Sleepwalking Toward the Edge of a Cliff

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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02 April 2021 10:01
 

When a forum member called GAD used to post here, he’d counter my posts about climate change and environmental destruction by saying that he’d switch to green energy sources when they became cheaper than fossil fuel energy and nuclear energy.  This is the prevailing attitude of most Americans . . .  It’s cheaper to destroy life as we know it than to pay for more expensive energy.

https://theweek.com/articles/823904/sixth-mass-extinction-explained

What’s gone wrong?
As the human population has swelled to 7.5 billion, our species’ massive footprint on planet Earth has had a devastating impact on mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and marine life. We’ve driven thousands of species to the edge of extinction through habitat loss, overhunting and overfishing, the introduction of invasive species into new ecosystems, toxic pollution, and climate change. In the past 40 years, the number of wild animals has plunged 50 percent, a 2014 study found. And the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that populations of vertebrates — higher animals with spinal columns — have fallen by an average of 60 percent since 1970. The past 20 years have brought a 90 percent plunge in the number of monarch butterflies in America, a loss of 900 million, and an 87 percent loss of rusty-patched bumblebees. Only 3 percent of the original populations of the heavily fished Pacific bluefin tuna remain in the sea. “We are sleepwalking toward the edge of a cliff,” said Mike Barrett, executive director at WWF.

What are the consequences?
Potentially enormous. The loss of species can have catastrophic effects on the food chain on which humanity depends. Ocean reefs, which sustain more than 25 percent of marine life, have declined by 50 percent already — and could be lost altogether by 2050. This is almost certainly contributing to the decline of global marine life, down — on average — by 50 percent since 1970, according to the WWF. Insects pollinate crops humans eat. “This is far more than just being about losing the wonders of nature, desperately sad though that is,” the WWF’s Barrett said. “This is actually now jeopardizing the future of people. Nature is not ‘nice to have’ — it is our life-support system.”

Read more in article.

 

 
 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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03 April 2021 09:31
 

I think it’s clear that overcoming environmental destruction will require all of us, individuals and governments, and fundamental changes in attitudes and priorities.

And North Americans are the worst of the lot.  Abundance and relative prosperity has made us greedy, over-consumptors and unwilling to make individual choices for the greater good.  One doesn’t hear much talk about having fewer children.  People will talk about the importance of the environment and are willing to toss a few items in a recycle bin, but mention a carbon tax (which are proven to reduce emissions) or eliminating a convenience, and they’ll rebel.  God forbid we can’t have everything we want and deserve, right?

Why is it that the average home today is about twice the size of those during the baby boom?  And why aren’t we seeing more solar panels on new homes?

https://www.darrinqualman.com/house-size/
“Big houses require more energy and materials to construct.  Big houses hold more furniture and stuff—they are integral parts of high-consumption lifestyles.  Big houses contribute to lower population densities and, thus, more sprawl and driving.  And, all things being equal, big houses require more energy to heat and cool ... And multiply that kind of house times millions and we create a ‘built in’ greenhouse gas emissions problem.”

 
 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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03 April 2021 09:38
 

Albert Allen Bartlett springs to mind:

“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.”

“Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?”

wiki Bartlett

(That and oligarchs of course wink  )

 
 
Jefe
 
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03 April 2021 09:56
 

Also “Cascade Effect”.

 
 
unsmoked
 
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03 April 2021 17:58
 
Jefe - 03 April 2021 09:56 AM

Also “Cascade Effect”.

Example:  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/sea-otters-eat-sea

“Sea otters eat sea urchins and sea urchins eat kelp. When sea otters are present, the coastal kelp forests maintain a healthy balance. But when the fur trade wiped out the otters in the Aleutian Islands in the 1990s, sea urchins grew wildly, devouring kelp, and the kelp forest collapsed, along with everything that depended on it. Fish populations declined. Bald eagles, which feed on fish, altered their food habits. Dwindled kelp supplies sucked up less carbon dioxide, and atmospheric carbon dioxide increased.”

 
 
unsmoked
 
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05 April 2021 09:32
 
Jan_CAN - 03 April 2021 09:31 AM

I think it’s clear that overcoming environmental destruction will require all of us, individuals and governments, and fundamental changes in attitudes and priorities.

And North Americans are the worst of the lot.  Abundance and relative prosperity has made us greedy, over-consumptors and unwilling to make individual choices for the greater good.  One doesn’t hear much talk about having fewer children.  People will talk about the importance of the environment and are willing to toss a few items in a recycle bin, but mention a carbon tax (which are proven to reduce emissions) or eliminating a convenience, and they’ll rebel.  God forbid we can’t have everything we want and deserve, right?

Why is it that the average home today is about twice the size of those during the baby boom?  And why aren’t we seeing more solar panels on new homes?

https://www.darrinqualman.com/house-size/
“Big houses require more energy and materials to construct.  Big houses hold more furniture and stuff—they are integral parts of high-consumption lifestyles.  Big houses contribute to lower population densities and, thus, more sprawl and driving.  And, all things being equal, big houses require more energy to heat and cool ... And multiply that kind of house times millions and we create a ‘built in’ greenhouse gas emissions problem.”

How many people know in the marrow of their bones that the American way of life, American values are ruining the planet?  How many know that if the 4 or 5 billion people in developing countries lived like us civilization would soon collapse? 

At the present rate of consumption and pollution, will the first major resource to collapse be the oceans?

What is the food chain of the ocean?
“A food chain in the ocean begins with tiny one-celled organisms called diatoms, which make their own food from sunlight. Shrimplike creatures eat the diatoms. Small fish eat the shrimplike creatures, and bigger fish eat the small fish.”

https://mashable.com/2018/03/16/ocean-acidification-could-hit-base-marine-food-web-diatoms/

https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/co-emissions-per-capita

[ Edited: 05 April 2021 09:36 by unsmoked]
 
 
EN
 
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EN
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05 April 2021 09:56
 

Our political structures and lack of unified democracy in the major world governments seem to make dealing with long-term, global problems very difficult. Our solutions are short-term, and major steps forward are likely to be undone by subsequent administrations (such as Trump backing out of the Paris Climate Accords).  A world body agreed upon by all nations with power to institute energy programs might be able to solve this problem, but I’m starting to doubt our ability to act rationally about this.

 
unsmoked
 
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05 April 2021 12:00
 
EN - 05 April 2021 09:56 AM

Our political structures and lack of unified democracy in the major world governments seem to make dealing with long-term, global problems very difficult. Our solutions are short-term, and major steps forward are likely to be undone by subsequent administrations (such as Trump backing out of the Paris Climate Accords).  A world body agreed upon by all nations with power to institute energy programs might be able to solve this problem, but I’m starting to doubt our ability to act rationally about this.

Thanks for this.  In post #5 I wanted to bring up the subject of our lack of effective world government.  A world government that can prevent, for example, the stupid and greedy overfishing that is presently leading to the collapse of fish stocks around the world. 

https://www.nps.gov/common/uploads/teachers/lessonplans/Overfishing—The-Grand-Banks-Collapse-pdf.pdf

 

 
 
unsmoked
 
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06 April 2021 12:40
 

Sleepwalking Toward the Edge of a Cliff - (Buy now, pay later?)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvAOuhyunhY  (trailer for ‘Dark Waters’ -  coming to a town near you? . . . dark waters, not the movie)

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/061913/why-monsanto-evil-dupont-isnt.asp  (We all live in a yellow atmosphere?) 

 

 

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Poldano
 
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09 April 2021 03:45
 
EN - 05 April 2021 09:56 AM

Our political structures and lack of unified democracy in the major world governments seem to make dealing with long-term, global problems very difficult. Our solutions are short-term, and major steps forward are likely to be undone by subsequent administrations (such as Trump backing out of the Paris Climate Accords).  A world body agreed upon by all nations with power to institute energy programs might be able to solve this problem, but I’m starting to doubt our ability to act rationally about this.

Arguably, each of the players in this game is acting rationally, with respect to furthering their own interests. The problem in games requiring cooperation is to come up with an adequate remedy against failing to cooperate. The fear of each participant is that “I” will be the one to foot the bill for the entire project, and that others will free-ride on “my” contributions. I probably need not point out that it’s considered a point of honor among some Americans to get “free rides” in collective endeavors to the fullest extent possible; it’s considered good business practice.

 
 
unsmoked
 
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09 April 2021 11:35
 
Poldano - 09 April 2021 03:45 AM
EN - 05 April 2021 09:56 AM

Our political structures and lack of unified democracy in the major world governments seem to make dealing with long-term, global problems very difficult. Our solutions are short-term, and major steps forward are likely to be undone by subsequent administrations (such as Trump backing out of the Paris Climate Accords).  A world body agreed upon by all nations with power to institute energy programs might be able to solve this problem, but I’m starting to doubt our ability to act rationally about this.

Arguably, each of the players in this game is acting rationally, with respect to furthering their own interests. The problem in games requiring cooperation is to come up with an adequate remedy against failing to cooperate. The fear of each participant is that “I” will be the one to foot the bill for the entire project, and that others will free-ride on “my” contributions. I probably need not point out that it’s considered a point of honor among some Americans to get “free rides” in collective endeavors to the fullest extent possible; it’s considered good business practice.

Are stockholders in the fossil fuel industry getting a free ride with tax breaks and government subsidies?  Societal costs?  https://www.eesi.org/papers/view/fact-sheet-fossil-fuel-subsidies-a-closer-look-at-tax-breaks-and-societal-costs#:~:text=The United States provides a,to the fossil fuel industry.

Cheaper gas for the sleepwalkers?