Department of Environmental Studies
In this project I study six ecologically-oriented individuals in the South Berkshire County, Massachusetts community, who are actively shaping an environmental ethic based on their professional actions. The purpose of this project is to discover the roots of this form of resource management. I want to understand the visions that guide these individuals and the strategies they use to enact their visions. The focus of this project is how six key community leaders perceive their role in the community and perceive issues of community and place in regards to community decision-making. I propose to call this form of resource management Community Resource Management. Community Resource Management is an approach which acknowledges that all beings and processes are resources and are all part of a community. This process provides a way of defining the role of community in resource management. The ethic that is being shaped by these individuals, which I call a community environmental ethic, is a set of principles which guide decision-making concerning the environment and place. The content of the paper is based on the interviews of the six individuals. The responses to set questions are then used to formulate common denominators between the individuals. The questions explore: the individuals' definition of community; the visions the individuals have for themselves and the work they do; and the strategies they use to enact their visions. Based on the interviews, four main themes emerged. These are: interconnection with humans and place; having a sense of place; valuing resources; and being a model for their visions.