Before the world was overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic, I wrote a blog for the Kluwer website, suggesting some sort of initiative by mediators to promote environmentally friendly dispute management and resolution. I suggested a World Mediators Alliance on Climate Change (WoMACC).
At the time of writing, it seemed a great idea. However, the onset of the pandemic put even climate change in the shade for a while as that emergency seemed to overtake all other issues.
Then, of course, mediators were among those trying to adapt by using online platforms like Zoom. That things can change so fast seemed quite remarkable. What I had originally written felt like something from another era.
However, in a reworked article for Mediate.com, I observed that, of course, we would still need to face the climate change problem in the future and that ideas like these would remain relevant even after the present lockdown has passed. We have no choice.
I also began to develop an idea about a “Green Pledge” based on a similar initiative by an arbitrator, Lucy Greenwood, which had been drawn to my attention by my good friend, Anna Howard, and which has, with Lucy’s permission, now been adapted for mediators.
I commented that it may be fortuitous that we were already adapting our working practices in many of the ways suggested in the draft Pledge to accommodate the next several months of working in relative isolation. As time has moved on, months may become years, who knows?
In any event, as Jim Melamed remarked in the recent global conference sponsored by Mediate.com, online mediation may well become the default even after the pandemic passes and face to face will be the exception. Maybe that is exactly what needs to happen anyway if we are to face the environmental crisis with any prospect of making meaningful progress.
Promoting the Mediators Green Pledge is now the purpose of a new WoMACC site. It seems to be one way to commit to our future. I invite you to Sign up to the Green Pledge and promote it to those you know and work with. NOTE: If you signed the prototype pledge included in my earlier Mediate.com article, please sign up again now on our new webpage!
I’d like to record my appreciation of the work of my colleagues, Nicola Hartfield, Anna Howard, Charlie Irvine, Sabine Koenig, Jonathan Lloyd Jones, Ian Macduff and Laura Skillen, all of whom have helped to bring this to fruition. Our WoMACC Facilitators’ Group will meet at least annually to review the pledge. We would be delighted to receive your comments on the pledge itself and in particular its impact.
There is little time to waste. Let's each make a difference to our individual and collective futures.
John Sturrock is the founder and senior mediator at Core Solutions, Scotland's pre-eminent provider of commercial mediation services. As a pioneer of mediation throughout the UK and elsewhere, his work extends to the commercial, professional, sports, public sector, policy and political fields. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the international Academy of Mediators and is also a mediator with Brick Court Chambers in London. Who’s Who Legal of the world’s leading commercial mediators describes John as “internationally recognised as a major player”. Who’s Who Legal also lists John as one of the seven Global Elite Thought Leaders. John also specialises in facilitation, negotiation and conflict management training and coaching for public sector leaders, civil servants, politicians, and sports and business leaders. For many years, he has worked with various parliamentary bodies throughout the UK on effective scrutiny of policy. He is founder of Collaborative Scotland, which promotes non-partisan respectful dialogue about difficult issues. In 2020, John published his book, A Mediator’s Musings, available here on Amazon.