Saturday, November 30, 2013

Questionable Uses of Society's Limited Resources

Reply to: Proposed changes to UK nursery regulation


It doesn't seem like you have to register plants that you trade with other people. long as you're not a professional operator.   Maybe we should have to register plants that we trade with each other.  Then perhaps the government can send me a notification before I give Aeschynanthus speciosus to Monica for the 12th time.  I visited her and noticed Aeschynanthus speciosus growing here...and there...and there...and there...  And at first I thought that she had done so well with it that she had been able to spread it around her yard.  But then I realized that I had on several occasions unwittingly given her cuttings of Aeschynanthus speciosus.  If I had remembered that I had already given her a cutting then I wouldn't have offered it to her again.  I would have offered it to Steve instead.  Because it's not like I have enough of it that I could give 12 cuttings to each of my plant friends.  I wish I did have that much of it.  Epiphyllum strictum is a different story.  I have enough to give 20 cuttings to each of my plant friends.  But Aeschynanthus speciosus looks far better in a tree.  

I'd also like it if the government could remind me to collect pollen from my Aeschynanthus evrardii.  I'd like to try and cross it with Aeschynanthus gracilis "Pagoda Roof".  I have no idea if that cross is even the plants seem fairly dissimilar.

Speaking of which, it would be nice if the government created a database of every single cross that anybody has tried and whether it was successful or not.  I'd hate to waste my time trying to reinvent the wheel.  Plus, the database has to have a photo of all the crosses...and of the parents.

I'd also like to see a list of all the plants grown outdoors year around within a 50 mile radius of where I live.  There might already be a website that does this.  But I want it to be mandatory.  I think we'd appreciate the nudge.

With all that shouldn't be too hard to learn my plant preferences and offer some excellent plant recommendations.  Of course the recommendations should be heavily influenced by biodiversity considerations.  If there aren't enough tropical blueberries in cultivation...then my recommendations should be prioritized accordingly.

The government should really facilitate ex-situ conservation.  Like, they should show up at our doors with awesome and rare plants.  They'll pay us even.  The amount of money they give us would be determined by how rare a plant is.  Of course the government will conduct random visits to ensure that the plants are thriving.

The government should also pay us every time we propagate a plant.  The more rare a plant is, the more money we should get paid each time we increase the population of the plant.  A future where all plants are equally abundant?  That's a lot of regulation.

When I worked in the public sector...I accomplished things.  The same thing is true when I worked in the private sector.  I also accomplished things.  The difference is how my activities were determined.  In the private activities were determined by demand...but in the public sector my activities were determined by the demands of congress.  Clearly they aren't the same thing.  Demand is when I buy Aeschynanthus speciosus from Kartuz Nursery.  I put my money where my mouth is and this provided the funds for all the necessary associated activities.  The way that society's limited resources were used matched my preferences.

The demands of congress are a different story.  Clearly they don't accurately reflect my preferences.  How could they?  The government doesn't yet monitor my purchases...even if they could...just because I purchased Aeschynanthus speciosus once doesn't mean that I'll purchase it again.  So because congress can't possibly know the preferences of the people...there's a huge gap between how society's limited resources are used...and how they should be used.

There's nothing inherently wrong with having the government do something.  We can have the government do things that societies and companies and individuals are doing and could be doing.  No long as we replace the demands of congress with the actual demand.  Then we can have soldiers regularly patrol our gardens for slugs and snails...if that's something that we'd actually choose to spend our taxes on.

So if the government comes up with certain activities that don't match your preferences...then you could simply spend your tax dollars on other governmental activities.  Given that all government organizations will want to be would behoove them to do things that will attract the most positive feedback (tax dollars).

Because sending a letter to some politician doesn't quite communicate our preferences as effectively as just not spending our taxes on a new government program.  And this really won't be the last time that the government comes up with some questionable uses of society's limited resources.  

"Your use of this resource is questionable"...that's what I'd tell somebody if I visited them and noticed that they had planted a Cattleya in the ground.  "Your use of this resource is questionable".  I'd tell that to anybody here in Southern California who doesn't have at least one epiphyte on each of their trees.  "Your use of this resource is questionable."

There are a multitude of questionable uses of society's limited resources.  In fact, most uses of any given resource are questionable.  So it's really not easy to see which ones are most sensical.  Orchids were originally used as packing material.  Not sure if that's true but we should let people avoid what they believe to be questionable and pursue what they believe to make the most sense.

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