ISSN 1522-211X O J P C R

The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution








OJPCR: The Online Journal of Peace and Conflict Resolution is a resource for students, teachers and practitioners in fields relating to the reduction and elimination of destructive conflict. It is a free, yet valuable, source of information to aid anyone trying to work toward a less violent and more cooperative world.

Issue 6.1


The Powerful are Powerless

The Launch of a New South Africa


Reconciliation and the Gacaca: The Perceptions and Peace-Building Potential of Rwandan Youth Detainees

Three Complete Interviews from the Gacaca Project

Development, Relief Aid, and Creating Peace: Humanitarian Aid in Liberia's War of the 1990s

The Bush Doctrine and Just War Theory

Watching, Dreaming, Waiting: Non-Violence, Social Change, and the Re-Imagining of Religion

Sierra Leone: A Model for a Program for Action for a Culture of Peace

American Disengagement with the International Criminal Court: Undermining International Justice and U.S. Foreign Policy Goals

Playing Cat-and-Mouse: Conflict and Third-Party Mediation in Post-Soviet Space

Pax Visio: A New Genesis of Peace

"The Emperor Carries a Gun": Capacity Building in the North Caucasus

Teaching For Peace in Higher Education: Overcoming the Challenges to Addressing Structure and Methods

Bulgarian "Macedonian" Nationalism: A Conceptual Overview


Beyond Neutrality: A Review Essay


Pax Visio: A New Genesis of Peace

An Analysis of the Inter-relation of Causal Factors of Conflict, Poverty and Environmental Degradation and an Action Plan for the Further Mitigation of its Effects


Tim Kortenkamp


For a printer-friendly PDF version, click here.

            By examining and critically understanding the interconnectedness of poverty, environmental degradation, and conflict I propose a paradigm for global action, pax visio, which will de-escalate, defuse and reduce conflict around the world. 


The new action plan is a five-stage process:


I. Educate and change people’s frame of mind

II. Identify and select participants in the peace process

III. Resolve the environmental problem of the conflict

IV. Use the community practiced in the previous process stages to continue negotiations and resolve the larger conflict 

V.  Create structures of reconciliation and the production of a peace park


            A new vision that will allow people to perceive the interconnectedness of many of life’s problems, will allow people to see their mutual inter-connections to face and overcome challenges of conflict.  It is a vision already shared by many and it is open to all who wish to experience the reality of peaceful co-operation. With this new understanding, it will be possible to probe the systemic roots of many problems at the same time and provide motivation and a methodology for continually building lasting peace.


Each piece of this change of focus can occur alone, but without each component it will never be possible to see the future for what it can be, a gateway to the infinite.


Pax Visio: Introduction and Rationale

Pax Visio is a multi-pronged approach to peacemaking. Through years of investigating the combined research of theoretical frameworks and case studies I have been able to produce a synthesis of these collections of information and distill not only effective key factors to alternate conflict mediation models, but also a concrete action plan to understand how they can be enhanced and expanded to included other critical factors that play directly into their total effectiveness. There are many models of international conflict mediation, but effective alternatives must be gleaned from experience.

In my intense investigation I have conferred with doyen and ground breaking practitioners from many fields.  I have met with numerous international peacemakers ranging from UN Assistant Secretary Generals to framers of the Earth Charter.  In an attempt to understand the effectiveness of Pax Visio first hand.  I have studied and trained directly under many prominent mediators, negotiators, scholars, and practitioners, many of whose work now help guide their respected fields. 

Pax Visio draws from the work of a wide range of visions.  It is an inter-disciplinary approach that bridges the gaps between visions and makes substantive connections that cement their inter-relation, and by doing so, reinforce the strengths of each. By understanding their subtle facets, this approach simultaneously allows for the strengths of each to be maximized and their weaknesses to minimized.  This is possible through speaking first hand with many professionals and through intense academic scrutiny. 

By examining the root cases of mediation failures and the breakdown of peace through re-ignition of conflict, five key factors emerge that need to be established to prevent further conflict.  Each factor has then been incorporated into an action stage that addresses that factor at both the systemic root level and the directed action level.  For example:

Stage one addresses the systemic roots of environmental degradation by recognizing the dominant paradigm people use to understand, evaluate, and solve the problem.  By adopting the far more inclusive and holistic paradigm of systems theory, the way people understand, evaluate, and solve the systemic roots of environmental degradation can be forever altered.  The direct and immediate causes of environmental degradation need to be addressed by reducing consumption and overexploitation, as well as by producing and effectively executing models of sustainable development and environmental restoration.

The systemic roots of poverty are addressed in Section One by utilizing systems theory and ecosophy.  Utilization of ecosophy is not directly restricted to poverty alleviation; rather, aspects of systems theory and ecosophy permeate the systemic solutions of all five sections and address relevant aspects of all three factors:  conflict, poverty, environmental degradation.

The direct and immediate causes of poverty are remedied by changes in consumption.  At each of the five stages, other aspects of both the root and direct causes of poverty are effectively addressed.  In this first section conflict is resolved by the remediation of poverty and environmental degradation, but in other stages this differs.  However, in each of the five stages, Pax Visio precisely addresses the systemic root and direct causes of conflict from poverty, conflict and environmental degradation thereby creating a radically new focused multi-prong approach to creating a sustainable peace.

Section Two focuses upon pre-negotiation and power leveling.  It also focuses upon what conditions are necessary to bring together an effective delegation for co-operative multi-party-meditation, as well as mitigating poverty and defusing conflict by drawing parties together with legitimacy and recognition.  Environmental degradation is addressed by the cessation of hostilities, because conflict is a key cause of environmental degradation.

            The third section investigates the historical roots of poverty and closely examines how global systemic paradigms can dramatically diminish or exacerbate conflict, poverty, environmental degradation.  It introduces new economic models to address the systemic and the direct causal factors of economic injustice and environmental degradation.

            Section Four includes an alternative mediation model that offers integrated solutions.  It shows how a mediator’s multi-disciplinary background can better prepare them to address the issues of conflict, poverty and environmental degradation by increasing their flexibility and understanding.  It also paves the way for continued success in mediation and expanding the possibilities of defusing a larger conflict by incorporating the principals in section two and further building upon the previous successful components.

            The final section focuses on reconciliation and building on co-operation used to produce and maintain a peace park.  This peace park serves to recognize the immense difficulties surmounted by all sides, and acknowledges all those that may still lie ahead.  By its very existence, it reinforces sustainable peace and establishes an infinite Pax Visio.



I. Understanding a Changing Focus

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. -

William Butler Yeats


Changing the Lens: Sustainable Development and Environmental Sustainability


According to the World Commission on Sustainable Development “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”[1]

The interconnected relations of sustainable development, poverty and environmental degradation can be clearly seen.  A change in any one element fundamentally affects the other two.  For example, a decline in sustainable development practices will increase poverty and increase environmental degradation. As Gregersen and Lundgreen write, “Sustainable development involves changes in the production and/or distribution of goods and services, which result in welfare increases, which can be sustained over time.”[2]  Additionally, as sustainable development increases it will provide for the poor without compromising for the future, as well as providing increased levels of poverty alleviation and reducing environmental degradation, from the impoverished.

            The World Commission on Sustainable Development holds that “Sustainable development must rest in political will.”[3]  This clearly indicates the need for environmental and political will to unite to bring about positive change through environmental sustainability. Connecting the two arenas produces a realistic and professional focus on the interconnectedness among different disciplines.  So often the two are separated by varying degrees of occupational opposition.  The functions of the environmentalist and the politician are different but if sustainable development is to continue they must continue to see the importance of the other’s work, and thereby continue to work together. 

            As the World Commission on Sustainable Development states, “The commission believes that widespread poverty is no longer inevitable.  A world in which poverty is endemic will always be prone to ecological and other catastrophes.”[4]  The interconnectedness of all of us will show that we can no longer look at environmental catastrophes, such as of our diminishing biodiversity or destruction of endangered species, as separate from the problem of poverty.  By working within our current system, with environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation as the predominant goals, we can unite environmental science, political will, and practical economics to improve the world for all living things.


A Wider Focus of Environmental Understanding        


            There are many authors who see environmental degradation as a problem of one specific origin.  In each of their views, if we can face this historical root cause, address it, and overcome it, environmental degradation will significantly diminish.  However, this view is critically flawed because without a fundamental paradigm shift in our thought process, environmental degradation will continue regardless of any single factor.

            J. Baird Callicott attributes environmental degradation to the paradigm shift that occured during the Enlightenment.[5]  He sees the shift as critical, because it directly changed our view of how we relate to our environment and also how we see the technology that affects our environment.  The Newtonian paradigm shift moves from thinking of the earth through a system’s experience to a Cartesian mechanistic approach.  According to Callicott, by viewing the Earth as a living organism, rather than in pieces, we can change our fundamental mindset of how we view the Earth and therefore how we treat it.   Only through this process  we will be able to stop environmental degradation.


Systems Theory

Environmentalism has long been the challenge of protecting the natural world.  There is another, recently emerging, paradigm that seeks to find the connections between our natural world and our human one. Rather than looking at one connection to stop environmental degradation, we should look at entirely new ways of seeing our world and protecting our environment.  Systems theory is an old as the hills.  It has been used by indigenous societies since before recorded history but the interconnectedness that we all share must be understood anew.

            Descartes and Newton began a revolution of learning about our world; their approach to reason and understanding has been the dominant paradigm ever since.  Using Cartesian thinking to gain expertise and in-depth knowledge is a good way to gain insight and understanding into the many facets and complexities of life.  By breaking down a problem into understandable parts, one can reassemble the parts to form the whole.  This approach however, lacks the interconnected understanding of the whole. 

            Contrary to the Cartesian paradigm, the systems theory paradigm will allow us understand the problems facing our environment from a holistic approach from which we can come to better understand the multiplicity of factors that cause environmental degradation.  By changing our focus we can come to new ways of understanding and gain new insights into solutions.  These ideas may seem foreign but they have been shared by many environmentalists like James Lovelock.[6]  We need a greater understanding of the connections from the human to the natural world and back again.  It is these interconnections that will allow new solutions for multiple problems.  Thiele expresses environmental interconnectedeness by saying “Yet touch a spider web anywhere and the vibrations are felt everywhere.  Cut enough strands, or just a few key strands, and the whole web collapses.  The web of life exhibits a similar strength and a similar vulnerability.”[7]


                Paradigm Shifts of Thought      


Arne Naess brings insight into the question of consumption levels by asking, “Why do we think that economic growth and high levels of consumption are so important?” Changing one’s perspective on what are thought to be never questioned social doctrines can seem impossible, but one need only look at the abolition of slavery, women’s rights or landing on the moon as inconceivable events that forever changed the mindset of an entire people.  According to Naess, “What we need today is a tremendous expansion of ecological thinking in what I call ecosophy.”[8]   Ecosophy is an idea which involves a mental paradigm shift from science to wisdom.  It is only by understanding a new found wisdom that one can begin the process of internal transformation, and later use that transformation to lead others to a new understanding of wisdom.

            There needs to be a fundamental paradigm shift to recognizing and meeting the basic needs of all people while working with those very same people to implement sustainable models to enable them to meet the basic human needs prescribed by the UN Charter.


Understanding Our Shared Humanity: The Problem of Environmental Degradation From Human Poverty      


            Environmental degradation occurres all over the world, but the extent of damage and the root cause(s) remans the critical question(s).  While there are many explanations of the causes of environmental degradation, there are but a few key ones.

            There are several main theories that try to provide the definitive insight into the problem of environmental degradation, as well as probable solutions based upon a specific theory.  Bill McKibben’s discussions of world population begins as a series of suggestions, but through explicit examples, the discussion takes on a far more powerful meaning. 

In hunter-gatherer times, the human consumption was about 2,500 calories, all in food we-yes- hunted and gathered.  That is the energy equivalent of the daily intake of a common dolphin.  Modern human beings use 31,000 calories apiece, most of it in the form of fossil fuel. That’s the equivalent of a pilot whale.  And the average American uses six times that- as much as a sperm whale.[9]


This is a critically profound idea because its illustrates one of the most pressing and difficult issues facing everyone.  It shows an acute need for advanced nations to be aware of the resources and energy they are using, and how those directly contribute to environmental degradation. 

             Understanding our shared humanity has deep and lasting consequences.  We must understand the nature of poverty and how the impoverished feed on their own environment in an attempt to meet their basic needs.  The loss of biodiversity, in many of the world’s parks and remaining wilderness, to hunters poachers and marginalized indigenous people is only the beginning of a complex web of human exploitation.  This can be clearly seen in Third World slums, in which thousands of impoverished people consume available natural resources and pollute their own water supply, as they attempt to meet their basic needs.  To further illustrate this form of destruction, we need only look at deforestation caused by the need for firewood.  Firewood serves the basic needs of heat, warmth and light.  It is these forms of impoverished environmental degradation that need to be addressed by everyone.  Only by providing for the basic needs of the poor and destitute can their environment, and thus our environment be protected.   


Section I Conclusion: Transforming the Focus


System’s theory and ecosophy will enable people see and think and understand a new vision of the world.  This new vision will allow people to perceive the interconnectedness of many of life’s problems.   The interconnections between poverty and environmental degradation, between power generation and global warming, between overpopulation and empowerment of women, between economic innovation and environmental responsibility that will all become clear.  With this new understanding, it will be possible to address the systemic roots of many problems at once.

            By using these theoretical models to modulate our vision and produce a fundamentally new overview of how we see the world it will reassert our environmental commitment to reform our current system for the betterment of all.


II. Changing to an Anamorphic Lens

There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept. -Ansel Adams


From Them to Us; A Change in Principles of Inclusion: Bringing Parties Together For Sustainable Peace


Pre-negotiation sets the stage for actors who have the empathy to understand our interconnectedness and to develop a greater understanding of what’s possible by relying upon the depth of their humanity rather than the shallowness of their fears.  By gathering together a vast and wide collection of actors with a greater understanding it is possible to circumvent barging and move directly to co-operative negotiation.

An important aspect of this idea can clearly be seen in the Lebanese conflict.  “In terms of structure, the most important deal in the Lebanese conflict revolved around who was included in the negotiations and who was excluded or chose not to join..[N}o solution to the conflict is likely to be successful if all the major parties to the conflict are not involved in the negotiations.  Nor are substitutes likely to succeed... because they do not have the real power to implement the agreements.” [10]  However, this view of inclusion is far too narrow and serves to only operate as blinders to other possible solutions.  In contrast, inclusion should be seen as follows.  “One element of inclusion is to forge cross-party coalitions among those in favor of the talks.”[11]  “To make the process work, it is important to build a coalition with all who support the process, however much they disagree about outcome.”[12]  This coalition affirms support of the process, confirms legitimacy and levels legitimacy by its very existence since it is comprised of such a vast collection of multi-party actors.

Leveling Legitimacy: Creating a Deeper the Depth of Field

Crocker’s work is key to creating effective negotiation parties.  It shows how creating legitimacy is possible.  “One leveling effect comes from the parties’ acceptance of each other’s right to be at the table.  Simply agreeing to talk confers recognition and legitimacy on spokespersons.  This mutual acceptance is an admission of some kind of equality.  And even if that equality exists only while the parties are in negotiation situation (and it may often be impossible for a powerful party to acknowledge such legitimacy anywhere else) that may be enough to facilitate talks.”[13]  So by drawing multiple parties to the table, all of whom have agreed to support the talks, it is possible to form new alliances of people whose agenda is not selfish positions and unyielding non-negotiables, but an understanding of the vast difficulties that lie ahead and a dogged spirit of perseverance to see the end outcome to be a just and lasting peace. 

By alliance and coalition building of all people wanting peace, it is possible to circumvent those who do not want it, even if they seemingly hold a key aspect of the power paradigm, because more powerful external third parties can be brought in to circumvent the few obstinate hawks.  The key to success in this strategy is to bring together as many actors for peace from the previously warring communities as possible. According to Manring, Kristen and Wondolleck, it is possible that “the coalition is built upon what they oppose, not what they want.”[14]   The stronger the coalition and alliances, regardless of difference of opinion about outcome, the stronger the pressure exerted on the hawks to come to the table, and thus share legitimacy.


Widening the Scope: Building Alliances for Peace

This initial force of peaceful alliances must already exist.  It cannot be manufactured by outside sources, but rather develop as an outgrowth of the wishes of the people within the conflict.  In addition, there need to be multiple third party actors, whose role is only to seek a successful peace.  Introducing these actors marks the fundamental break from the previous vision of inclusion and it is these actors that will form the critical coalition to establish links of peace building that pave the way for long-term sustainable peace .

These third parties can come from a myriad of sectors that cross into and through the very countries in which peace is being sought.  These actors would be: Community leaders and community members from all sides; NGO’s like the Red Cross or World Vision; Religious leaders who come together to join in unity with local and international communities, from all sides; International human rights watchdogs like Amnesty International; A neutral third party observer, like a Swiss delegate; The United Nations. 

These international external actors blend and mix with the domestic ones, as many of the aforementioned organizations have local people working in conflict ridden areas.  They also add transparency and a calm sense of detachment which can be key to keeping the process focused and on track.  This expansion of inclusion further puts pressure on parties not wishing to negotiate, and grants additional credence to the process as a whole because it shows the strength that peace has to offer; it shows it in the face of every person at the table and sadly in the faces of those who have already suffered.  To successfully implement this strategy requires a keen observer to see and strike at the moment when peace is possible and then have the ability to organize and mobilize these critically important third parties.


II Conclusion: Using a Fisheye Lens

By dramatically expanding the inclusiveness of the peace process it is possible to access the skills, insight, experience, and creative co-operative ideas and bring those fully to bear on the specific set of interconnected problems.  The inclusiveness of this process also directly enables a power to be leveled because of the immense shared legitimacy of all local, nation and international participants from all sides.

Quaker Adam Curle used many of these strategies in the successful conciliation of the Nigerian Conflict.[15]  My proposal, however, is more inclusive and contains what I perceive as additional factors and actors that can enhance the fostering peaceful co-operation.


III. Reforming Bromoil Probability Patterns


                                                Poverty is the worst form of violence-  Gandhi


Changing Focus: Through Changing Indicators


            The first step in alleviating poverty is identifying how poverty is understood and classified.  How poverty is viewed or defined by global aid institutions is essential in establishing an effective policy that directly targets and reduces poverty.  A fundamentally flawed view by such an institution means that funds that should be going to poverty alleviation are actually going to other areas. Furthermore, understanding poverty and its direction relation to environmental degradation is critically important to stopping the underlying vicious cycle of poverty and environmental degradation.

            Poverty in the international community is analyzed by a number of very important global indexes such as the U.N. Poverty Index.  While the Poverty Index directly measures many, if not all, aspects of poverty, there are many international economic organizations that directly relate poverty to economic growth.  Organizations like the World Bank use economic indicators, like GNP (Gross National Product), to measure economic growth, but they also incorrectly espouse a direct correlation between a rise in GDP and a reduction in poverty. This is a critical problem because so much emphasis is placed on GDP in the international community.  To further the problem those global institutions, like the IMF or World Bank, continue to use GDP as standard measurement in determining foreign aid for poverty alleviation. 

            GNP is inneffective at measuring poverty.  It measures dollar amounts of goods, but makes no distinction as to whether or not those goods are beneficial to the citizens of the society, or to the environment of the society.  In fact, the GNP takes no account of natural resources, so natural resource depletion is always seen as a positive GNP factor, because it leads to increased dollar amounts through the trade and sale of those natural resources. This conceptualization of needed GNP growth for economic growth and stability often leads to unsustainable resource development because it is often less expensive to destroy the land and harvest the natural resources than to take time or economic resources to determine a sustainable natural resource path. 

This can clearly be seen in many places through out the world, but few places more clearly than in the Brazilian jungle, where farmers burn land to plant crops.  The land is not suited for agricultural development of that nature so the land becomes unfertile and barren in two planting seasons, after which point it has become totally barren and will no longer sustain growth of any type due to the total deterioration and loss of its soil.  This sort of slash and burn development policy would be seen as a GNP generating policy.  It is clear however that after the short term GNP gain there is no further economic gain possible, and actually there maybe future loss of revenue from tourism, or boycott of production, but those would never be counted into the GNP. 

This problem needs to be addressed by improving education, and showing of the false correlation between GDP and poverty reduction.  There also needs to be a shift, by global organizations like the World Bank, to identifying poverty through real poverty indicators like the Poverty Index.  Once this occurs there can be fundamental policy reform that not only reflects, but also addresses how international aid can be used to legitimately alleviate poverty.     


Changing Measuring Systems: A New Vision of Depth of Field

There are many other indicators that one can use to ascertain various aspects of poverty.  There are specific indicators like: infant mortality rate, literacy, pollution levels, crime, drug addition.  It may seem that crime or literacy is not an aspect of poverty, but nations with greater wealth, that is, wealth that can be spent on fighting crime, or drug addition can also be spent on literacy, water sanitation, or food programs. 

            There are other international indicators that can be used to ascertain various aspects of poverty, as well as specific facets of related human conditions through careful examination of indirect indicators.  One such example is the Human Suffering Index (HSI), which measures: GNP per capita, inflation, food sufficiency, access to clean water, literacy, energy consumption, and political freedom. This measures not only economic indicators but many daily life indicators as well.  It incorporates many facets of poverty, after all one can be culturally impoverished as well as economically impoverished.  This would certainly be the case in countries that limit access to literacy to only men.

In addition to international measuring systems there is also a question of whether or not exchange rates themselves accurately portray the countries wealth.  The U.N. and many other world organizations use exchange rates as direct wealth indicators.   Exchange rate is a very important factor in poverty recognition, and ultimately poverty reduction.  If a country is ranked higher than another due to it’s over inflated exchange rates it will not recieve aid to build infrastructure and alleviate poverty.  According to John Passe-Smith, “Proponents of PPP’s [Purchasing Power Parity] have therefore argued that the gap between the rich and the poor countries is swollen by exchange rate conversions.”[16] By understanding all of these indicators it should be possible to formulate effective poverty reduction policies and use effective inidicators to determine the success of those policies.


Strengthening the Link: Environmental Degradation From Poverty


The relationship between poverty and environmental degradation is clear and distinct. Although poverty has been an age-old problem, through close examination of modern policies that have resulted in continued poverty, it may be possible to formulate distinct strategies within the modern world that can further alleviate poverty. It is critically important to identify the problem in a clear and concise manner.  Once it has been identified it is possible to consider policies that would best alleviate poverty.  Rather than looking at one possible cause to stop environmental degradation, we should look at entirely new ways of seeing our world and protecting our environment.     

Humans exploit not only each other but their natural environment as well.  Through close examination of the causal factors of these phenomena a better solution can be found.  In order to identify a long-term a solution, many different elements will also need to be understood, because this problem is caused by a myriad of factors.   

There is a direct link between environmental degradation and poverty.  Impoverished people consume available natural resources and pollute their own water supply in an attempt to meet their basic needs. Sustainable development offers an effective model of development that does not jeopardize the environment for future generations.  Although it offers an important aspect of the solution to poverty and environmental degradation, it is just one factor and there are many other factors, such as foreign aid, that need to be understood and intergraded into a new solution for the age-old problem of poverty.


Environmental Degradation From Economic Policy


The economic policy of many developing nations has continually exploited the poor and impoverished to supply the economic advantage of, cheap labor.  This economic policy has given the developing world a subservient role, where the lack of education of the general populace is an important quality to maintain cheap labor and where rampant overexploitation of natural resources are seen as economic fuel rather than a key long-term asset to be sustainability utilized.  The vast deforestation in many developing countries shows the direct tie in the dual exploitation of human and natural resources.

Developing countries, with their impoverished socioeconomic structures, are only used as material producers for the developed world. The role of raw material producer, rather than of developer -- of both raw materials and finished goods -- is a key component to maintaining the vicious cycle of poverty.  This can be most clearly seen in Africa, where country after country has tried to initiate new policies to establish and maintain infrastructure and continue growth of a manufacturing base, sufficient enough to maintain a stable rate of economic growth.  In general these policies are failures.  They fail for many reasons, but primarily, they fail for lack of an economic foundation both human and industrial.  They also fail due to: internal corruption, depleted or mismanaged natural resources, inflated military spending, difficult climate conditions, culture norms or values that conflict with foreign aid intervention.

            Due to insufficient infrastructure in human resources and unsustainable environmental policies, a multi-pronged concentrated approach needs to be focused on the target of resource management, in order for a proper growth cycle to emerge and be sustained. Without proper human, environmental, industrial, and agricultural resources economic growth will not be self-sustainable.

            There are many different forms of economic policy models that can be implemented to directly combat poverty and environmental degradation. In order to be effective, these models must take many factors into account. Foreign aid can provide an effective tool for poverty alleviation, but must be used in a constructive way that includes direct input from the recipient and factors like working with culture and existing infrastructure as well as providing for basic needs like housing and health need to be included into any successful plan.


Competing Paradigms of Economic Growth and Poverty


Understanding key economic models provides a basis for understanding the economic conditions that can alleviate or exacerbate poverty and environmental degradation.  By reviewing several different models it should be possible to examine which aspects of these models can be effective integrated into more effective future policy models. 

According to J. Baird Callicott, “Environmental problems can not be dealt with separately, they must be linked to the development process bringing the environmental concerns in line with the imparities of economic growth and development.  In this context, the right to development for the developing countries must be fully recognized.”[17]  Not only must the rights of development be recognized but also to ignore development is to ignore the current environmental degradation caused by undeveloped nations seeking to industrial development.  This development can often have transnational implications, because of continued globalization.

During the 1960-70’s, modernization theory was the common policy to stimulate growth in the developing world.  This theory was based on four key policies: deliberate urbanization, industrialization, comparative advantage and cash crop production, top-down planning practices.  By implementing these policies a country would be able to provide for itself the needed resources to sustain independent economic growth. 

This theory experienced limited success in many countries like Ghana.   The theory did have some success but it also had many problems. First this does not take into account, with sufficient flexibility to adjust to variable conditions, the existing structures (governmental, societal, cultural).  According to Peter Utting, “Throughout Central America project implementation has often been seriously affected by the fact that socio-economic, socio-cultural and socio-political aspects of community life in rural areas have not been adequately understood and incorporated into project design.”[18] Additionally, the cash crops did not provide the needed capital to gain economic independence.  Finally, top-down planning does not utilize the knowledge and resources of those who are most directly affected and most knowledgeable in areas such as the economic feasibility of sustainable agriculture on degraded land. 

Between 1970 and1980’s, a new paradigm shift to a developmental policy emerged.  This model was based on a near Maslowian ideal of sustaining basic human needs.[19]  This theory has six basic tenets that form together to try to fight poverty through meeting people’s basic needs.  The six tenets are: Emphasis given to rural development, growth poles and secondary towns, green revolution, citizen participation, informal sector, access to basic services.  While there was some direct success in poverty relief in countries like Zambia, there was insufficient attention paid to long-term infrastructure, and to mid to long-range economic growth.  There was also too little attention paid to education, or skills expansion.  In order for this theory to be successful there need to be basic needs met as well a growth potential.  This paradigm certainly had a beneficial impact on poverty reduction, but lacked the strategic planning to maintain a stable pattern growth plan.

During the decade of 1980-1990’s, a theory of structural adjustment emerged.  This plan had three primary points: withdrawal of the state and emphasis on market forces and deregulation, privatization and liberalization of trade regime, debt servicing and emphasis on more export led strategies.  This is a dramatic paradigm shift to a laissez-faire economic model.   It shows strength in its strong push for development, but it lacks equitability in wealth distribution.  This was a policy strongly advocated and supported by the World Bank and many countries like Tanzania implemented these general policy strategies.  It is important to note that basic human needs are not addressed.  This is seen not as a issue that needs to be addressed directly, but rather one that will be addressed as part of the economic gain, which will inturn lead to the alleviation of poverty.

Understanding these models is critically important to establish a background from which past policies have been based.  In addition they also provide an important test bed of several different forms of national policy, which have been implemented by a myriad of nations.  This wide collection of policy case studies, by many different nations, gives excellent examples of national policies that have shown some measure of both success and failure.  By analyzing and evaluating these examples it will be possible to produce new policies using the successful elements of the previous policies while also introducing new policy measures better designed to alleviate poverty and reduce the environmental degradation from the impoverished.


A New Economic Vision for Peace

            It is important to understand and promote possible solutions to the problem of poverty and environmental degradation. Keyes’ ideas may offer an effective policy model to combat global poverty.  According to Cortes-Salas, Camino and Contreras, “There is an urgent need to improve effectiveness in international cooperation, as well as to develop an effective combination of regulatory measures, support packages and incentives to ensure sustainable development.  These instruments need to be utilized at the international as well as national level.”[20] 

In a concerted effort to address the needs of developing countries, and to maintain a healthy economic balance to off set the forms of economic turmoil that lead to the brooding conditions from which Nazi German sprang, John Maynard Keyes envisioned a four pillar system for a global responsibility to address these issues.  The four pillars are: global economic management, a development finance mechanism, an international trading organization, and an aid program.[21] 

            The first pillar was to provide the liquid money for investment capitol to support worldwide employment.  The second pillar the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.  Designed to aid in reconstruction after WW II, this has now become known as the World Bank. The third pillar was the International Trade Organization, designed to provide a world support to not only combat radical worldviews, due to economic oppression, but also to also provide a more stable economic environment for the entire world.  It was a revolutionary undertaking the likes of which the world has never seen.  Keynes’s vision would provide the world with an economically stable system, with a new global perspective, but under the vile shadow of McCarthyism it was defeated and never ratified by Congress, or the rest of the world.  The fourth pillar was a soft aid program linked to the UN directly.  This fourth pillar differed from the World Bank, because aid would not be limited to a project basis and funds would be given in a grant or on a highly concessional basis.

            This new  Keynesian system would not come freely.  It needed the support of the entire world.  The majority of finance for the infrastructure, and maintenance of the operations of the four pillar Bretton Woods agreement would come from the coffers of the wealthy nations, as well as a percentage portion of trade transactions.  In addition to maintenance costs of the programs specifically, there is also a need for large amounts of capitol to fund the many enterprises and programs envisioned through the four pillars.

            While Keynes envisioned a new economic era, one of world prosperity and unparalleled stability his vision did not come to pass, as the original Bretton Woods system has taken on a different roles and responsibilities than were originally envisioned.  In addition Keynes plan was never fully implemented, as his third pillar was never ratified, and finally abandoned.  He had envisioned it to be a body whose function would be to prevent the collapse of primary commodity prices.  This sort of commodity protection might have saved the U.S. from slipping into the Great Depression.  Without this key feature however, Keynes idea can never be fully realized, and we will never know the extent to which it may have contributed to the alleviation of poverty, since so many developing counties fall into a spiral of economic depression that they never fully recover from.


A Renewed Vision: Economic Transformation

There is a new method for modern living that enables environmental practices to meet the needs of present and future generations in a radically new and innovative way.  It is a brilliant mixture of practical and sensible ways to not only live in harmony with nature but also dramatically increase the standard of living for all people.  Many times environmentalists see the welfare of people as in contention with sound environmental policy.

            According to Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins, and Paul Hawken Natural Capitalism presents argument after argument of clear, concise and proven methods that allow humans to live in far greater harmony with our environment.  One clear example of this is the illustration of how automobiles can be completely redesigned, reformed, and re-made into a safer, faster, cheaper, model than ever before with zero pollution!  There are many more clear examples of how to use the ideas of Natural Capitalism to reshape industry after industry with new and dynamic results. 

            According to Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and  L. Hunter Lovins “...Eight Nobel laureates had led some twenty seven hundred fellow economists in declaring what mainstream studies have found: Market-oriented policies to protect the climate by saving energy can raise American living standards and even benefit the economy.” [22]

            In order to educate people to this new paradigm Hawkins offers the following suggestion: Environmentalists will have to offer the public an education that meshes ecological knowledge with committed practice.  There are some industries not covered by Natural Capitalism but with Natural Capitalism as a guide people in every field can begin to re-evaluate their own role in the environment and begin to rethink how they can use the ideas Natural Capitalism to live a better life.  

            All of the ideas in Natural Capitalism are available today.  While some aspects of the new paradigm call for improvements in the future, or mass production of materials not currently mass-produced, all of the ideas are based on today‘s  technologies.  Furthermore, if there is to be a new paradigm of action it will need to stretch and expand our current thoughts and actions. This new paradigm holds a bright future for all the Earth’s inhabitants.


Policies for Alleviation of Poverty and Environmental Degradation:


Based upon Peter Utting’s findings, “In order to implement a conservation strategy which balances concerns for environmental protection with those of human welfare, it may be necessary to affect more powerful vested interests.”[23]

There have been many attempts to alleviate poverty through a myriad of strategies, while some have worked with limited success, there continues to be countries that have experienced horrific poverty year after year.  By careful examination of each individual aspect, it is possible to develop policies that can work toward poverty alleviation in a real, meaningful, and lasting way. 

There needs to be a concerted effort to work with the international community to establish foreign aid plans so developing countries can plan on a constant support system from which to establish and maintain their own self-sufficient support system and pattern of economic growth as well as sustainable development and sound environmental policy. Peter Utting states,


“A more coherent policy framework will not be achieved simply by improving dialog and communication among policymakers or their awareness of environmental and social issues.  A greater degree of policy coherency will ultimately involve changes in the balance of social forces with the emergence of groups or alliances which can challenge the power and influence of traditional elites, constitute new support groups, and bring pressure to bear on policymakers.”[24]          


Establishing policies that reduce corruption by funneling funding through key officials who are known not to be corrupt is critical.  This will establish a policy of reduced corruption based upon strong and lasting person-to-person relationships.  This will prevent money that is to be used for poverty alleviation from being wasted through corruption.  The same is true for money to promote sustainable development or reducing environmental degradation.

Stabilizing foreign aid grants and providing for long-term solutions is another key factor in successfully reducing poverty, environmental degradation and conflict.  With the new Millennium Challenge Account there is ever more hope for increased success of aid solutions.  This is critically important because many developing nations see foreign aid as a primary factor in their economic growth and stability and this growth in turn will also lead to new economic opportunities which can convert directly to poverty reduction.  This will not happen, however, until we refine how international aid is given, by establishing a more just means of global distribution, as well as mandatory incorporation of inclusive self-sufficiency plans by the recipients.  This should be done by an all-inclusive global organization like the UN.

There needs to be further critical analysis of specific aid plans, to establish aid success feasibility based upon previous similar successes and failures. As well as an in-depth analysis of individual country’s patterns of growth to establish successes based upon that countries individual needs, abilities, assets, culture, etc. this should also take into account a reasonable measure of entropy from variable changes from past successes and failures.  Working within this model to foster tripartite partnerships can produce social responsibility agreements, and a continuing network of positive initiatives.

Establishing an international bankruptcy court to mediate long-term debt remittance and assuring the total debt payback should never exceed 3% of GDP is key to defusing active and latent conflict.

Another means of reducing poverty and conflict is to reduce governmental waste and increase worker incentives through fair wage practices.  This needs to be achieved at both the governmental level, and the international level, so the end worker receives a living wage, and the national economy has a potential for growth.  This not only alleviates agricultural poverty directly, but also increases cash flow into the developing country directly.  While there may be many roadblocks to this strategy, there are many multi-national corporations supporting this model of economic fair trade as well as organizations like FSC and UNDP.  This is a critically important aspect of both economic growth, and stability, and also for direct and lasting poverty reduction.

By combining both, poverty and environmental degradation can simultaneously be reduced. This policy may call for slower short to midterm growth, but will establish a pattern of supply of efficient internal workers capable of continuing growth cycles independent of foreign intervention or aid.  This strategy does not call for large rates of growth, but rather calls for establishing a realistic pattern of sustainable self-sufficient growth capable of ending the cycle of foreign dependence and poverty and exploitation of workers and unsustainable environmental practices.

In order for policy to be effective it must be backed by political will.  This political will is formed by individuals, and shaped by how they perceive the world.  Finding the global political will to bring about true change may seem impossible, but global change begins with a single person. Changing one’s perspective on what are thought to be never questioned social doctrines can seem to be impossible, but one need only look at the abolition of slavery, women’s rights or landing on the moon as once inconceivable events that forever changed the mindset of an entire people.


III. Conclusion: Changing the Aperture Priority

            Understanding the economics of environmental degradation is the most important way to alleviate it.  That is why poverty alleviation and working within the bounds of human society toward a sustainable and reachable goal is the best path to alleviating environmental degradation.  This is most effective with a strong and consolidated base of agreement. 

            Building a consensus is the best way possible to pool resources together, which enable people from all over the environmental spectrum to come together in a show of unity and solidarity and thereby hold far more political/economic power to change policy that will directly and systemically reduce environmental degradation.

            It is also critical to understand and work within our current system to meet future human needs. To ignore this as a fundamental principle would be to the detriment of alleviation of environmental degradation because it would cause people to seek either to disregard environmental proposals directly, such as killing a bill before Congress, or indirectly, such as African paper parks. 

            Environmental degradation has many causes.  It is clear that how people think of the natural world is key to their understanding of how to alleviate environmental degradation, the perception itself is important to building a understanding of what actions will benefit the environment the most.

            It is important to understand these and many other possible factors that contribute to environmental degradation, as it is always possible to view problems through a specific lens and have the resulting mosaic piece itself together with self fulfilling logic, but this ultimately works to foster environmental degradation because it divides the environmental cause.  This is a potential pitfall that all environmentalist need to be constantly vigilant against.  As Holdridge writes,


Thus, the ecologist should not be content with only the study of natural vegetation and wildlife, but must tie all the above dominant life form of man.  Dominance alone to fulfill the needs or selfish desires of one species at the expense of all other life forms has never been and probably never can be successful.  If man is not to join the ranks of the extinct dinosaurs, which were dominant for many years, then he must learn how to attain and maintain equilibrium with his environment.  Although the task of brining about such equilibrium falls on the shoulders of political, religious, educational, and other scientific leaders as well as the world’s peoples as a whole, it is still the task of the ecologist to clearly point out the meanings and make-up of such equilibrium.[25]


Although  environmental degradation is a complex and difficult problem there are direct and specific actions, such as implimentation of Natural Capitalism that can be taken to alleviate the problem today and in the future.  Through careful and concise implementation of those actions we can all work toward the alleviation of  environmental degradation.


IV. A Change in Parallax: A New Focus on Resource Management


You don’t make peace by talking to your friends,

you have to make peace with your enemies

-Nelson Mandela


A New Paradigm of Thought for Environmental Conflict Resolution:

Integrated Knowledge Base


Cooperative solutions can best be reached by pre-establishing expectations of cooperation rather than simply defending positions and this in-turn can best be accomplished through using the tools of mediation, integrated with systems theory and chaos theory so as to including a broader scope of understanding by the mediator. By integrating disciplines the mediator gains a greater understanding of group dynamics/psychology as well as developing an important knowledge of the personal psychological motives of the stakeholders themselves.  In addition, systems theory and chaos theory lay the philosophical groundwork for understanding a new way of mediation by comprehending a new model of the infinite complexity of the situation. 

Chaos theory gives the mediator the knowledge that there will always be large portions of the mediation process and factors there-in that can never be known, developed or integrated into a successful and/or unsuccessful mediation.  This enables the mediator to envision and understand new aspects of the functioning of our interpretation understandability and predictability of the human mind, and perhaps, the predictability of the parties involved in mediation.  The key issue is to draw understanding to embrace the seemingly interconnected paradoxes into one understanding of the potential for a larger, more complete, and ultimately truer picture.  This is very much like the seemingly paradoxical properties of light, in which light, is both a wave and a particle, they not only have the properties of both but they can only be fully understood when both aspects of their nature are accounted for. Visionaries who share similar conceptions include: Wink, Bailie, Girard, Kraybill, Laue, Cormick; Bloom, Hermann, Bills, Jackins, Ehrenreich, the Gilligans and Mindell.[26]  This shift in understanding emerges from the synthesis of ideas, which will affect the way we approach mediation and intervention.


From Position Defense to Cooperation


Mediators, arbitrators and other conflict resolution professionals are in increasing demand to help resolve tough environmental struggles involving multiple stakeholders. The skills can have an enormous impact on both communities and the ecosystem.  According to Lord Chancellor and Lord Irvine,


One possible path to more mediation success in the future is the assurance that mediators will be well trained and amply capable. The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, has welcomed the setting up of a new accreditation scheme designed to raise standards for solicitors providing mediation services.  "It is essential that parties to a dispute can find good quality, reliable mediators who they know they can trust", said Lord Irvine, speaking at the launch of the Law Society's Civil Commercial Mediation Panel.[27] 


According to Crocker,


The Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), a nonprofit organization representing more than 6000 conflict resolution professionals, promotes discussions between mediators as to what party or parties are best suited to monitor the field of environmental and public policy conflict resolution, and determine best practices for the industry. Participants consider whether mediated environmental agreements have been implemented and whether they are working. Other topics include the pros and cons of negotiated settlements, as seen by the various stakeholders in environmental conflicts, and strategies for helping people from different cultures find common ground over environmental issues. According to Crocker, Hampson and Aall In deep-rooted conflict, parties who come to the negotiating table carry with them an abiding experience of conflict, struggle and war.  The exercise of force has been their dominant, perhaps only, mode of engagement.  The key challenge in process design is to invert that experience, to get the contenders focused on fears, concerns and interests and the importance of reconciling them, on issues and the importance of resolving them.[28]


Founded in 1999, the Community-Based Collaborative Research Consortium serves as a forum for researchers, agencies, community and environmental groups, tribes and facilitators to share research findings concerning collaborative approaches to environmental management. "The idea to fund research concerning the outcomes of collaborative processes arose in response to the controversy surrounding their use and the lack of clear, objective and defensible research about their appropriateness and impacts,"[29] said Institute Director E. Franklin Dukes. Increasingly, agencies are seeking to rely on multi-stakeholder, collaborative processes to help advise natural resource managers. The consortium seeks to understand the appropriate situations for engaging in collaborative processes, as well as their outcomes and impacts on the environment.


Many federal programs including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and others now use collaborative decision-making processes. The ACR will look at what types of disputes fall under each of these agencies, and what unique challenges may face mediators working with such agencies. [30]


Once a mediator has been asked to mediate a conflict, there is the initial process of discovery and classification of needs, wants, desires with a further categorical breakdown of information into negotiable and non-negotiable.  This is done by reading submitted proposals, complaints and documents forwarded by several stakeholders.  Afterward there is direct interviewing and further discovery to ascertain the validity of the aforementioned data as well as to assess the true needs of the community and try and ascertain any common ground as a suitable starting point.  At this point a critical decision must be made as to which model of mediation should be used.

It is very possible for a creative mediator to arrive at the creative solutions, and for one side or the other to refuse based upon a selfish of sense of pride, or feeling they would be losing by giving up any ground at all, which is why the fundamental premises by which people think of their interest need to be re-evaluated and restructured to include a far more expansive and far-reaching goals that serve to solve the problem and not to win the game.

The concession-convergence model assumes that each side represents its own interest and that by working within those interests there can be ground gained by a give “and” take process.  This form of distributive bargaining only really serves to increase tension and can dramatically escalate the conflict by inflaming both parties.  The mutual gains model, by contrast, seeks to separate the people from the problem and on focus on interests rather than positions.

There are well trained lawyers who use the mutual gains model to arrive at fair and equitable long-term resolutions. By using the mutual gains model, two lawyers could argue the case from their own point of view and with a holistic perspective and independently arrive at suggestions that can be joint or divergent. This process is used to help resolve conflict within the Catholic Church.  This practice shows that it is possible to work for joint solutions, and that an abandonment of the concession-convergence model leads to common sense win-win scenario. As Crocker notes,


In Mozambique, the intervention of the Roman Catholic Church, using the organization Sant’Egidio, via pastoral letters, its own contracts, and its own contacts, and its active encouragement and persuasion of the actors, led to its success in facilitating talks involving FRELIMO and RENAMO in Rome between 1990 and 1992.  In the Angolan context, the Bicesse accords of 1991 grew directly out of a major shift in superpower perspective, which led to soviet pressure on the MPLA, and the US (and South African) pressure on UNITA to go to the table. In South Africa in 1990, President de Klerk abruptly announced the release of political prisoners and the unbalancing of the ANC and other outlawed parties.  Similarly, Anwar Sadat’s famous “flight to Jerusalem” in 1977 stunned the world by breaking the universal Arab taboo on Israeli recognition: he flew to Jerusalem and addressed the Israeli parliament.  So much was implicit in the gesture-putting a huge crack in the universal Arab rejection of Israel’s right to exist, putting an equally heavy burden on reciprocation on Israel, and so on- that, like de Klerk’s speech, new possibilities and parameters for movement were developed out of a long-standing stalemate.[31]


“Successful problem solving can lead to three broad classes of outcomes: compromise, agreement on a procedure for deciding who will win, or integrative solution.”[32]Problem solving encourages the discovery of compromise and opens the further possibility for the discovery of integrative solutions that ultimately serve both parties interests.  One of the mean outcomes of problem solving is to determine who wins and who loses, or in some cases a win-win scenario is possible.  In these win–win cases is may initially seem as if, not only is a win –win possible , but also applicable, since a win–win case was just established, however upon closer examination of this theoretical result it should become clear that there is a win- win is never possible without the acceptance of both sides to not contest the outcome.  This may seem a minor point, but the arrival of a win – win is only a true win- win if both sides see the wisdom in supporting the terms of the agreement.  According to Manring, Kristen and Wondolleck, “In several cases, participant control over the process was reported to be the most important factor influencing the decision to continue despite the long-drawn-out meetings.”[33]  This participant control might not have been possible with the concession-convergence model because of its tendency to exacerbate and escalate the conflict.


IV. Conclusion: Panning New Possibilities


By utilizing the mutual gains model it is possible to build trust and co-operation and in so doing lay the groundwork for new possibilities of continuing mediation.  According to Luanne Sacks,


“What I do is, in an attempt to draw the other side to the mediation, lay my cards on the table and say, look, we have been at this for so long. It's very hard for you and I to sit down, to not continue to fight for our position. You think you've got the better side of the case, I think I have the better side of the case. We're both going to end up having to answer to our clients. Let's put down our gauntlet for a minute. Let's present it to someone who is a learned jurist and who also is experienced in getting parties to a neutral middle ground, and let's see what that person has to say.”[34] 


Only by actively seeking a neutral middle ground, through the mutual gains model, will all sides feel safe and open to added creative co-operative ideas to solving their own problems will a true and lasting win-win be possible.



V. Out of a Recondite Vision toward a Reality of the Possible


Peace cannot be achieved by force it can only be achieved by understanding-

                                                                                                Albert Einstein


Effective Land Use Management to Foster Peace Through Peace Parks


            There are many examples throughout the world of correct and deficient land use.  By examining how land use affects peace it is possible to ascertain how land might better be utilized to foster peace, especially in previously war torn areas.  While there are many possibilities of effective land use to foster peace, peace parks hold a unique possibility for peaceful land use. That is why it so imperative those parties are brought together to seek peaceful options to conflict.  Peace parks offer effective sustainable land management in critical land use areas.


Linking Environmental Problems and Degradive Land Practices to Conflict


In the humid tropics, as elsewhere, long-term patterns of land use and the status of land resources are determined, in part, by the degree of stability within the society and its political institutions.  The problems of resource management, and of deforestation in particular, cannot be separated from the issue of urban poverty, social justice, economic inequity, ineffective administration, deteriorating urban infrastructure, political corruption, agrarian reform, human rights abuses, and other pressing social concerns and, unless these conditions are addressed, it will be impossible to make progress toward sustainable development.[35] -National Research Council


Understanding our shared humanity has deep and lasting consequences.  We must understand the nature of poverty and how the impoverished feed on their own environment in an attempt to meet their basic needs.  The loss of biodiversity in many of the world’s parks and remaining wilderness to, hunters, poachers and marginalized indigenous people is only the beginning of a complex web of human exploitation.  


Understanding Life Zones to Better Manage Land Use


            L.R. Holdridge’s system of lifezones provides a system of understanding and classifying areas of land in terms of their natural zones.  Rather than using a single criterion or geographic area Holdridge looks at how nature changes from one area to the other. 

Using Holdridige’s life zones to recognize what should or could be introduced into a ravaged or misused land area it is possible to introduce native or exotic species and restore degraded land to be used for a peace park.  This will not only re-establish the scenic beauty of the land but will also allow for the return of biodiversity and will help provide economic return in the form of ecotourism, or payment for environmental services or both.

Because of his unique natural classification system his lifezone classification can be utilized in any area in the world with total accuracy.  It leads the way to a better understanding of such key issues as climate, biodiversity, and natural zones where species are likely to be found.  Utilizing these factors is critical to establishing effective land management for peace parks. 


Further Examples of Environmental Conflict Resolution


The IUCN defines Parks for Peace as: Transboundry protected areas that are formally dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural associated cultural resources, and to the promotion of peace and co-operation.[36]

            According to the IUCN objectives for Peace Parks may include the following:


•Supporting long-term co-operative conservation of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and natural and cultural values across boundaries;

•Promoting landscape-level ecosystem management through integrated bioregional land-use planning and management;

•Building trust, understanding, reconciliation, and co-operation between and among countries, communities, agencies, and other stakeholders;

•Preventing and/or resolving tension, including over access to natural resources;

•Promoting the resolution of armed conflict and/or reconciliation following armed conflict;

•Sharing biodiversity and cultural resource management skills and experience, including co-operative research and information management;

•Promoting more efficient and equitable and sustainable use of natural resources, consistent with national sovereignty; and

•Enhancing the benefits of conservation and promoting benefit sharing across boundaries among stakeholders.[37]


These transboundry parks serve a myriad of positive aspects to foster on-going co-operation and peaceful relations.   They serve to develop a continual dialogue of peace, with-in the ashes of recent conflict, after mediations and well into the future of uncertain changing political, and social environments.  It is because of its lasting presence and stable long-term mutual benefits that Peace Parks are so critically important to continuing an open dialog of peaceful understanding between people.


V. Conclusion: From the Viewfinder to Peace

As Albert Einstein once said, “Peace can not be achieved by force, it can only be achieved by understanding.”  It is in that sense of developing lasting understanding that peace parks best serve as a living reminder of what is possible when people work together to develop an understanding of each other in order to continually foster lasting peace.  This type of lasting peace can be seen in peace parks all over the world.  They continually stand to represent what is possible. 

Peace parks offer effective sustainable land management in many critical areas, within the context of continued political sustainability, such as: environmental, economic, and social areas. They offer environmental sustainability because they can be sustainability managed by both parties.  Economic sustainability comes from the parks fees, which assure that the park has sufficient funds that it never becomes degraded and shows how a joint venture of peace can continually foster sustainable economic wellbeing. Social sustainability is produced from the joint social structure needed to bring the park into existence and those same structures also include the sustainable management practices that continue the park into perpetuity.

Additionally, peace parks also provide additional social sustainability because they build a peaceful cultural understanding between the populaces of the countries involved, which in-turn produces a willingness to continue peaceful relations from the populations of all countries involved, thus continually providing popular support for the sustainable management of the park. Parks like Prespa International Park and Parke Internacional La Amistad show that these ideas of continued peaceful relations are a reality because the parks stand now, as they have for years to, to show how these parks continue through, the ever changing environmental, economic, social and political realities facing these nations.


Final Analysis: Focus to Infinity

            There are no easy answers or simple solutions to age-old problems.  No magic key will ever be found that unlocks the door to utopia.  Changing the universe is an inside job.  It is a job we are all called to, it takes little time to understand, and a slightly more than a life time to master.

There must be a new paradigm to simultaneously address not only multiple problems but also short mid and long term solutions to many of these problems.  That is why each step of this proposal is dependently critical to the success of the next. At each step there needs to be continual progress in finding creative solutions for the multiplicity of problems already shown, and those that will inevitably arise as well and so to fulfill those ends there needs to be a complex set of assessment and feed back indicators that can accurately address not only the previously implemented actions but also the presupposed new ideas that directly face the ever changing new problems.  Only by utilizing this flexible control mechanism can these ideas continue to see the full fruition of the possible.  Such a dynamic solid fluid system will have the advanced capabilities to continually adapt and flow with mercurial precision into any problem threatening to crack and crumble all the previous gains. 

Systems theory will enable people see and think and understand a new vision of the world.  This new vision will allow people to perceive the interconnectedness of many of life problems.   They will see the interconnections between poverty and environmental degradation between poverty and conflict between overpopulation and empowerment of women between economic innovation and environmental responsibility will all become clear.  With this new understanding it will be possible to address the systemic roots of many problems at once.

Systems theory, combined with ecosophy gives a fundamentally new overview of how we can see possible solutions. Natural Capitalism gives the direct and practical tools to use our new understanding to reform our current system for the betterment of all.           While Keynes and Natural Capitalism offer short mid and long term systemic solutions environmental mediation must be the key link to the short mid and long term direct and focused solutions.  Environmental mediation not only allows for the cessation of violence but also a co-operative approach to find peace with-in the cultural, historical, economic, spiritual and environmental context of the specific conflict.  By utilizing the proposed model of mediation it will be possible to have the combined intelligence, creativity, expertise, and experience of all participants at all levels to produce an irresistible force for peace.             

This form of mediation needs to be facilitated by a mediator well versed in the aforementioned skills and mental disciplines.  By doing so they can best ascertain how to continually move the process forward and to see new opportunities to strike at solving ever more problems simultaneously by focusing the combined power of all participants step by step to not on only stem the flow  ineffective ideas but also to deflect and defuse and attacks against the peace process. This is also accomplished and solidified by the very existence of the peace conference.  Not only does the existence lend a new form of credence to the resilience of the process but also the aforementioned inclusion of multiple third parties, solidify the end results, conclusions and implementations by providing support at a myriad of levels such as international transparency, international aid, development coordination, sustainable environmental logistics, emergency support, spiritual affirmation and leadership.  In order to build the deep and strong multidimensional personal support needed the interconnectedness of many of life problems must be fully comprehended and accepted.  Only then can people understand their role in actively seeking, implementing and assessing solutions.

Once peace has been established experiencing the serenity of peace parks will continually transform short-term thinking to planning for future generations.[38]  This future planning is supported by all sides by the sustainable political, economic and cultural unity necessary for the parks maintenance. 

Pax Visio is a new understanding of the interconnectedness we all share.   Phases of Pax Visio are already shared by many but its full breadth has yet to be realized…realized as an infinite gateway to lasting peace.



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Further readings at:!treating_core.htm




Tim Kortenkamp has spent the last several years working on environmental conflict resolution.  He has presented this research at numerous conferences.  His current research continues to focus on de-escalating deadly armed conflict through international environmental conflict resolution and prevention.  His work at the U.N. University for Peace and at American University has given Pax Viso even greater depth.  He hopes to continue his field research and expand the scope of Pax Visio in the future. 


[1](Our Common Future,) Bruntland Report (Oxford University Press: World Commission on Sustainable Development, 1987), pp. 3-5

[2] H Gregersen and A. Lundgreen, Forestry for Sd: Concepts and a framework for action (St. Paul: University of Minnesota, 1990)

[3] (Our Common Future,) Bruntland Report (Oxford University Press: World Commission on Sustainable Development, 1987)

[4] Our Common Future,) Bruntland Report (Oxford University Press: World Commission on Sustainable Development, 1987)

[5] J. Baird Callicott, "The Role of Technology in The Evolving Concept of Nature," Research in Philosophy and Technology 13 (1993). pp. 201-222.



[7] Bill McKibben, Maybe One: Environmental Argument (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998), p. 79.

[8] Arne Naess, An Ecophilosophy Approach, the Deep Ecology Movement,

and Diverse Ecosophies (Journal of Ecosophy, Vol 14, No. 3, Summer 1997), pp


[9] Bill McKibben, Maybe One: Environmental Argument (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998), p. 70.

[10] C. A. Crocker, et al., “Is more better? The pros and cons of multiparty mediation,” Turbulent Peace The Challenges of Managing International Conflict (Washington: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2001), p 499.

[11] Ibid p 500.

[12] Ibid p 502.

[13] Ibid p 506.

[14]Nancy J Manring, et al., “Structuring an Effective Environmental Dispute Settlement Process.” In J E Crowfoot, J M Wondolleck (ed.). Environmental Disputes. (Island Press. United States. 1990)

[15] C. A. Crocker, et al., “Is more better? The pros and cons of multiparty mediation,” Turbulent Peace The Challenges of Managing International Conflict (Washington: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2001), p .512.

[16] John Passe-Smith, Development and Under Development (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998), p.149.


[17] J. Baird Callicott, The Role of Technology in the Evolving Concept of Nature, Research in Philosophy and Technology 13 (1993). pp. 201-222.


[18]Peter Utting, Trees, People and Power (London: Earthscan Publications Ltd, 1993)

[19] Walden Bello and Stephanie Rosenfield, The Rise & Crisis of the Dragon Economies (London: Earthscan Publications Ltd, 1993)

[20] H Cortes-Salas et al., Readings of the Workshop on Government Policy Reform for Forestry Conservation and Development in Latin America (Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture,1994)

[21]John Passe-Smith, Development and Under Development (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998), p. 149.


[22] Paul Hawken et al., Natural Capitalism (London: Earthscan Publications Ltd, 1999), p. 242.

[23] Peter Utting, Trees, People and Power (London: Earthscan Publications Ltd., 1993)

[24] Ibid

[25] L.R. Holdridge, Life Zone Ecology, rev ed (San Jose, Costa Rica Tropical Science Center, 1971). p. 2.

[26] The Online Journal of Conflict Resolution, Issue 4.1 Summer 2001

[27] Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, M2 PRESSWIRE May 29, 2002


[28] C. A. Crocker, et al., “Is more better? The pros and cons of multiparty mediation,” Turbulent Peace The Challenges of Managing International Conflict (Washington: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2001), p 497.

[29] Ascribe Newswire July 15, 2002

[30] Global News Wire, Environment News Service, May 15, 2002

[31] C. A. Crocker, et al., “Is more better? The pros and cons of multiparty mediation,” Turbulent Peace The Challenges of Managing International Conflict (Washington: United States Institute of Peace Press, 2001), p 497.

[32] J. Robin et al., Social Conflict Escalation, Stalemate and Settlement (McGraw-Hill, 1986)

[33] Nancy J Manring, et al., “Structuring an Effective Environmental Dispute Settlement Process.” In J E Crowfoot, J M Wondolleck (ed.). Environmental Disputes. (Island Press. United States. 1990)

[34]Luanne Sacks, “Title of Article”, The Recorder,  May 1, 2002, p. 6. 

[35] National Research Council, Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment in the Humid Tropics (Latin American and Caribbean Commission on Development and Environment, 1993)

[36] World Commission on Protected Areas, Transboundary Protected Areas for Peace and Co-operation, Series No.7, (IUCN-The World Conservation Union, Date), p.3.

[37] Ibid., 4.

[38] Gerardo Budowski, Natural Resources and Peace, University for Peace, San Jose, Costa Rica

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