How can Alaska keep its natural resources from being exploited?

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  1. 0 Votes

    It’s really what you can do, because there are all kinds of forces already in play for, against, and in-between. What you’ll probably be doing is joining one or more of them, depending on your time and resources.

    The greatest resource you can have — and this advice comes from 10,000s of edits in Wikipedia, and countless 1,000s of edits in forums — is to get a firm, unbiased understanding of your subjects. People on either side of a discussion can recognize someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about. It’s especially important to KNOW YOUR ENEMY, and that means having some sympathy for what they believe, and understanding why they believe it. When someone brings up a complicated and largely correct argument, it pays to know what their assumptions are.

    • Are they just repeating a common argument they read somewhere else?
    • Are they even repeating an appropriate argument? E.g. there’s a big fuss right now about the luxury food foie gras being eliminated from restaurants. A few supporters arguing along the same lines as another very recent major issue, feel that if sharks are protected (because of Shark Fin Soup), then geese should be too. But they’re just rolling out the argument without thinking. Geese aren’t endangered, sharks are.
    • Sometimes your opponant has a deep understanding of the situation — maybe even better than your own — then it pays to also think deeply, and figure out how you disagree. Continuing the example of the fois gras, above, some people feel that the suffering of animals has the same importance as the suffering of humans. And they will never change their mind, will they now? In other cases, thankfully, people’s belief in something just supports their position, it’s not essential to it. So, continuing with the fois gras, if a person’s position was simply that mistreatment of geese was that problem, then someone in opposition would have a chance to advance an idea to both side’s satisfaction. Which brings up …
    • Being creative. There are many problems that can be solved with humor and creativity. Don’t force people into a corner. Keep a light attitude, enjoy what you’re doing. The people on the other side of an issue aren’t totally evil, they have good qualities, and they like to have fun, too. Being creative and a good mediator is hard — it’s much easier to get angry and fight. Say some group in Alaska is angry with “treehuggers” — for reducing their income. Find about income opportunities. Maybe it’s more cost-effective to leave trees standing in certain situations. You find that out … and everyone wins!

    You can start on you path by being more careful about your wording. The word “exploited” here instantly casts you as having an established stance — one that a lot of other people don’t like. Phrase your question differently. Ask something more neutral. Ask something that hardcore party liners don’t already have a fixed response for. How about:

    • Which natural resources are most difficult to exploit economically?
    • Are there natural resources Alaska can readily spare?
    • Is there something that can be done to use or save the natural resources in the areas with melting permafrost?

    You’re really asking questions that will lead to similar issues, but your chances of provoking a productive discussion have just skyrocketed! People will have to think about their answers, not just shoot from the hip.

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