Some systems that utilize holistic goals are capapble of reducing
the use and or abuse of consumptives. Not all ag. systems need to be
considered as steadily reducing non-renewables, they can be building them.
Choices that are made have to be based on the goals established, then tested
with a series of guidelines that evaluate the results of the decisions
before they are made. For instance, the HRM decision making model works in
Holistic Resource Management (HRM) is a decision-making process that enables
you to ensure that any decision you make will be ecologically, economically
and socially sound and will take you toward a pre-determined "holistic
goal." Your holistic goal drives the process. (Society can and must provide
the basis for these goals in the long run!) It is based on human values,
what one must produce to sustain those values, and the resource base that
will have to be produced and maintained to sustain both values and
production indefinitely. In practice, this process enables land
managers to restore biodiversity while sustaining or increasing profits; and
urban businesses or community organizations to become socially and
responsible as well as profitable. The battle is one of educating the ag.
community, the public and government that there can be alternatives that
build diversity, fertility and stable production systems.
>It's not a matter of being organic, or slash-and-burn, or Green Revolution
>production, since in some way all depend on nonrenewable resources. Only
>the recipes of ingredients and activities differ. We have NEVER had a
>"system" of sustainable agriculture, and today none could rightfully claim
>that it would last indefinitely. There are multiple constraints. For many
>reasons today they all are unwitting executioners of the future. None can
>turn the ship, for reasons ranging from the pervasive influences of money
>to the immense pressure reducing the carrying capacity of the planet as the
>demand increases. We must invent the way to become sustainable, if we wish
>to give a legacy of choices to those that follow us. Sustainable means
>that you (us, we, society, humankind) make choices that lead to conditions
>where there are multiple choices. "Sustainability" is not a "state" but a
>process that can perpetuate itself indefinitely.
So, as I see this, we need incentives to make the changes.
Harvesting solar dollars in a sustainable way is all and good but producers
need to be given a new set of tools with which to make decisions that lead
to more stable and sustainable systems.
The problem is how to establish incentives to do this! Society must give it
a value in such a way that it becomes the preferred alternative!
Sustainability needs to become a
decision making process that perpetuates itself.
>To avoid the confusion, we need to remember that good decisions require
>ways of telling how we are increasing options that increase options, etc.,
>and allow us to correct what we're doing in time to avoid diaster (which is
>a condition without options, the crash). What most of us associate with
>"sustainable" are, indeed, steps in some way that seem to be in the "right"
>direction. But, for example, recall that there were ONLY organic farmers
>before this century, and civilizations fell anyway. There must be more to
>"sustainable" than this! The eco-, socio-, atmo-, and geo-spheres all are
>interconnected, and have important functions that we are disrupting so that
>options are declining. In general, it sometimes seems that we are still
>racing madly to the crash, and need to expand our navigation to more
>holistic criteria while we get clear on where it is that we want to go.
How true! So why not a set of decision making tools that looks at
all the aspects (the whole) of any decision as it relates to resource/ag
production goals, social and ecosystem goals?
>If you CAN, in principle, answer the question, then the question is not
>about sustainability. Don't we really want to know about the way decisions
>are being made, and what their consequences will be? Robert Rodale said
>sustainability was a question, and I agree.
You hit the button on this last comment. When I read this I flashed
on the HRM model, based on the work of Alan Savory. When one looks at the
ecosystem foundation blocks (Succession, Water cycle, Mineral cycle, Energy
flow) uses tools and follows guidelines based on ecosystem testing and
diverse management options it certainly gives a better chance at approaching
the definition and reality of sustainable ag. systems.
What is needed is a mass educational push to introduce a new
paradigm. It will happen because there are some ag. managers/farmers who
are trying and succeeding in small steps at making this decision making
model work! This a rather general overview of HRM. Read Mr. Savory's book,
(if you have not already!) -Wholistic Resource Management- it has a lot of
very meaningful things to say about the ideas you touched on Dick!
>R. H. (Dick) Richardson Office: 512-471-4128
>Zoology Dept. Home: 512-476-5131
>Univ. of Texas FAX: 512-471-9651
>Austin, TX 78712
Mitchell Bay Farm