Our Inevitably Diminishing Resources and Degraded Environment

Discussion in 'The Study' started by elder999, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    So, I’m going to share some thoughts here, and some facts. Just as I’ve already posted, facts will generally be bolded, and my thoughts-no matter who they are in agreement with – will be italicized. This will avoid confusion, I hope, between what is factual and what I believe or think to be the truth.

    By way of example then, the earth has a mass of 1.32X 10E25 lbs.

    How much is that? Is it “a lot?” Well, as my H.S. physics teacher Mr. Schrader taught me to ask, Compared to what?

    The earth’s atmosphere has a mass of 1.32X10E18 lbs. That’s 1/1,000,000 of earth’s mass

    Most authorities (the USGS, the oil industry, OPEC, other governments)put the world’s remaining recoverable crude oil at a mass of 3.0X10E18lbs(estimated remaining world recoverable:1.0 X10E12 barrels, at approx.. 300lbs/barrel-roughly a little less than 3/10,000,000 of earth’s mass.

    According to this site, world population is just over 7 billion. At an average of 110 lbs., the mass of all people on earth is roughly 7.7X 10E10 lbs.-and increasing, but still much less than half of the mass of the earth’s atmosphere-about 5/100,000,000 of the earth’s mass.

    And, of course, the mass of atmospheric CO2 is 3.0X10E12 lbs., approx. double what it was 120 years ago, when it was only 1.5X10E12, or 1900 times the mass of people on earth-today, of course, the CO2 in the atmosphere is roughly 4000 times the mass of all the people on earth.

    My point? Or, at least, my thoughts….well, we’ll get to those in a bit, but some more perspective…

    My great-grandfather, and most Cuffees before him back to about 1760 or so, were whalers. They sailed around the world-opened new whaling grounds in the Pacific back around 1820, and helped drive much of the world’s cetacean population to near-extinction. In fact, the whales may wind up extinct yet.

    Per this Wikipedia page, you can look to the following for animals extinct because of human activity:The following 59 pages are in this category, out of 59 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).

    A

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    D

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    F

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    The journal, Science, in this 2006 article, , predicted that the world will basically run out of wild-grown seafood by 2048, almost entirely due to fishing-or overfishing-trying to meet increased demand, while pollution and other environmental factors continue to further reduce piscine populations.

    The area where I live and work, the desert southwest, is an extreme drought-more to the point, though, it simply lacks the water to support all of its uses and users-something that would be true even if it weren’t going through a drought: According to recent federal forecasts, nearly half the lower 48 United States are experiencing drought- this, coupled with a 99% population increase since 1950, and a 127% increase in water usage, leads to several grim forecast models for U.S. water usage-with shortages in areas far afield from the desert southwest, like New York, and Washington, D.C.

    And, of course, there’s this disaster-an island of plastic in the North Central Pacific-the Great Pacific garbage patch was actually predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association back in the 80’s, and is having several far-reaching and lasting environmental impacts.

    Short version-mankind has an impact on our environment, and it’s not always good:sometimes species nearly get wiped out because they provide material for an Industrial revolution, and sometimes species disappear altogether, simply because they're tasty (though some of them may have been ill-adapted for longevity) and some things, like our atmospheric carbon burden, are real, measurable and have lasting effects: in the case of CO2, it only starts with the acidification of lakes and oceans. Additionally, the resources we consume are finite-they can, just like the dodo and passenger pigeon, go away, and likely will-oil especially, though the U.S. is becoming a net-exporter of oil, which for us is a good sign-on the other hand, part of that is due to natural gas, and fracking thereof, which uses large amounts of water.

    Long version-we are in an era of diminishing resources, and increased degradation of the environment, and there is little we can do to stop either. We are on a path to having more people, less energy resources, less water, less food, and poorer quality air (which leads to even less water and, consequently, less food), and diminished quality of life for all. These things,truth and facts, are not exactly "good for business," and so, business lies to you., which is the reason I've provided so few references: see for yourself, and make up your own minds, but seek facts, and come to your own truth-don't just blindly swallow someone else's-including mine....(especially my math, which can be a little wonky at 03:20 A.M. :lfao: )
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014
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  2. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    [italic] Humanity is already screwed. Perhaps some unforeseen evolutionary step will allow us to live in harmony with our environment and for the good of our spaceship rather than ourselves. But I doubt it.[/italic]
     
  3. donnaTKD

    donnaTKD Master Black Belt

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    i think that in the future (not in my lifetime) that there will be a forever natural change along the lines of what happened to the dinosaurs and the only ones that will survive it are the ones in places where they already struggle to eek out an existence - the rest of "us" will be gone cos we got too greedy.

    the whales are already suffering cos people got greedy, oil and gas supplies are a finite resource and population increase puts more pressure on those resources to the point of breaking down and not being able to supply the needs of the people.

    think that everyone needs to take a really good look at how they live and find improvements that will enable them to live in better harmony with their surroundings.

    jmo.....
     
  4. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    But how many people are willing to eat vegan, buy local, buy used, recycle everything, walk to work, grow their own food, live without a lot of mod cons?

    It's easy to highlight that change is necessary, it's harder to be that change. Even for someone who tries to live a sustainable lifestyle, it would be hard to stay motivated and feel like one was making a difference when 7 million others are happy in their ignorance.

    Until something happens to make us more capable of altruism and behaving as a group (perhaps eusocially), there's nothing down for us as a species.
     
  5. Transk53

    Transk53 The Dark Often Prevails

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    Nice post elder999 :supcool:
     
  6. Transk53

    Transk53 The Dark Often Prevails

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    Like so many other human issues, the overall food wastage is shocking. I remember back in the day when I could be eating remnants of the Sunday roast on a Tuesday. These days I wonder just how much of beef cow will be destined for the bin as it were.
     
  7. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    I'm having a great deal of trouble accepting that someone (Elder) could post what he has and not been howled down. How refreshing to read such a post. I would love to argue against it but I can't because it actually makes sense. Well done that boy!
    :s81:
     
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  8. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    99% of species that have ever existed on earth are extinct. Only the ones that work well survive. Having been around for a mere 200,000 years, we are like children playing with matches. And we are coming precariously close to that pile of old newspapers that dad keeps in the cellar. We're probably going to get what we deserve. Sometimes it seems to me that the only two qualities we have in our DNA is greed and violence. Especially here in the U.S. It seems that the more successful a person gets - the greed goes up. The less successful - the violence goes up. Those in the middle sit around watching Honey Boo Boo, eating doughnuts, not giving a rat's *** about anything.

    Bleak stuff. But, will the indomitable human spirit save us? I sure hope so. But I'm guessing the horseshoe crab won't be making too big a bet on us. They're probably thinking, "Odd species, many toys, lot of noise, make mess. The dodo was better"
     
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  9. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    This video presents a series of arguments regarding overpopulation that contradict many of the predictions made above.
    http://youtu.be/WT_CxJfFgh0
     
  10. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    For those of you with less time than I have, here is a brief summary of those contradictions.

    1. Resource consumption will eventually wipe out the Earth's stores of valuable resources. As industrialized countries fall in population growth due to lack of replacement, wouldn't that suggest that they would use less resources? Also, as world population peaks and begins to fall, wouldn't that indicated that the demand for resources would diminish?

    2. Technology has allowed humans to grow more food on less land with fewer hours of labor and this process has only gotten more efficient in terms of energy consumption. Aka...farm machinery uses less gas to do more than it used to. Combine this with GMO super crops that can grow with less and less inputs of water and labor and we have a situation where our food is being produced more efficiently and more cheaply than before. Combine this trend with the decreasing human population trend and it follows that humans will have more food, grown on less land, leaving more room for nature, decreasing habitat pressure on many species overall.

    3. Carbon dioxide is an important part of photosynthesis and it's abundance in the atmosphere has been historically linked with times of increased plant growth. Therefore, wouldn't it follow that the changing atmosphere would make it easier to grow food? Combine this with increasing technology making things more efficient, a falling population decreasing demand on resources, it seems that the standard of living for every human on the plant can only go up.

    4. This argument is not supported by the video I posted and contain some counter thoughts on the garbage problem. The amount of waste that humans produce is a problem that is growing ever more visible all of the time. This is why we see efforts in industrialized countries to reduce/reuse/recycle more and more products. For example, on Oahu, where I live, the people have recently decided that they will stop using plastic bags and styrofoam food containers. A similar effort is being undertaken when it comes to plastic bottles and other one use items. The increase in biodegradable products is also on the rise. I predict the entire industry will switch over as the garbage problem gets more visible and people seek to find ways of mitigating it.

    5. Regarding the plastics that exist in the ocean now, over time, those will erode into smaller pieces and actually become part of the fossil record. Combine this with a diminished waste stream due to increased communication and growing environmental consciousness and the world oceans could be poised to be far cleaner in the future.

    I could go on, but I have martial arts to practice. I don't think we need to lose hope in humans just yet. We certainly have our problems, but they aren't as insurmountable as they would seem.
     
  11. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    I knew I'd get my arguement. :p

    It took me a bit of running around but it looks like Documentary Full has heaps of conspiracy theory stuff available, Titanic, New World Order etc.

    Then I looked at who produced this little gem ...

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=23S4xxhuqHk

    :hmm:

    Population Research Institute ...
    Right wing, pro life, no peer review.

    So for an alternative view ...

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wji2uQUEVu0

    Thanks Maka. I knew I could rely on you to fill the void. ;)
     
  12. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    It's interesting that you decry the religious origins of the PRI when the original argument regarding overpopulation comes from religious origins. ;)

    You might want to consider that, my friend. Malthus was invoking Original Sin all of the way through his treatise.

    I honestly don't know if the arguments in the overpopulation is a myth series are true. I've gone to the website and looked at the sources, but I don't have time to wade through all of the counter arguments made by all sides to really form an informed opinion here. At this point, i'm simply putting forth a different viewpoint with the full knowledge that it might be wrong. If you have something specific to bring up, you should do that instead of relying on sophistry and fallacy.

    That said, I grew up with the doom porn of overpopulation being shoved down my throat by the government schools. We had these pamphlets that we were forced to read, they were called "Weekly Readers" and it seemed like half of the stories were about how horrible humans were and about how "we" were killing the world. Now, I realize that this was all great government propaganda. Whether it is really is true or not, the message was that we really need the government to save us from ourselves or we're going to murder the Earth.

    Its not getting any better. My daughter was treated to this movie during her brief stint in government school.

    Humans- Cool Cartoon! - Video Dailymotion

    Regardless of it's veracity, this is not a healthy perception of humanity. Based on my professional training, I think we're better than this.
     
  13. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master of Arts

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    It is my opinion that there is no way that humans as a species can survive in harmony with the planet in the long term. We are too creative, too destructive, and we increase exponentially. Our only hope for long term survival, again in my opinion only, lies in creating some way to continue our outward expansion. The entire history of the human race is one of expansion. We evolved as a species to expand into new territory. It's what we do, and we're good at it. However, we've pretty much expanded our territory to encompass the entire globe, so now we have to turn our resources toward expanding beyond our globe. NASA - Some Emerging Possibilities | NASA
     
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  14. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    The original arguement has nothing to do with religion. Humans are in plague proportions in many countries and they can barely sustain life. We are degrading the planet and over utilising the resources. In the OP there was no mention of religion so I'm not sure where this comes from except your video (which you did post in the Basement some time back). Now, I'm not an expert on original sin, I'd put it right up there with the tooth fairy but each to their own. PRI is a pro-life organisation, against all forms of contraception. How realistic is that? There could be a whole thread on PRI.

    I think that you only have to look outside the door to see what's happening to our world. We are the extremely privileged people living in First World countries, devouring resources at a rate that is unsustainable. The arguement of 'don't worry, science will look after us' is wearing a little thin. Even when scientists come up with GM crops to increase nutrient value and yield, they face huge opposition from those who only want 'nature's products'. Well that's fine too if the population is small enough.

    Why would it be 'Government Propaganda' to say that we causing great damage to our planet?

    And I'm not even a 'Greenie', although I do support a number of their policies.

    So it's OK, God has it all under control and we won't be around for much longer anyway. :)

    Maka, that's the best video you have posted. ;)
     
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  15. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    Here is a simple fact.

    No one involved in discussing this matter in this thread has actually taken the time to review the literature in a serious way.

    Instead, what most people do, including you K-man and others, is that you jump on a bandwagon built by those authorities that say the things that conform to your bias.

    IMHO what you are all failing to understand is the origin of your biases. Some of this anti-human attitude is coming right out of the training you received in government school as a child. That training is based on religious concepts that state that man is a piece of **** and that we need god (government) to save us.

    What I've noticed in this thread and others is a general lack of awareness of bias and a lack of any hint of self knowledge regarding the origin of that bias. The idea that humans are a plague upon the earth is religious in nature. It is a self fulfilling prophecy that even non-believers who were raised around believers have a difficult time dispelling.

    That said, I'm going to give you a few "commandments" that will help you think about everything better.

    1. Become aware of the influences surrounding your mind.
    2. Be honest about what those influences want.
    3. Recognize that your thinking is still subject to those influences and that you have conformed to them unconsciously.
    4. Recognize that if you truly question the fundamental influences that shape your thinking you will experience negative feedback from the people who are closest to you.

    How dare I suggest that overpopulation might be a myth and that we might be okay!

    Lol!
     
  16. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    I didn’t say anything about “overpopulation,” though I did mention it continuing to grow-it’s done nothing but grow since the Great Plague of 1350-from 370 million to 7 billion, andI don’t see “world population peaks,” though one U.N. model shows it leveling off at 9.2 billion by 2050, and humans reaching the point of zero population growth at that time-in the meantime, though, it’s still growing-or didn’t you look at that clock I posted?
    It’s up by about 220,000 since I posted yesterday. :rolleyes:

    Not if there simply isn’t enough water to irrigate-a great deal of that agricultural growth and technological development that you’re speaking of took place in areas that didn’t have the resources to support such activities in the first place-for example, some of the most productive agriculture in California is irrigated with water from hundreds of miles away, water that’s taken from areas that are experiencing water shortages themselves; we’re nearing great dustbowl conditions in some parts of the country, and it’s going to show in our food prices and availability in the very near future-never mind 20 or 30 years from now.

    Also, there's this part:

    Did you somehow miss this? :rolleyes:

    That includes, in case you did miss it, the seas, atmosphere, oil, animals, and us. There has always only been so much of anything, and there is less all the time…..except for us…..and our pollution-those are increasing.

    As a farmer, I can tell you that as important as CO2 is to plant growth, plant CO2 transport (that is to say, respiration and chlloryphyll conversion) and storage are directly proportional to soil nitrogen content-in areas where all other factors are good, plant growth increases due to CO2-otherwise, the plants really only use as much CO2 as they ever did-kind of like an animal, which isn’t going to use any more or less oxygen in an increased O2 environment, and which may even suffer from deleterious effects from an increase of it-consequently, there is not necessarily going to be any increase in food production or farming efficacy. Granted, warmer temperatures and longer seasons attributed by some to increased CO2 have resulted in higher crop yields in some areas, or, at least, two crops where previously there’d only been one in a season, but such effects aren’t sustainable-one main reason why is that continued CO2 increases will lower the pH of water-including rainfall-worldwide, and this will have deleterious effects on plant viability and soil quality. Most of the models and experimentation in this area have shown that responses to increased CO2 are highly variable, and largely dependent upon other factors.
    For example, all things being equal in terms of nutrients and water quality, an increased CO2 atmosphere does improve hydroponic marijuana growth, but often kills tomatoes,

    It’s just not as simple as you make it out to be, John.

    The industry will switch over for profit. Plastics are petroleum products, generally, and are getting more expensive. The burden they’ve already placed on the planet is continuing, though.

    They “become part of the fossil record” by being ingested by sea life, sea life to which they are proving to be toxic.Here's a Pacific Albatross with a stomach full of plastic-part of your "fossil record."

    View attachment $albatross.jpg


    Please don’t.
     
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  17. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    Actually, I have.
     
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  18. aedrasteia

    aedrasteia Purple Belt

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    deep gassho. Why these posts now? What's on your mind to bring this out - now?

    And you made me think of the sf story by Howard Waldrop, "The Ugly Chickens"
    multiple award winner, and yes, a thoughtful, heartbreaking story ... about the dodo.

    I hadn't thought of it in years. So thanks, I think.
    A
     
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  19. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    You have this idea that everything in this world is a conspiracy cooked up by this government or that. That is a bigger bias than the rest of us have if all our biases were rolled into one.

    As to reviewing literature. You don't have to dig far to find the evidence.

    http://www.igreens.org.uk/rio_tinto_pollution.jpg

    Yes, I have seen that first hand.

    And some more ...

    World's 10 Worst Toxic Pollution Problems [Slide Show] - Scientific American

    I think God must have looked away for a few hundred years. It seems to be going pear shaped without His guiding hand. Perhaps if you took a look at what is happening with the population in India or Bangladesh or even Indonesia.

    I am holding this back up for you to read. ;)

    Time for a reality check.

    You can suggest what you like but that is not going to change the facts. We have way too many humans in some areas of this planet. You might by OK but millions are not.
    :asian:
     
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  20. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    You've probably reviewed things like I have, in an informal way, but have you put in a real in depth study where you review the literature and write a detailed annotated bibliography? Do you have any formal research into this field? If you have, then, I certainly with draw that assumption.123
     

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