• BCA Council Elections

    Voting is now open for positions on BCA Council. Emails have been sent out but may have gone to spam – if you haven’t received yours, please check your spam folder.

    Click here for more

Extreme Conservation?

droid

Active member
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.

 

Amy

New member
Ian Adams said:
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. f***.

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.  o_O

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.
 

Amy

New member
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.
 

Kenilworth

New member
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).
 

Kenilworth

New member
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.

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?

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.
 

Amy

New member
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
 
Top