Conciliation and compromise


For the last decade I’ve read almost every issue of HCN cover to cover, starting at the back cover with “Heard around the West,” but I usually just gloss through the “Editor’s Note.” Not this time: Paul Larmer’s essay on contradictions was spot-on (“Embracing contradiction,” HCN, 3/18/19). Last week, I finished teaching a 300-level environmental law and policy for the first time. (Full disclosure: I use HCN extensively as a source, and my students gobbled up the classroom copies.) The themes that kept emerging with every lecture and discussion were contradiction and conflict, but also conciliation and compromise. These students have mostly grown up in an era of political divisiveness. If they take nothing else away from this course, I hope they realize there are always opportunities for solutions and growth through civil dialogue, creative thinking and above all listening and understanding. They will have to weave their way through the myriad contradictions that affect all issues and embrace uncertainty. Contradiction and compromise go hand-in-hand. We learn of the universe’s past by building observatories on sacred mountains. We improve water efficiency by compromising owl habitat. However, as long as people can engage civilly and intelligently, we will arrive at a brighter future.

Chris Wayne 
Chiloquin, Oregon

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