Fila Sophia

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The Citizen Jury Illustrated: The Morris Climate Dialogue

A “Citizen Jury” means to embody the informed, face-to-face deliberation of an ideal democracy, not found either in elections or in legislative debates today. Below is a photo illustration of such a jury facilitated by the Jefferson Center and Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy in Minnesota on June 12-14. Links to the report from the three-day event and to similar experiments with citizen deliberation can be found at the end of this post.

The Backdrop

A Fitting Backdrop

Introductions in Plenary

Introductions in Plenary


Tools of Small Group Work–“Pass the Ball”


Rules for Inclusive Discussion


Facilitated Small Groups with Mock Scenario

Small Group Practice Conclusion

A Group’s Mock Scenario Conclusions

Expert MN Climate History

U of MN Climate Historian Presents

Community Media Observers

Community & Media Observers (yours truly far right)

Good Listening

Farmer, Teacher Listen, Record Colleague’s Input

Challenges Summary

Small Group Findings on “Challenges”

Articulate Recent Grad

Articulate Recent Grad Speaks in Plenary

The Issue

The Crux of the Jury’s Task

Challenge Cloud

Post-it Cloud of “Challenges”


Youngest Participant Brain Storms in 1-1 Small Group

Tools Remote

Juror Tools Include Remote for Secret Voting, Binder Updated with Experts’ Submissions & Group’s Work

Popcorn Plenary

Facilitator Passes the Mic in Plenary “Report Back”


Small Group’s Summary of Impacts”

Citizen Statement

Collaborative Draft of Jury’s Statement

A sample of quotes from the participants at the end of the event:

“I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought it’d be a bunch of people who were very adamant about this topic and would want to get together and “hurrah” about it. I was very impressed with this group’s ability to come together as community members, as neighbors, and talk about these things in an open, civil, and friendly manner.”

“I have to admit when I came here when people talked about climate [change] I thought ‘oh come on’ – did I ever learn a lot. I am grateful.”

“It was really a learning experience for myself. I did not grow up in a rural area. I’ve lived here for a few years but I’ve not been in touch with the rural area. I think I’ll be a little bit more active and learn a little bit more in the future as a result of that. The overall experience was wonderful and the people were great.”

“We talk about liberal-this conservative-that, republicans-this democrats-that, at the end of the day we are our government. We are the ones responsible for making these decisions…I’m thrilled and honored to be a part of a process that reminds me why this grand [democratic] experiment continues. And it’s not been perfect, and it will not be perfect, but we can always make it better, and things like this are a start. Thank you for the opportunity.”

Jefferson Center’s Page on the Morris Area Climate Dialogue

Event Summary by Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy

Oregon’s Citizens’ Initiative Review by Healthy Democracy

New Democracy Foundation’s Citizen Deliberation Page

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