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Laurie Ashley

Mar 21, 2016
02:10

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This is a very interesting idea.  I think it would be helpful to step back a bit and provide more detail on the purpose and usefulness of the database.  For example who might use it and how might it help them to make good decisions?  I think it's also important to consider the possibility that the information could disadvantage certain people or groups (e.g. diminish land values or raise land conflicts).  Is there any way to anticipate and mitigate this possibility?


Jim Wright

Mar 21, 2016
10:40

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Thank you for your interest, lauriea. These comments are just what we need to keep us thinking! I know where you are coming from, because this proposal is a rewrite of an earlier one, which suggested a similar structure, but initiated from the top down. I realised that a substantial bureaucratic structure to start with might very well put the people on the ground off from contributing. Now, it starts in their hands and where the project goes from there will hopefully reflect what the contributors want or need.

Here is one example. I follow a well-known engineer, farmer and carbon sequestration activist called Robert Vincin who has successfully recovered millions of hectares of damaged land in Mongolia, the Middle East and West Africa, by planting C4 plants which extract carbon from the atmosphere into the soil. When I consulted him, he replied:

"Small CO2 sinks in full carbon accounting auditing verification certification terms are not financially  viable. Sinks also must be insured for UNFCCC 100 year cross referenced to insurance company."

My proposed system would allow, expertise and materials to be delivered to relatively small areas, so that the local people could upgrade the soil and the aggregated area would qualify for UNFCCC assistance.

I live in Australia, where in rural areas there are frequent conflicts between miners, foresters, farmers, governments, activists and residents as to the appropriate use of land. A lot of the areas under discussion are huge. Would it not be nice to say to a logging company "Before you cut down this 1000-hectare old-growth forest over here, you must plant a corresponding number of old-growth saplings over there". That way, there would be a gain in carbon capture and the loggers would not be able to avoid restoration by declaring themselves bankrupt!

The central theme of my proposal is that information of all kinds which is relevant to a particular land usage proposal must be collected and compared to determine the viability of that proposal. The preservation of a small area in the middle of a huge development site as a home for rare creatures, because it is appropriately populated with plants and wild life is a worthwhile gain in addition to that provided by the major project.

I could go on all day (my nickname ought to be Brer Rabbit!), but I think I have made the point that if someone has an idea as to how to use a bit of land, there could be a substantial directory of people to talk to and receive helpful information from - and at a relative modest initial cost too.

Regards,

Jim W..


Jim Wright

Mar 27, 2016
01:59

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Hi, Laurie,

I have posted my rewrite onto my contest site. Perhaps, when you have a moment, you could have a look and see if it goes any further in conforming your ideas.

Regards,

Jim W.


Natalie Unterstell

Apr 3, 2016
10:58

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Thank you very much for this proposal.

There is an ongoing effort of making land use and land use change data open for Latin America and Africa.

Have you considered looking into the Brazilian Institute (INPE) who has been working together with FAO in such endeavors?

Best


Jim Wright

Apr 7, 2016
05:44

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Hi, Natalie,

I was aware of initiatives to improve land in Africa and in Eastern Asia. I had not heard much about action in South America (though given the physical features of the land and the variegated communities large and small, I am not surprised). I have been following a well-regarded farmer/scientist called Robert Vincin who has had some remarkable results recovering very damaged land in Eastern Asia and West Africa through the planting of C4 plants. However, his view is very large-scale (responding to UN initiatives), which is what has prompted me to try and build initiatives from the bottom up - hence my entry into the adaptation contest.

I have had a quick look at the INPE site and was impressed and a little intimidated by the huge amount of material available. As well as completing this contest entry, I am also creating an entry for another contest (Buildings, probably) proposing to locate a lot of human activity under forests which should capture a lot more carbon than your normal pretty roof garden. And don't be too surprised - 40 years ago, I was engaged in the building of a carpark under a lawn with lots of trees at a local university. The trick I have to promote is how to do it economically!

Anyway, once I have completed my entries in these competitions, I will certainly pay another visit to INPE, where I am sure i will learn a great deal about the dynamics of fighting climate change.

Regards,

Jim W. (the Geordie in my pen-name refers to the fact that I was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK, where the inhabitants are known as Geordies. We are derived from Celts who stood up to the invasions by Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, stealing cattle from them for a thousand years!) 


Sergio Pena

Apr 20, 2016
11:32

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Excellent idea but some parts of the presentation has not been filled: However, some thoughts to give you feedback:

Why to share what and for whom purposes? Your first answer has given me an idea of what you want with this proposal but I could not understand the main aim of the proposal. Further, how does it related to climate change prevention or mitigation. It is understandable to have such an idea to solve problems related to Land ownership or use of the land but not to climate change as such. If you can develop further approach on that will be useful.

Another point, which reason will make people to take action in sharing information on this issue?

Hoping to generate feedback for you proposal, all the best.


Michael Hayes

Apr 20, 2016
04:52

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Hello Jim,

You may be interested in the following link:

Foogle or GAO? Google Earth Director about the partnership with FAO

The idea of maximizing date use in support of on the ground mitigation and adaptation efforts will always be a plus. 

Best regards,

Michael


Michael Hayes

Apr 20, 2016
05:14

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Jim,

You may also find an interest in the following:

Global Adaptation Network

Information dissemination is a core goal for that program.

Michael


Michael Hayes

Apr 20, 2016
06:01

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Here's another:

Digital Coast

The Digital Coast is a collaboration of organizations committed to providing data and information, tools, and training resources to help address timely coastal issues, including land use, coastal conservation, hazards, marine spatial planning,...

M


Jim Wright

May 15, 2016
03:01

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Hi, Sergio,

I apologise for the delay in responding, but I was engaged on a proposal in a different contest. In many areas of the world, land is either unproductive or is unproductive in damaging ways, so far as the climate is concerned. People living in such areas, do not necessarily have the knowledge or the resources to improve the land, adapt it for optimal use in the future or use it temporarily for carbon capture and storage. There are many organisations who, with government or commercial assistance are producing large scale improvements, but there are many communities who do not benefit from these activities, but would like to take action on their own behalf. My database helps them to acquire knowledge, resources and examples of previous success to assist them. There are also unpopulated areas which display features which could make them useful for set-and-forget carbon capture initiatives such as reafforestation and C4 planting. Such areas could be identified as targets for remote improvement projects.

I myself do not have any specific targets or activities in mind, other than that they should play a role in improving the climate position by repair or adaptation. For instance, preventing mines from poisoning the land or the air, or adding carbon to the atmosphere might be considered legitimate targets for activists, but it would be nice if their frequently aggressive attitudes could be tempered by suggestions for improved ways of working. Advice on such matters might be obtained from similar sites anywhere in the world.

Regards,

Jim W.


Jim Wright

May 16, 2016
02:10

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Hi, Michael,

Thanks very much for bringing these very interesting web sites to my attention. Here is a quick comment on each of them.

Digital Coast is more about coastal communities managing their land and sea areas from the point of view of councils who are charged with such duties. However, there is no reason why my database should not be useful to them. In fact, it may give them some fresh perspectives – especially if there are a few activists to pull out the information and present compelling arguments.

The Global Adaptation Network is being organised (as I understand it) by the United Nations Environment Program. I downloaded the document which was displayed on the URL you gave me, but was unable to find the URLs quoted therein. From the descriptions in the document, I think that the intent is to interest organisations in developing projects, which is very good thing, particularly as it seems to have engineered its activities to appeal to different areas of the world. My proposal could actually work quite well with GAN, allowing people and organisations at a lower level to connect with sources of knowledge and assistance.

With regard to the collaboration between Google Earth and the GAO, the bringing of such huge resources together cannot be a bad thing in principle. My experience with Google, though, is that it’s motto is “My Way Or The Highway” and its dominant position in the IT world might create difficulties for GAO, if its wishes do not always accord with Google’s interests. We can only wait and see. Perhaps Google is having a Moment!.


Rita Marteleira

May 17, 2016
02:03

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Dear proposal author(s)

Thank you again for submitting your proposal to the adaptation contest.

Just a friendly reminder: you only have 6 days left to update and improve your proposal before the contest closure on May 23rd! 

Keep up the good work and let us know if you have any queries!

Best wishes,

Rita Marteleira

Adaptation Contest Fellow


Michael Hayes

May 17, 2016
03:24

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One last input,

I ran across Planetary Resources and their CERES project. This seems to read directly on your proposal. Brilliant minds do seem to work along the same lines. 

Best regards,

Michael 


Patrick Ray

May 23, 2016
08:50

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Jim,

You've received a lot of encouraging feedback on your proposal. Today is the last day to revise it. Looking forward to reviewing the final version.

I would be helped by a summary table that organizes the kind of data that will need to be collected, and critical statistics about the technology needed to collect the data (cost, effort, geographical restrictions, etc.). Also, what suggestions for overcoming political resistance to this idea?

Good luck.


Jim Wright

May 23, 2016
06:24

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Hi, Patrick,

I would have liked to include a better picture of how the database might be used, but unfortunately I have not enough space. Basically, it is an aggregation tool, so that anyone can attach a link to whatever data they want to share. It is not part of my proposal to collect data. There is simply too much of it and if we had to make selections of what to collect, we would be introducing a bias which could distort the optimisation process. One issue about optimisation is that there are different views and interests which would prefer that some information was not included in any assessment. After the initial development of the architecture, the ongoing work of the management team would be (a) to list all links to external data held by parties interested in promoting it and (b) storing and linking information provided by people and organisations who do not have the resources to store it themselves.

I live in Australia, where there is already a high degree of usage of electronic data in agribusiness and my proposal arose out of the arguments between proponents of particular usages which remained at that level, simply because no one could access all available information and decide on the best way to go.

It may be that the success of this project might depend upon how well it is advertised and discussed (and a Colab prize might be very helpful in this regard!).

I might add that, as a retiree after careers in civil/structural engineering and IT, I have thoroughly enjoyed my involvement in your initiative and as a famous US citizen remarked in some of his films - I'll be back!!

Jim W.


Jim Wright

May 28, 2016
09:51

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Hi, Patrick,

Unfortunately, lack of time did not permit me to reform my proposal in line with your suggestions. However, on reviewing it, I realised that I devoted too much time to the mechanics (with some sort of proof-of-concept in mind, i suppose) and not enough to the organisational aspects. The revisions I would have made would have removed the description of the programming of the App and replaced it with the description of a group of organisations, each performing specific roles relating to the management and access to relevant data.

These remarks are not intended to influence judges on the merits of my proposal at this late stage, but rather to acknowledge the encouragement and advice I have received from all of the Colab staff I have communicated with. If you feel that this comment could be compromising in some way, please hide it away until the contest is over.

Regards,

Jim W.