In the Hidden Tribes of America test, we thought that the general spectrum of our country’s political views were well-represented, even if the categories were broad. The test also showed the percentages of people that make up these categories, from progressive activists to devoted conservatives. This illustrated the highly polarized beliefs of today’s society. The extremes of the spectrum made up only a small percentage of the overall population, yet these extremes dominate much of the national discussion, with less focus on those in the middle.
Similarly, the Six Americas test examined societal views on global warming, where people ranged from alarmed to dismissive, calling for radical political action or detaching themselves from the issue altogether. This seems to represent the vast diversity of viewpoints in the United States, as well as an effort to represent the perspectives of as many people as possible. This representation of perspectives also applies to the Heterodox Academy, as well as an article by Luyet et al. (2012). They emphasize the importance of promoting collaboration and viewpoint diversity to ensure that everyone is well-represented. However, it is important to be careful in both instances to maintain a balance of power in the decision-making process. This is crucial in ensuring that all voices are listened to and taken seriously.
As soon as we started our partnerships, we’ve been threading together the different stakeholders surrounding our organizations. Now that we’re cracking down on our project plan, we’re circling back to a section from our project proposal post about cap and trade. As previously mentioned, the two main stakeholders are the Oregon Farm Bureau, meant to represent farmers in Oregon generally, and the state of Oregon, more specifically elected officials.
Both farmers and the state care about reducing carbon emissions, but there is a fundamental disconnect. Farmers reject cap and trade mainly because of the costs that it would add to their operations, but also on the basis that cap and trade ignore the good farmers do for the environment and was written without input from any actual farmers. Oregon lawmakers are under pressure to pass cap and trade in an effort to gain public approval. As Oregon’s cap and trade bill was about to be voted on, Oregon Senate Republicans staged a walkout in protest. Under pressure to not have a climate bill stuck in legal limbo, Governor Brown issued an executive order to pass the bill. While approval was won with climate activists, the lack of democratic process only made cap and trade look worse to those who already opposed it.
There is a third stakeholder, however; the environment. The nebulous idea of ecological health relies on the cooperation of multiple parties coming to compromise. The environment is a passive party, leaving its fate up entirely up to those centered around it.
We need to get back to the middle. The majority of people want to find a compromise.Barb Iverson
The OFB and Oregon legislature find themselves at an impasse. The seemingly simple answer of finding compromise is much further out of reach when people are protecting their own livelihoods. Not to mention the existing divide between rural and urban Oregon saturating the background radiation of this conflict between farmers and politicians elected primarily by city dwellers. The only option to move forward includes an open conversation between farmers and lawmakers, and a commitment to further communication on both ends.