Author Topic: Extreme Conservation?  (Read 3732 times)

Online cavemanmike

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2017, 08:47:38 pm »
i would be interested to know why glacial sediment outways the importance of the WHOLE cave.
i can see it has value for research , would it not be of greater benefit to remove some sediment whilst leaving a cross section exposed for investigation . in the meantime the removed sediment could be stored for a later date or researched immediately whilst the rest of the cave could be be explored/investigated (sympathetically)of coarse
just a thought 

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2017, 10:04:31 pm »
Quote
Given that “nature” has already caused (significant) damage, at what point is the need for conservation mitigated in favour of exploration/scientific research/recording of information etc?

Never. But conservation needs will shift from one resource to another. As I said earlier, science, digging, exploration, and documentation can all be practiced with care. Conservation can mean lots of things. It can mean use, as in the case of a sediment threatened with obliteration. Scientific use in this case is conservation, as it protects the thing of value from wasteful depletion. Deliberate and purposeful destruction is conservation if the only alternative is aimless and wasteful destruction.

Too many people mistakenly equate conservation with preservation (which it may include), or with avoiding impact. This is perhaps why many of my posts have been so wildly misunderstood. My ideas about conservation have never suggested that caves in general should not be entered, but that caving organizations do not equip people to "consider caves on their own merits," which I think we both agree is part of the foundation of conserving anything.

But maybe you were asking when the balance shifts from conserving speleogenic or aesthetic resources to conserving (by carefully using) scientific or exploratory resources? I cannot answer that question, especially if the cave is in Wales. I can only make that decision for caves that I know personally, and even then I will not always make the right one. It is too often after the fact that we realize the quality of our decisions, which is why I am trying to learn to take them more seriously (many of you say too seriously) before I act.

Offline Ian Adams

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2017, 12:40:00 pm »
Very interesting reply.

To be more specific;


Never. But conservation needs will shift from one resource to another. As I said earlier, science, digging, exploration, and documentation can all be practiced with care.

and

Too many people mistakenly equate conservation with preservation (which it may include), or with avoiding impact. This is perhaps why many of my posts have been so wildly misunderstood.

These two statements (in my opinion) demonstrate very clearly that your previous posts have been misinterpreted or mis-understood (by people (including myself) in the UK).

If we (as cavers) are to have a meaningful debate, we need to understand how to communicate. There are clearly differences in the manner in which you (or the USA?) define “words” and the way in which they are interpreted (in the UK). That is no fault of yours (or ours) but I think is it now recognisable.

For instance; you use the word “resource” when referring to caves. In the UK we would more generally use the word as meaning something that has a purposeful use or value.  You appear to be using in a different context. (no one at fault in my opinion).

Similarly, you are making a distinction between conservation and preservation which may have escaped readers attention (it escaped mine).

I will try to post in a more generic manner which will (hopefully) be less liable to be interpreted differently to the intention.

Importantly, you appear to be saying that it is perfectly ok to enter cave where (and I am taking your words above) science, digging, exploration, and documentation can all be practiced with care.

Does my understanding accord with yours correctly so far ?

Ian

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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2017, 05:45:32 pm »
Quote
For instance; you use the word “resource” when referring to caves. In the UK we would more generally use the word as meaning something that has a purposeful use or value.  You appear to be using in a different context. (no one at fault in my opinion).

The word resource has a scary history of use, and I do not like to use it at all. But I mean the same thing you do. Cave resources are extremely varied, and can be aesthetic, scientific, cultural, recreational, spiritual, exploratory, culinary, agricultural, commercial and more. The task of assigning proper value to each and then using them without wastefulness, as is appropriate per particular cave, is the difficult job of every conservationist.

A strict preservationist can serve the purposes of future conservation, but is a coward, in my opinion. Preservation has its place, but to make it an obsession is to remove oneself from the processes of the world, and to absolve oneself from difficult thought.

Quote
Importantly, you appear to be saying that it is perfectly ok to enter cave where (and I am taking your words above) science, digging, exploration, and documentation can all be practiced with care.

Does my understanding accord with yours correctly so far ?

Of course.


Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2017, 08:02:55 pm »
Perhaps it is now time to define the term 'conservation'.

Because if it can't be defined, this discussion is going to be infinite: everyone will have their personal definition.

And well done Ian for your lucid and compact posts. For those of us with a 2-minute attention span it's a great relief.

 :)

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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2017, 08:21:35 pm »
Conservation? My dictionary says "protection against loss or depletion". Note that this definition does not say protection against impact or change or use. Since there are many of things in need of conservation, and since some of them are seemingly at odds with one another, what conservation practically means will, yes, be different for everyone.

The second entry under preservation says, "keeping in unaltered condition; maintain in an unchanged form," which is the aim of certain preservationist groups, and very different from ideal conservation.


Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2017, 09:12:29 pm »
Conservation? My dictionary says "protection against loss or depletion". Note that this definition does not say protection against impact or change or use.

It doesn't 'say' a lot of things.

Let's concentrate on what it DOES say. 

What sort of 'loss and depletion' takes place when people use caves for their recreation? How can this be prevented/ameliorated?

Your solution is, as I understand it, not to use them. And it's a pretty logical solution, if rather ....errrr....*extreme*.

Have I interpreted your missives correctly? Please remember my 2-minute attention span, especially after a night shift at work....
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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2017, 09:17:28 pm »
Have I interpreted your missives correctly?

You have not.

If applied universally, abstinence from caving for conservation purposes is not logical. And it is not conservation, because in protecting one thing we are losing another. Conservation is not about preservation per se, it is about wisely determining relative values.


Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #33 on: January 12, 2017, 09:35:57 pm »
So when you were railing about the encouragement of people to go caving, implying it was 'a bad thing', that wasn't saying that people should not use caves?
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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #34 on: January 12, 2017, 09:43:29 pm »
Certainly not, as a careful reading would have revealed.

I understand that some may not have the time or interest or patience to read and think along with a handful of paragraphs. This is ok. It also means that those same people are not qualified to pillory the author



Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2017, 09:51:51 pm »
I will admit that I'm not one to go through massive posts with a fine-tooth comb, hence asking for clarification in a more concise form. And I'd suggest I'm not alone in that.

So.

What *were* you suggesting?
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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2017, 12:21:42 pm »
It's in the massive posts, with examples and justifications and possible questions and answers. I haven't been able to cook the entire concept down to a few tidy lines.





Offline pwhole

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #37 on: January 13, 2017, 03:39:21 pm »
This one wasn't bad as a concise summary of one point at least, in the Stagnation of Caving thread - it can be done  :ang:
Quote
But I think that caves are too singular and irreparable to be used as mere gyms.

http://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=21411.msg272271#msg272271

Also noted the differences in language use between the UK and US, and it does often cause problems, especially in text-only communications. I used to write software manuals occasionally, and eventually trained myself to stop writing colour with a 'u', as 95% of our customers were US-based, and 'color' appeared about 50 times on every page. When I added up all those 'u's, I realised how much time I was saving annually! Now I have to continually think about putting it back in texts (mainly so as not to upset Pitlamp!), but I'm aware that cultural usage of many terms and phrases are different - as I've worked with a lot of Americans, I guess I'm more familiar.

Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #38 on: January 13, 2017, 06:22:18 pm »
It's in the massive posts, with examples and justifications and possible questions and answers. I haven't been able to cook the entire concept down to a few tidy lines.

Occam's Razor.
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Offline JasonC

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2017, 07:12:33 pm »
I will admit that I'm not one to go through massive posts with a fine-tooth comb, hence asking for clarification in a more concise form.

With respect, if you can't take the trouble to find out what the man is saying, how do you know you disagree with him ?

It's just a forum, if it takes someone 10 paragraphs to express what they think and it's not sufficiently interesting for you to read and digest, you do have the option of ignoring him. ;)

Online droid

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #40 on: January 13, 2017, 07:26:26 pm »
As an (ex) scientist I've seen quite complex concepts condensed to a few short paragraphs.

If the idea is to promote discussion, then this is the best way to do it, hence my comments above. The *nuances* of the argument can be stated once the basic concept is established.

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Offline Disgusted from Cornwall.

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #41 on: January 13, 2017, 07:58:26 pm »
wrong topic!

Offline Amata

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #42 on: April 14, 2017, 02:25:32 am »

For instance; you use the word “resource” when referring to caves. In the UK we would more generally use the word as meaning something that has a purposeful use or value.  You appear to be using in a different context. (no one at fault in my opinion).

BAM. Thank you.

My Unterstein conservation article got HEAVILY edited WITHOUT MY PERMISSION in this month's NSS news.
One the things I was VERY upset about was changing my phrasing of "these amazing caves" to "these resources"
What. The. Fuck.

A resource is something to be *used*. What comes to mind with the word resource? Besides Minecraft. Food. Oil. Fossil fuels. Things we *use*. This is completely *anti-conservation* and this mindset of "caves are a resources" is what allows cavers to think they have "the right" to do what they will. Cross tape lines because they need a photo, for example.

I brought it to the attention of the NSS Editors, because there were many other edits as well (so far, it seems nothing will be done to rectify their massive errors). They edited everything from totally framing what we tried to do for conservation wrong, to completely changing my views on conservation and changed the tone of the entire article. I didn't even recognize my own article. It is *that* bad. Every thing was completely re-wrote.

The calling caves "resources" is exactly the issue. And the NSS - our national cave organization - just promoted it. Under my name. With words I never wrote, never said, and never thought.  :wall:

You are right - cavers in the US *DO* call caves resources. And *use* them as such. Hence, conservation problems to a much larger magnitude than you have there. I have never once heard a Brit caver call a cave a resource. But yet, it is used all the time here.

The moment we view caves as a resource, it is something to be used up, something just for us.
The moment we realize caves are part of our environment, we can realize their importance as a part of the world of which we are a part, and share our time with the cave in mutual respect.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 02:39:21 am by Amy »
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Offline Amata

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #43 on: April 14, 2017, 02:46:07 am »
If anyone cares, these are my views. And my original, unedited, article about conservation.

Unterstein: A Conservation Story

Pristine mud flowstone floors. Beauty in crazy formations. Delicate crystals. Pearls. Coming up out of that drop Troy said to us, "We have a huge conservation problem on our hands." How right he was.

We went about Unterstein the way of Blue Spring Cave, and of many British caves, creating paths where necessary to maintain as much unmarred beauty as possible. The plan was also to show people the cave before putting coordinates into the Alabama Cave Survey database, who could then take others, and let the routes for safety and conservation slowly spread.

This is a case study of how our method worked in TAG. Because the cave was virgin, looking at it within a few months of traffic (61 visitors, according to the logbook) provides an interesting look on the impact that cavers can have.

Conservation is more than just not breaking formations, not spray-painting, and not treating open air pits and sinkholes as trash dumps. It's the little things too, because the little things add up.

Within the first three months of people outside of our project group going to Unterstein, people pulled out gloves, hair ties, watches, food wrappers, and broken flash bulbs. While it is sad that trash gets left behind, this does give us good news—cavers police ourselves; we pick up after each other where something is lost or forgotten. So while it is disheartening to see trash so quickly in such a new cave, it is being taken out, so the overall trash impact is low. However, this is a good reminder to be extra observant of ourselves and other members in our cave party and keep track of items we bring into the cave.

As for formations, within the first five months, two pools of pearls are now so full of mud one cannot see them. And the pristine mud flow floor, clearly marked off by tape, was walked out across, and then back, obviously ignoring the path. Unlike bits of trash, these things cannot be fixed. They are forever damaged.

In the end, despite our best attempts, there is still accidental damage, and even blatant damage. In the release article for Unterstein we wrote that we assumed the competent vertical caver who would visit Unterstein would also be conservation minded. But all it takes is one person to walk across the pristine floors. All it takes is one person to not watch their step with muddy boots. All it takes…

All it takes is every single one of us being dutiful in our respect to these amazing environments we have the privilege of visiting in our short time on this earth, a mere microsecond in the geological time scale of these amazing caves.

We cannot conserve what we cannot preserve. We cannot preserve what we cannot protect. We cannot protect what we do not know exists. And Unterstein will be protected from the construction we mentioned in the release article, our data was well received and appropriate alterations made in the construction plans. Had we never found Unterstein, it may well have been lost to the ages of man in totality. So, we’ll strive to keep exploring, in spite of a careless handful, so that we may protect, preserve, and conserve for generations to come.
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Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #44 on: April 14, 2017, 04:38:39 am »
Amy, I would like to read your article carefully before I comment, so I'll save that for later. For now though, I was interested by this quote,

"The moment we view caves as a resource, it is something to be used up, something just for us.
The moment we realize caves are part of our environment, we can realize their importance as a part of the world of which we are a part, and share our time with the cave in mutual respect."

You have misunderstood Ian's post, which you quoted (he, in turn, misunderstood my use of the word resource, which I used in exactly the context he described). There is nothing particularly wrong with using the word resource, though I too am made uncomfortable by its popular implications. Caves are and contain many resources, which can be used honorably and without being used up, or even used up honorably. The problem is not that we do not see caves as part of our "environment" (another extremely problematic word) but that we do not see ourselves as part of any environment. 

That your article was heavily edited is unsurprising. My own article in the 2014 or 15 conservation issue suffered similarly, including the addition of spurious subheadings that implied meanings I did not intend. An article in last year's conservation issue, by a KY caver whose name I forget, was also significantly altered. Dave never edited anything of mine, so I wonder if this is something peculiar to the Werkers as guest editors (I assume they were, no longer being a member I haven't seen the latest copy).
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 04:47:36 am by Kenilworth »

Offline Kenilworth

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #45 on: April 14, 2017, 05:30:58 am »
Having thrice read your article, I have a few thoughts. Please don't take them as aggressive, they aren't. I'm simply trying to be plain and am unskilled at diplomacy.

What happened to the cave was exactly what anyone who has been caving in TAG for more than a few trips should have expected.

Quote
In the release article for Unterstein we wrote that we assumed the competent vertical caver who would visit Unterstein would also be conservation minded.

This was an absurd assumption, mistaken both in conflating vertical competence with club training and in conflating club training with a healthy conservation ethic.

You have made no comment on lessons learned regarding the efficacy of taping. Is this because you are unwilling to draw conclusions based on this single example, or because you are uncomfortable with the possible conclusions?

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We cannot conserve what we cannot preserve. We cannot preserve what we cannot protect. We cannot protect what we do not know exists.

These are three terribly aimless and immature sentences. 1. We can conserve what we cannot preserve. I have today finished drinking a gallon of milk before it spoiled. 2. Preserve and protect are more or less synonymous. 3. It is true that we cannot protect what we do not know exists, but our ignorance of a cave is often the only protection it needs. Finding caves to protect would simply be bad mathematics. By all means find them, but not for make-believe reasons.

Otherwise, your article is a grammatical shambles, so some significant rewording would have been needed to make it suitable for the News. This should have been done with your permission and collaboration, but perhaps deadlines were a concern.

Offline Amata

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #46 on: April 14, 2017, 06:18:38 am »
Considering I was told I had weeks to submit updates, the editors surely had weeks to edit and check back with me.

Interesting that the conservation issue always suffers. I would be interested if there are many others unhappy with the editing to band together and bring it to the BOGs attention as Dave is supporting Vals edits. I havenot had issue with Dave in the padt and am a semiregular contributor to the News but the response and lack of accountability has me debating ever submitting again.

As to grammar I had the help of a pro editor presubmission and by daves own admission only a scentence or two needed reworked for clarity.

As for the rest of your posts I have zero desire to debate you
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Offline owd git

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Re: Extreme Conservation?
« Reply #47 on: April 14, 2017, 08:33:59 am »
 :thumbsup:   :bow:
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