An Earth Institute Sustainability Primer:

Managing Environmental Conflict


Dr. Joshua D. Fisher

Research scientist and Director, Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity
Columbia Climate School

Conflicts frequently arise over environmental issues such as land use, natural resource management, and laws and regulation, emerging from diverging interests and values among stakeholders. This talk addresses causes of and solutions to such conflicts and attempts to provide a foundational overview of the theory and practice of collaborative approaches to managing environmental disputes.

Joshua D. Fisher explains the core concepts in collaborative conflict management and presents a clear, practical, and implementable framework for understanding and responding to environmental disputes. He details strategies to bring stakeholders together in pursuit of collective solutions, emphasizing ongoing processes of dialogue, analysis, action, and learning. This collaborative approach can create new opportunities for stakeholders to better understand each other and the natural world, which enables more effective and context-appropriate environmental governance. Fisher examines why and how system dynamics can constrain or expand the possibility of constructive management of conflicts. He will discuss case studies from the Amazon Basin, where local communities, extractive industry operators, conservationists, and land managers have often clashed over access to natural resources, drawing out lessons to illustrate how to adapt the conflict management framework to distinct contexts.

Time will be allocated for Q&A.

This program is part of the ColumbiaDC CUP series.

Cosponsored by:
  • Yale Club of Washington DC

"For a future filled with conflicts over land, water, and climate, Fisher’s clear description of the theory and practice of managing these wicked problems provides an essential roadmap. Environmental conflicts are difficult but not impossible to resolve, if one approaches them based on an understanding of complexity in social-ecological systems and collaborative relationship building. A must-read primer for anyone entangled in messy, multi-stakeholder environmental peacebuilding.' " Ruth DeFries, co-founding dean, Columbia Climate School

3_Fisher_CoverArt.jpgJoshua D. Fisher is a research scientist at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, where he is also the director of the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity. He is also a specially appointed professor at Hiroshima University’s Network for Education and Research on Peace and Sustainability. He works with public, private, and nonprofit partners to develop conflict-sensitive approaches to land-use planning and natural resource management and has worked in environmental management around the globe, including in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Asia-Pacific region, and on public lands in the western United States.

CUP Series: This is a new initiative between ColumbiaDC and Columbia University Press to showcase acclaimed and pioneering work by renowned academics, scholars, and researchers published by the Columbia University Press.

September 07, 2022 at 6:30pm - 8pm


Washington, DC
United States

Miyako Yerick


Will you come?