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Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior director Mark Lubell joins Geoffrey Riley on Jefferson Public Radio's The Jefferson Exchange to discuss how people work together and how policy is shaped in a collective way.
In a recent New York Times editorial, Charles Fishman argues “Water is Broken. Data Can Fix It.” He laments the dearth of water data in the United States, and suggests that increasing the collection and availability of water data will create a demand for additional information, change behavior, and ignite innovation. Mike Kiparsky and Joshua Viers reiterate this idea in the Los Angeles Times, in the context of needing better information for California water.
Fine, I admit I like Twitter as an outreach tool. My fondness for Twitter was recently reinforced when I replied to a message from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) regarding the various agencies and planning processes around the Murray-Darling watershed in Australia. I was pleasantly surprised when the MDBA directly responded to a couple of questions that I posed regarding the complexity of the MDBA governance system.
To kick off the new year, the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior lab group discussed Lars Carlsson and Annica Sandström’s article, “Network Governance of the Commons”. The article overviews co-management literature and network approaches to understanding natural resource governance. It includes an in-depth review of social network measures that have been associated with social capital. The authors give a brief overview of both co-management and network approaches, noting that the traditional approach to understanding co-management focused on a linear axes of power sharing between “the state” and private actors. They argue that poor alignment between political boundaries and resource geographies-as well as the numerous scales of social and ecological processes involved in managing natural resources - challenge this approach (watersheds are a classic example). The paper presents social network analysis as a conceptual framework that allows for a flexible understanding of the governance structure. Echoing one of the core sentiments of the group, Mark later wrote that he “liked how the paper recognized the nuances of how social networks might affect environmental outcomes, such as the tradeoffs between different types of network structures.” And that he “thought they did a good job of connecting to some of the most important basic research in social networks, in particular Burt and Granovetter, and talked about the difference between more open and closed networks.” The article presents a call for further case studies comparing divergent outcomes, which is always nice for our lab (since that is one of the things we do – see the Schneider et al. reference in Carlsson and Sandstrom’s paper for proof!).
Below is a play-by-play account of the themes in the article we discussed at length. We hope it provides a) a good summary for people who missed the meeting, b) feedback to the authors and people who may use the article as a teaching tool, c) a reminder to ourselves about how this article informs and relates to some of the other scholarly work with which we are familiar. In the comments after to post, feel free to post citation information for references relevant to any of these points.
I'm spending a few days in Cahir, Ireland, which is quite a small town in Southwest Ireland on the way to Cork. The town is centered on a big castle on the Suir River. I've just returned from a "tour" by one of the leaders of the Cahir and District Angling Association, which is one of the private clubs that manage rivers throughout Ireland, England, and Scotland. These angling clubs are basically a perfect example of local common pool resource associations, and they have been around in Ireland for roughly 80 years in some cases. The history is interesting because it is a story of transitioning from feudal landownership, to the emergence of national states, to local community management of fisheries resources. In the case of Cahir, it was a feudal estate owned by the Stuart? (I might be getting some of these names wrong because I don't have time to research every detail as I sit here and sip my Guiness) family.