The Washington State Climate Assembly was a privately funded, randomly selected panel focusing on climate change and its impact in the state of Washington. The goal was to produce and publicize policy recommendations for reducing climate pollution, which are available here. The assembly illustrated how everyday people can engage in policy making, free of special interest bias and the corruptive influemce of money.
After the Climate Assembly, the conveners reflected on their experience and put forth these guiding questions for advocates interested in incubating citizens assemblies. The context here is climate change, but the questions are relevant to any issue:
Outcomes: What is your vision? What do you want to result from more deliberative processes on climate change?
Context: What tangible policies and programs are already being implemented to address climate change in the specific geographic area? What existing barriers to implementation of effective and equitable policy exist?
Existing initiatives: What are people and institutions already doing to include the public in policy-making, especially regarding climate change? What programs exist that align with this ethos?
Ideas: What initiatives are people (in this room) already working on? How could multiple ideas be connected together in order to build towards shared vision?
Pathways: How can deliberative processes connect to existing decision-making institutions? What scale(s) of decision-making are appropriate? What is politically expedient and strategic to focus on given our current context?
Stakeholders: Who cares about, works in, or would want to be involved in deliberative processes about climate change? Who isn’t in the room right now who should be? What relationships with other stakeholders would they bring?
Resources: What connections, networks, and resources do we have? What is feasible right now, and what might be feasible with more support? What do we need from each other, and others?
Next steps: What is feasible right now? What needs to happen after we leave here today?