Conversations Conference summary articles running in Prairie Fire

Now that the final of our four regional Conversations Conferences has ended, our team of State and Regional Resource Coordinators and facilitators has begun gathering the many concerns and issues from more than 600 participants across the state and synthesizing them within a series of four articles in Prairie Fire, the statewide newspaper of pubic policy.

The ultimate purpose of the Conversations Conferences has been to synthesize the ideas and recommendations of the people across the state regarding development and conservation of crucial Nebraska resources and to then influence public policy with sustainability in mind.

"Our goal is to document a sense of public interest and public concern and public recommendations that we can pass on to civic decision leaders for public policy and consideration for change," said Joslyn Institute President Cecil Steward.

The Conversations Conferences are designed to help to create a stronger, more sustainable network of sustainability leaders in Nebraska by raising the level of discourse within the state to achieve greater awareness—politically, economically and socially— for conservation-based development of the state’s essential resources.

The Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities offered participants the opportunity to engage in a new way of approaching both the conservation and development of our most important resources. Through our Conversations Conferences on Nebraska Environment and Sustainability (CCNES), the Conversations were focused on Nebraska’s unique responsibilities and opportunities related to its precious resources: Water, Land, Food, Energy, and Materials.

Five breakout conversations were convened concurrently throughout the day, each focused on one of five designated Nebraska Resources. Participants engaged in one conversation per each resource during the course of the day.


For more details about the CCNES format, explore the conferences' Design Philosophy.

Secondary topics for the Conversations Conferences include:

1)    Sustaining Nebraska: What does environmental sustainability mean to Nebraskans? Why does it matter? What can we do about it?

2)    Nebraska Resources: What do we need to know about Nebraska’s natural resources? What does it mean to be stewards of critical Nebraska resources—water, land, food, and renewable energy.

3)    Sustainability Indicators: Environmental, Socio-Cultural, Economic, Technological, and Public Policy. What can we learn from local leaders who have begun to initiate conversations needed to identify and adopt sustainability indicators for their communities leading to the development of a comprehensive plan, and implementation of strategies and actions needed to achieve measurable indications of progress?

4)    Being a Leader and Leadership Practices: Engaging others in meaningful conversations of change. What are we learning about practicing leadership with others? What have we been experimenting with to enhance our leadership effectiveness?

5)    Action Action Action: Now what? Where do we begin? What is the next priority I must focus my attention on? How can we pick up the pace? Sustain momentum?

Click on the image above to jump right into the Resources Discussion Forum.

Click here to download a PDF of a guide to using the Discussion Forum.

Two Important New Papers
W. Cecil Steward has provided a PDF of his paper Water Wars—Ten Years of Funding Will Not Be Enough. Click here to download the paper.

He has also provided us with a PDF of his new essay Nebraska’s Destiny is Yet to Come. Click here to download the PDF.

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