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ERIC Number: EJ863066
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 28
ISSN: ISSN-0973-4082
Using Community Forums to Enhance Public Engagement in Environmental Issues
Monroe, Martha C.; Oxarart, Annie; McDonell, Lauren; Plate, Richard
Journal of Education for Sustainable Development, v3 n2 p171-182 2009
As environmental issues become more complex, the public may be less interested in becoming knowledgeable enough to participate in decision-making. Yet its input can be critically important in some community-based issues. A community forum is one tool designed to provide information, enable participants to ask questions to experts and create an open atmosphere for discussing an issue that requires relatively little investment from the participants. We used this tool to explore the issue of using wood to create electricity. Our results suggest that participants gained knowledge about the issue. As long as their concerns were addressed, nearly twice as many participants felt positive about such a proposed facility after the forum (81 percent) than before (43 percent, n = 108). Such activities could be successful strategies to engage the public in decision-making because they respect the real limits on time, attention and knowledge and enable people to participate at an appropriate scale. To reproduce this community forum, we suggest using credible but neutral experts, creating a nonjudgemental atmosphere, allowing people to ask their questions and sharing the results with elected officials. (Contains 2 figures and 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida