GNOMO Vision Statement Poll

Greg Greenwood engineered a fantastic guiding Mission Statement for us, and presented it at the RMBL meeting:

Teams of researchers, covering the range of pertinent disciplines, work together in a finite number of sites representative of the diversity of mountain regions around the world to develop their understanding of the current structure and function as well as the longer-term evolution, of mountain social-ecological systems using protocols that support comparative analysis, at a detail sufficient to support forecasts of likely outcome, given sufficiently defined boundary conditions, and in ways that engage a wide range of actors and contribute significantly to public and private decision-making.

Now we need a short, visionary statement that is easy to communicate and remember, that conveys the change GNOMO wants to make in the world, and creates emotion.

Here’s a poll with the candidates submitted. Please vote for the most effective one, or send us a comment if you have a better idea.


Which concise statement best defines the visionary goal of GNOMO?

“The health of the mountains for the wealth of the plains”
“Mountains managed sustainably through knowledge and affection”
“Harmony between humans and their mountain environment”
“Mountains matter to society and society secures their future through research and conservation”
“Spurring action on behalf of mountains”
“Raising mountains to their rightful place in national life”

Poll Maker

7 Responses

  1. I’m not sure I’d vote for any of these, I think we’d be better off without a vision statement or tagline than with these, sorry. We use the word “observation”, which is rooted in an etymology that is both purely descriptive (“to look at”) and, if we trace the etymology back far enough, also somewhat normative (“to attend to”). A vision statement/tagline could build off that notion of attend – “Attending to Mountains”, as an example – which invites the various descriptive sciences (both biophysical and social), and the more normative elements (here something like “caring for them” or “acting on behalf of them”) of the arts and humanities as well.

  2. Eric Kelsey says:

    I like the third or first vision statement; I would just add a verb at the beginning to make it sound more dynamic and active. For example, I suggest:
    “Ensuring harmony between humans and their mountain environments.”
    “Ensuring the health of the mountains for the weather of the plains.”

  3. Adrian Harpold says:

    Also, not a big fan of these statements. We are not providing affection nor harmony and we are certainly not raising mountains. Why not something more along the lines of what we are actually doing:
    “Comparing mountain observations to improve outcomes for human and natural systems”

  4. Courtney Flint says:

    I’m not sure these options fit with the observatory goals and agree with the “normative” problem raised above. Perhaps something like:

    Integrating Knowledge for Global Mountain Understanding and Sustainability

  5. Uwe Boerst says:

    Hi all,

    First of all, I like Greg’s mission statement as it includes the entire (wide) range of imaginable activities within GNOMO. However I suggest to replace the phrase ‘ …forecasts of likely outcome,…’ by ‘likely future scenarios,…’ (or something similar), as especially the interaction between humans in mountain ecosystems is not predictable at all due to its probabilistical nature.
    Concerning the vision statements I don’t want to be destructive at all but I agree with Thomas’ comment that none of the suggested vision statements hit the point for me. That has two reasons and I try to make it as clear as possible (in my broken English):
    1. Most or all of the statements have a very normative character and likely fall in the trap of a ‘naturalistic fallacy’ (I hope, this is the correct English term—). Nature is not good or bad, and desired conditions in the mountains for the future can’t be derived logically from nature or current conditions. There are no ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ mountains or mountain ecosystems (statement one); at most one could address that to living circumstances. Sustainability (statement 2) is still a highly controversially discussed topic and even after more than 20 years of research no one really knows, what it is (is it conserving the present conditions, is it returning back to nature or is it a kind of development – as part of human ambition – that allows transformation to different socio-ecological ecosystems in time?). I don’t know what ‘harmony’ between mountains (a thing) and humans could mean. Is it that someone living in a mountain area has to be in peace with a landslide running over his house as it is part of the mountain nature to produce natural disaster (disaster only for people, not for nature)? We cannot act ‘on behalf of mountains’ (statement 5), as mountains don’t have a will and can’t communicate with us. Every single act we do is driven by a human perspective and not on behalf of nature. I also wonder if there is any ‘rightful place of mountains in the national life’ and if so, what are the legal consequences and who defines them.
    2. All statement suggestions focus on mountains and their preferable future character/role. That is understandable as the term ‘mountain’ seems to be the mayor link between all the different scientific approaches we experienced in Gothic and we are all ambitious working on a better understanding on mountain ecosystems, its interaction with humans and a better management. However, what exactly the best for the future is might be different for all of us and might also change in time. Consequently a vision with a desired future of the research object (in our case ‘mountains’) is either extremely normative and might to be adapted due to progress in research frequently or it is so vague (statement 4), that at least for me it’s not a clear vision that motivates me to work hard to reach a certain goal over years.
    Being more constructive I would suggest, that the vision of GNOMO should focus much more on us – the researches! GNOMO shall be a network for people working in high mountain areas making sure, that their researches are more focused, connected, comparable, efficient, visible, etcetera.
    So what do you think about something like:
    ’GNOMO wants to become the leading knowledge and action hub for integrated high mountain research in the world’
    Please – native speakers – feel free to find nicer words and phrases.
    I’m looking forward to any comments


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