Thanks to our organizers, attendees, elected officials, policy makers, and advocates for making our first panel such a success.
For the first blog post, I would like to open the forum to a general comments of the first day's panels. If any topics or comments today made a significant impression on you and you would like to comment further, please take a moment and do so.
If you are a Western student enrolled in the class, please do not make an anonymous post as it will make it hard to give you credit. If you would prefer not to use your name, use an alias and let us know who you are.
I found the description of the differences between those living in a rural environments vs urban environments very thought provoking. We tend simplify differing points of views by speaking of them as if they fall onto some point on a line that runs between two polar opposites.
Rep. Wilcox pointed out that those living in both rural and urban areas, especially if by choice, do so out of a desire to enjoy aspects that are unique to that particular environment. It is not hard to understand that one living in an area where they can have a piece of land, would want to exercise control over that land. It also makes sense that they would not want to be unduly affected by regulations that are designed out of a set of considerations needed regulate people living in closer proximity. From a budgetary standpoint, the person living in the rural environment may also resent being taxed to create and enforce regulations designed for their "city cousins."
This highlights one of the great challenges in policy making. Problems are rarely black and white, yet many solutions we propose treat them as if they are. There are ways to approach complex problems and one important strategy is promoting an open dialogue. The Munro panel discussion today provided a group of people who may not have otherwise interacted, with an opportunity to be involved in a dialogue together. I look forward to more opportunities to engage in an open dialogue as we progress through this year's seminar.