sense of the seriousness of the issue.