Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Road Maps to Peace

Yesterday I blogged about what I see as one of the two big problems we face: how we deal with the load we're placing on the planet. I think the other big problem is how we deal with disagreements among those of us who live on this planet. As the load we place on the planet increases, I think the importance of figuring out how to get along will increase, too.

Some of you may know of Rick Steves as a travel guide who also writes newspaper columns, produces TV and radio shows, owns a travel agency, and sells travel gear. He also has a more serious purpose in life, or, perhaps, as I've written about Bernie DeKoven and sustainability, his more serious purpose is inherent in what he does in his travel business.

On September 6, he hosted Lord Alderdice in a discussion called Road Maps to Peace. Lord Alderdice played a key role in helping people work to end the "Troubles" in Northern Ireland, and he has continued his work by helping others to reduce conflict in their regions.

Rather than me taking the time to summarize Lord Alderdice's message, listen to him directly. The recording is about an hour long. I encourage you to listen carefully, with an open mind, to the end, for there are many good ideas. Often we hear people expressing opinions (or express them ourselves) about how peoples should get along; Lord Alderdice is talking about what has worked in helping peoples to get along together. I found ideas that I can apply in interpersonal relationships as well as in thinking about larger political issues we help decide at the ballot box or in dialog with our elected officials as well as in working with or inside organizations.

One message he gives (but not the most important—I'll let you listen to find the essence of his ideas) is that we should all listen to news from other parts of the world so that we gain a broader perspective. That's a message I've given here before. I've long thought we should strive to have personal friends and professional contacts in multiple parts of the world, for I suspect we'd be more likely to work things out and less likely to go to war with countries where we have those connections.

As with my previous message, I really would appreciate your comments on these ideas.

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