|Dr Gary D Sharp|
scientific director of the Centre for Climate/Ocean Resources Study, and editor of It's All About Time and Place
Questions have no simple, one-cause/one-effect answers
I should teach the world that questions have no simple, one-cause/one-effect answers. In fact, phenomena that are often viewed as one group's problem, are just as often another group's salvation. Cyclical weather patterns, climate changes and unexpected events define us all. Our world is but a small, complex and continuously changing system, evolving as it and we are dragged through time and space by our Sun, within its larger galaxy, and eventually beyond.
Humans have little or naught to say about that progression, and have had very little knowledge or leverage with which to change much of anything - except to manage locally, and to try to cope with what is nearest to their own individual domains. Unfortunately, what we do best is make decisions without a full understanding of all of the consequences - local, downstream and beyond. Managing for stability is dangerous, and not a realistic goal. Learning to cope with changes, and learning to minimise the loss of options, is most important.
Historical records and real-time information sharing, via open communication, provides for collaborative problem identification and can support all-important careful issue prioritisation. Then the ordered, integrated and organised solving of well defined problems can take place. Such efforts are the only realistic means of minimising our own negative contributions, to the many challenges that we have confronted, and that will or might appear in the future.