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Old 24-10-2006, 19:42   #1
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A Green Newsclip

I'm not one to post articles on this forum, but this one should be read. I spoke the world of gensets, but after reading this article, I might have to change my mind. At some point, we hope to have a small cabin deep in the woods. I will make sure we don't use any resources other than absolutely necessary. Read on...:

Humans living far beyond planet's means: WWF

By Ben Blanchard Tue Oct 24, 6:29 AM ET

BEIJING (Reuters) - Humans are stripping nature at an unprecedented rate and will need two planets' worth of natural resources every year by 2050 on current trends, the WWF conservation group said on Tuesday.

Populations of many species, from fish to mammals, had fallen by about a third from 1970 to 2003 largely because of human threats such as pollution, clearing of forests and overfishing, the group also said in a two-yearly report.
"For more than 20 years we have exceeded the earth's ability to support a consumptive lifestyle that is unsustainable and we cannot afford to continue down this path," WWF Director-General James Leape said, launching the WWF's 2006 Living Planet Report.
"If everyone around the world lived as those in America, we would need five planets to support us," Leape, an American, said in Beijing.
People in the United Arab Emirates were placing most stress per capita on the planet ahead of those in the United States, Finland and Canada, the report said.
Australia was also living well beyond its means.
The average Australian used 6.6 "global" hectares to support their developed lifestyle, ranking behind the United States and Canada, but ahead of the United Kingdom, Russia, China and Japan.
"If the rest of the world led the kind of lifestyles we do here in Australia, we would require three-and-a-half planets to provide the resources we use and to absorb the waste," said Greg Bourne, WWF-Australia chief executive officer.
Everyone would have to change lifestyles -- cutting use of fossil fuels and improving management of everything from farming to fisheries.
"As countries work to improve the well-being of their people, they risk bypassing the goal of sustainability," said Leape, speaking in an energy-efficient building at Beijing's prestigous Tsinghua University.
"It is inevitable that this disconnect will eventually limit the abilities of poor countries to develop and rich countries to maintain their prosperity," he added.
The report said humans' "ecological footprint" -- the demand people place on the natural world -- was 25 percent greater than the planet's annual ability to provide everything from food to energy and recycle all human waste in 2003.
In the previous report, the 2001 overshoot was 21 percent.
"On current projections humanity, will be using two planets' worth of natural resources by 2050 -- if those resources have not run out by then," the latest report said.
"People are turning resources into waste faster than nature can turn waste back into resources."
RISING POPULATION
"Humanity's footprint has more than tripled between 1961 and 2003," it said. Consumption has outpaced a surge in the world's population, to 6.5 billion from 3 billion in 1960. U.N. projections show a surge to 9 billion people around 2050.
It said that the footprint from use of fossil fuels, whose heat-trapping emissions are widely blamed for pushing up world temperatures, was the fastest-growing cause of strain.
Leape said China, home to a fifth of the world's population and whose economy is booming, was making the right move in pledging to reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent over the next five years.
"Much will depend on the decisions made by China, India and other rapidly developing countries," he added.
The WWF report also said that an index tracking 1,300 vetebrate species -- birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals -- showed that populations had fallen for most by about 30 percent because of factors including a loss of habitats to farms.
Among species most under pressure included the swordfish and the South African Cape vulture. Those bucking the trend included rising populations of the Javan rhinoceros and the northern hairy-nosed wombat in Australia.
(Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Helsinki)
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Old 24-10-2006, 23:53   #2
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You can see the actual report at http://www.panda.org/news_facts/publ...rint/index.cfm
(click on "full report" at the right).

I've seen several news items about this report; none of them were clear about what it is talking about. For example, several mention a "global hectare". A hectare is 10 000 square meters or about 2.471 acres. It isn't immediately obvious what is "global" about that.

From page 38 of the report:
Quote:
The Ecological Footprint measures the amount of biologically productive land and water area required to produce the resources an individual, population, or activity consumes and to absorb the waste they generate, given prevailing technology and resource management. This area is expressed in global hectares (gha), hectares with world-average biological productivity (1 hectare = 2.47 acres). Footprint calculations use yield factors (Table 7) to take into account national differences in biological productivity (for example, tonnes of wheat per United Kingdom or Argentinian hectare versus world average) and equivalence factors (Table 8) to take into account differences in world average productivity among land types (for example, world average forest versus world average cropland).
Ok, it seems a reasonable metric. You consume biological resources to live, so how much area does it take to produce those same biological resources?

One of the things they count is your living area. For example, if your house covers 1 hectare (you wish!), then that is 1 hectare that is unavailable for biological production. Of course, the paved surface of a country includes your house, roads, stores that you shop at, stadiums where you watch football games, airports, factories, etc etc.

This reminds me of the urban monads in "The World Inside" (by Robert Silverberg, I think). It was written in the 1970's, and conjectured 1000 story high skyscrapers as a way to support more people on the planet. If the area of one floor is 1 hectare, the building covers 0.1% of the surface area that it would take to do the same thing in 1 story buildings. You still need energy, food and waste processing, but the physical building itself has a much smaller "global footprint" than we would have today.

I haven't read the entire report yet, but it looks like it should be interesting.
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Old 25-10-2006, 01:25   #3
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Exclamation Cement Forever

A slab of cement is forever. Have you ever heard of a parking lot turned into farm land.

The 9 acres we use to raise horses on is now a parking lot for Boeing...................._/)
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Old 25-10-2006, 03:09   #4
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Joni Mitchell* put it rather eloquently, in her 1970 release, “Big Yellow Taxi”:

“... Don't it always seem to go, That you don't know what you’ve got, ‘Til it’s gone - They paved paradise, And put up a parking lot ...”

* Born Roberta Joan Anderson, Mitchell took her stage name from a brief marriage to folksinger/musician Chuck Mitchell in 1965.
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Old 25-10-2006, 12:22   #5
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While I am not saying the world has issues, I am also concerned of the "Chicken Little-Sky is falling" type claims out there. Some claims are just extreme.
Here is an interesting perspective.
We all no the world is warming right. I don't think there is argument there. But there is a major argument as to what is causing it. The predominant side is that it is Human caused. Well this could well be the case. But by how much. Any other argument has been well supressed. Here is a very interesting scientific FACT that no one has really waved a banner for.
It has been found that the Sun has increased in Energy output in the last 100yrs. The increase is significant and has increased Global warming by at minimum 1 degreeC. Scientist still have no idea if this is a cycle or something the Sun will simply do as it ages or or or......
But added to the overall percentage of Global warming the world has seen over the last 100yrs, the Human element has not been as big a contributor as is proposed by many out there.
OK, so I am not who haring the impact of the Human element. I for one want to see far less polution. I want to see the Wales safe. I want to see Famine become a historical memory. But I also get very annoyed at the over exageration of comments made by some in high positions that simply have no real proof that the figures they use are infact actuall.
There is still much of this world that can be put into production of food. There are still many other types of clean energy resources that can be used. But we don't see any of it happen for one simple major reason. MONEY and Corruption. We will never see any good done as long as someone somewhere that holds a lot of power in someway wants to line their own pockets.
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Old 25-10-2006, 18:50   #6
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I am all for keeping it nice for the landlubbers. It'll keep em the hell off our ocean
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Old 26-10-2006, 05:57   #7
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Regardless of whether the solar constant is changing, the fact remains that humans are spreading over the planet like a virus and consuming energy and resources to sustain human life.

Whatever the carry capacity is, the planet needs to be managed like any spaceship... you simply have to make do with what's here... the only think being added to the equation is solar radiation.

Whether humans have abused their stewardship passed the tipping point yet or not... but it is clear that at the rate we are going that is not far off.

Frankly, the universe doesn't care what we do on this planet. We do, if we want to live a rich comfortable life. When we act as selfish individuals (which we are and do)... we end up not caring about the greater situation... and our fellow man.

In the end selfishness will undo everything. Look around... you can see it everyone. Me first! My family first... My property!

Sad... eh?
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Old 26-10-2006, 07:35   #8
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Virus?

Defjef,
Quote:
Originally Posted by defjef
Regardless of whether the solar constant is changing, the fact remains that humans are spreading over the planet like a virus and consuming energy and resources to sustain human life.
I agree. Lets clean this place up. We should all kill ourselves. You first.
You can bequeath your Contest 36 to me. That's a nice boat.
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Old 26-10-2006, 07:39   #9
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I have done my part... No children... and I try to acquire as little as possible.. boat being basically all.

When I am gone... the boat can go to another owner who cares.

How about you?
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Old 26-10-2006, 08:09   #10
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Lighten up,
If I go first I'll bequeath my sense of humor to you.

The planet will continue on with or without us. I believe we should enjoy our wonderful planet and do all we can to conserve it for future generations to enjoy as much as we do.
I do not believe we are a virus on the planet.
If you are looking for environmental elightenment Comunist China is probably not the best place to start.
Dave
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Old 26-10-2006, 09:13   #11
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Thanks for the senso huma!

Of course the planet will survive in some form and why is our species important? The deal is as I see it, is that humans have had a very large impact on the planet... we have "terra formed" it and in the process we are messing it up and ultimately making it unsustainble for "life as we know it".

This is a long term process spanning lots of generations and it hard to see what is going on from a very narrow perspective of a few years on terra firma.

How can we deny the trends? Read the article. If they continue unabated, the end for humans will come sooner than later.

We can bury our heads in the proverbial sands and sail away to palm lined sandy beached islands... nice escape and avoidance. Greed will consume as it is want to do...

Jef
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Old 26-10-2006, 10:44   #12
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65 million years ago 70% of the then living species went extinct along with the dinosaurs. There are several theories as to how this happened but I don't think too many SUVs on the road was the cause. There have been many more mass extinctions over the history of the earth, none of which were caused by man. Sh%$ happens.
I'm going to bury my head in the proverbial sand and sail away to palm lined sandy beached islands.
Please don't pass any laws restricting my right to do so while I'm gone.
Hope to see you there.
Dave
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Old 26-10-2006, 11:20   #13
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Dave,

Right you are.. there have been mass extinctions and homosapiens had nothing to do with. And many species habitats have been destroyed and them with it.

Times have changed... human can dominate the environment in a way no other species ever have. Our abilities to do this and use so much energy in the process is indeed upsetting the natural order. We may be the cause of the next wave of extinctions if we mess up too many habitats or raise the global temperature. If you think we can't do this.. you have no faith in the accomplishments of technology... evidence is growing all around the globe.

Clearly we need to change our behavior as a species which translates to individual behavior changes. Makes sense?

Jef
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Old 26-10-2006, 12:12   #14
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Jef,
That makes some sense but lets get down to brass tacks. What are you willing to give up?
I see in your profile you enjoy opera. How much electricity, fuel to get patrons there, etc. does that waste? What practical use is opera? Can't you say the audience is selfishly wasting natural resources for nothing more than their personal enjoyment? How about your boat? Is it kept in a marina? Did that marina displace wetlands? How selfish.
Once we start down this road what are we going to be required to give up?
My problem is with the self appointed elite flying around in their Leer jets telling me I have to give up my car or anything else.
Before we give up anything lets listen to real scientists presenting real facts. Lets not listen to political types trying to control our behavior or our vote with the latest crisis.

I have faith in technology solving our environmental problems as we become aware of them.

Dave
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Old 26-10-2006, 14:57   #15
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*pulls out the fire extinguisher*

No need to get in a huff here.

Okay, the facts are the earth has problems. Those problems probably are caused, at least in part, by humans. There are probably other sources of too, but let's assume they're impossible to change. Such as the sun outputting more energy, I doubt anyone's gonna come up with a way to cool the sun off a bit in any reasonable amount of time.

I have no solution to this. But there has got to be a better thing to do than just saying "well he's doing it too, so why shouldn't I be able to?" on the other hand, telling people they can't have what other people do isn't exactly going to get you very far.

Here is what I suggest. Just admit that the human race is doomed at some point in the future, be in 50 years, 100 years, 1000 years, be it from global warming, a giant asteroid, or bird flu. Enjoy the time you have left, hopefully you'll never see the end. If you don't already have kids, take measures to keep from having them. If you do have them, try to keep the number to a minimum. I certainly plan on having no kids, who wants their kids to see the end of the world? I sure don't. If you absolutely have a parental instinct and want someone to look after, I suggest adoption, there are plenty of kids out there without making more.

If for some reason most of the human race wises up and somehow, things get set in motion to help save the planet, well then by all means follow along, do your part, help as much as you can. But, until that happens, no matter how much you personally conserve and how efficient you are, there are going to be a hundred, a thousand, more out there hurting things more than you could ever make up for.


I'm in no way condoning people that pollute, but there is no reason for a few of us to turn into vegans and tree huggers unless everyone does.


Personally, I plan on living a fairly environmentally friendly lifestyle simply because it's a cheap lifestyle. But that is simply my decision.
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