Archive for Politics
To understand how individuals interact biologists use a branch of mathematics known as game theory, the central assumption of which is that entities (usually individuals) behave rationally; that is, they act in their own best interests in light of the available information about what others are doing. From an evolutionary perspective, it’s about maximizing one’s own success relative to that of others.
A famous example of the application of game theory to behaviour is the so-called Prisoner’s Dilemma. Imagine two suspects, held in separate cells. If they both stick with their story (loosely, “I dahn’t nah nuffin’ mate”) the authorities will have no evidence on which to convict and both will go free. Read the rest of this entry »
There was a fascinating meeting at the International Institute for Environment and Development last night. Professor Virgílio Viana, visiting fellow and director general of the Amazon Sustainability Foundation talked about the project he oversees in the Amazonas, the largest Brazilian Amazon state. A short summary of what he covered is in this video:
Viana’s presentation outlined the successes of the project, which has seen a switch in governmental policy from handing out free chainsaws towards a cultural value of seeing standing trees as being worth more than felled ones. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been an interesting week. The All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group met at the House of Commons to discuss Reducing Emissons from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD). His Excellency Laleshwar Singh, High Commissioner for Guyana in the UK, was there to reiterate his country’s offer to protect their pristine rainforest from illegal logging and clearance in exchange for millions of pounds of UK and international assistance. The money, he said, would go towards increased security, development of research opportunities, ecotourism and “sustainable forestry”. Improving education, health and employment prospects for local people would also figure in the plan.
It sounded great (apart from that sustainable forestry bit, thrown in with an alarmingly casual wave of the arm), but then came the catch. Read the rest of this entry »