Top-down control doesn't work

  Dear HCN,

Being an urban dweller, I do not know much personally about grazing, but I do know something about consensus process due to my involvement with co-housing and the Green Party, both of which use consensus process. When it works, its power is inspiring; when it doesn't, it leads to gridlock. It requires all sides to share some basic values, in this case about protection of the land as a priority. In some ways, the Colorado process so criticized by environmentalists may be ahead of its time, but when will its time come if it isn't tried and tested?

More fundamentally, environmentalists should apply our sustainability criteria to process, not just results. How will a centralized reform system based in Washington, D.C., fare when the next Ronald Reagan or James Watt comes to power?

A decentralized system will be more robust, warts and all. Just as our democratic system has some checks built in via the Bill of Rights, and this will apparently lead to the overturning of Amendment 2 here in Colorado, we need decentralized control of environmental issues with a floor of ecological values similar to the Bill of Rights.

Maybe we can't implement consensus-based local decision-making instantly, but to champion centralized control as the ideal will lead to failure in the long run.

Dean Myerson

Boulder, Colorado
High Country News Classifieds