Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mapping the wolf's habitat

Below is a little fantasy related to real world worriers and how they project their worries onto others. Some people, rather than learn and study risk , worry. If they should happen to become leaders they often insist on sharing their worries ( "we will get sued or eaten") to the great annoyance of those of us who learn to understand risk and get on with living - those who learn to know the boundaries of resilience and degradation . The only relief for our increasingly urban communities is if the worriers stand back and learn to trust those who live with risk all the time . 

A little knowledge is of course, a dangerous thing - esp when it comes to something as complex as our engagement with nature  If you are not properly engaged with nature, you can tend to listen to every bit of noise and worry, because the dynamic of weather alone is always working. Unless you study nature properly you won't know when resilience and boundary protection works or when tooth and claw and basic ecological sensitivity will be ignored by man ( as it often has been ) You will let worry replace wisdom and comfort in your approach to managing risk .
Take those who you try to map the wolf -who try to define his territory ( The Overlay). The wolf  may live in the forest at bit, but his best food source is out there on the plains.  You may think you can predict his territory but the best protection is assuming he roams the whole Shire ( put the triggers in your zones dummies-- not in some broad sweep overlay) If you're smart you don't waste much time looking where he's not likely to be , but because people get careless in the comfort ones you have to have some triggers to prevent disasters in even the safest of "Its people , not natural hazards that are the real worry ( therefore concentrate on use and development triggers ) The users and developers and explorers ALL seem to  get lazy and distracted .
see him coming zones" ( zones and use triggers can do all that  .
18 people died in a unexpected landslide at Thredbo. The area would not have been mapped IN to a landslide overlay zone because landslides don't occur there naturally.  The native soils of less than 2 metres depth are under laid by solid granite.  In Thredbo's case, it was the very poor site management of all the “local lots together " that caused the extreme risk to one of them . Every building in that area can be built completely safely and easily , as solid rock is less than 2 metres below the surface compare to here where there is often “ no solid bottom “)  . Site specific geotechnical reports would not have stopped the disaster as it was poorly planned and integrated road construction, drainage , fill placement that moved the risk level up to disastrous proportions. The deeper people and nature  working together ( integrated planning ) problem  
Once the planning school capital of the world , Victorian leaders have gone off watch in planning . They think they can map half the Shire and look for the enemy in only that hurriedly created boundary .Some animals are wise enough about ecology and life systems to know that permanent boundaries for some things do not exist . Our leaders do this at great expense ( and ongoing great expense) and still the animals .... keep jumping the fence . Forest may be a preferred night time habitat but near food is where they have to live and move .
Overlays  don't work for living things because they have legs ,wings and seeds . Yet the Bauillieu  government made special funding available recently to produce more of these blunt and inefficient planning instruments called overlays .   Most overlays  aren't worth the trouble they cause because habitat or risk now it is only one part of what must always be assessed as bigger territory . The whole is greater than the sum of reports, if you like. Fine if someone is sorting the relevant information from the noise . 
It’s worse than like looking for a needle in a haystack  because these overlays in practice create overkill and overconfidence ( for example : no one expects a fox outside the habitat  lines  when that can clearly still happen) 
In planning , Victoria has gone backwards in adopting the non integrated myopic methods of other States; methods that cause us to cry wolf so much that we don’t have anyone really on watch --in the right place at the right time
We could learn a lot from the wolf - whether we are big or small players
 If you are a referral agency ( under planning and environment act ) all the territory is your responsibility.. You like the authority , but have you accepted the responsibility?  - we will find out if we haven't already.   Keep mapping the risk  yourself but don't risk overkill or overconfidence or confusion by careless publishing the components of the problem as if it was gospel - as if your expertise in marrying things together wasn't something you as public authorities really wanted to share.