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22 June 2015

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YT

I'm not a fan of the vatican...

But aye, much cause for Worry if folks out there still want a sustainable world for their ''seven generations henceforth.''

There is little need to worry 'bout the environment or Mother Earth itself - according to an acquaintance I recently met from singapore.

She'll still be around long after we as a species [for better or for worse] cease to exist on this Terra.

MRW

More fear porn.

rjj

Buy gold.

JM

Indeed. But it troubles me to think that my great-great-grandkids will look back at current generations and lament that we screwed the pooch.

We face a very complex set of choices. Biodiverse ecosystems are the cornerstones of our existence, but where do we begin? Do we focus on saving endangered 'charismatic megafauna' or, like, trees or whatever?

I'd guess that we need to focus on ensuring the survival and health of the very bottom of the food chain -- meaning we should focus on the oceans.

ex-PFC Chuck

If the astrophysicists are close to the target your Singapore friend is right. The Earth has about 5 billion years until the Sun's fuel tank nears empty and Old Sol expands and cools into red giant-hood. But it will still be hot enough that, when its surface approaches and eventually envelopes Earth, it will sear off all life.

As for humanity's time? Probably not nearly so much. As suggested by the Fermi Paradox, it may be in the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself. From Wikipedia:
"This is the argument that technological civilizations may usually or invariably destroy themselves before or shortly after developing radio or space flight technology. Possible means of annihilation include nuclear war, biological warfare or accidental contamination, climate change, nanotechnological catastrophe, ill-advised physics experiments,[Note 4] a badly programmed super-intelligence, or a Malthusian catastrophe after the deterioration of a planet's ecosphere."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox

oofda

I recently finished a fascinating book, "The Sixth Extinction" by Elizabeth Kohlbert which describes this. I highly recommend it for those interested in this issue. There are a variety of factors leading to the present situation, but one of the most serious is the tremendous amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, which is affecting climate and weather. Further, the high amount of CO2 means that huge amount will end up in the oceans via rain- and that is changing the acidity of the seas, which has to have a detremental effect upon life. Already the Great Barrier Reef is being affected to a rapidly increasing rate.

It should be noted that Caballos' team has determined the extinction rate since 1900 has been eight to 100 times higher than the expected background rate. That should be cause for concern

LeeG

Last 70yrs of energy consumption is like an explosion in the recorded history of homo saps. Hard to survive an explosion in a confined space.

http://www.iiasa.ac.at/GenticsImageStore/800/auto/prop/web/home/resources/publications/options/Sustain.jpg

LeeG

No more than studying asteroids or MRSA is fear porn. Is there something about the data you disagree with?

elkern

Saying "Life on Earth is in trouble" might be overstating the case slightly, but only slightly, and I'm quibbling rather than objecting.

"Life on Earth" will (technically) survive anything we (humans) do, becuase we're unlikely to wipe out every life form. The Bugs and the Bacteria still out-weigh us, and they're pretty adaptable.

So I might prefer to say that we are threatening "Life on Earth AS WE KNOW IT". We have already measurably changed the chemistry of the atmosphere & hydrosphere. We have already wiped out a significant number of species (and that's a LOT, given the number of species of Life on our planet). We are continuing - even expanding - the human activities which cause these things.

The reports noted above by COl Lang warn us about the consequences of Business As Usual. We have options, but AFAIK, we can only change things via coordinated GLOBAL political action. This is apparently difficult.

Valissa

I prefer the term apocaphilia ;)

I'm all for being good stewards of nature. But I'm not a fan of "pessimistic gnosticism".

Tidewater

Tidewater replies to YT,

Respectfully, I am afraid not. The earth does not abide forever. Not if the climate is that of Venus. Consider the 'methane veil." It's moving south. What's the methane read today? They've got what must be geosynchronous satellites over the hot spots now. They've found an ocean methane spike near New Zealand! Check Arctic News, among others. Looks like we're in a kind of Venus fly trap.

I've....been... wait...ing...

Just let me drink some espresso ground Yemeni mocha high test. Gotta' check that about oxygen isotopes and figure out when Semiletov met his yummy bluestocking Shakova. Science can be sexy too.

YT

RE: Fermi Paradox

Oui, Monsiuer. Je suis d'accord.
The human condition is hopeless...


This is the patent age of new inventions
For killing bodies and, for saving souls,
All propagated with the best intentions;
Sir Humphrey Davy's lantern, by which coals
Are safely mined for in the mode he mentions,
Tombuctoo travels, voyages to the Poles,
Are ways to benefit mankind, as true,
Perhaps, as shooting them at Waterloo.


Babak Makkinejad

Agreed.

SteveG

Is there an internal contradiction between
environmental damage caused by man
and the complete sanctity of human life,
ie no contraception, abortions excluded?

Babak Makkinejad

Of course they would find methane spike near New Zealand; there all those sheep there - constantly farting.

Really, all these alarmists need to stop acting like Chicken Little....

There is only so much methane that can be dissolved in the atmosphere.

Venus is the way she is because there is not process that captures the CO2 and buries it in deep rocks - no plate tectonics there.

Babak Makkinejad

It is generally known as the Fall of Man.

The cultists of Progress think that they can overcome that... with just a bit more of a push...

YT

'Tis truth.

But as Elkern states below, "coordinated GLOBAL political action'' will be...requisite.

Babak Makkinejad

Surely you are not suggesting that contraception is an abnegation of the complete sanctity of the human life?

BabelFish

Thank you, TTG.

Elkern, I think you have this right. Yes, life on earth is so pervasive, we can not wipe it all out. The bacteria down at the deep ocean thermal vents will be pretty immune to our petty activities up here on the surface.

Can we charlie fox the biosphere enough to eliminate homo sapiens from the blue marble. Yes, yes we can. And it isn't necessarily a movie thriller ending but an inability to raise crops due to pollution or something less dramatic as lowered yields due to soil poisoning (from methane, etc.)

And, the issue isn't if the climate is changing. Of course it is. It changed like all hell 10,000 years ago and our current climate is the result. Many of you reading this live someplace that was under a mile of ice back then. The globe is warming. Global warming will change the climate. The real issue is how much of that warming and change is due to man made activities.

I would rather take Pope Frank's encyclical as a starting point than anything else I've seen come out of the political sides of our societies.

Bill H

My grandparents could have said that "life as we know it will end before 2000" and they would have been right. There is an imprecision to the whole discussion which makes it difficult. I have little doubt that big and unpleasant changes are in store, and that man's presence has much to do with it, but when terms like "mass extinction" are used I think that credibility wanes.

SteveG

Babak
If contraception is forbidden on religious
or societal mandates, does it not follow
the exponential population growth we are
witnessing contributes to the earth's
degradation?

Babak Makkinejad

If memory serves, contraception was not forbidden among Catholics until Pope Paul VI issued his famous fatwa on that subject which managed, as I have been told, to alienate very many Catholics from their religion.

I do not think you can create a sin out of the thin tissue of Papal edict - or obverse - make a sinful act legitimate otherwise.

This is no general grounds.

In regards to abortion being a sin:

In cases of ectopic pregnancy, however rare, what would you have the poor woman and her family to do? Continue with pregnancy until both the foetus and mother are dead?

Is God playing a nasty game of "Gotcha" with women?

Fred

“If the currently elevated extinction pace is allowed to continue, humans will soon … be deprived of many biodiversity benefits.”

Ok, some non-pc thoughts: Save Ebola! We might need it someday. Along with bed bugs and mosquitoes, for diversity’s sake.

“… All of these are related to human population size and growth, which increases consumption (especially among the rich), and economic inequity.”
One more non-pc thought: Since this paper came out of Mexico couldn’t we recognize the importance of this academic work by taking concrete action, such as: stop allowing all those immigrants, who come here and certainly increase both their (relative) income and thereby their actual consumption – thus increasing the harm they do to the earth? This would allow those individuals the added benefit of (maybe) voting the current Mexican government out of office whereby (maybe) the new one will raise taxes on the rich, (like Carlos Slim, richest, er most income unequal, man on earth), thus reducing income inequality.

YT

Hurtling ever faster into the Abyss goes Man...

SteveG

Babak
I left abortion out because that is
another issue IMO. Is abortion a
sin? I will leave that determination
to the individual.

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