Here's what we've been up to lately:

Developing Chile’s Roadmap for Circular Economy

In 2020, Betsy Fierman, Director of CBI’s Chile Office, worked with Chile’s Environment Ministry to design and implement a participatory process for developing the country’s Circular Economy Roadmap. The Circular Economy model aims to change current production and consumption patterns by designing waste and pollution out of products, keeping products and materials in use for longer, and regenerating natural systems. CBI helped Chile’s Ministry of the Environment convene and implement a multi-stakeholder Strategic Committee charged with developing a shared vision, setting measurable goals, and prioritizing initiatives for achieving a Circular Economy by 2040. The process also involved eleven thematic subcommittees on issues like innovation and eco design, in which over 120 individuals participated. The roadmap underwent a public comment period earlier this year and is set to be finalized and released in the coming months.


Working towards Carbon-Free Energy on Long Island

In March 2021, The Nature Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife released the Long Island Solar Roadmap to show how Long Island can help meet New York State’s goal of generating 100% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2040. CBI Senior Mediator Catherine Morris helped to engage a diverse consortium – academic, business, community, environmental, government, and solar and utility industry voices – to build consensus on this plan for deploying commercial and utility-scale solar power. Such deployment will minimize environmental impacts, maximize benefits to the region, and expand access to solar energy, including access to benefits by traditionally underserved communities. The Roadmap identifies 19.5 gigawatts of low-impact siting potential on Long Island in areas like parking lots, non-residential rooftops, and already disturbed land. It also reflects insights from an extensive survey of Long Island electricity ratepayers’ views and concerns about siting solar panels. Convened stakeholders worked to generate, prioritize, and flesh out eight strategies for advancing low-impact solar energy development by lowering barriers. The conveners and participants have shown how a stakeholder-informed approach to low-impact siting can be replicated by other jurisdictions in New York State.


Collaborating across Sectors to Reduce COVID Infections with Priority on Equity

CBI West Director and Senior Mediator Gina Bartlett, Senior Associate Ekow Edzie, and Associate Mariana Rivera-Torres are working to build collaboration and alignment across the public health sector, agriculture and hospitality industries, community-based organizations, and philanthropists in the fight against Covid-19 in Monterey County, California. The Community Foundation of Monterey County convened this multi-sector collaborative to advance a coordinated action plan driven by science and best practices in public health and equity. Covid-19 has exposed inequities in Monterey County’s most vulnerable communities, namely the lack of healthcare and childcare, crowded housing, and the digital divide. The county’s two largest industries – hospitality and agriculture – are interdependent and share the need for a healthy workforce and tourism industry. In addition to conducting asset mapping, CBI is helping identify the strategy and facilitating the 60-organization collaborative and multiple small groups to equip on-the-ground community health workers with income and quarantine support; coordinate strategy and messaging across agriculture, education, and community-based efforts; ensure all efforts are following the latest research; and garner funds to meet emergent needs for staffing, informational materials, vaccines, and testing.


Mediating Overlapping Indigenous Land Claims in Northern Canada

CBI Senior Mediator and Canada Practice Director Michael Brown is leading a multi-year process to resolve overlapping Indigenous land claims in northern Canada, covering a geographic area larger than most European countries. The issues reflect long-standing, unresolved tensions among 6 distinct parties: the federal Government of Canada, a northern territorial government, and 4 Indigenous First Nations with overlapping historical claims to territory. Central issues include the need to develop an effective natural resource management regime in areas of overlapping land claims that is acceptable to all actors, while also building working relations and trust between the parties. Following an initial participatory assessment of the issues and tensions, CBI proposed a process design, and all parties agreed to proceed. CBI is now facilitating several parallel, interconnected dialogue/mediation processes that address different combinations of issues and actors. While the parties remain hard at work, they have already made critical breakthroughs, built new collaborative alliances, and significantly strengthened working relations. The focus is now on development of a new natural resource management regime that will involve all 6 parties/governments.


Building Cross-ideological Consensus on a Roadmap for K-12 Civic Education

Frustrated by the deep partisan polarization nationally and the persistent disinvestment in civics education as both a root cause and a casualty, a cross-disciplinary team of scholars and practitioners came together to launch Educating for American Democracy, a groundbreaking initiative to improve and expand the teaching of history and civics for all K-12 students. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Department of Education, this national effort convened more than 300 scholars, classroom educators from every grade level, practitioners, and students from a diversity of viewpoints, demographics, and roles. Throughout 2020, CBI Managing Director Stacie Smith worked closely with the Executive Committee to design and facilitate the deliberations of a diverse and cross-ideological 32-person Steering Committee, starting with a 3-day face-to-face convening in February 2020 to identify shared objectives, exploring key themes, and identifying and addressing areas of tension. Additional sessions continued virtually to iteratively vet the Roadmap, clarify pedagogical needs, and move toward implementation across all levels of responsibility. The final Roadmap to Educating for American Democracy was released this month, garnered press in the New York Times, among other outlets, and includes detailed guidance that educators and leaders at all levels can use to transform the teaching of civics and history across all grade-levels. This inquiry-based Roadmap weaves history and civics and the knowledge, skills, and capacities required to sustain a healthy, thriving republic.


Engaging Frontline Community Leaders on Climate Adaptation through the Climigration Network

The Climigration Network, hosted by CBI, is working to build relationships  between practitioners and frontline community leaders in the US experiencing flood and fire risk and displacement first-hand, to co-create new community-led, safe, and equitable models for assisted relocation. Currently, with support from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and partnerships with three community-based networks – Anthropocene Alliance, Alaska Institute for Justice, and Lowlander Center – the Climigration Network and CBI staff are in dialogue with 16 community leaders from low-income, Black, Latinx, and Native American communities at risk of flooding and struggling with similar questions around resilience and relocation. The Network is working with some leaders to build a statement that outlines the most important issues they face in this context, and what needs to change, to help organize the Network’s work and partnership efforts with communities. These conversations have also resulted in the identification of a range of potential projects that meet direct and pressing community needs, including training to build community power to interact with local government, creating the framework for a local land bank/land trust, support groups that connect community leaders struggling to implement buyout programs, and model local zoning to protect prospective property owners from undisclosed risk. Learn more about the Network here:

Photo credit: "Shishmaref- Erin (53) edit" by Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Building Trust to Prevent Suicide by Firearms

Gun control is one of the most contentious issues of our day, with little hope for political agreement or action. But dialogue among those who differ is essential if we are to find a way forward. After a carefully designed assessment process by CBI’s partner, the Convergence Center for Public Policy, Convergence and CBI brought together (virtually) activists and academics with a wide of views on guns and gun control to explore ways to reduce suicide with firearms. The participants include second amendment rights groups, gun violence prevention groups, members of the clergy, academics, health care providers, and others. Through well paced, thoughtful, and respectful dialogue, the group has explored the links between suicide and guns in the general population, and the particular challenges of suicide prevention for several groups at risk, including veterans, African-American youth and adults, Native Americans, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth. The process encourages frankness, understanding, and the protection of private conversation. The group has identified a number of voluntary programs, like safe storage and health provider training, to explore further, to identify the most effective interventions, scale up and fund effective programs, and collectively reduce suicide deaths by firearms. As the dialogue continues, the group hopes to identify concrete, specific actions to “power up” programs and bring greater resources and action to reduce gun-involved suicides, the leading cause of death by firearms.


Advancing Collaboration on Fisheries Science and Offshore Wind

The Responsible Offshore Science Alliance (ROSA), a group CBI helped establish in late 2019, has been up and running for almost two years now. ROSA is a nonprofit organization that seeks to advance regional research and monitoring of fisheries and offshore wind interactions through collaboration and cooperation. ROSA’s objective is to be a trusted resource that enables scientific research, increases efficiency, deepens understanding, and facilitates collaboration. With CBI’s help, ROSA has formed a 40-person, sector-driven Council, selected a slate of 50 research advisors, drafted interim monitoring guidance, and is about to launch ambitious efforts around improving baseline data, creating a regional research framework, and increasing data availability and consistency. Despite the contention surrounding offshore wind development, stakeholders from across ocean uses are working together to generate credible and useful science. For more about ROSA, please see:


Facilitating Landlord-Tenant Dialogue in New York City to Prevent COVID-driven Evictions

From June through September 2020, CBI Managing Director David Fairman facilitated a groundbreaking effort to build agreement among New York City landlord and tenant groups on ways to prevent the COVID economic crisis from leading to a wave of evictions across the city. By some estimates, more than 250,000 households in the city are at risk of losing their homes once current state and Federal eviction moratoriums are lifted. Convened by Enterprise, a group of 15 leaders and experts in the rental property business, tenant services, and tenant advocacy reached agreement on both a set of policies to recommend to New York City and state government as well as a pilot project for rental property managers and tenant groups to work together to help groups of tenants at risk of eviction from a rental building. The group is now advocating jointly for the recommendations with Federal, state and city governments. In addition, several landlord, tenant advocate and tenant service members are collaborating to implement the building-based pilot to help at-risk tenants..