Madeleine Newton

Madeleine Newton

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Course Summary

Environmental Engagement focuses on all that goes into effectively communicating and fully understanding environmental issues. We learn about the history of engagement and how our approaches and understandings have evolved over time. The readings for the course are focused on both the theories that underlie environmental engagement as well as understanding more specific examples of how organizations put these theories into practice. I have been researching the Oregon non-profit Healthy Democracy’s approach to engagement, and applying what we learn in class to my understanding of their programs. This course highlights and questions a lot of important topics like the who, what, and how of environmental engagement. I have learned a lot throughout this semester about all of this and more. However, the most important thing I have gotten out of the course is understanding how complex and important this topic is and how these strategies for engagement span far outside of just environmental issues.

Engagement Partnership

One important part of ENVS 295 is an environmental engagement partnership with a Portland-area organization. The page linked above offers information and resources I helped compile for my organizational partner this semester.

Engagement Project

Building on the engagement partnership above, our team developed a related engagement project in collaboration with the partner. The page linked above offers details on our engagement project.

My Course Posts

I've done a series of posts throughout the semester related to readings, our partnership, our project, and my thoughts on environmental engagement. See below for all posts I've published, in reverse order by date.

Goals for a Healthy Democracy in Oregon

April 20, 2020

Healthy Democracy is focused on improving the democratic process across the state. They do this through a variety of large-scale projects that focus on increasing the spread of information to inform voters and increasing engagement between people in different parts of Oregon with different life experiences. Our project seeks to […]

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Less is not More in a Divided Oregon

April 13, 2020

Maximizing Engagement Across the Rural/Urban Divide Environmental engagement takes a variety of different things into account when considering different approaches. Three things we’ve looked closely at over the summer and have applied to our research on and work with Healthy Democracy are the who, the what and the how of […]

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Healthy Democracy: Doing More By Thinking Smaller

April 6, 2020

Overview Healthy Democracy does a lot of work to repair democracy within the state of Oregon and beyond. The two main ways that they go about doing this is through increasing the spread of accurate and thoughtful information for voters and creating engagement opportunities between people from all walks of […]

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Engagement: A Way to Unite in Times of Difference

March 23, 2020

Learning about Environmental Engagement has given me a much deeper and more refined way of thinking about the way in which I discuss and form opinions about controversial issues of any subject. My past experience with engagement was through canvassing which focuses primarily on the deficit model of engagement, assuming […]

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“How” Healthy Democracy Works

March 12, 2020

Introduction In Environmental Engagement, we’ve determined the what, the who and now we are determining the how. This is referred to as engagement through two-way dialogue. An article by Jim Proctor at Lewis & Clark highlights three methods in which engagement is practiced through different types of conversation. The three types that […]

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The Who of Healthy Democracy

March 9, 2020

Introduction This week we focused on ‘The Who’ of environmental engagement. This encompasses a wide variety of considerations, but is primarily focused on who is taken into account in the policy decision-making process. The article by Luyet et al, 2012 it explores how engagement is practiced within a framework that […]

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Healthy Democracy Post-Truth

March 2, 2020

What is Environmental Engagement in a Post-Truth World? In ENVS 295 this week we focused on the meaning of alternative facts in a world of post-truths and rapid overload of information. In class, we discussed the definition of post-truth and alternative facts using the following articles by Thomas Edsall (2020) […]

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Making a Difference with Healthy Democracy

February 25, 2020

Definition Effective Altruism or Action is defined as an approach to making a difference that takes into account the ability to actually make progress on or accomplish a particular goal, and in turn have a significant impact and measurable benefits (2016). It also discusses the importance of evaluating what issues […]

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Accounting for All of Oregon’s History

February 16, 2020

Our Environmental Engagement class went on a trip to pursue different perspectives of past and current Oregon history as well as stances of environmental issues. We were given a presentation about the history of the Willamette Valley from Liza Schade, who is pursuing her masters in history at Portland State […]

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