Nelson to highlight the value of opposing views during Nov. 29 lecture

W. Don Nelson
W. Don Nelson

W. Don Nelson, publisher of Prairie Fire newspaper, will present "Civil Discourse: The good, the bad, the ugly," at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 in the Hardin Hall Auditorium. The talk, sponsored by the School of Natural Resources, is free and open to the public.

"We've got to somehow come to grips with the electronic media's fascination with food fights, and the American public's desperate need for facts, intelligent discussion, and compromise," Nelson said. "Step number one is for everyone to completely get rid of this bizarre feeling of infallibility. I've learned a lot more from my mistakes than from my successes."

Among the issues he cited that would benefit from civil discourse are climate change and siting the Keystone XL pipeline.

Nelson founded Prairie Fire, a monthly newspaper that covers public policy, the arts and the environment, and published the first issue in July 2007.

He was the Nebraska state director for U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson from 2001 to 2006. (They are not related.) He was also a policy adviser to several governors in Nebraska and Wyoming, and was an investment banker from 1987 to 2000.

Nelson will draw on his extensive experience to illustrate the need to be able to learn from one's opponents and one's mistakes. He guarantees that his speech will be good: "I'm so confident that people will enjoy it, I'm willing to refund whatever they paid for a cookie, if they don't."

UNL's Wildlife Club will be selling baked goods, 6:30-8:30 p.m. to fund educational trips. Free parking will be available.

Nelson's talk is sponsored by the School of Natural Resources Outreach Committee.

For more information, contact Ken Dewey, School of Natural Resources Outreach Committee chair, 402-472-2908,

— Kelly Smith, Natural Resources

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