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#198560 - 06/23/17 05:25 PM More good news!
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1337
Loc: Southwest Ohio
In addition to global warming (bad news) and the Republican denial (worse news), I just heard yesterday on NPR that the prediction is that the world's population will reach 10 billion by 2050 (assuming we make it that far.)

I remember reading Colin Fletcher's comments about exceeding the carrying capacity of the Earth back in the first or second edition of the Complete Walker series, when there were only about 3 billion people. That was in the early 1980s. (So, it took us several thousand years to reach 3 billion, and only 70 to triple that.)

This is truly alarming, at least to me. We need to have a serious national and international conversation about this. Given the current leadership (or lack thereof) in our own country, the motives not to participate in developing countries like China, and the advanced stage of the problem, I'm not really hopeful about the future.

Do you think that we we soon will/already have exceeded the carrying capacity of the Earth, and/or its ability to recover (if we do wise up)? Assuming the capacity is around 4 billion, it raises the question: which 6 billion have to go (and how do we do it)?

Does this bother anyone else? Any ideas?

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#198565 - 06/24/17 09:00 PM Re: More good news! [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Glenn
My anthropology final paper was about how human society is balanced on the knife edge of technology. Human society becomes more and more technology dependent. What would happen if the northeast power grid went down instead of the brown out? How long would it take for 95% of people in New York City to perish without electricity? There would be no water, no lights, no cooking, food would disappear quickly and transportation out of the city would be at a standstill. It would not take a yellowstone volcano to blast the human race back to the stone ages. A simple EMP pulse would wipe out communications, power grids, car, home wiring and appliances. Medical devices would stop etc. Humans will be very lucky to reach ten billion before global warming, or before the species is decimated by biological agents.

However the Earth is in an interglacial period and has been on a warming trend for thousands of years and it WILL probably get up a high enough temperature to kill most of the humans, there won't be enough time to adapt. After the humans are gone the temperature will continue to go up, and eventually the Earth will be mostly covered with ice again.

The fact that we have no leadership and no concensus may be a good thing in disguise. Only governments have the resources to really screw things up.
Jim YMMV
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#198567 - 06/24/17 11:58 PM Re: More good news! [Re: Jimshaw]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
Only governments have the resources to really screw things up.

While I agree with your other points, I find this one to be a too-limited perspective. When their motives combine in parallel, individuals have just as much power as governments to screw things up, if not more so. The exploding world population that was the original subject of this thread is a case in point. Governments don't have kids. And because power is not deterministically bad in every case, those same governments are often the only structures capable of acting to mitigate problems that would overwhelm any individual's resources.

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#198568 - 06/25/17 12:42 PM Re: More good news! [Re: Glenn Roberts]
GrumpyGord Online   content
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 846
Loc: Michigan
Just to present a contrarian pessimistic view. If I (we) do everything right it just delays the inevitable for a short period of time. So I turn the heat and AC down, walk or bike, and do all of the right things I spend ten years denying myself and being less than comfortable and we delay it for a year and the majority of the world lives like there is no tomorrow. They had ten years of comfortable living and I had ten years of discomfort. In the end we are all at the same place.

Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

Not really my philosophy but food for thought.

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#198569 - 06/25/17 01:38 PM Re: More good news! [Re: GrumpyGord]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
Grumpy, you've just concisely explained why this problem cannot and will not be solved by individual choices, unless governments intervene to change the incentives surrounding those choices to favor their taking a different direction. Choosing the greatest amount of personal comfort one can achieve is built into our nature. When an innate physical imperative confronts an intellectual imperative, the intellect is going to lose out more often than not. Statistically speaking, morality and altruism run a long distance behind selfishness in determining our actions.

But individuals are embedded in societies and we all must adapt to the rules of whatever society we live in or perish. Only government has the power to broadly and consciously restructure a society. Yes, as JimShaw would no doubt point out, when a government tinkers with something as large and complex as a modern economy, there will be mistakes and unintended consequences and these are easy to identify and disparage. But because of the truth of what GrumpyGord said, this is our only reasonable alternative to what is likely to be a massively chaotic mid-term and long-term future. And when things get bad enough, little luxuries like freedom of thought and action are quickly tossed aside in favor of despotism.

The USA was willing enough to submit to regimentation on a vast scale during WWII. Nowadays, getting anyone to submit to even minimal sacrifice for the public good sets off enough screams of pain to rival dental surgery without anesthetic. frown

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#198588 - 06/28/17 05:59 AM Re: More good news! [Re: aimless]
rio nueces Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/21/17
Posts: 11
Loc: East Texas
Does anyone remember the 'zero population growth' movement?
So that at least regionally we could preserve wilderness and open spaces? Sustainability?
Well it appears while those in Europe, North America, and other (sometimes) forward thinking parts of the planet thought it a fine idea it accomplished zip, zero, nada.
Because of practically unlimited immigration from parts of the world that simply do not care for or think of such things as beauty and quality of life. The Sierra Club caved on immigration...why?
Of course plenty of guilt to go around, among the culprits greedy developers and politicians such as those in Colorado Springs who opposed limits on growth (as opposed to Boulder, Co. which still possesses some charm and beauty and green spaces).
Tell me, those of you who support immigration both legal and not, where and when do you draw the line? 10 million, 20, 100 million, never?


Edited by rio nueces (06/28/17 06:01 AM)

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#198590 - 06/28/17 08:50 AM Re: More good news! [Re: rio nueces]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1337
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Trying to blame migration for the problem is like trying to blame floods on the fact that water seeks its level: you're describing the effect, not the cause.

The cause is that there are too damned many of us, to paraphrase Colin Fletcher. Migration is simply the effect of too many people who spread out to find food, space or other scarce commodities. To grossly oversimplify, reduce the number of people and you reduce the pressure to spread them out from population concentrations. Keep increasing the number of people, and the only outcome is overpopulation everywhere.

Immigration is only a problem for the nation-state system we've organized ourselves into. Regional solutions can't solve a global problem, which is what we've got.

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#198591 - 06/28/17 09:10 AM Re: More good news! [Re: Glenn Roberts]
rio nueces Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/21/17
Posts: 11
Loc: East Texas
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts
Trying to blame migration for the problem is like trying to blame floods on the fact that water seeks its level: you're describing the effect, not the cause.

The cause is that there are too damned many of us, to paraphrase Colin Fletcher. Migration is simply the effect of too many people who spread out to find food, space or other scarce commodities. To grossly oversimplify, reduce the number of people and you reduce the pressure to spread them out from population concentrations. Keep increasing the number of people, and the only outcome is overpopulation everywhere.

Immigration is only a problem for the nation-state system we've organized ourselves into. Regional solutions can't solve a global problem, which is what we've got.


It may be a global problem, but there is a regional solution for those countries willing to face up to it. It's not that there is too many of us, but there are too many of them.
Why should north Americans, Brits, French etc. suffer because of others irresponsibility?
So I ask again, where is the line drawn before we stop the basically unrestricted immigration?
Or do we just resign ourselves and future generations to a dystopian future?




Edited by rio nueces (06/28/17 09:13 AM)

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#198592 - 06/28/17 10:39 AM Re: More good news! [Re: rio nueces]
BZH Online   content
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 829
Loc: Torrance, CA
Originally Posted By rio nueces

It may be a global problem, but there is a regional solution for those countries willing to face up to it. It's not that there is too many of us, but there are too many of them.
Why should north Americans, Brits, French etc. suffer because of others irresponsibility?
So I ask again, where is the line drawn before we stop the basically unrestricted immigration?
Or do we just resign ourselves and future generations to a dystopian future?


That is a pretty myopic view of history. The irresponsibility of others were past north Americans, Brits, French etc. Our current global situation didn't spring up out of nowhere. Our society was built on the backs and often times destruction of others.

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#198593 - 06/28/17 10:51 AM Re: More good news! [Re: rio nueces]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1337
Loc: Southwest Ohio
"It's not that there is [sic] too many of us, there are too many of them."

As Pogo put it: "We have met the enemy and they is us."

The problem with drawing lines is that they are political and change over time. Draw the southernmost Us border further south, and you have no immigration problems (legal or illegal), but the overpopulation problem still exists.

I'm not arguing for or against immigration (at least not here) - I'm arguing that it's irrelevant to the problem.



Edited by Glenn Roberts (06/28/17 11:15 AM)

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#198594 - 06/28/17 01:40 PM Re: More good news! [Re: rio nueces]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
I can see it now:

(AP Wire Service, Miami) Homeland Security agents detained Hurricane Thelma today and questioned it for several hours today before returning it to its ocean of origin as an undesirable alien.

I fail to see how restricting immigration from one place to another place would solve either global climate change or global overpopulation. Because climate does not respect borders, no matter how high a wall you care to build, it seems unproductive to respond to a clear and present danger from greenhouse gas emissions by changing the subject to an irrelevancy.

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#198603 - 06/29/17 01:23 AM Re: More good news! [Re: aimless]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Actually you casually mentioned republicans and "denial of weather ""science"" as kind of an aside to your worry about population. There is no population control for exactly the reasons mentioned by others, (greed etc) yet many of those reproduction centers ARE the first places that will be awash as the polar icecaps do what the do - melt. That will cut the population quite a bit and perhaps things will rebalance... however I think the humans are more likely to be wiped much much sooner by their technology and its failure.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#198606 - 06/29/17 04:21 AM Re: More good news! [Re: aimless]
rio nueces Offline
newbie

Registered: 06/21/17
Posts: 11
Loc: East Texas
Originally Posted By aimless
I can see it now:

(AP Wire Service, Miami) Homeland Security agents detained Hurricane Thelma today and questioned it for several hours today before returning it to its ocean of origin as an undesirable alien.

I fail to see how restricting immigration from one place to another place would solve either global climate change or global overpopulation. Because climate does not respect borders, no matter how high a wall you care to build, it seems unproductive to respond to a clear and present danger from greenhouse gas emissions by changing the subject to an irrelevancy.


"irrelevancy". Right. No doubt it is comforting to be a denier.
Of course the environment is a primary interest, yours as well as mine (http://woodsroamer.blogspot.com/2016/).
But...(and there's always a 'but' isn't there?) other issues are also pressing and truly relevant.


Edited by rio nueces (06/29/17 04:25 AM)

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#198608 - 06/29/17 06:22 AM Re: More good news! [Re: Jimshaw]
GrumpyGord Online   content
member

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 846
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By Jimshaw
. however I think the humans are more likely to be wiped much much sooner by their technology and its failure.
Jim


Actually I have often wondered if human population will some day be reduced by some sort of disease or virus. We see when there are too many rabbits or deer etc they contact some type of virus and the next year the population is reduced. Will we some day see something like aids, Ebola or more likely something we have not even heard of which will wipe out a large portion of the human population? Starting over may not be all bad. Hopefully next time we will do a better job of it.

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#198613 - 06/29/17 12:04 PM Re: More good news! [Re: rio nueces]
Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 1337
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I do agree that immigration is an important social issue to deal with. The wholesale migrations that are occurring now are highly disruptive to societal organizations as they now exist. It's an unresolved question as to whether this is the "creative destruction" that is alleged to bring about huge advances (including all the technology we can't live without) or destructive destruction that will introduce chaos and usher in a new version of the Dark Ages.

However, the issue I'm most concerned with is whether there will be any humans left to argue those points.

I'm also thinking that it comes down to whether we control our destiny, or just lurch toward an obvious population reduction such as plague, climate change, war, etc. (by the way, the privileged won't be able to shelter from this: the stuff they need to shelter is made by the non-privileged who will not be able to shelter. The flow of stuff dries up, and the privileged become under-privileged quite quickly.)

I'm hoping we choose to control our destiny, but am not optimistic. Our current political leadership is too involved in trying to count coup on one another to try to solve anything (headed by the largest narcissist to ever hold the office.) No altruism or long-term vision from the US, then. The developing world (Asia, Africa, South America) is too busy trying to stay alive to spend any time or resources providing leadership for this problem. Europe may be the best hope for leadership out of the current crisis; they seem to be most interested in trying, at present. Personally, I believe it will take immense altruistic efforts to reduce consumption (voluntarily reducing our standard of living by 25% or more) and have negative population growth, not just zero growth. It will also take a huge "outreach" effort to unselfishly use a chunk of our wealth to rapidly raise the standard of living of the developing world to the point that they can think beyond surviving for today, and be in a position to also implement negative population growth.

I'd give us a 40-60 chance, at best.

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#198614 - 06/29/17 12:58 PM Re: More good news! [Re: rio nueces]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By rio nueces
"irrelevancy". Right. No doubt it is comforting to be a denier.


Denier? I did not deny that immigration has been a source of some problems in the USA and especially in Europe recently. But I did deny that solving those problems would be relevant for finding a solution to global climate change due to human use of fossil fuels and other human activity. As I said, climate crosses all borders even when people do not. The lack of any connection that I see between solving these two problems is why I said you were changing the subject.

However, when I am wrong, I am willing to learn. Could you please explain to me exactly how better managing the world's immigration problems would halt or reverse climate change?

Thanks.

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#199051 - 09/09/17 02:52 PM Re: More good news! [Re: Glenn Roberts]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts


Do you think that we we soon will/already have exceeded the carrying capacity of the Earth, and/or its ability to recover (if we do wise up)? Assuming the capacity is around 4 billion, it raises the question: which 6 billion have to go (and how do we do it)?

Does this bother anyone else? Any ideas?


I've been away for a few years because of a series of problems. First, my son had Lyme Disease for a couple years. Then I pulled an Achilles tendon. This year, I managed to knock myself out in June, and I didn't feel steady enough on my feet to walk much for a couple months. Nothing serious though.

Personally, I feel we are well past the tipping point, and there is nothing left to do. It's not only global warming. Too many species are going extinct. The ocean has been largely destroyed. The soil is getting steadily destroyed. We haven't been able to grow any vegetables in years. Others in town are saying the same thing.

The average person in the U.S. is being priced out of living. Forget about saving for retirement, buying a house, having children, saving for college, paying medical bills.

Our food is making people overweight and sick. The food today makes Twinkies look like health food.

We need to stop immigration. I'm tired of seeing people coming here from Texas and California and ruining the Colorado mountains. The Texans are the worst because they always say how great Texas is. If it's so great, why don't they go back?

I think the end will come quickly when it comes. I think it was Adam Smith who studied the fish populations in ponds. The population would steadily increase until it suddenly went to almost zero. Then it stayed low until it suddenly increased. Chaos theory explains this nicely.
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#199052 - 09/09/17 04:06 PM Re: More good news! [Re: Gershon]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2835
Loc: Portland, OR
I believe you may be thinking of Malthus, rather than Adam Smith.

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#199053 - 09/09/17 05:44 PM Re: More good news! [Re: aimless]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By aimless
I believe you may be thinking of Malthus, rather than Adam Smith.


I believe you are right. Thanks.
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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