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The Hubbert Peak (Oil Production to begin dropping)

BKM

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There is a LOT of hippy-dippy stuff (bioenergetic healing and self-hypnosis instead of medicine, anyone), some of the programs sound like a Peace and Freedom Party Platform, and its quite hysteric, but underneath my mirth, I have a sense that there is some truth here:

scary.http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/PageOne.html
 
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Actually, I have referred to this a couple of times in threads about the price of gas or what have you, but could never remember that "Hubbert" was a "key word" B-) .

This was touched on in one of my college classes and covered in depth in another. It is considered to be very solid science, in part because of Hubbert's proven track record: he accurately predicted some other critical point in Oil. I would have to do a little review to state precisely what, maybe "price increases starting around 1969 or 1970". His prediction concerned that time frame, and it was accurate to within a few months of the actual date of ...whatever it is.

The most wildly optimistic estimates of what world oil reserves actually amount to adds only about 10 years to the predicted date of when we will run out of cheap oil and ... then, alternate fuel for cars will become ever so much more viable. :-D Those "high priced" electric or hybrid cars won't look so expensive when gas prices skyrocket. :-0

Have I mentioned how much medication I have been on while pursuing my degree??? :-D The details are sometimes kind of fuzzy.
 

BKM

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Kunstler's been ranting about this for a while, too. He didn't delve into the stranger stuff :)

Still, to predict that 90% of the world's population will quickly disappear. Wow.
 
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BKM said:
Kunstler's been ranting about this for a while, too. He didn't delve into the stranger stuff :)

Still, to predict that 90% of the world's population will quickly disappear. Wow.
Oh, sorry, I didn't read the website. So I didn't realize it was some inflammatory nutcase thing that was referencing Hubbert, which is respected science.

I would be loathe to predict anything that dramatic. However, one of the things I have said to some of my critics who think I must NOT Have A Clue (because I remain a Die Hard Optimist in the face of being an environmental studies major) is that one out every 6 people on planet earth is Chinese and China has a draconian "one child" social policy to get a handle on their dire population situation. Given how mysogynistic the culture is, baby girls are being murdered, aborted, or abandoned to orphanages in droves. While one man can impregnate 10 different women in one year and father 10 kids, a woman is limited to about one birth per year, no matter how many lovers she has. Given how, er, what is that fancy term for "suspicious and hateful of strangers or outsiders"??? Anyway, the Chinese are highly racist and non-Chinese are generally looked down upon. I do not envision them suddenly importing women of other cultures and nationalities to "replace" the baby girls that are being disposed of. Nor do I envision little girls who were so rejected and are now growing up in more enlightened places to go running back 'Home' to repopulate the place when the present "crop" of kiddies hits adulthood, looks around, and realizes that the men outnumber the women by a significant factor.

People on more friendly terms with me have backed up my speculation on that point, supplying figures as to how skewed the boy to girl ratio is, or mentioning anecdotal evidence that women are beginning to get kidnapped and carried off for purposes of marrying them because the "one child" policy has been in place long enough for some of those "onlies" to be reaching adulthood now. Given that China has one sixth of the world population and is intent on actively shrinking their population, I do not put any stock in the "wildest" upper estimates for what the world population might be in 25 or 50 years.

I also believe in the human ability to rise to the occasion. And so on. I really feel like h*ll at the moment and I am going to go take a hot bath. I reserve the right to ramble on some more about my "inflammatory" opinions as an Optimistic Environmental Studies Major when I feel more coherent. :-D
 

AubieTurtle

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The Chinese one child policy is interesting in some of the unintended side effects. As was mentioned, the male-female ratio is being screwed up. There are also many well known effects on only children. Those in China who have money tend to spoil the only child because, well, its the only child they are ever going to have. It is funny to think that a "communist" country that is suppose to be about the common welfare of the public is raising a generation of children who never had to learn to share.

Also I wonder about the Chinese version of our Baby Boom-Social Security problem. At some point in the future there will be a lot more elderly Chinese than workers. Maybe at some point it will even drop below a 1:1 ratio.

On the topic of oil, the rapid increase in energy use by China (you've got to power all those communist/free market/huh?whatever special districts somehow) makes it likely that long before we run out of oil, we will run out of capacity to pump and refine it at current costs.
 

Maister

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There's an awful lot of implicit assumptions there which may or may not have any basis in fact.....but at the same time there is a ring of truth to it.

Even if the worst predictions of Malthusian population boom/bust don't come to pass, the fact of the matter remains that nearly every facet our world's economy is driven by fossil fuels - and these exist in finite quantities. I never understood why no politician has come forward yet to present some sweeping vision or huge national effort/programme to develop, say, fusion power within a specified time period.....kinda like when Kennedy announced the US would put a man on the moon in 10 years. I once heard that 3% of the GNP was invested in that effort. Why couldn't we undergo a similar endeavor to develop sustainable energy production for the world's future?
 

BKM

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Not to romanticize village life in any way, one could argue that world population growth and the industrial economy/globalization has resulted in more misery for more people (while benefiting Westerners, native elites, and certain countries-like China, Southeast Asia, etc.) In some ways, hasn't life gotten far worse in most of Africa and a lot of South America? I don't KNOW this, so forgive my speculation.

Maybe on an even wierder segue from Michelle Zone's post: Couldn't Gay Rights be part of "nature's plan" to reduce population? Fundamentalists statements abouyt the need for reproduction ring a little hollow in a wolrd with 6 billion people. (Please don't flame me!) (oops. Just made a pun).

Boy, this li'l thread is floating all over the place. Maybe retitle it the World Malthusean Population and Oil Crash Thread :)
 

BKM

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Oh. And it's all Wal Mart's fault.

(Can someone create a Sam's Law Smilie)
 

mendelman

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Maister said:
..I never understood why no politician has come forward yet to present some sweeping vision or huge national effort/programme to develop, say, fusion power within a specified time period.....kinda like when Kennedy announced the US would put a man on the moon in 10 years. I once heard that 3% of the GNP was invested in that effort. Why couldn't we undergo a similar endeavor to develop sustainable energy production for the world's future?
I believe this is what will definitely occur if the peak oil production estimates are true. But it will not be in anticipation of dwindling oil supplies, it will be a reaction, after the effects start to manifest.

It will be, I presume, a massive alternative energy reserach blitzkreig similar to the WWII Manhattan Project, but probably a magnitude greater in scale.

There is powerful interia behind maintaining our present levels of civilaztion, at least in the developed world.

I believe this would occur because I agree with MZ's optimism. If such a pervasive crisis where to occur we would adapt and overcome it with some difficulty, but with no "end of the world".
 

The Irish One

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Form friends I know that Colombia and Venezuela are considerably worse and if all their women want to migrate to the USA, that's fine by me :-D
Where is our resident South American friend Skeleton to tell us how life is in Chile?
 

Bangorian

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BKM said:
Kunstler's been ranting about this for a while, too. He didn't delve into the stranger stuff :)

Still, to predict that 90% of the world's population will quickly disappear. Wow.
Well, if we don't figure out an alternative fuel source before the crash, then its plausible-

I mean, how much food do you produce for yourself? And your neighbors? And how far is it to someplace that can actually produce much food? Is it enough for you and your neighbors and everyone else in proximity for a year? How about all the people living in major metropolitan areas??? How will we heat homes? is there enough wood in your neighborhood to heat your home and all your neighbors homes for a winter? And what about hot water for cleaning and sanitation? What about transporting necessary goods like medicines, food etc. Trains can move a lot of stuff, but probably not all of it quickly enough (food spoils, etc) for the whole country. And what about all the places where the railroad has been replaced by rail-trails (sorry bikers!), how do supplies get to those areas?

I'm not saying its gonna happen, but if we run out of petroleum and have no other options than our feet and a few trains, then I can see a major collapse of our system as a possibility...

Of course, this only holds true for the industrialized world, where we have "burned down the village to put up a factory".
 

BKM

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Maine Man: That's very much the site's point. People forget how heavily dependent on oil our entire food production system is.

I was reading an interesting article touting the benefits of the "Green Revolution" (bascially modern agriculture). While not the purpose of the article, it pointed out how in most pre-technological modern societies (Africa), "organic" fertilizers (let alone pesticides) were insufficient to replace the fertility of the soil (which was declining at overstressing population levels). If we can't have cheap oil-based fertilizers, all the organic farming in the world won't al;low us to support current population levels. And, this is ignoring the transportation energy. I read somewhere that in terms of calories alone, western (American) agirculture requires 50 times the calories per calorie of food energy to produce.

Interesting times.
 

Maister

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mendelman said:
There is powerful interia behind maintaining our present levels of civilaztion, at least in the developed world.
I mentioned "implicit assumptions" while referring to the content on that 'Malthusian Doom' website, but it occurs to me me that I am making my own set of implicit assumptions as well. I found myself agreeing with Mendelman's above statement but then realized that many of us in the industrialized world equate 'civilization' with technology..... Maybe we planners should be advocating for zoning ordinances and Master Plans more friendly to hunter/gatherer lifestyles?
I am considering recommending to our planning commission the adoption of 3 acre single family minimum forage area zones for Cfb Koeppen climate classification zones. What do you guys think? Also, does anyone think that improved surface roads would be absolutely neccessary for those foot powered cars (like Fred Flintstone drives)? ;-)
 
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BKM said:
Not to romanticize village life in any way, one could argue that world population growth and the industrial economy/globalization has resulted in more misery for more people (while benefiting Westerners, native elites, and certain countries-like China, Southeast Asia, etc.) In some ways, hasn't life gotten far worse in most of Africa and a lot of South America? I don't KNOW this, so forgive my speculation.

Maybe on an even wierder segue from Michelle Zone's post: Couldn't Gay Rights be part of "nature's plan" to reduce population?
Thou art way behind the times: they already have the research showing that rat colonies in a limited lab space begin having increasing numbers of homosexuals after a certain degree of overcrowding is reached. (Good thing, too: what else are Chinese men of the future going to do when they so horribly outnumber the Babes??? :-D 8-! )

What few Die-Hard Optimist environmental writings I have run across essentially say this: Human Life Expectancy has sky rocketed in the past 100 years, globally. Everywhere -- it didn't go down in all these less developed countries, it just didn't go up as much as in more developed countries. Sounds like "quality of life" must have gone up that folks are SURVIVING longer, doesn't it???

With all due respect BKM, when people say the kind of thing you just said about quality of life "going down", I figure you really don't know much about history. For one thing, many of the issues that get painted as "low quality of life" and " a huge crisis" are things that humans couldn't be bothered to even think about, much less measure, 100 years ago. When what's-his-face wrote "Wealth of Nations", it was a radical idea that GNP was a kind of "wealth". Prior to that, the "wealth" of a nation was measured in how many gold bar were in the King's coffer. The idea that 'the masses' quality of life should even be measured as having any value at all or was worthy of study, etc, was revolutionary.

Until 100 years or so ago, HALF of all children born to human kind died before their 5th birthday. We now have sayings, like in LOTR, that "no parent should have to bury their child", lol. Parents used to routinely bury their children. They didn't bother to invest in their kids or get terribly attached because they couldn't afford to: odds were incredibly good that it would only "waste" what limited resources they had and cause them enormus heartache when the kid died.

In WWII -- which is NOT that long ago and my dad fought in it -- it was so common for flour to have either weevils or some other bug in it that soldiers could tell you which bug they preferred their biscuits and bread to be contaminated with. One of them was bitter. The other was not. We have people freaking out about bio-engineering. Yeah, well, most of those morons wouldn't be alive to freak out if we weren't doing "god only knows what" to our crops. You have to survive first before you can find the time to worry about sh*t like that.

Both my parents have known REAL hunger. My dad grew up in The Great Depression in a dirt-poor share-cropping family, in a log cabin with a dirt floor where snow drifts came in between the logs because they didn't have the money for fancy things like chinking. My mother is blind in one eye because she grew up in Germany during WWII and its aftermath and there were no doctors available.

We live in a country where everyone is on a "diet" and we spend our time fretting about going to the gym, disciplining our sweet tooth, and whether or not our alcohol consumption of caffiene consumption is "excessive". I roll my eyes at all these "problems" and I can't be bothered to spend the time to argue with idiots who try to "improve" my diet. Whatever food I can force my defective gullet to accept is a Success. I know that there is a link between sugar substitutes and brain cancer. I don't happen to CARE. I have serious blood sugar issues and sugar substitutes make eating and drinking TOLERABLE. If I live long enough to wind up with a brain tumor, I will worry about that then. In the mean time, I have get through my damn day now.

We have problems with "alcoholism" in part because it is coded into our genes to have a taste for alcohol. Alcohol kills germs and I had a daily nightcap for a year when I was being denied medical treatment and called "crazy" by the medical establishment. A hundred years or so ago, we didn't have aspirin, tylenol, motrin and so on. And people had physically hard jobs that took a serious physical toll. A few pints at the pub after back breaking labor all day was the ONLY pain killer and sleep inducer they had access to. I used to have Fantasies that I was so much more Virtuous and Self-Disciplined than most folks because I don't drink or do drugs, never really have and I am not tempted. Then I was diagnosed with a genetic disorder. I don't have self discipline. I have a defective body that can't tolerate that stuff. I no longer judge the actions of others. I wouldn't have lived through the year if I hadn't gotten over my prissy fantasy that I was Too Good to drink alcohol. I loathe the stuff. Who the hell am I to judge those who are healthier than I am???

People used to have "beer soup" for breakfast. They drink beer and wine all over Europe because drinking the well water would have killed you: the alcohol made these liquids SAFE to drink. And most people were low-grade drunk 24/7. Then we discovered caffeine, after we discovered things like pasteurization. A professor of mine once gave the class a link to a fascinating article about the cultural changes and political revolution fostered by chain-smoking, coffee-guzzling folks in coffee houses in Europe. The nicotine makes the body metabolize the caffeine twice as fast. These dens of iniquity resulted in hyped up, non-stop talking, highly alert individuals hankering to have a revolution -- and the hours they spent doped up on nicotine and caffeine instead of alcohol allowed for lengthy discussions in which ideas were explore, bonds of friendship and loyalty were forged, and plots were devised.

I could go on. This is all fascinating stuff to me. And most folks I meet are utterly clueless. But I need to shower and get lunch. I seriously suspect that I haven't even gotten to a few of the points/anecdotes I wanted to make. Perhaps I will burn up more of Dan's money on Bandwidth later. (Sorry that this has kind of turned into a rant. It is a topic I am passionate about.)

Later.
 
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mendelman said:
I believe this would occur because I agree with MZ's optimism. If such a pervasive crisis where to occur we would adapt and overcome it with some difficulty, but with no "end of the world".
One of my favorite songs: "It's the end of the world AS WE KNOW IT -- and I feel fine". :-D

They predicted The End of The World when Europe began "running out of" it's most essential fuel: Firewood. That crisis lead to the use of coal.

They predicted The End of The World when coal began getting "too expensive". Then they discovered the value in fossil fuels.

Who cares that the solution will be developed AFTER oil prices begin to sky rocket??? I think it would be NEUROTIC to waste all kinds of valuable resources trying to meet a need we don't have yet. When we need an alternative fuel, it will then become more cost effective and worth investing in the research for an alternative. And, you know what? If they don't and 90% of the world dies off -- uh, so? We all are going to die someday. Duh! It is Pure Ego to think stuff like that MATTERS. It matters to "me" -- to the person who will die or the immediate friends and relatives who will be directly effected. You think Mother Nature cares? If human kind makes itself extinct, Mother Nature will reshuffle the deck and deal a new hand and new species will arise to take our place. Big Deal. The only ones it matters to is Human Kind. It is in our own best interest to worry about things like survival of the species. I don't think The Universe much cares if we go the way of the dinosaur. When we kill ourselves off with our own stupidity, the casting director of Life, the Universe and Everything will yell: "NEXT!"

In a million years, it will matter not at all how I spent my life. But to me, such details matter enormously. Therefore, I do what matters TO ME. I do what I view as constituting a high quality of life. What other measure really makes sense?

If I do anything to clean up the environment, it is pure selfishness. I will personally benefit. I live here. It has nothing to do with "idealism". :-D :-D :-D
 
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Okay, I have now dutifully gone and sort of glanced over the website a smidgeon. I have one explanation: the author desperately needs therapy.

A bit over a year ago, I got into an unfortunate discussion about the environment while I was awake for 39 hours straight. Sigh. And one of the points I tried to make is that Optimism has nothing to do with "the facts" and everything to do with point of view. It isn't even a matter of seeing "the glass half full". I am the type to say "thank god" for what I have if the glass is only one third full. And such things are partly a CHOICE. If you want to have gloom and doom visions of a dire future, have at it. But don't expect me to climb on board.

I have written two papers on arsenic poisoning from well water in Bangledesh (and parts of India, too). Articles on this issue say things like "It is a bigger environmental catastrophe than chernobyl" and speak with horror of the "irony" that these wells were built as part of an international effort to "save" the people of this very poor nation. The wells were built to put a stop to the quarter of a million annual deaths from drinking surface waters that contained germs. And there are now, something like 20 or 30 years later, 7000+ known cases of arsenic poisoning and estimates of much larger numbers coming to light in the future.

Okay, let me do the math: we have saved something like one quarter million lives per year for a few decades. Call it several million people who didn't die a rapid death from sickness. And now we have 7000+ people who have taken a few decades to get visibly ill from drinking the well water. And Bangledesh is now swarming with researchers intent upon coming up with an effective and affordable means to address this issue so that a country which is too poor to afford water treatment plants can have potable drinking water on a budget.

Excuse me??? How is this a TRAGEDY??? Several million lives have been SAVED. Okay, the wells turned out to have an unexpected issue. So what? Now that we know, time to fix that problem. I, personally, call that PROGRESS. You are welcome to continue to whine and cry about how this is the biggest environmental disaster ever, blah blah blah. Just go tell it to someone else who would like to join your pity party and become suicidally depressed along side you and quit bothering me. I have suffered enough. I intend to party hearty until I die, thanks. Go rain on someone else's parade.

Furthermore, people who think like that also have some fantasy that they "know everything". How do we know that the arsenic is not having some invisible positive side effect??? And I am not kidding.

A great many things have come to mind about the environment and food and so on in the process of wondering what I might comment on. But the short version is that "the shallow end of the pool empties first". The gloom and doom article acts like oil production is going to suddenly disappear. It won't happen like that. As oil becomes too expensive, people will naturally begin doing some of the alternative stuff, like taking public transit, growing some of their own food, and so on. People will give up "pet rocks" first, long before they give up food.

And humans are very creative. These gloom and doom scenarios are typically "closed" scenarios that assume that no new inventions and so on will come to light to help the situation. And that is simply ludicrous.

There is a saying that if your neighbor loses his job, it's a recession but if you lose your job, it's a depression. People all over the world are dying of illness, living in a war torn area, women are being beaten and raped at this very moment. It is "the end of the world" for someone RIGHT NOW. You can wallow in that and get depressed and so on - - or Get Over It. Guess which camp I fall into?

Okay, unless someone comes up with something that really grabs me, I guess I should just Lay Off on this thread. Sigh. But, hey, I am an environmental resource management major. "Too much temptation" :-D
 

boiker

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I've got so much to say on this topic. I guess first, I'll do the required work, then I'll formally reply....hopefully.
 

Maister

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Michele Zone said:
Who cares that the solution will be developed AFTER oil prices begin to sky rocket??? I think it would be NEUROTIC to waste all kinds of valuable resources trying to meet a need we don't have yet. When we need an alternative fuel, it will then become more cost effective and worth investing in the research for an alternative. And, you know what? If they don't and 90% of the world dies off -- uh, so? We all are going to die someday. Duh! It is Pure Ego to think stuff like that MATTERS. It matters to "me" -- to the person who will die or the immediate friends and relatives who will be directly effected. You think Mother Nature cares? If human kind makes itself extinct, Mother Nature will reshuffle the deck and deal a new hand and new species will arise to take our place. Big Deal. The only ones it matters to is Human Kind. It is in our own best interest to worry about things like survival of the species. I don't think The Universe much cares if we go the way of the dinosaur. When we kill ourselves off with our own stupidity, the casting director of Life, the Universe and Everything will yell: "NEXT!"

In a million years, it will matter not at all how I spent my life. But to me, such details matter enormously. Therefore, I do what matters TO ME. I do what I view as constituting a high quality of life. What other measure really makes sense?

If I do anything to clean up the environment, it is pure selfishness. I will personally benefit. I live here. It has nothing to do with "idealism". :-D :-D :-D
I would not disagree with the premise that more often than not we humans tend to react to situations that threaten our well being as opposed to taking action to prevent them. On the other hand we DO on occasion make sacrifices at our own (present) expense for our children's (future) benefit. We do this freely for our kin but for some reason seem to do it far less often on a community, state, national, or world level.

I would argue that it would be in everyone's best interest to "waste all kinds of valuable resources trying to meet a need we don't have yet" for the simple reason that if wait until this problem becomes a crisis there will be much suffering. This suffering can be mitigated or even avoided altogether if we take action sooner rather than later. Such a course of action would, in fact, embody the essence of planning :). You are quite correct, though, in saying the universe could care less what our species does to itself. I just think (viewing this through the lense of our own species' bias) we could do a better job looking out for own long term self interest.
 

Maister

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Michele Zone said:
A great many things have come to mind about the environment and food and so on in the process of wondering what I might comment on. But the short version is that "the shallow end of the pool empties first". The gloom and doom article acts like oil production is going to suddenly disappear. It won't happen like that. As oil becomes too expensive, people will naturally begin doing some of the alternative stuff, like taking public transit, growing some of their own food, and so on. People will give up "pet rocks" first, long before they give up food.
I agree with the notion that oil production will not suddenly stop and that we will likely arrive at some stopgap measures until some Solution comes along. Waiting until market forces drive innovation may be a viable survival strategy for folks living in wealthy nations, but is extremely problematic for developing countries. If the price of oil rises in the USA folks grumble and dig deeper into their pockets and perhaps entertain alternatives like public transportation in exchange for the convenience an automobile offers. If one is fortunate enough to own land one might even be able to grow supplemental food. What we sometimes lose site of is that fossil fuels provide much of the electicity generated in the world. Even very modest increases in energy costs puts the whole prospect of generating this electricity into doubt for developing countries already strapped with collosal debt. It amounts to an inconvenience for us but amounts to more or less a rebirth of the middle ages (with all its related plagues) for the 'rest of the world'. In other words, the third world doesn't have pet rocks to give up.
I suppose one could take the social Darwinist approach embraced by certain central European powers in the mid 20th century and say 'well they should have known better than to be born poor - I don't see how it's my problem and the species will survive in spite of all the death and suffering', but I would hope we could do little better than that. It is within our power now to help the rest of the world by helping ourselves why don't we engage in serious effort to address the issue of sustainable energy production before it does become a problem for the people who are least able to afford the solutions necessary to deal with it. Nigeria will not be investing billions into superconductor research, the onus is with us to do that.
 
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Maister said:
I would argue that it would be in everyone's best interest to "waste all kinds of valuable resources trying to meet a need we don't have yet" for the simple reason that if wait until this problem becomes a crisis there will be much suffering. This suffering can be mitigated or even avoided altogether if we take action sooner rather than later. Such a course of action would, in fact, embody the essence of planning :). You are quite correct, though, in saying the universe could care less what our species does to itself. I just think (viewing this through the lense of our own species' bias) we could do a better job looking out for own long term self interest.
I was being a tiny bit on the tongue in cheek side. But I do think that you can do things "too soon" in a way that is harmful. Sometimes, you have to wait for a crisis to mature to understand what the REAL issues are. Few people are visionary enough to come up with really viable answers for a future not yet imagined. Having erred in that direction a whole lot in my life time, I think timely solutions are of more value than those which are "too soon" or "too late". And I think you simply would need to know me better to understand my comments in context.

I have a 16 year old with multiple handicaps. When he was 3 years old and beating his head on the floor like a "typical" autistic and refusing to learn to speak and so on, I concluded that I had until he was between 5 and 7 years old to make a real difference for this child because I needed to make the impact while his brain was still growing. Waiting until he was a delinquent 15 year old would simply be too late. And I did make an impact on him. However, the window of opportunity turned out to be far larger than I thought. Vitamin therapy that we did when he was 9 made permament positive changes. And getting a diagnosis for his 14th birthday of his genetic disorder allowed for some real in-depth changes to made. Simply treating his medical disorder so he gained nearly 20% in weight in one year has dramatically reduced many of his "Autistic" symptoms.

On the other hand, the diagnosis he got at age 14 simply did not exist when he was born. It was discovered about 4 years before he and I were ID'd. If I had spent the first 10 years of his life running around like crazy from one specialist to the next, torturing the child with medical tests, etc, ad nauseum -- it would have done absolutely no good and caused enormous harm. It also would have been a huge waste of family resources, resources already stretched thin from simply caring for two special needs kids and two family members with undiagnosed medical problems. He and I have a cutting edge diagnosis which we simply could not have gotten any sooner than we did.

Genetic research and medical science had to advance to a certain point for it to be possible for doctors to understand what was going on with us. Our genetic disorder is subtle. It isn't easy to figure out. It has much in common with asthma and is commonly misdiagnosed as "asthma". I have quite a few friends who have some of the exact same problems he and I have and they have been tested and they do not have this genetic disorder. They have asthma and allergies and other problems. But the profile is astonishingly similar. And there is overlap in how they are treated. But being misdiagnosed as simply "asthmatic" was literally killing me.

Furthermore, I had been telling doctors for years that I needed stronger antibiotics than they were prescribing me. They thought I was a fruitcake. I had to nearly die to get a diagnosis. Nearly dying was a gift to me. I had to have a huge medical crisis for them to spend the thousands of dollars on medical testing that it took to figure out what the problem was. I know there is a lot you can do to avert disaster. I know that good planning is about NOT waiting until 'the inevitable' happens. But it is erroneous to think we can predict everything, we can know what problems to address BEFORE any of them start to get ugly, etc. Life simply doesn't work that way.

And if you CAN see what the problem is or that there is a problem or whatever before anyone else, good luck trying to convince folks you aren't simply a lunatic. I have managed to keep my son off of antibiotics for more than 5 years, half of that time prior to him having a diagnosis. And he has suffered much less than I did as a kid due to the fact that I innately understood what he was going through and I was very protective. NOW I look pretty damn good and brilliant for accomplishing such miracles. But before he was diagnosed, I was generally viewed as a neurotic and over-protective, hovering mom who was too indulgent of my spoiled and neurotic child.
 
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Maister said:
Even very modest increases in energy costs puts the whole prospect of generating this electricity into doubt for developing countries already strapped with collosal debt. It amounts to an inconvenience for us but amounts to more or less a rebirth of the middle ages (with all its related plagues) for the 'rest of the world'. In other words, the third world doesn't have pet rocks to give up.
I suppose one could take the social Darwinist approach embraced by certain central European powers in the mid 20th century and say 'well they should have known better than to be born poor - I don't see how it's my problem and the species will survive in spite of all the death and suffering', but I would hope we could do little better than that.
I would love to answer in depth but I simply do not have the time. I have two brief points to make:
A) China cannot possibly afford to build the physical infrastructure for the type of hardline phone system we have in America. Cell phones are very popular there. Turns out they do not need to build all that infrastructure. I do not think it is as simple as "they will all be plunged back into the dark ages". That kind of presumes that they are two dimensional cartoon characters who have no resilience and it kind of presumes that "our" solutions are the ONLY possible solutions.

B) You must have missed my intro to this forum where I jumped into the middle of a thread about homeless people. Many folks in this forum were saying, essentially, "Stick them on a bus and ship them out of town." I went down in flames big time, for some weeks to come, for bitchily defending the fact that homeless people are still PEOPLE and should be treated humanely and it is not as simple as "it is all their fault". And I do a great deal of unpaid work lending my expertise to families with kids like mine -- kids with multiple issues who tend to baffle all "the experts". If you think I could possibly have a "Darwinist" bone in my body, you simply know nothing about me. It is such a ludicrous accusation that it isn't worth being offended over.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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Very interesting posts, Michelle (This is obviously one of your hot button issues). I would point out (I should of made it celarer) that the original site in question was probably generated in some hippe commune whose economy is based on "the herb, man" :)

It is too easy to romanticize the past-as you point out, progress has not been completely concentrated in the west. I don't want to live in some isolated village, so why should I assume that the average African or Asian or South American does? (Actually, though, life expectancy has declined in many sub-Saharan African countries-partly because of AIDS and rampant warfare. Places like Sierra Leone, Liberia, or Haiti are probably the exception, though).

I hope there is a miracle cure to our upcoming energy crisis. Human ingenuity is boundless. However, I am not certain what the laws of physics would permit as a miracle.
 
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BKM said:
(Actually, though, life expectancy has declined in many sub-Saharan African countries-partly because of AIDS and rampant warfare. Places like Sierra Leone, Liberia, or Haiti are probably the exception, though).
I really have work that has to get done tonight -- hubby is due home tomorrow. :-D But the AIDS thing is an 'environmental' issue of catastrophic proportions which I am more concerned about than some "energy crisis". (I have an energy crisis every single day -- I am prone to anemia and low blood sugar and....er, different kind of "energy crisis". :-D )

Outbreaks of disease of pandemic proportion is a really dangerous consequence of the damage we are doing to ecosystems. AIDS and similar are thought to be organisms (well, a virus isn't truly classified as an organism, but you get the idea) which "jumped species" due to the fact that so many species are endangered, ecosystems are being raped and brutalized such that they are sort of ecologically "bleeding all over us", and global transportation systems are making the transmission of exotic diseases from obscure places a very real hazard. This worries me a whole lot more than global warming, the energy crisis, etc. That and what we have done to our oceans, which gets little in the way of attention. "Out of sight, out of mind". We will worry about what we are doing to destroy our oceans when we start selling real estate on the ocean floor. <cackle>
 

BKM

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You are right, of course, but these crisis are of course all interconnected. Western mining and oil comapnies push into jungles, exposing the world to nasties that would have best been left alone. Let alone destroying cultures that, while primitive, may not necessarily want to see their homeleands destroyed and their populations forced into festering slums like Lagos. One comment the hippies made that does strike me as very true-every gallon of fuel that I (we) burn contains a good dose of blood.

Western culture (and, sadly enough, the even more voracious Chinese version that will rule the 22cd century) seems insatiable, while bringing the world many benefits, as well.
 

SkeLeton

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4,853
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26
Geez.. you have cheap oil, many other countries (like mine) don't have that privilege, so no whinning about high gas prices please :)
Also we're very dependant on foreign oil and (argentinean) natural gas. So our oil reserves are quite limited and the oils is not very good. So we'll probably (I hope at least) be a country that will test alternative fuel systems... So you won't have to ride prototypes or go back to riding horses and bikes, while we'll probably will if oil becomes scarce. :(
Call me Mr. Optimistic will ya? :D
 
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29
BKM said:
You are right, of course, but these crisis are of course all interconnected. Western mining and oil comapnies push into jungles, exposing the world to nasties that would have best been left alone. Let alone destroying cultures that, while primitive, may not necessarily want to see their homeleands destroyed and their populations forced into festering slums like Lagos. One comment the hippies made that does strike me as very true-every gallon of fuel that I (we) burn contains a good dose of blood.

Western culture (and, sadly enough, the even more voracious Chinese version that will rule the 22cd century) seems insatiable, while bringing the world many benefits, as well.
BKM, life is and always has been precarious. I do not frame everything in terms of 'crisis'. While some things sadden me, I also do not have some fantasy that there is some painless, bloodless way to live life.

Many of the things that get touted as "natural disasters" in the news are simply "natural processes". We call them "disasters" because it inconveniences humans and because we are so egocentric -- especially in America. There are other cultures which are more accepting of the fact that people cannot control everything, and where natural processes and inconveniences are taken more in stride and not viewed as some kind of personal affront.

Floods: people tend to congregate in flood zones. We cannot live without water and floods make for fertile soil, which is good for growing crops. Waterways are also a means of transportation. Yet, every time there is a flood, you hear someone freaking out about the "stupidity" of building cities in flood zones.

Fire: there are some species of pine that cannot reproduce without fire -- the seed cones only open up when exposed to a high temperature. These species reproduce by seeding newly razed soil, which is highly fertile from the recent burn, under circumstances where they have few competitors. If you eliminate all forest fires, you begin to kill such forests.

Change is inevitable. A "static" and "safe" environment is a "dead" or dying one. You cannot have life without danger. To live is to be in danger. Coming to terms with such realities is for the realm of philosophy or religion or spirituality, not "planning". When you get your head on straight about such realities, it gets easier to cope effectively with them, in a manner which is not neurotic. But you cannot "plan" your way out of conflict, danger, and so on. Those are inevitable and unavoidable.

I do wish we could be more respectful of native cultures and seek to learn from them and not discard people like so much rubbish. But I am not one of these people that wants to "go back" to native lifestyles. Hunting and gathering lifestyles support very few people per acre. Millions, or billions, of people would have to die in order to return to such a lifestyle. And, many times, members of those tribes do not idealize them. They can have the same issues with prejudice, oppression of certain members and so on that any culture can have. I have read stuff where members of more primitive cultures state their offense that more modern peoples would seek to deny them the opportunity to run off to the city to get a factory job. Why should they not lust for the same things that "modern" peoples lust for?

My main objection to the type of site you posted is not that there is not truth in what they say. My objection is that it strikes me as "running screaming across the stage, arms flailing" like Kermit the Frog. :-D I hope to god that if I am ever in a car wreck or something, no one runs around screaching "OH MY GOD! THAT WOMAN IS BLEEDING TO DEATH! GEEZ, DO YOU SEE THE SIZE OF HER WOUND!!!" and trying to get all the attention and encourage people to focus on calming down the hysterical lunatic. I hope, sincerely, that someone remains calm and calls 911 and that the people who arrive in the ambulance also remain calm and stop the bleeding and reassure me that I will live, they will get me to the ER, etc.

I DO take environmental problems very seriously as an issue that we MUST address. That is WHY I am an environmental studies major when my real love is the built environment: It merits serious study so that effective solutions can be devised. If the folks who did the website are so concerned, they are more than welcome to get a degree or 3, like I am doing, and devote their careers to coming up with more effective solutions, like I intend to do. :-D If not, I will continue to view their behavior as "screaming and flailing of arms" -- something entertaining and amusing on The Muppet Show but not at all appropriate for SERIOUS issues.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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6,463
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29
Michele Zone said:
BKM, life is and always has been precarious. I do not frame everything in terms of 'crisis'. While some things sadden me, I also do not have some fantasy that there is some painless, bloodless way to live life.

Many of the things that get touted as "natural disasters" in the news are simply "natural processes". We call them "disasters" because it inconveniences humans and because we are so egocentric -- especially in America. There are other cultures which are more accepting of the fact that people cannot control everything, and where natural processes and inconveniences are taken more in stride and not viewed as some kind of personal affront.

Floods: people tend to congregate in flood zones. We cannot live without water and floods make for fertile soil, which is good for growing crops. Waterways are also a means of transportation. Yet, every time there is a flood, you hear someone freaking out about the "stupidity" of building cities in flood zones.

Fire: there are some species of pine that cannot reproduce without fire -- the seed cones only open up when exposed to a high temperature. These species reproduce by seeding newly razed soil, which is highly fertile from the recent burn, under circumstances where they have few competitors. If you eliminate all forest fires, you begin to kill such forests.

Change is inevitable. A "static" and "safe" environment is a "dead" or dying one. You cannot have life without danger. To live is to be in danger. Coming to terms with such realities is for the realm of philosophy or religion or spirituality, not "planning". When you get your head on straight about such realities, it gets easier to cope effectively with them, in a manner which is not neurotic. But you cannot "plan" your way out of conflict, danger, and so on. Those are inevitable and unavoidable.

I do wish we could be more respectful of native cultures and seek to learn from them and not discard people like so much rubbish. But I am not one of these people that wants to "go back" to native lifestyles. Hunting and gathering lifestyles support very few people per acre. Millions, or billions, of people would have to die in order to return to such a lifestyle. And, many times, members of those tribes do not idealize them. They can have the same issues with prejudice, oppression of certain members and so on that any culture can have. I have read stuff where members of more primitive cultures state their offense that more modern peoples would seek to deny them the opportunity to run off to the city to get a factory job. Why should they not lust for the same things that "modern" peoples lust for?

My main objection to the type of site you posted is not that there is not truth in what they say. My objection is that it strikes me as "running screaming across the stage, arms flailing" like Kermit the Frog. :-D I hope to god that if I am ever in a car wreck or something, no one runs around screaching "OH MY GOD! THAT WOMAN IS BLEEDING TO DEATH! GEEZ, DO YOU SEE THE SIZE OF HER WOUND!!!" and trying to get all the attention and encourage people to focus on calming down the hysterical lunatic. I hope, sincerely, that someone remains calm and calls 911 and that the people who arrive in the ambulance also remain calm and stop the bleeding and reassure me that I will live, they will get me to the ER, etc.

I DO take environmental problems very seriously as an issue that we MUST address. That is WHY I am an environmental studies major when my real love is the built environment: It merits serious study so that effective solutions can be devised. If the folks who did the website are so concerned, they are more than welcome to get a degree or 3, like I am doing, and devote their careers to coming up with more effective solutions, like I intend to do. :-D If not, I will continue to view their behavior as "screaming and flailing of arms" -- something entertaining and amusing on The Muppet Show but not at all appropriate for SERIOUS issues.
I don't disagree with you (I don't think we are arguing, just bringing out differneces in emphasis.) Life is difficult. The site is a little ridiculous. And, I don't want to live naked in the woods either :)
 
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