MalamuteMan

Why can’t we see Planet Earth is all we’ve got, or ever will have?

  
By:  MalamuteMan  •  Environment  •  one month ago  •  111 comments

Why can’t we see Planet Earth is all we’ve got, or ever will have?

A two-part Essay





Part One — Interstellar Travel

The human species has accomplished some amazing things. In the realm of technology, we have done far more than any other creature alive today or in the past. Some human accomplishments are really quite stupendous. Among these, traveling to the moon and returning safely to the Earth is one of our most phenomenal achievements. Understanding diseases and finding remedies for many of them is another tremendous achievement. Our unique human characteristics, mobility, dexterity, versatility, and most of all, reasoning power, have helped up do many things that make our lives easier, safer, and longer than they would otherwise be. It is very easy to understand why these characteristics are universally thought of as good qualities, highly desirable qualities. Within the context of our individual lives, those are stupendously valuable and helpful qualities.

There is a factor we commonly forget to consider which has a huge impact on what we can do, or will ever be able to do… scale. Both spatial and temporal scale. Most adult humans are between 3.5 and 6.5 feet tall, weighing between 100 and 300 pounds. We typically live less than 100 years. That is our spatial and temporal scale.

Over the course of billions of years, we evolved from relatively simple single-cell creatures to what we are now. What we are today is the result of innumerable tiny evolutionary changes tried and tested over many millennia. Some of those evolutionary changes were helpful to the long-term survival of our species, and many of them are still with us today. Other evolutionary changes were not especially helpful or even counter-productive. Those things are no longer part of what we are today.

Over the first few billion years, our ancestors were just single cell creatures. About 600 million years ago our ancestors stumbled on multicellular existence. Over many millions of years life on Earth evolved, becoming much more complex. All of the “successful” evolutionary changes came about because they optimized our chances for survival. Specifically, survival on a planet exerting 1 G gravitational force (32 ft/s2), with an atmosphere having 20% to 30% oxygen, 70% to 80% nitrogen, and a few other atmospheric trace elements, and residing at a distance from its star such that water is in a liquid state.

The nearest star to us, other than our own star, the sun, is Proxima Centauri. If we decide we want to see if that star has a planet having all the minimum necessary characteristics to support human life, we will have to travel there, because it is too far away from planet Earth for our perceptive abilities to discern those qualities. Here is where we get to the crux of my argument that “Planet Earth is all we’ve got, or ever will have.” Proxima Centauri is about 4.3 light years from Earth. That means, if we were somehow able to travel at the speed of light, it would take 4.3 years to get there. So far, the longest time a human has spent off of planet Earth is 438 days (1.2 years). A little more than one quarter of the time needed to travel to Proxima Centauri… at the speed of light. But of course, no human has ever traveled at the speed of light… not even close. The fastest any human has ever traveled (relative to planet Earth) is 24,791 mph, or 0.0037% of the speed of light. At that speed, it would take more than 100,000 years to get Alpha Centauri. If we could propel a manned spacecraft at the speed of the fasted unmanned spacecraft, it would still take more than 50,000 years to get to the nearest star outside our solar system. Even if we could propel a manned spacecraft much faster than that, it would still take thousands of years to get there. What will the progeny of the human that started that journey have to say about having been condemned to never ever see any of the beautiful things we humans are privileged to see, sunsets, green grass, wildlife, etc. Oh sure, that person will get to see things that you and I will never see. But as amazing as it may be to see those things, it would be unimaginably uniform… mind-warpingly boring.

Perhaps we will send humans to Mars someday. To accomplish that, those people would travel for about 6 months to get from Earth to Mars… then they would have to establish some sort of habitat that would support them for two years while they waited for the orbit of Earth to sync up with the orbit Mars so they would only have to travel for 6 months to get back to Earth… three years total… at a minimum… just to get to mars and back. Traveling to any other potentially human habitable place within our solar system would be even more of an extreme reach. For the record, while it may be “possible” for humans to survive on Mars, being confined for two years to whatever sort of habitat we could rig up on Mars sounds kinda grim to me. Traveling to any place outside our solar system would be many orders of magnitude more difficult than going to Mars. In fact, it is quite simply a preposterous idea.

All of that said, it seems we need to get used to the notion that planet Earth and perhaps our nearest neighboring planetary bodies is all we will ever set foot on. Please keep that in mind the next time you watch Star Trek, Star Wars, or Star Whatever. Those are fantasies. Fun to watch perhaps, but please don’t delude yourself into ever thinking they represent even a tiny shred of reality.

Part Two — Human Exploitation of Earthly Resources

With few exceptions, we humans are quietly obsessed with our mortality… our impermanence. Recently, I heard someone say, probably on TV (as I am not much of a reader), that in the not-too-distant future humans will look back and scoff at the notion held by earlier human generations that none of us will live forever. That notion is just as disconnected from reality as the earlier discussed notion of interstellar travel.

Have you ever contemplated what it would be like to live forever? To me, that notion offers unimaginably extreme boredom. Yes, the prospect of dying is probably at least somewhat scary for most of us. But for me, an eternity of boredom would be far worse than disappearing from existence all together… which, thankfully, seems far more likely to me than eternal life.

As I said at the beginning of this two-part essay, “The human species has accomplished some amazing things.” Somewhere around two or three hundred thousand years ago the first humans descended from our pre-human ancestors. As short as 200,000 years is compared to the span of time life has existed on planet Earth, it is still a very long time by comparison to one human life span. It is also a very long time by comparison to the age of technology. One could argue that the age of technology began with the advent of stone tools or the harnessing of fire. For the purposes of this essay, I am marking the beginning of the age of technology at the advent of the first steam engine, in the early part of the 18th century. Technology didn’t   really   get rolling until the mid-19th century with the trans-continental railroad, less than 200 years ago. It was also around the same time that human population growth took off.

It took at least two hundred thousand years for the world-wide human population to grow from   essentially   zero to one billion. In fact, most of that first billion emerged in the last 70,000 years or so. That was, averaged over 70,000 years, about 14 thousand humans added to the planet every year, reaching one billion around 1,800 AD. Then it took just another 123 years (until 1923) to grow from one billion to two billion. That is more than 8 million humans added to the planet every year during the 1800s and the first part of the 20th century. That growth rate is about 600 times faster than it had been for all of human history prior to 1800 AD. I was born in 1950, when the world human population was 2.5 billion. Today, 71 years after I was born, there are more than 7.5 billion humans on planet Earth. Three humans on the planet today for every human alive on the planet the day I was born.

The growth rate of the human population by itself seems utterly unsustainable. But making our problems even worse is human consumption of resources and production waste. Oh, let’s not forget about recent production of very long-lasting toxic and nuclear waste.

I have a degree in mechanical engineering, which does not provide any background directly related to the sustainability of present-day human population numbers and activities. Even so, readily available data makes it clear to my engineering mind that current human activity is not sustainable. Even more troubling to me is the undisputable fact that humans are having a devastating impact on the other species with whom we share this incredibly rare life-sustaining planet.

The title of this article asks, “Why can’t we see planet Earth is all we’ve got, or ever will have?” Additionally, I am inclined to ask, “Why can’t we see we have already crossed the sustainability Rubicon?” I ponder these questions quite a bit, and here’s how I answer them.

Regarding, “Why can’t we see planet Earth is all we’ve got, or ever will have?” We are all born into the world at different times. As we grow up, we learn about the world in which we live. Of course, we hear about wars, poverty, pollution, and other problems of our era. But we also learn about inventions that seem quite good, the wheel, clocks, the printing press, airplanes, medicines. and many others. We are very clever creatures, and our cleverness has made our lives easier, safer, longer, and better in many ways.

Even so, there is a problem. We tend to focus our attention on the benefits brought to us by modern technology, ignoring or minimizing whatever downside may also come with those benefits. We suffer from the frog in hot water problem. Early technology brought us many benefits. Like the frog’s appreciation of lukewarm water, we were very happy to have the obvious benefits bestowed on us by technology. Those benefits were so good it was perfectly natural for us to seek more. Little by little we gradually improved our lives and the lives of our progeny. At the same time whatever downside came along with the benefits were dismissed as just another thing we would “figure out” someday. Now that some of us are raising the alarm about the unsustainability of human activity, the notion of moving backward with technology is decried as a preposterous idea. “Get out of the warm water and go back to the cold rainy forest floor… no way!” the frog scoffs. “Give up my cellphone, my car, my TV… electricity? What a joke!!!!! You can’t be serious!” say the humans.

Somewhere around 1970, I started beating the drum on the topics of overpopulation and excessive resource exploitation. I suggested failing to address these issues would lead to catastrophe. More recently, I’ve concluded our situation is much worse than I once thought. Like everyone else, I was seduced by the notion that everything seemed to be work pretty well when I arrived on the planet in 1950.


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In recent years I came across a graph showing the history of worldwide human population. This graph clearly illustrates the untenable nature of our numbers. Similarly, excessive resource consumption and pollution are driven not only by the very rapid increase in human population, but also by a similar rapid increase in the exploitation of resources. I have expressed this notion many times with the following very simple language…

There are too many of us doing too much stuff.

Now... There is no easy way out of this mess.




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Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1  Buzz of the Orient    one month ago

Looking forward to Part Two, having missed the opportunity of joining the escapees on the "Ark" in the movie When Worlds Collide.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    one month ago

I actually enjoyed the second book "After Worlds Collide" more than the first. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @1.1    one month ago

I never realized the movie was an adaptation - I never read the books.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
1.1.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.1    one month ago

I highly recommend both reads. As is usually the case where movies are adapted from books, the book is always so much better. This is a case of that just like J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings series.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @1.1.2    one month ago

The positives and negatives of movies adapted from books is a good topic for me to post an article on my movies group. 

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Expert
1.1.4  Raven Wing  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.3    one month ago

I have never been a movie buff since childhood, and the ones that I have seen that were supposedly based on the original book were in fact a good ways off the actual story line. Some so much so that you could barely tell how it matched the book. It seemed that the writers of the movie wanted the story to be told according their own imagination of how the book should have read. They were very disappointing. And some left out so much of the original book story line that it seemed to be disconnected in some places and others just didn't make sense. 

As a writer myself, having written short children's stories, 2 fiction novels and several poems, I am very much aware of the necessity of continuity in the series of events that take place in the stories. And although movies are given leniency due to some types of events outlined in the book are very difficult or near impossible to recreate in the movie, they should be held to the same requirement of a modicum of actual continuity of the book or story as it took place. 

JMOO

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     one month ago

Excellent article, looking forward to part two.

The population growth is stunning.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3  Vic Eldred    one month ago

Very good article. I hope part two notes how it's the third world that is doing all the "growing."

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Freshman Quiet
3.1  afrayedknot  replied to  Vic Eldred @3    one month ago

“…notes how it's the third world…”

Perhaps the salient point is in reality there is no first world, second world or third world. We all share the same space and it is the self-serving delineations that hamper efforts to ensure our shared survival. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  afrayedknot @3.1    one month ago
Perhaps the salient point is in reality there is no first world, second world or third world.

That's illogical.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
3.2  devangelical  replied to  Vic Eldred @3    one month ago

part 2 is under part 1 in the above article in case you missed it.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
4  charger 383    one month ago

I have said it many times here, overpopulation is the biggest problem there is

 
 
 
monkeypox
Freshman Silent
5  monkeypox    one month ago

If we weren't savages I'd be worried about overpopulation. Our governments will eventually lead us down the rabid hole and millions will die in mass casualty war related events.  

The good news is the wildlife is thriving in the abandon Chernobyl region.  There will be life after. We are too stupid and greedy to prevent the inevitable .

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
5.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  monkeypox @5    one month ago

Taking a hint from your name, I assume you are predicting that Earth will become the Planet of the Apes.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
5.2  Revillug  replied to  monkeypox @5    one month ago
millions will die

We need billions to die.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
5.2.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Revillug @5.2    one month ago

Good news, they will.

 
 
 
bccrane
Freshman Silent
5.2.2  bccrane  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @5.2.1    one month ago

In a hundred years 7.9 billion will die off.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
6  Perrie Halpern R.A.    one month ago

Right now, overpopulation is the biggest cause of almost all of our planet's ecological problems. From the damage of farming to cows passing gas to keeping us warm and dry, all of this could be mitigated if we brought down the earth's population.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6.1  devangelical  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @6    one month ago

[Deleted]

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  devangelical @6.1    one month ago

I waited unitil noon for my first laugh of the day - thanks dev. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @6    one month ago
"Right now, overpopulation is the biggest cause of almost all of our planet's ecological problems."

And as the world's population keeps growing it's going to get a lot worse.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.3  Revillug  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @6    one month ago
Right now, overpopulation is the biggest cause of almost all of our planet's ecological problems. From the damage of farming to cows passing gas to keeping us warm and dry, all of this could be mitigated if we brought down the earth's population.

You can't talk about population control without someone calling you a racist eugenicist.

Before you even get to your second sentence they will put words in your mouth along the lines of you must are implying there are too many black and brown people in the world and in the wrong parts of the world.

The reason most people want children and want many children is because they cannot rely on governments to take to care of them in their old age. If we want people to have less children they will need to be convinced that they will be ok without having them.

In other words: more socialism. Global socialism.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
6.3.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Revillug @6.3    one month ago
You can't talk about population control without someone calling you a racist eugenicist.

Eugenicists talk about people as desirable or undesirable due to some sort of parameters they have defined.

When I talk about population control, I am talking across the globe, based on an algorithm of birth vs death as the only parameter. 

So no, not about race at all.

The reason most people want children and want many children is because they cannot rely on governments to take to care of them in their old age. If we want people to have less children they will need to be convinced that they will be ok without having them.

That used to be true, but in most places, it is not. Even in India and China, children no longer stick around to take care of their parents. Once a place gets industry, usually that goes away. And those are the two most populous countries in the world, so they are the ones this would mostly affect. China is still in neg growth right now, so we are looking mostly at India and some Latin American countries. 

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.3.2  Revillug  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @6.3.1    one month ago

First of all, I am in complete agreement that human population is the cause behind global warming and that nobody wants to talk about it. It has been something that I have said for years. The pushback I am referring to is the pushback that I am used to encountering. It's the same pushback you get if you suggest that immigration levels might be a tad too high. The only reason anyone could be complaining about too many people in any context is racism.

Unless of course we are talking about there being too many Baby Boomers.

That used to be true, but in most places, it is not. Even in India and China, children no longer stick around to take care of their parents. Once a place gets industry, usually that goes away. And those are the two most populous countries in the world, so they are the ones this would mostly affect. China is still in neg growth right now, so we are looking mostly at India and some Latin American countries. 

Show me unreasonable reproductive rates and I will show you people who believe they need large families for their economic security. 

The other reason nobody wants to talk about population growth is that capitalism is predicated on perpetual growth. Growth in output, growth in extraction, and ultimately growth in the size of the workforce and underlying population.

Which brings us back to the only way out of global warming is to replace global capitalism with global socialism.

 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
6.3.3  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Revillug @6.3.2    one month ago
It's the same pushback you get if you suggest that immigration levels might be a tad too high.

But I have never talked about immigration and it would be illogical anyway. Whether people live here or somewhere else, they still count.

The only reason anyone could be complaining about too many people in any context is racism.

Huh? The world is way past what it can support. That is just science

Unless of course we are talking about there being too many Baby Boomers.

Boomers? I am confused. How is this about the Boomers? Also keep in mind, while the Boomers were a large growth in population, since then (1962), the world population has grown from 3.125 billion to almost 8 billion, so really things were much better in 1962.

Show me unreasonable reproductive rates and I will show you people who believe they need large families for their economic security. 

Who are you talking about? China lived for years with the 1 baby rule and enforced it vigorously. Please provide me an example.

The other reason nobody wants to talk about population growth is that capitalism is predicated on perpetual growth.

No, it doesn't. It relies on consumerism. As long as there are people there will be things to be consumed. 

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.3.4  Revillug  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @6.3.3    one month ago
I am confused.

I noticed that

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.3.5  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @6.3.1    one month ago
"Even in India and China, children no longer stick around to take care of their parents."

Whether they "stick around" or not, Perrie, my experience in China says that elders are still venerated, supported and taken care of by their children.  It is not unusual, especially in rural families, for multiple generations to live together.  

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
6.3.6  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Revillug @6.3.4    one month ago
I am confused. I noticed that

Well, if you explained things better I wouldn't be confused. The Boomers were not the cause for overpopulation, per se.

 
 
 
bccrane
Freshman Silent
6.3.7  bccrane  replied to  Revillug @6.3.2    one month ago

There is no way out of global warming once you realize that the warming is the natural progression to the next ice age.

I'm in agreement with you that global socialism is the best way to eliminate billions of people, just the question to be asked is who gets eliminated, will it be those that believe in individual freedoms as laid out in the first ten amendments or those that will willingly conform to the global socialists rules?

Global socialism will also require the loss of all personal property rights and I mean all of them even those of the NA in the Americas, there will also be the suspension of all ecological restrictions and the return of coal for energy production.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
6.3.8  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  bccrane @6.3.7    one month ago
There is no way out of global warming once you realize that the warming is the natural progression to the next ice age.

We are in an ice age now. During ice ages there are many interglacial periods. We are in one now.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.3.9  TᵢG  replied to  bccrane @6.3.7    one month ago
Global socialism will also require the loss of all personal property rights and I mean all of them even those of the NA in the Americas, there will also be the suspension of all ecological restrictions and the return of coal for energy production.

That is not the case.   Personal property is not at jeopardy with socialism proper.   It is private property that  (for the most part) does not exist under socialism, not personal property.

I do not see how socialism would (technically) lead to the suspension of ecological restrictions.

But, of course, socialism is defined in so many different ways it is impossible to know what someone is talking about with the label 'socialism' alone.   I take socialism unqualified to mean the principles established by Marx and Engels.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.3.10  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @6.3.1    one month ago
"China is still in neg growth right now..."
After 2021, researchers predict that  China's population will decline annually by an average of 1.1 %  (Credit: Sheldon Cooper/Getty Images) China's total population grew by a post-famine low of just 0.34 in 1,000 last year.
OIP-C.9FGtZYSrozQaCudEejYDywHaFq?pid=ImgDet&rs=1
 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
6.3.11  Revillug  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.3.10    one month ago

We are at the point where one percent this way or that way won't fix things.

We need the Chinese to release the real version of coronavirus that Covid-19 was merely the dry run for.

Bring the human population back down to around a billion and maybe we can save the coral reefs.

EDIT: of course I am joking about Covid being some sort of biological weapon. My jokes are often considered not funny here in the USA and they might be considered worse elsewhere. No need to respond to my bad joke.

 
 
 
bccrane
Freshman Silent
6.3.12  bccrane  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @6.3.8    one month ago
We are in an ice age now. During ice ages there are many interglacial periods. We are in one now.

Ok, now I'm confused, which is it, are we in an ice age or an interglacial period, because as you stated, "We are in one now."

As I see it, we won't be in an ice age until the Greenland ice sheets melt and more precipitation in the Arctic regions freezes in during the winters than what can be melted by the following summers.

 
 
 
bccrane
Freshman Silent
6.3.13  bccrane  replied to  TᵢG @6.3.9    one month ago

You're right I should have stated "private" property.

But at what point will socialism have the need to become authoritarian and demand what personal property you can and can't have?

Under socialism someone still has to clean the sewers, so if the sewer worker is compensated for their labors no more than any other worker with an easier job, at what point do you run out of sewer workers and the sewers backup, does the authoritarian head of socialism force the workers into the sewers to do their job, compensate them more at the ire of other workers, or just flush the sewers into the rivers to keep society running? 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
6.3.14  TᵢG  replied to  bccrane @6.3.13    one month ago
But at what point will socialism have the need to become authoritarian and demand what personal property you can and can't have?

If socialism = collective control of the productive resources of the economy based on democratic principles then why would this require authoritarian rule any more than the private control of the productive resources of the economy (capitalism)?    It is not as though there ever has been a nation whose economy was based on the  collective control of the productive resources.   Even the systems labeled as socialism started off as authoritarian rule with central (state) control of the productive resources (predominantly or fully) and not one of them ever yielded control to the public for collective control.

at what point do you run out of sewer workers and the sewers backup, does the authoritarian head of socialism force the workers into the sewers to do their job, compensate them more at the ire of other workers, or just flush the sewers into the rivers to keep society running

Again you are speaking of authoritarian rule.   If you ascribe that property then you are speaking of socialism per the former USSR, et. al. and not that of Marx / Engels.   So this discussion is confused.

Speaking in terms of collective control (and thus not state authoritarian control), why would the problem of running out of sewer workers be different from capitalism?   An individual works sewers, for example, because that is either their desire or because they do not have the skills for the job they desire and take what they can get.   The concept of a job market applies under capitalism / socialism (Marx/Engels) as does the notion of a commodities market (where consumption drives supply).

This is the opposite of what an authoritarian state such as the former USSR would produce, so, again, if that is what you consider socialism then we are talking of almost entirely opposite systems.    


Now, that said, the USA is going to face a very serious problem that will force a profound change in our existing system.   Technology continues to eliminate jobs (and AI technology is eliminating white collar jobs).   This trend will continue.  Simultaneously, our population continues to grow.   So we are in an ugly situation of truly running out of meaningful employment.   What do we do when people cannot earn a living the conventional way (by working)?    The good side is that we plausibly would have the means to generate what is needed for everyone to have a decent life but how does a society work when much of the population is not earning a living (as we conventionally comprehend that)?

The baby boomers retiring give some relief to this situation but that is temporary.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
6.3.15  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @6.3.8    one month ago

Back in the late 80's and early 90's when I was in the Navy, I spent 6 months a year for four years at McMurdo Station, Antarctica as part of "Operation Deep Freeze" of the National Science Foundation's Division of Polar Programs. During the summer months from October through march, many different different universities from all over the country come down to do different kinds of research. The ones I found really interesting were the climatologists, glaciologists, and vulcanologists. There were a few climatologists that were espousing the same lines of thinking that you described above regarding the mini ice age theories. At that time those theories were not very well accepted by the mainstream academia but those few scientists had the last laugh on their more obstinate colleagues when said theories became more widely accepted.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7  Nerm_L    one month ago

The birth rate in postindustrial developed countries has been declining for several decades.  Birth rates in many developed countries have fallen below replacement levels.  The birth rate in the United States has fallen 20 pct since 2007 and currently stands at a record low of 1.7; below replacement level.  Increasing population size in postindustrial countries is due to migration and not to increasing birth rate.

Migration would seem to have a much larger impact on human exploitation of earth resources than is being acknowledged.  It's not just overpopulation.  There were 4.5 billion air passengers in 2019; well over half the world's population was transported by air.  The United States is averaging around 3 million vehicle miles traveled per month. 

The problem of overpopulation is exacerbated by transporting that population around the world.  Transporting people requires a large amount of resources that do not contribute to subsistence.  So, it's not just the number of people.  The number of miles traveled by all those people is having a larger impact on the environment than is feeding all those people.  Food is being used for transportation fuel.  Over mobility may well be a larger problem than over population.

 
 
 
MalamuteMan
Professor Participates
7.1  author  MalamuteMan  replied to  Nerm_L @7    one month ago

The birth rate to which you refer is the number of offspring per couple. Unfortunately, even if each couple produces fewer offspring, it is still a population of 8 billion producing offspring rather than the 2.5 billion producing offspring when I was born 71 years ago, or the 1 billion producing offspring around the year 1800 or the 0.19 billion producing offspring in 1 AD. Exacerbating those figures is the fact that the adult mortality age is much older than it once was and the child death rate is much lower than it once was. Furthermore, over population is just one of the problems humans have introduced. Massive increases in resource consumption and waste production are not just symptoms of this problem, they accelerate the problem.
Your comment exemplifies the "Everything was fine when I arrived on the planet" notion.

You may ask, "Well, if you thing this is all so problematic, how do you propose to address this problem?"

My answer is... I applaud the efforts of those who recognize there is a problem and are working to remedy the problem. Unfortunately, my view is that we are far beyond the point of a painless solution. In fact, almost everyone, including those working to remedy the problems introduced by humans, will scoff at my notion that it is our combination of dexterity, mobility, and intellectual prowess that is the root of this problem. Put very simply, the human species, in spite of all our amazing accomplishments, is an evolutionary mistake.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  MalamuteMan @7.1    one month ago
Your comment exemplifies the "Everything was fine when I arrived on the planet" notion.

What an odd argument considering the whole point of the essay is that everything was just fine in the past.  The essay is making a case that overpopulation is a root problem and that we need to return to population levels of the past.

What I am pointing out is that human activities have changed dramatically over the last 120 years.  Societies around the world are becoming less agrarian.  Humans have adopted activities that require far more resources than are needed for subsistence.  The human population is not killing the planet to feed itself.  

The birthrate is declining in postindustrial developed countries but the demand for resources is increasing.  That suggests a significant part of the problem is lifestyle.  Lifestyles really have changed drastically since I was born.  The problem of exploiting natural resources to sustain (an unsustainable) lifestyle is not a trivial problem.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.2  Nerm_L  replied to  MalamuteMan @7.1    one month ago
My answer is... I applaud the efforts of those who recognize there is a problem and are working to remedy the problem. Unfortunately, my view is that we are far beyond the point of a painless solution. In fact, almost everyone, including those working to remedy the problems introduced by humans, will scoff at my notion that it is our combination of dexterity, mobility, and intellectual prowess that is the root of this problem. Put very simply, the human species, in spite of all our amazing accomplishments, is an evolutionary mistake.

My contention is that a technological solution risks worsening the problem.  Our technology rich lifestyles are not the result of natural evolution.  And much of the technology that has been incorporated into our lifestyles was developed for commercial advantage without consideration of consequences.

The human species has frittered away sustainability for instant gratification.  We're traveling to Disneyland without regard for how much exploitation is required to get there.  Our technology is killing the planet.  That's the central issue that needs to be grappled.

 
 
 
MalamuteMan
Professor Participates
7.1.3  author  MalamuteMan  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.2    one month ago
The birthrate is declining in postindustrial developed countries but the demand for resources is increasing.

The population growth rate peaked in 1963 at  2.27% per year. While it is now growing much more slowly now than it was 60 years ago, only about 0.8% per year now, the world-wide population is still growing. It is not shrinking!!!! Here is some statistics on that from a site called "Our World in Data"

I agree with what you are saying... and I applaud you for saying it...

Our technology is killing the planet.  That's the central issue that needs to be grappled.

While I think it is good that you and many others are sounding this alarm, I am saying two things that are a little different than what most people are saying.

a . We are not simply beyond sustainability, we are WAY WAY beyond sustainability.

and

b . Not only do we (as a species) not have the will to stop even where we are right now, my notion is that we need to technologically back up to much simpler ways. There are very few people who would agree to give up modern-day conveniences, let alone medicines that offer life saving and life extending benefits.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.4  Nerm_L  replied to  MalamuteMan @7.1.3    one month ago
While I think it is good that you and many others are sounding this alarm, I am saying two things that are a little different than what most people are saying.

a . We are not simply beyond sustainability, we are WAY WAY beyond sustainability.

and

b . Not only do we (as a species) not have the will to stop even where we are right now, my notion is that we need to technologically back up to much simpler ways. There are very few people who would agree to give up modern-day conveniences, let alone medicines that offer life saving and life extending benefits.

I agree, people are not going to give up technology.  But we aren't managing our choices of activities that depend upon technology.

What is the point of Las Vegas?  Las Vegas is not sustainable, relying on importation of everything (including water).  Harry Reid International Airport services 40 to 50 million airline passengers each year.  Technology makes Las Vegas possible.  Is Las Vegas a wise use of natural resources?

Is this a wise use of natural resources?

Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort located near the equator. 

There are excursion cruises to Antarctica. 

Billions of people are traveling around the world to accomplish what?  People are exploiting a lot of natural resources to travel in circles.  A lot of resources are exploited to maintain those travel destinations.  Why?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.5  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.4    one month ago

Yes, entertainment is a wise use of resources.   Populations that are not entertained will resort to other means of 'entertainment' and that historically has not turned out well.

The demos needs release valves and conventional entertainment serves that purpose.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.6  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.5    one month ago
Yes, entertainment is a wise use of resources.   Populations that are not entertained will resort to other means of 'entertainment' and that historically has not turned out well. The demos needs release valves and conventional entertainment serves that purpose.

We are exploiting more natural resources for entertainment than we are to feed people.  There are more people involved in tourism for entertainment than there are farmers.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.7  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.6    one month ago
We are exploiting more natural resources for entertainment than we are to feed people. 

Source?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.8  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.7    one month ago
Source?

  = 15 million

= 6 million

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.9  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.8    one month ago

Those are job statistics.    Service industries are labor intensive.   Agriculture continues to be driven by technology.   Has been for more than a century.

You have a problem with an industry which provides jobs?

Also, you did not support your claim of exploiting more natural resources.   Job stats do not equate to natural resources.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.10  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.9    one month ago
Those are job statistics.    Service industries are labor intensive.   Agriculture continues to be driven by technology.   Has been for more than a century.

You have a problem with an industry which provides jobs?

Also, you did not support your claim of exploiting more natural resources.   Job stats do not equate to natural resources.

We aren't talking about jobs.  We're talking about human activities that require exploiting natural resources.  And virtually all these human activities depend upon technology.  Here's a breakdown by sector:

Employment provides an indicator of how much of the population is engaged in particular human activities.  So, it's not just the size of the population that matters.  What the population is doing is equally important.  

The essay makes the argument that our small blue marble is under threat by overpopulation.  My contention is that the size of the population is less important than the activities of that population.  We aren't killing the planet to feed people; we're killing the planet to support technology rich lifestyles.  The human population is engaged in many, many activities that have nothing to do with subsistence or continuing the existence of the human species.

We're killing the planet to visit Disneyland.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.11  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.10    one month ago
We aren't talking about jobs.  We're talking about human activities that require exploiting natural resources.  And virtually all these human activities depend upon technology.  Here's a breakdown by sector:

You spoke of natural resources and then quoted job stats.     Of course human activities consume natural resources but that depends upon the nature of the activity.   Just quoting job stats is largely meaningless.

We're killing the planet to visit Disneyland.

So your point is that human beings must give up entertainment to survive?    How about we just focus on moving to smarter sources of energy rather than engage in truly stupid measures such as eliminating entertainment outlets which would introduce all sorts of sociological problems.

 
 
 
MalamuteMan
Professor Participates
7.1.12  author  MalamuteMan  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.6    one month ago

I said...

There are very few people who would agree to give up modern-day conveniences...

I now say...
Your conversation with Nerm_L makes my point better than anything I could ever say.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
7.1.13  Ender  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.10    one month ago

I would say because our economy is built on service industry.

Be it waitstaff, a casino dealer, or working at an aquarium.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.14  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.11    one month ago
So your point is that human beings must give up entertainment to survive?    How about we just focus on moving to smarter sources of energy rather than engage in truly stupid measures such as eliminating entertainment outlets which would introduce all sorts of sociological problems.

That is a choice, isn't it?  How important is entertainment when survival is at stake?

Smarter choices for energy still requires exploiting the planet.  Consuming more energy requires more exploitation of natural resources.  There isn't a free lunch.  As the essay points out, the Earth is all we've got.  How important is it to consume the planet to entertain ourselves?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.15  Nerm_L  replied to  Ender @7.1.13    one month ago
I would say because our economy is built on service industry. Be it waitstaff, a casino dealer, or working at an aquarium.

Which is a better choice?  Jobs that require exploiting the planet?  Or jobs that maintain the planet?  

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.16  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.14    one month ago
How important is entertainment when survival is at stake?

That is not the only choice.   The smart way to operate is to consume less (wisely) across the board and to create better sources of energy (and products) that have less impact on the environment.

As I noted, entertainment plays a very important role in the working of society.   People need the diversions.   Without these diversions we have sociological problems (people behaving poorly).  There are many (and better) ways to conserve natural resources than focusing on entertainment.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
7.1.17  Ender  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.16    one month ago

Are you not entertained?

...

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
7.1.18  JBB  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.15    one month ago

False dichotomy much? Geez! Oil and gas are dwindling resources besides being dirty. There are zero scenarios where they are a longterm answer to our energy needs. The sooner and faster we transition to cleaner renewable energy sources the better...

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
7.1.19  Ender  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.15    one month ago

How would one change that though. We are kinda built on consumerism. People buying useless crap.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.20  TᵢG  replied to  Ender @7.1.17    one month ago

Cute.   

 
 
 
MalamuteMan
Professor Participates
7.1.21  author  MalamuteMan  replied to  MalamuteMan @7.1.12    one month ago

Oops... I meant your conversation Nerm_L with T,G...

Sigh... Brain not working... jrSmiley_88_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.22  TᵢG  replied to  MalamuteMan @7.1.21    one month ago

I do not buy the idea that the best (or even a good) strategy to save the planet is to give up entertainment.

That is entirely different from NOT taking action.  

I think I was clear here:

TiG @7.1.16 ☞ That is not the only choice.   The smart way to operate is to consume less (wisely) across the board and to create better sources of energy (and products) that have less impact on the environment. As I noted, entertainment plays a very important role in the working of society.   People need the diversions.   Without these diversions we have sociological problems (people behaving poorly).  There are many (and better) ways to conserve natural resources than focusing on entertainment.
 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
7.1.23  Ender  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.22    one month ago

Things that bug me, I watched a home improvement show for like five minutes the other day. They had to break up and replace the granite countertops that were installed about a year ago because they did not like the colour...

I agree about entertainment. People need release.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.24  TᵢG  replied to  Ender @7.1.23    one month ago

The paradigm is sensible moderation across the board while improving our supporting technology.

Our methods need to consider that we are dealing with human beings.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
7.1.25  Ender  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.24    one month ago

What really got me was I would think take the granite off carefully and donate it or something. I saw her pick up a sledge hammer and that was it. Click...

How does one preach moderation to people that think it is a sham and how dare government on anyone else tell them otherwise.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.26  TᵢG  replied to  Ender @7.1.25    one month ago

And since it is hard to even get many people to recognize the need for moderation, going beyond sensible incremental change across the board will accomplish nothing.   People will assimilate a certain level of inconvenience before rejecting it.  Look at the resistance to the measures taken to mitigate the pandemic ... look at the backlash (counterproductive and idiotic) to even those measures.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.27  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.16    one month ago
That is not the only choice.   The smart way to operate is to consume less (wisely) across the board and to create better sources of energy (and products) that have less impact on the environment.

Of course that is not the only choice.  Focusing attention on sources of energy instead how energy is used is also a choice.  Doing nothing is a choice.  There are many possible choices.  Setting priorities requires making choices.  

As I noted, entertainment plays a very important role in the working of society.   People need the diversions.   Without these diversions we have sociological problems (people behaving poorly).  There are many (and better) ways to conserve natural resources than focusing on entertainment.

How did people survive the pandemic?  Entertainment, primarily that requiring travel, was the first thing to be shut down as nonessential.  Priorities changed and choices were made based on perception of a crisis and how to manage that crisis.

So, the argument that it can't be done doesn't jibe with the fact that we already did it.  We know it can be done.  But we also know there was more economic consequences than social consequences.  Avoiding the economic consequences of choosing smarter and wiser forms of entertainment and leisure activities is a choice based upon priorities and problems, too.

A choice has been made that protecting our ability to travel to Disneyland is more important than avoiding the environmental consequences of that travel.  We've chosen to invest effort, time, and money to lessen the impact of that travel so we can avoid asking why we need Disneyland.  We've made a choice that Disneyland is more important than the environment.  But that is not the only choice; it's only the choice we've made.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.28  Nerm_L  replied to  MalamuteMan @7.1.21    one month ago
Oops... I meant your conversation Nerm_L with T,G...

That's what I thought.  No, biggie.

Are you getting a better idea why we can’t see planet Earth Is all we’ve got, or ever will have?  We seem quite willing to sacrifice people.  The argument is that the population is too large which leads to a conclusion that we need to eliminate people.

But there is reticence to look at human activities and make smarter choices about those human activities.  Humans are expendable; technological lifestyles must be protected.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.29  Nerm_L  replied to  JBB @7.1.18    one month ago
False dichotomy much? Geez! Oil and gas are dwindling resources besides being dirty. There are zero scenarios where they are a longterm answer to our energy needs. The sooner and faster we transition to cleaner renewable energy sources the better...

All the carbon humans have ever consumed is still on the planet; humans haven't created more carbon.  We really do have the technology to recycle carbon into fuel, if we choose. 

Climate scientists are claiming that the carbon cycle is a problem because human activities have changed the carbon cycle.  Climate scientists are not claiming humans are causing global warming; the claim is that human activities are causing global warming.  Humans really do engage is many, many activities that have nothing to do with subsistence of the population or perpetuating the species.

We have choices to make.  We can choose to exploit planet Earth in different ways that avoids changing the carbon cycle.  We can choose to adjust our activities so we lessen exploitation of planet Earth.  We can reduce the size of the human population through a variety of means.  We can expend more effort colonizing moons and planets (to perpetuate the species) and avoid changing human activities or the size of the population on Earth.  

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.30  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.27    one month ago
Of course that is not the only choice. 

Then why the unyielding focus on entertainment?   My point is that entertainment plays an important function in society; it is not mere frivolous waste of natural resources.   My further point is that we need to conserve across the board (consume in moderation) while continuing to improve our technology to use fewer fossil fuels and more clean renewables.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.31  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.28    one month ago
But there is reticence to look at human activities and make smarter choices about those human activities.  Humans are expendable; technological lifestyles must be protected.

That is the opposite of the point I made.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.32  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.30    one month ago
Then why the unyielding focus on entertainment?   My point is that entertainment plays an important function in society; it is not mere frivolous waste of natural resources.   My further point is that we need to conserve across the board (consume in moderation) while continuing to improve our technology to use less fossil fuels and more clean renewables.

Entertainment and leisure activities are luxury activities that are far less necessary for sustaining the population of humans.  Entertainment and leisure activities that require travel and/or depend heavily upon technology are degrading the planet for a less important luxury benefit.  Those were nonessential activities were curtailed during the pandemic.

Smarter use of energy is just as important as smarter sources of energy.  We're focusing attention on sources of energy and not evaluating how we use energy.  Curtailing less important activities reduces energy needs.  If we don't use energy for less important (nonessential) activities then we can reduce dependence on fossil fuels now and speed the transition to alternative energy.  

The priority is to sustain essential activities.  Nonessential activities compete for resources that slows the transition of essential activities. 

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
7.1.33  charger 383  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.32    one month ago

Quality over Quantity,  this is another reason we must address overpopulation 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.34  Nerm_L  replied to  charger 383 @7.1.33    one month ago
Quality over Quantity,  this is another reason we must address overpopulation 

Overpopulation is a problem that will correct itself.  People die without food and water.  So, the idea of 'addressing overpopulation' isn't really about the population.

I contend that what people are concerned about is that an increasing population will require prioritizing exploitation of the planet for essential uses that sustain that population.  Essential needs to sustain the population will compete with and overwhelm nonessential uses of resources.  IMO the root of the concern is competition between essential and nonessential uses of resources.  And the calls to reduce the population size is really about protecting those nonessential uses of resources.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.35  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.32    one month ago
Those were nonessential activities were curtailed during the pandemic.

As temporary measures and due to the problems of people collecting in groups.   A society without entertainment will be dysfunction.   Entertainment plays an important function in the health of a society.

Moderation coupled with cleaner energy is the smart and practical way to proceed.    Attempting to curtail entertainment would result in revolt and thus be counterproductive.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
7.1.36  charger 383  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.34    one month ago

Better to lower the birthrate than have it continue to grow and then have people starve 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.37  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.35    one month ago
As temporary measures and due to the problems of people collecting in groups.   A society without entertainment will be dysfunction.   Entertainment plays an important function in the health of a society. Moderation coupled with cleaner energy is the smart and practical way to proceed.    Attempting to curtail entertainment would result in revolt and thus be counterproductive.

Remember traveling circuses?  The question is if traveling circuses have less environmental impact than theme parks.  I don't know the answer to that question.

What I do know is that theme parks are in a fixed location that requires large numbers of people traveling to the theme park.  And some theme parks attract travelers from around the world.  It's difficult for me to believe those attractions in fixed locations are not significant exploiters of the planet.

You are arguing that entertainment is important for the functioning and health of society.  Okay.  But there are smart ways to provide entertainment that reduces demand for resources and energy.  To me, global travel for entertainment is not a smart way to provide that entertainment.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
7.1.38  charger 383  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.34    one month ago

Soylent Green is people. 

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.39  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.37    one month ago
You are arguing that entertainment is important for the functioning and health of society. 

Yeah, Nerm.

But there are smart ways to provide entertainment that reduces demand for resources and energy. 

Yeah:

TiG@7.1.30My point is that entertainment plays an important function in society; it is not mere frivolous waste of natural resources.   My further point is that we need to conserve across the board (consume in moderation) while continuing to improve our technology to use fewer fossil fuels and more clean renewables.
 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.40  Nerm_L  replied to  charger 383 @7.1.36    one month ago
Better to lower the birthrate than have it continue to grow and then have people starve 

Birthrates are declining in postindustrial developed countries.  Yet the demand for resources is rapidly increasing in those countries.  Exploitation of the planet is influenced more by an increasing variety of human activities that have nothing to do with subsistence of the population.

If we cut the human population in half while tripling the demand for resources then what will be accomplished?  The problem isn't just more people.  Another problem is that each person is consuming more resources.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
7.1.41  charger 383  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.40    one month ago

Lowering birthrates will be hard enough, getting people to want less and not enjoy themselves will be very hard 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.42  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.39    one month ago
Yeah:
TiG@7.1.30My point is that entertainment plays an important function in society; it is not mere frivolous waste of natural resources.   My further point is that we need to conserve across the board (consume in moderation) while continuing to improve our technology to use fewer fossil fuels and more clean renewables.

I've read and responded to that comment.  As I have pointed out, that argument focuses attention on sources of energy without evaluating the activities consuming that energy.  Technology requires exploiting the planet.  So, using different technology to support human activities can only change how the planet is exploited.

Your argument is very much about needing to travel to Las Vegas and Disneyland using cleaner technology.  But that doesn't address my question.  Are Las Vegas and Disneyland really that important?  Is traveling long distances to Las Vegas and Disneyland a wise use of resources?

Clean renewable energy will have an environmental impact.  That's unavoidable.  We can't exploit the planet to produce technology without impacting the environment.  So, what we are doing with that technology is an important consideration.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.43  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.42    one month ago
As I have pointed out, that argument focuses attention on sources of energy without evaluating the activities consuming that energy. 

Then you are not reading:  "conserve across the board (consume in moderation)".    I have not suggested that we be stupid about how we use energy.   Consume in moderation implies that we would make sensible choices.   Why would one presume that this means we would make stupid choices?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.44  Nerm_L  replied to  charger 383 @7.1.38    one month ago
Soylent Green is people. 

Technology turned people into Duracell batteries to sustain itself, too.  Maybe we're confronting a red pill, blue pill choice.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.45  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.43    one month ago
Then you are not reading:  "conserve across the board (consume in moderation)".    I have not suggested that we be stupid about how we use energy.   Consume in moderation implies that we would make sensible choices.   Why would one presume that this means we would make stupid choices?

Which still dances around my question.  Are Las Vegas and Disneyland really that important?

We really do need to raise awareness about how we are using energy (and resources).  Focusing attention on sources of energy really doesn't address increasing exploitation of the planet.  If we are going to address exploitation of the planet then we need to focus attention on human activities.  Clean energy may well exacerbate the problem of environmental degradation caused by over exploitation.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
7.1.46  Ender  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.45    one month ago

So your answer is to shut down Vegas and have people lose millions of jobs...

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.47  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.45    one month ago
Which still dances around my question. 

I have not conducted an analysis on Las Vegas and Disneyland but I will say (yet again) that entertainment is important to a functioning society.   Not only does entertainment provide jobs, but it provides a crucial release that human beings need.   Close down all the gambling and amusement parks in the USA and see what happens.

Your ridiculous focus on entertainment misses the boat.   Conserving (moderation) and sensible technology is the approach.   The specifics will vary per individual but the principle is to be more effective in energy consumption.

"Let's stop wasting resources on entertainment" is both counter-productive to a healthy functioning society and myopic.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.48  Nerm_L  replied to  Ender @7.1.46    one month ago
So your answer is to shut down Vegas and have people lose millions of jobs...

Jobs or survival.  Which do we choose?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.49  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.47    one month ago
Your ridiculous focus on entertainment misses the boat.   Conserving (moderation) and sensible technology is the approach.   The specifics will vary per individual but the principle is to be more effective in energy consumption.

My focus is on migration which was outlined in @7.  The number of air travelers in 2019 was more than half the planet's population.  I contended in my original comment that movement of people (migration) is a bigger problem than the size of the population.

Las Vegas and Disneyland are examples of travel destinations.  

The attention focused on EVs addresses the issue of travel and migration.  So, travel and migration are not trivial human activities that can be ignored.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
7.1.50  JBB  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.48    one month ago

Again with the false dichotomies? Give it up!

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.51  Nerm_L  replied to  JBB @7.1.50    one month ago
Again with the false dichotomies? Give it up!

Don't like a pantomime of climate alarmism?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.52  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.49    one month ago
I contended in my original comment that movement of people (migration) is a bigger problem than the size of the population.

So entertainment is not your focus?   Okay, so how about just making the statement that we should be careful in our use of fossil fuel related transportation instead of focusing on entertainment?

Business travel, for example, has reduced largely because the pandemic broke the beliefs that one must press flesh to conduct business and  that employees must be in a central office to be productive.   We should continue with this new understanding and reduce unnecessary travel for work.

By the same token, we should invest in clean-energy mass-transit infrastructure to achieve economies of scale in energy consumption.

There are all sorts of acts one can take under the principle of 'reduce use of fossil fuel consumption for travel'.   Your (prior) focus on entertainment was, as I noted, myopic.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
PhD Principal
7.1.53  Nerm_L  replied to  TᵢG @7.1.52    one month ago
So entertainment is not your focus?   Okay, so how about just making the statement that we should be careful in our use of fossil fuel related transportation instead of focusing on entertainment?

I have cited examples of entertainment that depend upon fuel related transportation.  And that fuel related transportation won't be transitioning away from fossil fuels anytime in the near future.  Las Vegas would not be economically sustainable without commercial air travel.  Las Vegas is definitely not environmentally sustainable without importing resources. 

Entertainment, leisure, and hospitality venues (tourism) obviously provide economic benefit.  And global travel obviously increases that economic benefit.  But does that economic benefit outweigh the environmental costs? 

You've claimed entertainment is important for the health and stability of societies.  But that doesn't address whether or not Disneyland is important.  Or Las Vegas.  Or Ski Dubai.  Or the Olympics, for that matter.  Is global travel for entertainment really that important?  Does the economic benefit of these global tourist attractions justify the necessary exploitation of the planet to sustain these tourist attractions?  

And it's not just air travel.  These entertainment venues require a complete infrastructure for supply of energy and resources to function.  Transitioning these entertainment venues to alternative energy would protect the economic benefit.  But do we make the investment in that transition before investing in homes, farms, and factories?  Do we invest in entertainment before investing in subsistence?

Do we prioritize entertaining ourselves?  Or do we prioritize feeding, clothing, and sheltering ourselves?  What would transitioning Las Vegas to alternative energy really accomplish?

There are all sorts of acts one can take under the principle of 'reduce use of fossil fuel consumption for travel'.   Your (prior) focus on entertainment was, as I noted, myopic.

We are exploiting the planet for an enormous amount of resources to entertain ourselves.  The number of people being transported around the planet by air is equivalent to over half the human population.  And that does not include ground and water transportation.  Mobility requires a complete infrastructure to function; it's not just the energy and resources needed for vehicles.

My contention is that migration is a bigger problem than over population.  We are not killing the planet to feed ourselves.  We're killing the planet so we can visit Disneyland.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
7.1.54  TᵢG  replied to  Nerm_L @7.1.53    one month ago

You have a strange obsession with vacation resorts / theme parks.   

The focus should be on the big picture.   The principle is obvious, reduce usage of fossil fuels, reduce infrastructure dependence on same, move towards clean renewables and do so in a manner that mitigates creating new problems and, worse, creating a backlash where the public refuses to cooperate.

Strategic measures to reduce emissions through mass transit, cleaner vehicles, etc. is the key.   Focusing on Vegas and Disneyland is myopic and, as noted, introduces societal problems.    These entertainment venues should be part of a larger strategy to provide services more effectively and the transportation used to get to and from would be part of the larger strategic initiative to make ALL transportation smarter.   Finally, this all takes time … it needs to be continuous but incremental.

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Freshman Quiet
8  afrayedknot    one month ago

“Over mobility may well be a larger problem than over population.”

Maybe 99th out of the one hundred problems we face. Perhaps over thinking is number one for some. 

 
 
 
MalamuteMan
Professor Participates
9  author  MalamuteMan    one month ago

Several people have referenced "Part 2" as though it is something the hope to see...

FYI - This article contains both Part 1 & Part 2...

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
10  Revillug    one month ago

A look at that graph of population growth makes it pretty clear that this is all the fault of the Catholic Church (the fastest growing religion in the world).

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
10.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Revillug @10    one month ago

Exactly, especially all the Chinese, Indian Indonesian and Pakistani Catholics.  

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
10.1.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @10.1    one month ago

Don't forget Latin America.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
10.1.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @10.1.1    one month ago

The current population of Latin America and the Caribbean is 665,742,049, china and India over  2.8 billion. Indonesia and Pakistan are close to Latin America.

 
 
 
Hallux
Junior Principal
10.1.3  Hallux  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @10.1.2    one month ago

Canada has 3 people and 1 beaver ... the moose died in a canoe.

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
10.1.4  Revillug  replied to  Hallux @10.1.3    one month ago
1 beaver

That beaver is the reason I love Canada.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
10.1.5  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Revillug @10.1.4    one month ago

You don't like Canadian people?

 
 
 
Revillug
Freshman Guide
10.1.6  Revillug  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @10.1.5    one month ago

I don't know any.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
10.1.7  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Revillug @10.1.6    one month ago

I know quite a few.  They're very good people.  You can take my word for it. 

 
 
 
Mark in Wyoming
Professor Silent
10.1.8  Mark in Wyoming   replied to  Hallux @10.1.3    one month ago

( in boris badanov voice ) what about squirrel? squirrel is always with moose ....

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
10.1.9  TᵢG  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @10.1.7    one month ago

Same here, and I agree with you.

 
 
 
monkeypox
Freshman Silent
11  monkeypox    one month ago

We may need to consider feeding out the people of Walmart and eating them to control population growth.

 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
12  mocowgirl    one month ago
Now... There is no easy way out of this mess.

I agree.  In the US, the consumer mindset is the be all and end all.  I admit I did my part during Prime Days and bought a few cheap items of fall decor and splurged on a discounted 8 oz bottle of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar vanilla. 

History tells us what men do when resources become scarce, or they're fed up with economic inequality.

In the good old days, the violence and destruction were minimal compared to the nuclear devastation that will happen when the rich and powerful try to use shock and awe to maintain (or expand) their wealth and power.

I find the Fall of Civilizations series to be a good primer on what has happened in the past while we continue to ignore all of the wars being fought around the globe today as men try to gain more wealth and power.

 
 
 
Lucifer Morningstar
Professor Guide
13  Lucifer Morningstar    one month ago

256

BTW, Has anyone actually articulated why any of this matters in the long run.  Start with the notion of "We".  Whaddaya mean We Kimosabe.

So it's all "We" got.  Think positive and look at it this way.  The next form of life on the planet has got to be better than this one. 

And to that end, "We" got all the time in the world.   You know expanding to infinity and all that astrological shit.

So, stop worrying and learn to love the bomb.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
14  Greg Jones    one month ago

I predict that humans will go extinct within the next thousand years

 
 
 
MalamuteMan
Professor Participates
14.1  author  MalamuteMan  replied to  Greg Jones @14    4 weeks ago

I predict that humans will go extinct within the next thousand years.

A reasonable guess, in my judgement. Whether it is 1000, 100, or 10000, the process of going extinct will get more and more painful at time passes.