1. According to Meadows, elements, interconnections and a function or purpose are necessary components in systems. Describe the elements, connections and/or functions or purpose in the Chesapeake Bay watershed system. Diagram the system including these elements.
The seven different roles I found to be the main elements of the Bay Game since they were the ones making the decisions. Ultimately the Regulators (Bay, Agriculture, and Land Use) had the most power in the game because they could limit/allow, encourage/discourage the Crop Farmers, Animal Farmers, Land Developers, and Watermen. Depending on what the goal of the Regulators was, they could decide to give more profit to those they regulated for sustainable practices (and tax more for unsustainable practices), or limit business in the case of watermen. This would allow for an increase in Bay Health. But they could also allow more business to occur, and the decision of sustainable vs. unsustainable came down to those regulated. Those looking for more profit would most likely choose the unsustainable route.
The game also depended on communication between watersheds and Regulators/those regulated. More communication meant working together as a group towards a goal of balancing economy, quality of life, and bay health. Less communication encouraged the gain of the individual—everyone looking out for themselves only.
Goals of the individual affected the game as well. The individual could ignore the limits or take advantages of the allowances of the regulators and try to gain quick profits. This usually led to decreased bay health, and ultimately decreased economy and quality of life because the supply of business would rapidly deplete to nothing.
2. Describe how your diagram and understanding have changed since your first diagram of the Chesapeake Bay watershed system.
I based my first diagram on what affects the Bay health, not on who affects it. My second diagram focuses more on who affects the Bay health and strategies to decrease/increase the bad/good practices (or the what). Ultimately, people can decide not to pollute or practice sustainable solutions, but they have to have incentive to do that. After playing the bay game, I realized that those three elements we had to rank importance of (quality of life, environment health, and economy) drive our decisions. If we find the economy to be most important, then sustainable practices have to be encouraged by satisfying that incentive to make more money from them.
3. How do you think delay affects the efforts to improve the health of the Bay?
Delay plays a big role in Bay health. In business, everyone feels the needs to do as much business as they can at once. I was a waterman, and the other waterman in my business would pot and dredge 100% of the amount of time given by the Regulator. If I did less, I would be making less profit! So, we talked to our Regulator about this, and it basically came down to her limiting our practices. If Bay health decreased during a turn, less potting and dredging time was allotted to us. This allowed the fish/crab population to increase again, and the water pollution to decrease. Delay in other business practices I assume work the same way. If we use our resources so quickly and have such a strong surge of business at once, more pollution appears in runoff and the watersheds, and the resource (and basis of business) is depleted! The balance that’s the most difficult to strive for is delaying long enough for the resource to sustain/regenerate it’s population quicker than we use it.
4. What was your perceived understanding of the goal/s of the game? Did you think the overall goal/s “fit” with your goals as a stakeholder and citizen? Describe how your understanding of the goal/s affected your actions within the game?
My goal for the game was to achieve the life balance of economy, bay health (environment), and quality of life. Personally I found quality of life to be affected by the other two elements, but was a little unsure how that element was separate in the game. I place the bay health and economy to be of the greatest importance (both the same amount), and I put quality of life in the last position, but not much less than environment and economy. My decisions were based on how to increase/decrease my life balance. I ended up always trying to decrease my life balance score because the environment health ended up way higher than the economy and quality of life. The James River Watershed had many environmentally goal-oriented people in it. At first, I was trying to try and achieve the balance within my own role, but I realized that everyone else was working mostly towards environmentally friendly practices, so I could focus more on making a profit than affecting the environment. However, I realized this a bit too late, so by the time I tried to reorganize my goals, I had three turns left and not so much money. Therefore, my life balance ended up about 90% environment and 5% economy and 5% quality of life, which was way off my original balance goal. Therefore, my life balance score was way higher than it should be, and I did not reach my goal for the game. While playing, I felt like both a stakeholder and a citizen. My decisions were based on risking my needs for the group’s at times, and at others I made decisions based on my needs only. Even through communicating to other people in the watershed on what their goals were, I never felt 100% positive they were making decisions that achieved their goals, which made me want to make mine based on my life balance alone.
We are improving the UVA Bay Game with each iteration and would like your feedback. Please share any thoughts you have on how the game could be better, what you liked, how it could be best used, and any other comments you have.
I think the room we were in limited the amount of communication between watersheds and regulators/those regulated. If we had been in a large room with tables, that could have been helpful for communicating. Also, in class someone mentioned a way of instant messaging our regulators. I think also, if there was a way for watersheds to communicate, maybe between regulators of different watersheds, that would be more effective in getting everyone playing the game to work as one large group, instead of several watersheds, or even worse, individuals.