Susan Clark - Slow Democracy (lecture)
Conventional democracy is being eviscerated. Frustration is mounting with business as usual models dominated by centralized institutions. But there are new initiatives. Local solutions to local problems which incorporate decision-making processes that are inclusive, deliberative and citizen powered are growing increasingly popular. From control of utilities to water and school issues to resisting fracking, communities are asserting themselves. Instead of seeing politics as something remote and out of reach, there are other possibilities closer to home. Slow democracy allows for space to find common ground and compromise and for communities to make choices that are ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable. The old no prisoners attitude may be emotionally satisfying but often results in nothing more than bombast. Local citizen participation gives not just insight and knowledge in addressing community matters but also in a sense ownership of the outcomes.
Susan Clark is a writer and facilitator focusing on community sustainability and citizen participation. Her democratic activism has earned her the Vermont Secretary of State's Enduring Democracy Award. She served as coordinator of the University of Vermont's Environmental Programs In Communities project. She chairs a committee in Vermont that encourages citizen involvement, and serves as town-meeting moderator. She is the co-author of All Those In Favor and Slow Democracy.