Join Jay Vincent in SWANA eLearning on Engaging the Public, Feb 13

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Join Jay Vincent in a SWANA eLearning seminar on Wednesday, Feb 13, at 1.45 pm ET to discuss “Engaging the Public through the Lens of the Advocacy Pyramid, his first in a program of eLearning topics brought to the waste industry by the Solid Waste Association of North America to help industry executives earn Continuing Education Units (CEU). Click here to register.

Jay, who is senior vice president for waste and landfills for The Saint Consulting Group, will lead this eSession to explore how one can overcome the base level of public opposition to solid waste projects that exists in a community. The Advocacy Pyramid is an approach to development public support for waste and other controversial projects. The Pyramid is designed to assist with the creation of public engagement plans, and then to target one’s time and energy on creating vocal advocates for the mission critical project.

The 2011 Saint Index shows 79% of the American public opposed to ANY new type of development. Unfortunately, topping the list of most unwanted land uses according to the 2011 Saint Index…..Landfills (76%) That is where the industry starts with public opinion. “We like things the way they are, thank you very much!” For landfills, that might be the most polite push back response you get. More often you will hear, “No, seriously, STAY AWAY!” Or, posted somewhere near your project is a lawn sign lambasting your proposal.

With that kind of opposition, finding a path to building a sustainable relationship with the community may seem daunting. But it does not have to be that way. You can find support for your project, but it is time consuming work. So, how does one do it?

During the webinar, key questions will be explored. Who do I talk to first? This may seem obvious and yet difficult to answer, too. In fact it probably begs other questions. Do I talk to the township supervisor first? Should I talk to my future neighbors first? What do my current neighbors think of my facility? What do local environmental groups think of this proposal? Even in cases like this you still must ask yourself the same question as with any other non-controversial type of project.

Regardless of what is decided, we believe there is an approach to be used that prioritizes the who, the why and the when in engaging the public regarding controversial issues. We call it the Advocacy Pyramid. Click here to see the pyramid as part of our approach to land use politics.

Jay Vincent is senior vice president for waste and landfills for The Saint Consulting Group, email vincent@tscg.bizĀ 

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