Dear Friend of the NRLI Program,
With the holidays upon us, reminders are everywhere that we should be thankful for what we have and focus on what we can do for others. Seasonal generosity provides a welcome respite from raging debates at local, state, and national levels about whether we should prioritize economic livelihoods and individual rights or sustainable management of our natural resources.
In the first four sessions of NRLI class XIV, we have learned from Florida communities where such debates are occurring. In the Indian River Lagoon, an environmental crisis is pitting different interest groups against each other; who and what is at fault? In Tampa Bay, negotiation and dialogue has enabled a diverse set of stakeholders to begin to clean up the bay and improve the quality of life for everyone who depends on it. In Pensacola, a coastal community is struggling with the threat of encroaching Gulf waters, and in Immokalee, an endangered species is the source of passionate discussion about property rights, land use, livestock and pet depredation, and the value of endangered species.
NRLI was founded on the belief that we must consider both people and the environment. We can be civil to each other and meet people's economic and cultural needs. We can protect the environment and sustain the natural resources that we all depend on. There are now more than 240 NRLI alumni from more than 100 organizations who have been trained in collaborative problem solving. Let's take a moment this holiday season and consider what we can do to spread the word.