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6 x 9
In a time when the United States is divided and positive collective action feels out of our grasp, Beyond Polarization tells a story of hope and hard work. That story goes back to 1999, when California passed a landmark piece of legislation to establish a system of marine protected areas off its coast that would safeguard miles of fragile ocean resources. After a contentious ten-year public process, establishment of a network of 124 protected areas was considered nothing short of miraculous. As important as this achievement was, the legacy it left was even more enduring: a blueprint for successful public policy that can be replicated elsewhere. What lessons can we draw?
California’s experience provides a rare opportunity to learn from a collaborative public process involving private interests and science-intensive decisions. Determined to do just that, Steven Yaffee, a renowned expert on negotiation and collaborative decision making, spent hundreds of hours researching the MLPA process in an effort to understand how California succeeded where other efforts have failed. The result is Beyond Polarization, a highly readable insider’s perspective on complicated decision-making processes and the strategic choices necessary for success. The book follows the initiative process region by region, each with its unique stakeholders and geographic concerns. These lessons can be applied to similar collaborative processes across the country and world.
Beyond Polarization presents an optimistic message about the public policy process in a time of civic division. It offers reassurance that, by using proven decision-making processes, policymakers, scientists, and local citizens can successfully collaborate to manage and protect natural resources we all have a stake in.
"Yaffee's text is personal, often journalistic and quirky …. the book also includes well-designed maps, useful tables, and 25 pages of notes."
"This book is an informative, inside perspective on the MLPA Initiative and goes into much more depth about the process than currently found in the peer-reviewed literature."
"California's extraordinary system of marine protected areas is the product of an equally extraordinary and innovative public-private partnership. By engaging scientists, policy makers, ocean users, and the public in a collaborative process, the state designed the first science-based network of marine protected areas in the United States. Beyond Polarization describes the challenges and lessons learned from this model effort and demonstrates how science can bring us together to protect and restore the ocean that sustains us."
Julie Packard, Executive Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium
"This is the best analytical case study of collaborative problem solving ever published. Yaffee's superbly written narrative stands out for its comprehensive, unbiased, bird's-eye view, as well as its insightful lessons learned. It is a must-read for anyone who cares about solving society's most pressing public-policy problems—together."
Rosemary O'Leary, Edwin O. Stene Distinguished Professor, University of Kansas School of Public Affairs
"California's Marine Life Protection Act is part of California's long legacy of global leadership in ocean and coastal protection. The MLPA Initiative helped catalyze fundamental changes in the state's approach to managing ocean ecosystems, partnering with tribes, and addressing conflict. Yaffee's careful unpacking of this story provides a critical perspective on resource management and biopolitics."
Wade Crowfoot, California Secretary for Natural Resources
"Yaffee's vivid account centers the reader within the courage, intensity, loss, and triumph of the MLPA Initiative. This is a dispassionate, historic chronicle of a landmark ocean conservation effort and also a source of lessons about what enables multi-stakeholder public processes to succeed. Process and the people who engage in it are the protagonists of this epic story."
Meg Caldwell, Deputy Director for Oceans, David and Lucile Packard Foundation
List of Illustrations
Chapter 1. Hooks and Bullet Points
PART I. Origins
Chapter 2. Evolving Science, Emerging Networks
Chapter 3. Birth of the MLPA
Chapter 4. Death and Resurrection
Chapter 5. Taking Initiative
Chapter 6. Gaining Traction
PART II. Central Coast: Down the Runway Putting Rivets in the Wings
Chapter 7. Riveting Rapidly
Chapter 8. Coming Up to Speed
Chapter 9. Starting to Descend
Chapter 10. Bumpy but Successful Landing
PART III. North Central Coast: Getting It Just Right
Chapter 11. Adaptive Change
Chapter 12. A Semi-Precious Design Process
Chapter 13. One More Turn of the Screw
Chapter 14. Lock and Load
PART IV. South Coast: All Hell Breaks Loose
Chapter 15. Maintaining Momentum
Chapter 16. Game On
Chapter 17. Skirmishes
Chapter 18. Dug In
Chapter 19. Reset
Chapter 20. Making Sausage
PART V. North Coast: From Disunity to Unity
Chapter 21. A Place Apart
Chapter 22. Hitting the Wall
Chapter 23. Not the Summer of Love
Chapter 24. Rebellion and Unification
PART VI. Implementation
Chapter 25. Critical Mass
Chapter 26. Process Matters
About the Author
Presented by: Steven Yaffee of the University of Michigan and Kaitilin Gaffney of the Resources Legacy Fund
At a time when the United States is divided and positive collective action feels out of reach, the creation of California’s network of marine protected areas provides a story of hope and hard work. After a contentious ten-year collaborative public process, the establishment of a network of 124 protected areas was considered nothing short of miraculous, having navigated political and interest-based polarization, bureaucratic delays, evolving science, and historic financial difficulties. What lessons can be drawn from the experience? This webinar will report on the conclusions of a new Island Press book that analyzes the story. It will also explain how the protected areas designation process has influenced the implementation of the MPA network, and describe elements of the California experience that may be adapted elsewhere.
Co-sponsors: NOAA National MPA Center and OCTO (MPA News, OpenChannels, EBM Tools Network)