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Island Press Staff Picks - Common Ground on Hostile Turf

Salmon Trout River, near where the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community is fighting a mine. Photo by Save the Wild UP, used under Creative Commons licensing. Salmon Trout River, near where the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community is fighting a mine. Photo by Save the Wild UP, used under Creative Commons licensing.

Today's pick, Common Ground on Hostile Turf, comes from our Executive Editor Barbara Dean.

A clip from the news:
Head in any direction on Michigan’s remote Upper Peninsula and you will reach gushing rivers, placid ponds and lakes—both Great and small. An abundant resource, this water has nourished a small Native American community for hundreds of years. So 10 years ago, when an international mining company arrived near the shores of Lake Superior to burrow a mile under the Earth and pull metals out of ore, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of the Lake Superior Band of Chippewa had to stand for its rights and its water.
9781610914109This is the kind of conflict—with deep-rooted differences in culture and values as well as potential threats to environmental health—that often needs the help Lucy Moore can offer. An environmental and public policy mediator for 25 years, Lucy brings an open mind and generous heart to complicated, often emotional, highly contentious disputes that have no obvious resolution that will be “right” for all parties. In Common Ground on Hostile Turf:  Stories from an Environmental Mediator, she shares stories of some of her most compelling cases. I live in the West, where disputes over cattle grazing, water rights, wolves, and fracking can get personal fast, dividing neighbors who have coexisted more or less harmoniously for decades until, say, a record-breaking drought persists for three long years, casting differences in priorities, attitudes, and needs into sharp relief. In the midst of this place that is my forever home, I have come to love, appreciate, and (metaphorically) lean on Lucy’s book: love it for her wonderful sense of humor and brilliant storytelling; appreciate it for her sense of fairness and ability to really “hear” what each individual says; and lean on it for her faith in the process As she says: “I have seen the power of a personality make or break a process. I have marveled at how cultural differences of all kinds—from corporate to ethnic—can keep a good solution from moving forward. I have discovered that the key to conflict resolution lies not in piles of data, the legal merits of the case, or the moral justness of the cause.  It’s in the people.” I’ve given copies of Common Ground on Hostile Turf to friends and neighbors, wanting to share Lucy’s experience-honed wisdom. And also to share with them her supportive company, especially for the moments when they feel most alone. Read the book! You’ll love it, even if your life is blissfully conflict free at the moment. Chances are, it won’t always be that way. Common Ground on Hostile Turf and all our other hardcover and paperback books are on sale for 50-70% off through September 30.