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Thread: Cumulative Outcomes - a Model

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    Default Cumulative Outcomes - a Model

    The other day I attended a talk that used the following model to make a point about cumulative outcomes. It is a simplistic approach but makes a good point and has value for pointing out how to discern matters in a complex system. Here is the end point " The culumative outcome of many decisions within a dynamic system will be dominated by the most irreversible tendencies within human actions regardless of the values people hold" From David A Bella 2006 Legacy Salmon 2010 - the future of wild pacific salmon. Editor Robert Lackey American Fisheries Society. I hope I have the reference correct since I wrote is quickly.

    Anyway here is the idea. Assume a decision process involving many people flipping coins. Each flip represents a decision. When it comes up heads the decision involves the technological development of some natural resource. If tails the resource involves protection of some natural system. So technological would be a mine and natural system may be a salmon stream or old growth forest. So each decision involves equal value - 50/50 when you flip.

    Now look at the culumative outcomes of all coin tossing over a long time span. Here is the rub. When the coin comes up heads the decision is irreversible - the salmon stream or old growth forest is lost. In contrast, the tail decision is open to more coin tosses. Again, when looking at each decision individually one has a 50/50 value system. Most people on an individual decision would say they are for the environment and development.

    Next, have a group of people flip their coin. All those with heads sit down. Next keep flipping and those with heads sit down each time. It will be less than a few flips and everyone will be sitting down. The value for each decision was equal but the culumative outcome will not reflect that value system. Through many unbiased coin tosses, we approach a world where the "heads up" development decisions, not reversible, gradually but steadily increase in number.

    That is, we approach a world of pervasive technological development where wild salmon have no place, not a world where wild salmon can survive and thrive.

    So what is the answer to this - natural resource protection needs to be irreversible. Thus the position of environmental groups and others to protect ANWR, Bristol Bay Salmon, the UCI salmon streams.... The importance of maintaining these natural areas in an irreversible natural state is to balance the culumative outcome model that appears to give equal value to natural resources and develpment in the above case. We can debate the ratio but right now technicalogical development culmulative outcomes are taking us in Alaska to an end point we may not want.

    Thus in anwser to those that want to try and have their cake and eat it--- the bottom line is that does not work and has not worked in the lower 48 with salmon and thus it is a failed system - some natural systems just need to be left natural forever.

    Having worked in this field for years I always am amazed that non-biologists keep thinking we can restore systems to some natural productive state. The American Fisheries Society knows this is not true. The first rule for habitat protection is to stop the offending actions. At the conference I was at the restoration efforts in Washington State , not counting dams, is about 2 billion dollars over the last decade. With dams it is 7-10 billion dollars.

    Anyway, as we discuss Pebble and other projects keep in mind the culumative outcome model and what areas should be protected forever.

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    Rep points buddy! You should post this same thing on the Chuitna coal mine thread!

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    Default Oversimplified?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    . . some natural systems just need to be left natural forever. . .
    Fine and good, but doesn't such a claim beg the question, "Why?"

    Why exactly do some natural systems need to be left natural forever?

    Which natural systems need to be left natural forever?

    What constitutes "natural"? How untouched by human enterprise constitutes "natural"?

    Clarification, please . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Fine and good, but doesn't such a claim beg the question, "Why?"

    Why exactly do some natural systems need to be left natural forever?

    Which natural systems need to be left natural forever?

    What constitutes "natural"? How untouched by human enterprise constitutes "natural"?

    Clarification, please . . .
    It certainly does beg the question. Your question has no straight forward answer. Topics or should I say opinions of ecology, health, and economics ie intrinsic value come to mind.

    "Our remnants of wilderness will yield bigger values to the nation's character and health than they will to its pocketbook, and to destroy them will be to admit that the latter are the only values that interest us." - Aldo Leopold

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Fine and good, but doesn't such a claim beg the question, "Why?"

    Why exactly do some natural systems need to be left natural forever?

    Which natural systems need to be left natural forever?

    What constitutes "natural"? How untouched by human enterprise constitutes "natural"?

    Clarification, please . . .
    If you have ask after you missed the whole point of the discussion. Natural here was defined as a natural resource that if altered becomes irreversible to get back to the start condition. So an old growth forest is paved over the natural system is destroyed.

    I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you Marcus about the word natural- which you seem to enjoy. You pick out one word and try to highjack the point of the thread

    The whole article was about culumative impacts and how a value system that promotes both equally will not result in an equal outcome when one is irreversible. But for the record taking out 12 miles of salmon stream for a coal mine is a good example. The salmon stream is producing salmon at some level in its natural or present day state. A coal mine will remove that and it is irreversible - again no evidence exist to back up the claim of the coal mine company that they can reverse the damage. Keep making decisions on a case by case bases and the end result is a world of irreversible actions and one that does not reflect the value of the society making the decisions. The point of the article. Marcus you have to answer your questions for yourself. They are a personal choice but if you want salmon streams, for example, some have to be left as salmon streams and not subjected to future decisions. Otherwise the culumative model applies.

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    Question Tilting at windmills?

    Quote Originally Posted by DannerAK View Post
    It certainly does beg the question. Your question has no straight forward answer. Topics or should I say opinions of ecology, health, and economics ie intrinsic value come to mind.
    Very true, Danner, no straightforward answers, and that's because my questions are asked in such a way that they must be answered on a case-by-case basis. On the other hand, the OP suggests a one-size-fits-all answer.

    First, the cumulative effect is real, but it is neither good nor bad, it is simply a neutral, mathematical certainty. Using the cumulative effect as a scare tactic, the OP says the answer is that "natural resource protection needs to be irreversible," and in so saying, such folks come across as same-song/second-verse, lock-it-all-up tree-huggers.

    The cumulative effect is real and constitutes a very slippery slope. But that in no way changes the fact that each caseŚBristol Bay, coal mines, and so much moreŚneeds to be considered on its own merits and in accordance with duly-established process. "Irreversible" is a fairy tale, a pipe dream . . what congress creates, congress can uncreate, and, given enough excuse or need, most assuredly will.

    What the cumulative effect should do for us is to make us doubly cautious when making decisions on a case by case basis that will irreversibly affect the environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Very true, Danner, no straightforward answers, and that's because my questions are asked in such a way that they must be answered on a case-by-case basis. On the other hand, the OP suggests a one-size-fits-all answer.

    First, the cumulative effect is real, but it is neither good nor bad, it is simply a neutral, mathematical certainty. Using the cumulative effect as a scare tactic, the OP says the answer is that "natural resource protection needs to be irreversible," and in so saying, such folks come across as same-song/second-verse, lock-it-all-up tree-huggers.

    The cumulative effect is real and constitutes a very slippery slope. But that in no way changes the fact that each caseŚBristol Bay, coal mines, and so much moreŚneeds to be considered on its own merits and in accordance with duly-established process. "Irreversible" is a fairy tale, a pipe dream . . what congress creates, congress can uncreate, and, given enough excuse or need, most assuredly will.

    What the cumulative effect should do for us is to make us doubly cautious when making decisions on a case by case basis that will irreversibly affect the environment.
    Marcus, you again miss the point but here we go again with fairy tale references and mocking of a serious issue. Frankly the authors of the article have stated the position well on the inability of society to reflect its values with culumative irreversible actions and decision making. I do not need to restate them.

    Frankly the lack of understanding of ecosystem process and irreversible courses of actions by you and others in our society is disturbing since the course you outlined is the very one that has led to the loss of salmon resources in the Pacific Northwest, cutting of 95% of old growth forest, the lack of action on global temperature increases, and the demise of a number of species because of habitat loss. Yet when society sees that this has happened they wonder why because they value these resources and then they ask future generations to spend billions trying to recover something that is not recoverable.

    Maybe if you attended the recent watershed symposium workshop here in Soldotna you would have an understanding of why the approach you advocate is not working and the empirical evidence out of Washington and Oregon clearly shows this. Today Washington and Oregon are losing more salmon habitat than they restore and they are also failing at restoration.

    Alaska has the option of thinking in a different way than you advocate since our resources are still here for the most part. The system you advocate is a failed system - pure and simple. A new approach is needed. You can mock people who think differently and try new things but the true measure of critical thinking is to provide your thoughts on how to do it. Saying-- rely on the government to do it via permiting is a failed system. I await your new approach.

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    Default A "case by case" decision still misses the point

    I do agree in general that all development should be decided on a case by case basis. But when the standards that govern decisions state, as the state of Alaska just did, that it's "technically feasible" to "reclaim" a salmon stream after 25 years of digging it up, diverting it, to where it is in a "condition capable of supporting fish and wildlife," the entire "case by case" argument is moot.

    That's the "irreversible" standard. And it isn't realistic.

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    Thumbs up Informed choice . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    I do agree in general that all development should be decided on a case by case basis. But when the standards that govern decisions state, as the state of Alaska just did, that it's "technically feasible" to "reclaim" a salmon stream after 25 years of digging it up, diverting it, to where it is in a "condition capable of supporting fish and wildlife," the entire "case by case" argument is moot.

    That's the "irreversible" standard. And it isn't realistic.

    They're diddling us, Mark. Of course they can "reclaim" the land, what they can't to is "restore" the land to its original, pristine condition. I can take an antique, falling-apart table and reclaim the wood, turning it into any number of things, but that is not the same thing as restoring the table. We "reclaim" scrap metal, glass bottles, and much more.

    This is not mere semantics, this is a critical distinction that must be kept in mind if the people wish to retain control of government bureaucracy:


    "Every bureaucrat has a constitutional right to fuzzify, profundify and drivelate. It's a part of our freedom of speech...If people can understand what is being said in [Juneau], they might want to take over their own government again."
    The wild-eyed, shut-it-all-down "environmentalists" are ineffectual at best, ludicrous at worst. The world is not going to stop developing the earth's resources. The best we can hope for is informed choice on a case-by-case basis.

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    The world is not going to stop developing the earth's resources.
    We know we should but we keep placing people as the most valuable thing on earth and we are far from it.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    They're diddling us, Mark. Of course they can "reclaim" the land, what they can't to is "restore" the land to its original, pristine condition. I can take an antique, falling-apart table and reclaim the wood, turning it into any number of things, but that is not the same thing as restoring the table. We "reclaim" scrap metal, glass bottles, and much more.

    This is not mere semantics, this is a critical distinction that must be kept in mind if the people wish to retain control of government bureaucracy:




    The wild-eyed, shut-it-all-down "environmentalists" are ineffectual at best, ludicrous at worst. The world is not going to stop developing the earth's resources. The best we can hope for is informed choice on a case-by-case basis.
    Again, you missed the point Marcus. Of course decisions are made on a case by case basis in some instances but not others - application of zoning laws are not case by case. However, when done on a case by case the criteria for the decision is what is at issue and the ability to say no based on a cumulative impact model. The coin flip was done on a case by case basis. But the point for the fourth time is that when a decision is made for resource protection then it cannot be reversible or the cumulative model applies. What part of that do you not get?

    Also, case by case analysis does not allow the discussion of cumulative impacts or regulation formation for dealing with those impacts. Having been involved with permit procedures in the State of Alaska there are other factors also that impact a case by case approach - for example the State having to show harm to deny a project. But that is another discussion.

    Your characterization of environmentalist as those who shut it all down types is what is ludicrous. I defy you to point out one major environmental group that has taken a position of shutting everything down. If you were knowledgeable about these groups they pick their areas of concern and defend those. In the area of energy no major environmental group is fighting NPR-4 except for one small area around a critical bird breeding area, offshore oil development is being questioned because of the ability or lack of ability to clean up oil spills during the winter, coal mine development has to do with maintaining wild salmon populations and global warming issues, and the list goes on. The debate over the environmental issues is not being waged by the " shut it all down" group whoever they are.... it is being debated by those who see the outcome of the cumulative model in our society and want the outcomes to reflect the environmental values of the society-- which our present system of permit approval does not do....

    To try and characterize the environmental movement or some fraction of it as shut it all down types is just a typical ploy to divert the discussion from what is really happening. It is typical of those who have a lack of knowledge or an agenda. Today, it appears that labels are used by those who have little knowledge of the subject to degrade those with whom they object. Liberal vs conservative, progressive vs regressive, environmentalist vs pro-development, ... I hear them all and they are basically meaningless.

    You have cleaner waters today and salmon recovery/restoration projects going on because of environmentalist as you call them.

    The idea that the best we can do is on a case by case basis shows a complete lack of understanding of ecosystem process. Not understanding the cumulative impacts and when to put limits on development is the foundation for resource loss. That is why 95% of the old growth forest are gone, nearly 300 salmon stocks are extinct, waters are polluted, ... it is the lack of limits on development in a cumulative sense that resulted in this and thus the cumulative outcome model is correct.

    If one limits all decisions to a case by case merit then natural resources lose. What is funny about this discussion is that in most cities decisions are not made on a case by case basis. For example residential housing development vs commercial land development is governed by zoning laws that restrict activities. So home owner A is not judged on his house plans alone but on the criteria for development for the community. Commercial activities in residential areas are not allowed in some areas for the good of the community, no matter the merits of the commercial project.

    Zoning is the solution to not doing things on a case by case basis and works when properly done. Also, the idea or concept of protecting large areas from development for natural resource protection is part of our history - here on the Kenai Peninsula the Kenai Peninsula wildlife refuge is a good example, national parks are another, .... can they be changed in the future - of course but to try and not have the cumulative impact model outcome the ability of those who want to change the status quo has been made very difficult- the ANWR discussion.

    If you live in Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula with no zoning, except in the cities, you can see first hand what case by case development looks like. Not a pretty sight.

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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    . . we keep placing people as the most valuable thing on earth and we are far from it.
    Ummmm . . . since people seem to be the only creatures capable of assigning a scale of value to anything, then what is the "most valuable thing on earth," and how would you know?

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    Question Dirty pool?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Marcus, . . You can mock people who think differently . .

    . . Marcus. . . Your characterization of environmentalist as those who shut it all down types . . To try and characterize the environmental movement or some fraction of it as shut it all down types is just a typical ploy . .
    You really, really need to stop advancing straw man arguments by putting words in my mouth.


    Fallacy: Straw Man

    Description of Straw Man

    The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. This sort of "reasoning" has the following pattern:
    1. Person A has position X.
    2. Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).
    3. Person B attacks position Y.
    4. Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.
    This sort of "reasoning" is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a position simply does not constitute an attack on the position itself. One might as well expect an attack on a poor drawing of a person to hurt the person.



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    Cool Agendas . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    . . those who have . . an agenda. . .
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/public...sm-as-religion

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    Marcus loves fallacies. He must teach ethics courses or something. Yawn. Aren't our ethics based on what we do when no one is watching?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Ummmm . . . since people seem to be the only creatures capable of assigning a scale of value to anything, then what is the "most valuable thing on earth," and how would you know?
    Not true.Bears know its best to move off grass and grubs when the salmon are running because of it value to their life. A bird will pass bread for a worm.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Angry And another thing . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Marcus, . . the lack of understanding . . by you . .
    And furthermore you really need to stop telling people who disagree with you that they "don't understand." What you're really saying with such ad hominem abuse is that they are stupid [read "don't understand"] while you are smart [read "do understand"].

    Argue your case on the merits of the ideas and principles it presents. Lay off putting words in other people's mouths and stop telling those who disagree with you that they don't understand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    And furthermore you really need to stop telling people who disagree with you that they "don't understand." What you're really saying with such ad hominem abuse is that they are stupid [read "don't understand"] while you are smart [read "do understand"].


    Argue your case on the merits of the ideas and principles it presents. Lay off putting words in other people's mouths and stop telling those who disagree with you that they don't understand.

    For the record not understanding is not a reference to stupid in the way Marcus implies. Also, lack of knowledge which I used is not calling someone stupid. Understand means discerment, comprehension, or interpretation. Stupid can mean a lack of understanding but Marcus appears to be implying the other definition which is sluggish in understanding or slow witted, crassly foolish, mental dullness. If Marcus had meant the first defintion he should not be offended - we all lack understanding of certain subjects. If I wanted to say mental dullness, foolish, or slow witted I would have said so.

    One thing is obvious to me Marcus. This forum cannot have a serious discussion if posts keep getting off the subject matter. It would not be necessary if you had not put us in the ditch with the define "natural" nitpicking and then the attack on environmentalist, and now the ad hominum attack on my post. Maybe you should take your own advice and leave giving posting advice to someone else. I think the forum would be better for it.

    The wild-eyed, shut-it-all-down "environmentalists" are ineffectual at best, ludicrous at worst
    - what part of this speaks to the discussion of a culumative impact model and how to match societies environmental values with the reality of irreversible development? The question was how to maintain natural systems in balance with societies value system for natural areas.

    Just one final thought. If I took a poll today and said 100 million wild Columbia River salmon would be degraded to hatchery fish and lower abundance, that 300 salmon stocks would be extinct, that clean water would not be assured for drinking water/recreational use, or protection of wildlife, and that thousands of acres of old growth forest until hardly any were left I doubt that the poll would result in a vote in the positive. But on a case by case basis that is exactly what happened.

    Now if anyone has a way to change the approach we are using then great. Otherwise this thread has run its course. I posted it for information and understanding of a subject that does not get discussed. I did not post it to get into a debate with Marcus on off topic subjects or his personal issues with me.

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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    . . Marcus . . personal issues with me.
    Nothing personal about it on my part, nothing at all. Speak for yourself, and please stop speaking for me.

    Thanks . .

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    Red face Ummmmm . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    . . Your characterization of environmentalist as those who shut it all down types is what is ludicrous. I defy you to point out . . .
    FBI: ECO-TERRORISM REMAINS NO. 1 DOMESTIC TERROR THREAt

    AP
    March 3: Firefighters battle a blaze in Woodinville, Wash.March 3: Firefighters battle a blaze in Woodinville, Wash.




    For nearly seven years, the nation has turned its terror focus on Al Qaeda and the hunt for Usama bin Laden. But there is a domestic terror threat that federal officials still consider priority No. 1 Ś eco-terrorism.

    The torching of luxury homes in the swank Seattle suburb of Woodinville earlier this month served as a reminder that the decades-long war with militant environmentalists on American soil has not ended.

    "It remains what we would probably consider the No. 1 domestic terrorism threat, because they have successfully continued to conduct different types of attacks in and around the country," said FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko.The FBI defines eco-terrorism "as the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an environmentally oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature."

    For years, officials have battled against members of shadowy groups such as the Earth Liberation Front and its brother-in-arms, the Animal Liberation Front. Law enforcement has made strides prosecuting cells, but it's been unable to end the arsons that have plagued developments encroaching on rural lands in the West.

    Śmore here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,343768,00.html

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