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  •  It's Been Worse (0+ / 0-)

    what more and more people believe will be the greatest environmental crisis the human species has faced since it walked out of the African desert and began its inexorable spread across the planet.

    The outlook for the current climate crisis is pretty bleak. But I doubt few people qualified to predict it would say that it will be worse, even for the human species, than a million years of periodic Ice Ages. As bad as it looks, our species has faced dozens of millennia of much of our world covered in miles of ice. Even with complete melting of all ice on the planet, that would raise sea levels only maybe a few dozen meters, which isn't nearly as catastrophic as miles-thick ice sheets covering most of the continents.

    Making such hyperbolic statements gives Greenhouse deniers easy meat to fight over, which discredits even the more accurate dire predictions.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Oct 12, 2007 at 01:40:28 PM PDT

    •  It's not just the melting ice, Doc ... (5+ / 0-)

      ...When most of those miles of ice covering much of the world had melted and agriculture began to get going about 9000 years ago, there were, demographers estimate, about 6 million humans on the planet. Now there well over 6 billion. If global warming does what many believe it will do, which is a lot more than melt ice, the potential disaster, not for the planet, but for humans, is magnitudes beyond what our ancestors faced.

      "When shifting paradigms, it is important to put in the clutch." -- Patricia Limerick

      by Meteor Blades on Fri Oct 12, 2007 at 01:57:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Only Worse in a Sense (0+ / 0-)

        It's only worse in the sense that we are doing so well now, and so have so far to fall. Of course it's not just the melting ice, but also the droughts, and the storms, and of course the wars and other potentially apocalyptic conflicts from the shortages and forced mass migrations.

        But the species has faced much worse conditions before. Unless we nuke ourselves or otherwise drive ourselves extinct directly at our own hands, our species will survive. That wasn't certain looking forwards down the throats of those several Ice Ages.

        Really, in proportion, even losing 5.994 million people, 99.9% isn't as bad for the species as facing actual extinction. From an individual perspective, we're facing something worse, but only because we've come so far, just to smack ourselves back down. But personally, I'd rather face the warming and its eventual new stable conditions, even with the likely collapse of civilization and oblivion of all history, than the version that comes with miles thick ice sheets covering most of the land the species needs to survive on.

        And this is not some moot "make the rubble bounce" overkill discussion. There is a qualitative difference between billions dying and the species going extinct. For the sake of my descendants, I'm prepared to do what I can to ensure that I've got the sense of proportion required to make it through this one, just like our ancestors did before for me.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Fri Oct 12, 2007 at 05:54:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  How many humans were there a million years ago? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigOkie, Faheyman

      And how many are there now?  Now, do you think rapid climate change is more significant now that we are all dependent on industrialized agriculture and fishing trawlers?

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