Doing the impossible

by Peter Donovan, 1995

Inside his tiny office on a fluorescent-lit corridor of Washington State University's huge animal science complex, Jeff Goebel has posted Gandhi's injunction: "Be the change you expect." Goebel is a guiding force behind a change so fundamental that most people aren't aware that it is possible. In order to address the underlying cause of biodiversity loss and conflict, he is helping people change the way they make decisions.

Four years ago, Goebel went to work as a natural resources planner for north central Washington's Colville Confederated Tribes. The Colvilles face the same problems the rest of the world faces: the increasing difficulty of sustaining ways of life on a deteriorating resource base, and the resulting conflict.

Like most people and organizations, the Colvilles have been acting on expert opinion, problems and opportunities, multiple and conflicting goals, availability of funding, and compromise. After decades of forest and range management by outside experts, year-round springs and streams have been drying up on tribal lands, and traditional food and medicine plants have been disappearing. Many Colvilles regard the decline in traditional languages, cultural identity, family values, and health as inseparable from the deterioration of land and water. Says planner Lois Trevino, "We have lost so much. We have a lot of anger and grief over what has been taken away."

Seeking transformation: better decision making in Washington state

by Peter Donovan

PULLMAN, WASHINGTON--In January of 1995, a four-year training project began in the state of Washington. The purpose of the project, which is funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, is to enable the 158 participating people to develop sustainable agricultural/natural resource systems, become more effective decision makers and leaders, and improve collaborative relationships within the state of Washington through the use of holistic management and the consensus process.

The participants--mainly crop/livestock producers, natural resource managers, agency personnel, university faculty, extension agents, environmentalists, and tribal members--are taking ten courses over four years. The training courses are based on the work of Allan Savory, Stephen Covey, and Bob Chadwick.

Washington's Holistic Management project holds first statewide meeting

YAKIMA--Last week the Washington State University/W. K. Kellogg Foundation Holistic Management Project had its first statewide meeting. This four-year project is training 160 people across the state in the leadership skills developed by Stephen Covey, in a consensus-building approach developed by Bob Chadwick, and in the concepts and practical decision making known as holistic management that was developed by Allan Savory.

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