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Jeff Corwin Assesses Oil Spill Damage for the WA2S

The sixth extinction
by Jeff Corwin, -- Nov 30, 2009

Every 20 minutes we lose an animal species. If this rate continues, by century's end, 50% of all living species will be gone. It is a phenomenon known as the sixth extinction. The fifth extinction took place 65 million years ago when a meteor smashed into the Earth, killing off the dinosaurs and many other species and opening the door for the rise of mammals. Currently, the sixth extinction is on track to dwarf the fifth.

What -- or more correctly -- who is to blame this time? As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

The causes of this mass die-off are many: overpopulation, loss of habitat, global warming, species exploitation (the black market for rare animal parts is the third-largest illegal trade in the world, outranked only by weapons and drugs). The list goes on, but it all points to us.


Dr. Richard Leakey, has been warning about this little Eco-problem for a while now -- yes THAT Richard Leakey ...

The Sixth Extinction (Doubleday, 1995)
by Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin

So what is the Sixth Extinction?  When is it coming?  And what is its cause?  

"It's the next annihilation of vast numbers of species. It is happening now, and we, the human race, are its cause," explains Dr. Richard Leakey, the world's most famous paleoanthropologist.

Every year, between 17,000 and 100,000 species vanish from our planet, he says. "For the sake of argument, let's assume the number is 50,000 a year. Whatever way you look at it, we're destroying the Earth at a rate comparable with the impact of a giant asteroid slamming into the planet [...]

Here is another assessment of what that 'Asteroid called Humankind' is doing to the Planet each and every year.  It seems we are some sort of "collision course" with a very grim destiny ...

Problem: Extinction of Plant and Animal Species

Global Warming and the Loss of Species

At the end of the Permian period, 251 million years ago, global warming caused the worst mass extinction in the history of the planet. That time a six-degree C. increase in the global temperature was enough to kill up to 95 per cent of the species that were alive on Earth. This extinction is called the "Great Dying." Gigantic volcanic eruptions caused this warming by triggering a "runaway greenhouse effect" that nearly put an end to life on Earth. Conditions in what geologists have termed a "post-apocalyptic greenhouse" were so severe that only one large land animal was left alive, and fewer than one in 10 species survived.

It took 100 million years for species diversity to return to former levels. [...]

An increase of 6°C is the upper end of what the IPCC is forecasting for this century, the range that will occur if we do not make severe changes soon.

Global warming is already affecting species: migration is accelerating, the timing of the seasons is changing, and animals are migrating, hatching eggs, and bearing young on average five days earlier than they did at the start of the 20th century. In addition, some butterflies have shifted northward in Europe by thirty to sixty miles or more, species' ranges are shifting toward the poles at some four miles a decade, amphibians were spawning earlier, and plants are flowering earlier.

In a major report in Nature, the lead author, Terry Root said: "There is a consistent signal. Animals and plants are being strongly affected by the warming of the globe." She later said that, "It was really quite a shock, given such a small temperature change. . . If we’re already seeing such dramatic changes among species, it's really pretty frightening to think what we might see in the next 100 years."

As a species, Human beings seem to like, "living out on the edge". This can be a good thing when we "have New worlds to Explore." ... and a not so good thing when we have an overused world to preserve ... when we have a world of procrastination, still to fix.

Yes, our lone Planet, has been "Out on the Edge" -- many times before in Geologic History. Species have risen, and Species have fallen.     Indeed, it's those extinction events, that has paved the way, for our "civilized" ascent, as a Species.

Yet, Species can disappear in a "Blink of an Eye" -- Geologically speaking.     And the Human Species is NOT immune from such Game-ending Events, despite our so-called "Advanced Intelligence".  Indeed, it may turn out, that WE are the Game-Enders, this time around.  

It may turn out this time, that 'We are that Asteroid' -- that changed Everthing!

Afterall, each one of us is but a bit player, on a giant Economic stage ... a stage, where the wealth of our Natural Heritage, where the wealth of our Creativity and best intentions, are too often undervalued.  Still our strength to change things for the better, is in our numbers, and in our common Awareness, of the complex web from which we've sprung.

The Crisis in the Gulf, serves as such a humble reminder, that Humans are indeed part of that Web of Life ... even the Pivotal Part.

The Earth does Not Belong to Us --
We Belong to the Earth.

larger image

The more we try to take the easy way out,
the harder it will be, to ultimately make our way ...

The more we try to respect the Planet, and all its creatures,
the easier it will be, for Us to get from here, to there ...

Still some hold out guarded hope in the Face of Humanity's reckless actions.

Jeff Corwin on the Gulf Oil Disaster

Perhaps we should learn to Look before we Leap.

To plan to build a BETTER world,
instead of squeezing whatever we can, out of this one.

One day soon, we may find that those bountiful resources we used to have -- are simply Gone!

e-huxleyi slide0001_image005hd stmaule5diatoms

It's happened before (at least five times), indeed, many scientists think, it's happening again right now.  Humankind, in our petty rush to get nowhere fast, are slowly killing the very thing that gives us life -- this Planet Home, this Web of BioDiversity, this Ecological stage, where the True Wealth of our Natural Heritage, is almost always WAY undervalued.

It's like an "Everything-Must-GO" Sale ...
and sadly the Planet doesn't have much say, in the matter.

She is just quietly ... going ... silently fading away.

Sadly she must think:  "Good Stewards -- they're NOT! ...
Obviously they've learned how 'Move Mountains' -- only it's always the wrong kind of Mountains ... IF only they would have learned that 'Peak Oil', IS the Mountain, standing in their path.  

It is the Asteroid, that they must figure out how to avoid.  The Ride, THEY must learn, how to step-off of ...

Silly Humans ... it takes them so long to learn the simplest things sometimes!"

larger image

It's gonna be a long, HOT, century ... especially with that 'Asteroid' of Human Carelessness, slamming the Planet, far, FAR TOO often ...

Originally posted to Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:43 PM PDT.

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    The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

    by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 04:43:25 PM PDT

  •  I agree with everything (39+ / 0-)

    that you have to say. The question is what is it going to take to get the general run of humanity to come to their senses. As bad as the disaster in the Gulf is, there doesn't seem to be any real movement to change the way we do things.

  •  Thank You... (15+ / 0-)

    ... for a beautifully constructed history of our present.   We are so proud of our human ascendancy but we fail to see our place in the biology of Earth.

    For the first time in our planet's history, a force of nature, Us, has the ability to determine if it will be a Cancer or a Cure for our lovely host.

    I am an uncurable optimist so I do expect the later and better choice will be made... I am not so optimistic if it will be made quickly enough.

  •  Soo many never look up and around to witness (14+ / 0-)

    and appreciate just how beautiful and bountiful we have it. Mess with mother nature and pay the consequences. We take take take and give nothing back. That's selfish, disrespectful and shows absolutely no gratitude.

  •  Consumption (14+ / 0-)

    is the problem. We are eating ourselves to death.

    Often literally (obesity) but in this case I mean it metaphorically.

    We are pigs of superlative gluttony.

    And when I say "We", I do not only mean Americans; this is the 4th of July and all.

    No, I mean all people who have more than they need. All people who waste. All people who take more than they give.

    The pigs of the world are eating to death the only home we will ever know.

    They have already devoured the possibility that their grandchildren can someday enjoy the same standard of living.

    What will the pigs destroy next? We will likely live to see that question answered.

    The best way to save the planet is to keep laughing!

    by LaughingPlanet on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:14:02 PM PDT

  •  This is the diary that I wanted to write... (26+ / 0-)

    thanks for doing it.

    Our current human culture is unsustainable.  The world as we know it will come to an end.  That is certain.

    The only question is, will most of us die before we see the horrors or will we live through them?

    Some might call me cynical...but I think even the most optimistic of scenarios will have to see the human population reduced by at least half.  That isn't going to happen voluntarily.

  •  To most Americans it's always Economy vs. Ecology (11+ / 0-)

    and the economy always wins.  

    Why is it that the MSM always frames news about the oil spill or the environment as jobs being lost or the price of seafood going up or beaches (tourism) being spoiled?  Or the price of gas going up. A massive dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico reduced to someone's economic losses.  Maybe humans deserve to go extinct.    

    Thanks for the diary from an environmental, Gaia point of view.

  •  good science (10+ / 0-)

    is hard to beat.

    Thanks for the diary.

    •  Science Literacy is the key to so much (13+ / 0-)

      I still don't understand why the

      National Science Foundation gets only

      --   $7.0 billion

      less than 1/2% of our National Budget ???

      larger image
      A pie chart representing spending by category for the US budget for 2010

      thx Sharon Wraight

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:00:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Learning New Energy Technology is the real key (0+ / 0-)

        The problem is not that people are self centered, but that the energy industry only cares about their own power and profits. The behavior that people need to change is what they think/believe, not what they buy. The day a critical mass of citizens realize that energy solutions are being suppressed and also demand this technology be opened up is the day we have hope. On the other hand, focusing on crap like solar and wind is not the answer and will never provide the energy we demand. The oil industry has no problem wth solar or wind because these technologies are no threat to them.

        Kossacks need to make an exception to the ban on conspiracy theories and embrace the one on energy technology. Only then will we find real answers.

        •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

          greater energy awareness from consumers,
          who demand better are key.

          For example,
          when my local power company PGE
          offered me a chance,
          to join their "Green Energy" program --
          I jumped at it.

          Even though is was supposed to cost around $25 more per month.

          I'm a Consumer,
          and I'm "Demanding" better -- power sources.

          I'm voting with my Dollars.

          The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

          by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:50:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Oh Them Selly, Hu-ma-noids! (11+ / 0-)

    They killed the green aly-gators,
    the long-necked geeese,
    The hoompty-backed camels
    and the chimpanzees.

    The cats, the rats, the ely-phants
    and sure as you're born.
    They're who did in
    the u-ny-corns.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:34:04 PM PDT

  •  Great job, jamess. Nice combination of (10+ / 0-)

    interactive variables, and a critical message we all have to keep flogging.  Our fellow citizens are effing clueless about this stuff.

    People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. -- "V for Vendetta"

    by Vtdblue on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:38:02 PM PDT

  •  We were not put on this Earth (17+ / 0-)

    we are born from this Earth.

    This Machine Kills Fascists

    by aaraujo on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:38:33 PM PDT

  •  As the human race keeps denuding mother nature, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, divineorder
    father grows closer to being fed up with our crap.

    " It's shocking what Republicans will do to avoid being the 2012 presidential nominee."

    by jwinIL14 on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:47:23 PM PDT

  •  Cockroaches and starlings (6+ / 0-)

    will inherit the earth. And they may not even be safe.

    I used to think we could work our way out of this mess, then I traveled to Asia. The fact that so many people living in such a small place consuming every living creature in sight made me think it is hopeless. There isn't a bird, bug, fish, or reptile that isn't consumed in many of the most overly populated parts of the world. What we don't kill with our rapacious over consumption in the West is harvested and eaten by the rest of the world. And the rest of the world is right behind us in the race towards middle class consumption. I fear it's hopeless.

    The great tragedy of Science, the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. T. H. Huxley

    by realalaskan on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:47:47 PM PDT

    •  back basics (5+ / 0-)

      back to land,

      Live and act Local.

      think & plan globally.

      I still have hope realalaskan,

      the struggle to survive,
      will be hard, no doubt --

      It kind of, already is.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:10:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  uhmmm, too bad you missed the graphics (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in the story. No need to travel to Asia (though I have several times and you are correct) just look at my own native East Texas in teh story graphics. It was fecund, not almost  blank.  As a child I saw Ivory billed Woodpecker, and flying squirrels. Now?

      The history of European settlement in North America has been mostly of rapaciousness.

      by divineorder on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:53:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Go to a market in Texas (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess, ggwoman55, divineorder

        and tell me what you see. Markets in Asia sell every form of protein from the tiniest sea creature dried and pounded to a paste, to iguana tails and sea horses on a stick. Rats are big sources of protein, as are song birds, snakes, lizards, scorpions, and cicadas. No living, moving thing is left unexploited.

        Yes, industrial agriculture has taken up huge chunks of land. I grew up in Kansas where industrial ag is a big deal. But there were deer, pheasants, quail, rabbits and all sorts of critters living on the margins. They wouldn't last five minutes in much of the developing world.

        We are all in this together and we will go down together, no matter our current level of consumption; whether that consumption is fueled by oil or by eating the very bugs under your feet. The race to the lowest common denominator has begun.

        The great tragedy of Science, the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. T. H. Huxley

        by realalaskan on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:09:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  good work, jamess! (5+ / 0-)

    Nicely done!

    Find your own voice--the personal is political.

    by In her own Voice on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:53:19 PM PDT

  •  It's a moral issue (5+ / 0-)

    We know that overconsumption and overuse of fossil fuels is killing the planet.  So, isn't it a moral issue?  There's a pretty good argument to be made that, given the harm that it does to the planet, driving unnecessarily is morally wrong.  You're harming others (and future generations) for your own benefit.  

    I firmly believe that driving is morally wrong.  Flying is morally wrong.  Overconsuming is morally wrong.

    I left my heart in NAZ.

    by Scott in NAZ on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:53:39 PM PDT

  •  Incredible diary, jamess Thank you!!!! T & R (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, RiaD, jamess, divineorder
  •  I often say it is like a slow motion asteroid (11+ / 0-)

    This man caused, or rather human culture combined with the power we have developed outside out biological existence, extinction is too much energy too fast for our habitat to successfully adjust to. If you spread the energy of an asteroid impact over 50,000 years you probably won't get a mass extinction. If you spread out the energy of the industrial revolution over 10,000 years as opposed to the last 200, probably no mass extinction.

    That is what makes me gloomy because I see our response to our ever accelerating production of greenhouse gases and our industrial consumption of our soil, water, plants and animals as being much slower than our acceleration of industrial production. There is a way in which our problem is all about time and energy from the point of view of a living system. I once read that the genius of life was in how it takes small amounts of the available energy and builds things up slowly. Too much energy too fast and it tears systems down, too little too slow and systems don't build up much. That is how natural living systems defeat entropy. Our collective urge to accelerate was a survival ability when we hadn't accumulated much power outside our biological container, now the same urge is turning against us.

    Great diary, James.

    Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

    by Bob Guyer on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 05:58:25 PM PDT

    •  wow (7+ / 0-)

      great description Bob Guyer

      I've often wondered how Life,
      overcame the downward tug of Entropy.


      Do you have any idea how Life,
      can over come the downward tug of Stupidity?

      of Inaction?  of Gridlock?

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:27:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rapid cultural change, human systems change and (5+ / 0-)

        some technical change is what would need to happen for us to stop the acceleration of the activities we engage in that are responsible for this mass extinction. I think we have no alternative but to try everything we can, from as many angles as we can.

        We have complicated an extremely complicated system, our living world, with the superimposition of our complex cultural and technological systems. Political efforts to change government policy, communication and education, and technical innovation are worth trying and have some effect but resistance to driving change from the top is strong because that is where the greatest benefit of our current systems is experienced. riving change from the individual change level is happening (both in the mental/spiritual/emotional identity and practical adaptation levels) and has some effect but won't be enough on its own to turn our system.

        My guess is that the above attempts at change will be overwhelmed by climate change and collapse of what we call civilization will begin to become a noticeable reality to more and more people. This is when systems change that is significant will become possible. It will be informed by what has proceeded it. This is why I am a fan of the transition town movement. I think we will be looking to the early adaptive movements when the shit hits the fan because they will already have been working out ways to live sustainably.

        I don't think technology will save us but I do think somethings might happen that could benefit our world and slow down the collapse Pollywell fusion is something I hope really becomes viable over the next 4-5 years. I think we will also have no alternative to trying geoengineering as things get worse. That is a real hard thing to get right, the stakes will be high and our capacity to do large technical things will be eroded by collapse.

        I hope we make it. The odds aren't good but there is no way out of living it through as best we can with hope that some combination of things will help avert the worst imaginable outcome in something like the Permian extinction.

        Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

        by Bob Guyer on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:23:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you so much for this diary, (6+ / 0-)

    jamess.  What a great job.  

    "When we drill for gas and oil we're guests. We DO NOT have a right to be there." -- Fishgrease

    by Yasuragi on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:00:01 PM PDT

  •  The new paradigm (7+ / 0-)

    we are all cells in the body known as humanity.
    Unless we all act in accord, for the purpose of helping each other, we're done for.
    Just listened to a fantastic lecture by Dr. Bruce Lipton discussing this exact thing. But in his mind, this is good news, unless we act on it too late..

    "Jerry, just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it." George Costanza

    by steelman on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:05:37 PM PDT

  •  We (7+ / 0-)

    have been doing this since the Industrial revolution, rushing headlong into things without any thought about consequences or how to handle failure. Technology is a wonderful thing but planning for failure and looking at possible unintended consequences is critical. I'm not generally a conspiracy theorist but I think we are looking at, at least, human beings having to adjust to a very scary world and I don't believe it is that far off. That's if we survive at all.

    "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." Mother Teresa

    by Pam LaPier on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:08:27 PM PDT

    •  It's infuriating (8+ / 0-)

      the lack of planning and proactivity,
      that goes into Human Activities --

      it's like if there's no quick profit to it --
      then it's not worth doing,
      for previous "Industrial" generations, anyways.

      The ability to think about, and plan for

      about consequences and how to handle failure

      SHOULD be, the new Hallmark,

      of an Intelligent Species!

      We'd have a few problems, on that Bell Curve, lol

      thanks Pam LaPier, for the thoughtful comments

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:22:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'll be dead before then... (11+ / 0-)

    So as long as I get mine now - that's all that matters.  

    We talk about now wanting to leave our grandkids debt, but what about wanting to leave them a friggin' planet?

    Politics is like playing Asteroids - You go far enough to the left and you end up on the right. Or vice-versa.

    by Jonze on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:32:54 PM PDT

  •  Well, there is a scenario that can 'fix' this. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grollen, jamess, David Kroning II

    It's a bit unpleasant to contemplate, but one has to wonder if some justice may not eventually prevail.

    <div class="ct">

    and no, it's not about the Gulf and BP ..


    If the Great [Arctic] Melt Off happens

    = Warm Currents turn around

    = 300 mph Winds come February or so..

    Currently I give it 15%

    ... times 6 Billion dead.

    Now, Charlie Wilson's world is fucked up, bad.

    Even in my extreme pessimism I have serious trouble buying

    into any possibility of 300 MPH winds caused by Arctic 'flipping'.

    But meanwhile, the 'Great Melt Off appears to be continuing in earnest. Wilson's prediction of 1M sq km of ice remaining in the Arctic at minima [most everyone else predicts 4.5 - 5M  sq km] may be something to watch for. Maybe not this year, but certainly soon enough, we'll see permanent changes in the Arctic that will have serious knock on side effects.

    It's going to be interesting to see what happens: most scientists admit that much of the ice that is in the Arctic is 'rotten', prone to melting more rapidly than established, solid multiyear year.  


    James Carville emerges from the conflagration, riding a burning alligator.

    by shpilk on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:51:18 PM PDT

  •  Ergo stimulate the economy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, David Kroning II

    Actually, a wise leader would be shutting down the empire and preparing humanity for endless austerity.

    Anything less is suicide and a con.

    For the elite there are no material problems, only PR problems. Time for a new elite.

    by Paul Goodman on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 06:59:03 PM PDT

  •  The infuriating and frustrating thing... (5+ / 0-)

    Is that until (what's left of) our economy and politics are disconnected from big oil, we are as individuals, basically helpless, our 'policies' left to the 'big money' hands of oil, etc. Maybe the mass of people will 'wake up', if they could just get clear accurate, non propaganda information. Until then, the rest of us are just howling in the dark.

    •  Re: disconnects (0+ / 0-)

      is that a function of

      not having enough time,

      or not having enough info?

      Or maybe, not having enough empowerment,
      and a sense of participation,
      in our own destinies?

      thx oldcrow, interesting observations.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:32:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary Jamess. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RunawayRose, Winnie, jamess

    When will we wake up to the fact that we are building a Greenhouse Gas Chamber for our kids?

    by Unenergy on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:19:01 PM PDT

  •  Great diary. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grollen, RunawayRose, Winnie, jamess, ggwoman55

    The solution is one that is never discussed, and evolution in then social, economic, and political systems on the planet.

    Profit should be less of a priority. Sustainability, service, and the common good should take a higher priority.

    •  Wow I like that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, Winnie

      that would be a Game Changer --

      Economic Incentives to sustain the Planet, and our Social Fabric,

      Instead of Incentives to sustain our individual Lifestyles.

      Maybe we could learn to be rich in
      knowledge, friendships, and compassion?

      what a concept!

      thx Searching for Pericles

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:27:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey, Jamess, This Fine Fellow Survived The Great (5+ / 0-)



    Why did these guys - our distant ancestors - survive when so many of their fellow creatures didn't? No one is entirely sure. It's possible that their lungs, adapted for life in the tunnels they dug for shelter, were suited to an atmosphere with less oxygen. And it's also possible it was sheer luck.

    So obviously the only way out for us is to dig tunnels, do breathing exercises and get lucky. :-)

    A perusal of the link shows that a collision with an asteroid is hardly ruled out alongside the more popular focus on massive volcanic eruptions.

    Dang geologists.  Never as certain as bloggers nor even two-handed economists (Harry Truman dreamed of a one-handed economist so he could always know what to do - "On the one hand...then on the other hand...").

    What is clear is that we need to end using fossil fuels and we ain't willing.  We prefer to be blinded by the sun, which offers no solution.  It keeps going out.

    We trash the most effective solutions around these parts and then color ourselves green.

    Thanks for the diary.

    Best,  Terry

  •  If the rest of the Galaxy hears about this.... (5+ / 0-)

    David Brin posts here from time to time. In his Uplift series of novels, in the future Humanity is just one of many intelligent species in the Galaxy. All of them were 'uplifted' from unintelligent species on their own worlds - it's a competitive effort to do so.

    When Humanity was finally contacted, we'd already uplifted Chimpanzees and were working on Dolphins. That was the only thing that kept us from being forcibly 'adopted' by a patron race. And as for the species that had gone extinct under our domination, that fact was immediately classified to the highest secrecy levels possible - because it is regarded as one of the worst possible crimes by the rest of the Galaxy.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:29:27 PM PDT

  •  wow jamess... outstanding diary! (5+ / 0-)

    And I didn't' get a chance to comment in your phytoplankton diary, but it was amazing as well.  And I say that as a phytoplankton expert!

    Very, very nice work.  PLEASE keep them coming!!

    "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

    by Hopeful Skeptic on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:34:59 PM PDT

  •  heh, but there is a positive side of us (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, bryker

    humans being the end gamer and moving towards extinction, at least that guarantees that all the mountain guerillas and other apes and pigs of all sorts will rebounce.

    So, let us just go on and kill ourselves, other living things might just rejoice and say good riddance. I think it's their turn now.

    Sorry ... I suffer from a 4rth of July depression.

    "What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know, it's what we know for sure that just ain't so." --Mark Twain

    by mimi on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:40:19 PM PDT

  •  Glad I'm turning 60, have never had any children (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RebeccaG, jamess, BardoOne

    and lived to see this planet and this country thriving.  Glad I'll be dead before it gets really, really, really, really, really, really, really horrible.  I hope.

    It's Big Oil's Disaster, no matter how much the opposition wishes it was Obama's.

    by Little Lulu on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:44:44 PM PDT

    •  I made a conscious decision (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RebeccaG, Little Lulu, DontTaseMeBro

      quite a while ago,
      to avoid having kids,
      (and much as I like the idea)

      I dread the world,
      that they would have to "cope in".

      But I DO hope to live long enough
      to finally see the "Real Change" that
      is needed to change our collision course direction

      thx Little Lulu for the poignant comments.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:55:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  also... I LOVE Jeff Corwin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I always thought he was better at wildlife documenting than Steve Irwin (who I also really enjoyed, by the way.).

    It's unfortunate that in the top video, Jeff Corwin says 210 gallons per day... that was off by a few orders of magnitude.  They should add a subtitle correction to the video.

    "The more the Democrats pursue the center... the further to the right the "center" moves." -fellow kossack vacantlook

    by Hopeful Skeptic on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:45:32 PM PDT

    •  yes I noticed that too, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Winnie, ggwoman55, Hopeful Skeptic

      but looked passed it,
      since it was an obvious "mis-speak" ...

      I think he meant 210K gallons
      (though I haven't don't the math yet)

      Jeff, does bring the topics home,
      with his engaging passion.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:51:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, jamess. Now to get (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, gulfgal98

    your message out of here and "out there."

    Have groups like Defenders of Wildlife and others on the same mission considered pooling their resources to get a consistent message out? One or several messages that would resonate with a broad cross-section of people? Message(s) presented in multiple types of media over the long haul? This kind of education will require repetition. And it is education in every sense of the word. The BP catastrophe still is not a hot enough stove to shock  people out of their torpor. Relentless repetition will be key. Just a thought.

    DON'T PANIC -- Douglas Adams

    by CindyMax on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:49:29 PM PDT

    •  thanks CindyMax (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rainmanjr, CindyMax

      thanks a great idea,
      maybe YouTube,
      and Twitter, and Blogs like this,
      can be coordinated,
      to discuss similar topics in the same week?

      not really sure how to organize it though,

      It's hard enough for me to find,
      the energy and inspiration to write one of these, lol

      keep at it CindyMax,
      bet you figure it out!

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 07:58:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rainmanjr, jamess, CindyMax

        diary is awesome in a frightening way.

        Which is exactly what the world needs to feel right now...a deep, deep dread of an awful future created by our own apathy.

        Keep up the great work, jamess!

        This is what chump Change looks like.

        by Wamsutta on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:28:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  thanks for that Wamsutta (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I always hate writing "chicken little"

          the sky-is-fallen diaries.

          It's good to know, they are having an impact.

          The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

          by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:37:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  They heard it b4 from Gore (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jamess, ggwoman55

          And they've damn near forgotten it.  A scientist wrote something that was taken out of context but weakened confidence in scientists.  Then Europe had a cold winter (though still a very warm one overall).  Then Al got divorced and accused of groping a masseuse.  Wow!  Climate Change must be a hoax with all of that evidence.  Right?
          The public is easily gullible and especially so when faced with a massive change of behavior and structure.  They are nervous about what seems to be happening but hopeful that it's all wrong.  In such climate (pun intended) it's easy to stop change from happening.  I'm worried about the energy bill and consider it the only thing that really matters in this time.  If Obama fails to change energy creation and consumption then we are out of time and our species dies.
          It's that simple.

          "There's really nothing I want out of the past except history." - Autoegocrat

          by rainmanjr on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 11:24:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Capitalism Cut The Brake Lines (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RebeccaG, Cassiodorus, jamess, ggwoman55

    I can't see this train slowing down until we are about to hit a brick wall, at which point it will likely be too late. The polluted dynamics of our electoral system are incapable of churning out anything but corporate and massive-growth friendly Presidents.

    David Sassoon at SolveClimate:
    Obama: The Making of a Clean Coal President

    Still, there has been no serious discussion of what the future could look like with a vastly contracted domestic energy sector, one in which, after a period of enormous investment, power is generated at nominal cost from the sun shining and the wind blowing. It is a notion that could sit well with families, imagining energy prices permanently declining a generation from now, but it doesn't fit well with prevailing economic theory that requires limitless growth to imagine future prosperity.

    CCS ( carbon capture and sequestration), on the other hand, fits the limitless growth model like a glove, with the technology expected to double the size of the fossil fuel industry from its current size, if it is given two decades of government support to grow.

    Then, the fossil fuel industry would reap profits from both ends of the energy lifecycle: selling power, as it already does and will continue to do, and getting paid again to dispose of the CO2 pollution underground. It is easy to see why carbon-free energy disrupts this new model of continued fossil fuel profitability.

    And sadly, it is becoming pretty obvious that Obama won't be a transformational President on this issue. After all, he needs the votes.

    Obama's electoral landslide in 2008 was built on success in coal friendly states. Indiana, Colorado, Ohio and Virginia had voted for Bush in 2004, but in 2008, ended up in Obama's column. Looking to 2012, his campaign team is not going to jeopardize the advantage it secured. If Obama loses those states by being lukewarm on the future of coal, the election would then ride on maintaining a razor-thin margin of victory in Florida and North Carolina.

    Sorry planet. Sorry people. He needed the votes.

    This is what chump Change looks like.

    by Wamsutta on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:22:03 PM PDT

    •  that's depressing (0+ / 0-)

      well carbon scrubbers and sequestration,
      might help there then.

      Conventional Power plants,
      will be here for at least a decade or two,
      given the glacial pace of change,
      we've seen.

      thx for the info Wamsutta

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:47:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hello? Democracy? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You know that thing called the Congress? And that other thing, the Senate? Believe it or not, they actually have a purpose. I know, it's difficult, sometimes, to realise that the President isn't a benevolent dictator.

      IOW, quit your bitching and get on the phone with your Congressperson and your Senators. While you're at it, do all you can to convince others to do so, too.

      Hey—that's almost exactly what Obama was saying all along: that change ain't gonna happen on its own, and that he wasn't going to be able to everything himself.

      •  Sternly Worded Letters vs. Hard Cash (4+ / 0-)

        You know that thing called the Congress? And that other thing, the Senate? Believe it or not, they actually have a purpose.

        Exactly...paying back the corporate interests that put them in office while pretending to actually work for their constituents. And that's the problem, not the solution... as the game is currently rigged.

        Until we have massive lobbying and campaign reform, meaningful change will be elusive if not nonexistent.

        This is what chump Change looks like.

        by Wamsutta on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:28:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I want my planet back. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am here today because I am addicted to oil,
    it does no matter to me if others are or if there are pushers. Yes, I hate them, but I am addicted and I do not hate myself and I do not want any of you to hate yourself.

    I need you to help me restore my moral compass and remind me not to fall.

    As an addict, I know that  the nation has not even hit rock bottom. The depravity seen here will only slow us down a little, if that. I hope I am wrong, make me wrong, please. I know the all the coasts of our country can be polluted and as addict's we will be aware of our depravity as we fill the tank, switch on our computers, buy food that has traveled a thousand miles this week and bitch about Republicans, as if it is their fault.

    Write Obama and tell him that you are on to his game of going to the establishment, in and out of government and taking the rest of us for granted. He threw a few words our way during the election, he is doing that now.
    He is our president but he acts like their consigliore. Bright, handsome, we all love him and his family and we all wish he were a leader and not the addict-in-chief.

    Liberty Valence Saying, ''consumer protection'' is like saying, ''slavery protection.''

    by libertyvalence on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:46:15 PM PDT

    •  we need more clean power generation plants (0+ / 0-)

      and we needed them years ago.

      Writing the Chief, (and VP too)
      and telling him what we think,
      and what we want,
      are always great ideas.

      I wish about a thousand of us,
      could descend on the Senate Energy Committee,
      about when they finally hear the arguments for the watered-down Energy Bill, too.
      So that they get a piece of our minds too.

      thx libertyvalence for your urgency and concern.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 08:51:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes. Absolutely. (2+ / 0-)

    "God bless America. Let's save some of it."
    ---Edward Abbey

    Illegal Alien: Term used by the descendents of foreign colonizers to refer to the descendents of indigenous people

    by mojada on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:13:39 PM PDT

  •  we are the asteroid we've been waiting for! d'oh (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billlaurelMD, Wamsutta, Winnie, jamess

    by IamtheReason on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:31:46 PM PDT

  •  The astrophobe in me got really (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, jamess

    shaken up when I first read the title and thought "us" was the name of an asteroid for about 1.5 seconds. :-D I'm not sure of I'm an astrophobe. I'm afraid of the sight of enormous spheres against black backdrops. The thought of them colliding makes me nauseous. That has to be another kind of fear. It's the same as my phobia about those beta version virtual reality games. Those simple shapes in a blank world really freaked me out. If the graphics were more advanced, it wouldn't have freaked me out. That has to be some other kind of fear.

    All irrational fears are connected to something rational. Our planet is a lucky oasis in the lucky Goldilocks zone and we are at a stage of civilization that is at the mercy of the random activities of the larger universe. That's frightening in itself. We are also at the mercy of ourselves. We've been lucky to recover, rebuild and reconstruct life in this temperate time and orbit zone. It won't always be that way. It seems as if human beings will destroy it all before it advances to the next level of civilization which is to harness the energy of this planet at level one. We are nowhere near that. I think we're at level .72. I hope we don't kill ourselves before then.

    •  sorry GenX (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, GenXangster

      I didn't mean to shake you up

      -- just quoting Dr Leakey.

      On second thought,
      maybe I did mean to ... lol


      We live to fight another decade.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 09:59:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mars and the stars: off-site backups. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess, DontTaseMeBro, GenXangster

      Think of off-site backups for all of a company's vital computer data.  Every prudent company larger than a microenterprise does it.  

      Mars is off-site backup for Earth.  Based on everything we know about asteroids and other potential impactors, we have more than enough time for a Mars program that starts with live-crew landings and progresses to a complete self-sustaining colony of large size (tens of thousands of humans or more).  That colony would become the off-site backup for a repository of Earth species' DNA and all of our collected knowledge: at minimum, the DNA of the species needed to sustain human life, and the knowledge necessary to sustain a scientifically and technologically competent civilization.

      Along the way of building the Mars colony, we will also gain the knowledge and technical means to map every possible Earth-impactor object, and to deflect them by nudging their trajectories while they are still far away.

      That will render the continuity of Earth life and knowledge immune to an Earth-destroying event.  However, in a few billion years, the Sun will explode, taking Earth and Mars out.  So the second stage of off-site backup is to spread outward to other star systems.  

      Once we do Mars, we will also have the knowledge to build something that could transport a similar colony to another star system (for example using a hollowed-out large space rock as the framework).  We will also have knowledge of nearby star systems that have the potential to support such an object in a viable orbit and/or have planets that are in the sweet zone for being seeded with life and developed.  At presently-achievable speeds, the voyage to another nearby star system would take thousands of years, but a self-sustaining colony with an adequate onboard energy source, would be able to make the trip.  

      Once we reach another star system, we have off-site backup for when the Sun explodes.  And if we do it once, we can do it again and again until we have spread out from this star system to as many others as we choose.  

      In order to do any of this, we have to achieve sustainability on Earth, to enable the long-term projects involved (thousands of years).  If we don't achieve sustainability on Earth, we will spiral downward through resource wars, famines, pandemics, and mass dieoff, to a caveman existence and forego any chance of returning to the level of capability needed to do space.  In that case we will perish at the next large-object impact, and be vaporized when the Sun goes.  

      So those are the choices:  Mars and the stars, or graves and the caves.   And that is what is really at stake with sustainability.  


      •  that's really thinking outside the box G2g (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, MissInformation

        do you think it's feasible?

        that kind of reminds me of:

        Svalbard Global Seed Vault

        The Svalbard Global Seed Vault (Norwegian: Svalbard globale frøhvelv) is a secure seedbank located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen near the town of Longyearbyen in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago.[1] The facility preserves a wide variety of plant seeds in an underground cavern. The seeds are duplicate samples, or "spare" copies, of seeds held in genebanks worldwide. The seed vault will provide insurance against the loss of seeds in genebanks, as well as a refuge for seeds in the case of large scale regional or global crises.

        Norway Seed Bank

        The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

        by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:40:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  sure it's possible. whether it happens.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jamess, GenXangster

          ....depends on the choices we make over the next couple of decades.

          Basically we have to achieve sustainability and avoid crashing the ecosystem, in order to give ourselves the chance of being able to do Mars and the stars.  

          If we crash the ecosystem, we deny our descendants the choice of whether to go into space or whether to go extinct the next time a large object hits us.   If we crash the ecosystem, we will have foreclosed their future: robbed them of the ability to make the choice.  That is truly the ultimate sin.  

          My first moral commandment is, Thou shalt not foreclose the future.  

          And I suggest that this provides a framework for action: make it a moral issue having to do with robbing future generations of their choices.  The paradigm about off-site backups and the teleology of spreading into space is apparently acceptable to scientists and engineers (per email conversations with a few who have said so).  There is probably a way to put this in terms that a majority of the general public can accept, probably by sticking to the moral issue about not depriving our descendants of their choices in general.  

          If we frame this in purely political, economic, or otherwise pragmatic terms, we are susceptible to being compromised away on the uncertainties.  If we frame it as a moral issue, we can make it an absolute, akin to the moral prohibition on murder (which is the ultimate crime against another person precisely because it deprives them of their entire future).

      •  I guess I keep factoring in the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Kardashev scale of civilization. With everything you mentioned about Mars as the likely next stop, it's quite possible that climbing the scale won't be linear like my limited imagination. :-D Perhaps we will reach stage .9 while working on a way to harness the star at level 2. Doing that may have an impact on colonization, meaning that the seeds of earth life we store somewhere else other than this planet will be just as important as earth because in thousands of years, maybe we will have figured out a way to recharge the nuclear reaction inside the sun and begin it's cycle again.

        I suppose that's just my hope because I'm earthbound. I love space but you'd never catch me out there physically. I would totally pass out if I see a large sphere that's not earth outside my spaceship window and against a void of black. I don't know what kind of fear that is but the simple shapes freak me out. I'm just projecting my desire to stay behind on the familiar blue marble onto people of the future who might be like me. I'm not xenophobic or any of the things that make people afraid of aliens. I am actually afraid of the...spheres. Weird, huh? lol

    •  follow-up re. our discussion of science fiction: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess, GenXangster

      Per our earlier discussion of science fiction, here's a doozy, if you haven't checked it out already:

      Go here:   and click on the numbered items at the top of the page.   This stuff was at one point promoted by its authors as factual, but let's just say I'm highly skeptical of that (by now it will probably have all been debunked as pure fiction).  However it makes for great science fiction:  an interplanetary exchange program between Earthlings and the Grays (or the Ebens, as these guys call 'em), where a crew of Americans spend a decade on the planet Serpo in the Zeta II Reticuli star system.  

      Given that the authors claimed all of it to be factual, the "facts" are copyright-free and can be used in the backstory for any story you might want to write.  Some of it is darn good material for that purpose.  Descriptions of the ETs, descriptions of their ship, their planet, life & culture on their planet, etc. etc., and some of the communications difficulties between humans and ETs.  

      This leads to another interesting idea:  to compile an open-source, copyright-free, set of "facts" about ETs and space travel, etc. etc., that could be used as common background material by anyone who wanted to write fiction based on it.  

      One good place to start would be the entire ET mythos as it presently exists: Start with the conventional UFO sightings by pilots etc. (typically small bright objects that generate odd radar signatures and move too fast for aircraft, whatever they are), and going all the way through most of the truly way-out stuff (such as "human encounters with ETs," most of which appear to be more like lucid dreams than actual physical events).  

      Then include some of the best of historic science fiction's accounts of space travel, colonies, ringworlds, and so on.  Have some kind of consensus on energy sources and means of transportation and communication through space, or have a few subsets of material on those topics.  Have some kind of consensus on cultures and their locations, and their levels of technology.  

      By analogy think of the genres of Westerns and World War 2 novels: all of them used a common base of facts in their respective field (e.g. the American Western frontier, geography and native populations, and so on; and Europe and Asia in WW2, geography and cultures and events, etc.), but were able to develop a rich tapestry of diverse stories based on those common facts.  Every WW2 novel or movie you read will have Allies and Axis, the US, UK, France, the USSR, Italy, Germany, Japan, and so on in it; and Roosevelt, Churchill et. al.  But every story is different, and the common fact base enables the possibility of linking stories together.

      If we do this for science fiction in general, and space travel in particular, it could produce some really interesting results.  

      What do you think?

      •  I think I would love that! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        We need help writing science fiction when we aren't exactly physicists or biology majors. There has to be a backdrop of historical or scientific truth for the story to impress real space nerds.

        The only "facts" I've collected are in my head and all based on an example of earth biology and what those conditions create. For example, I had a planet 3xs the size of earth and in a twin star system. The light lasted twice as long as an earth day, but when one star set, the other one rose, extending the day. The planet rotation was 3 times slower than on earth so the day was 72 hours long. The most intelligent life forms have a span of 200-something earth years and the climate of the planet is humid.

        I'm not even sure how this would all work biologically. Three times bigger than earth with more humidity and an extra star seems like a recipe for a large Venus which is not life sustaining. It's the greenhouse effect gone wild.

        Would be nice to have some facts to help out my stories that only I read. :-) Maybe if I could make them nice enough, I'd let somebody read them.

        •  3x the diameter of Earth.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          .... if by "size" you mean "diameter," is also a very much greater than 3x increase in gravity.

          What I had in mind was the compilation of open-source fictional elements that could be used as story elements.  But you raise an excellent point about the compilation of scientific facts that are also needed.  

          For example it would be excellent if someone could post a calculator wherein you input the diameter of a planet and it outputs the gravitational pull of that planet either in relation to Earth gravity or as the specific acceleration of objects toward the planet's surface (e.g. Earth gravity = 9.8 meters per second squared).  

          It would be similarly excellent if someone could post a calculator that enabled you to create star systems:   Input various planets and one or two stars, making up a star system, and derive things such as orbital periods, limits on the locations of orbits, relationships between sizes and orbits, and so on.   For example, if you want a gas giant in an orbit outside that of a rocky planet, how far away does it have to be, and what are the limits on its size?

          A calculator for travel time between planets in our star system, and between star systems, would also be way cool.  You input the stars or the distance, and the speed, and then the calculator tells you how much time it takes.  Or you input the desired time of travel, and get back the speed required.  The speed could be stated in any convenient existing or fictional system of measurement.  

          Another interesting one would be a table of Earth ecosystem types, and names of cultures living in those types of ecosystems.   This would be useful for designing cultures for other planets (e.g. as Herbert lifted much of the culture of Dune from Arabic culture), and also for designing cultures for Earth under various circumstances.  Not that you'd want to copy & paste, but that you would at least have a place to start researching.  

          Another useful one would be an "if X is true, then Y and Z are also true" database.  For example if you want to write a novel in which FTL (faster than light) travel is used, then what other things "should" be possible along with FTL travel?  Or if you want to rule out FTL, then what else do you lose?  

          I think something like that would be hella' popular, and might even encourage a(nother) renaissance of science fiction writing.  

          Let's talk more about this if you're interested.

          My public email address is g2g-public01 (at) att (period) net  so feel free to write, and then I'll send a phone number if we want to talk.

          •  I really love you, you space geek. lol! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The diameter. Yes, that's what I meant. The gravity on my planet "Ambien" was somehow lighter than earth because the molten inner core of it had mostly cooled which also affected the magnetic fields around the planet. Perhaps that would affect the shell of atmosphere and send some of it leaking into space which would evaporate some of the humidity and sustain the planet, was my thinking. The planet and civilization is infinitely older than earth but they've harnessed the ability to keep things life sustainable because of their advancement on the Kardashev scale. The diminished gravity resulted in an intelligent sentient life form that was taller, thinner and with less bone density than a human. I'm not even sure if that makes sense. I have no idea.

            Yes, I would love that calculator. Speaking of FTL, I had figured out a way for alien "Joe" (that's his earth name because his real name is unpronounceable to any earth tongue) to travel to earth on a mission to observe more closely and he used worm holes because Ambien is millions of LYs away. Other things made possible by this FTL in the story was the ability for the creatures of Ambien to fully observe earth and know everything possible about the life there because they have sent spy satellites through worm holes for centuries to watch earth in real time and through our satellite broadcasts. They're able to block their satellites from our detection as we advance over the decades. The creatures of Ambien especially enjoy Star Wars, Star Trek and V because they think we're so cute with our little space aspirations. My tongue and cheek humor in the story was obviously inspired by Douglas Adams. ;)

            The calculator. That's exactly what I need. You're right. It would inspire more people because a star system is very delicate and complicated. You can't just throw some spheres around a star. There are factors. I need those factors.

            I'm going to create a new email address because the yahoo one I have, I don't even open it anymore. It's so full of spam that I lose everyone's correspondence in it. I would love to flesh out this idea. My kids' dad is major space (and everything) geek. I wonder what he thinks about this. I'll call him when I think he's up.

            •  thanks and.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Ambien = the Sleeping Planet?:-)

              Your ideas about gravity are imaginative but don't match up with science.  Planet core temp and magnetic field doesn't affect gravity; only the mass of the planet, which is related to its material composition and size.  

              Also if you're leaking atmosphere into space, that will eventually (sooner than later) lead to having no atmosphere.  Humidity will be one of the last things to go, and the first will be hydrogen because it's lightest, followed by helium, etc.  By the time you're leaking water vapor into space, you have a dead planet.

              If they've advanced on the Kardashev scale, they've harnessed all available power from their star.      

              Though, I have my own critique of Kardashev, and my own scale as a proposed replacement.  My version is:  Stage 1 is when a civilization develops its first viable live space travel; stage 2 is when it develops a viable colony on another object in its own star system (its own satellite such as the Moon, or a nearby planet or any other usable space rock); stage 3 is when it develops a viable colony in another star system; and stage 4 is when it does so in another galaxy.    These correspond to increasing degrees of resilience in terms of "off-site backups" of the home planet's genes & memes.

              Wormholes in space are still feasible in fiction because there isn't definitive science saying they are impossible.  In any case, wormholes are a kind of "magical device" that will continue to be viable in fiction as a kind of convention, just as language translation is often taken for granted (the people who wrote the Serpo stuff I linked to a ways back, did a good job with translation issues).  

              Your take on the ET's response to our fiction is cool.  One of my ETs told their Earthling contact, something to the effect of "...we've been observing your cultural myths.  One of the reasons we avoid trying to communicate with your people is that you either turn us into deities and worship us, or turn us into monsters and try to exterminate us."

              I'm going to talk up this idea of an open-source science fiction concepts database to a bunch of folks and see what they have to say.  I can probably reach Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow, and David Brin, because they post in places I hang out (Brin posts here on dKos).  I can reach a couple of open-source information advocates at various places, one of whom is a physicist who does eco-industrial engineering, and one of whom is a client of mine.  Of all of them, I'm going to bet that Cory D. is the first to support it.    

              What's needed to get it off the ground is buy-in from people who write professionally, and buy-in from a decent handful of people who have been writing a lot, getting good critical acclaim, but not publishing professionally yet.   Once it hits critical mass, it will take off.  

              I'm also going to discuss this with a close friend who would be capable of implementing it.  He and I do joint implementations on various ideas, and anything we develop is automatically up for joint project status.  

  •  a small quibble... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, jamess, ggwoman55, DontTaseMeBro

    I agree this is a right on diary except for one thing. Humans will not kill Mother Earth although we may alter her and cause untold deaths as you explain. But soon she'll find a way to expell whatever poison that threatens other life forms and those can not find a way to live in harmony with other life living upon her. Humans are that poison.

    You see, a place within the circle of life on this earth is not guarenteed, one either finds a way to live in harmony within the interconnected circles of life or one is expelled and goes extinct. Life is a constant struggle to find equilibrium and balance "harmony" in most instances. Humans are becoming so unbalanced and so disruptive of their place in the circle that they're quickly becoming expendable, so poisonus they must be expelled in order that balance can be restored.

    Long after we're gone and our distruction is healed, Mother Earth with continue to nurture life in ways we can not imagine.

    •  Many people seem to find comfort (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, jamess

      in the scenario you paint.

      But I read a much darker scenario painted by a scientist that went like this.

      Man has set earth on a course of global warming. Should it reach a tipping point and from there turn into run-away-global warming all bets are off if life will recover on planet earth.

      Most if not all of life will go extinct from this abrupt run-away-global warming. Not having time to abrupt. Some bacteria might make it through the bottle neck but it took billions of years for life to form and evolve on earth into complex lifeforms. When you look at the time scales compared to how long our sun will continue to provide a stable source of energy until it starts to expand and cook the earth and then swallow it life will never evolve again to the complexity we have know.

      •  could be I guess (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but my money is on earth to recover and heal once the infection is gone.

      •  here's another scenario for you: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess, DontTaseMeBro

        BTW, do you have a link for that scientist's opinion?  

        -- scenario --

        Terraforming Earth:

        A small subset of humans manage to survive, along with whatever species they may need to run enclosed ecosystems.  Over the period of tens of thousands of years, they wait out the changes and then re-seed various ecosystems on the way to recovery.  

        This provides the basis for the eventual recovery of life on Earth, though with perhaps a few hundred thousand years' worth of setbacks.  

        Earth could become like some of the ET worlds in science fiction:  A dominant species screwed up, crashed their ecosystem, managed to recover over time, and now lives on what amounts to a desert-like planet with a limited number of life forms.   In some cases, they have rebuilt their technology sufficiently to have achieved interstellar travel, and eventually we run into them and the story unfolds from there.

        •  One of these days I'll search my (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, jamess

          docs and see if I can find it and post it.

          It has stayed with me because the conclusion was: this is it folks, not only for us and the rest of life living on the planet, but maybe it for all time.

          •  The James Lovelock worst-case scenario.... (0+ / 0-)

            ...entails a 95% slate-wipe and a genetically viable number of humans surviving.  

            Friends of mine who have excellent science & engineering backgrounds (though in other fields) have suggested that the "wipe & reformat" could be in the range of a hundred thousand to a million years before a normal climate regime returns, that can support the kinds of ecosystems we see today.  

            Given that the Sun would go in about 1.5 billion years, that still gives us time to rebuild and go to off-site backups (Mars and the stars).  

            The thing to keep in mind is, the impacts of climate change will cause massive human dieoff long before they reach the point where they would slate-wipe all complex species.  And with the total human population reduced to a billion or less (much less a few tens of millions, much less the Lovelock scenario of an "evolutionary bottleneck" of a few tens of thousands), our impacts will drop rapidly and the ecosystems will be able to begin seeking new equilibria.  

            We tend to underestimate the resilience of living organisms.  Natural selection and evolution are relentless forces.

    •  thanks for lthe quibble cacamp (0+ / 0-)

      in the long run,
      I believe Earth will be fine.

      Not so sure about the BioSphere though,

      It may end up coming back,
      with a total different, set of balances.

      as it should be, I suppose.

      what a shame.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:01:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We are going to grow at least 1% a year. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MackInTheBox, G2geek, jamess, ggwoman55

    Either our population will grow at that rate or our economy will grow at that rate.  

    1% a year means a doubling in 70 years.  But intuitively this is not possible.  So we have at most 70 years until complete disaster and meltdown,  and probably quite a bit less than that.  It is very likely that within the next twenty years the impending disaster will be obvious to the general population.  This is kind of scary to think about.

    At the moment the USA is completely oblivious.  We are doing nothing to stem population growth which is obviously the most important factor in making our world unsustainable.  But further we are chasing economic growth with complete abandon.

    •  oblivious -- good word (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, DontTaseMeBro

      eventual all the Eco-crises,
      will look like a "ton of bricks",

      10-20 years, sounds about right.

      thanks penguinsong

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Sun Jul 04, 2010 at 10:06:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Today´s NYT frontpage article (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is here. Showing that we´ll have to struggle hard to even keep to the BAU case which itself means disaster.

      Population, in itself, would still not be an insurmountable problem. If we restricted our consumption levels, and accepted to be "poor" by today´s materialistic standards, then we could scrape by on this planet with 6 to nine billions and hope to get wealthier as the population declines.

      If we accepted the level of material wealth of roundabout 1900, we could still make it. People at that time also thought they were the pinnacle of progress. They were happy, and laughing, and put out art that´s unsurpassed til today.

      we could still do it, by embracing what´s called "poverty".

      Ici s´arrète la loi.

      by marsanges on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 12:20:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why not just embrace having a few less.... (0+ / 0-)

        ...children per couple?

        We have 6 billion+ people in the world. We're not going to become extinct if we actively encourage (not force) people to have fewer children.

        Change the tax laws in this country so that people don't benefit from having more than two children. Quit calling people who have no children "selfish." Give both men and women the right to decide how and when, or if, they reproduce. (Those who really want to eliminate abortion should be setting up clinics to pass out condoms and the kind of birth control pills that prevent ovulation, no?)

        And for God's sake, tell Oprah to quit giving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of goodies to couples who spawn litters.....

        Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

        by Sirenus on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 08:23:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is a massive disconnect between (0+ / 0-)

      environmental concerns and immigration.  As a nation we use immigration as a placebo - I've already heard manufacturing leaders talk about population-growing our way out of the current economic slump.  The logic is simple - bring enough more people into the US and sooner or later they'll need houses and cars, and viola! - economic recovery!

      You can tap-dance around it all you want, but there is no sustainability with 1.5M+ people added to the country each year.

      •  There's no sustainability with a few... (0+ / 0-)

        ...hundred million added each year to the planet.

        Grab a calculator. Take six billion.  Multiply by 1.5 a year, the equivalent of a modest average birth rate of 3 children per couple. Go out five generations.


        Now take 6 billion and multiply it by .75, the equivalent of an average birth rate of 1.5 children per couple. Run that out five or six generations.
        All the difference in the world.

        But all the "replenish" crowd will scream "against God's will!" if you even suggest changing the tax laws to discourage (not force!) people from having more than two children.

        And others will scream "genocide" even if you say that all countries should do this, not just developing countries.

        So, liking happy little lemmings, we spawn our way towards the cliff edge....

        Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

        by Sirenus on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 08:16:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Greed killed off the American Chestnut (6+ / 0-)

    the American Chestnut was a great tree and Nut but because of Greed dictating that because the Chinese Chestnut was a slightly bigger Nut than the American Chestnut was and since it would cost money to ship the Chinese Chestnut nuts to the US they brought Chinese Chestnuts to America along with the Blight that destroyed the American Chestnut Trees and all because one Nut was just a tiny bit bigger than the other,so the Greed of the Producers and the Sellers to supply The Greed of the Consumer who lusted for a "supersized" Chestnut.So Greed killed the American Chestnut Tree.P.S.The American Chestnut is still around but it's taken a beating in the Eastern US from 3 Billion Trees to under 100 trees with trunks over 24 inch's in diameter.  

  •  Hell, we only need 9 or 10 species (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    besides ourselves. Beef, Pork, Chicken, Turkey, Buffalo, Deer, Taters, Corn, Beans, Hops, Barley. How many's that? Okay, eleven. What's the big deal??

  •  "Success will take you places where character (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    cannot sustain you".

    I read that somewhere but it seems apropos to the present situation.

    "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, US AG

    by Mr SeeMore on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 12:21:08 AM PDT

  •  Millions of species will die. But.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mother of Zeus

    Millions of species will become extinct before this is over. And it will be sad. But new ones will come up in there place it's the natural course of evolution.

    It's far too late to stop the avalanche of Global Warming. It was going to happen anyways, as a natural cycle, but that cycle has been increased ten fold by humanity and theres no way to take back whats been let out of the bag.

    It will take a 100 years before this extinction ends. I have no faith in humanity to stop it before then. And even that prognosis might be far too optomistic.

    So what can we do at this point? We can stop and slow down the inevitable. But as much as we try we will only be stopped by our completely useless goverment and broken world power system.

    We are going to have to adapt sooner or later. In 20 years the major cities of the east and west coasts will be behind dikes, and the entire east and west coast flooding will have to be controlled with a system of levies.

    The worlds deltas which provide 15% of our worlds food will dissapear while worldwide population grows to 9 billion, unless we work to adapt now before its too late we will be facing a total food crisis.

    Work must be done to save our deltas and marshlands using dikes, levies, and so forth, and it musn't be done only here but worldwide. Otherwise the time it takes for these natural formations to settle from the flux of the ocean rise will be far too long and millions if not billions will die from the famines involved.

  •  Diversity will be back (5+ / 0-)

    Humanity has been here but for a blink of an eye, and has been technologically advanced for a nanosecond on the big time-line.

    Another evolutionary dead-end more than likely. You screw up; you pay the bill. Too bad we had to take so much diversity and so many ecological niches down with us.

    I'm betting on cuttlefish bringing the next civilization into being. (I joke.. at least about the cuttlefish)

    More and better? I'd settle for just better.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 03:57:38 AM PDT

    •  Oh, the world will survive. (3+ / 0-)

      But our civilizations won't.

      Unless the sun goes supernova or an asteroid blasts us into tiny bits, the world will survive.

      Human civilization, on the other hand, will quite likely disappear due to war,famine and disease.

      I keep telling people that we either have to voluntarily ease back on human population or nature will do it for it has to so many other civilizations that grew too large to survive on their available natural resources.

      The only difference now is that the crisis in now planet wide. And, pretty fantasies of going to Mars or some other planet to the contrary, we have no place else to find the water, food and fuel we need...and are wasting so casually.  

      Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

      by Sirenus on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 08:06:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The size of the deer herd adjusts in accordance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    with the amount of browse there is to feed it.

    Believe it!

  •  I'd like to see this measurement? (0+ / 0-)

    (the black market for rare animal parts is the third-largest illegal trade in the world, outranked only by weapons and drugs).

    I've seen this before, but never with any sort of citation or reference. It astonishes me to think that the demand for bear gizzards and such is greater than the demand for prostitution, black market oil, food, building supplies etc. Anywhere food is regulated, there's a black market....Who counted this up?

    If you can't be a good example, at least be a horrible warning.

    by David Mason on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 05:39:28 AM PDT

  •  Lazy men (GOP) are in DENIAL (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Denial is insanity. The GOP constructs elaborate webs of lies to conceal their destructive nature.

    The GOP are lazy BAMF taking money/expensive gifts from Lobbyists then allowing Corporations total control over their government jobs. What did you expect? Corporations are lead by the most ego-driven addicts allowing their greed, deceptiveness, and ruthlessness to motivate their thoughts.
    This too shall pass

    Progressives, keep using your creative power of initiative, you've earn it, you're an exemplary example to why hard work will always prevail over lazy men.

  •  Get the C02 (and other GH gases) out of the (2+ / 0-)


    This is our only chance.

    •  That is almost certainly our only (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Regina in a Sears Kit House

      chance with respect specifically to one discrete problem of temperature rise.  

      However, it will not even approach being a solution to the broader problem that this diary points to and will likely only have the effect of further strengthening the view that humans can engineer the entire Earth, when, if fact, we cannot.  

      It certainly won't save our oceans from the effects of acidification and the destruction of the very base of the food chain upon which every living creature relies.

      "Put your big-girl panties on and deal with it." -- Stolen from homogenius, who in turn stole it from a coffee mug.

      by Mother of Zeus on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 07:21:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Totally agree (3+ / 0-)

        But it could buy us time to develop other solutions.

        I live with a very small eco footprint (for a westerner) - I feel pretty good about that.

        But I just don't see the change we need happening, not remotely.

        WE have to find magic bullet approaches or we're done. And a magic bullet approach is better than none at all.

        People aren't changing. Governments aren't changing.

        I just saw a couple walking with THREE children just now. THREE children.

        That is just insanity.

        •  I wish I could say I think my (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          eco footprint is small.  I try, but I don't think I do nearly a good enough job.

          To wit:  I have three children too.  Sorry.  Didn't actually intend to; third was definitely a mistake, but we never seriously considered terminating notwithstanding that it was an accident.  For whatever reason, it just didn't seem right.  Things happen.  What can I say?  I don't think I'm insane, either.  At least not most of the time.

          And as it turns out, if any one of the three is going to solve the problem of carbon capture, it'll be the third!  She turned out kind of scary in the intellect department.  So maybe it was all for the best?  Maybe???

          "Put your big-girl panties on and deal with it." -- Stolen from homogenius, who in turn stole it from a coffee mug.

          by Mother of Zeus on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 12:15:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Wow. The reason to still read this site. (3+ / 0-)

    Diaries like this.  Writers like you.  

    I guess I do think it's too late.  I feel that as a species our brains just didn't develop quite right and we are unable to accept/process the conclusions of our own reasoning.  There is a powerful, primitive kind of wish-based denialism, a powerful Id I suppose you could say, that we can't seem to ever get out ahead of.  Individual members of our species certainly seem to be able to get out ahead of it and strike a balance (witness: this diary!), but as a group, we just don't seem to be able to do it.

    So sad.  I don't know how to prepare my kids for this exactly.  When I try to talk about it, I know I get too gloomy and I just upset them.

    "Put your big-girl panties on and deal with it." -- Stolen from homogenius, who in turn stole it from a coffee mug.

    by Mother of Zeus on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 07:18:39 AM PDT

    •  thanks Mother of Zeus (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mother of Zeus

      it's readers like you
      and your kind feedback,

      that tell me, it's still worth the effort.

      Glad it made a difference,

      We hope.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 09:05:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What an excellent, well researched diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You couldn't write on a more important subject!

  •  Overpopulation is the 800 lb gorilla.... (5+ / 0-) the room that everyone ignores.

    I made that comment on another diary, adding that if we just had a few less children each generation, it would help ease pressure on the earth immeasurably.

    I got a followup comment from someone who accused me of "population extremism" and declared that we'd be just fine because we could simply increase the size of our cities, use hydroponics for food, get our water from desalinating the sea and use our own manure for fertilizer.

    Let's see...I suggest we encourage people (I never said force or mandate) to have fewer children and that's "extremism."

    Turning the planet into one huge city, draining our seas to make drinking water, growing food in our own shit....that's not "extremism."

    What. The. Hell?

    BTW, one of the most encouraging statistics I've seen is that population growth is slowing and may go negative fairly soon. And it's not because anyone is forcing people to have less's because more and more women are getting the right to decide fro themselves how many children they want, or if they want any at all. Even women in developing countries are slowly gaining the right to decide if they want to have eight children and hope that two survive to adulthood...or just have two or three children and focus all their efforts on raising those.

    Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

    by Sirenus on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 08:00:09 AM PDT

    •  population growth is huge (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but "carrying capacity" usually puts its own limits on that.

      Were testing the boundaries of those limits, right now,
      all over the world.

      Sirenus, please check out the links,
      in this DESERTEC thread:

      I think ultimately, it has the potential,
      to change all those "carrying capacity" restrictions.

      Assuming hydroponic food production,
      and a serious move back to grains based diets.

      What's the worldwide Pop-density?

      13.3 per km²
      34.5 per sq. mile.

      The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

      by jamess on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 09:13:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  1 square mile = 640 acres (0+ / 0-)

        so there's still about 60 acres per person

        very roughly speaking.

        The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

        by jamess on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 09:15:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  whoops (0+ / 0-)

          that used the total surface area of the earth. Just to quibble, the number using only land area is 45.3 / km^2 about 3x higher.

          Next one has to decide how much of that land is livable etc etc.

          Die energie der Welt ist constant; die Entropie der welt strebt einem Maximum zu. - Rudolf Clausius, 1865

          by xgy2 on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 09:20:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  P.S. (0+ / 0-)

            You would also need to factor in how much of that land is needed to produce the things that sustain human life.

            Running the numbers in my head, that 60 acres drops to less than 20 for land area and drops further for the other considerations.  Factor in the next population doubling and you are down to....  

            I'm not sure that those numbers are at all comforting

            Die energie der Welt ist constant; die Entropie der welt strebt einem Maximum zu. - Rudolf Clausius, 1865

            by xgy2 on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 09:32:23 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  and this diary (0+ / 0-)

              really wasn't about "Population Density" either.

              as I said "very rough" numbers --

              of course not all land is "created equal".

              and some areas of the world,

              the density is in the Thousands, per Unit.

              If we had a "perfect energy" source --
              could not the planet, support the billions,
              were headed for?

              that's my point.

              The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

              by jamess on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 09:53:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  cf. my sig line nt (0+ / 0-)

                Die energie der Welt ist constant; die Entropie der welt strebt einem Maximum zu. - Rudolf Clausius, 1865

                by xgy2 on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 10:01:51 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It would help if you provided a... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...translation of your sig line, ja?

                  Astonishingly, not all of us speak German.


                  Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

                  by Sirenus on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 12:00:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Why would we want it to? (0+ / 0-)

                I just don't get it. This idea that humans have the right to multiply unchecked and that's all that matters?

                Can you really be that vain? Are we really so damn special?

                What is wrong with a sustained human population of 3 billion?  Or even 2 billion? With some room left over for all the other species of the world? With some room for forests and rivers, plains, deserts...

                But no....the only thing that matters is that we get to multiply, multiply, multiply, trusting in some kind of technological miracle to keep us breathing and gobbling and guzzling....

                Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

                by Sirenus on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 11:41:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I have chosen (0+ / 0-)

                  to have no kids.

                  The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

                  by jamess on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 04:11:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Good for you! On the other hand... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...I've gotten all sorts of other comments on this subject implying that even suggesting we try to voluntarily--repeat--voluntarily shrink the number of humans on this planet is "extremism" or "genocide."

                    Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

                    by Sirenus on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 07:12:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Another "you could fit all the people on.... (0+ / 0-) into the state of Arkansas" argument?

        Which is probably quite true. Of course, you can't feed all the people on Earth using land the size of Arkansas, you can't provide potable water for them, you can't provide shelter from the elements for them...

        So that argument, that we have "plenty of land" is absurd.

        Yes, right now we could better use our resources and fit more people on this world. But if we let the population grow, even at a modest rate, we will, in a frighteningly few generations, be fighting over what resources are left.

        Grab a calculator.  Punch in 6 and start multiplying by 1.5, a population growth rate that represents an average of 3 children per couple. In three generations, you have a figure of 20+. Now multiply by one billion.

        It's a crude indicator of what our population could be like in 50 years, but accurate enough to scare any thinking person.

        Now flip that. 6 times .85, which represents an average of 1.5 children per couple. Take this three generations out....3.6 billion people. You don't think that would take a lot of pressure off our natural resources? And with  almost 4 billion people on the planet, we are not going extinct any time soon.

        Population will be controlled. The question really we do it voluntarily?  Or do we let famine, disease and war do it for us?

        Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

        by Sirenus on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 11:35:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know over population is a serious problem (0+ / 0-)

          perhaps you should start writing more Dairies on it, Sirenus?

          I'm really not well-versed in the subject. Sorry.

          Reproduction is a Biological Instinct.


          The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

          by jamess on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 04:14:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Reproduction is a biological instinct? (0+ / 0-)

            Well, duh!

            Killing rivals is also a biological instinct. So is trying to breed everything in sight. So is fighting for resources, often to the death.

            To quote the words of the immortal Katherine Hepburn in The African Queen:
            "Nature, Mr. Alnut, is what we are put on earth to rise above."

            And by the way, I didn't write this diary.

            Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

            by Sirenus on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 07:09:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  yes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess, Anne Elk, Book of Hearts

      There seems to be at least one individual here who runs around excoriating anyone who suggests overpopulation might be part of the problem.  Well, it is.  They can hide their heads in the sand with the climate changes deniers, but that will not change a thing.  Resources will continue to be depleted to exhaustion and the global environment will continue to degrade.  

      And it's not just more people, but more people consuming more resources at an ever increasing rate.  It's not a sustainable situation, that much should be obvious. There is a bright side from a planetary point of view: the problem will eventually solve itself.  We have to decide whether that solution will include us.  

      Die energie der Welt ist constant; die Entropie der welt strebt einem Maximum zu. - Rudolf Clausius, 1865

      by xgy2 on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 09:14:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Many eminent scientists, among them (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess, xgy2

        James Lovelock, the author of the Gaia Theory of Planetary Existence believe the earth can only actually sustain approx 1 billion human beings, at least at the rate we are destroying our habitat though our way of life.

        He may or may not be right, I doubt it if can be proven one way or another until we are wiped out either by a massive plague, nuclear winter, an asteroid collision or whatever.

        The earth will survive, humans may not. So argue away until you're gone. Its amazing how an oil spill in America's open backyard has suddenly woken everyone up while in Nigeria they have been suffering an Exxon Valdez size oil spill every year for decades.

        Its only when it actually hits America that people suddenly realise, whoops, we are part of the planet too. Do something. Why doesn't the government do something!!!! the rest of the time is get the government out of my life and leave me alone to destroy anything I choose.


  •  My sentiments exactly (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But I've started a new blog that looks at some of the changes that are happening that will hopefully turn that killer asteroid green.  The blog is called Green Asteroid and can be found here.

    Visit to stop climate change.

    by bogmanoc on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 10:15:12 AM PDT

  •  for the follow-up "sister" diary (0+ / 0-)

    to this one, which has a bit more of a "positive" outlook,

    Please check out:

    Asteroid collision Averted ... with a Large Assist from the Sun
    by jamess -- Mon Jul 05, 2010

    thanks all for taking the time.

    The press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood. --Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Seymour, 1807

    by jamess on Mon Jul 05, 2010 at 04:10:28 PM PDT

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