Deliberative democracy (DD) shares some key features with Gaianism and is intrinsically compatible with it, to the point that Gaians might think about taking an interest in practicing and promoting DD.
We all have a sense (though often only a fairly vague sense) that free speech is somehow crucial to democracy. But why should that be the case?
In Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy, Tina Nabatchi and I defined civic infrastructure as “the laws, processes, institutions, and associations that support regular opportunities for people to connect with each other, solve problems, make decisions, and celebrate community.”
Even as an ordinary citizen you can begin engaging and facilitating change by starting with dialogue right where you are, and building from there.
What I mean by dialogue is a defined set of communication patterns that build understanding and help people of different backgrounds and experiences openly share their thoughts and work through their differences with mutual respect.
The first step in deciding where and how to start with deliberative dialogue is to ask, what is your environment and how are you placed and rooted in it?
Deliberation is key to public engagement work as well, enabling people to discuss the consequences, costs, and trade-offs of various policy options, and to work through the emotions that tough public decisions raise.
The purpose of this text is to give a brief and accessible overview of how deliberative democracy can work at its full potential. This requires a specific formula, a way of designing a democratic system, which in this case is the Waldenia Model. At the heart of this model are citizens’ assemblies.
Whether we ourselves want to develop these skills, or support others to do so, to ensure a resilient future we need to grow more community members with effective group facilitation skills and mindsets.
Assemblies can be the way to break the business as usual logjam that is paralysing effective action. For that, they need to be given the time and range of expert input to be able to arrive at their own understanding of the level of the emergency, and the transformations needed to address it.
What forms of self-governance will enhance our efforts to create resilient local communities?
Power, inclusion, and deliberation work together—slowly but surely—to yield stronger, more resilient communities.