Saturday, May 15, 2010
Putting the week in perspective
Many times during the week, a comparison was drawn between the human/environment and engineering/ecosystem interfaces between the Delta Works in the Netherlands and the Florida Everglades Restoration. An engineering solution to flooding was devised for the Okochobee area, which created extreme ecosystem and water problems in the Everglades. There were of course other engineering interventions along the history, including building a major highway through the Everglades.
Today, stakeholders are trying to come together to solve these environmental problems in the Everglades, although the United States is a different country, with different complications than here in the Netherlands. Often stakeholders are quick to jump to the judicial system, because the legislative branch of the U.S. government has historically been too slow to act on environmental policies. It is unfortunate sometimes that so many lawsuits are filed. So- how can stakeholders in the U.S. work more efficiently together, and try to emulate the Polder Method, as the Dutch call bringing stakeholders together to work towards a common solution. According to Leo van den Brand, coming to a solution can take 10 years, but the Dutch see it as necessary to keep stakeholders satisfied with the finalized solution.
Humans and the environment often can be at odds with eachother. How do we prevent this from happening? How do we change situations so that humans and the environment are not completely at odds, but have some semblance of synergy? After all, we have always and will always depend on the environment for our basic needs to be met.
We can look at the past and have regrets, or we can be mindful of our past and look to the future, attempt our best and create an improved world in the process.