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Nature’s Dangerous Decline

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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07 May 2019 17:21
 

UN Report: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/

“The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

“The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” he said. “Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”
...
The Report finds that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history.

The average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900. More than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reef-forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened. The picture is less clear for insect species, but available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10% being threatened. At least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century and more than 9% of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still threatened.


I suggest reading this entire summary – the full Report is expected to be published later this year.

It appears that the key message is that “it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global”.  Are humans capable of such a concerted effort on the scale that’s required, and before reaching the point of no return?

[ Edited: 07 May 2019 17:26 by Jan_CAN]
 
 
Jefe
 
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07 May 2019 20:44
 
Jan_CAN - 07 May 2019 05:21 PM

UN Report: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/

“The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture,” said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson. “The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

“The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” he said. “Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”
...
The Report finds that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history.

The average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20%, mostly since 1900. More than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of reef-forming corals and more than a third of all marine mammals are threatened. The picture is less clear for insect species, but available evidence supports a tentative estimate of 10% being threatened. At least 680 vertebrate species had been driven to extinction since the 16th century and more than 9% of all domesticated breeds of mammals used for food and agriculture had become extinct by 2016, with at least 1,000 more breeds still threatened.


I suggest reading this entire summary – the full Report is expected to be published later this year.

It appears that the key message is that “it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global”.  Are humans capable of such a concerted effort on the scale that’s required, and before reaching the point of no return?

We’re too stupid, as a species, to overcome our artificial tribalistic tendencies.  Also, we’re too vulnerable to marketing tactics that allow us to be sold on or swayed away from decisions that affect our best interests. Lastly the real industry decisions are in the hands of an exploitive few who are light on sympathy and compassion.

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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08 May 2019 01:05
 
Jefe - 07 May 2019 08:44 PM
Jan_CAN - 07 May 2019 05:21 PM

It appears that the key message is that “it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global”.  Are humans capable of such a concerted effort on the scale that’s required, and before reaching the point of no return?

We’re too stupid, as a species, to overcome our artificial tribalistic tendencies.  Also, we’re too vulnerable to marketing tactics that allow us to be sold on or swayed away from decisions that affect our best interests. Lastly the real industry decisions are in the hands of an exploitive few who are light on sympathy and compassion.

Yes, we’re too stupid, a certain type of stupid.  And greedy or easily manipulated by the ultra-greedy.

I think we have the scientific knowledge, imagination, innovative abilities, and technical skills to make the necessary changes.  We just don’t have the common will to do all that needs to be done.  This common will may come over time when things get bad enough, but it’ll probably be too late.

Although it seems likely that the negative aspects of human nature will prevent us saving other species and ourselves, a fatalistic attitude is also part of all that.  Our fate might lie with the young and hopeful.

 

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
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08 May 2019 04:24
 

Speculating from past history informed by present pessimism, and considering the uncertain state of our knowledge of how social coordination in fact comes about (making it difficult to orchestrate its conditions), I’d say we, as a species, are not up to the task of saving these species, or otherwise putting the brakes on our unsustainable way of life and transforming it into a renewable, sustainable civilization.  This is, in fact, my core objection to Pinker’s rather famous Enlightenment Now.  The problems we’ve solved so far are relatively isolatable, and the means of solving them has required, and requires, too many degrees of freedom, all of which have now contracted.  And in fact I would say the very success Pinker lays out is precisely the danger, not the salvation.  The means by which our material and social problems have intermixedly solved themselves and have been solved by us are so clearly unsustainable that I’m astonished anyone would look at them and have unbridled optimism for the long term.  In any case, I have little hope.  The Ant is just too prevalent and too often runs the show.  If only the ratio were better balanced…

 
nonverbal
 
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08 May 2019 06:01
 
Jefe, to Jan_CAN - 07 May 2019 08:44 PM

We’re too stupid, as a species, to overcome our artificial tribalistic tendencies. . . .

What would happen if humanity somehow overcame tribal instincts? I doubt they’re artificial, and I can only imagine a horror scene if we were somehow to drop them altogether.

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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08 May 2019 07:34
 

On the other hand ...

We might have the potential to come together effectively against a common enemy – extinction.

During World War II, the British people came together to fight a different kind of common enemy.  In regards to effort and industry, “the whole population was involved in a practical way in helping the war effort”.  With rationing, “the theme of equality of sacrifice was paramount”.  “The success of the government in providing new services ..., as well as egalitarian spirit, contributed to widespread support ...”.  And propaganda played a role – not limited to articles and reports that are read by only a segment of the population, but a widespread government effort that inspired everyone to participate.

The circumstances were different, but the psychology required seems similar.

 
 
Jefe
 
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08 May 2019 08:42
 
nonverbal - 08 May 2019 06:01 AM
Jefe, to Jan_CAN - 07 May 2019 08:44 PM

We’re too stupid, as a species, to overcome our artificial tribalistic tendencies. . . .

What would happen if humanity somehow overcame tribal instincts? I doubt they’re artificial, and I can only imagine a horror scene if we were somehow to drop them altogether.

I mean the tribalistic tendencies that, specifically, are artificial.

 
 
Jefe
 
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08 May 2019 08:46
 
Jan_CAN - 08 May 2019 07:34 AM

On the other hand ...

We might have the potential to come together effectively against a common enemy – extinction.

During World War II, the British people came together to fight a different kind of common enemy.  In regards to effort and industry, “the whole population was involved in a practical way in helping the war effort”.  With rationing, “the theme of equality of sacrifice was paramount”.  “The success of the government in providing new services ..., as well as egalitarian spirit, contributed to widespread support ...”.  And propaganda played a role – not limited to articles and reports that are read by only a segment of the population, but a widespread government effort that inspired everyone to participate.

The circumstances were different, but the psychology required seems similar.

I think you have to convince those that consider ‘this world not their home’ to treat it better, and understand the ramifications of inaction.  Pence’s crowd.

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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08 May 2019 08:52
 
Jan_CAN - 08 May 2019 07:34 AM

On the other hand ...

We might have the potential to come together effectively against a common enemy – extinction.

During World War II, the British people came together to fight a different kind of common enemy.  In regards to effort and industry, “the whole population was involved in a practical way in helping the war effort”.  With rationing, “the theme of equality of sacrifice was paramount”.  “The success of the government in providing new services ..., as well as egalitarian spirit, contributed to widespread support ...”.  And propaganda played a role – not limited to articles and reports that are read by only a segment of the population, but a widespread government effort that inspired everyone to participate.

The circumstances were different, but the psychology required seems similar.

I agree this is possible, but “extinction” seems kind of a vague threat.  If it’s a matter of an asteroid on the way, then I could see nations galvanizing together, sharing technology and resources, etc. to solve the problem.  But for something as…diffuse?...multilayered?... as fundamentally reshaping the institutions and expectations of our way of life…I don’t think that threat has the specificity to create the cooperation you hope for.  Maybe clear and present undeniable disasters brought on by climate change, but one would hope we figure out how to close the barn door before that horse escapes.

 
Jefe
 
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08 May 2019 09:02
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 08 May 2019 08:52 AM
Jan_CAN - 08 May 2019 07:34 AM

On the other hand ...

We might have the potential to come together effectively against a common enemy – extinction.

During World War II, the British people came together to fight a different kind of common enemy.  In regards to effort and industry, “the whole population was involved in a practical way in helping the war effort”.  With rationing, “the theme of equality of sacrifice was paramount”.  “The success of the government in providing new services ..., as well as egalitarian spirit, contributed to widespread support ...”.  And propaganda played a role – not limited to articles and reports that are read by only a segment of the population, but a widespread government effort that inspired everyone to participate.

The circumstances were different, but the psychology required seems similar.

I agree this is possible, but “extinction” seems kind of a vague threat.  If it’s a matter of an asteroid on the way, then I could see nations galvanizing together, sharing technology and resources, etc. to solve the problem.  But for something as…diffuse?...multilayered?... as fundamentally reshaping the institutions and expectations of our way of life…I don’t think that threat has the specificity to create the cooperation you hope for.  Maybe clear and present undeniable disasters brought on by climate change, but one would hope we figure out how to close the barn door before that horse escapes.

Taking action before an irrevocable cascade begins is also a tough nut to feed to the general public.
But it is likely the thing that is going to ... er ... get us.  Things like loss of reflective surface in the arctic and ant-arctic.  Or perhaps methane off-gassing in the ‘north’.  I understand that the asian tundra is ... well ... large.

Hamstringing the solar industry in florida, where there’s a lot of sunlight, but no easy way to profit from it, is another good one.

But people like their on-demand highly fertilized crop groceries, on-demand meat groceries, SUVs and single-passenger commutes in packed traffic, and iphones and such…

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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08 May 2019 09:11
 
Jefe - 08 May 2019 08:46 AM
Jan_CAN - 08 May 2019 07:34 AM

On the other hand ...

We might have the potential to come together effectively against a common enemy – extinction.

During World War II, the British people came together to fight a different kind of common enemy.  In regards to effort and industry, “the whole population was involved in a practical way in helping the war effort”.  With rationing, “the theme of equality of sacrifice was paramount”.  “The success of the government in providing new services ..., as well as egalitarian spirit, contributed to widespread support ...”.  And propaganda played a role – not limited to articles and reports that are read by only a segment of the population, but a widespread government effort that inspired everyone to participate.

The circumstances were different, but the psychology required seems similar.

I think you have to convince those that consider ‘this world not their home’ to treat it better, and understand the ramifications of inaction.  Pence’s crowd.

True, but we might also hope that the next President and administration have different priorities, and perhaps can convince fundamentalists that ‘God helps those who help themselves’.  Also, it may be the time to stop thinking of the U.S. as a leader and hope that they’ll follow under enough pressure.

 

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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08 May 2019 09:13
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 08 May 2019 08:52 AM
Jan_CAN - 08 May 2019 07:34 AM

On the other hand ...

We might have the potential to come together effectively against a common enemy – extinction.

During World War II, the British people came together to fight a different kind of common enemy.  In regards to effort and industry, “the whole population was involved in a practical way in helping the war effort”.  With rationing, “the theme of equality of sacrifice was paramount”.  “The success of the government in providing new services ..., as well as egalitarian spirit, contributed to widespread support ...”.  And propaganda played a role – not limited to articles and reports that are read by only a segment of the population, but a widespread government effort that inspired everyone to participate.

The circumstances were different, but the psychology required seems similar.

I agree this is possible, but “extinction” seems kind of a vague threat.  If it’s a matter of an asteroid on the way, then I could see nations galvanizing together, sharing technology and resources, etc. to solve the problem.  But for something as…diffuse?...multilayered?... as fundamentally reshaping the institutions and expectations of our way of life…I don’t think that threat has the specificity to create the cooperation you hope for.  Maybe clear and present undeniable disasters brought on by climate change, but one would hope we figure out how to close the barn door before that horse escapes.

The thought of extinction seems so drastic that it also seems beyond our imagination.  But the threat of increased drastic weather events with parts of the planet left uninhabitable, mass extinctions that cause disruptions to the food chain leading to food shortages, etc. ... that might not be beyond comprehension by the collective consciousness.  If steps are taken to make sure this happens – I say we need a major propaganda campaign.  Yes, hopefully we can figure it out before the horse escapes.

 
 
Jefe
 
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08 May 2019 09:23
 
Jan_CAN - 08 May 2019 09:11 AM
Jefe - 08 May 2019 08:46 AM
Jan_CAN - 08 May 2019 07:34 AM

On the other hand ...

We might have the potential to come together effectively against a common enemy – extinction.

During World War II, the British people came together to fight a different kind of common enemy.  In regards to effort and industry, “the whole population was involved in a practical way in helping the war effort”.  With rationing, “the theme of equality of sacrifice was paramount”.  “The success of the government in providing new services ..., as well as egalitarian spirit, contributed to widespread support ...”.  And propaganda played a role – not limited to articles and reports that are read by only a segment of the population, but a widespread government effort that inspired everyone to participate.

The circumstances were different, but the psychology required seems similar.

I think you have to convince those that consider ‘this world not their home’ to treat it better, and understand the ramifications of inaction.  Pence’s crowd.

True, but we might also hope that the next President and administration have different priorities, and perhaps can convince fundamentalists that ‘God helps those who help themselves’.  Also, it may be the time to stop thinking of the U.S. as a leader and hope that they’ll follow under enough pressure.

In this regard, the US is definitely not a leader.  But they are a very large consumer economy.

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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08 May 2019 09:36
 
Jefe - 08 May 2019 09:23 AM
Jan_CAN - 08 May 2019 09:11 AM
Jefe - 08 May 2019 08:46 AM
Jan_CAN - 08 May 2019 07:34 AM

On the other hand ...

We might have the potential to come together effectively against a common enemy – extinction.

During World War II, the British people came together to fight a different kind of common enemy.  In regards to effort and industry, “the whole population was involved in a practical way in helping the war effort”.  With rationing, “the theme of equality of sacrifice was paramount”.  “The success of the government in providing new services ..., as well as egalitarian spirit, contributed to widespread support ...”.  And propaganda played a role – not limited to articles and reports that are read by only a segment of the population, but a widespread government effort that inspired everyone to participate.

The circumstances were different, but the psychology required seems similar.

I think you have to convince those that consider ‘this world not their home’ to treat it better, and understand the ramifications of inaction.  Pence’s crowd.

True, but we might also hope that the next President and administration have different priorities, and perhaps can convince fundamentalists that ‘God helps those who help themselves’.  Also, it may be the time to stop thinking of the U.S. as a leader and hope that they’ll follow under enough pressure.

In this regard, the US is definitely not a leader.  But they are a very large consumer economy.

Maybe when the effects of climate change to their economy becomes even greater they’ll take heed?  Or if they see the rest of the world find profit in alternate energy, resource development, etc.?  The U.S. often lags behind, but perhaps necessity could cause them to catch up?

I’m actually rather pessimistic about the future and was looking for some optimism from others.  Now I’m trying to argue for the optimistic point of view, which strangely has cheered me up because it does lead to thinking about the possibilities (if not the likelihoods). 

 
 
EN
 
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08 May 2019 09:43
 

As long as Donald Trump is in charge, nothing will be done.  In 2020 we have a chance to remove him.  Then, perhaps, we can get back on the right track.  For future elections, I’m hoping that demographic changes will keep the GOP, in its current iteration, out of power for a long time.

 
Jefe
 
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08 May 2019 09:45
 
EN - 08 May 2019 09:43 AM

As long as Donald Trump is in charge, nothing will be done.  In 2020 we have a chance to remove him.  Then, perhaps, we can get back on the right track.  For future elections, I’m hoping that demographic changes will keep the GOP, in its current iteration, out of power for a long time.

A less conservative, and very large, demographic is aging toward legal voting rights.
All we need to do is engage them enough to have them make the effort.
And hope the Dems don’t shoot themselves in the foot again.

One thing Trump did, was talk to those people in the down-and-out states as though they mattered.
He was lying, of course, or didn’t actually think they mattered beyond the election, but he made the effort.

 
 
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