The Agriculture Lobby

It is not unusual for me to read journalistic articles and come away wondering ‘who the h…. are they talking about’. I’ve attached one of those articles from The Washington Post.

I also read some polling this morning that says 75 percent of the American public thinks we need to act on climate change legislation and over 50 percent are in favor of the legislation even if it adds $10 per month to their energy bill.

It also seems obvious that lobbying -in the case of the energy bill…. agricultural lobbying – potentially troubles the legislative process. What could be a sincere debate between legislators, between legislators and their constituents (informing the process) becomes a ‘paid’ debate between legislators and ‘constituent representatives’. In the case of the energy bill, we end up with compromises that are not only ineffective but do not even represent ‘the will of the people’.

Knowledge Creation in EcoServices Markets

I was in Annapolis last Friday in an interesting meeting with Eric Sprague. He was helping me catch up with the Bay Bank, Chesapeake Fund, etc.  During the conversation we began to discuss the various ecosystem service efforts/projects/markets that are evolving. Both Eric and I realize that there is a significant amount of activity going on in various regions with varying degress of interaction/communication. This naturally leads to differences in approach as well as certain evolving questions.

As we spoke, it occurred to me we were discussing a very common behavior in the process of creating knowledge. Thomas Kuhn has written extensively on the evolution of scientific thought, creation, and knowledge. What we are doing as ‘workers in a nascent vision’ is critically important to developing sound, sustainable knowledge about ecosystem services and ecosystem service economies. The regional ‘nodes’, the interaction, the arguments, and the chaos are all profoundly valuable. Particularly given the ecological complexity and diversity we all encounter in our various regions, those differences create perspectives that inspire creativity.

The next time a conference call makes you question your sanity, think of it as a step to new knowledge.

A Potential Mess

This is an interesting article that hints at the international problems that arise in developing countries when industrialized countries begin to purchase carbon offset credits from forests -an international version of carpetbaggers combined with little regulation and financial management in the developing countries. 

Think of what this implies to a U.S. energy bill that allows for international REDD offsets.