Beyond "information": Integrating consultation and education for water recycling initiatives
Recycling is starting to play a significant role in water management in drought-prone Australia. Public responses to recycling are still not well understood, and opportunities for public participation have been limited. We have experimented with a technique to explore responses qualitatively and to encourage deliberation. In smallgroup meetings, we provide information on recycling technologies and issues and integrate this with opportunities to discuss and question. We have trialed the approach in communities with different experiences of recycling. Our rationale comes from dissatisfaction with existing consultation processes, and with a prevalent technocratic view that people simply need technical information to correct misperceptions and overcome emotional responses; from issues in literatures on participation and social acceptance of technologies; and from a concern that apparent support for recycling is not robust. We illustrate insights from the work into processes of deliberation and possibilities for achieving a better understanding through such methods.
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