New River Symposium Talk, 2006
Robert H. Giles, Jr. retired from VPI and SU College of Natural Resources, 1998. He has been working on implementing the Rural System. He taught systems ecology, wildlife management, and others. He was a state wildlife biologist, taught at the University of Idaho, and was chairman of the Blacksburg planning commission. He wrote 200 papers and books, several on watershed management.
A Reasonable Future for the Valley
The present and immediate future seem grim for the Valley... its employment, community stability, and natural resource management. Beset with growing energetic, ecological, esthetic, and economic problems and stalled leadership, it seems essential to dream of a cost-effective way to get what we really want. We have to decide that, not surrender to past knowledge. We need new thoughts about independence, diversity of action, scale of operation, adding value, synergistic work, global opportunities, optimization, and lasting management. We need to reconcile our expectations with our potentials and our action. We have paid for technology and knowledge that we have not used. There is a way to a reasonable future for all aspects of the watershed, i.e., Rural System, a citizen-based, for-profit business conglomerate, with a labor force working on lands and waters, a central guidance function providing essential common services, intensive planned management of private lands voluntarily under contract, and the coordinated emergence and affiliations with over 80 small businesses and natural resource enterprises. We know of coming energy, climatic, and hydrologic crises and federal agency economic crises. We know of emigration. We can prioritize our problems. We have to get very busy on creating our desired near future.
Repeating ...There is a way to a reasonable future for all aspects of the watershed, i.e., Rural System, a citizen-based, for-profit business conglomerate, with a labor force working on lands and waters, a central guidance function providing essential common services, intensive planned management of private lands voluntarily under contract, and the coordinated emergence and affiliations with over 80 small businesses and natural resource enterprises.
Giles told several stories from his extensive notes on Rural System now available.
We do not want to sustain our well-monitored but unsatisfactory present conditions but to restore and have managed our watershed. This talk advances the idea that such management can only be done by a private enterprise, a conglomerate demonstrating for private landowners and others how to achieve long-term sustained profits. Land and water objectives (within the New River Watershed's Roundtable's published "Strategy") are intimate to those of employment, community stability, and quality of life. These are only likely to be achieved if under the guidance and tending of a modern sophisticated, high-technology enterprise. That enterprise can use millions of dollars of research results, ecological concepts and modeling, GIS and GPS, the Internet, dynamic planning, and transition processes in a new climate of urbanization and limited energy- and water-awareness. Building on principles of forest certification, existing monitoring, diversity in business as well as ecosystems, energy budgeting, long planning periods, conventional economics and optimization, and concepts of synergism, value-added and, and a new concept of the watershed, the enterprise can show work with a performance measure for the watershed. Such a system can work here and be transposed to other areas of the world. The System is described at www.RuralSystem.com.
Perhaps you will share ideas with me about some of the topic(s) above .
Robert H. Giles, Jr.
Februrary 7, 2007