House on Fire

The house where I grew up was perpetually catching on fire. It wasn’t all bad.  Although I fought with my brothers and sisters sometimes, we really had a beautiful family.  Sunday dinner was especially nice.  Dad always asked each of us what we did that week.  If one...

Land Governance Lenses

There are multiple factors that influence the way we as human beings see the world.  Education, culture, and particular disciplines, professions, and institutions all provide us with narratives, conceptual frameworks, and biases.  These become lenses through which see...

In Defense of Community

In conservation, natural resource management, disaster risk reduction and various other fields, community-based approaches have been very popular, bathed in a glowing light of all that is participatory, bottom-up and democratic.  But they have also attracted a widely...

Four virtues for landscape approaches

In the fields of natural resource management and environmental governance, programs, projects, and advocacy often address structural factors at the community level, the landscape level or the national level, but tend to focus much less on individual behavior, except...

The inconvenient implications of community-driven development

Motherhood, participatory approaches and apple pie. I’m on the board of an organization that is in the midst of some soul searching about its role in natural resource management, land rights, landscape approaches, and community-based conservation.  These are things...