The Radical Center

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.

An Invitation to Join the Radical Center

Twenty ranchers, scientists and conservationists wrote a declaration ending the grazing wars and inviting people to join the emerging radical center.

 

Originally read at The Quivira Coalition’s 2nd Annual Conference, January 2003.

 

View the PDF Here

Reflections From a “Do” Tank

“Recently, an acquaintance asked me what I did for a living. After explaining that I ran a nonprofit that worked with ranchers and conservationists in the Southwest on land health and sustainability issues, he said summarily “Oh, you run a Think Tank.” Without pausing, I replied “No, Quivira is a ‘Do’ Tank,” which elicited a nod and smile.”

 

Originally published in the Quivira Coalition’s Journal, no. 37, January 2012

 

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Land Health: A Common Language to Describe the Common Ground Beneath Our Feet

This essay examines the language of land health as a basis for collaboration.

 

Originally published as Chapter Ten in Conservation for a New Generation, edited by Richard L. Knight and Courtney White, Island Press, December 2008

 

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The Quivira Coalition

Introducing our effort to build bridges between ranchers, environmentalists, scientists, and public land managers.

 

Originally published in Range magazine, Winter 1999.

 

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Grassroots: The Rise of the Radical Center

This book includes three columns that I wrote over the years – one for the newsletter of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club titled The Uneasy Chair (1995-1997); one for the Quivira Coalition called The Far Horizon (1997-2006); and one for my web site titled The Next West (2009-2011). The first two columns chronicle the rise of collaborative conservation in the Southwest as it happened; the third explores what happened to the so-called New West.

This book will be published in the winter of 2017.

Two recent interviews with me about the Radical Center:

 

Acres magazine 2016 – View PDF

 

Local Flavor magazine 2015 – View PDF