"System change is now inevitable. Either because we do something about it, or because we will be hit by climate change. '...

"We need to develop economic models that are fit for purpose. The current economic frameworks, the ones that dominate our governments, these frameworks... the current economic frameworks, the neoclassical, the market frameworks, can deal with small changes. It can tell you the difference, if a sock company puts up the price of socks, what the demand for socks will be. It cannot tell you about the sorts of system level changes we are talking about here. We would not use an understanding of laminar flow in fluid dynamics to understand turbulent flow. So why is it we are using marginal economics, small incremental change economics, to understand system level changes?"

Monday, January 14, 2008

UNEP Maps the Anthropocene

You can get a random graphic of the day from the United Nations Environment Programme.
If you use iGoogle, here's a widget link. Else you can use the RSS feed .

It's a nice feed to follow if you like to think about, you know, the rock you are astonishingly hurtling through space upon.

I'm scratching my head a bit over this one: River fragmentation and flow regulation.

It "indicates the areas which are most affected by river channel fragmentation and flow regulation. River fragmentation is defined as the interruption of a river's natural flow by dams, inter-basin transfers or water withdrawal, and is an indicator of the degree to which rivers have been modified by human activity." The extent of regions where rivers are unimpeded is a bit shocking. (Note that the grey and pink areas are "don't know", only the very pale green are places where hydrology is "known to be in a natural state".) (Paging Dr. Tufte...)

Welcome to the anthropocene.

This picture is an example of why it bothers me when people are so adamant about "thinking local". A dam here, a dam there, this tends to strike me as fine. The idea that almost all the rivers in the world have been replaced by plumbing, on the other hand, is at least something that bears thinking about.

1 comment:

WhiteBeard said...

’Course there are all those confounding issues. A few are: H20 availability; proximity to areas where useful gain can be demonstrated; engineering constraints; expected service life. Biggest one I see is an unwillingness to have some issues “on the table”.