General Meeting 11/05/08

General meeting 11/5/08

There were a lot of new people, so we started with officer introductions

Announcements:

  • We need a greater emphasis on fundraising
  • Open positions: anyone willing to help out with fundraising
  • New project-the Organic Growers Club wants us to help design two freight bikes. We have worked with them in the past, installing a test rainwater catchment system.
  • Habitat for humanity-We will be working at the Lewisburg house for Habitat for Humanity on Saturday, Nov. 22.  An email will be sent out with more details.
  • Jacob is sending out a sign up for anyone interested in the wind turbine project. He is working on creating a group to get the project going and turbines up in the next year.

Presenter: Dr. Todd Jarvis

Dr. Jarvis has worked with water resources for much of his career.  He is presenting on conflict mediation in water disputes.

Key presentation points:

  1. Engineers have poor communication skills, even though they are often the most important skills they need to use for their jobs.
  2. There are many reasons for water conflict, but it is a major problem around the globe.  People die over it all the time.
  • Water supplies are going to get tighter and bigger problem in the US in the near future. There are already places in Oregon with a ground water shortage.
  • 50% of conflicts are caused by words with different meanings.
  • The other 50% are from different words with same meanings.
  • Lots of conflict also comes from words that people have no idea of the meaning.
  • Conflict comes from various places, different views, beliefs, uneven power.

3. Solutions for resolving complex problems:

  • Find best scientific solution, then enforce with regulation.
  • Discourse within interests-doesn’t always work and takes a long time.
  • Discourse based learning: responding to complexity and diversity-often the best way to come to a win-win comclusion. This combines science and local knowledge with group interactions and letting all viewpoints be heard. This method was also developed by OSU professors.

4. There is no perfect solution for complicated water issues, so once a a reasonable plan has been created, communities must encouraged to act. If they wait for an ideal solution, nothing will ever get done.

5. Time spent getting public up to speed with the details of water issues is worth it.  It takes a long time for problems like these to be solved, usually at least two years.  Creating trust with the public and informing everyone is the quickest way to find a solution people can agree upon, though.

6. You are never too old to learn new skills.