The nemesis effect.


Environmental pressures are converging in ways that are likely to create a growing number of unanticipated crises. Two representative surprise crises involve the forests of Eastern North America and the coral reefs. These examples reveal 13 of the worst pressures inflicted on the planet and on mankind: climate change, acid rain, increasing ultraviolet light penetration, increasing tropospheric ozone levels, habitat loss, freshwater diversion, bioinvasion, alteration of fire cycles, persistent organic pollutants, nitrogen pollution, overfishing, population growth, and infectious diseases. It is noted that these crises will demand a fix, and each fix will require money, time, and political capital. However, ¿fixing¿ is not enough, since there is no realistic expectation of reducing the potential for additional crises. Hence, the best possible way of controlling such events is to do a better job of managing systems in their entirety. In view of this, several important principles are given; these include the following: 1) monoculture technologies are brittle; 2) direct opposition to a natural force usually invites failure or a form of success that is just as bad; 3) thinking through the likely systemic effects of a plan will help locate the risks, as well as indirect opportunities; 4) institutional pluralism can create a public space that no single institution could have created alone.

Cite this paper

@article{Bright1999TheNE, title={The nemesis effect.}, author={Catherine Bright}, journal={World watch}, year={1999}, pages={12-23} }