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View Diary: Has Big Oil Already Killed Us All? (87 comments)

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  •  This planet hasnt been dead since the first life (1+ / 0-)
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    appeared. Life never had to start over from scratch.
    Life got knocked back quite a few times, severely several times. But the planet hasnt been dead for billions of years.

    •  Death of humanity and death of the planet (4+ / 0-)

      are two different things. You are right the planet will go on after the death of humanity even if it is only as ice worms or bacteria. I am not concerned with that perspective. I am concerned about my children and grandchildren surviving the energy drought that Big Fossil Fuel is forcing on us.

      Big Oil, especially, has been using their power to keep themselves as the sole supplier of mobile energy to society. For over a century, that worked out for both sides of the equation. But Big Oil is showing signs they can't keep up their side of the bargain. Big Oil needs to either take up the task of supplier of solar power or give their money and power to those who will.

      •  Humanity wont go extinct, neither will (1+ / 0-)
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        higher forms of flora and fauna. It will mean the 'end of civilization as we know it' as they say in all the movies.
        The Earth will be inhabited by a considerably smaller number of people dwelling in the new temperate zones. If theres a billion instead of 7 or 8 billion, it might be better for everyone in the long term. Pretty tuf on those caught in the transition. It wont be like Venus or WATERWORLD. It might be like a MAD MAX movie for awhile. But the really hard part isnt going to come in this century, ie your offspring's lifetimes.

        •  I'm not certain of that. (2+ / 0-)
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          RMForbes, DavidECozad

          We are a niche life form with a relatively limited climate range. Extinction is most definitely possible. But probability is impossible to calculate due to changing conditions. Those that survive will evolve to the climate.

          Will people burrow and wait it out? Of course but after 100 years genomic mutation due to inbreeding will weaken those pods.

          What will survive will no longer be able to be classified as Homo sapiens.

          •  H. sapiens once had a population of around 10K - (2+ / 0-)

            about that of a couple of very small towns- total. That was the bottleneck and is entirely possible to revisit. I don't think that total extinction is likely, but a very low, scattered and variable population on that scale is at least possible. A population stabilizing in the neighborhood of 100K to a few million, across at least 5 continents, is more likely. Boom & bust cycles of population more like most other species seem likely as our ability to compensate, (via technology) for variations in climate and other conditions erodes.

            The first several generations, especially in the developed world, would show an enormous leap in mortality due to the length of time and number of generations that modern medical intervention has allowed non-survivable conditions to live and breed offspring. That first winnowing will be brutal.

            About inbreeding: Look to the Amazon, New Guinea and the South Pacific. Our genetic drift rate is fairly decent, not nearly as high as dogs or cats, but enough that a scattered population of 5-10K should be sufficient to carry on through the leanest times, short of catastrophe or really bad luck with mutations and recessives.  Or really genetically stupid marriage practices like polygamy. Most early societies had fairly strict marriage and incest prohibitions, those would have to be revived and strongly entrenched.

            Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
            ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

            by FarWestGirl on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:21:35 PM PDT

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            •  You are assuming that 10k will interact (1+ / 0-)
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              I'm envisioning islands of 1% in whatever habitable environs they secure.

              I doubt their behavior will improve enough to do something about reproduction before it is too late to do so.

              I need your support, my paypal is:

              by Horace Boothroyd III on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:50:30 PM PDT

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              •  I agree, the distribution is something we can't (2+ / 0-)

                really predict and it is a significant factor. Also, that low point is unlikely to happen anytime soon, it might take a hundred years to fall that low, or a thousand. Or we might get sufficient shit together to avert the worst of it. There are too many variables to chose between scenarios, all we can do is project possibilities.

                Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
                ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

                by FarWestGirl on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 10:45:43 AM PDT

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            •  Yes, but why should that be the path when we (1+ / 0-)
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              have resources at hand which enable us to adapt to the realities of depletion of fossil fuel!  Why wax poetic about the long term evolution of the planet when there is a crisis at hand which with prudent action NOW can avert the deaths of millions of people... especially when some of those will probably be young people who are alive right now and actually may be some whom you know?

            •  That first winnowing will be brutal. (1+ / 0-)
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              I don't think you have any idea what brutal means in this case. So, lets set a baseline by using Somalia at the time of the movie "Blackhawk Down". A once proud people living in the ruins of a modern capital. The population has been reduced to 25% by starvation, disease, and constant warfare. The population would be reduced by another 50% to 75% if there was not food shipped in from outside Somalia. There are no hospitals, schools, grocery stores, etc. The only farms are protected and controlled by the local warlords. Now, lets add a dash of Syria by the use of chemical weapons. Assad of Syria still thinks he is winning his war so he is only using non-persistent chemicals that linger at a lethal level for a few hours or at most days. If Assad thinks he is losing, he will switch over to persistent chemicals that lasts years. These chemicals will contaminate the soil, the water, the air, and any plants growing in it. But that is not all, yet. Add in the effects of nuclear warfare. Even at the reduced levels of weapons currently available, the world could still induce a nuclear winter. And speaking of winter or a lack of it, lets throw in the final stages of global warming/climate change.

              Why do I know about this? One of my assignments when I was a US Marine Corp officer was the Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare officer. My job was to protect the Marines of my battery from the effects of those weapons. I took the responsibilities of my job very seriously and studied very hard.

              WHY! WHY! WHY! Why would you want to subject the surviving 2% of humanity to live in the world I described above for 10,000 to 20,000 years??? Why do that when we could avoid it by working very hard and spending a lot of money to fix it. It is like letting your house collapse because you did not want to spend the money to get rid of the termites infesting your house.

          •  We don't have centuries or even decades! (3+ / 0-)

            You are still thinking on a climate change/global warming timeline. We will be lucky if the oil drought/energy crisis gives us years instead of months.

            And humans don't evolve in the face of sudden mass starvation. We fix it now or we die later.

            •  I sent you the article from the Guardian (1+ / 0-)
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              which you recommended at the first of the diary that people read because it said precisely what you've been saying for years. You know I hate this doom and gloom prognosis. However, I hate even more not knowing what can be done to avert it until after it is too late.  There are solutions and hopefully you'll be able to get some folks to thinking in terms of solutions.

              David, the engineer in you always brings you around to practical applications instead of abstract speculation. I wonder how much each person will actually need to do in changing lifestyles and patterns to collectively make a significant change. I know just switching to energy saving light bulbs cut my electric usage by 1/2 a few years ago.  

              Those things which individuals can do alone are what I'd call "Low Hanging Fruit."  You did one when you traded your truck for the electric LEAF.

              However, there are other things which require capital and research. Some require political will to accomplish. Some can be instigated with legislation and others with research grants or grants from the private sector.  

              Monday we were in a meeting with Tom "Smitty" Smith of Public Citizen. He considers among his greatest accomplishments working on getting passage of legislation which led to the generation of 10,000  megawats of wind power being installed in Texas. Of course he did not accomplish this solo. It was a concerted effort on the part of many people but he was there leading the charge of the "green wind" brigade.

              There are opportunities for all of us -- for each of us -- to do what we can. Usually when we start looking for a way to contribute constructively in finding a solution, we find that we become enabled and enpowered through association with others who "get it" and "care enough about it" to "attempt to do something about it" and we discover that the solution is closer than we anticipated.

              I think caring and trying is the key. Being resolved that earth will become dust and being willing to allow it to become dust on our watch are two entirely different things.

              I'm stubborn. I like working with others (like you) who refuse to merely sit and bemoan the probably fate as the fossil fuel gets sucked out of the ground and the profits get banked off-shore by those who exploited the natural resources and transferred most of the expense for such development to others but kept the spoils for themselves.

              I know you worked hard writing this series of articles because you really believe that there are SOLUTIONS but we are not moving rapidly enough in the direction which will help us avert the greatest (and unnecessary) loss of life.

        •  Not a MAD MAX movie (1+ / 0-)
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          This article is not about global warming/climate change. It is about a permanent oil drought that becomes a global energy crisis.

          I don't think you understand the severity of the impact of a sudden drop in the oil supply for the 7.2 billion people on this planet. In this country, oil grows our food. Oil transports our food to the processing plants and then transports it to the stores. Oil transport you to the store and back home. Oil picks up your trash and takes it to the dump. Think Somalia in the movie "Blackhawk Down".

          As governments start to crumble, think of those 310 million guns the NRA has pumped into our society. And as people start to die, they take their knowledge, skills, and experiences with them.

          And remember, humans don't go quietly into the long night. They fight to make sure the other guy goes into the long night, first.

          Professor Roper thinks we will stabilize around 1.5 billion. My projections which are based on military history says we will be lucky not to drop below 300 million worldwide. This projection is comparable to the fate of the people on Easter Island.

          As I have said before, we can prevent this die off if we get to work now. Build Big! Build Fast! Build Now!

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