College of Law


The Wallace Stegner Center’s Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) Program fosters a culture of collaboration around environmental, natural resource, and broader public policy issues by helping people be more skillful in working through conflict. In particular, we focus on building capacity for collaboration through training, thought leadership, and collaboration assistance and advising.

The EDR Blog advances our mission by sharing key ideas, concepts, resources, tools, and lessons learned related to conflict and collaboration. Blog posts are written by EDR Program staff and partners and are carefully curated to focus on timely and relevant topics.

New blogs are generally posted once each month. For notifications of new blogs, please join the Environmental Dispute Resolution Program email list.


When dealing with conflict, don’t just be nice—be kind and firm

Jul 01, 2024

As I explain, being kind and firm helps us focus on what really matters and get good outcomes for ourselves and others when dealing with conflict—and, in doing so, it helps us avoid many of the problems people create by focusing on “just being nice.”

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The power of “Yes and…”

Jun 01, 2024

“Yes, and” thinking is a mindset and way of speaking that reflects the simple but profound fact that the world is complex, and seemingly contradictory things can—and do—coexist. 

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The power of “the BOP” when dealing with conflict

May 01, 2024

In this blog, I want to build on those ideas by explaining a key source of power in negotiation and conflict situations: your ability to understand and exercise what I call the BOP–your “best option possible.”

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Don’t give up your power when dealing with conflict

Apr 01, 2024

Over my many years of doing conflict resolution and collaboration work, it has become very clear to me that we have a serious problem with power. People involved in conflict often describe themselves as powerless. Or they ask questions such as “How do you negotiate with people who have more power than you?” or “What do I do if they have all of the power?” Or they wonder how parties can collaborate when there are serious power imbalances.

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Commitment: A core conflict competency

Mar 01, 2024

Over the past year, I have published a series of blogs exploring the key skills that are necessary for making conflict productive, or what I call the core “conflict competencies.” Prior blogs have explored the conflict competencies of calm, curiosity, compassion, creativity, courage, and communication. In this blog, I want to explore one final core conflict competency: commitment.

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Communication: A core conflict competency

Feb 01, 2024

In 2023, I wrote a series of blogs exploring key conflict competencies. There are two competencies I identified in that blog that I have yet to fully describe: communication and commitment. In this blog, I am going to discuss communication. In my next blog, I’ll dive into commitment.

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2023 EDR blog year in review

Jan 04, 2024

As we enter the new year, we are reflecting on where we’ve been and where we’re going. As part of that, we’re looking back at the EDR blog topics we covered last year, which included an overview of the EDR program’s future direction, discussion of why conflict tends to be so challenging for people, and exploration of key conflict competencies—i.e., key skills for making conflict productive.

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Destructive conflict tendencies vs. productive conflict choices

Dec 01, 2023

In my last blog, I described what conflict competence is and summarized the key conflict competencies that empower us to deal with conflict skillfully and productively. In this blog, I build on those ideas to explore the choices we make when dealing with conflict and the way in which different choices lead to very different outcomes.

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What is conflict competence and what are the core conflict competencies?

Oct 26, 2023

In this blog, I want to pull these concepts all together by explaining what conflict is, what conflict competence is and why it matters, and what basic skills—or what I refer to as “conflict competencies”—are required to make conflict productive.

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Courage: An overarching skill for making conflict productive

Oct 01, 2023

I therefore believe that we need to develop an additional important, overarching skill or conflict competency in order to make conflict productive in our personal and professional lives: courage.

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Compassion: A prerequisite for calm, curiosity, and creativity when dealing with conflict

Sep 01, 2023

To get beyond this limiting mindset and to be calm, curious, and creative when dealing with conflict, I think we need to lean into another word that starts with C: compassion.

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Curiosity is a superpower when dealing with conflict

Jul 26, 2023

So how about curiosity? What does it mean and look like to approach conflict with curiosity, and how do we do this?

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To make conflict productive, focus on co-creating mutual gains outcomes

Jul 02, 2023

The mission of the EDR program is to foster a culture of collaboration around environmental, natural resource, and broader public policy issues. In other words, we strive to help people work together to create a better today and tomorrow.

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The power of calm when dealing with conflict

Jun 01, 2023

To make conflict productive and to avoid it becoming destructive, we have to get out of this win-lose mindset and instead focus on what really matters, and one key way to do this is to ask ourselves and others “What would be a productive outcome in this situation?”

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How to focus on what really matters in conflict

May 01, 2023

Over the last few months, we have published a series of blogs that start to explore why conflict is so hard for us, why it so often results in negative outcomes, and how we can make conflict an opportunity for positive change.

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Want to make conflict productive? Focus on what really matters

Apr 01, 2023

If you’ve been reading our recent blogs, hopefully by now you’re convinced that conflict “just is”: it is a healthy, normal, unavoidable part of life. Unfortunately, we tend to see the world through a win-lose, zero-sum mindset, which leads us to treat conflict as a threat. And when we do that, we tend to react poorly in situations of conflict, which leads to bad outcomes and reinforces our belief that conflict is a problem.

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Why we tend to see conflict as a problem—and why it matters

Mar 01, 2023

In our prior blogs, we have explained that conflict just is: It is a normal, healthy, unavoidable part of life. Therefore, we need to learn to deal with it effectively, and that is what collaboration is all about. And the good news is that doing so not only helps make life a lot easier; it can be enormously productive and beneficial for all parties involved in the conflict.

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The problem with conflict is that we see conflict as a problem

Feb 01, 2023

Even after many years of work in the field of conflict resolution and collaboration, I continue to be amazed by the extent to which productively working through conflict provides opportunities for positive change and growth.

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The future of the EDR program: Extra (effective) dialogue required

Jan 03, 2023

When Michele Straube founded the Wallace Stegner Center’s EDR program in 2012, she somewhat jokingly suggested the EDR acronym stands for “extra dialogue required.”

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I abhor the word “compromise”

Oct 10, 2022

I overheard a conversation the other day in which one person said that marriage is just one compromise after the other. I had a visceral reaction to that statement, partly feeling sad for the person’s marriage, but mostly just mad mad mad about the word “compromise.”

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Introducing the Gateway & Natural Amenity Region (GNAR) Initiative

Sep 26, 2022

The Wallace Stegner Center’s Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) program fosters a culture of collaboration around the environment, natural resource, and broader public policy issues, with a particular focus on Utah and the Mountain West.

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Seeing the forest for the trees: An environmental psychologist’s guide to sharing ranching landscapes with wildlife

Sep 12, 2022

Most aspects of life in the early 21st century go beyond easy analysis and resolution. The subject of ranching, particularly in the context of wildlife conservation in the American West, is bound then to aggravate anyone who demands singular causes and fixed solutions. The stories of ranchers have been told in countless forms over the years, yet rarely have they actually been told by ranchers themselves.

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Meet EDR Initiatives Facilitator Jordan Katcher

Aug 29, 2022

Meet Jordan Katcher (she/her), who joined the Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) program team at the University of Utah’s Wallace Stegner Center in August 2022.

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Ask better negotiation questions

Aug 15, 2022

It’s not difficult to see the limitations of these negotiation questions. The first one is likely to promote defensiveness. The second one sounds patronizing. The third shuts off discussion, perhaps even before it’s truly begun.

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Interests, positions, and conflict—Oh, my!

Aug 01, 2022

Interests and positions. We hear these terms frequently in negotiation and dispute resolution circles, but what do they really mean? And why is it important to understand the difference?

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Conflict just is. Let’s make it productive!

Jul 18, 2022

Every year, I train and coach hundreds of professionals and university students in the skills of collaboration and conflict resolution. In working with these diverse individuals and teams from across the country and internationally, I have come to realize that a few simple shifts in how we see, understand, and deal with conflict can totally change our relationships with each other and ourselves—as well as the outcomes of our interactions—in profoundly powerful and positive ways.

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How Can We Break Through Our Narrative of Polarization?

Jun 21, 2022

By Courtney Breese It’s easy to see that our nation is polarized. Watch any national news program or scroll social media and this narrative of […]

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Facilitating Effective Meetings: New Resources from the EDR Program

Jun 06, 2022

By the EDR Team We’ve all sat through poorly planned meetings. When happening in person, these are the meetings where we fidget in our seats, […]

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Better Together: Co-Creating a Factual Foundation in Environment & Public Policy Conflict

May 23, 2022

By Alice Shorett Social media silos of information, separate worlds of news pipelines, advocacy experts—can we ever find a way to talk to one another? […]

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Reporting Out on the Building Bridges Symposium

May 09, 2022

By: Yufna Soldier Wolf, Indigenous Land Alliance of Wyoming, & Deb Kleinman, Collaboration Program in Natural Resources/Lupine Collaborative   At the Building Bridges Symposium in […]

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10 Negotiation Training Skills Every Organization Needs

Apr 25, 2022

By PON Staff This post originally appeared on Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation’s Daily Blog on April 18, 2022. We are reposting it with […]

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Meet EDR Program Manager Emily Gaines Crockett

Apr 11, 2022

Meet Emily Gaines Crockett, who joined the Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) program team at the University of Utah’s Wallace Stegner Center in December 2021. Emily […]

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Book Review: Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life* (*And how anyone can harness it. Even you.)

Mar 28, 2022

By Michele Straube My mother loved adages and random quotes. One of her favorites was “laughter is the best medicine.” She had a gift for […]

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A Practitioner’s View on Finding the Words to Describe Our Work

Mar 14, 2022

By Jason Gershowitz It can be difficult to describe our work—the field of conflict. When asked questions regarding my career and work, I have referred […]

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Apply for the EDR Program’s Collaboration Certificate Course

Feb 28, 2022

By Nedra Chandler The Wallace Stegner Center’s Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) Program is currently accepting applications for our 2022 Collaboration Certificate Course. The course will be […]

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What is Negotiation?

Feb 07, 2022

By Katie Shonk This post originally appeared on Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation’s Daily Blog on October 14, 2021. We are reposting it with […]

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Supporting Federal Agencies to Make Collaboration the Way of Doing Business

Jan 24, 2022

By Jessica Western As a facilitator living in Wyoming,  I have experienced how collaborative problem solving has increasingly become a tool to unravel any tension […]

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2021 EDR Blog Year in Review

Jan 10, 2022

By Angela Turnbow I am enchanted by stories. Stories with strong character development, riveting plot lines, and happy (and sad!) endings. Stories with conflict, resolution, […]

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Using Six Thinking Hats in Negotiation

Dec 06, 2021

By James Holbrook Edward De Bono has identified six different ways of thinking using six different color-coded “Thinking Hats.” Too often, negotiation – especially high-conflict […]

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Conflict-Management Styles: Pitfalls and Best Practices

Nov 22, 2021

By Katie Shonk This post originally appeared on Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation’s Daily Blog on October 25, 2021. We are reposting it with […]

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The Problem with Problems

Nov 08, 2021

By Bruce Waltuck   Understanding the types of our lived experiences, and the optimal patterns of response, for improved conflict resolution and outcomes. “The bear […]

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The Opportunities of a New Glen Canyon

Oct 25, 2021

By Eric Balken for the EDRblog News coverage of drought has become inescapable for those of us living in the west. Talk of prolonged water […]

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Notes from the Collaborative Governance Rodeo

Oct 11, 2021

By Wendy Willis Since the term started emerging in 1970s, collaborative governance has been a wily beast. Just as scholars start to corral and define […]

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The Pause: Closing the Gap Between Our Best Intentions and Our Actions

Sep 27, 2021

By Marina Piscolish, Ph.D. For years, we, as a field, have been hard at work teaching crucial communication skills for managing conflict, solving problems, and […]

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Conversation Dominators. (When “Step Up, Step Back” doesn’t cut it)

Sep 13, 2021

By Maggie Chumbley This post originally appeared on on October 14, 2020. We are reposting it with the Maggie Chumbley’s permission. Hands down, the […]

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“Pause. Take a breath. What do you see?”

Aug 23, 2021

By Angela Turnbow This post originally appeared on the EDR Blog on June 29, 2020. We are reposting a version of it, which includes practical […]

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The Benefits of a Situation Assessment

Aug 09, 2021

By Isobel Lingenfelter The situation assessment is often promoted in the facilitation and conflict resolution world, and yet it can be tempting to skip this […]

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The Utah Resilience Map: Making Connections Between Local Sustainability Projects

May 20, 2019

By Emily Nicolosi for Online collaborative community resource mapping is a new phenomenon that helps to connect local organizations and volunteers in building more […]

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Communication Strategies for Engaging Climate Skeptics: Religion and the Environment

May 06, 2019

By Emma Frances Bloomfield for In our ongoing disputes and conversations about the environment and climate change, it becomes ever more pressing to uncover […]

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Trust – An Essential Collaborative Component

Apr 22, 2019

By Dianne Olson “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” […]

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It’s not Federal Overreach, It’s Federal Under-Listening: Lessons from Rural Oregon

Apr 08, 2019

By Katherine Daly for The EDR Program interviewed Peter Walker, Professor of Geography at the University of Oregon, about his 2018 book Sagebrush Collaboration: […]

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Do Cows Come to Consensus? Exploring What Humans and Animals Might Have in Common When it Comes to Dispute Resolution

Mar 25, 2019

By Leanne Bernstein Do elephants experience empathy? Do artic foxes argue? Do narwhals negotiate? Do raccoons reconcile? Dr. Frans de Waal explores these ideas in […]

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Why “Progress” Fits Natural Resource Conflict Management Better than “Success”

Mar 11, 2019

By Steve Daniels for As a practicing environmental facilitator/mediator, I am frequently asked if a process succeeded; it seems politicians and the news media […]

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Apply for the Short Course on Effective Natural Resources Collaboration

Feb 25, 2019

By Katherine Daly Consider words like personal, effective, and awesome. What might they describe? Here’s a hint: Short Course. That’s right! These words describe the […]

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The Path of Collaboration in Harney County, Oregon

Feb 11, 2019

By Steven C. Beda for Harney County, Oregon is broad, flat, and expansive. Were the title not already claimed by Montana, this place could […]

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A New Era in Collaborative Forest Restoration: Working Towards Long-Term, Large-Scale, and High-Capacity Collaboration

Jan 28, 2019

By William Butler for Dr. Courtney Schultz of Colorado State University and I have been researching and engaging with professionals involved in the Collaborative […]

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EDR Blog Year in Review: 2018

Jan 14, 2019

By Angela Turnbow What strikes me most at the close of another year for the EDR Blog is the perseverance and determination I see happening […]

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Collaborating on Air Quality: From Pollution to Solution

Dec 17, 2018

By Danya Rumore This time of year, one thing seems to be on the mind of just about everyone in the Salt Lake Valley: air […]

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Energy Siting Can Be Incendiary

Dec 03, 2018

By Patrick Field This post originally appeared on Consensus Building Institute’s blog on October 1, 2018. We are reposting it with Patrick Field’s permission. Energy […]

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Great Salt Lake Stink Tank: Moving a Dialogue on Collaboration Forward

Nov 19, 2018

By Skye Sieber and Jaimi Butler for Earlier this summer, we attended the Dialogue on Collaboration focused on Great Salt Lake. One prominent theme […]

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Can EDR Practices Benefit from Learner-Centered Teaching Strategies?

Nov 05, 2018

By CK Miller for It’s a lush forest scene: trees surround you, the ground is moist and spongy with moss, and above you stretches […]

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Building Trust with the Public in Your Decision-Making Process

Oct 22, 2018

By Leah Jaramillo for Public participation can be considered risky or a chore, particularly when an issue or decision is highly technical and requires […]

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Addressing Complex Issues with Trauma-informed Approaches

Oct 08, 2018

By Mary Dumas, Dumas & Associates, Inc. for Complexity & Confusion In conditions of complexity, it’s important to remember that data do not make […]

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Wisdom from the Experts: Collaboration and Alternative Dispute Resolution in the West

Sep 24, 2018

By Danya Rumore for I often find myself wishing I had more opportunities to learn from other facilitators’ and collaboration professionals’ trials, tribulations, and […]

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Don’t Believe Everything You Think: The Pitfalls of Cognitive Bias

Sep 10, 2018

By Douglas Thompson This post originally appeared on Consensus Building Institute’s blog on May 22, 2018. We are reposting it with Douglas Thompson’s permission. A […]

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Rock and Roll: Use the Triangle of Satisfaction to Design and Facilitate Effective Collaboration

Aug 27, 2018

By Nedra Chandler This post originally appeared on Cadence blog February 28, 2018. We are reposting it with Nedra Chandler’s permission. Humans can be Bermuda […]

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State Invests Millions in Conflict Resolution: A Case Study

Aug 13, 2018

By Katherine Daly for This year, one state in the nation will invest more than $1 million to support public policy and community-based conflict […]

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The Power of Vulnerability in Conflict Resolution

Jul 30, 2018

By Rachel Caldwell for “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, change” – Dr. Brené Brown Stepping into Vulnerability I recently joined fifteen peers […]

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What We Can Learn from Bees About Building Consensus

Jul 16, 2018

By Michele Straube for At times, a group of outraged stakeholders can feel like a swarm of bees. Initially, stakeholders are sweet as honey […]

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Unraveling Complex Issues – Collaboration around the Great Salt Lake

Jul 02, 2018

By Dianne Olson for Discussing something as significant as the Great Salt Lake involves landscape level topics such as water use among three states […]

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Teamwork and Shared Interests to Improve Tribal Relations with the BLM in Utah

Jun 18, 2018

By Nate Thomas and Nizhone Meza for Starting, conducting and completing a “situation assessment” for inexperienced yet enthusiastic protégés in the Environmental Dispute Resolution […]

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Coming Full Circle: Using Litigation as a Tool to Facilitate Collaboration

Jun 04, 2018

By Hannah Satein for Though it may seem paradoxical, litigation filed by a participant in a collaborative process may offer a tool to help […]

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Four Strategies for Effective Science Communication

May 21, 2018

By Dr. Emma Frances Bloomfield for Why is the sky blue? If you have ever tried to explain the answer to this question to […]

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Finding Shared Interests at the Fort Douglas National Historic Landmark

May 07, 2018

By Kelly Beck Today, Fort Douglas is home to the bustling student residences at the University of Utah. A university managed hotel and conference center […]

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Collaboration is Improv or is Improv a Collaboration?

Apr 23, 2018

By Leanne Bernstein for I raced around the room, trying desperately to keep my bodyguard in between me and the paparazzi. But with every […]

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More Peaceful Winters Reign in Yellowstone

Apr 09, 2018

By Nedra Chandler “Winter use in Yellowstone National Park is, at root, a conflict over deep public values…” –Mike Yochim, member of Yellowstone Grand Teton […]

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What Environmental Dispute Resolution Can Learn from Civity and Complexity Science

Mar 26, 2018

By Daniel Friedman for Successful environmental dispute resolution (EDR) requires long-term cooperation among stakeholders, who often have incongruent values and interests and may have […]

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Helping Collaborative Groups Get Real

Mar 12, 2018

By Steve Greenwood for One of the key characteristics of successful collaborations, particularly when parties are trying to resolve difficult issues, is authenticity.  As […]

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Apply for the Short Course on Effective Natural Resources Collaboration!

Feb 26, 2018

By Katherine Daly for “With my legal training and forty years of litigation practice, I came to the Environmental Dispute Resolution Short Course a […]

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The Sweet Sound of Collaboration

Feb 12, 2018

By Cody Lutz for As a graduate student fellow with the Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) Program, I’ve been working on various community-based conflicts and […]

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Cultivating a Culture of Environmental and Natural Resources Collaboration in Utah

Jan 29, 2018

By Danya Rumore Unhealthy air quality. Growing demands for water in an arid state. Conflicts over public lands and how those lands should be managed. […]

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EDR Blog Year in Review: 2017

Jan 16, 2018

By Angela Turnbow As I look back on the EDR Blogs we’ve posted in the last 12 months, I find myself inspired and energized by […]

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Mindfulness for mediators, innovators and problem solvers

Dec 18, 2017

By Mary Dumas for Complexity and conflict can interfere with our ability to listen accurately and sustain focused attention when serving as a mediator […]

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A New Way of Doing Business? Collaborating with the U.S. Forest Service

Dec 04, 2017

By Kailey Kornhauser for In 2012 the US Forest Service adopted a new Planning Rule. Planning Rules are policy that regulate how the Forest […]

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Finding Common Ground on Public Lands

Nov 20, 2017

By Susan Crook for I kept dreaming of Hayley Mills singing “Let’s Get Together” from The Parent Trap and found myself humming the tune […]

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A Practical Roadmap for Resolving Conflict

Nov 06, 2017

This post originally appeared on Arbinger Institute’s blog May 30, 2017. We are reposting it with Jim Ferrell’s permission. If you want to help people […]

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The Three F’s of a Successful Watershed Partnership

Oct 23, 2017

By Sue Fearon for Earlier this year, Stan, a conversation partner, asked me “Why are you still here? That’s what I want to know. […]

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Conflict Mapping Is No Spaghetti Bowl

Oct 09, 2017

By Dena Marshall for Conflict mapping is a roll-up-your-sleeves pencil and paper exercise that I have come to appreciate and incorporate into my collaborative […]

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Collaborating for Cleaner Air

Sep 25, 2017

By Ashley Miller for I was all set to start learning on the first day of the Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) Program’s Short Course […]

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Establishing Collaboration: Breaking Down Silos to Effectively Manage Ecosystems

Sep 11, 2017

By Craig Walker for In 2016, I was offered the opportunity to participate in a Short Course on Effective Natural Resources Collaboration hosted by […]

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Daring to Dialogue: Stories of “Being the Change”

Aug 28, 2017

By Michele Straube and Danya Rumore for On June 15, the EDR Program co-hosted “Fostering Productive Dialogue in Divided Times,” the third in the […]

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Taking the Leap: A Collaborative Process – and Life! — Journey

Aug 14, 2017

By Theresa Jensen for Have you ever stood on the edge of a new beginning, noticing all of those excited anxious squiggly feelings dancing […]

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A Cow Runs Through It: Reflections on 20+ Years as an Environmental Mediator

Jul 26, 2017

By Michele Straube for  I realized recently that my projects involved cows at the beginning, middle and end of my career, and a squishy […]

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Breaking the Natural Resources Gridlock with Consensus Building

Jul 17, 2017

By Gina Bartlett for This post originally appeared on Consensus Building Institute’s blog Feb. 6, 2017. We are reposting it with Gina Bartlett’s permission. […]

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Fostering Productive Dialogue in Divided Times

Jul 03, 2017

By Griffin Smith for People being viciously attacked—verbally and physically—just because they are a certain race, ethnicity, religion, or simply trying to fly war […]

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A Need—and an Opportunity—for Leadership

Jun 19, 2017

By Danya Rumore for In every challenge, there is an opportunity. There is no doubt that we live in challenging times. One need only […]

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I’ll See You in Court: Litigation and Collaborative Land Management

Jun 05, 2017

By Ian Summers for Litigation over public land management has become a contentious topic in recent news. Industry groups and ranchers are pressuring the […]

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The Future of Indian Water Rights in the West

May 22, 2017

By Nils Lofgren for Water is an important and essential commodity for people living in the western United States today. Water is just as […]

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Making Room for Give and Take

May 08, 2017

By Dan Adams for Recently, I spent 17 days on the islands of Cebu and Negros in the Philippines.  It was a powerful cultural […]

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“Town Halls” Are Dead. Long Live Town Halls?

Apr 24, 2017

By Larry Schooler This post originally appeared in The Huffington Post on 03/29/2017 05:25 pm ET, updated Mar 30, 2017. We are reposting it with […]

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Accomplishing the Impossible: The Spokane River Story

Apr 10, 2017

By Adriane P. Borgias for “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the […]

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Empowering Collaboration Through Dark Sky Protection

Mar 27, 2017

By Janey Heyman Moving from a small California beach town to Salt Lake City, I realized the night sky was a severely under-utilized resource in […]

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Apply for Short Course on Effective Natural Resources Collaboration

Mar 20, 2017

By Michele Straube The 23 participants in the inaugural Short Course will attend their last session on April 27, walking away with a Certificate of […]

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For Living Room Candor, Keep the Conversation Casual

Mar 13, 2017

By Katherine Daly for When is it possible for someone to express their honest thoughts and feelings about an important issue? Is it possible […]

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Two Sources of Turmoil in a Divided America

Feb 27, 2017

By James R. Holbrook for The Sixties and early Seventies were a time of great turmoil in a divided America, including the assassinations of […]

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E Pluribus Unum (out of many one)

Feb 13, 2017

This post originally appeared on Consensus Building Institute’s blog in October 13, 2016. We are reposting it with the Patrick Field’s permission. By Patrick Field for […]

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EDR Blog Year in Review: 2016

Jan 30, 2017

By Angela Turnbow In 2016, we posted 26 blogs from 24 of authors. Many of our blog posts featured inspiring examples of collaboration. Several authors […]

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From Question to Connection: Building Bridges with Appreciative Inquiry

Jan 17, 2017

By Barbara E. Lewis for Now more than ever, those of us who practice community engagement are acutely aware of how polarized ”the publics” […]

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Keep your knees bent while facilitating

Jan 03, 2017

By Wendy Green Lowe for  I grew up in a household of skiers.  The lessons I earned about staying upright while skiing hold true […]

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Putting another E in EDR (Electronic)

Dec 19, 2016

By Noam Exner for Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) is an area of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) that has been developing over the past twenty […]

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My Own Worst Nightmare

Dec 05, 2016

By Lucy Moore for  This post originally appeared on Lucy Moore’s blog in September 2016. We are reposting it with the Lucy Moore’s permission. […]

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The Power of Human-to-Human Connections

Nov 21, 2016

By Heather Gilmartin Adams for On Saturday, November 12, the first Utah Citizens Summit was held in downtown Salt Lake City. The event – a […]

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Noble Water Pursuits: How the Nobel Prize for Contract Theory Highlights Promising Movements in Utah Water Law

Nov 07, 2016

By Emily E. Lewis for  Complex situations call for creative solutions. Nowhere is this maxim more relevant than in addressing modern environmental problems. Finding […]

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Using Serious Games to Help Communities Make Progress on Serious Problems

Oct 24, 2016

By Danya Rumore for Addressing environmental, natural resource, and public policy issues is serious business. Making progress on concerns such as water resources management and […]

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The Western Klamath Restoration Partnership Uses the Open Standards Process

Oct 06, 2016

This post originally appeared on the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network’s blog in May 2016. We are reposting it with the permission of both the […]

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Be the Thermostat, not the Thermometer

Sep 25, 2016

By Heather Gilmartin Adams for On a break in a recent workshop, I reflected to my co-facilitator on the energy of the group during a […]

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Willard Spur: Resolving Conflict through Collaboration

Sep 12, 2016

This post by Jeff Ostermiller is reprinted with permissions from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality for Sometimes it’s hard for me to keep […]

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So Little Time, So Much to Read: Conflict Management Blogs I Follow

Aug 29, 2016

By Michele Straube It’s class prep time in academia, and I’ve been looking through my “new topics” collection to update my Conflict Management lesson plans. […]

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Working with Elected Officials on Water Issues: What can Collaboration Bring to the Table?

Aug 15, 2016

By Jamie Holmstead for  A few weeks ago I had the privilege to attend the Environmental Dispute Resolution Program’s Dialogue on Collaboration seminar. This […]

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Collaboration Is a Better Way to Solve Our Most Difficult Problems

Aug 02, 2016

By Lauren Barros for Several years ago, I became a member of the Collaborative Family Lawyers of Utah.  It made sense to me to […]

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Citizen Referendum? I vote “needs review”

Jul 18, 2016

By Larry Schooler for  Did the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote resolve anything? What does such a narrow margin of victory for the Leave (EU) position […]

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In the Footsteps of Many: Collaboration is Key to Preserving the National Park Experience

Jul 04, 2016

By Cory MacNulty for Just under 12 million people visited Utah’s 13 national park sites in 2015.  Park enthusiasts are flocking to these iconic […]

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“Endless pressure, endlessly applied:” Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness Bill

Jun 20, 2016

By Rick Johnson for  It’s a special day when the President of the United States opens the door and invites you in. As Rep. […]

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EDR Year in Review (American Bar Association report)

Jun 06, 2016

By Andrew Ognibene The American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (ABA-SEER) publishes an annual ADR Year in Review report, which includes notable […]

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Going Fossil Free Collaboratively

May 23, 2016

by Katherine Daly and Kailey Kornhauser for On May 2, the University of Utah made steps to join more than 30 colleges and universities […]

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How Dialogue Can Help Small Rural Towns Navigate Planning Challenges

May 09, 2016

By Bob Ford, Pam Leach, and Tracy Dutson for Rockville is a small town located at the edge of Zion National Park that has […]

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Fireside Q & A with Professor Larry Susskind

Apr 25, 2016

by Natalie Watkins for  Larry Susskind is the Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at MIT, the founder of the Consensus Building Institute, […]

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What I Say vs. What You Hear: Flexing Your Style for Effective Communication

Apr 10, 2016

By Heather Adams for It really gets my goat when colleagues do not read my emails. I write amazing emails – with tons of […]

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The Power of Collaborative Tinkering and Creative Problem Solving

Mar 28, 2016

By Danya Rumore for Environmental and natural resource conflicts tend to be enormously complicated, emotionally and politically fraught, and seemingly intractable. Take, for example, issues […]

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Apply for Short Course on Effective Natural Resources Collaboration

Mar 14, 2016

By Michele Straube for If my sense of reality about the discourse around environmental and natural resources (ENR) issues was limited to what I […]

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EDR Blog, Year in Review: 2015

Feb 29, 2016

By Mara Elana Burstein for  In 2015, we posted 27 blogs from 26 guest authors. Here is a summary, in case you didn’t get […]

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Let Those Affected By Decisions Really Affect Those Decisions

Feb 16, 2016

By Larry Schooler for There’s a lot that our government could do beyond giving people three minutes at a public-hearing podium. “This is America. […]

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Four Principles of Conflict Resolution and Collaboration

Jan 29, 2016

By Dan Adams for This month marks my 20th anniversary of being a mediator and facilitator! I have been pondering my career, assessing my […]

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Civity: The Other Keystone XL Story

Jan 19, 2016

By Palma Strand for On November 6, 2015, President Obama endorsed a decision by the U.S. State Department that the Keystone XL Pipeline – […]

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Adaptive Governance: Collaboration and Then Some

Jan 04, 2016

by Robin Kundis Craig for Many environmental problems, especially if they are grounded in natural resource use, face the governance challenge of changing conditions. […]

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Keeping Sandpoint’s Quality of Life Strong through Collaboration

Dec 21, 2015

By Susan Drumheller for Sandpoint is a small community in the Idaho Panhandle which, like most communities across the United States, suffered economic setbacks […]

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Whiskey is for Drinking, Water is for … Mediation?

Dec 07, 2015

By Nathan S. Bracken, Smith Hartvigsen, PLLC, for Anyone who has ever attended a water law conference has almost certainly heard the phrase: “Whiskey is for […]

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A River Between Us: Lessons in Conflict Resolution

Nov 21, 2015

By Jen Reynolds for  A River Between Us is a new documentary by former Oregon Senator Jason Atkinson and filmmaker Jeff Martin. (Disclosure: the […]

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Through Bears Ears, Tribes Lead the Way for True Collaboration over Utah’s Public Lands

Nov 09, 2015

By Anna Brady “We are not stakeholders here. We are relatives to these lands, and we have something to say.” That’s what Eric Descheenie, […]

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So Little Time, So Many Expectations—Are they Manageable??

Oct 26, 2015

By Cherie Shanteau-Wheeler for For several years my role has been as a mediator, facilitator and/or attorney working in complex, multi-party environmental settings. I […]

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Ready or Not: Enhancing the Readiness of Communities to Prepare for and Manage Climate-Related Risks

Oct 12, 2015

By Danya Rumore for Climate change can no longer be avoided. Here in the mountain west, this will mean more frequent and more severe drought […]

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NEPA’s Fatal Flaw, an Impediment to Collaboration

Sep 28, 2015

By Kelsey Kahn for  Background Straddling the Oregon-California border, the Klamath Basin is home to the PacifiCorp-owned Klamath Hydroelectric Project; six power-generating dams along […]

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A is for A**hole

Sep 14, 2015

By Michele Straube for While preparing for a particularly difficult facilitation recently, I decided to consult my Conflict Resolution Reading List for inspiration. I […]

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Finding Joy in Complexity: Managing Sage-Grouse

Aug 31, 2015

By Lorien Belton for The greater sage-grouse give us the opportunity to find solutions in the midst of complexity.  Background Greater sage-grouse, a chicken-sized […]

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Responding to Climate-Related Risks: Why Collaboration is Key

Aug 17, 2015

By Hannah Payne for As I write this blog, 13,000 Californians are evacuating their homes to escape wildfires, which are spreading with unprecedented speed […]

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Canyonlands Research Center Collaboration, a Student’s Perspective

Aug 03, 2015

By Alice de Anguera for The Canyonlands Research Center (CRC) in Southeast Utah is an excellent case study of collaboration between scientists and land […]

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Water Diplomacy… in the West?

Jul 17, 2015

By Danya Rumore for Throughout the western US, drought conditions have made water a pressing issue on many people’s minds. While the water shortage […]

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Facilitation… or Something More?

Jul 06, 2015

By Patrick Field So what is different about facilitation by seasoned environmental conflict resolution (ECR) practitioners? After all, there are countless individuals, small organizations, and […]

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Let’s Be Honest: Doing Group Processes Right

Jun 22, 2015

By Renette Anderson for It seems intuitive: Vocal opposition to an issue? Bring the sides together in a problem-solving group. It’s the best way […]

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Still Brokering Peace… Between People and Prairie Dogs

Jun 08, 2015

By Kevin Bunnel for It’s been over a year since my Prairie Dog EDR Blog highlighted the collaborative effort that helped develop the Federal […]

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Bridging a Utah Cultural Divide: What’s Environmental Education Got to do With it?

May 26, 2015

by Paul Parker for  With over 100 groups, involved in environmental education (EE) in Utah, why don’t we talk to each other about issues […]

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The Value of Iterative NEPA and Collaboration

May 11, 2015

By David Loomis & Jay Strand “Iterative and collaborative design are complementary, as at each increment various stakeholders are consulted. These methods do not map […]

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Cultivating a culture of dialogue rather than debate

Apr 27, 2015

By Danya Lee Rumore for EDR Earlier this month, I attended an MIT campus-wide debate. Watching the event play out, I was struck by the […]

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Utah Program on Collaboration

Apr 13, 2015

By Mara Elana Burstein for “We’re bureaucrats and we have tendencies,” but “when there’s a high level of collaboration, there’s trust and decisions can […]

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Fracking in Populated Areas: The Most Literal Application of ‘Not in My Backyard’

Mar 31, 2015

By Kirstin Lindstrom for With a not-insignificant modicum of success, a recent sea change in public, industry and non-profit collaborative efforts on public land […]

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Ingenious EDR Designs are Human Centered

Mar 16, 2015

“When you let people participate in the design process, you find that they often have ingenious ideas about what would really help them. And it’s […]

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EDR: Three Pieces of Advice

Mar 02, 2015

By Mara Elana Burstein for “Starting complex negotiations without an assessment is like performing surgery without any diagnostic tests.” This is one of the […]

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Tracking EDR Progress: Looking to the Past to Guide the Future

Feb 17, 2015

By Micah Fisher and Tina Sablan for Environmental challenges seem to have become more difficult and polarized over the years – climate change is a case in […]

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Open Discussion is the Answer

Feb 02, 2015

By Jim Keyes for As human beings we have the ability to form thoughts and ideas in our mind. If not expressed, these notions […]

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Making Nice Isn’t for Everyone

Jan 20, 2015

By Lucy Moore for There are moments that stick with me and seem to gain significance as time goes by, as my life and […]

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Book Review – Everything Is Workable: A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution

Jan 05, 2015

By Mara Elana Burstein for Diane Musho Hamilton’s new book, Everything is Workable: A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution, is deeply personal and practically useful. It […]

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Environmental Dispute Resolution Year in Review

Dec 22, 2014

By Michele Straube for Since the initial EDR Blog post on March 24, 2014, we have posted 19 entries from 14 authors. Our last […]

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Collaboration is the Solution to Ozone Pollution

Dec 08, 2014

By John Robinson Jr. for EDR Late last month, EPA proposed a new national ozone air quality standard that would reduce the permissible ambient ozone […]

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Please Take Responsibility for the Energy You Bring Into This Conversation

Nov 24, 2014

By Michele Straube for Recent experiences have made me feel bi-polar about our capability to have respectful dialogue on environmental and natural resource issues. I […]

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Risks were Taken in Daggett County, Reaping Public Lands Rewards for All

Nov 10, 2014

By Michele Straube for A landmark agreement in Daggett County demonstrates the value of dialogue on public lands issues. On October 22, negotiators jointly […]

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Getting Past Politics on Climate Change

Oct 27, 2014

By Carri Hulet for The polarizing debates over climate change are often about the wrong questions. I go nuts when I hear people debating […]

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Seeking Middle Ground – or New Ground?

Oct 13, 2014

By Mike Lunn for EDR I appreciated the thoughtful and thought-provoking blog posted by Lucy Moore on May 28, 2014, where she discussed her […]

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The Wonderful Discomfort of Changing Your Mind

Sep 29, 2014

By Kirstin Lindstrom for EDR In reflecting on the most important things she learned in the seven years of writing her literary blog,, […]

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Finally Sitting at the Grownups’ Table

Sep 15, 2014

By Jim Holtkamp for Last March I had the once-in-a-career experience of meeting with senior officials of the China National Peoples’ Congress (NCP) and […]

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Comfortable with Uncertainty: Collaboration in the Time of Forest Plan Revision

Sep 02, 2014

By Kathleen Bond for EDR What’s the key to involving stakeholders in the plan revision process? Be adaptive, flexible, and strive to provide a meaningful, […]

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Taking a Risk in the Public Lands Debate: Dialogue about What Really Matters

Aug 18, 2014

by Michele Straube for EDR – Politicians on both sides of the public lands debate should be lauded for suggesting field trips. Such outings […]

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CDR Serves Up “A Good Bowl of Soup”

Jul 08, 2014

By Anna Elza Brady for EDR “A good bowl of soup attracts chairs.” That was the old African proverb quoted by Jonathan Bartsch, Principal […]

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Preemptive “Mediation” at Energy Conference in Helena, Montana

Jun 23, 2014

By Britt Ide for EDR Energy issues are complex and controversial.  They have many local, regional and national stakeholders with divergent viewpoints.  Building relationships early […]

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What We Don’t Know About Great Salt Lake…

Jun 11, 2014

By Rob Dubuc for EDR One of my great privileges these last five years or so has been to serve as attorney for, and president […]

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There. I Said It.

May 28, 2014

by Lucy Moore for EDR I recently posted on the Island Press blog (Field Notes) a rant about Cliven Bundy and the Nevada dust-up over […]

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Can Litigation Provide an Opportunity for Collaboration in Capitol Reef NP?

May 13, 2014

By Michele Straube for EDR Cactus photo ©Dorde Woodruff We often think of the initiation of litigation as a shot across the bow. A thrown […]

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EDR and the Built Environment: Addressing Homelessness

Apr 29, 2014

by Shane Stroud for EDR Think about the word “environmentalism.” What do you think of? If you’re like me, you think of protecting crystal-blue mountain streams […]

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Brokering Peace Between People and Prairie Dogs

Apr 14, 2014

by Kevin D. Bunnell for EDR I am new to Cedar City and Iron County, but it didn’t take long to understand that “Utah prairie dog” […]

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The Mountain Accord: A Model of Environmental Conflict Resolution for the Wasatch Mountains?

Mar 28, 2014

By Mayor Ralph Becker for EDR Our urban communities adjacent to the Central Wasatch Mountains have an intimate and interdependent relationship with the mountains.  […]

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Are We Wired to Cooperate?

Mar 28, 2014

By Michele Straube for EDR Maybe, maybe not … but if not, our brains are easily re-wired to cooperate. I recently participated in a panel […]

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Collaboration and Partnerships in Public Land Management

Mar 25, 2014

By Cheryl Probert  for EDR Partnerships and collaboration seem to be all the rage in public land management.  But do the feds truly understand what collaboration […]

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Welcome to the EDR Blog

Mar 24, 2014

By Kirstin Lindstrom  for EDR Welcome to the EDR Blog, hosted by the University of Utah’s Environmental Dispute Resolution Program (EDRP). Established in 2012 as […]

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