Monitoring the Circle of Life

Jan 20th: Shifting from Surveillance to Participatory Science, with Peter Donovan, Founder of the Soil Carbon Coalition

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Monitoring the Circle of Life: Shifting from Surveillance to Participatory Science

Why we need a radical new design for local monitoring of whole systems landscape function and biological work.

with Peter Donovan, Founder of the Soil Carbon Coalition

January 20th, 10 AM to 12 Noon, Eastern Standard Time (New York, USA)

7-9 AM Pacific Standard Time (California, USA)

Join us for a deep philosophical discussion about the different motivations behind the recent rush to monitor soils, watersheds, farmland, and forests, with one of the true pioneers of soil carbon and whole-systems landscape monitoring. Peter Donovan, founder of the non-profit Soil Carbon Coalition, will give a tour of the possible ways a community project might use radical new design for bringing in feedback in support of a shared, local intelligence on basic functions of water cycling and carbon cycling, as well as economics and quality of life.

He will explain why all of these interwoven factors are typically hidden or camouflaged by an emphasis on short-term, top-down, micro-focused problem solving often--without feedback on the big picture, or the underlying biological work and living processes of the bioregion or watershed. Surveillance capitalism and control of resources is rapidly replacing local curiosity, local understanding, and ongoing learning about the circle of life that surrounds us.

Surveillance monitoring includes:

  • compliance and certification monitoring
  • one-way information pipelines
  • expert predictions and models
  • academic research, publication, and paywalls
  • "Best Management Practices"

Participatory community monitoring is focused instead on creating conditions for:

  • shared intelligence on fundamental processes and principles of land function
  • local participatory evidence, learning, and interpretation
  • flexible, adaptable, portable data formats that support feedback and dialogue
  • permission and flexibility to ask new and different questions--and to get local people involved in both asking and answering those questions

A project of the non-profit Soil Carbon Coalition, can assist with documentation and recording data and feedback for existing local efforts at ecosystem and community regeneration.

You will come away from this discussion with a new understanding of:

  • Why a new design is needed
  • How and why differs from other monitoring apps and tools
  • How your own projects and region can create a shared local intelligence that makes a better quality of life possible for all who live there.

Didi Pershouse, founder of the Land and Leadership Initiative, and board member of the Soil Carbon Coalition, will host the discussion with Peter.

The meeting will allow time for discussion, and will be recorded for those who want to watch it later.

Your Instructor

Peter Donovan
Peter Donovan

Peter Donovan has a background in forestry, farm, and ranch work; sheep and cattle herding; Holistic Management and decision making; rangeland monitoring; and community development. In 2007 he founded the Soil Carbon Coalition. He has done extensive monitoring of soil carbon change, along with water infiltration and rangeland cover, throughout North America.

Course Curriculum

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