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[PASSED] Responsible Land Management, Re: Desertification

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Refuge Isle
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[PASSED] Responsible Land Management, Re: Desertification

Postby Refuge Isle » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:26 pm

Finding other drafting attempts to be insufficient and, thus far, less comprehensive than the original legislation, I have taken to drafting my own proposal to replace the soon-to-be-axed GAR #432: Preventing Desertification, as environmental issues are a topic that I care about and a replacement should be both well developed and have enough strength to justify the effort.

Draft 4 wrote:
Responsible Land Management

Category: Environmental | Industry: Agricultural | Proposed by: Refuge Isle



Understanding, although desertification and erosion have taken place for eons beyond remembrance, where the activities of sapient beings exacerbate those processes or cause the expansion of drylands to take place where they otherwise would not, far reaching negative consequences can result.

Outlining the source of artificially caused desertification to include over-grazing, deforestation, the over-exploitation of soils from farming, and the loss of sufficient moisture in soils to prevent wind erosion after tillage or the removal of vegetation,

Highlighting the effects of artificial desertification to include the destabilisation of the local biosphere, diminished habitability and food production in the affected areas, as well as climate changes in the larger scope of the region when water cannot be dispersed into the atmosphere through transpiration from plants,

This General Assembly, in seeking to avoid such environmental repercussions, hereby:

1. Establishes the Environmental Survey of the World Assembly (ESWA) as a research and advisory department within the World Assembly Scientific Programme, employing an appropriate number of scientists and support staff, and paid for by the WA general fund with no external sources for financial contribution permitted;

2. Instructs the ESWA to:

  1. Conduct ground, water, and atmospheric surveys of member nations' territories, as well as accessible international areas in order to collect data on their environmental situations.
  2. Keep and publish records of survey findings, develop estimations to the cause of any changes in a survey area over time, and create predictions of future trends.
  3. Alert member nations to at-risk areas of environmental degradation caused by their sapient inhabitants and issue recommendations for appropriate countermeasures.
  4. Identify areas in member nations’ territories as candidates for reforestation, land reclamation, and rehabilitation, where environmental degradation has been artificially made.
  5. Allow volunteer scientists with relevant expertise to assist with ESWA research under supervision.

3. Instructs member nations to develop and implement curricula as a comprehensive component of existing education in geological sciences for their nation’s youth in order to understand the causes, consequences, and solutions for artificial desertification;

4. Requires member nations to prohibit over-grazing and, instead, employ sustainable, targeted grazing practices, defined as the rotation of livestock between pastures with fallowing periods sufficient to allow plants to recover, unless the livestock is being used to maintain a controlled conservation area for the purposes of improving biodiversity, or unless the livestock is temporarily used to fertilise and prepare farmland;

5. Orders member nations to install or plant windbreaks around farm fields in areas designated by the ESWA to be “at-risk” of wind erosion, in sufficient intervals to be effective;

6. Requires member nations develop and implement legislation prohibiting the excessive removal or destruction of vegetation, defined as such removal or destruction resulting in exposed, unprotected soils creating a threat of artificial desertification or contributing to existing desertification in the local area;

7. Mandates that member nations implement water control measures on their landscapes made artificially vulnerable to ecologically damaging levels of water erosion, with such measures able to channel surface runoff into swales, contour trenches, or other systems that preserve water, soil, and vegetation fertility;

8. Recommends that member nations work in harmony to develop and contribute to reforestation projects in areas identified by the ESWA to be targets for rehabilitation.

Draft 3 wrote:
Responsible Land Management

Category: Environmental | Industry: Agricultural | Proposed by: Refuge Isle



Understanding, although desertification and erosion have taken place for eons beyond remembrance, where the activities of sapient beings exacerbate those processes or cause the expansion of drylands to take place where they otherwise would not, far reaching negative consequences can result.

Outlining the source of artificially caused desertification to include over-grazing, deforestation, the over-exploitation of soils from farming, and the loss of sufficient moisture in soils to prevent wind erosion after tillage or the removal of vegetation,

Highlighting the effects of artificial desertification to include the destabilisation of the local biosphere, diminished habitability and food production in the affected areas, as well as climate changes in the larger scope of the region when water cannot be dispersed into the atmosphere through transpiration from plants,

This General Assembly, in seeking to avoid such environmental repercussions, hereby:

Establishes the Environmental Survey of the World Assembly (ESWA) as a research and advisory department within the World Assembly Scientific Programme, employing an appropriate number of scientists and support staff, and paid for by the WA general fund with no external sources for financial contribution permitted;

Instructs the ESWA to:

  1. Conduct ground, water, and atmospheric surveys of member nations' and their territories, as well as accessible international areas in order to collect data on their environmental situations.
  2. Keep and publish records of survey findings, develop estimations to the cause of any changes in a survey area over time, and create predictions of future trends.
  3. Alert member nations to at-risk areas of environmental degradation caused by their sapient inhabitants and issue recommendations for appropriate countermeasures.
  4. Identify areas in member nations’ territories as candidates for reforestation, land reclamation, and rehabilitation, where environmental degradation has been artificially made.
  5. Allow volunteer scientists with relevant expertise to assist with ESWA research under supervision.

Instructs member nations to develop and implement curriculum with ESWA data as a comprehensive part of existing education in geological sciences for their nation’s youth to understand the causes, consequences, and solutions for artificial desertification and how students may ultimately aid this field;

Requires member nations prohibit over-grazing and, instead, employ sustainable, targeted grazing practices, defined as the rotation of livestock between pastures with fallowing periods sufficient to allow plants to recover, unless the livestock is being used to maintain a controlled conservation area for the purposes of improving biodiversity, or unless the livestock is temporarily used to fertilise and prepare farmland;

Orders member nations to install or plant windbreaks around farm fields in areas designated by the ESWA to be “at-risk” of wind erosion, in sufficient intervals to be effective;

Mandates that member nations prohibit commercial-industrial agriculture operations from contributing to deforestation by the conversion of forested habitats to farms and grasslands through agricultural burning;

Recommends that member nations work in harmony to develop and contribute to reforestation projects in needed areas identified by the ESWA to make a positive impact on the wellbeing of all nations.
Draft 2 wrote:
Responsible Land Management

Category: Environmental | Industry: Agricultural | Proposed by: Refuge Isle



Understanding, although desertification and erosion have taken place for eons beyond remembrance, where the activities of sapient beings exacerbate those processes or cause the expansion of drylands to take place where they otherwise would not, far reaching negative consequences can result.

Outlining the source of artificially caused desertification to include over-grazing, deforestation, the over-exploitation of soils from farming, and the loss of sufficient moisture in soils to prevent wind erosion after tillage or the removal of vegetation,

Highlighting the effects of artificial desertification to include the destabilisation of the local biosphere, diminished habitability and food production in the affected areas, as well as climate changes in the larger scope of the region when water cannot be dispersed into the atmosphere through transpiration from plants,

This General Assembly, in seeking to avoid such environmental repercussions, hereby:

Establishes the Environmental Survey of the World Assembly (ESWA) as a research and advisory department within the World Assembly Scientific Programme, employing an appropriate number of scientists and support staff, and paid for by the WA general fund with no external sources for financial contribution permitted;

Instructs the ESWA to:

  1. Conduct ground, water, and atmospheric surveys of member nations' and their territories, as well as accessible international areas in order to collect data on their environmental situations.
  2. Keep and publish records of survey findings, develop estimations to the cause of any changes in a survey area over time, and create predictions of future trends.
  3. Alert member nations to at-risk areas of environmental degradation caused by their sapient inhabitants and issue recommendations for appropriate countermeasures.
  4. Identify areas in member nations’ territories as candidates for reforestation, land reclamation, and rehabilitation, where environmental degradation has been artificially made.
  5. Allow volunteer scientists with relevant expertise to assist with ESWA research under supervision.

Mandates member nations develop and implement curriculum with ESWA data as a comprehensive part of existing education in geological sciences for their nation’s youth to understand the causes, consequences, and solutions for artificial desertification and how students may ultimately aid this field;

Requires member nations prohibit over-grazing and, instead, employ sustainable, targeted grazing practices, defined as the rotation of livestock between pastures with fallowing periods sufficient to allow plants to recover, unless the livestock is being used to maintain a controlled conservation area for the purposes of improving biodiversity or the livestock is temporarily used to fertilise and prepare farmland;

Orders member nations to install windbreaks around farm fields in areas designated by the ESWA to be “at-risk” of wind erosion, in sufficient intervals to be effective;

Requires that member nations, where groundwater overdrafting causes the water table to consistently and unsustainably drop, practice artificial recharge, defined as the treatment of available waste water and deposition of the treated water back to the aquifer to minimise the long-term ecological damage;

Mandates that member nations prohibit commercial-industrial agriculture operations from contributing to deforestation by the conversion of forested habitats to farms and grasslands through agricultural burning;

Recommends that member nations work in harmony to develop and contribute to reforestation projects in needed areas identified by the ESWA to make a positive impact on the wellbeing of all nations.
Draft 1 wrote:
Responsible Land Management

Category: Environmental | Industry: Agricultural | Proposed by: Refuge Isle



Understanding the dangers posed by environmental degradation and the expansion of drylands that take place in nations which the World Assembly observes;

This General Assembly,

Outlines the causes of desertification to include over-grazing, the destruction of forested habitats, the over-exploitation of soils from farming, and the loss of sufficient moisture in soils to prevent wind erosion after tillage or the removal of vegetation,

Highlights the effects of desertification to include the destabilisation of the local biosphere, diminished habitability and food production in the affected areas, as well as climate changes in the larger scope of the region when water cannot be dispersed into the atmosphere through transpiration from plants.

Seeking to avoid such consequences from this unmanaged threat, the General Assembly, therefore:

Establishes the Environmental Survey of the World Assembly (ESWA) as a research and advisory department of the World Assembly, employing an appropriate number of scientists and support staff, and paid for by the WA general fund with no external sources for financial contribution permitted;

Instructs the ESWA to:

  1. Conduct ground, water, and atmospheric surveys in member nations' and their territories, as well as accessible international areas in order to collect data on their environmental situations.
  2. Keep and publish records of survey findings, develop estimations to the cause of any changes in a survey area over time, and create predictions of future trends.
  3. Alert member nations to at-risk areas of desertification in their respective territories and issue recommendations on reversing environmental degradation within them.
  4. Identify areas in member nations’ territories as candidates for reforestation, land reclamation, and rehabilitation.
  5. Allow volunteer scientists with relevant expertise to assist with ESWA research under supervision.

Mandates member nations develop and implement robust education programs with ESWA data for their nation’s youth to understand the causes, threats, and solutions for desertification and how students may ultimately aid this field;

Requires member nations to prohibit over-grazing and, instead, employ sustainable grazing practices, defined as the rotation of livestock between enclosures with pasture fallowing periods long enough to allow plants to recover their height and carbohydrate stores;

Orders member nations to install windbreaks around farm fields in areas designated by the ESWA to be “at-risk” of wind erosion, in sufficient intervals to be effective;

Requires that member nations, where their water extraction exceeds the rate at which their aquifers replenish, engage in artificial recharge, defined as the treatment of waste water and subsequent deposition of the treated water back to the aquifer in order to minimise long-term ecological damage;

Mandates that member nations, which have industries in the field of lumber, offset their lumber production with equal levels of reforestation in harvested areas;

Recommends that member nations work in harmony to develop and contribute to reforestation projects in candidate areas identified by the ESWA to make a positive impact on the wellbeing of all nations.


Taking into consideration the complaints filed in the repeal, I've aimed to make this draft rather specific and define some of the points I think the original resolution might have been aiming for. In this draft, however, I've made some key improvements in areas that I think would be of help, such as having the idea of education being for all students in member nations instead of just workers who can opt out or be opted out. The specific requirements in agriculture and forestry are intended to have enough teeth to make an impact with this topic, but also be reasonably obtainable without undue burdens or quotas.

Finally, the establishment of an Environmental Survey both accomplishes and idea that I've had for a few months about providing easy access to environmental data, as well as replaces some core functions of the WA Environmental Council, referenced in #432, established in #42, but actually repealed in #152. I'm not aware that this was ever replaced and I didn't see one when I looked it up, but there are a heck of a lot of resolutions.
Last edited by Ransium on Fri Oct 25, 2019 9:16 pm, edited 59 times in total.

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Postby Kenmoria » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:28 pm

“Since you use ‘member nations’ in some clauses but ‘nations’ in others, it looks as though you are trying to affect non-members in the clauses that don’t contain ‘member nations’. I suggest standardising throughout.”
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Postby Refuge Isle » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:39 am

Good idea. I've edited the draft.

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Postby Marxist Germany » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:48 am

"Since you are able to write up a much better replacement I will be dropping mine and supporting this."
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Postby San Carlos Islands » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:51 am

Looks good, I'm full support of this replacement.
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Postby Concrete Slab » Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:56 am

Full support. :)
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Refuge Isle
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Postby Refuge Isle » Fri Oct 04, 2019 5:35 pm

Thanks for everyone's kind words and support. I've made some tweaks and, if there aren't any additional suggestions for this draft, will submit it tomorrow before the idea of the repeal gets too far away from people's minds.

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Postby Youssath » Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:46 pm

Refuge Isle wrote:Thanks for everyone's kind words and support. I've made some tweaks and, if there aren't any additional suggestions for this draft, will submit it tomorrow before the idea of the repeal gets too far away from people's minds.

"Hold it right there, ambassador. As much as I would like to join the bandwagon, you will need to give some time for this resolution to mature for a week like aged whiskey. Trust me, it gives time for people to actually respond and review your drafted resolution first rather than giving them a shock by posting a draft and immediately submitting right afterwards. And I can guarantee you all that I am not intoxicated at the time of this speech..."

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Postby Ransium » Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:56 pm

I want to comment on this, but I haven’t had time. Please give this more time.

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Refuge Isle
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Postby Refuge Isle » Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:05 pm

Ransium wrote:I want to comment on this, but I haven’t had time. Please give this more time.

Of course, friend. I'm just not used to getting much feedback :p

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Postby Araraukar » Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:25 am

Ransium wrote:I want to comment on this, but I haven’t had time. Please give this more time.

OOC: Same here.

Something to consider, though: erosion is a natural process.
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Postby Refuge Isle » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:58 am

Araraukar wrote:Something to consider, though: erosion is a natural process.

Of course, so is desertification. But we have some agency over those natural processes when human activity exacerbates them or causes them to occur where it otherwise wouldn't (to our own detriment). There's obligation to intervene in that regard, especially when neighbouring communities can be negatively affected through no fault of their own, when some simple preventative measures could have helped a great deal.

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Postby Youssath » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:48 am

"Normally, this delegation will nitpick on every single detail in the resolution and try to bring clarity to the points given to the resolution at hand here. However, given how this resolution is astonishingly well-made, I have the fullest confidence that this resolution can pass in the General Assembly as the successor."

"Give it a week after you have posted your draft (thread) before submitting this into the General Assembly. You have the fullest confidence of this very delegation, that is of course unless new problems have been brought up by other delegations."

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Postby Refuge Isle » Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:55 pm

I've been going back over this draft over the last several days to see if I could improve the wording and sentence flow a bit. I've updated the OP with these changes, and so hopefully it's more coherent.

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Postby Ransium » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:01 pm

Refuge Isle wrote:Understanding the dangers posed by environmental degradation and the expansion of drylands that take place in nations which the World Assembly observes;


I don't like how focused this opener is on change being necessarily bad. Deserts have been expanding and contracting since time immemorial. While IRL most desertification is being driven by the actions of man and is probably pretty bad generally, it makes me a bit uncomfortable to see it paint as universally bad and universally the fault of sentient beings.

This General Assembly,


I do not like where this has been inserted. It breaks up the preface in a way the doesn't seem logical to me and clashes with most passed resolutions. I'd much prefer this brought to the beginning and the entire preface linked together and not punctuated.

[Outlines the causes of desertification to include over-grazing, the destruction of forested habitats, the over-exploitation of soils from farming, and the loss of sufficient moisture in soils to prevent wind erosion after tillage or the removal of vegetation,


Again treating desertification as to only possible be a man driven thing I do no like. An insertion of "desertification caused by sentient beings" would make me happier.

Highlights the effects of desertification to include the destabilisation of the local biosphere, diminished habitability and food production in the affected areas, as well as climate changes in the larger scope of the region when water cannot be dispersed into the atmosphere through transpiration from plants.


Nice.

Seeking to avoid such consequences from this unmanaged threat, the General Assembly, therefore:


I think a major argument missing from your preface is why this an international issue. You kind of talk about the internationality in the second part of the previous clause, but I think this is a major way to challenge this resolution and should be addressed in a more head on manner.

Establishes the Environmental Survey of the World Assembly (ESWA) as a research and advisory department of the World Assembly, employing an appropriate number of scientists and support staff, and paid for by the WA general fund with no external sources for financial contribution permitted;


Everyone loves to make new committees, but using an existing one is a much better way of communicating you are well versed in the WA and probably could be argued to have favorable RP spending outcomes. Regardless this definitely should be using WASP IMO which has been used for similar environmental survey efforts. See here for a completeish list of committees: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=437605

Instructs the ESWA to:

  1. Conduct ground, water, and atmospheric surveys in member nations' and their territories, as well as accessible international areas in order to collect data on their environmental situations.
  2. Keep and publish records of survey findings, develop estimations to the cause of any changes in a survey area over time, and create predictions of future trends.
  3. Alert member nations to at-risk areas of desertification in their respective territories and issue recommendations on reversing environmental degradation within them.
  4. Identify areas in member nations’ territories as candidates for reforestation, land reclamation, and rehabilitation.
  5. Allow volunteer scientists with relevant expertise to assist with ESWA research under supervision.


In general, I don't have a huge problem with this stuff. Physical survey may be felt to be intrusive by some, and considering the size and scale of the WA is likely to be exceedingly expensive. I would recommend a larger reliance on remote sensing methods, which can likely accomplish a large portion or all of what you're thinking of the committee doing. It's likely more powerful than you think, for example ground water changes can accurately be estimated using remote sensing of gravitational changes https://earthdata.nasa.gov/learn/sensin ... th-gravity. Here I really don't like the lack of distinction better natural and unnatural desertification. Deserts are valuable ecosystem with unique biota etc. etc. Your proposal seems to imply ever acres of desert lost is for the better of all. I think you mean to imply that the active remediation will only occur in areas that were not only deserts, but there's nothing actually in these clauses that says that.

Mandates member nations develop and implement robust education programs with ESWA data for their nation’s youth to understand the causes, threats, and solutions for desertification and how students may ultimately aid this field;


I've never mandated environmental education in a resolution I've written and I can't say I like it. It feels a bit like mandating curriculum even if the wording allows for optional after school programs, college courses, etc. Still this feels kind of like an expensive, indirect, and heavy handed means of trying to solve the problem. Despite these last two sentences I don't feel super strongly about it so if you love it keep it.

Requires member nations to prohibit over-grazing and, instead, employ sustainable grazing practices, defined as the rotation of livestock between enclosures with pasture fallowing periods long enough to allow plants to recover their height and carbohydrate stores;


Range land has never been my thing TBH, but this clause immediately made me think of Alan Savory's TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/allan_savory_ ... anguage=en. While Savory shouldn't be taken as the one sole knowledge base on grassland management he certainly makes a persuasive case. And while you're not banning grazing, I would much prefer a definition of grazing that focuses on mimicking historic grazing animals rather than focusing on somewhat arbitrary 'recover their height and carbohydrate stores". I really don't like this recovery idea because it seems to imply a return to pre-grazing levels which are themselves arbitrary and may be unobtainable depending on the time of year and life cycle of the grass. Grazing an annual grass in early spring may take a couple of days to return to it's pre-grazing state, whereas grazing in summer likely means waiting a year to graze it again.

Orders member nations to install windbreaks around farm fields in areas designated by the ESWA to be “at-risk” of wind erosion, in sufficient intervals to be effective;


I think this okay.

[
b]Requires[/b] that member nations, where their water extraction exceeds the rate at which their aquifers replenish, engage in artificial recharge, defined as the treatment of waste water and subsequent deposition of the treated water back to the aquifer in order to minimise long-term ecological damage;


This is pretty vague and super hard to enforce. You don't speak of the rate of artificial recharge, so I'm pretty sure I could extract millions of acre feet and recharge only a few acre feet and be in perfect compliance with this clause as written. Also I don't like the certainty of information in this clause. Extraction rate, natural replenishment rates, and the gap between the two are really hard to quantify. Regardless, this is a huge issue that justice is not going to be served to in a single clause. And why is this even here? I've not heard of ground water extraction and desertification being strongly linked (although I could just be lacking information on the matter).

Mandates that member nations, which have industries in the field of lumber, offset their lumber production with equal levels of reforestation in harvested areas;


How does one offset lumber with reforestation. Lumber is measured in board feet, reforestation in trees per acre. How does one convert board feet to trees per acre in a universal manner. I rather like Sustainable Forest Management (and considering it's environmental legislation that I didn't write on a topic I care about a great deal that's really saying something) I think you should just let it do the work on reforestation. If you must. I would rewrite this to something about making sure appropriate reforestation measures are taken to prevent logging operations from contributing to deforestation. In reality though, with well functioning economies where the logging company owns the land, this is a minor consideration as it's in the logging companies interest to reforest somewhere they cut down. Spatially very large fires, disease, and pests, particularly events outside of the historic norm are much more likely to contribute to deforestation than a logging company. If humans are doing it purposefully, it's more than likely to convert the Forest to a grassland for grazing or some other use rather than for lumber production.

Recommends that member nations work in harmony to develop and contribute to reforestation projects in candidate areas identified by the ESWA to make a positive impact on the wellbeing of all nations.


And mandates ambassadors from all nations sit around a camp fire and sing "Kumbaya" but this clause is fine, I think.

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Refuge Isle
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Postby Refuge Isle » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:22 pm

Ransium wrote:I don't like how focused this opener is on change being necessarily bad. Deserts have been expanding and contracting since time immemorial. While IRL most desertification is being driven by the actions of man and is probably pretty bad generally, it makes me a bit uncomfortable to see it paint as universally bad and universally the fault of sentient beings.
...
Again treating desertification as to only possible be a man driven thing I do no like. An insertion of "desertification caused by sentient beings" would make me happier.


Although I think it's implied, I will revise this resolution to explicitly state it's about desertification being artificially driven by sapient beings.

Ransium wrote:I do not like where this has been inserted. It breaks up the preface in a way the doesn't seem logical to me and clashes with most passed resolutions. I'd much prefer this brought to the beginning and the entire preface linked together and not punctuated.

There's an interesting inverse where proposals go through with a traditional-looking structure, but make no sense grammatically. But if it helps, I'll remove this and bold where it appears the second time, instead.

Ransium wrote:I think a major argument missing from your preface is why this an international issue. You kind of talk about the internationality in the second part of the previous clause, but I think this is a major way to challenge this resolution and should be addressed in a more head on manner.

I'd like to think that the reasons for it being an international issue are adequately discussed in:

Highlights the effects of desertification to include the destabilisation of the local biosphere, diminished habitability and food production in the affected areas, as well as climate changes in the larger scope of the region when water cannot be dispersed into the atmosphere through transpiration from plants.

Seeking to avoid such consequences from this unmanaged threat, the General Assembly, therefore:

If the World Assembly's mission is to do good and be of help, especially in a "you know not what you do" situation, both for their own nation and with larger scale climate impacts, then there's a reasonable mandate to intervene.

Ransium wrote:Everyone loves to make new committees, but using an existing one is a much better way of communicating you are well versed in the WA ... Regardless this definitely should be using WASP IMO which has been used for similar environmental survey efforts.

I'll be happy to place it under WASP, but I'm not aware of any sub-agency of WASP that carries out what I'm trying to do with an environmental survey, certainly not without getting grossly off topic and missing the point of what this needs to do. Reliable, independent data from a dedicated department is something that I think strengthens this resolution and provides a utility to benefit more than just this topic.

Ransium wrote:In general, I don't have a huge problem with this stuff. Physical survey may be felt to be intrusive by some, and considering the size and scale of the WA is likely to be exceedingly expensive. I would recommend a larger reliance on remote sensing methods, which can likely accomplish a large portion or all of what you're thinking of the committee doing.

Strictly speaking, I don't recall specifying that survey data can't be gather remotely (or has to be gathered physically). I'd tried to do the tightrope walk of being detail-oriented so as to abide the criticisms in the GAR#432 repeal, while also keeping in mind that some nations can take up most or all of a planet. One size isn't going to fit all, but the only requirement is that accurate data is collected. If a space-faring nation sends a scientist with a tricorder and magic tachyon sensors, I'm going to say that's compliance.

Ransium wrote:I've never mandated environmental education in a resolution I've written and I can't say I like it. It feels a bit like mandating curriculum even if the wording allows for optional after school programs, college courses, etc. Still this feels kind of like an expensive, indirect, and heavy handed means of trying to solve the problem. Despite these last two sentences I don't feel super strongly about it so if you love it keep it.

To your fears that my aim is to mandate curriculum: my aim is to mandate curriculum. When I talk to people about environmental issues, the response I get most is not having any idea what individual people can do, the effects that a single person can have, and what the consequences would look like from taking action or not. Well, that's an issue with education, and it's not going to cost two billion of your favourite currency to get a textbook author panel to write up two pages from ESWA data and ask a teacher to include three slides in a PowerPoint in 9th grade to present it. I will tweak that wording to explicitly state that I don't expect a year long class on the subject, but that it should contribute to existing education in earth sciences.

Ransium wrote:I really don't like this recovery idea because it seems to imply a return to pre-grazing levels which are themselves arbitrary and may be unobtainable depending on the time of year and life cycle of the grass. Grazing an annual grass in early spring may take a couple of days to return to it's pre-grazing state, whereas grazing in summer likely means waiting a year to graze it again.

The reason that I wrote this specifically is because a criticism of livestock rotation is that it happens too fast and causes plants to die off because they don't have enough energy to sustain themselves, let alone livestock. Taller grasses and plants that need that height start to be wiped out of the area because they don't have the time to recover. Still, it's a better idea than constantly grazing where that recovery period effectively never happens, everything is cleared out, and animals need supplemental food to make up for the loss. I'm sure there's room for improvement or better ideas here, but how is "mimicking historic grazing animals" any less arbitrary?

Ransium wrote:This is pretty vague and super hard to enforce. You don't speak of the rate of artificial recharge, so I'm pretty sure I could extract millions of acre feet and recharge only a few acre feet and be in perfect compliance with this clause as written. Also I don't like the certainty of information in this clause. Extraction rate, natural replenishment rates, and the gap between the two are really hard to quantify. Regardless, this is a huge issue that justice is not going to be served to in a single clause. And why is this even here? I've not heard of ground water extraction and desertification being strongly linked (although I could just be lacking information on the matter).

This clause is aimed at nations who use water from aquifers to draw up vast sums of water for irrigation beyond the aquifer's means. It lowers the water table, can cut off rivers, deprive wildlife of water sources, and dry out the land. There's no way that I can sit here and tell a nation "hey, don't farm!", but I can say that nations that overdraft have some obligation to put the water they have access to back into the system where possible.

Ransium wrote:How does one offset lumber with reforestation. ... In reality though, with well functioning economies where the logging company owns the land, this is a minor consideration as it's in the logging companies interest to reforest somewhere they cut down.

Seems like you answered your own question. I will edit the forestry clause to regard the Brazil effect and not lumber production.

It sounds like there's a lot of things you'd rather not see in this resolution, but of course if I didn't push back on that, there would be nothing here to vote on. I'm happy to make improvements in the places I can, but I'm not at all convinced that my draft needs to be dismantled as much as you suggest, particularly when the point of it is to take simple, but reasonable steps in the right direction.

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Postby Ransium » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:02 pm

I know slash and burn gets a bad wrap and all but it is an indigenous farming practice that's been practiced sustainably continuously for thousands of years in the Amazon even though it temporarily converts forest into farms. It's about rate, rotation, and post burning management.

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Refuge Isle
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Postby Refuge Isle » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:32 pm

Would "industrial agricultural operations" adequately separate indigenous practices from deforestation? Vast amounts of land being converted to farms or pastures for short term economic gain, no accountability or desire to replant, and diminished ability to recover when the shallow topsoil has been depleted definitely falls into artificial desertification causes and would negatively impact other nations in the area, so I feel like it would be incomplete legislation to skip it. I'll have to think for a bit on how to clarify that and keep it relevant to uncommon nation types.

Edit: After doing some extensive refresher reading on the subject (instead of remembering a presentation I did 13 years ago based on a 1987 book) that's probably the edit I'm going to stick with. While I understand that it's possible for indigenous people to sustainably practice slash-and-burn, that's not what this is associate with, for good reason. The practice is always destructive except in cases where seedlings will only grow after a fire. Even outside of the tropical rainforest where it's taken place in central and southern Europe, it's difficult to just recover that land after the nutrients are used up or the lack of roots lets it be washed away. Further, situations like the burning of grasslands in Africa (which is probably bad, but I'll say the jury is still out on) shouldn't be affected because no forested habitats are being destroyed for the purposes of short term gain. Any indigenous practices that take place in the Amazon should be less than a reasonable interpretation of "industrial" operations.
Last edited by Refuge Isle on Wed Oct 09, 2019 12:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Imperium Anglorum » Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:01 am

I would think not, there exist many destructive agricultural practices which are not necessarily industrial in scope. Consider, for example, the arguments brought forth in Jared Diamond's book Collapse, which details a number of large population declines in pre-industrial societies.

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Postby Araraukar » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:59 am

Imperium Anglorum wrote:I would think not, there exist many destructive agricultural practices which are not necessarily industrial in scope.

OOC: If talking of deforestation as the major issue, Easter Island is a great example of a preindustrial ecocatastrophe.

Refuge Isle wrote:Even outside of the tropical rainforest where it's taken place in central and southern Europe, it's difficult to just recover that land after the nutrients are used up or the lack of roots lets it be washed away. ... Any indigenous practices that take place in the Amazon should be less than a reasonable interpretation of "industrial" operations.

OOC: Extensively used up to early last century in the northern taiga zone, sustainably, unlike modern logging, where the topsoil is broken by heavy machinery and rains cause erosion issues. You don't need to fear desertification to have issues with modern instead of traditional land use. Intensification of use is always the problematic part.

reversing environmental degradation

Sometimes this means allowing the area return to desert, in cases where it has been forcibly irrigated and fertilized to grow crops. Deserts exist naturally. Trying to make them into something else but deserts results in unsustainable land use and environmental degradation.

I also echo Ransium's issues with the groundwater being offtopic for desertification, because whether some place is desert or not depends on rainfall and evaporation. Actually, that's the literal RL definition. What's your definition? Oh wait you don't have one. If you want to exclude natural deserts, you should have one, and say that this proposal doesn't address such areas (since they are naturally deserts).
Last edited by Araraukar on Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:12 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Refuge Isle » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:55 am

Araraukar wrote:Sometimes this means allowing the area return to desert, in cases where it has been forcibly irrigated and fertilized to grow crops.

I will rewrite this sentence. I was looking at it yesterday and it seemed out of place anyway. 3 and 4 of ESWA instructions should be intended for places that have been enriched beyond their means as well as degraded from irresponsible management or exploitation.

Araraukar wrote:I also echo Ransium's issues with the groundwater being offtopic for desertification, because whether some place is desert or not depends on rainfall and evaporation. Actually, that's the literal RL definition. What's your definition? Oh wait you don't have one. If you want to exclude natural deserts, you should have one, and say that this proposal doesn't address such areas (since they are naturally deserts).

Outlining the source of artificially caused desertification to include over-grazing, deforestation, the over-exploitation of soils from farming, and the loss of sufficient moisture in soils to prevent wind erosion after tillage or the removal of vegetation,

This, provided with the almost excessive use of "artificially caused desertification" or "artificial desertification" defines exactly what I'm talking about with no interpretation to turn the Sahara into a garden.

I maintain that depleting aquifers and lowering the water table are an easily researchable contributor to desertification, but given the draft is already three times longer than the resolution it's aimed to replaced, I can leave it out and save that topic for someone else.
Last edited by Refuge Isle on Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:47 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Postby Araraukar » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:17 am

Refuge Isle wrote:I maintain that depleting aquifers and lowering the water table are an easily researchable contributor to desertification

OOC: In that case, links please. And do take into account the issue of natural desert being irrigated (which can't count as an example as it's the opposite of what you're talking about in general).
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Postby Refuge Isle » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:51 am

I'm interested in sending this in soon. Most of the critiques here have made adjustments by this third draft to accommodate them. With what remains, there might not be much to be done.

I'm more interested in Ransium's perspective that indigenous people can practice slash and burn sustainably more than I'm interested in finding a way to prevent Easter Island, politically backflipping how it's okay for the WA to be that into people's business. More importantly, I think placing restrictions on indigenous farming operations which don't meet the large scales intended could lead to a situation where they're forced to relocate to their more industrial counterparts to have enough food to live. I understand that there can be ecological damage created by those activities, but it's on a scale that's far lower than this resolution should be concerned with. This can be considered a flaw in the proposal, but any adjustment I can imagine would create much greater issues.

At this point, there are now four mandates, but I'm very happy with their wording and how easy they should be to follow in order to create some substantive preventative measures on this subject.
Last edited by Refuge Isle on Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Ransium » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:46 am

I have some more thoughts I will try to post later today.

EDIT: Since nobody has posted anything since this post I'm just going to edit this.

Mandates that member nations prohibit commercial-industrial agriculture operations from contributing to deforestation by the conversion of forested habitats to farms and grasslands through agricultural burning;


So let's list the things that could equally contribute to deforestation that are fine:

1) Conversion from forest to agriculture via logging the forest or bulldozing the forest without burning.

2) Having a wildfire burn through a forest then turning it into agriculture

3) Burning forest and then converting it into open space for any reason besides commercial-industrial agriculture, e.g. commercial/residential development, strip mining etc. etc.

Also, this blanket ban seems super unfair. A formerly forested nation that has already converted all their land to agriculture has no worries here, a nation that has preserved their forests but needs a bit more space for agriculture is completely and utterly blocked from doing anything. This is not a step forward, it is an arbitrary ban that will do nothing but alter people's behaviors slightly without reducing deforestation/desertification.
Last edited by Ransium on Sun Oct 13, 2019 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Refuge Isle » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:29 pm

Ransium wrote:So let's list the things that could equally contribute to deforestation that are fine:

1) Conversion from forest to agriculture via logging the forest or bulldozing the forest without burning.
...
3) Burning forest and then converting it into open space for any reason besides commercial-industrial agriculture, e.g. commercial/residential development, strip mining etc. etc.

Valid criticism, but open space would probably be covered under grasslands unless your hypothetical world involves converting a hectare of jungle to a concrete slab for zero reason.

It's getting late, so for now I'm adding this to the draft and I'll think about things tomorrow, or today rather:

Requires member nations to develop legislation prohibiting the excessive removal or destruction of vegetation, defined as such removal resulting in exposed, unprotected soils creating a threat of artificial desertification or contributing to existing desertification in the local area;


Ransium wrote:2) Having a wildfire burn through a forest then turning it into agriculture.

How does the state plan a natural disaster that happens to take place in the location of their ideal farming operations, exactly? How would that method of flagrantly circumventing the restrictions in this proposal somehow be okay to use like the dog ate your homework? If you want a disaster recovery section in this draft, you can say so, but your complaint is in a completely different category than the planned systematic burning of forests that's a part of unsustainable Land Management.

Ransium wrote:Also, this blanket ban seems super unfair. A formerly forested nation that has already converted all their land to agriculture has no worries here,

Is the World Assembly often in the business to assess and penalise nations for activities that have taken places years, decades, etc. before legislation takes place? Even the original legislation didn't have a mandate that WA inspectors determine if a nation deforested their land to the point of causing desertification and demand they rectify it. I have no intention of opening up that can of worms where suddenly we run into a scenario where someone's capital needs to be burned down because a primal forest existed there thirty thousand years ago. It's beyond the scope of this proposal.

Ransium wrote:a nation that has preserved their forests but needs a bit more space for agriculture is completely and utterly blocked from doing anything.

This is misrepresenting the text to the point of absurdity. You already complained in this post that logging a forest and not burning it would be entirely acceptable in the current wording, so which is it?
Last edited by Refuge Isle on Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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