Peacemaking, Justice and Sustainability

To do justice means to live in a way that generates a strong community where humans flourish. Peace is not simply the absence of conflict but also the presence of justice

-ADR Network SA

Holla!

It is an honour to write for the Green Times and to become part of a significant and advancing community.

We are a private agency, ADR Network SA, engaged in Dispute Resolution, primarily through non-adversarial methods like mediation and managed dialogue processes.

How does this relate to sustainability and the advancement of the green movement? We recognize more and more the inter-connectedness of all of humanity. And the inter-connectedness of all of humanity with creation. Whether we are called to bring about resolution in a commercial dispute, a family dispute, a workplace dispute, a community dispute or an environmental dispute, we realize that we can never resolve conflict in a vacuum. We must engage surrounding circumstances, contexts, the environment and parties that are, on the face of it, secondary or indirectly connected to the primary dispute.

Our view is that the hyper-individualized state that is infiltrating humanity, underpinned by competivism and adversarialism, both hallmarks of capitalism is helping to advance the degradation of humanity and our beautiful planet. At the heart of peacemaking lies community-building. It is not so much the breakdown of the family unit that contributes to social evil, as it is the breakdown of community that leads to the breakdown of family and other relations.

Before we can accomplish peace, we need to get in the way of injustice. And our view is that justice is all about restoring individuals, families, communities and nations to right relationship. The restoration of relationship and interconnectedness, of necessity requires the restoration of humanity to right relationship with its environment.

We are all agents of justice. We are all agents of peace. We are all agents of restoration. We plant in hope, not certainty. But we plant knowing that all things of great beauty start out small.

Through mediation and restorative justice processes we are bringing truth, accountability and behavioural change to environments where courts, schools, and workplaces have long attempted to address poor-choicemaking through punitive methods. We know this does not work. We know that attempting to address the problem of violence with violent methods, simply escalates violence.

Care for creation is becoming more and more relevant in peacemaking and dispute resolution. Whether it is flushing toilets with dirty water, riding a bike to work or helping an institution to become carbon neutral, whatever injustice we contribute to standing in the way of, contributes to building peace.

Planting urban gardens can help to reconnect the urbanized with the beauty of the earth and that is a small step toward an awakening awareness that we all want healing. Entertaining strangers, lifting the burden of immigrants. We can all participate in re-establishing connectedness and being agents for justice and peacebuilding. Finding ways of interrupting and dismantling evil-doing without destroying the evil-doer.

We run programs in dispute-resolution and peacemaking and to honour the initiation of a long and fruitful relationship with The Green Times Community, we invite members of the community to attend either of our distance learning programs in dispute resolution and mediation or our five day workshops at 50% of the normal fee. Please email adr@mediatorsa.co.za for more information.

Peace.

Sheena Jonker

For: ADR Network SA

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