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4dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:02 AM
Original message
Oh the reality!!! I wonder how many Du'er are still in denial?

http://socialwork.arts.unsw.edu.au/tsw/D100.RE.cant.sav...

There is rapidly increasing understanding of the need to reduce use of fossil fuels. People are becoming more aware of the possibility that petroleum supply is close to peaking, and of the implications of the greenhouse problem for use of fossil fuels. However it would be difficult to find a more taken for granted, unquestioned assumption than that it will be possible to substitute renewable energy sources for fossil fuels, while consumer-capitalist society continues on its merry pursuit of limitless affluence and growth. I think there is a very strong case that this assumption is seriously mistaken.

The limits to renewable energy have been almost totally ignored. There has only been one book published on the topic, Haydens The Solar Fraud, 2004. No one wants to think about the question. Everyone is eager to assume that we can move from fossil fuels to renewables without any threat to ever-rising affluent living standards and limitless economic growth. Unfortunately the renewable energy experts are the last people to throw critical light on this question of possible limits. They always give the most optimistic pronouncements on their pet technologies, reinforcing the impression that they could solve all the problems, if only we would give them more research funding.
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southerncrone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
1. The Consumerism God is killing the planet
The idea of keeping up with the jones, is killing this planet. This was shoved into high gear in the 80's (Reagan/Bush)when "appearances" became king, and it has steadily gotten worse. We are working on our 2nd generation of people brought up to be concerned mainly with wearing the "right" clothes, driving the "right" car, owning in the "right" zip code, etc. Capitalism has its faults!

The fact that we must live "with" this planet instead of "on" or "off of" the planet has never entered the conscienceness of these generations. Finally a few young people are catching on; I just hope it isn't too late.

The popular culture needs to help redirect the focus on science & the inventing spirit in youth instead of gossip and consumerism. (What does it really matter what Brittany Spears is doing, or that Whhore, Paris Hilton. These individuals contribute nothing.........but they do take away the life force of our youth & lead them into the netherworld of their own waste!) If youth was not distracted by these "glittering" personalities, & asked to think about their future world, they might be a little more interested in coming up w/new technologies to avoid the end of our existence on this planet, along w/all the other species.
:rant:
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 01:24 PM
Response to Original message
2. The problem is much more fundamental than that. All the issues re the limits of our resources are
really about the population explosion. THAT is the elephant in the room that it seems nobody wants to address. that's because population growth is more intractible than global warming.

HOw do we slow down world population growth?

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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. This is one of those very rare occasions that I'm going to agree with something you say.
Population absolutely is the issue.

The population will be reduced.

The following mechanisms will reduce the population via tragedy: (1) Ignoring climate change completely. (2) Ignoring the limits on fossil fuel resources. (3) Pretending that inadequate renewable strategies are enough. (4) Any combination of 1 through 3.

There is in my view only one real option for preventing population reduction through tragedy, that is, achieving it by ethical means, although increasingly it is a very long shot: (1) Banning fossil fuels before they are depleted through a mixture of whatever resources are available, obviously including nuclear which demonstrably the largest available such resource. (2) Redistributing wealth so that strict family planning approaches are acceptable to the poorest part of the human population.

For the nuclear part, I obviously believe that the risks associated with six billion people disappearing through an anarchic catastrophe is somewhat larger than the risk of there being another serious nuclear accident.

The time to prevent population collapse through tragedy is running out.
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. The tough part is how do you get birth control to people who, given the chance would use it.
We are up against a very powerful adversary on this. Apparently interfering with the natural process of conception is okay if it is to promote pregnancy but not if it is an act of individual freedom and responsibility.

IT's okay to use fertility drugs (even though, in the earlier years, it was known not all babies in multiple births were likely to live - that apparently is not sacrificing a life for another - as the anti- stem cell research argument goes. But it's NOT okay to use birth control as an act of personal responsibility.





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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Let's be clear on who uses contraception.
Wealthy people. What do I mean by a "wealthy person?" I'm not talking about Bill Gates necessarily or a member of the Walton family. I am talking about anyone who is rich enough to eat every day, to maybe own an automobile or a home.

The population of nations like Japan, Finland and many other relatively wealthy nations is fairly stable. In fact, without legal and illegal immigration into the United States - and let's be clear that I believe that people should be allowed to immigrate to rich countries - would be stable, based on its birth rate.

It is very difficult to convince women in parts of Africa - where they are barely literate, where they depend on child labor for survival and children for elder care, where the child mortality rate is high - to have children at or below the replacement rate, to worry about contraception etc. They have a very different reality than people who watch television at night.

This is why solutions that only exist for the benefit of wealthy people are trivial in addressing our environmental issues. A big part of our problem with the environment lies with poverty and the conditions that allow for poverty. The problem is Malthusian at the end of the day, to the extent that the use of fossil fuels has allowed us to forestall Malthus's original prediction. However the people produced by this situation exist. Thus there is an ethical problem - if at least you believe as I do that human lives have intrinsic worth.

People who are merely subsisting, who are subject to low status, rape, violence, famine, etc, etc, etc are not waxing romantic about Arnie's brazillion solar roof bill in California.

I am happy to note that two African nations with large portions of their population living in abject poverty - South Africa and Nigeria - have plans to expand their nuclear energy capacity. South Africa, in fact, is a world leader in the development of the Pebble Bed Reactor. I don't like this reactor necessarily - because I like other types of reactors much better - but it is almost infinitely better than burning coal.
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Patchuli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. Responsible people
and then we have people like the woman next door, Section 8, not married to the father of her three soon-to-be four children. He came back to visit long enough this summer, knock her up again, party down, violate probation or whatever and go back to jail.

Why do the rest of us have to subsidize this kind of $hit?
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BleedingHeartPatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. I would rather subsidize free education and/or job training for your neighbor than
see one more penny of of my money go to Halliburton. MKJ
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Patchuli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #15
29. I'm not saying she doesn't work,
because she does. But she's creating her own problems and ours. She is also not mother of the year, due to her situation. I think more birth control education is needed and the fundies against it need to sit down and shut up.
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BleedingHeartPatriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #29
32. You're right, I forgot free family planning . People that desperately can't afford kids, shouldn't
be forced to. MKJ
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Patchuli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 01:10 AM
Response to Reply #32
37. They should consider
what kind of situation they are bringing them into.

I would have loved four kids. I could not have afforded them, so I had one. It's a matter of caring first about the child, and self second.
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 11:45 AM
Response to Reply #10
21. A question for your question: What do you think should be done about her?
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Patchuli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #21
30. I think she should be told
that the taxpayer-funded goodies are not going to increase with the size of her brood. I think she needs to be responsible for her own actions.

Do you think it's OK to have bunches of children you can't afford?
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 06:06 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. I did not say that I think it's OK to breed indiscriminately. I don't believe in punishing
children for the sins of their parents.

I am very clear in believing in the necessity for small families.

So then, since the mother irresponsibly bred, we should do what with the children who resulted? Feed them to wolves? Impress them into the Navy or the Marines?

Ronald Reagen made a great deal for himself by generalizing the specific case to include all people who ignorantly breed at government expense. He probably got elected by invoking the stereotypical welfare queen. Personally I think he was full of shit.
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Patchuli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 01:08 AM
Response to Reply #33
36. Oh give me a break, already
Obviously once they are here, they must be cared for. This woman however, chooses to bring a family up this way. I get to hear the kids crying for the daddy who is in jail when they are mad at mom. She had a choice this summer, to use birth control being that she is struggling to care for three children under five as it is. She chose to be irresponsible, yet again. She's told me in these exact words "What can I do? Their dad won't work." So she does it again...

Family planning and responsibility needs to be a required subject in school. Young people need to be taught these things, especially in light of an overpopulated world. Do you disagree with that?

Please go jump to conclusions about what posters think from a brief post you read elsewhere. This is exactly why it's hard to even discuss some matters on DU. There's always someone looking to label others for opinions. Ronnie Ray-Gun's games had nothing to do with my originating post.
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
26. Then there is Latin America. Where people live in feudal societies and the poor would be better off
if they could get contraception (but their church is opposed to this). There is much that needs improvement in Latin American society, but the poor are not any better off by having seven to ten children. I think if the women there could get it, they would use birth control to limit their family size to what they could afford to feed. Poor people, contrary to some people's belief are not dumb.

In Rio De Janeiro (sp?) there are hundreds of kids living on the streets because they were abandoned by poor parents who opted to try to feed 6 kids instead of 8. these kids are living on hte streets and every once in a while the police round up a bunch of them and they are never seen again. (http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9612/09/brazil.street.kids /) OF course, new ones show up to replace them.

I think in almost all poor countries, the poor would limit their birth rates if they had access to birth control. Having more mouths to feed is never an improvement in the situation where there isn't enough food available. I think the people there realize that and would use birth control if they could get it.

Middle class people definitely use birth control yet often vote to deny making it available to the poor because it might "damage their moral fiber". Meanwhile the poor remain down and never can get ahead.

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buddysmellgood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 12:29 AM
Response to Reply #3
9. Of course, nuclear won't last forever either.
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 11:12 AM
Response to Reply #9
19. This may not be the case at all.
It may be possible to deplete the type of uranium now found in ores, but potentially the amount of uranium on earth is inexhaustible.

I think we should proceed as if they are exhaustible and conserve what we can, but I'm not sure that we can use up our nuclear resources even in millions of years.
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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #19
28. Laughable jibberish: "potentially the amount of uranium on earth is inexhaustible".
"but potentially the amount of uranium on earth is inexhaustible."

...yeah, maybe if we had virtually, an unlimited amount of money!








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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #28
31. Well since you don't know any chemistry, you don't know what an amidoxime resin is.
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 05:59 PM by NNadir
Therefore your opinion is completely uneducated and based on wishful thinking, since you are afraid of nuclear power because, well, you don't know the first thing about science.

Why don't you tell us all about "Doctor Wang" at "Argonne National Laboratory" and his writings on ethanol so I can mention the paper he needed to retract?

Those who do know chemistry and are interested in the piloted amidoxime process for the recovery of uranium from extremely low concentrations - the energy for the extraction coming from solar energy (ocean currents) can begin by reading Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2000, 39, 2910-2915.

The internal references in that paper will refer a reader to the series of scientific papers describing the scale up and piloting operations of this technology, which will become profitable when - and if - uranium reaches $200/kg.

These papers are all by Japanese researchers, but a more recent French paper Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2003, 42, 5900-5904, describes a different approach through ion selective membranes.

I quote from this scientific journal article -

Seawater is actually a very low grade uranium source,1 however, the advantage of the dissolved state and the almost inexhaustible quantities of uranium should be kept in mind. Furthermore, the extraction of the seawater uranium has no consequences on the environment. There are no mining residues, no radon emissions, and no collective radioactive exposure of the workers.

The design of an effective process for the selective concentration of uranyl ion is connected with the economic importance of the selective concentration of uranium from seawater as well as adoption of environmental laws concerning, for example, the removal of uranyl ion from drinking water4. Potentially, extraction of uranium from seawater is the cleaner and more environmentally friendly source of uranium ore. Direct recovery of uranium from seawater has been investigated over the past 4 decades. Extensive efforts have been made in Japan since the early 1960s,2,5 and numerous procedures recommending organic6-8 or inorganic ion exchangers9 have been developed...


The bold is mine.

If you don't know any chemistry of course, you always can wax romantic about ethanol and drop the name of Dr. Wang.

It is probably the case that the sea is saturated with respect to uranium and the removal would be replaced by run-off from continental crustal rocks and undersea ores and volcanoes. Reducing the load of uranium in the sea might not be environmentally benign, since it will reduce the radioactivity of seawater. Life evolved in the presence of this radioactivity and its reduction might have hitherto unappreciated consequences.
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 04:23 AM
Response to Reply #31
38. Dr. Wang had to retract a paper?
My curiosity is piqued. Any more info on that?
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buddysmellgood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 11:10 PM
Response to Reply #19
35. That seems like the reasonable approach.
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Maraya1969 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 06:35 AM
Response to Reply #3
13. This may sound harsh but your reasons why they population will be reduced is nature's way of
sustaining itself.

Remember that margarine commercial from years ago? "You can't fool mother nature!"
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. The population is already leveling off
It will level off around 10 billion, which is sustainable.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population


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motocicleta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 12:16 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Why do you say 10 b is sustainable?
I have seen other estimates that only about 500 million is sustainable because of the food productivity bubble due to use of fossil fuel (gasoline as well as fertilizers). Where do you get the 10 billion sustainability figure?
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 06:28 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. There are widely varying estimates
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 06:39 AM by bananas
Here are two references.
The first lists a bunch of estimates - take your pick.
The second is a quote from Paul Ehrlich, famous author of "The Population Bomb", who doesn't consider population the #1 problem anymore - which is the point I was trying to make in my post.

"Ecologists, economists and other scientists and policy makers from all over the world have attempted to estimate the human carrying capacity of the planet. The results vary dramatically depending on the methods used and the assumptions made. The variety of methods employed and assumptions made result in a broad range of estimates varying from as low as fewer than one billion people to as high as 1,000 billion."
http://www.ilea.org/leaf/richard2002.html

"Paul Ehrlich, famed ecologist, answers readers' questions
Q. Do you still believe -- as you've said in the past -- that population growth is the No. 1 environmental problem, and that coercion "for a good cause" to slow population growth should still be our first priority? -- Peter Walker, Eugene, Ore.
A. I think trends in population are in the right direction, but still too slow. China, of course, has done miracles with a relatively coercive program, but I think now we could get birthrates where they belong without much coercion. The worst population problems are in rich nations, especially the U.S., because of their very high rates of consumption. Consumption is, in Anne's and my view, the single most difficult problem to deal with now -- as we discuss extensively in One With Nineveh. Times have changed -- population control, especially among the rich, is critical, but consumption control today is probably more critical and certainly tougher to achieve."
http://www.grist.org/comments/interactivist/2004/08/09/...

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motocicleta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #12
34. I have looked at the multivariate assumptions and projections as well
and I am familiar with the idea that a few tweaked assumptions here and there lead to wildly different carrying capacity conclusion. I just misunderstood your tone regarding the 10 billion number. From my reading of the assumptions, I place sustainable carrying capacity at far south of that, and below even where we are now. I will not reiterate the arguments, but I think it is worth DU noting that many respected scientists think we have already gone too far.

Far too often on DU I find people all too willing to say this fuel or that technology will save us; after all, hasn't the human race always found a way in the past? This is pure rubbish. People need to realize that our consumption and population both are not going to be sustainable, no matter what renewables can do for us. The fact is, oil is going to get more expensive, and the benefits we have reaped from its use will do likewise. At the same time, the death and destruction sown from its use will grow, in terms of climate change and pollution. Many forces are coming together to draw an end to our consumption and overpopulation. In this, I believe that I am in agreement with both you and the OP. Maybe not 100% agreement, but pretty close.
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 02:01 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. 10 billion is sustainable
LOL!!!

As it is, we are already in a 25% overshoot at 6.5 billion people. I guess you could theoretically feed 10 billion people, if each one were vegetarian, most forests and prairies were plowed for cropland, most fossil fuels were devoted to food production, and oh yeah, global warming didn't exist.

As it is, cropland will continue to degrade in the coming decades as millions of hectares of farmland will be lost through drought, flooding, or sealevel rise, and rising fossil fuel prices will reduce crop yields further. Seafood production is faltering and most major fisheries aren't doing so well, so there goes a large portion of many nation's food supply.

I'm 27; I seriously doubt that if I live to be an old man the world's population will be higher than it is today.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #11
17. "25% overshoot at 6.5 billion people" -
says who? based on which criteria?

How about overshoot in aggregation of wealth?
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Overshoot
I first encountered the 25% calculation in "Limits to Growth: The 30 year update" by Meadows et. al. published in 2004. The criteria they fed into their World3 computer model are too wide ranging to summarize here, but I assure you they considered a comprehensive range of inputs - resource usage of many kinds, different economic growth patterns, different population growth patterns, waste production of many kinds. They have performed many hundreds of runs, and present in the book six outcomes that they believe are realistic, given a variety of input assumptions. In every case but one, the models show a decline in human population and a crash in human welfare during the second half of this century. The one that does not assumes a massive global program of eco-efficiency and resource re-use begun in 2002, and taking 20 years to fully implement. In this model human population stabilizes in mid-century, though industrial output and food production both still fall off due to pollution and resource scarcity. Given that this outcome is only possible with complete global cooperation, I maintain that the lessons of the Prisoner's Dilemma render it unattainable.

If they are correct (and I do find their arguments convincing), and if my estimation of the inability of mankind to cooperate en masse in each others' best interests while relinquishing their own, I find their reference case the most persuasive. In it they assume business as usual during most of the 20th century. The outcome is a dramatic drop in human welfare beginning before the middle of the century, followed immediately by a crash in global industrial output, along with a a decline in population and life expectancy.

If we are indeed in 25% overshoot with respect to our global base of resource sources and waste sinks, the notion that the planet can sustain 10 billion people is, frankly, risible. It would imply an overshoot of 130% given the current patterns of human behaviour. Since that would be obviously be unsustainable, the further implication is that our behaviour patterns will change, either voluntarily or involuntarily. I maintain that we cannot, as a global species, change our behaviour enough to avoid the consequences of overshoot. As a result it is those consequences that will constrain us.

I heartily recommend this book as a solid quantitative examination of the progress of overshoot.
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suziedemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #11
23. Americans eat too much meat. Most people in the world eat much less meat,
and that's a good thing. For our health and our environment. I may be biased because I'm a vegetarian, but I'm not an activist or anything. Still, meat consumption in the US to too high.
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #7
25. Really? You think there are no environmental problems with 6.5 billion?
I think you have a very, very, very, very, very poor grasp on what is happening to the planet with 6.5 billion people on it.

Here's some news for you: The environment is collapsing, everywhere.

Do you miss the Baiji dolphin, last week's newly extinct large mammal? No? Why am I not surprised?

Ten billion!?!? You'd have to be very attached to magical thinking to believe that.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #2
16. Population would not nearly be the problem that it is,
if there would be no issue with distribution of wealth.

# 50% of the global population living on less than $2 a day.

# 50% of all the wealth owned by a couple of hundred individuals.


Don't tell me that's irrelevant.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #16
20. Yes, but so what?
As unfair as it seems, things are the way they are. These disparities have been present throughout human history, and man's tendency to accumulate power and comfort at the expense of others appears remarkably resistant to change. Any efforts that have been made to rein in this behaviour over the centuries have generally caused more problems than they have solved.

If we're going to get a soft landing out of this predicament we need to be realistic both about what needs to be changed and what can be changed.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. Things are as unfair as they are because we made it that way
Man has made regulations that are unfair, i'm sure he can make regulations that are fair.
If the rich and powerful think there are to many humans on this planet, let them improve the situation by starting with themselves.
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YankeyMCC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
4. For at least the industrial age
and maybe it's true for all history - the dominate idea has been Development = Growth

That goes for population, industry, money etc...

But the only sustainable idea is Development = improvement in quality of life

There's a huge difference of course. Just as one example - You may not be able to feed all the current billions with sustainable agriculture but those you can feed will almost certainly be healthier (and I would guess happier if only a little just from this one change).

Unfortunately that's what discourages me when I think about for very long. We as a species do have an incredible capacity for innovation and adaptation, but we're not so impressive when it comes to shifting fundamental ideas like our idea of what constitutes development. It's beyond me how we will make "Development = improvement in quality of life" the dominate guiding principle of the world economy and culture.

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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 07:16 AM
Response to Original message
14. The section on "demand side management" in that essay is pretty lame
Under: Cant improved energy conservation and efficiency solve the problem?

It is hardly a comprehensive treatment. Who wrote this?
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4dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #14
22. So the answer is??
Perhaps you can tell us how energy conservation and efficiency will SOLVE the problem??
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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #22
27. Perhaps you can tell us what the alternative is???
:popcorn:

Furthermore, the whole premise of this thread is based on the strawman "DUers in denial".

:yawn:
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4dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 07:54 AM
Response to Reply #27
39. There is no alternative
Peak oil is going to occur and no amount of conservation is going to change that fact!! And as this article points out, no amount of alternative energy sources is going to help.. But most people are in denial. WHY??? We cannot fathom a future, not so much for us but for our children, with less oil(throw in natural gas too)..

I'm all for the die-off solution though..

And if your need some reading material :Peak Oil Prep: Three Things You Can Do to Prepare for Peak Oil, Climate Change and Economic Collapse

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0965900045?ie=UTF8&tag...

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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 09:16 AM
Response to Reply #39
40. Dieoff
That's where it all winds up, doesn't it? There are simply too many of us, doing too much, and nibbling around the edges of the problem wont help. Dieoff is Mother Nature's standard technique for dealing with this problem, and it happens every time a species overruns its niche. We like to assume that because we are Mankind that either these rules don't apply to us or we will be able to come up with some kind of "Get out of jail free" card, simply because we are not animals. Well, we are animals, and the rules do apply to us.

It's considered unseemly to hope for dieoff, but from a species perspective it's the most humane wish you can have. The sooner we dump our excess population and learn some lessons about sustainability from the process, the more resources will still be available for our descendants to scratch out a living from what we've left behind.

Even if one is unable to actively wish for dieoff, it should be possible to realize intellectually that it is the highest probability outcome of our situation.
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #40
41. Outreach
The public needs to be educated about these issues. I think they would listen if Democrats or environmentalists did address the public.

There is a scary, undeniable truth below the energy message. We are going to have to implement unpopular controls to prevent global disaster. We are going to have to accept deprivation, whether it is through policy or through economic collapse due to lack of policy.
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-21-06 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #41
46. There are still at least 29% of the pop that love moron*...
Those will be the ones included in the first round of die off. :)

Not a moment too soon.

It's the rest of the pop that we have to reason with.
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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 11:21 AM
Response to Reply #39
42. Be my guest!
:evilgrin:

Renewables are the only energy technologies that exist that will allow societies to transition to post-petroleum future.

The doomers have it wrong...
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4dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. So you disagree with this post??
SO you don't buy what this author is selling correct??

I personnally don't pray to the technology god to save us from peak oil..
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-20-06 07:01 AM
Response to Reply #39
44. If demand is reduced enough, then we will have "backed out of peak oil"
Peak Oil means that there is no excess capacity beyond what is used. If we were to reduce petroleum usage by 40%, then petroleum demands would again be well below the capacity of the world's oil wells.

40% efficiencies are achievable in the personal automobile fleet
40% reductions are possible in agriculture
As for long haul trucking, diesel trains, ships from China, and peak electrical generation, I cannot say. However, I am not presenting this 7:00 am post as a comprehensive demand side reduction thesis.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-20-06 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #44
45. Definitions of "Peak Oil"
The traditional definition of "Peak Oil" is more restrictive than your proposal. It's more like "The point at which oil production cannot be further increased due to geological constraints, assuming excess demand and no above-ground constraints." This definition is still not complete, because it requires an agreed definition of what is counted as "oil". I maintain that "Crude+lease condensate" is the only useful definition, but others include Natural Gas Liquids, and still others prefer to look at "All Liquids", which also include things like refinery gains, tar sands and biofuels.

What you're describing has been called the "logistical peak", which takes into account logistical constraints on production such as rig availability, refinery capacity, investment shortfalls and political impediments - all of which impact excess capacity. The logistical peak may be indistinguishable from the "geological peak" in its social and economic effects, though there is always the possibility that a change in the political, economic or industrial environment would permit output to resume its rise. If the peak is geological, this could not happen.

40% efficiency improvements in vehicle efficiency may be achievable, but you have to take into account fleet replacement times. You also need to consider that fleet replacement needs to be done globally, which will slow down the adoption of new vehicles to a great extent. For a good ongoing discussion of automobile efficiency in the context of Peak Oil, take a look at this thread on The Oil Drum - the web's best Peak Oil site.

I do not believe that a 40% increase in agriculture's fossil fuel efficiency is possible, especially considered globally. Can you expand on how you think that could be achieved?
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4dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #44
48. If we reduce our demand
that doesn't mean other countries will follow suit..Here's why The Jevons Paradox is an observation made by William Stanley Jevons who stated that as technological improvements increase the efficiency with which a resource is used, total consumption of that resource may increase, rather than decrease.

I would like nothing better than to see personal automobile efficiencies go up 40% but I don't believe they will unless we mandate it.. But this just defeats the overall purpose of getting people out of the automobile.. Peak oil will take care of that for sure along with many other problems.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #48
50. IMO Jevons holds the key to the understanding the looming problem.
Edited on Fri Dec-22-06 10:23 AM by GliderGuider
We're completely on the same wavelength.
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Dogmudgeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 03:23 AM
Response to Reply #39
47. "I'm all for the die-off solution though..."
I hope you made that statement in jest.

Let us suppose that the collapse takes place in about ten years. The population of the world will be about 7 billion. Over six billion of those people will then be condemned to a long, miserable death through a couple years of undernutrition followed by outright starvation.

What would the death of six billion people be like? Well, let's compare it with how people died during the Nazis' Holocaust against the European Jewry. Most of those people didn't die of torture or the poison "showers", but of starvation and disease in the concentration and labor camps.

Think about the six million Jews -- or the twelve million Jews and non-Jews -- who died between 1940 and 1945 in those camps. Stretch the time frame out to, say, ten, maybe fifteen years. Then multiply the death toll by one thousand. (Or by 500 if you're also counting non-Jewish deaths.)

One thousand Holocausts over a period two to five times as long. That's what a die-off would be like. Even a full-on nuclear war using over 1000 megaton-class nuclear bombs was estimated to kill off "only" about 70% of the world's population (Herman Kahn's estimate, circa 1960). A die-off would take 90-99%, depending on the exact series of causes.

Reading books on how to prepare for expensive gas won't help them. Framed against universal death in most of the rest of the world, the idea of toughing it out for a few years in the richest slice of the world is obscene -- if necessary. And there will certainly be a lot of starving happening in North America and Europe, too, if only from our making sure that the elites in the 100%-starving nations can buy food from us.

You may have grown cynical, or fearful, but please, please keep this in perspective. Those people are not rodents living in a patch of farmland, they are human beings with histories, families, hopes, and ambitions. An ecological die-off of the human race would be THE most terrible disaster in human history, even exceeding the probable near-extinction of the species with the eruption of Toba 75 kYa. It really WOULD reduce us to the status of rodents, possibly for thousands of years, if, indeed, we could ever recover.

--p!
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #47
49. A great disaster indeed from the human persective
Edited on Fri Dec-22-06 10:28 AM by GliderGuider
There are a variety of legitimate perspectives on the subject of dieoff. Examining it from the empathic position - from the point of view of someone who will be involved, who will have family, friends or countrymen involved - it is indeed a dread-full possibility. Many feel that the empathic position is the only legitimate one that we as humane, sentient creatures, can take.

There are others points of view, though. Unfortunately, when they are expressed listeners often assume them to be a negation of the empathic response, as though they are intended to displace or suppress our humane instincts. IMO these more dispassionate analyses should be considered in addition to, rather than instead of the emotional ones. Think of a physicist who understands all about gravity as a natural force, but still feels fear when he falls down the stairs.

When one thinks about the future of the planetary ecosphere, it's obvious that humanity is a damaging influence. We are systematically laying waste to other life, either directly or indirectly. If the hallmark of a healthy ecosphere is complexity and diversity, mankind seems to be acting as a broad-spectrum pathogen. The ecosphere would thrive more certainly with fewer of us in the mix.

As an intrinsic part of the global ecology, our own species is also being affected by our actions. The lessons to be learned from bacteria in petri dishes, yeast in wine vats, the reindeer on St. Matthew's Island or the people of Easter Island tell us that any species that overpopulates its niche in the absence of natural predators is subject to die-back. Humanity's ecological niche has now expanded to encompass the entire world, and the resource sources and waste sinks of the world are giving evidence of being fully exploited. As a result, the possibility of a die-back in our short to medium term future seems probable, no matter what one feels personally about that prospect.

Can we figure a way out of the box? Are we smarter than yeast? We are certainly smart enough to see it coming. There is growing evidence that we may be willing to change our behaviour once the problem is indisputable. The question is, does there remain time enough for our awakening to alter the outcome? We will definitely be able to change our behaviour, but I remain concerned that all we may do is leave skid marks in the grass as we hurtle off the cliff. Like my example of the physicist above, understanding what's happening to us will not keep us from being terrified as we go over the edge, nor will it keep gravity from doing its impersonal work.

Recognizing all this will not keep me from being filled with dread, grief and anger as circumstances unfold. My task is to keep these feelings from paralyzing me and overwhelming my ability to make rational choices. At the same time I want any rational choices I make to be tempered by a humane empathy for my fellow men, and not reduce them to mere data in my calculus of survival.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
51. All renewable energy is solar energy in various forms. There's plenty.
According to Hans Landsberg of Cambridge, the sun transmits 18,000 times as much energy as mankind uses. The oceans themselves contain 5 x 10^21 BTU of potential energy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_thermal_energy_conve...

Humans are adaptible. All of our major social and evolutionary steps have involved reacting to changing environmental conditions. The problems aren't technological, they're economic.

The stone age didn't end for lack of stone. Modern society won't change for lack of energy, but it will change to adopt different forms of it.
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4dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #51
52. Bad analogy
The stone age ended because it found a more better way. After the age of hydrocarbons is over, what will be the better way in your humble opinion?? What economic systems will be created when oil production is half of what is today??
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htuttle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
53. There's only one thing that can "save" consumer society -- Interstellar trade
However, that appears to be at least a few centuries away at this point...


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