Earlier this week the Tulalip Tribes hosted Making Sense of Sea Level Rise, a Tribal Climate Change Forum at the Seattle Mountaineers club. The Forum brought together representatives from Washington’s coastal tribes, state agencies, non-profits and academia in a somewhat unusual format to address local sea level rise issues. The Forum was broken into morning plenary presentations and afternoon “open space market places.” While the plenaries (including presentations from CHRN members Dr. Lara Whitey Binder, Ian Miller, and Eric Grossman) were extremely informative, it was the afternoon open space sessions that really caught my attention.
As one of the aforementioned skeptics myself, I can speak to my own concerns going in: How many sessions would be proposed? Would attendees find proposed sessions relevant and interesting? How well the sessions would be moderated? Consider me convinced. The dynamic was extremely fluid, flexible, and seemingly productive! Great topics were proposed, sessions were combined, broken apart, extended, dropped in-and-out of by attendees, and all with a rather seamless horizontal-management structure. Open space formats provide a uniquely simple option for organization, allowing people to truly organize themselves in a way that they value. You can find a simple 2-page guide to open spaces here.
A few of the topics for discussions from the Forum included:
- How can we make sea level rise predictions and probabilities real?
- What do we need to know, when do we to know, and how well do we need to quantify these things?
- How do integrate climate change (and SLR) into salmon recovery plan strategies with specific attention to ecological restoration?
- How can we define success?
- What are the impacts of sea level rise on people?
- How do we organize state and federal agencies/assets to provide a better service to support local implementation?