Watershed Design Principles

For long-term sustainability



TUCSON (A-P) — To allow for up to 10,000 designs for watershed management units on Earth, number them WaterShed0000 to WaterShed9999. For 65,536 designs, use hexadecimal. A proper name for each watershed may be used as well, may change, but WS414F etc. works better for some purposes. Each watershed design will be a best-guess endeavor of designers. Those designs selected for testing will require testers (pioneers, aka voluntary refugees) and sustainers to reduce the design to practice and ongoing tweaking of the design.

As for what the carrying capacity of a watershed is, among other things that matter, residents don't get a vote. No committee of elected officials would know enough to have an opinion. Who determines a watershed's carrying capacity? Nature—as in the nature of things. Designers listen to Nature who determines what works. Their task is to listen well, which involves not listening to primate prattle insofar as possible. Beliefs do not determine what works. From among the set of what works, testers, as intentional refugees from the Euro-Sino Empire prior to collapse, vote their lives and vote with their feet to live their best-guess by becoming members of a watershed management unit. Unintentional refugees will not.

Involuntary refugees, those who continue to serve the current SYSTEM for as long as possible, will have few options. What works needs to be determined and memetically passed on to descendants, and generations of sustainers will maintain the pattern with occasional as-needed and well-considered tweaks. SYSTEM designs that fail will be replaced or the remnant social order (population) will need to reboot with a new OS. When there are thousands of managed watershed SYSTEMs, failures will be instructive and not lay waste to the planet's life-support system, unlike the collapse of a single global SYSTEM such as all consumers of industrial goods and services currently depend on.

Some who decide to live within a managed watershed unit will pass on their genes. Success involves having offspring born into a social system that has the potential to persist long-term. Survivalists who may end up peering from their bunker with fingers curled around triggers when not counting remaining ammunition will have failed to exercise sufficient foresight intelligence. Contributing to an ongoing functional non-Calhoun-rat-like complex society able to preserve and use information about what works is alternative to planning to survive a 'zombie apocalypse' in a bunker. Most voluntary refugees who opt for the watershed alternative will place a higher value on passing on their memes to future generations and as testers may hope to innovate and discover 'what works' so they may best pass on their legacy. Those having no memes to pass on are likely to persue short-term contengencies of self-interest within the business-as-usual SYSTEM for as long as doing so remains possible without at any point asking, 'And then what?'.

A WS0000 design will be implemented when 0.0014% of humans perceive a need to commit to the first of many WSs to come (4,000±) to maybe preserve information in the form of a long-term functional complex society able to evolve trust and cooperative behaviors that work. Of those 0.0014%, many will be dependents (children, elderly) and other family members who may go along with the best-guess decision maker of the family, so all will not have to 'perceive a need' to make an existential choice to join the first watershed management unit, so maybe only 0.0004% of humanity as heads of households will have to decide to become technoindustrial refugees from the fossil-fueled global empire to enable WS0000 to exist. Until then, we can think about it and iterate towards increasingly detailed plans.



As there is nothing desirable in consumption per se; the less consumption in a Society of Enough, the better, therefore production and consumption is minimized to meet life-driven intrinsic needs as distinct from manufactured purpose-driven extrinsic (Skinner box) wants that serve elite interests, one's own or those of other elites. A failure to meet needs, individual or collective, has adverse effects measurable in terms of reduced life expectancy or loss of functionality. Zero tolerance relative to maximum life expectancy or functionality is excessive intolerance as costs can become 'too high' as in approach an unpayable infinite. Tolerance may vary, but in general assume 5%. For example, the minimum tolerable amount and nutritional quality of food will, insofar as possible, not be less than will shorten life expectancy by more than 5% of optimal nor will over-nutrition (obesity) of more than 5% go untreated. Diet would be managed to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes to less than 5%, and so on. The value may be adjusted based on energy/resource costs, but policies based on zero risk arguments will not be the basis of policy making.

Numeracy involves asking how much. If a 5% risk is equal 0.8, or 'just enough' (to avoid more than a 5% increase in mortality/dysfunction), and 1.0 by definition equals 'enough', an optimal level of consumption, then 1.25 will equal more than enough, and just as with values less than 0.8, would need to be redressed. Primates can prattle endlessly about fairness and equability. Neoclassical economists can justify/explain why some must have 10,000 times more than others. Societies of Enough, however, need to put values (numbers) on values. If some elites are privileged to consume up to 1.25 times more than enough, perhaps as a reward for exceptional service to express social approbation in a material form, then anyone who feels entitled to more can vote with their feet or learn to moderate desires. It is possible to design and manage a biophysical economy of enough to meet human needs, but not the human potential for desire. A 5% risk, or 0.8 level of consumption implies that instead of living 75 years (a 1.0 life) that some live 72 years and that consumming up to 1.25 times more than enough does not increase risk of mortality more than 5% by overconsumption.

A watershed that defines 'just enough' to be 0.1 and 1.0 to be middle-class 'enough', and allows average elites to consume 1,000 times more goods and services than is enough, will sustainably support a much smaller population where commoners work to serve elites, as is normal among empire builders for a time until social unrest and/or overshoot destroys the SYSTEM as usual. A stable SYSTEM in which the predator population (hyper-elites) and prey population (commoners, peasants, serfs, slaves, workers) is maintained in equilibrium has not yet evolved among humans living in complex societies. It may be that complex societies that over tolerate (>25%) elite privilege in terms of energy/resource consumption, are inherently unstable, which is perhaps why humans have lived in equable (0.8 to 1.25 or less, gini coefficient < 0.2) sharing hunter-gather bands for 300 millennia.

What works as the centuries pass is alternative to what doesn't, though short-term self-interests may be served for a time. And what works? Ask Nature. Alternative, for a time, is to listen to prattle, full of sound and fury perhaps, that signifies nothing. Those peoples who may merit being listened to should have been living the sustainable life of enough for centuries in such a way that is a model for survival in that it molds individual behavior into a plan of actions or avoidances that are oriented toward the maintenance of a viable equilibrium between Man’s demands and Nature’s resources. In this manner the individual and society at large must both carry the burden of great responsibilities which extend not only to their own society but to the whole of mankind.

As for the rest of design for what works, it's details all the way down, which may vary. Get the details wrong and fail, then others may listen and learn. Eventually we'll have a human on the planet that really does understand it and can live with it properly. Or extinction is an option, and Nature doesn't care, though Nature is a Giving Parent.

Details for Federation Watershed design are outlined in the Constitution which is subject to revision each generation. Each generation carries the burden of great responsibilities. Failure is an option, therefore endeavor to think well as there is no life for humans in complex societies without ecolate thought. Existential concerns may justify repetition, so, let's see, perhaps we should endeavor to think and listen well..., or maybe we should just live in a world of pathologies so we and our progeny can continue to live the pathogenic life. Failure is an option. There may be worse things than failing to live the pathogenic life. Hu-mans awake.


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