Wow, that took way too long, but I’m back.
I’ve got a simple problem, and I’m posting it here in the hopes of some new ideas.
Unfortunately, this isn’t science fiction. On the up side, it might have a tech solution.
While I was reading those environmental reports, another problem showed up. That problem came from a friend who is also an environmental consultant. He’d been called in to salvage a couple of rare plants (and I’ll get to the stupidity of that in a moment), because the environmental paperwork said that was all that was on the site of a small housing development. Actually, the site had about an acre of really rare stuff, including a couple of endangered species. However, the grading permit had already been issued, the paperwork had been signed, and he got to pick the two plants he was going to save (not including the endangered ones, as they officially didn’t exist). To top it off, the rare species he was salvaging doesn’t survive transplantation, so this was a pointless gesture, just killing them slowly instead of bulldozing them.
So here’s another way developers keep their costs down: hire someone to lie on the paperwork. These liars are called biostitutes or conslutants in the trade, incidentally.
My group is trying to figure out how to catch these creeps. To gather evidence, my thought was to post the environmental documents online, and to get volunteers to take pictures and GPS points to show where the pictures were taken. Then we can compare what they wrote with what is actually there.
It it turns out that a lot of developers are lying, I do know some people in the local bureaucracies who are going to get very, very angry. Whether they can do anything depends in part on who’s in power, but we’ll see.
But that’s the question: what can my (small, volunteer) group do using low cost technology? How do we gather and use information about this problem, without getting sued by a developer?
Matt and whoever else, spread the word: I’m trying to crowd-source solutions on this one, and I’m pretty sure we’re not alone with this issue.
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