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View Diary: The end of world as we know it . . . (186 comments)

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  •  He did not foresee the "Green Revolution" (14+ / 0-)

    which, when you analyze it out, was a massive commitment of fossil fuel energies to drastically increase food production - in effect postponing the disaster for a generation or two (or possibly three). Which also meant that when (not if) it occurred, it would be much much worse.

    If it's
    Not your body,
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    And it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 12:26:32 PM PST

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    •  If he didn't foresee the Green Revolution (2+ / 0-)

      which was already in the works during the late '60s, what is he failing to foresee now?

      Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

      by milkbone on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 01:41:08 PM PST

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      •  If you're hoping for technology to save us (5+ / 0-)

        then you'll be sorely disappointed.  We don't have another source of energy like fossil fuels and unless we actually commit to a new technology before the real badness of global warming starts then it won't make a damn bit of difference.

      •  Agree with you on the whole, but... (6+ / 0-)

        the green revolution enabled massive population increase in developing countries as compared to the developed world. Now we need to see to social justice for those people and deal with climate change at the same time. It will be very difficult. The decrease in real wages for Americans and others in the developed world are only a small part of the equation.

        "We are monkeys with money and guns". Tom Waits

        by northsylvania on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 02:24:46 PM PST

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        •  Quite right. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DawnN, lotlizard, northsylvania, maryabein

          Living equitably within the sustainability limits of the planets with the amount of people that technology has allowed us to accumulate, would require that todays American´s real wealth be reduced by on the order of 70 %.

          So, who´s going to lead the call for a reduction in American living standards by 70%?

          Rather not be socially just, I expect most people to say, or: rather burn the planet to keep this up for our generation at the expense of everyone after us.

          The Ehrlich&Ehrlich article captures this quite well, in stating that our global problems arent due to "overconsumption by humanity"; they are due to overconsumption by the rich part of humanity.

          The people in Mali (a place in the news nowadays) could live a good long while more on this planet, the way they live. They´d like to presumably. It is we (not them) who´re taking the planet down (which is also theirs).

          The longer this goes, the more one will have to call for our self destruction, in the interest of the others.

          Yes, I know that the way out would be that we redefine our ideas of "happiness" and "good life" in such a way that we wouldnt need this overconsumption. I would be only too happy to see such a cultural revolution. There´s no way however past the point that even such a cultural redefinition turning us into happy poor only makes sense if it does turn us into "poor" ones according to physical consumption measures.

        •  Social justics will NOT be a factor. (3+ / 0-)

          If you accept the Erlich's position that essential, human nature will ensure that humans will destroy themselves, then discussing Social Justice as relevant is simply a luxury of our current, privileged American existence.

          Resource Wars are already here. In fact, they have been forever. They just used to be about different resources.  The one that will matter most for us is water.  We WILL be fighting over it.  Just start searching for current publicly available, government research and policy reports about it.  Social justice won't be a thought in anyone's mind when they're fighting over water.  

          America is poised to be dominant in these wars.  Hundreds of millions of people in third world nations will perish.  It's horrible to think about, but it will happen.  

          The only question is will it make any difference.

          The priest said, "Today's sermon is called 'Liars', but first I have a question. How many of you have read Chapter 66 in Matthew?" Nearly every hand went up. "You're just the group I need to speak to," the priest said. "There's no such chapter."

          by Back In Blue on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 04:29:29 PM PST

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          •  Not so sure about that. (0+ / 0-)

            When some outside actors get angry enough about American arrogance, they can do considerable damage. If you consider everything that has happened to the American way of life since 9/11, including heightened security, loss of basic freedom, and ongoing economic failure caused by the increase in debt used to fuel two wars, those developing nations can cause quite a bit of mischief.
            I can see where you think America as a whole is still dominant, but that only goes for the top levels. They still have enough money to buy all the water required and then charge the rest for use, whether that is in a developing country or their own. I have a sneaking suspicion that the upper classes across the world think of everyone below them as peasants and have more sympathy with their own kind, no matter what their native language might be.

            "We are monkeys with money and guns". Tom Waits

            by northsylvania on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:07:34 AM PST

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            •  Good point, but it's not just money. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Has any of that post-911 stuff had any real effect on the powerful elite?

              When the water wars begin, no one will be buying water, they'll be invading territory to control it and dominating technology to convert and clean it.  

              You are correct that it's really the powerful elite—including the powerful leaders in government, military, and corporate—around the world that will be in control (and in cahoots) and benefiting at whatever cost to the rest of us.  That really isn't any different than right now.  However, just as all wars in history have required a certain amount of human bodies in order to wage, these will as well.  Drones, tanks, missiles, etc. currently need a fossil fuel based energy system. They also need water and that will only intensify the feedback loop. They will need people and they will need every bit of emotional commitment and fervor from them (the non-elite) in order to win.

              The water wars, like all wars, will be about power.   It may come to pass that nation states will fall to corporate states (as once predicted in an article I read in the Economist). If does happen it will be because the corporate states will be able to better provide for basics like water and food, and maybe even a superior quality of life.  Ultimately, that's still not much different than now. Even the poorest American has a better quality of life than most of the world's population.  Somehow, I don't see GE doing a better job than Unlce Sam (if WWII is any example).

              The reason for all this is that when it comes to this level where social justice is secondary to survival, there will be no qualms about invading a country or countries, wiping out the population (which has benefits to the invaders in terms of "more resources for us") and controlling it for its resources. Who has the resources, the educated populace, and the most fervent national ego (USA! USA! USA!, American Exceptional-ism, etc.) to do that?   And we won't be alone.  Allies will fall in line behind the powers that are already in their countries "protecting" their interests.  

              Of course, as things deteriorate, it will probably all fall apart, unless what I fear the most happens: the west will determine exactly how many have to die in order for the elite and their friends to live as they once did.

              Yes, this is all very pessimistic and I have real hope that we will find a way to move forward in a sane and humane way, but one reality is that moving forward has to include population controls.  The planet simply cannot sustain us otherwise.  Let's hope we figure that before mother nature takes care of that for us.

              The priest said, "Today's sermon is called 'Liars', but first I have a question. How many of you have read Chapter 66 in Matthew?" Nearly every hand went up. "You're just the group I need to speak to," the priest said. "There's no such chapter."

              by Back In Blue on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:07:35 AM PST

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