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- Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996
- From: Ann Dale
- Subject: And we start
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 1996 From: Ann Dale
I would like to say first that I am honoured by your participation to agree to be co-researchers in what I hope to be both an intellectual and stimulating adventure. I have hesitated to start our dialogue as I have been conscious of the fact that we are definitely forging newground, both in terms of the process and the substance of our dialogue.Although I have chaired many meetings and am a survivor of the NationalRound Table dialogue, I am nervous about guiding such an exercise, both because it is the first time I will be leading a dialogue and the fact that the research methodology is so different. David Johnston, one of my committee members wrote me to say that all of the committee is looking forward to our dialogue and the final product we co-produce, and although we may faceobstacles along the way, he is fully confident of our abilities to transcendthem.
Having participated in and monitored a number of lists, I would like to propose a number of guidelines for our interaction. We are essentially a Delphi group, a group of expert peers, who bring a diversity and eclectic backgrounds to this dialogue. Our strength lies in our diversity, and our ability to understand, respect and build on this diversity, hopefully leading to emergent and innovative ideas, that can be concretized into action.
With your approval, I will Chair the dialogue, exercising gentle guidance,and allowing for maximum input at all times. It may seem at times that weare drifting, but bear with me, and trust that there is a direction that we will all mutually come to accept. I would like to emphasize the principles of respect, compassion and integrity, and that our critical thought tryto build on one another's ideas, rather than tear them down by arguing inopposition.
I suggest that we spend the next six months exploring some general concepts from the research proposal, and then focus on specifics for the remainder of the 16 months. I have had several suggestions to date that we schedule at least two meetings, one after the first year and the other at the endof our dialogue. I think this is a good idea, and welcome your feedback.For the next six months, I will be more directive in my chairing and propose the questions. I feel somewhat at a disadvantage, because I know and admire all of you, and you don't know each other yet, and thus, I am using this way to allow all of you to begin to explore one another and position myself less centrally. Once again, I encourage all of us to think about publishing as proactivley as possible from this dialogue, either sole authorship or joint, and when one, or two people want to explore a stream independently please do so, but copy me. All of you will receive a final copy of whatever is produced, both my thesis if you are interested, but most importantly,a copy of the entire dialogue we will create over the next two years. In honour of my beloved Mamut who has taught me as much in death as when he was alive about compassion for all living beings and about doing no harm,may we use these principles in what I hope will be an exciting, stimulating and wonderful journey of discovery.
I suggest that we start with a general discussion about Figure 4, entitled, "Size of human activity systems relative to naturalsystems" on page 8. Since this diagram was developed in a personalconversation with David Sims, I wonder if he would lead off by explaining where he believes we are with respect to that diagram, and the reasons why. We may wish to include in this discussion the notions of limits and carrying capacity, and how these terms might contribute to promulgating the meanin gof sustainable development to the wider Canadian publics.
Another guideline I would like to suggest is that we use a general rule of thumb that we spend about three weeks on each item of discussion, and after that time, unless we are engaged in roaring dialogue, that we moveon to the next item.
Subject: Administrative Details
An important detail I neglected to mention in my first message, thatif you want to post to the entire group, the address is firstname.lastname@example.org.In the event that you wish to communicate to me directly, my eamail addressis Ann.Dale@RoyalRoads.ca.
May the frost never afflict your spuds. May the outside leaves of yourcabbage be free from worms. May the crows never pick your haystack, andmay your donkey always be in foal....And may you be half-an-hour in heaven before the devil knows you're dead.
An old Irish toast