Friday, October 25, 2013

What sweet relief this week

Hooray - Former Labor Advisor Marcus Priest calls the bureaucrats and wannabes to account over their non reporting of the real bush fire risk issues and the ongoing propaganda train on climate change .

I too finally pulled the flow limiter out of my new free shower ( at $50 a pop ) that could be 100 million dollars wasted . The dummies and nanny state merchants think flow rate is everything.  I have a  good hot shower in 1/10 the time most people  do. As an expert in the ways of water , I don't need this crap and neither do the people of Australia .
Cold showers and baths for nothing !Panic about water and now  Panic about fire 
The myopic ,totally out of touch , conservation dogooders in advisory roles need to be shunted off and told to study something properly.
DWN is complex and subtle and doesn't suit those with a quickfix or fast "industry will fix it" frame
After all-- if you had to wait for your bath with their brilliance... the water would be cold .
I say ... Cold showers for those who think they know but don't

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Overlays are a mistake

You don't have to study nature long to realise that everything is interrelated .Geology, Chemistry of soils and water , predictable behavior  of inorganic systems,  anti 3rd nature of living systems, the unpredictability and high level of cooperation in living systems , the resilience of living systems , the flexible behavior boundaries of living organ components ( live die move over, get eaten  ) , the growth phases of individuals , mates and mature communities . The possibility of real degradation and the wider reality of resilience .
Its not madness to try and map these things on the ground,  but its madness to limit the boundaries to maps in time and place and use that as a statement of risk of degradation ( nature is too well built to be vulnerable to all our fears)
Once we thought that atoms were the limit,  but now we know there are quarks and black holes . We don't know what keeps protons in such a lovely mood when they repel each other - such a tight configuration.

 We know there are 3 fundamental forces but we have absolutely no idea how they work . I could go on

You don't have to study nature long to realise that everything is interrelated and that we don't really know much :
That statement is of course is easy to say but how then do we build a world class approach to environmental management .We don't know much about pushing pulling, cooperation and  resilience on the boundaries.


What we Do know is that we should keep studying it ; we do know that precaution is Ok by the student and our communities can rule on the possibility that humans can carelessly ignore its sensitive mechanisms and communities. We must focus on real degradation pressures NOT imagined or carelessly motivated ones ( eg by Nimbys or Wwwfys) Remember that communities of resilience can  healthily trancend death of the mature individual,  degradation , decomposition  and pressure of many kinds. It's those sorts of boundaries ( process ones that we need to study more)

Some suggestions:

  1. We build on the past and we didn't carelessly treat the frame we built on .Melbourne is one of the most livable citiesin the world because it did planning in a certain way ( a simple way ) 
  2. We make each other accountable personally. 
  3. We make people in Authority even more accountable personally ( or they lose their title /place )  . There was a time when in planning when  a majority thought it might be controversial ./ potential harm to the order of fun and work community  to ask people to ask for permission.
    We wrote a one pager to the Shire telling them what we we were going to do , We paid nothing for the privilege but the privileged were obliged to respond in one month or be drawn before the court  Simple but but clear answers - Yes, No and under what condition ) . Sure we sometimes had to tell them more about what we we were  doing and there was time for that .Nothing , but nothing threatened the responsibility of those in power to give us a straight answer - not a crooked one ( like one where we had to find the answer oursleves or go hunting in the bush or the city streets of mere consultants . We knew then that consultants , even though useful , were expensive and not always reliable) . we relied on people in Council who knew what they were doing orif they didn't know , they would find out .
  4. We don't let political parties play football with the profession as they have been 
  5. We make sure agencies representing professionals get public support for the training and development of our young people 
  6. We make sure people and political and professional groups  respect the territory of others ( by holding court occasionally) 
  7. Give cadetships to rural young people so they can cut their teeth with real land managers.  and those who plan to work with nature each day of their lives ( You heard it first from Emperors Academy ) 

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Grand Design is not to go backwards

Our local tractor wreckers (Wilson street and Stoneyford) and farmers couldn't, I am sure , cope with Kevin Maclouds enthusiasm for using thoroughly useful Old Massey Ferguson's cast bits for a chair. And we rural poor might also join the chorus and say " while we love the direction you are taking Kevin ( recycle, reduce  and reuse) we have to say, if you are listening, -- that we still have got a lot to learn in our journey to sustainability.We are richer than we think to waste as much as we do. Let me repeat that - We still have  got a lot to learn in our journey to sustainability.We are richer than we think to not as yet see the way through .

Don't get me wrong I love the idea and watching him havago!  --Key issue -There is great hope if we concentrate, not on technology, or " use" condemnation ( as The Greens often do ) but on "footprint" .Some people don't need old Masseys like we do .  Its not about stopping things as much is it about slowing things down ( Our rejection of a blind faith in progress( his theme) and my theme ( rejection of industrial economic modelling and the aforementioned -- to both environment and agriculture )   . Its not about condemnation of what people do, as much as it is about how they do it ( These are complex motivation issues like toxic mixtures of ignorance and arrogance -- for another time ) . Our consensus must be to resist the pressure of the economic system- carefully.
The positive power of that Grand Design program is that it suggests that real hope for a sustainable future is possible.   And it is.  As a competent scientist in this area,  I reject the many careless and unprofessional judgemnets of  political movements and the media. These half baked's ( including a over representation of ignorant old cynics)   often carelessly and ignorantly deny young people the possibility that they can live on this planet without killing everything else before its time here .
This is some call,  so please ask me questions .

Lets' face one thing we can agree on . The BBC program, where Kevin  describes his journey on his house is thoroughly engaging and positive  Eg .the  carbon we eat becomes the carbon we cook with Never before I feel sure, have the audince enjoyed so much , the idea of pooing and farting for profit ; cooking with your own gas , the pancakes , the leather . the ideas . 
The idea of living sustainably suddenly seems possible . Kevin  himself describes the experience as one of the best he has ever experienced .
My wish for you and for us is a more positive culture with both realism and realistic hope.Not one of course that misrepresents or ignores genuine ecological boundaries.

What are we doing wrong ? Our society is wavering in a uncertain hope with a mass of sometimes contradictory imperatives.( The reality is that conservation and production involve sometimes competing imperatives  and are both complex and subtle ( cf maths  in an modern industrial system). This complexity risks confusion.
We should not overreact 
We should not , however , in my opinion , yearn to live like peasants ( recurring reaction in history) when that overworked and unrested part of our world so desperately needs to journey with us to better engineering design with nature ......All our households can work , but they only work when we choose to keep working ( and playing ) hard together. Playing you say ? - now you see why we were told to take Sundays off !

Does anyone agree with me ? - at least partially?   Let me know what you think!
Kevin  while not a professional ecologist is,  I think also saying what I am saying ; "We have still got a lot to learn in our journey to sustainability" ( and we may not even make it )  I will also  presume to write for him though ( sending him a copy of this ) " too many people on my programs in the past haven't got the balance right " . "One of  the areas where people consistently get it wrong is by thinking "technology"  is the answer ".
Footprint is the answer and I believe we can all live with that - IF we do it together.  Note : a return to less technology is NOT the answer either .

Footprint is the answer and we must focus on it in the places and spaces we call home .
 We have still got a lot to learn in our journey to sustainability .
You,  as reader,  have 2 choices - cut your life to the bone, as he has done,  or just recognise that so much of the design in the token gestures in other building designs are just that -tokens . This " there is more space than shown on the ground in reality " reality opens up the possibility of a real third way - where houses don't cost the earth  and agriculture and mining doesn't pay our bills .It just works at a more natural pace providing for both scarcity and abundance ( ask for my paper on this subject )
So why is this positive experience and hope for the future rare ? My view is that , apart from the cloudiness created by sound environmental planning being very subtle ,delicate and complex, my generation are not dealing at all well with the reality of self loathing -or whatever you want to call it ( the living beyond our means realities and dread - both there ). The media and political forces want to punch us into change with fear,, when the issue is facts .
We are hard on ourselves and even harder on others ( their use of our resources ) but not objectively so - we are not prepared to stare down the issue,  if you like . ( environmental planning being very subtle delicate, complex but with resilience factors like rain ) . This " guilty as assummed" and" inevitability of destruction" blind spot leads to an impenetrable barrier to open discussion - and a tendency to throw tokens ...  or to just give up .
Help create some dialogue and some reality therapy
One paradox easily missed in the Grand designs program is the preoccupation with individuals; Individuals doing things to " their houses " . That' s fine but ultimately its not just about houses , but homes and communities ; about us doing things together.
I , as a sustainablity expert know that sustainability is possible ( until sun burns out ) but few people around me do, Few people too recognise the huge power we can exert for good by simply putting less pressure on the system .see also here  Often our society fails to distinguish between the impact of  the greed and  the impact of need.   They see the greed of man,  but forget about his capacity for caring . "He's a bad man that bloke next door "
Without extending the discussion here,  its clear to me that  the media and the people do not want to talk about less pressure  , at least partly because they don't realise that its "less pressure on a use" , not the use itself , which leads to sustainability .
An adjustmnet in focus towards footprint is necessary to  link the reality of resilience with the real dangers of degradation ( I have covered this elsewehere). Like some of the links this rant is STILL in process - ask me questions .

If I am right and we don't work together on this, the token gestures will continue.
 IF we don't work together to ADD something better and more hopeful , the token gestures to the gods of the past and the gods of the present ( technology) will continue.
YOU  don't have to  play peasant or pleasantly ignore the poor in the country and countries whom we exploit . YOU can play a different game to the most popular ones .  Good luck . Love to hear from you

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The biggest threat ever

The biggest threat ever is still ignorance and the fear that goes with it . Consider all the hype over floods this week on the East Coast of Australia .
The huge floods in Geelong in 1995 were caused by major flows in only a small area of the Barwons' huge catchment. But noone outside our territory , just as with the Gippsland  floods over 10 years later seemed to know clearly what the return period really was  .
On shore Easterlies were the key . They are rare down here but are still clearly influential in producing higher than ARR&R curve daily rainfall return estimates. We discovered that well before 1995,  but it was news to many ( won't name them here ) who thought ARR&R design curve methods to be key to RP 's in design with flood water.
The floods currently affecting the east coast of Australia are being "talked up"  almost every hour ( . "the biggest,  the most unusual ever ". Careless talk needs to, like justice, be quickly killed if it is not to be come gospel. If agencies are still arguinng about answers, the public will be confused and easily led. What do you think is happening ? .
 Localized geomorphic planning (based on soils shapes and substance on the ground ) provided us over 20 years ago with more reliability in rainfall estimates, runoff prediction and risk elements ( eg nature of bedload and debris) in a particular situation. The soil and slope elements alone require substantial integration beyond the arithmatic simplicities of water column measurements and estimates . We also found a way to explain why the BOM should not have dismissed the very high 24 hour totals recorded at both Benwerrin and Tanybyrn ( as they did) ,  using rainfall physics and orographic effects .
BOM rainfall estimates are not reliable simply because there are not enough of them where they are needed and the volunteers who man them are not always trusted ( you heard it first from EA)

The questions are
  1.  Are agencies all across Australia still relying on an series of modelling curves and measurement scatter that doesn't take into account the specific geomorphic driver dimensions  in a situation?  
  2. Above aside , what are governmnets doing to ensure clarity of risk in any situation ? Clearly it is easier and tempting ( the way the press and polys treat a threat story ) for some to conclude that the Gippsland floods in 2007 and Toowoomba Ipswich flows in 2011 were thousand year floods( 1in 1000, 1in 5000 or 10000 etc )  when infact they should,  like we do in the Otways,  expect then much more often than that .The above flood in Geelong was caused by what we estimate was a  1:100 yr event or less . BW estimates over over 1in 1000 don't make sense in light of poor measurement records , inadequate researchthat considers actual catchment elements and their contribution.   
  3. For insurance and drama and news purposes,  is it  easier to blame God rather than clear up our own areas of predjudice , ignorance and fear ? Are Governments and the media playing on fear ?
  4. At what cost do authorities dismiss realistic risk estimates? 
  5. Why shouldn't people who choose to live / sell blocks in a high risk area pay extra or appropriate insurance? 
  6. Why should  we all pay for what appears to be a range of personal,  local government and developer failures? ( the question of levies)  
  7. As the Political Parties seem to be unified in support of levies,are we all then by implication to blame for a lack of real accountability ( in say planning ) here?  
  8. Will insurance work for anyone in ten years if individual people are not held responsible for taking risky choices ? 
  9. Is this casual acceptance of levies a powerful  example of unsustainable approaches to risk management and insurance ? Governments who encourage risk takers instead of really warning them 
  10.  The BOM ( January 29th 2013)are currently asking for people to help collect climate data "to improve the climate record " Bit of a skew in the data? What value is "now and future data " when we aren't taking seriously the past and its history ( incl geomorphology) . Good to see that at last they are reviewing historical records more  closely  but is it a bit late to take the voluntary hours of thousands of Australians serioulsy?( esp friends who ONCE lived worked and recorded rain each day on the Otway and other ridges) Will BOM acknowledge that the data collection on climate has been poor and that a review of old data in the light of geomorphic and high implication error factors would be an important "now type" use of public money?  





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Friday, January 18, 2013

Not everything we do with nature is wrong... Take Roads

Infact our roads MUST  become safer places or more people will die on them . Who is allowing some of these this extremely tight and very high risk compromises for road users to remain on our roads ? Ted Baillueu and Peter Ryan haven't done anything to show their understanding that both the Shire and DSE officers are the problem ; soundly argued clearing along roads would take away half the officers workload  and make them work,  and think as well. A pile of red tape rules makes it easy for these officers to not make decisions;- just leave the general impression that its " wrong "' to touch anything on roadsides (As it happens ,it isn't always illegal , but DSE are not leading here in saying so!!!!!)  The local  officers have it easy because of all the rules pushed on them over the years by DSE heirachies. Noone in power is allowed to suggest those in power are paranoid about what they don't know .   Duckshoving real practical decisions to a rules book to be read down the line by the bookreaders group is complete madness but its been the modus operandi for decades. Question : what do these growing emergency management agencies do when there is no emergency ? Write rule books?  
Risk avoidance therapy by governments remains an easy way to stop being reasonable and scientific about these complex combinations of diversity and ecosystems. Wood on the ground that could house an animal is often not allowed to be moved so , whether its a rabbit hollow ( most likely) or a native animal , it becomes the sacred unknown life  . Landholders are allowed up to 3 metres clearance  - why don't the Shires show they have the same power to clear and protect ? While the unknown  subject remains sacred  and the trumpet call is unclear , people will die .

Respecting nature doesn't mean never touching it, as some unthinking single focused people think. Only ever seeing 2 uses on a roadsides ( them and us ) is blinkered and single focused . Lots of things use te space and there rights need to be balanced .  Roadsides often need things they no longer get because people have got preciuos about presummed rights of the native vegetation and the animals we house there . This road in the picture divides on a steep ridge and 2 cars can't pass between the two old trees - a seriuos accident waiting to happen.
Retained forest and fallen timber and bark near roads is, in Victoria,at this moment , hundreds of accidents waiting to happen . The form of these old fire remnant forests will not last anyway,so the musuem view of their protection is shortsighted; As is so much of the frightened techno politically correct religious speak from Head office and their lawyer driven "no real advice here " crew .Must we must pay more for better advice ?
The commissioner at the time of Marysville was clearly afraid to use the word " evacuate "and many yes men in the system still are . Why oh why ABC investigators is that ?  I wonder how many people died just becuase it wasn't assummed by many that it could be expected to happen .It was,  at it always  was , "your idea that kills you" -" its nothing to do with what I , the commissioner , the ABC do " . "Your plan"  talk remains the garbage garbelled newspeak even today . Where was Bailleu's  enquiry into the whitewash of Marysville and that very word "evacuate " ?Victotian  governement don't want to offend anyone ----even if it means more deaths ??
Roads also need drainage and cars need places to pass . These spaces are often NOT now allocated when they should be because of a compromise in favor of nature worship.Trees and habitat are more important . The greeneries allow cars ( because they have to ) but the safer places implied by car use - they don't quite undertsand is part of the eco deal - dumb,  pathetic  and shallow loopy
We were driving through Lara yesterday ( grassland ecosystem extending from Geelong to Melbourne) when 17 people lost their lives several decades ago 1969 . Interestingly on the topic of eco specific advice ( see bleow) they probably would have lived if they had not left their cars ( normal thing to do if the fire is parked on a road near ( but not neccesarily  in ) grassland. How would that happen and would it happen today ? It would be madness to say that the Lara native timber in that area was a forest ( then or now as its sparse and low and grassland  mainly ) But there were enough trees in one spot to create  the same old  timber dry hardwood frame disaster that we bushies knew is plan dangerous anytime .The road was one of the first to have freeway width and yet people were killed on it in 1969 . Do our road users know any better today when to stay indoors and where is safe and what to keep in the car ? .

The whole truth is not told ,,,so the advice is suspect and dangerous. 
Unlike the 60's,  though,  instead of avoiding parking near the standing  tinderbox we live in them .Noone is dared to tell the truth - so innocent  people die because the truth is not told  .Worse people pretend that any old advice apart from the harsh truth will save them . God help the compliant  when the right trial is held charging the right people . Meanwhile the danger is not avoided for some . A sort of strange perveted right of entitlement is given to trees and animals over humans. We die when they mustn't. Strange twisted and confusing moralities are all around us . 
The creation of extra lanes on the Geelong Melbourne Road in recent times makes any loss of life on that long road through western plains grassland  less and less likely but ----with our national broadcaster and many others still claiming in their ignornace and arrogance to  to give advice on risk in every space is wrong . Basic education  and exposure , not nanny led powerbrokers  and genarilized advice  is still sorely needed .Rebellion is thankfully breaking out amongst the commercials " use all sources " they said a few days ago. 
Some reasons to be more reasonable about the monocultural fire related forests that often occupy our roadsides 
1. Protection from incineration  It’s extremely dangerous to be near OUR native forests on hot days when the wind is blowing .
Because of the namby pambying  and silence , those who pretend that living in the bush is safe keep doing it and somehow pretend  that the road out through it will be safe . Neither are true and the danger is ever present to all of who use roads near bush .

2. Biodiversity enhancement
Its clear that despite all the talk on the media most city people have no idea of the reality  that road formations and clearing can and do create lots of biodiversity . The forest produced by fire is relatively  uniform so that the light access and water concentration produced by our roads adds to the diversity of habitats near them.
Roads  produce runoff for grass production in dry summers and light access for animals seeking some grasland diet species.   The need for clearing is nowhere more evident than at Zumsteins in the Grampians  where no kangaroos now congregate ( growing wattle s at the moment) . Tourists will however find them feeding on the private pastures provided by landowners nearby.

3.Long term ecosytem protection Looking after the forest is not leaving it to rot and fall over ( The only  habitat in old trees is dry space - there is therfore little habitat in rotting wet centres of the old trees in the picture. Its leaving to burn or burning it early ( the needed favor option )that makes sense naturally .

4.Controlled burning may not be the best compromise   The idea that you can burn these areas every year is wrong ( controlled burning preoccupation of the current government). The flora will change , more weeds will come and the natural sequence of at least  10 years between fires is broken .Realistically, a lower native form also often suits the new landscape (say where clearing has occurred on both sides) .The leaves of many monocultural fire related forest  do not like the wind exposure of being on the edge of such road side remnants ;groups too which have no need to no longer grow tall to compete for light but which can be expected to change character on the edge and in substoreys because of light entry changes.( in the longer term)

5 Confusion over the great divergence of risk between grassland and forest 
One very serious reason the public are not aware of the danger is that major controversies have plagued the fire agencies for years –One power group CFA favours staying  while another favors going and evacuation . The dummies in charge seem to fear that having two actions would threaten the advice and authority of government . Sensible thoughtful people know the confusion is imaginary and not real . One applies to grassland with occasional trees .The other applies to native forests and plantations of such trees .Diversity is a no brainer unless you are a myopic singlebagger ( as many are in leadership culture these days )  Instead of taking responsibility for good advice, the governemnet listen to lawyers who advise irresponsibility by governments."If you die mate it will be because of a decision you made" - "listen to YOUR plan" . "we don't really have a plan" )   The environment and the dead people take second place to big agencies and weak governments who allow pride in their own areas of expertise to stand in the road of reason in relation to real environmental reality .( This is the myth that need s busting , the worship of nature “ : You can stay  near grass fires (CFA reasoning ) but you mustn't try to stay  IF  you are living close to the Australian Bush . Vic government are so weak they allow this internal confusion of policy direction  to continue .  You read it first on blogger from a highly effective risk planner of 3decades experience bloke who was sacked because he told the truth.

Will the government care for you  in your hour of need ?
Useful  risk management advice comes from sifting the relevant from the trash ; being tough and making tough choices when it matters - not handing out suck eggs advice; Ditching talk and noise of the obvious from the particular, the direct from the drivel , searching beyond the good for the best and most direct . It’s a bit like the job  of sifting what your parents say to find the bits that are infact correct ( and disaster avoiding)  not " crap to be spread in a  predictable dumb shit handling exercise  - “a war against everything"   It’s not about information but the right information ---about the relevant forces operating in our space and  time – about the incredible diversity and freedom  we live in - our legacy of freedom and freedom within limits.There is real freedom !

If you don't yet believe me think, the specific sites and how the dummies in charge , instead of respecting the need for site specific judgement ( apart from " your own plan " which is Ok to a point ) try to force us to learn together in one place and time ( "hang into the news" while you burn to death? ) ;
--The specifics of why cypresses did in fact protect homes and people in Western District  fires ,
-- why non bark and ember producing NON NATIVE ( shock horror) trees should be planted MORE ( they are doing it Canberra where the hard lesson was put upon them )
--why some roads are still on this very day HUGE  danger traps because noone is allowed to clear them of risk factors ( by Shire planners and DSE)
-- why is the compromise of control burning accepted ( required once a year if you create a strong undergrowth( normal) Its often much more destructive of ecosystems than the natural fire pattern which patch burns every 10 years plus  or so on average . (http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/fire-and-other-emergencies/major-bushfires-in-victoria)
 Get as much advice as you can - wherever you can .  Don't be like children, and follow like sheep or the dishonest children in charge 

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Let the Earth do its own lifting

We hear a lot about what we can do to look after the earth . but clearly not enough about how the earth looks after itself.
The media have started using the great idea and word resilience but they don't know what it means ( it was my profession but few therebe that practice and teach it now) 

This  neglected and complex vantage viewpoint ( its easier to subdivide a problem than to see it "in context" ) is critical to the future of our world because the earth can do the job ( say recycling of water and nutrients ) a lot more efficiently than we can. How different is our anthropomorphic view different from that of our forefathers - really?
This reality of limited perspective is not widely talked about by engineers who are used to methodically building from the bottom up ( which is fine) and who have been seeking (politically) more control in environmental matters for decades . ( the problem for the poor is that our engineering solutions are often simply too expensive too!) Newcomers to conservation too are prone to take a control mode that doesn't work .
Nature maybe subtle and even slow but it can and is often more substantial ( solves 10 problems and not just one ) and efficient. Point is you have to study this to know this !
This post is a stub i will finish later,  but trawl through the site for examples for now.
I have done a lot of soil water engineering , but I  think planning with the environment is a more important  focus for all innovative and thinking peoples .

Some of the most efficient waste water engineering for example are best seen as involving soils and natural soil processes such as infiltration runoff and reprocessing by the millions of bacteria in soils.  Bookmark this page. Add your comments

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

You open a road and now only hoons use it

Pairs of bright multi coloured corellas and spectacular views make a trip down Wild Dog road a truly  memorable one . The road was closed for several years after a major landslide moved across it. While we fixed the immediate problem, there is still  a huge area ( see bare area on photo)  of loose hillside ready to come sliding down across it as some future time. In reality,  the best we can ever do is work with nature, but work with it we must . There is little point in avoiding the challenge its very power creates .
When you are actually on this scary road,  its easier to ignore the real dangers ,  and as Tony Jones ( ABCTV ) would say -" keep moving ". We may have bitten off more than we can chew,  but lets not talk about it  right now. This is of course,  is the problem of the participant( as we call them ); the problem of denial." I am not going to fall . Its not going to fall"
There are some other sorts of human problems with threats  . The desire we have to dominate them , or the opposite - the feeling that we must give in to what ever is natural.  Unfortunately for scientists,  the latter is a popular fad at the moment;  a fad that often bears no resemblance to real fears that should concern us . If we wanna keep driving we have to keep our heads .  Without going too far into this here , let me say that the media and others already do enough worrying.; The former "can do "attitude  hardly ever gets a decent go - except when engineers are in charge . Domination is of course the wrong word . The old word is dominion, at that's  fine . Dominion is respecting the territorial imperative of nature - humans as well as another plant and other animals  --As long as we don't think we can outsmart or out compete with the most efficient things on earth - we will keep our heads. Point is , unlike our dreams, the earth has limits and we must understand and respect them if we are not to be crushed by them .

The bare area above the road shows the area that is still moving  
Having observers ( cf participants mentioned above) when there is high risk isn't the complete answer  either,  We need local observers who know the local situation,  not remote observers who can read GIS machines and maps . We need people who don't generate general panic, but address specific need. Enormous waste now in the West goes in chasing broad fears and ignoring present danger.Yes, you can safely drive down this road today.  If real risk worries you,  stay indoors, stay at home
Real people in danger don't need the media ,the map , the Department or the politicians - they need a person nearby to look out for their interest . There are no persons nearby in some areas any more and its your job (as the reader ) to insist that  institution's and the expert outside consultants do less and more people on the ground are trained to do more .
If you don't believe the problem is a serious one, let me tell you something that's born of 3 decades of experience on the ground . In 30 years of advising on risks I notice most private consultants will not touch the big jobs,  but will choose the small ones. Disasters come with cocontenation so individualization is dangerous . Its far more rewarding for all parties then ( public and private ) if a prevention and design focus is a partnership thing:  Cars , people and bikes need to go down the road now with the fast moving fixers in buses to make sure every small thing is seen that needs to be seen  .  I will tell the story of fixing the road in another place, at another time.

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