The radical center is a place where people and organizations of diverse backgrounds meet to explore their shared interests rather than argue their differences.
Rancher Bill McDonald coined the term in the mid-1990s to describe an emerging consensus-based approach to land management challenges in the American West. At the time, the conflict between ranchers and environmentalists had reached a fever pitch, with federal agencies and others caught in crossfire. The radical center was a deliberate push-back. It was ‘radical’ because it challenged orthodoxies, including the belief that conservation and ranching were part of a ‘zero sum’ game – that one could only advance if the other retreated. The ‘center’ refers to a pragmatic middle-ground of partnerships, respect, and trust – and action.