Saturday, July 26, 2008

Leadership & the Green Wall,

1) A good example of how a mayor in Atlanta was able to accomplish something that needed doing by using an indirect leadership approach, personal contacts, and collaborating…a good read, authored by Stephen Goldsmith.

An excerpt.

“In most American cities, the public institutions that are critical to urban stability and development operate independently from the mayor's office, making reforms difficult to achieve. The topic of the evolving mayoral role in education reform often dominates discussions at the local level. Judicial reform is another area where change makers frequently encounter resistance to reform. Such reforms try to address an array of issues, from the courts' general role in the administration of justice to their specific roles in such subjects as child welfare and crime.

“Indirect leadership is perhaps the most difficult to harness. But it can be done. Atlanta's mayor, Shirley Franklin, effectively used an indirect leadership strategy when she was determined to improve the services of the city's judicial system and eliminate wasteful practices in the organization. By building support in the city's legal community and leveraging the expertise and influence of outside advocates to make a clear case for change, Mayor Franklin led the way to a series of critical municipal court reforms, despite her lack of direct authority.”

2) Countries in Northern Africa are building a huge wall of trees to hold back the slow advance of the Sahara Desert, a wonderful use of human technology and natural resources to shape our environment, reminding one of the bountiful results from large dams that save water previously wasted and create lakes used by all in the process.

An excerpt.

“Preparations for an African 'wall of trees' to slow down the southwards spread of the Sahara desert are getting underway.

“North African nations have been promoting the idea of a Green Belt since 2005. The project has been scaled down to reinforce and then expand on existing efforts, and will not be a continent-wide wall of trees, despite the name of the project.

“According to a report in ENN (Environmental News Network), the 'Great Green Wall' will involve several stretches of trees from Mauritania in the west to Djibouti in the east, to protect the semi-arid savannah region of the Sahel, and its agricultural land, from desertification.

“A plan for the proposed 3 million dollar, two-year initial phase of the project, which involves a belt of trees 7,000 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide, was formally adopted at the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (Cen-Sad) summit on rural development and food security in Cotonou, Benin, last month (17-18 June).”