$0.00 – $6.00
Denise Madigan, Steve Foster, and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, multi-issue negotiation among four scientists, a city representative, and an environmentalist to develop the city's solid waste management strategy; also known as: Dioxin: Resource Recovery.
With landfills rapidly filling, the City of Lockford is attempting to solve its garbage problem by incinerating its trash in waste-to-energy plants. Protests from environmental and community groups over dioxin-related health risks posed by these facilities has escalated into a public fight between scientists representing the City Department of Sanitation and environmentalists. In an attempt to understand and resolve this highly scientific and technical problem, the "City Fathers," via a local scientific academy, have called together the two main protagonists in the fight along with other experts and interested parties. Based on the recommendations of this group, the City will announce its future garbage disposal strategy. A press conference has been called at the end of the meeting, and if the scientists cannot reach an understanding, they face a complete loss of credibility and the wrath of an outraged public. The parties include: The City Department of Sanitation, a waste-to-energy expert, a combustion physicist, an epidemiologist; a scientist from the community; and a national environmentalist group.
- This exercise illustrates how negotiations can be used to resolve conflicts between scientists and technically sophisticated parties when scientific data are in dispute.
- When the same negotiation is conducted by multiple groups, the comparison of outcomes is instructive. The recommendations offered by each group may differ widely and in some cases there may be no agreement reached in the time allowed.
- The scientific data available in the case (and in the world) is incomplete and inconclusive to the points at issue. The exercise motivates discussion of how decisions should be made given limited information.
- The exercise provides a context in which the formation of coalitions or "joint interest" groups can dramatically affect the negotiated outcome.
The exercise is best run with 6 people, although 12 people (2 per party) works well. The instructions require a one to three hours to read and prepare prior to the negotiation. They contain a good deal of scientific information which should be analyzed prior to the beginning of the negotiations. Actual negotiations require 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.
For all parties:
- General Information
- Press Releases
- Four Appendices and Charts
Confidential Instructions to
- Epidemiologist from the State DEP
- Lockford Academy of Science Combustion Physicist
- Lockford Concerned Citizens' Chemist
- Waste-to-Energy Expert
- Executive Director of the Lockford Board of Directors
- Deputy Director of the City DOS
Teacher's package (87 pages total):
- All of the above
- Logistics Notes
- FAQ notes
- Debrief notes
- Notes on the role of experts
Managing risk and uncertainty in science – intensive public policy disputes; environmental disputes
Agenda control; BATNA; Caucusing; Coalitions; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Constituents; Credibility; Decision analysis; Group process; Information exchange; Issue control; Legitimacy; Media; Mediation; Objective criteria; Partisan perceptions; Public opinion; Risk perception; Time constraints
Dioxin - Waste to Energy Game Attributes
|Time required:||3-5 hours|
|Number of participants:||6|
|Neutral third party present:||None|
|Teaching notes available:||Yes|