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Old 05-10-2010, 03:05   #466
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I've spent many years doing sewage plant to reduce the amount of stuff that reached the natural water system. So in spite of the increase in human population the total animal population is reducing, we aren't dumping nutrients into the sea anymore so quite simply the plankton are being starved.
They will reach a balance, and those species that feed off them will too, but there are critical minimum numbers. Whales and the other mammals are the obvious ones, too much 'farming' can upset things too much. The loss of Tuna in the medittereanian are another example of mans intervention.
So it's not just an Environmental problem. We've become the guardians of earth at the same time as we've become the destroyer of resources. The only guarantee is that humans will survive.
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:08   #467
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I've spent many years doing sewage plant to reduce the amount of stuff that reached the natural water system. So in spite of the increase in human population the total animal population is reducing, we aren't dumping nutrients into the sea anymore so quite simply the plankton are being starved.
Someone did raise that very point - that maybe there was more plankton than "normal" simply because we are feeding them nutrients. In the report that GordMay linked to the authors stipulated that the excluded anywhere near a coast simply because the plankton are very numerous there because of runoff and outflow.

Considering that for the last couple of hundred years we have been pumping raw sewage directly into the sea then maybe historic levels of plankton were artificially high. It is not just the last 100 years that we have been screwing up the marine environment. There is no guarantee that the base levels from 100 / 150 years ago are the correct "natural" levels. That is why it is so hard to make sense of the data.

At one point in the 1800s the Thames in London was so polluted that the stench from the river meant that parliament had to be adjourned and was the driving force behind the Victorian sewer projects in London. All that raw sewage was simply flushed out to see. In the 20th century, much sewage sludge was taken out to sea and dumped out there well away from the coasts. It was not until the 1970s and 1980s that ocean dumping was banned or reduced.
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Old 05-10-2010, 04:48   #468
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Good day fellow cruisers and fellow nature-lovers,

Instead of another example of enlarging or reducing the context or redefining the determining facts or some other form of turning and twisting to prove or disprove a point, I have just a few simple questions.

1) What would your view on the necessary strategy be to keep/make this planet habitable in the long run,
a) regarding population growth
b) the way individuals consume and pollute

After a brief period of thought, my answers would be:
1) Punitive taxes. Ok, easily thought of, but applicable cause it relates to individual choices and.... executable and effective.
1a) You want more than 1 kid? You pay taxes.
1b) You want to burn fuel in your SUV? You pay taxes.
These taxes preferably calculated as a % of income/assets, not in cents, otherwise some groups will just laugh about the amount and effectiveness and acceptance would suffer.

Again, have a good day, there are still beautiful places to go.
Len,
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:31   #469
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Good day fellow cruisers and fellow nature-lovers,
1) What would your view on the necessary strategy be to keep/make this planet habitable in the long run,
a) regarding population growth
I regard less people as an essential

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b) the way individuals consume and pollute
Less people will reduce consumtption and pollution

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After a brief period of thought, my answers would be:1) Punitive taxes.
The problem is that taxes are rarely spent wisely and thus people object to them. Taxes are still money going round in the system and they will get spent on *something* so the levels of consumption etc will not reduce.

The replacement level for humans in western society is somewhere between 2 and 3 kids per parent couple so if you can persuade people to reduce their offspring to 2 per couple then you will get a drop in population in less than a century.

So far the most successful way to persuade couples to have less kids is to give women careers as an alternative to a life at home. Where this has been tried, family size drops. Unfortunately there are large areas of the world where the idea of empowering women simply is a non-starter.
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Old 05-10-2010, 06:12   #470
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How did we go from Mass Plankton Die-Off to oil?
Mass Plankton Die-Off gets one thinking about the ways we have impacted the planet.

The impact has been driven by oil.

However oil is a finite resource which is becoming harder and harder to get.

So we are in a double bind, we have adapted a life style harmful to our planet because we discovered how to use cheap oil and now the oil is set to go away.

One way or another we are on the verge of a large population adjustment.

It is so simple that people intuitively know it, but so distasteful that they create all kinds of complex conspiracy theories to explain it away. Denial.

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Old 05-10-2010, 06:16   #471
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1) What would your view on the necessary strategy be to keep/make this planet habitable in the long run,
a) regarding population growth
b) the way individuals consume and pollute
1 - Define 'long run' I believe that humans are incapable of adapting. We will continue to consume and pollute until Earth steps in and reduces the population. The mechanism is still unknown: GW, plague, famine, war?

Help your kids prepare. Enjoy in the meantime.
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:27   #472
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1 - Define 'long run' I believe that humans are incapable of adapting. We will continue to consume and pollute until Earth steps in and reduces the population. The mechanism is still unknown: GW, plague, famine, war?

Help your kids prepare. Enjoy in the meantime.
Agree with your advice, but your analysis is a bit too fatalistic for my taste. If you don't fight, you'll surely lose. In my view a part of the problem is leaving the big issues to the political process. As Plato wrote: democracy is not the best form of government, meritocracy is better.
- you can't ask a hardworking plumber (now where did he come from?) to take into account the interests of the human society in say 100 years from now.
- there is a lot of resistance when you want to take away a big chunk of comfort, or mobility, or luxury.
- there is lots of room for denial as long as science is no more than theories, just waiting to be falsified, (which, I expect, will never change).

So, would you agree with making a short list of issues not to be dealt with by the democratic political process but by say, in case of the USA, its president, based on findings of a group of experts? Kind of fourth division, a deciding power to be added to the existing legislative, executive and judicial powers. It could add tremendously to the effectiveness of government which we really need. Needs to be worked out of course, with respect to checks and balances, countervailing powers and all that. But what do you say?

Well, in the mean time I'll continue enjoying the Grenadines.
Len.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:20   #473
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some good news . . .

Maybe all is not lost yet. Here is a hot off the press about alternate energy at: Renewables Continue Remarkable Growth | Renewable Energy World

Lead paragraph: "London, UK By 2010, renewable energy had reached a clear tipping point in the context of global energy supply, concludes the 'Renewables 2010 Global Status Report'. With renewables comprising fully one quarter of global power capacity from all sources and delivering 18% of global electricity supply in 2009, the latest release of the definitive assessment of the state of the global renewable energy industry from the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) details the current status and key trends of global markets, investment, industry and policies related to renewable energy."
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:46   #474
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I did try to make the point (Post 466) that the increase in human population has been at the expense of animal population. Net result is probably less - umm - nutrients in the sea. If we add our over harvesting of some major fish stocks (now recovering surprisingly quickly in the North Sea) then the decline is perhaps nothing to do with man him/her self, but more to do with industry.
The reduction in the ice caps is the first major issue, the thawing of the Russian Tundra will be next, releasing vast amounts of methane trapped in the peat by perma frost.
Post 468 poses a more serious issue. We are expanding at an unsupportable rate in every country. Just how do we address this?
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:10   #475
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1) What would your view on the necessary strategy be to keep/make this planet habitable in the long run,
A gloomy answer if you're part of the species known as homo sapiens. Nothing of any consequence has happened yet as a concious decision of the species to kerb the exponential population growth, halt pollution or slow the rate of extinction of other species. Someone can google it but globally all must be getting worse. I can see no reason why the species should start now, economics and politics seem to be the driving forces of civilisation and both are chaotic systems unable to be forecast and out of control of humans.
Enjoy the sunshine, we never were in control and never will be.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:44   #476
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... Nothing of any consequence has happened yet as a conscious decision of the species to kerb the exponential population growth, halt pollution or slow the rate of extinction of other species...
... we never were in control and never will be.
Although not “in control”, there are numerous specific instances where man has exerted a positive & effective influence, which has helped to curb population growth, halt, slow and clean up pollution, and stave off the extinction of endangered species.
Our challenge will be to extend our beneficial influences from the specific towards the general.

As a liberal communitarian, I believe we should and can work together, towards our mutual benefit.

A conservative individualist might not be prepared to accede to such communal endeavours. Generally speaking, conservatives tend to dismiss claims of environmental risks because they fear such claims will be used to fetter markets and other arenas of individual achievement, and promote bigger government.

It’s plausible to infer that both conservative and liberals are fitting their perceptions of science to their predispositions (1. confirmation bias), rather that either has some advantage over the other in discerning truth.

At least we should all agree, it is the other guys’ politics and ideologies that are twisting facts, obscuring evidence and truth (2. Dunning-Kruger Effect).


1. Confirmation Bias is a person’s tendency to recognize evidence that supports their position, while ignoring and/or downplaying that which opposes their position.

2. The Dunning–Kruger Effect is a cognitive bias in which an unskilled person makes poor decisions and reaches erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to realize their mistakes. The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their own ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority.
Some poor unfortunates suffer from something far more severe.
Apparently, they are dumb + they are prone to confirmation bias + they have an inability to recognize their dumbness + they ironically think that they are the opposite of dumb, and that smart people are the dumb ones. Obviously, this wouldn't apply to anyone here, on the CF.
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Old 05-10-2010, 14:50   #477
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Although not “in control”, there are numerous specific instances where man has exerted a positive & effective influence, which has helped to curb population growth, halt, slow and clean up pollution, and stave off the extinction of endangered species.
Our challenge will be to extend our beneficial influences from the specific towards the general.

Well thought out post as ever, Gord. Mine was more of a little poke to see who would bite if I was completely honest.
But I stand by it a fair way, globally as a species I'm not so sure the future isn't already written.
We rich well fed westerners are in a minority, there are many more people just trying to get by and feed their kids than there are of us fat westerners, globally I think things are just getting worse.
The whole oil thing highlights humans inability to plan long term, don't you think? "Oh, but there's loads left!" But it WILL run out. Isn't that obvious! Why even go there, save it for a rainy day, find energy somewhere else! But that's my whole point, if you look at human history, it's all reactive when you zoom out, using hydrocarbons is crazy, but no one was at the helm and thats the path civilisation went.
And as for The Dunning–Kruger effect, well, reality is perception and I knew I was right!!
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Old 05-10-2010, 15:26   #478
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Mine was more of a little poke to see who would bite if I was completely honest...
... And as for The Dunning–Kruger effect, well, reality is perception and I knew I was right!!
Well, you got me to bite.

Whilst perception is A reality, it’s not reality.

Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible; rather than as they may appear or may be thought to be.

Can anything be classed as “real” when our perceptions differ so greatly, on so many things? Just because we see something a particular way, does not make it so. What we see as real is only defined by our belief structure. [B]Our version of what is real is only our perception of it; not necessarily what is so.

Either I misunderstand Einstein, or he was wrong, when he said: “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

On the other hand, Philip Dick may have come closer to the truth when he said: "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

Truth may never be entirely known, for no matter how much evidence we collect, our knowledge may always remain incomplete.
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Old 05-10-2010, 17:56   #479
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So, would you agree with making a short list of issues not to be dealt with by the democratic political process but by say, in case of the USA, its president, based on findings of a group of experts? Kind of fourth division, a deciding power to be added to the existing legislative, executive and judicial powers. It could add tremendously to the effectiveness of government which we really need. Needs to be worked out of course, with respect to checks and balances, countervailing powers and all that. But what do you say?

Well, in the mean time I'll continue enjoying the Grenadines.
Len.
We already know that idea of a "president based on the findings of a group of experts" doesn't work, if you look at how the U.S. health care and economy is turning out.
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Old 05-10-2010, 18:54   #480
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I've spent many years doing sewage plant to reduce the amount of stuff that reached the natural water system. So in spite of the increase in human population the total animal population is reducing, we aren't dumping nutrients into the sea anymore so quite simply the plankton are being starved.
They will reach a balance, and those species that feed off them will too, but there are critical minimum numbers. Whales and the other mammals are the obvious ones, too much 'farming' can upset things too much. The loss of Tuna in the medittereanian are another example of mans intervention.
So it's not just an Environmental problem. We've become the guardians of earth at the same time as we've become the destroyer of resources. The only guarantee is that humans will survive.

I have bitched for years about so called no discharge zones being unrealistically placed where discharge is safe! Now I learn that POOP is NEEDED to provide food for plankton. The above quote provides proof that we can have our cake and eat it to!

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