I’m Chindavone, from Laos.
Some people might think negatively to the world “conflict”, actually this word has many positive impacts.
In societies, conflicts are usually seen whether daily life conflicts or huge conflicts in global context. Conflicts in a big context are usually complex and quite hard to solve, especially conflicts in environmental issues. Today, Yseali participants have opportunities to learn why conflicts happen and how individuals response to the conflicts. The most impressive thing about this session is the game called “win us much you can”. This game is very interesting. The game taught me that in order to solve problems related to multi-parties, we have to build trust, good relationships and responsibilities between one another. It is a nature of human that concern about one’s interest rather than others, therefore, if we only want to gain, other parties will do the same as well which will bring all of us to the worse situations. When compare to the environmental problems, if all parties only want to gain (Example: use the natural resources up) without curing, at some points, the situation will be worse and worse (no natural resources for next generation, environmental pollution and so on). Therefore, each party must come up with compromises that can help all parties move forward by trust, responsibilities and respects for one another for the benefits of all parties. “The relationship between giving and getting is very important” said by Mr. Shawn Johnson who facilitated us during the session.
Fortunately, after learning the nature of conflicts and conflict solutions, we had a chance to join City Club Lunch which is an event that opens up to civic engagement. The fascination about the event is how citizens of Missoula freely share their concerns regarding to social, environment and economic problems to the representatives of the Democratic Party and Republican Party and how different parties response to the concerns. By involving in this event, I get much more insight on community involvement in politics that have different parties in Missoula since in my country, Laos, we have only one party which is different from USA.
In order to be able to work together, it is very important to have connections and discussion between organizations and people on the ground. I learn that one of the methods that work well regarding to multi-sectors collaboration in action is “roundtable” which brings different related sectors come together to meet, talk and exchange ideas that can bring back and implement in their communities.
I am very glad to have an opportunity to get to know about Libby, Montana where once this town used to have some serious environmental problems regarding to the contaminations of asbestos in the air, water, soil and event in the coffee people who live in Libby drink. The problems happened because extractions of vermiculite mine. The vermiculite contains the tremolite asbestos, a substance that can cause serious health problems especially lung cancer. The asbestos had caused very severe problems in Libby. Surprisingly, I learned that Asia is the biggest region that consumes the products that contain Asbestos. The environmental problems in Libby remind me that it is very important to consider carefully about positive and negative impacts on social, environment and economic before doing something that have risky consequences. I strongly believe in Asia, especially Southeast Asia must learn from the experiences learned by other countries so that we can avoid problems and achieve sustainable development.
In conclusion, today, I gain a deeper insight about the positive and negative of conflicts as well as the ways to solve the conflicts, learn more about the way people in Missoula engage in societies and also learn the experiences that faced by people in Libby. The most important lesson that I learn is to consider about environmental problems while developing economic because environment and economic are the two pillars that are closely connected to one another.
Thank you very much and have a good day!!!!