Topic

WHAT’S IN A NUMBER?


Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Home Forums General Forums Environmental Issues WHAT’S IN A NUMBER?

Viewing 25 posts - 26 through 50 (of 97 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #3690979
    Karen
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    Eric, would you please not put your thread title in all caps? Or anything else in all caps? please. All caps will get you ignored by anyone under 30, completely ignored, as an irrelevant old geezer, which you’re clearly not. Thank you for not using all caps.

    Given how poorly the richest, most powerful country in the world has dealt with massive wildfires, hurricanes, and the worst epidemic in three generations (we haven’t even been able to distribute a few thousand vaccines in my state; instead we have committees sitting around arguing about who should get them), I’m not very optimistic that we’ll do anything useful about reducing our carbon footprint before it’s too late (hint: it’s already too late). And the numbers really highlight that any useful solution has to be done on a massive scale: we need to change transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, and electrical production, to make a difference. My stopping driving my car (would *love* to if I could!) wouldn’t help. Reducing the worldwide population by 2/3 would help, but hard to see a humane way to do that, especially when religion and superstition contribute to irrational ways of thinking and irresponsible reproduction. Not to mention how our society prizes the “freedom” to utterly destroy the common good, whether that’s public land, wearing masks to prevent disease spread, or filling the atmosphere with carbon.

    Ignorant people run our world and make the decisions, and the smart people let them, or, if they happen to try to run things, allow themselves to be corrupted by greed instead of solving the problems they went to D.C. to fix. I try not to think about it any more; I’ve given up. Meanwhile, I can enjoy the little things that still make life livable – for a few of us anyway.

    Bummer thread.

    #3690983
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    Reducing the worldwide population by 2/3 would help, but hard to see a humane way to do that, especially when religion and superstition contribute to irrational ways of thinking and irresponsible reproduction.

    Find a way to do it, and most of the other problems quickly resolve themselves.

    Bonus points to you for so clearly stating the problem.

    #3690986
    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member

    @xnomanx

    Here we go with the ethnocentric population control argument….

    And what of the religion of consumption, the religion that makes the average American’s impact 100X that of the “irrational”, “superstitious”, and “irresponsible” masses that “developed” people love to criticize?

    Funny, I’ve ever heard anyone argue there are too many blue-eyed Swedes driving too many cars and eating too much salmon.

    #3690987
    Karen
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    I don’t see population reduction as an ethnocentric argument. I see it as applying to all peoples everywhere. I see it as a biology-based argument; the world’s carrying capacity is overfull, especially if we don’t want to continue to lose species. I also see Americans as especially religious and superstitious, despite the opportunity to maximally benefit from scientific knowledge, we haven’t.

    #3690990
    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member

    @xnomanx

    Saying the world’s carrying capacity is overfull is acting as if distribution and consumption of resources are equal among all peoples. It takes the responsibility off of those societies that consume the most, completely dodges discussions of equity and distribution, and distributes blame equally.

     

    #3690992
    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member

    @xnomanx

    To be an “environmentalist” and an American is a difficult position. Steeped in the mythology of freedom and individualism, yet faced with problems that require large scale collective action…which really can’t be solved without regulation. (I.E. want to slow the decline of pelagic fishes? Then we need an enforced moratorium on their fishing because the free market and the goodwill of mankind clearly isn’t up to task. And then we likely need to investigate economic aid to the people/industries impacted by a moratorium…and on and on we go.). Serious regulation essentially means a planned economy, which of course evokes knee-jerk reactions against Socialism…

    So instead we busy ourselves with the task of figuring out how to meet ever-increasing demand (nuclear power anyone?), hitching ourselves to the infinite growth mindset. Infinite growth is probably the greatest myth ever invented…talk about irrational beliefs.

    #3690995
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    Saying the world’s carrying capacity is overfull is acting as if distribution and consumption of resources are equal among all peoples. It takes the responsibility off of those societies that consume the most, completely dodges discussions of equity and distribution, and distributes blame equally.

    It does none of those things, inherently; that’s a straw man fallacy.  This, however, is not.

    I don’t see population reduction as an ethnocentric argument. I see it as applying to all peoples everywhere. I see it as a biology-based argument; the world’s carrying capacity is overfull, especially if we don’t want to continue to lose species.

    Not that it matters, but I happen to agree with you: ethnocentrism has nothing to do with what you said…nor does the “religion of consumption.” That is also a logical fallacy, not that I personally disagree with the assessment.

    #3691003
    Bruce Tolley
    BPL Member

    @btolley

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    @ Bonzo

    “Wouldn’t it be so pleasantly elegant to simply not require so much energy, instead of looking for ways to meet an ever-growing demand and doing nothing to check the growth? ”

    Yes I agree. Earlier in the thread I proposed ending all federal and state subsidies for petroleum exploration, extraction and refining. If consumers and manufacturers had to pay the true opportunity cost of carbon based, they would consume less.

    But I am not hopeful. In my local town, the city council is passing reach codes to ban any future natural gas hookups for new commercial buildings and new multitenant residential buildings which does not to decrease consumption.

    #3691013
    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member

    @xnomanx

    10 people on an island. 2 of them are consuming 80% of the resources. 4 out of ten can barely meet basic needs.

    And those 2 top consumers only want to talk about how 10 is too many on the island…Nice.

     

    #3691021
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    10 people on an island. 2 of them are consuming 80% of the resources. 4 out of ten can barely meet basic needs.

    And those 2 top consumers only want to talk about how 10 is too many on the island…Nice.

    I would call that a casual oversimplification, but more importantly, I would point out that it’s a groundless assumption.  You don’t know the economic positions of the people involved in this debate: you only know the positions that they’ve espoused.

    #3691026
    Karen
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    I’m definitely for limiting greed and over-consumption in the rich countries, as well as restructuring taxes so that there is more equitable distribution. Can we start with wealth caps? Say Buffet, Gates, and Bezos, and we say no one really needs to own a suite of their own jets. No one really works that much harder and deserves to hoard so much. The trio own as much wealth as 180 million Americans.

    But those ideas are considered radical and anti-American. As our 2016 election demonstrated, many Americans want our tax dollars to be spent at home, not abroad. So advocating for all on the island is not a popular stance.

    But I’m a weirdo; I drive a 20 year old car, live in a 1000 square foot home (4 people), and own furniture mostly bought at yard sales. Sure, I’m all for sharing the essentials of life all around the world, and I’m also for ensuring that nature continues to exist everywhere it can. Reducing capitalist consumerism will help, and not having massive numbers of unwanted children will also help, everywhere. I am utterly horrified by how crowded our American cities are, and by the millions of people without places to live. These are all problems we could solve, if we wanted to.

    #3691029
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    I’m definitely for limiting greed and over-consumption in the rich countries, as well as restructuring taxes so that there is more equitable distribution. Can we start with wealth caps? Say Buffet, Gates, and Bezos, and we say no one really needs to own a suite of their own jets. No one really works that much harder and deserves to hoard so much. The trio own as much wealth as 180 million Americans.

    In your opinion, is there a fundamental difference in deserving monetary wealth and deserving something – anything – else?  Good health, perhaps?  Multiple children, should you want them?  An intentional redirection on my part, yes, but one that poses a valid question: what objective metric do we use to determine merit?  How do we universally qualify and quantify the idea of value?  Most importantly: without doing any of these things – or even if we achieve them – can any of us, individually or as a whole, determine what any other person deserves?

    Also: how are we to limit human emotion?  Greed is just that, you know; it’s desire, mixed with envy and passion.  Is this something that can be policed?

    #3691032
    Kattt
    BPL Member

    @kattt

    ^^^ very well said Bonzo.

     

    #3691033
    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member

    @xnomanx

    I’m not talking about specific people at all. I’m talking about Americans and the overarching culture here, which includes all of us on some level. I think distribution/consumption is absolutely key to this discussion, but I’m not going to belabor it.

    It is a very well said statement Bonzo, but also strikes precisely at what’s paving the road to ruin. If we truly cannot make value judgements about these things for philosophical reasons, then we cannot do anything about our situation.

    And in our wisdom we’ll sink with the ship over a principle.

    Is this something that can be policed?

    Yes. We police human greed all the time. In fact, you could probably say it’s the entire idea behind the rule of law and a foundational principle of most societies. How much environmental destruction is in fact due to a failure to collectively police the greed of others?

    #3691039
    Karen
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    Don’t we do this all the time, determine what other people deserve? That’s why our tax structure is the way it is, and why we fund the programs we do; some are chosen, others are not.

    #3691040
    Brad Rogers
    BPL Member

    @mocs123

    Locale: Southeast Tennessee

    Wouldn’t it be so pleasantly elegant to simply not require so much energy, instead of looking for ways to meet an ever-growing demand and doing nothing to check the growth?

     

    Actually in our seven state service area after decades of steady increase in demand, the past decade has been stable and is actually forecast to slightly decline over the next few years.

    We have been scuttling and decommissioning fossil units and actually have less generation capacity now than a few years ago.

    #3691041
    Kattt
    BPL Member

    @kattt

    “We police human greed all the time. In fact, you could probably say it’s the entire idea behind the rule of law and a foundational principle of most societies.”

    it may be the idea that some say is behind the rule of law and it may be how some want to control what others can have but it is not the foundation of the rule of law.

    #3691045
    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member

    @xnomanx

    Perhaps I could say it better. One of the primary aims of the rule of law then (in Western society)? I.E. protecting one’s property from those that would seek to take it?

     

    #3691049
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    In my opinion, stating that greed is societally foundational in any way is quite the indictment against the entire nature of a mutually-beneficial society.  Then again, if we were truly interested in each other in a mutual fashion, we would have no need of police, nor of tax collectors.  Perhaps we are, indeed, still as savage as we have always allowed ourselves to be…if not more so.  Or, perhaps Hobbes said it best:

    “It may seem strange to some man that has not well weighed these things that Nature should thus dissociate and render men apt to invade and destroy one another: and he may therefore, not trusting to this inference, made from the passions, desire perhaps to have the same confirmed by experience.  Let him therefore consider with himself: when taking a journey, he arms himself and seeks to go well accompanied; when going to sleep, he locks his doors; when even in his house he locks his chests; and this when he knows there be laws and public officers, armed, to revenge all injuries that shall be done him; what opinion he has of his fellow subjects, when he rides armed; of his fellow citizens, when he locks his doors; and of his children, and servants, when he locks his chests.  Does he not there as much accuse mankind by his actions as I do by my words?”

    Only three hundred and sixty-nine years since that was written; how little things have changed.

    #3691050
    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member

    @xnomanx

    Great quote Bonzo. I think about our locked doors quite a bit.

    I think this has officially become a free range thread. I’m not even sure which point I’m supposed to be arguing for/against anymore.

    Have a good one folks!

    #3691067
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    I think this has officially become a free range thread. I’m not even sure which point I’m supposed to be arguing for/against anymore.

    That’s the danger of drawing out fallacies: the original point becomes continually substituted for others, and the discussion intentionally drifts.

    For me, this thread has been and remains about one thing: understanding how to use data to healthily engage others in debate.  If we want to answer the title, we can do so easily because the answer is “nothing.”  Numbers, by themselves, carry no real meaning: they are just tools that convey ideas…so without a clear picture of the ideas being presented, the numbers become worthless.  Sure, CO2 might be at a high level; income might be unequally distributed; energy consumption might be ridiculously imbalanced; religion might lead to overpopulation…but without contextual data that shows enough of the facts for other people to critically examine those statements and decide their stance on those issues from a factual basis, the statements are just talking points to which others can only react instinctively.  Very little thinking and almost no social evolution takes place in that situation.  Without contextual data and the comprehension of how to use it effectively, we cannot have healthy debates; all we can have are shouting matches.  Understanding the difference between those two options is what this thread offers.

    #3691193
    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member

    @danepacker

    Locale: Mojave Desert

    Back in the ’80s the book, “Population, Resources, Environment” tried like he!! to alert people to the problems of overpopulation and the “carrying capacity” of different environments. Yes, some environments can carry a higher population /sq. mile, hectare, etc. than others but mainly it said we had at that time (80s) already exceeded the environment’s carrying capacity in most areas of the world.

    A TALE OF ONE COUNTRY:

    In 1966 I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines’ big southern island of Mindanao in Dipolog City, on the Sulu Sea. At that time the small provincial capital there were many pedicabs and a few cycle cabs and very few cars. Fishing communities were doing OK and not in poverty. I left in 1968 with my Filipina bride, my co-teacher.

    In the ’70s President/dictator Marcos was peacefully ousted and Cory Aquino, the wife of asassainated husband Begnino, was virtually acclaimed president. Roman Catholic Cardinal Sin (real name) told Cory “The Church” should “support” her in teherection if she dropped Marcos’ successful birth  control program and, in her total ignorance, immediately said “yes”.

    What followed was a rampant doubling then tripling of the population in 40 years. Those fishermen and their families fell into abject poverty as Chinese and outlaw Filipino factory fishing boats devastated reefs and sucked up way too many fish for sustainability.

    So as I made subsequent return trips to Dipolog I witnessed its steady decline in environmental living standards as the population grew madly, sprawling with no planning, turning that sleepy city into a hot mess.

    As in the rest of the Philippines the greatest demographic group was people under 20, a sure sign of out-of-0control population expansion.

    And now? Now the Philippines is horribly overcrowded and the environment over exploited.  This sad state of affairs, negatively affecting everything from education to forestry to air and water pollution, is THE best example I know of overpopulation.

    The next best example is my own Las Vegas valley that since 2004, when I moved here, has doubled its population to 2 million+.  But at the same time Lake Meade, our only water source, has fallen over 100 feet, as painfully evidenced by the “bathtub ring” on the lake’s shoreline.

    As Pogo, the possum main character in the former swamp folk cartoon “POGO” said: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

    So let’s PAY ATTENTION to overpopulation.

    #3691197
    Kattt
    BPL Member

    @kattt

    How many kids do you have Eric? Isn’t it two or three?
    Who gets to decide the limit on children’s and who has to adhere to this and who can go ahead and have more?

    #3691206
    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member

    @ngatel

    Locale: Southern California

    Who gets to decide the limit on children’s and who has to adhere to this and who can go ahead and have more?

    China and other countries two child policy

    There you go. Governmental control for the common good.

     

    BTW, for over 12 years and almost 6,000 posts, Chaff’s Carbon Flame War hasn’t resolved anything.

     

    DCF or Silnylon. Which is best?

    #3691214
    Bonzo
    BPL Member

    @bon-zo

    Locale: Virgo Supercluster

    BTW, for over 12 years and almost 6,000 posts, Chaff’s Carbon Flame War hasn’t resolved anything.

    Without knowing who may or may not have read that kind of thread, found something relevant within it, and actually changed their actions as a result, we cannot say whether or not it’s made a difference.  I think that we too often expect radical, sweeping changes to be the only way that resolutions come about, regardless of what we’re trying to resolve…but most of the time, society changes slowly and gradually, on an individual basis.  Sure, we have moments like the October Revolution or the building of the Berlin Wall, and when those things happen it seems that life turns upside-down overnight…but for every one of those nights, we have a thousand where society simply evolves.  Individuals make decisions, speak to nobody about them, and quietly go on about their lives.  In the end, it usually isn’t Lenin or Ulbricht or Trump or Biden or the next world leader that makes things different; it’s the rest of us that do it.

    By way of example: when I stopped buying things in plastic bottles, it wasn’t because someone told me to, or because the government made a policy; it was because I learned exactly how much damage plastic bottles were causing, so I made a change.  A small one, yes, but that’s how evolution happens.

Viewing 25 posts - 26 through 50 (of 97 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Forum Posting

A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!

Loading...