I am beginning to catch up from my “vacation”- actually a week focused on dealing with the bureaucracy of trying to get my retirement benefits. More on that when I am successful. As a result of these troubles and other commitments, I am way behind on things.. please email and remind me if I had volunteered to do something and have not yet done it yet (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A few weeks ago I checked in with David Beebe with this note..
Just sayin’ we miss you and would like you to come back. Check out this sad set of comments..
I don’t know what you’re up to, or if you feel it in your heart. but just wanted to know that people care about you here.
Here’s his reply..
Thanks for sharing the thoughts. I must decline (and do not miss engaging in the repetitive and often petty tit-for-tat exchanges) for the following reasons.
I agree to a certain extent with Pielke’s insight that bloggers are born with a constitutional predisposition to engage others in debate.
That debate however, was once a collective birthright, an essential aspect of a national dialog which informed a majority opinion instrumental in steering many positive developments in American political consciousness. However, the bully pulpit is no longer shared with little people representing the full range of the debate. This is perhaps because the spokespeople of that consciousness-raising public dialog kept, and keep, having a tendency to get assassinated or killed under suspicious circumstances. There are too many to list here, and I can already hear reactionary aspersions of “conspiracy theorist!” memes in response. Or alternatively, JZ’s innuendoes and “usual suspects” slur.)
I can care about them too, but can’t justify the use of the time. Triage is my order of the day.
The topic of decimated if not entirely locally disappeared lynx populations in its home range is iconic as much as it is ironic. WE are that easily duped species lured to the intellectual traps of denial, and will inexorably suffer the same fate as the lynx.
The lynx according to JZ’s own use of suspect science, “The conservation status for the lynx is Globally “secure”, nationally “secure” in Canada and “apparently secure” in the US.” ignores how specific watershed inhabitants acquire and pass on specific genetic attributes necessary for future generations to survive in those watersheds. It also ignores the fact lynx survive only to the extent the same forces which created locally extinct populations are not also being applied incrementally to their shrinking refugia.
Doctor Bob’s still miscounting peas to determine intelligence based upon cranial volume while ignoring larger trends claiming others are miscounting lynx to determine species viability. I suspect you would invoke at this point, that species come and species go, so what’s the big deal? The big deal to me is the trend which points to the obvious conclusions as to the fate of our species. The big deal to me is if scientists wear their credentials on their sleeve based upon having exorcised compassion from their professional identity and belief systems, they ultimately excise an essential component of what makes them human.
Nonetheless, you Sharon, have inspired me, and for that I am deeply grateful to you as my teacher. You have taught me to examine my own intellectual weaknesses, constructs, and assumptions. Those inspirations didn’t necessarily occur in the heat of debate, but I found they often lingered as seeds of greater awareness i possibly would not have otherwise had.
I too, celebrate our commonly held beliefs even if they are more often than not based upon entirely different rationales. As for yin and yang energies though, my belief is I, and Matthew, and others have been commenting far more from the pool of yin, which has been suffering a prolonged and desperate drought.
I do miss David, especially a news story comes across about cap’n'trade or REDDs which we agreed about. I have only read a part of the recent discussion, but I agree with David that discussing on the blog helps me refine my thinking and arguments. And lots of times I simply learn things I didn’t know. But if he were here, I would say “hey, I think I’m just as “yin” as you.” Not sure any blog like this could handle such a debate. In fact, one of my coworkers and I once went to see our boss, the Deputy Regional Forester at the time (RS) to be granted a favor. In return, we offered not to mention the words “yin” or “yang” to him for six months. He deemed it a fair trade. Just sayin’.
I will be off until next Sunday April 7, and there are now plenty of others to post and approve posts.
As it turns out, I have gotten behind with posting.. have had a great many contributions, but thanks to the nature of our business, I’m sure they will continue to be relevant when I return. Thanks to folks who have volunteered to work on the EA vs. EIS Vegetation Management project including Forest Service folks who are going to help round up information.
Oh, and for the folks who aren’t familiar with medieval mystics and their understanding of the interconnectedness of all things, I ran across this Canticle by Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1199), named a Doctor of the Church in 2012. It has a touch of spring about it as well..
I am the fiery Life of Divine Wisdom
I ignite the beauty of the plains
I sparkle the waters
I burn in the sun, and the moon, and the stars
With Wisdom I order all things rightly
Above all I determine truth.
I adorn all the earth
I am the Breath that nurtures all things green
I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits
I feed the purest streams
I am the rain coming from the dew that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life
I call forth tears, the aroma of holy work.
I am the yearning for good.
Bob correctly pointed out that it’s a pain in the patootie to catch up on comments because the widget on the right hand side of the screen only holds 15 comments. I have exhausted my meager WordPress skills as it appears that that is an upper limit, based on what I can find out. There could be work-arounds but it would take some time and better skills than I have to suss them out.
Your reward would be deep appreciation from all of us and a six-pack (or equivalent in dollars) from me.
The folks who post and comment here do so out of the kindness of our hearts and in relative obscurity. I received this nice certificate in the mail (from Robert Redford, no less!) and thought I would share with you all…who equally deserve it .
In the interests of transparency, below is the annual report provided by WordPress…
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Any thoughts on where we should go in 2013?
If you don’t feel comfortable posting, please send to me at email@example.com.
Thanks to all for 2012, especially
Larry Harrell has generously agreed to post posts others might contribute, and to approve comments while I am gone on a Solstice break from December 22nd until January 4th or so. Contributions are encouraged. While you are contemplating your own Yule log, perhaps you could jot down some ideas for posting?
The Yule log is a large log that is burned in the hearth as part of a Yule, or Christmas, celebration or with Winter Solstice festivals. “Yule log” may also refer to log-shaped Christmas cakes.
Historically, the Yule log tradition may have included an entire tree or the largest log available to be burned in the fire hearth. Historians believe the tradition was derived from pagan worship rites, representations of health and fertility, rituals asking for blessings and protection, festivals celebrating the winter solstice, or was simply for decoration and practical use.
Some traditions included starting the Yule log fire with the remnant of the previous year’s log, to bring prosperity and protection from evil. After the celebration, pieces of the Yule log would be saved to start the fire of next winter’s solstice Yule log. In some European traditions, oak was the preferred species for the Yule log, as it represented the waxing sun, symbolized endurance, strength, protection, and good luck to people in the coming year.
From Larry Stritch’s Forest Service site on Plants of the Winter Solstice, worth taking a look at here.
Best wishes to you and yours from all of us here at NCFP!
Here is a link to my powerpoint. Note that this was my first presentation as a retiree, so I now realize could have spent more time developing templates, cartoons and photos. Jay O’Laughlin’s presentation, in particular, gave me something to strive for..
Most of this regular readers are familiar with. I’d like to discuss in particular slides 8 and 9
What about the Media
- Quote from a colleague: “After working on “project Methusaleh” I will never again believe anything I read in the paper”.
- The business of journalism is falling apart around our ears and being replaced by hyper-partisanized sources of information.
- Therefore someone needs to step up, if we want the public to have good information.
- But not clear that anyone will fund this.
I often have post-presentation regrets, and, in this case, one is that I didn’t mean to criticize in any way, shape or form, the current people working in public affairs in the Forest Service. My experience with them has been that they are dedicated and professional public servants who do excellent work. Unfortunately, they have not been allowed, in some cases, to do their work.
Many administrations are pretty tight with control at the beginning and then loosen up through time. This one, though, seems to have always been tightly controlled. I certainly can understand not wanting to make embarrassing mistakes. Still the natural consequences of this behavior is that the public isn’t hearing the whole story and we are paying civil servants to not quite do their job. IMHO.
In the presentation, I used an analogy of a parent with two warring siblings. If Tiffany says Emelia hit her, and the parent never asks Emelia for her side of the story, Tiffany might get more and more, shall we say, imaginative in her description of what goes on through time, knowing that Emelia would never be given her chance to speak. Emelia is counting the days til she can get out of the house, or bearing what she knows to be fundamental injustice with possibly some emotional or mental injury (or poor morale?).
It would be great if some of the media folks who read this blog could comment on my observations.
Any other comments or questions would also be appreciated. As I’ve noted before, there was a great deal of support for the blog and what it does. Thanks to you all.
And a special thanks to Martin Nie, Jim Burchfield, and the University of Montana for being willing to step out into the unknown when we started this blog.
You can generate a host of worrisome possibilities that might occur if you take action in attempting to make the world a better place, or you can step out and trust in the people and our mutual ability to adapt to unknown futures. Knowing the difference- in your mind, in your heart, and in your gut- is the wisdom of real leadership. IMHO.
Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m giving a presentation about this blog at the Society of American Foresters Convention in Spokane, Washington in a couple of weeks.
Here’s what I wrote for the program, as a tickler or possibly provocation ..
The “New Century of Forest Planning” blog was established to support discussion and learning about the Forest Service planning rule, with a mix of practitioners and academics. With time and the interests of contributors, it has expanded into discussions of a broad variety of forest policy topics. The original idea was to try out blogging as an approach to traditional Extension in the policy arena. The first conundrum is that bloggers are born not made, and therefore a blog seems to be intrinsically organic and unmanageable. The second conundrum is that people who work everyday don’t really have time to post and contribute, and in some cases there is a tension between speaking for their organization and speaking for themselves, yet they are the ones with the greatest knowledge that needs to be tapped into. One contribution of the blog has been to explore controversies that are too complex to be handled by traditional media. The second is been to step outside the framing of an issue that is espoused by a certain group and point out that framing is a choice open to all. The third, as intended, is to talk between those who make policy and those who experience it working on the ground. The fourth is to provide a place for comparing FS policies across regions and units. Some of the controversies include the role of litigation in FS projects, the good and bad of collaboration, and bark beetles and fire, and of course forest planning.
What do you think is the value (if any) of the blog? What does it do for you that other venues don’t?
What could/should we do that we don’t do (or talk about)?
What do we spend time on that you think is less useful?
I did get some excellent feedback earlier this year, and have been trying some things (including with retirement, I plan to explore some more “internal” topics) and I would like to hear what you currently think, and if you agree or disagree with the points I made above in my summary.
Also, I ‘d like to thank everyone for your contributions through the last few years and for being part of this unique community.
We have discussed this topic on the blog before. Thanks to Char for putting the questions out there in a well-written and researched piece here called “The San Gabriels: A National Forest? A National Park? Does it Matter?”. Thanks for setting our sights on the big strategic question.
There was so much good stuff that it was hard to pick an excerpt, so I just pulled the last few paragraphs.
It remains an open question, then, whether an NPS-managed recreation area would be an improvement over the current national forest. Neither agency currently has the requisite funds to sustain the forests, meadows, rivers, and beaches, trails, cabins, and lodges it stewards across the country. Like the heavily used Angeles National Forest, the Park Service’s major urban recreation areas, including the Santa Monica Mountains, Golden Gate, Delaware Water Gap, Lake Mead, and Gateway, are showing a lot of wear and tear, direct consequences of years of declining budgets, staff reductions, and deferred maintenance; the same situation is bedeviling the management of our wildlife refuges, conservation preserves, and iconic parks. We may proclaim that the public lands are national treasures, but we treat them like dirt.
Nothing will alter this situation unless we mount a serious national discussion about these lands’ real value, human and environmental. Our debate over the future of the San Gabriels and the Angeles National Forest could stimulate this much-needed larger conversation. But only if we ditch the hyperbolic rhetoric, confront the harsh budgetary climate, and admit that political tradeoffs will compromise whatever choice we make.
If we stay the ax and start telling the truth, we’ll be in a better position to make decent public policy.