Also See: Table of Contents, Endorsements, and Purchase Information
"As an educator of four decades I have watched students light up while learning outdoor-hands-in-the-soil, or seen them glaze over at the mention of dreaded paper-and-pencil assignments that remained the same over the course of their generation. My career has been spent as a champion for kindness over bullying, teaching the whole child, using technology effectively, exploring the nature we have right in front of us, and taking charge of our future by becoming community scientists. I have taught in a regular high school, residential psychiatric treatment, residential drug and alcohol treatment, and alternative education.
My current endeavor for the last 15 years has been to create a self-contained program for 9th and 10th grade students who are not gaining traction toward earning a diploma. The program is based on running a half-acre farm on our alternative education campus. We coordinate with local and state environmental organizations, Oregon State University, and agricultural experts that grow produce commercially. We raise chickens, honey bees, mason bees, salmon, and trout. We visit local sites weekly. Behind the scenes I write two to three grants per year.
I spend my time creating community connections, bringing local experts into the classroom and moving away from textbooks after realizing that the information base is so vast and ever-changing that a textbook would not allow us the freedom to investigate the questions that need answers right now. In addition, textbooks do not help us know our particular surroundings. That which is native to our area is personal and sacred.
Chris Maser, the lead author of this book, and I have been thrown together in the most grassroots way imaginable. Even though I live 20 miles away from him, I consider Chris my closest neighbor. Chris and his wife, Zane, live across the street from the school where I have put into practice my reworking of education throughout the course of my many years of teaching. Chris has watched me gradually move more of my teaching outdoors, and finally to the creation of the Urban Farm Program. He and I have had numerous "over the fence" conversations about youth and educational trends.
Chris is insightful, eloquent, humble, a great listener, and for reasons I still do not understand, patient. How can anyone who has clearly discovered the key to a sustainable society and the formula for true leadership not be screaming at the top of his lungs, "I have the answer. It's simple and it's right in front of us"? It is through the many publications he has written, the trainings, interventions, and finally an entire website dedicated to his life's work that helps us to feel heard and validated.
There are some books we read that make us want to highlight passages and dog-ear pages and then beg specific people to read the book. "Community Vision And Leadership In Practice: A Sustainable Approach" is that type of book. This book, written by Chris and Holly, is perfect for groups to read, gather, and discuss. I zeroed in on Leadership and Education, but any governing body or large business would benefit from this title. It is past time to reorganize our priorities and provide a planet that guarantees the children of today their right to clean air and drinkable water. How can any decisions be made that do not take this priority into consideration? If it hurts the planet or hurts any living being it must be CAREFULLY considered before it is implemented, and all vested parties must agree to it.
When Chris asked me to write this foreword, I told him that I am nobody special and that someone well known should write it. Chris said, "I have a gift and so do you. I want you to speak through yours and be heard." And this, my friends, is how a true leader leads. This book is a pat on the back and a shove in the right direction. It can easily be applied to any level of organization: parenting, teaching, running a small business, or leading a large corporation. It is written in an easily consumed format and I believe that everyone would benefit from reading this book. Our systems, that loosely keep humanity functioning, need to be reworked from the ground up. Either we give in, or the environment gives up. This book is for everyone.
Creator and Lead Teacher of the Urban Farm Program
College Hill High School
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1: WHY IS A SHARED VISION IMPORTANT?
COMMUNITY AS A FLUID COMPONENT WITHIN THE DYNAMIC ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEM
WORKING TOGETHER FOR A COMMON FUTURE
CHAPTER 2: THE CONCEPT OF COMMUNITY
TRUE COMMUNITY IS FOUNDED ON A SENSE OF PLACE, HISTORY, RESPECT, AND TRUST
LOCAL COMMUNITIES UNDER STRESS
COMMUNITY DEPENDS ON HOW WE TREAT ONE ANOTHER
CHAPTER 3: QUESTIONS WE NEED TO ASK
WHO ARE WE AS A CULTURE
Categories of Value
Identifying the Values You Wish to Pass On to the Futures
Ferreting Out Community Values
WHAT LEGACY DO WE WANT TO LEAVE OUR CHILDREN?
INCLUDING CHILDREN IN ENVISIONING THE LEGACY THEY'LL INHERIT
Encourage children to draw their visions of community
CHAPTER 4: UNDERSTANDING A VISION, GOALS, AND OBJECTIVES
DEFINING VISION, GOALS, AND OBJECTIVES
BARRIERS IN COMMUNICATION
Piece Thinkers Versus Systems Thinkers
Abstractions Versus Concrete Experiences
REFRAMING A NEGATIVE AS A POSITIVE
A VISION IS TIED TO THE NEGOTIABILITY CONSTRAINTS
TESTING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF DECISIONS THROUGH MONITORING
The Questions We Ask
Monitoring in Five Steps
Step 1: Crafting a vision statement, goals, and objectives
Step 2: Preliminary inventory
Step 3: Assessing implementation
Step 4: Monitoring effectiveness
Step 5: Monitoring to validate the outcome
Putting Time in Perspective
The Danger of Interrupting Information Feedback
CHAPTER 5: THE ESSENCE OF LEADERSHIP
THE REQUIRED CHARACTERISTICS OF TRUE LEADERSHIP
An Honorable Person
Balancing One's Outlook
Detachment and Equanimity
A Good Follower
Willingness to Delegate Authority
Encourage Leadership in Others
CHAPTER 6: COPING WITH THE RESPONSIBILITIES AND PRESSURES OF LEADERSHIP
CIRCUMSTANCES FACED BY LEADERS
Criticism in the Form of Projection
Being and Disclosing Yourself
Understanding and Respecting the Role of Silence
The Need to Be Heard
Learning Your Limits
LEADERSHIP WITHIN ORGANIZATIONS
CHAPTER 7: NEGOTIATING CONSTRAINTS TO COMMUNITY VISIONS
IDENTIFYING AND UNDERSTANDING CONSTRAINTS
THE COMMUNITY OF TOMORROW: WHERE DO WE WANT TO GO FROM HERE?
Mistaking the Map for the Territory
Being Realistic: Taking Scope, Scale, and Time into Account in Planning
ATTRIBUTING (OR MISATTRIBUTING) CAUSES AND CORRELATIONS
CHAPTER 8: IF YOU WANT TO GO FAR, GO TOGETHER BY MAKING INCLUSIVE AND INTELLIGENT DECISIONS
INCLUSIVE BRAINSTORMING FOR GROUP SUCCESS
PARTNERS AND THEIR ROLES IN COMMUNITY PLANNING
INFORMING PROJECTS WITH RELEVANT, LOCAL SCIENCE
Citizen Involvement in Science for Planning
Maintaining Flexibility in Thinking and Planning
A PROPOSED SET OF DECISION-MAKING GUIDELINES
Guideline 1: Everything is a Relationship
Between People and the Environment
Between People in the Present and Those of the Future
Guideline 2: All Relationships Are Inclusive and Productive of An Outcome
Guideline 3: The Only True Investment Is Energy from Sunlight
Guideline 4: All Relationships Involve a Transfer of Energy
Guideline 5: All Systems Are Based on Composition, Structure, and Function
Guideline 6: All Relationships Have One or More Trade-offs
Guideline 7: All Systems Have Cumulative Effects, Lag Periods, And Thresholds
Guideline 8: Change Is an Irreversible Process of Eternal Becoming
Guideline 9: Systemic Change is Based on Self-Organized Criticality
Guideline 10: Dynamic Disequilibrium Rules All Systems
Guideline 11: Success or Failure Lies in the Interpretation of An Event
Guideline 12: People Must Be Equally Informed if They Are to Function as a Truly Democratic Society
Guideline 13: We Must Consciously Limit Our "Wants"
Guideline 14: Simplicity Is the Key to Contentment, Adaptability, and Survival
Guideline 15: Nature, Environmental/Cultural Wisdom, and Human Well-Being Are Paramount
Guideline 16: Every Legal Citizen Deserves the Right to Vote
Guideline 17: This Present Moment Is All We Have
CHAPTER 9: TIME, CHANGE, AND RESILIENCE: THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY
CASE STUDIES OF COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY
COMMON THEMES AND ELEMENTS IN GLOBAL COMMUNITY PLANNING FOR SUSTAINABILITY
The Common Themes and Elements:
APPENDIX: SELECTED FURTHER RESOURCES FOR THE READER
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"This book adds some especially needed assets to my teaching tool box. I have used Chris's publications for years and have considered his works to be the Compass. However, I couldn't go to the next step with my students as to how to find a path to a viable, vibrant outcome within the structure of society as we know it. Holly and Chris integrate the inviolable principles with agency such that students can see how a sustainable end can be accomplished. Year after year I have seen students struggle with overpowering feelings of loss and lack of control once they truly begin to understand how natural systems work and then learn the reality of current conditions. This can shut them down and affect their ability to fully integrate what they have learned, their desire to learn more, and then act on it. I also think the questions at the end of the chapters are useful for topic review and because they are introspective, they encourage meaningful class discussions. I can see furthering the framework of this book as time passes with more exemplary outcomes and student input. Glad to have a book like this structured for student learning!"
Cindy Haws, Assistant Professor of Science,
Umpqua Community College
"Campbell and Maser narrate a series of imperative matters, weaving stories about socio-ecological system sustainability throughout forests, coastal seas, and urban areas. Their perception of the lane that social acuity and environmental management share deepens consciousness into a global confrontation of the problems our communities face. The sustainability practitioner community will gain traction into the crux of querying land-use alterations, critical nature-based solutions, and historical shifts. Elucidating the evolution of conserving social and ecological resources, this text takes readers on a necessary trip to view communities confronting unremitting change. 'Community Vision and Leadership in Practice: A Sustainable Approach' delivers a newfangled vision of sustainability spanning the socio-environmental realm while unifying peoples, establishments, and mindsets engaged in the matrix of global-change planning."
Joshua Redford Kesling,
Honors Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management and Conservation Policy,
Oregon State University,
"Chris and Holly have made the topic very approachable (clarity of definitions, thesis statements, and useful examples cited). The discussion questions are both useful in helping the reader to recall and integrate what they've learned of the topics discussed and inviting the reader(s) to contribute back. Too many books have passive discussion questions that don't invite the imagination—these did and were clearly written. Lastly, the book leaves the reader with hope, with a sense of real possibility. We are indeed faced with complicated problems, but there are solutions that we all can and must contribute to. I think that's one of the most important things in a book of this nature—did you leave the reader thinking, "Yes, I can"? In my eyes, yes! They have succeeded in that!"
Chairperson (2020-2022), Benton County Democrats,
"As the world moves to ever-increasing economic interdependence, it has never been more important for community planners to know how to develop a shared vision for achieving sustainability, carefully balancing ecological, social, and economic needs. This text moves us closer to achieving this goal, serving as a much-needed handbook with practical techniques and insights for listening and collaborating effectively. It asks us to consider a fundamental, and deeply thoughtful, question: What legacy to we want to leave for our children?
"I wholeheartedly recommend this text to anyone who works with a range of stakeholders and wants to enhance their skills in identifying shared values, which will serve as the basis for building consensus and moving towards tangible results. For this reason, I believe it would be especially useful to community planners, who frequently find themselves in processes that depend on clear communication and often involve parties with competing interests. As the text notes, we live in a time in which cooperation, especially with those who might have competing interests, has never been more important. The text helps readers recognize barriers to communication and to identify what is negotiable, and what is not, when working towards sustainability visions, goals, and objectives.
"I especially loved the discussion on leadership and the need for leaders to be authentic and good followers. Virtually all of us answer to someone (someone higher in the chain of command, a direct supervisor, to a board of directors, to elected officials, to voters, etc.), we cannot effectively lead until we learn to effectively follow. We also must strive to create an environment in which leadership is being cultivated in others at all times."
•Noted the challenge of balancing ecological, social, economic needs in an increasingly interdependent world
•Clearly defined "sustainability" and "whole-system" perspective
•Discussed the importance of balancing competition, cooperation, and coordination
•Vision is dependent on consensus, consensus is dependent on communication
•Noted the difficulty in shifting the decision paradigm from short-term benefits to long-term benefits
•Defined "vision," "goals," and "objectives"
•Piece thinkers versus systems thinkers (potential barriers to communications).
•Learning what is negotiable and what is not
•How to ask effective questions and how to monitor decisions that have been made (in five steps
•Leadership characteristics discussion
•Generalists are important! Social-environmental challenges require broad perspective
•Go far, by going together
•Localized scientific findings will inform decisions
•International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Standard for Nature-Based Solutions—Eight Standards
Matt Bowling, AICP
Matt Bowling Planning, LLC,
A Veteran-Owned Small Business,
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This book is available on Amazon.