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

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  •  Even if he's off by several decades, does (10+ / 0-)

    that completely invalidate his work? I don't think so.

    More and more I've been thinking about The Population Bomb as I watch the world population rise. I also think that I should be Soylent Green by now. No dystopian vision can get it all right, but there are grains of truth in each. Certainly more truth than we hear spoken in the press and in Washington when climate change is mentioned and then swept under the rug once more.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 02:29:56 PM PST

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    •  I think it does invalidate it, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LABobsterofAnaheim, redlum jak

      or at least the forecasting part of it.

      The problem with the Erlichs' work is that it always proscribes moral changes for technical problems.  The rich must be more humble.  The fertile must learn to desire fewer, or no, children.  We all must learn to consume less energy even if it means lower functioning. Etc.  The reality is that technical solutions are often easier and more effective and more transformational in the end.  Markets allow for changing prices, which rewards people for changing behavior or developing technical solutions.  Research provides for more efficient use of resources and production, which allows for more people to live, at better standards of living, in more dense habitats than ever before, for example.   The technology exists to capture carbon from the atmosphere already, so why aren't the Erlichs pushing for legislation to fund that easy solution rather than pushing for these huge moral changes in vast populations?  

      •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LABobsterofAnaheim

        I am to the left Jill Stein on most issues, but every time there is a doomsday prediction and it doesn't occur, the right wing gobbles it up and uses it to oppose actual real time environmental policy.  This is not to say we shouldn't be pushing for a healthier environment, but just look at some of the doomsday predicitions made in the 1970s and 89s that never materialized.  Putting an exact number on things that involve thousands of different variables is foolish.  

      •  Technology has created as many problems (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard, maryabein

        as it has solved. Mining to build and run our many wonderful devices has degraded the environment and  turned lush nature into devastated scars on the earth. Markets can't keep up with the devastation we have wrought, in spite of what we might imagine.

        We have outsmarted ourselves and to imagine that we can engineer and consume ourselves out of the problems we have created is, I think, unrealistic. We may mitigate some of the problems we create, but then we move on to bigger and "better" problems.

        "Morality" may pale in comparison to man's great technological marvels, but a change in philosophy may be the only thing to save us. Civilizations have crashed before leaving behind cryptic clues for us to try to piece together, but we have found quite sophisticated technologies from the past that failed to save those who developed them. The society on Easter Island devastated their ecosystem so that no one could live there. Yet they could not stop themselves.

        Now we are moving toward a global crash of civilization but there is nowhere to go from here. Planetary exploration is in its infancy. We are left with half measures to try and halt the inexorable force of global warming because we lack the will to do more. If we buy ourselves some time with these measures the we scoff at the danger we have just escaped.

        Even with the rather conservative predictions of most climate scientists which are being surpassed day by day by reality, the climate deniers continue to scoff. Even if predictions were accurate to the minute deniers would still scoff because they don't want to be inconvenienced.  Human beings seem incapable of imagining their own demise yet historically they have met their demise regionally again and again. This time it will be global.

        "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

        by Lily O Lady on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:45:56 PM PST

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      •  because the fucking rich are not interested (0+ / 0-)

        in fixing this problem. the only one I've heard of that's pushing anything to fix this problem is that idiot who's trying to artificially create massive algae blooms by polluting the oceans.

        if the rich had any interest in the survival of the planet, things would look quite different. I can say this with assurance b/c the one thing that moves our political system is money. And there's been nothing but obstruction on all fronts.

        Look, let me give you an example:  nuclear. Now, I don't like nuclear, and I don't think it's the answer. But it does lessen the amount of  carbon in the atmosphere, and it does make some people money. Well, why isn't there an explosion (so to speak) of nuclear development in this country, pushed through legislation by rich business interests? And don't tell me it's because of the big bad environmentalists stopping nuclear production, b/c we haven't been able to stop anything so far, not even fracking or tar sands.

        The rich don't care if the world burns. They think it will only hurt the poor. They do not understand that it's their own lives that are endangered as well.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 10:46:13 PM PST

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        •  There IS a big nuclear industry effort to (0+ / 0-)

          renew nuclear production of energy in the US, though. (And I'm also uneasy about that as a solution.)  It showed its face, and the money behind it, right after the disaster in Japan, at which time the German Greens were able to largely shut down Germany's nuclear industry while the Obama administration had to come out in support of the nuclear industry in the US.

          •  but it's nothing compared (0+ / 0-)

            to the continued dominance of oil, natural gas, and coal interests. including extreme energy like fracking and tar sands.

            if the rich were really interested in saving the planet, this dynamic would look quite different (whatever my personal feelings on nuclear are--and they agree with yours)

            if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:43:04 AM PST

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            •  The rich are never as united (0+ / 0-)

              as people seem to think.  Rich oilmen protect oil interests while rich utility people push nuclear interests.  One's win is the other's loss.  It still means that the there is a lot of investment and lobbying they are doing.

              •  Frankly, I'm not seeing it (0+ / 0-)

                I'm seeing a lot of bloviating in Congress that doesn't do anything.

                When the rich actually feel threatened by something, there is a powerful movement politically to get them what they want. There is no powerful movement politically to fix the climate problem. Therefore, they either think they'll be OK b/c they're rich, or they're OK with the world burning as long as they die with the most toys.

                if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 08:52:11 AM PST

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