Print This Post

GeoWeb and Survival

In the recent book Collapse, by Jerod Diamond, the author asks us to speculate on what was in the mind of the Easter Islander as he feld the last remaining tree on the island. Perhaps he thought there were still trees elsewhere? Perhaps the trees would still grow back? Perhaps they could obtain timber from another source on a nearby island? Of course we can never know the answer to these questions. Diamond asks us to speculate in order to get us to reflect on our own decisions in the 21st century.

Regardless of your views on the question, it is clear that the decision of the tree cutter, like the manifold decision makers of our era, depends on access to information. Increasingly, it is also becoming clear that the information that we need to access, and the domains on which we may need to make decisions are not likely to coincide with the administrative regions that we as politicial animals have heretofore established. Our world is a complex set of interacting systems within which there are natural regions or zones. Simple examples are obvious enough such as watersheds and ocean basins. These bio-geo-climatic zones provide in effect a natural decomposition of the world, and may serve to provide a better basis for long term management of the planet then our current politicial boundaries are able to. They may also provide the basis for en ecologicaly focused economics in which the flows of natural capital are integrated into the flows of monetary capital, for these two things are inextricably interconnected whether we acknowledge it or not.

The GeoWeb, as we have used the term in these pages, refers to the ability to transparently share information about the world without regard to vendor technology, and which at the same time respects the stewardship of information by various organizations. In our current context we could see the GeoWeb as providing the information base for our natural zonal accounting system, since the purpose of any accounting system is to make visible what is going on. In the corporation it is to make visible the components of the company that function well and those which need improvment. In the context of managing the world around us it is no different. In order to act, we must know what is happening, else we too may cut down that last remaining tree and not be around for further speculation.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>