Farmers' Almanac

Ecology Matters by Duke Vasey

Lots of ink lately about global warming, energy conservation, reduction of carbon, etc., without a lot of preparation or real thought about the unintended consequences of the human problem any change would make.

Public debates are frequently just opportunities for people to demonstrate their concern and then propose frivolous critiques or recommendations. In reality, the vast majority of people don’t comprehend the ecological issues involved, or if they do, at best superficially, but they must be included in all discussions.

My father observed the Farmers’ Almanac and I don’t recall any reference to another calendar simply because different organisms require different thermal summation to complete their development or flower properly. Many insects, on the other hand, measure their life spans in days and their growth and development is significantly impacted by changes in temperature. Warming may well result in an earlier appearance of agricultural pests and we could see an exponential increase in their numbers.

During an economic recession it’s natural for us to try to conserve energy and reduce waste but failing to recognize that limited or no ecological planning wastes natural resources every day is cause for concern! Ecological solutions are frequently skipped by engineers and planners; however, the ecological issues at stake have many aspects and without knowing the scientific elements, political, economic and property rights issues seem to drive decisions. Since very few politicians have an ecological background they are unlikely to know the right answers to the problems those approvals could produce and later be called unintended outcomes.

This makes the prospect of a future ecological catastrophe likely since interest groups can hammer on staff to write limited issue considerations into law without public awareness and then lobby for their approval without any public comment period besides the announced meeting where they are being presented for approval.

Our current ecological knowledge does not equip us adequately for the ecological problems we face and I believe we need to revise the Land Development Code approval process by requiring a peer review of all proposed changes; public notice meetings, and only then submission as an Agenda item authorizing submission to Tallahassee for approval by the Board of County Commissioners.


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