Blog 5 – The politics against Adaptive Management

Adaptive management is the only way to protect our environment. My 8 years studying the environment have lead me to one single conclusion about how to save earth’s ecosystems: manage them correctly, study then, learn from the study, adapt management strategies to research findings and indigenous knowledge, repeat.

In this weeks lecture, we looked at adaptive policy making and the different ways developing scenarios in a policy context could benefit environmental management. But this doesn’t work in today’s organizational systems for three reasons:

1- Policy and legislation take years to change, and this cost increasingly high amounts of money to the government. Environmental management studies have us learning, and adapting our methods sometimes monthly. The policies will always be lagging behind the science, and we are running out of time.
2- Budgets for environmental legislation policy and study are too low. Developing scenarios is costly, especially when outcomes are less than guaranteed. There is no way a capitalists government would give enough money towards adaptive management for it to be done correctly.
3- Forecasting vs. Backasting: We live in a world where forecasting is the primary tool for development. ‘Adaptive management’ done right means excessive amounts of research backasting for absolutely NO development. IF environmental management is done right, no money will be made, no money will be saved (in the eyes of politicians), and it will restrict development somewhere along the line. This is not beneficial to 4 year term governments.

In other words, we need to change the whole political system. Wish us luck!

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