Complexity Theory and Environmental Management | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Complexity Theory and Environmental Management

Environmental disputes frequently revolve around conflicts of land use, triggered by a fear. The spotted owl is endangered, and that means that logging in the northwest must stop. People are put out of work, communities suffer. It may be, in ten or thirty years, that we discover logging was not a danger to the spotted owl. Or the issue may remain contentious. My point is that the drama surrounding such disputes—angry marches and press coverage, tree hugging, bulldozers—serves to obscure the deeper problem. We don't know how to manage wilderness environments, even when there is no conflict at all.

To see what I mean, let’s take a case history of our management of the environment: Yellowstone National Park.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This speech, by Michael Crichton, details the history of Yellowstone National Park, which went from one ecological disaster to another to another, always with the very best of intentions, and pretty much wrecked the place.

Supporters of Obama's plan to "engineer" the environment by filling the upper atmosphere with "pollution particles" to reflect sunlight (isn't that what clouds already do?) need to study the history of Yellowstone to understand that good intentions are never a substitute for actually knowing what the @#$% you are doing!

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