Jim Kent:

"Human change initiatives must work at social, economic, and ecological levels if they are to succeed."

Archive for October, 2010

Forthcoming Trend Report on Pacific Rim

Posted by Jim on October 13, 2010

News from Jim:

A new social, biological and economic strategy will be forthcoming from JKA on the future of the Pacific Rim. In working with developing the white paper on the Marine move from Okinawa to Guam, I discovered some fresh insights and trends that will be encouraging news for Hawaii and especially Honolulu. So stay tuned for a new paradigm look at the future of this hub of the Pacific.

To give you insight into what is coming the map below is the geographic area of the Pacific Rim in what our human geographic mapping company, Natural Borders, calls a Global Resource Unit (GRU).  Most maps that are familiar to us are of the Euro Centric world view where North and South America are on the left and Europe is on the right, and the view of the Pacific is totally marginalized. This map show the vision of the world from a Pacific Centric view. The map hangs in the Hawaii County Administrative office in Kona.  It is used extensively by futurists, businesses and people concerned with geographic grounded public policy .

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Intermountain West Funders Network

Posted by Jim on October 13, 2010

Jim Kent attended the Intermountain West Funder Network meeting in Aspen, Colorado from September 22 to the 24, 2010. There were over 20 foundations that attended. The focus of the gathering was to build relationships among funders in the Intermountain West to explore models for funder networking and collaboration on civic engagement, land use, and the role of philanthropy in both.  Jim was teamed with a Program Officer from the Hewlett Foundation to discuss the role of funders in advancing renewable energy sources in the Intermountain West.  It was held at the Aspen Institute and hosted by the Aspen Foundation. William Roper, Executive Director, of the Orton Family Foundation which is concerned with the heart and soul issues of rural communities was one of the organizers of the meeting.

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From Stabilization to Sustainability: A Collaborative Approach to Manage the Social, Cultural, Environmental and Economic change created by the Marine Corps’ move to Guam

Posted by Jim on October 13, 2010

 

Abstract

From Stabilization to Sustainability 

How do we manage the Marine units’ move from Okinawa to Guam in a way that supports the existing cultures of Guam, insures that ecological functions are sustained and enhanced, while also fostering social and economic health of the local communities?  Guam is a unique bio-social ecosystem that will be impacted physically, biologically, socially, and economically by the relocation of approximately 20,000 Marines and their families to Guam. Change initiatives which purport to foster sustainability require that certain key functions be in place.  Dr. Kent discussed five key action steps that offered a realistic and effective mitigation, creating an environment of harmony and respect so that all sectors can participate in, and benefit from the change.  (see www.jkagroup.com, publications, what’s new)

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Human Geographic Mapping: A New Approach

Posted by Jim on October 13, 2010

SOCIALECOLOGY

Human Geographic Mapping

A New Approach
BY JAMES A. KENT
The San Juan Basin Energy Connect Project has plans to build a power line between Farmington, New Mexico and Ignacio, Colorado. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Farmington Field Office (see yellow line on map) is the lead agency for the permitting of the power line corridor on federal lands that they manage.
Several years ago, the BLM realized that their field office administrative boundaries were not particularly advantageous when dealing with site-specific social, cultural and economic issues. The fact is, when a project ignores the cultural differences in specific geographic areas, they are interpreted locally as being imposed from the outside. As a result, projects can be faced with resistance regardless of their merit.
In early 2000, the BLM chose to adopt a new human geographic mapping system that made it easier to identify and address disruptive energy issues up front. This became instrumental in
developing a resource management plan.
Citizens mobilize within their natural borders when conducting everyday activities, so when formal institutions match their culture accordingly, the process becomes more effective.
The BLM realized that they needed to address the diverse citizen issues differently for each specific human geographic area.
For the San Juan Basin Energy Connect Project, two very different and distinct populations represented by the Human Resource Units (HRU) lines are encountered in addressing the corridor

selection for this project (see black line on map). The activity in the Farmington HRU is extractive and resource intensive. It is culturally different
from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s culture, as well as the recreation and tourism of the La Plata HRU, through which the line must pass. For example, residents of the Farmington HRU express solidarity with their neighbors, as reflected by this statement about the proposed transmission line, “This line may not be on my land, but if it is on my neighbor’s, I wouldn’t like that either.” By contrast, people in the La Plata HRU do not express such solidarity, as indicated by comments like, “If the line doesn’t go through my property, it will be ok.”
The power line developers, Tri-State Generation and Transmission
Association, have decided to use this human geographic approach to save time, money, their reputation and citizen energy. This is the first time that this Human Geographic Map system, based on preventing conflict, has been used nationally by a transmission company.

Human Geographic Mapping enhances current practices of dealing with the day-to-day project management, long range planning and NEPA compliance. Discovering and addressing citizen issues in their appropriate geographic setting early in the project fosters successful corridor development by preventing project ambush , conflicts and costly delays..

Jim is a global social ecologist with expertise in crafting empowered partnerships between corporations, communities and governments.  As President of JKA Group, Jim is an advocate for using culture-based strategies when introducing site/corridor projects to local communities.
Contact Jim at (970) 927-4424. Join
their blog at jimkent.wordpress.com.

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The Chile Mine Disaster: Self-organizing through informal networks

Posted by Jim on October 13, 2010

October 18,2010

The self-organizing of the miners in Chile continues.  They have all agreed to share any money or resources earned from stories and appearance will be shared equally among the 33.  This is a clear action of cultural solidarity, where they, through small group dynamics in charge of their present and future to the benefit of the whole.

Jim Kent

I have been captivated by the whole episode of the 33 miners trapped for the last 67 days 2000+ feet down in the mine they were working. I am watching the rescue capsule bring up the miners. They are on the second one at 10:13 pm Colorado time. That experience in and of itself is incredible to see.

The reason for my interest is that this is an absolute classic case of “self-organizing” that takes place in informal networks for survival, caretaking and cultural maintainance whether in this situation or in our communityh work. In other words JKA theory accounts for the action of these miners. Self-organizing had its origins in the theoritical area of “small group dynamics”. The way these miners organized once they were trapped was to build a conscious community of 33 where they used what we call community archetypes that serve a community survival function, not unlike the informal networks in JKA community empowerment work.

Remember the miners were out of touch with the surface for 17 days so they had to ration what food they had, and it was not much, and organize their geographic space so that it served their survival, livability, health and sanity. No “Lord of the Flies” for this small group. By the time the surface rescuers got a bore hole to the enclosure where they were trapped they already had the space organized into sleeping, exercise, eating, private, spiritual, day and night routines, and work schedules from their end in anticipation of the surface rescue “breaking through” as Ed Ricketts would have said.

I think we should give this event a lot of our attention from our Discovery framework. It is so powerful and listening to the commentators and even the NASA psychologists, they are missing the point from a social ecological perspective. Whether it is a “collaboration” process or the exercise of our definition of power: the individuals ability to predict, participate in and control their environment in a manner that does not oppress others–it has our theory written all over it. From my own reflections our theoretical foundation gives a unique insight into what these 33 miners did to survive. I think that is important to document for the larger social order. We also know pretty much what will happen to them if they do not stay grounded in the “real life” they created–as they are swamped with offers for a different life. I am reminded of the group of Marines that raised the flag over Iowa Jima. Ira Hayes from the Pima Indian Tribe and 3 of the other survivors, who raised the American flag, were toured around the country speaking and raising savings bond money for the World War II effort. Eventually Ira committed suicide because of the pressures of being separated from his family and culture. He had no absorption mechanisms to find a home in the social order that he was a stranger to. Lots to consider here.

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