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The Writings of Jim Britell


The Usual Suspects Series

6/95 #1: After the Rescissions Bill: Implications for the Environmental Movement
The current strategy of the forest protection movement is dead. Trying to get bad elected officials to do good things is fruitless.

7/95 #2: The Rescissions Bill : What Happened? -- What's Next?
Public lands will end up in private hands unless we develop an environmental action plan for every congressional district.

8/95 #3: Controlling "Point Source" Information Pollution
Environmental policy is increasingly based on half baked, anecdotal, hard luck stories which must be countered.

8/95 #4: Design Factors in Grassroots Networks
Designing grassroots networks presents unique design challenges; activists are often technologically challenged.

9/95 #5: Enumerating the Grassroots, September 1995
Presently there is no accurate roster of grassroots groups - a proposal to inventory them.

10/95 #6: Trends and Issues in Grassroots Forest Activism
We need to organize to pass good legislation, not just stop the bad; networking is more than just proliferating email.

10/95#7: Preparing for a Network
Money may create electronic networks, but only activists can create human networks that can put them to good use.

12/95#8: An Organizing Goal for Grassroots Activists
Absent organizing, legislative panaceas are little more than contemporary versions of the children's crusades -- a modest proposal.

3/97#9: Sloppy Networks
A communication network appropriate for grassroots activists may need to violate many conventions and be sloppy, god-awful redundant, overlapping and massively parallel.

8/97 #10: Problems with Consensus
Partnerships, Roundtables and Quincy-type groups are bad ideas that cannot resolve environmental conflicts.

8/97 #11 Part 1: Straight talk about Gridlock, Consensus, "Intrusive" Government, and "Win-Win"
Three big myths about Gridlock. The age old problem of consensus in deliberative bodies.

9/97 #11 Part 2: Consensus, Partnerships and Roundtables
Is it unimaginable to enforce federal laws upon the unwilling? The reasons for America's peculiar obsession with property rights.

9/97 #11 part 3: The Myth of "Win Win"
While negotiation and consensus will always be a necessary part of the human experience, the mere presence of conflict does not mean that seeking "win-win" solutions is either the preferred or the appropriate approach.

10/97 #12: Negotiate to Win
Practical advice and checklists on conducting negotiations including: where to sit; what and when to eat; your rights to documents; and how to cope with "stage fright". Pitfalls environmentalists face in such meetings.

10/97 #13: Management Problems in Nonprofits
Many nonprofit and social change organizations manage to create work environments that are social nightmares for their staffs.

2/98 #14: Improving Management in Non-Profit Organizations
Concrete (and sometimes unorthodox) suggestions to make any organization more efficient and a better place to work.

9/99 #17: A Plan To Reform Earth Day Practical, hands-on projects suitable for community groups and students that will educate and motivate people to solve the most important environmental problems facing their communities - instead of just gumming them.

10/99 #18: Indian Whaling, Hispanic Logging & Other Activist Dilemmas  Activists must oppose bad environmental projects (like the Makah Whale hunt) even when promoted by or designed to financially benefit minorities, or the oppressed and disenfranchised. Paradoxically, not opposing them can lead to worse ethical failings than racism, colonialism and the other "isms".

10/99 #19: Avoiding The Dark Side Of Email  Email is a powerful tool with unique advantages over speech and other forms of writing, but can cause problems not found in those other forms of communication. Many hints and suggestions for email's predictable yet avoidable problems including "flaming". Getting others to read and respond to your posts.

03/00 #20: A Critique of American Biology The decline in biological diversity is being caused by the timidity of American Biologists. 150 years ago Emerson warned biologists to stop hiding behind their microscopes, and stand up and be "men" and get politically involved. But Biological Sciences punish "advocacy" with tenure loss and blocked professional advancement. So paradoxically the branch of science that studies evolutionary niches is being pushed out of its own niche by "creationists" who, unlike Biologists, are not afraid to contend.

#22 - 24:   THE BIG SWATH OF RED - (Notes From the Campaign Trail) Parts 1, 2 and 3   George W. Bush refers to his victories in almost every rural county as the "big swath of red on the map." Why progressive candidates lose elections in rural areas and what can be done about it.

©1993-2001 Jim Britell
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