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The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby onlooker » Fri 21 Jul 2017, 15:56:00

dohboi wrote:Nice breakdown of demographics. I'm not sure what you see in it, though, that is so helpful in explaining the fact that politicians are more denialist than the public, but maybe I'm missing something.

In a real democracy, the politicians views should track fairly close to those of the general populous, broadly. The poll in your study showed that only 20% of the US public were doubtful or dismissive of climate science, yet an entire party of the US is, one that is now in control of all three branches of government.

Any illumination would be most welcome.

How about the simplest plain old corruption of the political process . Remember, the Democrats talk the talk but don't walk the walk either
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 22 Jul 2017, 07:35:42

Doh,

I don't know if it's still attached but the original article contain s the questions and a breakdown of the answers by demographics.

Basically the deniers were
Old
White
Make
Well off
Home owners
Well educated

In short, the same profile as most business and political leaders.

I think it's because this demographic has been successful and is interested in retaining the status quo. They don't want change because the current system is good to them. So they enter the self reassuring echo chamber.
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby Cog » Sat 22 Jul 2017, 15:21:11

I'm really in the wrong place for that reassurance aren't I?
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 22 Jul 2017, 15:48:46

Reassurance?
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby dohboi » Sat 22 Jul 2017, 16:01:35

"the deniers were
Old
White
Male
Well off
Home owners..."

Ah, thanks. I hadn't noticed that.
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby Tanada » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 06:41:25

I notice you skipped over the 'well educated' part of the list.

Well educated people tend to be able to examine ideas from ,multiple angles and assess those ideas harshly. I personally believe adding CO2 and other greenhouse chemicals to our planets air will have an impact. The question that arises is, how much impact and in what places?

The Guy MacPherson/Cid_Yamma crowd claim despite all evidence to the contrary that global warming will cause the near term extinction of our species.

I disagree. I believe it may cause massive loss of life, enormous loss of property value along the coasts and a whole slew of other problems. The loss of property and slew of problems are pretty much baked in at this point, but the size of the loss of life and its significance to the planet or even our so called civilization is a completely different issue.

Preparation and adaptation can go a very long way towards ameliorating the impact of climate change on the human species. Unfortunately a significant portion of the members here and in many other places on the interweb are obsessed with death/extinction and would rather roam around loudly proclaiming there is no hope rather than get off their hind ends and actually do something proactive.
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 06:47:17

Tanada,

Some examples of "something proactive" please. Not sure which direction you are going...activism or preparations or??????


Also, I'd like to point out "well educated" does not always mean "smart". It MAY mean someone who has suffered many years of indoctrination and who is a firm adherent. I would argue that many "well educated" folks are woefully equipped to understand the world.

I would like to see some measure whereby people could be assessed on their ability to understand complex and dynamic systems.
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby dohboi » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 07:48:32

T: Warning about real dangers is 'doing something,' imvho.

T wrote: "[CC] may cause massive loss of life, enormous loss of property value along the coasts and a whole slew of other problems. The loss of property and slew of problems are pretty much baked in at this point..." I would agree. But we also can't know how much worse it's going to get than that, but there is a non-trivial chance that it could be much, much worse. In risk assessment, it is as important to acknowledge the low-(to mid)chance outcomes that involve very high stakes as it is to consider the most likely outcomes. That's why we put on seat belts, even though the likelihood of being in a car accident where it would save you from major injury or death is extremely low.

Or do you really think we should ignore high stake risks? Or do you believe there are none?

N wrote: "I would argue that many "well educated" folks are woefully equipped to understand the world"

If you meant 'ill-equiped,' I'd have to agree.

Also, frequently, I've found that the well educated and intelligent often apply much of their cleverness toward avoiding hard truths that they don't want to face. I think that's why Chomsky once said (iirc) that in facing the major issues in the world, honesty is more important than intelligence or education. (Not that he, as a professor at MIT, scoffs at the latter two!)
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 07:55:15

dohboi wrote:Warning about real dangers is 'doing something,' imvho.

Yes, I also feel that warning of the perils is doing something considering many are still asleep or underestimate them. I would rather seem more doomerish that be casually complacent. It follows the precautionary principle or in colloquial terms better to be safe than sorry. :)
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby dohboi » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 08:00:29

Nice points, ol. More on that general issue here:

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017 ... -be-afraid

The Planet Is Warming. And It's Okay to Be Afraid

Why being fearful can be part of a healthy, heroic response to the climate crisis
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby Tanada » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 12:22:23

Newfie wrote:Tanada,

Some examples of "something proactive" please. Not sure which direction you are going...activism or preparations or??????


Also, I'd like to point out "well educated" does not always mean "smart". It MAY mean someone who has suffered many years of indoctrination and who is a firm adherent. I would argue that many "well educated" folks are woefully equipped to understand the world.

I would like to see some measure whereby people could be assessed on their ability to understand complex and dynamic systems.


Proactive things we could be doing, prepare land in the northern tier that is currently sitting vacant for whatever reason and get it back into crop production. There is a lot of land in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Maine and elsewhere that was productive farmland 50-150 years ago that has been slowly reverting into small wood lots as the small farms have gone out of business due to economic incentives given to the mega farms in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas...California and Texas. Many of these parcels are too small to be competitive against modern big property farms in the mentioned states, but simply combining adjoining properties into large agricultural establishments would rectify that situation. If the great plains states really do turn back into desert conditions the Ogallala Aquifer will be drained even faster which means we are going to need those other farming lands put back into food production, and doing it before the climate flip would be eminently more sensible than waiting until after the fact. Along the same lines relocate vital banking/financial/stock/government facilities upland from the Atlantic coast. Those service industries do not even have to move very far, there are ample mountains within a few miles of Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, Boston... Another simple and effective step is to create a strategic grain reserve like the Egyptians and Babylonians and Romans and Chinese empires of the past so that if climate disruption ruins crops for two or more years in a row you have a stockpile to draw upon to keep people adequately fed and give you time to put land unaffected by whatever the disruption is into production. Heck as far as that goes in the 1930's and again in the 1980's there were agriculture programs to put Alaskan land into agricultural production. The 1930's plots were typically 160 acres each and have since become too small to compete with the big ag state mega farms and most of the land cleared for farming in the 1980's was bought up by land speculators when the Knik Arm Bridge was supposed to be built in 2005 because they would be prime sub division locations for Anchorage when the bridge gets built. Since then the bridge has been delayed about 20 times and still has not begun construction but all that farm land across from Anchorage is still there the last I knew.

In any case these kind of steps are the kind of preparations we could be doing today to prevent famine if the climate flips hard and takes that big ag farm states out of production. Most of those states were actually desert the last time the climate of North America was warmer than it is today. In most of North Dakota you can go out in any field and dig down about two feet before you run into pure desert sand underneath the top soil. For yourself you and I have talked a bit about the fact that Newfoundland Island was self sufficient in food until it became part of Canada and lost its ability to compete with cheap giant ag farms in the Prairie Provinces of Manitoba/Saskatchewan/Alberta. The same is true of the small farms in Ontario that have been just as decimated as those on this side of the border in the eastern states like Michigan/Ohio/Pennsylvania/New York. These first and second generation states and provinces were laid out for farms sized for a family with animal driven equipment. Today with fossil fuel powered large scale equipment you need a minimum of 640 acres and preferably 1300 or more as a single farm to be competitive in the market. All those 40-160 acre farms have been going bankrupt for 50 years since the USA went all big ag subsidies in the 1970's. Europeans have been a heck of a lot smarter, small farms in all the European countries are still in business because government policy was based on the knowledge that without a basic food supply it doesn't take long for your country to fall apart. America and Canada have never had a real famine where people were literally starving, but Germany did in 1918 and France did in 1795 and in both cases it lead to revolutions that destroyed the people in power at the time. The successor governments have never forgotten those realities.

Outside of securing current and future farm lands the Federal Government could be doing a heck of a lot more to keep vital water navigation routes upgraded and ready for the future. For example the USA/Canada have discussed improvements to the Saint Lawrence Seaway for decades to improve the size and capacity of the lock structures that get ships from Montreal all the way up through the seaway to Duluth, MN and Chicago, IL. If fact during WW II the US Army Corp of Engineers rebuilt one lock in Sault St. Marie, Michigan in 10 months. Now they are working on replacing the two smallest American locks with another new lock identical to the one opened in 1943, however construction is scheduled to last 10 YEARS. Seriously, tearing out two smaller locks and replacing them with one large lock of a 75 year old design is taking them a DECADE when the American effort to design and build the Panama Canal took just a little longer than that and involved tens of thousands of workers, millions of cubic feet of soil, an artificial dam and lake and two sets of locks on the Atlantic and Pacific ends of the artificial lake. What kind of insanity do you need to turn a simple expansion of a single lock into a decade long effort?

America is no longer serious about doing anything real, we plan and we talk and we dither and then we revise and we plan and we talk and we dither some more. The people who built the infrastructure of this country before 1960 are all spinning in their graves seeing what we have become from what they were able to accomplish.
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby dohboi » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 13:20:56

We don't actually need more farm land. There is plenty of food to go around now. The problem is mostly distribution and food choice.

Mostly we need to be turning land that is now ag back into prairie, with rich biodiversity. It has been shown that this is among the most effective ways to sequester carbon. And yes, you meat eaters can have some of the bison that can be allowed again to roam in these prairies, but leave some for the wolves, please. And mostly, most of us will most of the time be having to eat mostly plants.

(And the more people who choose all-plant diets, the more meat there will be left for the die-hard carnivors, so the latter should definitely be cheering on the former, rather than berating or belittling them! :-D :-D )

I think you will want to move vital functions and more and more populations further inland. Why bother going through that twice. I'm thinking Atlanta, Richmond and a few others in the South, and places like Pittsburgh and Scranton in the North.

I do agree that we should be improving and extending canals, locks and damns to insure plenty of low energy (if slow) transportation around the country, at least in the East and Midwest where navigable rivers are relatively plentiful.

Not that any of this will absolutely stop really bad things from happening, but there are all sorts of ways we could be helping human and non-human communities be a bit more resilient and a bit less fragile in the face of the enormous challenges both will be facing going forward.

Reducing vast disparities in wealth distribution is also a well known way to make societies more resilient, but not a strategy that is equally popular with all crowds, for some reason... :-D :-D :-D
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby dohboi » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 13:32:17

But the even more important activities we should be undertaking in earnest is a reconsideration of the whole human project.

It is long past time that we deeply reconsidered what humans and human society are for.

Is it merely 'economic growth'? Is it really to enrich the wealthiest corporations and people?

Is it even just to help all and only humans?

Some will think such questions absurd or bizarre, but we are in a very bizarre place in the history of humans and in the history of complex life on earth...we need to be asking these deeper questions to know what kind of society we want to be creating if any society is in fact going to survive.
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 13:35:17

I think we should also be earnestly learning and teaching on how to live less energy intensive lifestyles aka. primitive or off grid. This will have various positive overlapping benefits. First better social/community cohesion, it will empower communities to both deal with a post peakoil world and make them more resilient to the havoc that climate change will produce. This is the right thread to speak of these necessary preparations as this will afford humanity a bether chance to perservere and yes not become extinct
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 13:41:30

Good points Doh. That is why I praise this site for broaching many facets of our world and humanity as they all pertain to what should be maintained and emphasized going forward and what should be discarded. As Ibon has said mediocrity is a luxury we collectively cannot afford going forward
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby asg70 » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 14:22:19

This thread is a joke. You can't even begin to do any of these things until you tackle the political climate in the US. In our great wisdom we elected an AGW denier who is systematically gutting the EPA. So what good does it do to list out these prescriptive steps? The rubber isn't going to meet the road.
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 14:32:32

Asg, the politicians and their overlords are just a tiny fraction of humanity, And they do not represent the overriding sentiments of the masses who wish to see a better different world. They have succeeded in making themselves irrelevant because of their venal self serving greed and power lust. The words on this site and others like it are of the people, by the people and for the people
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 16:38:51

Tanada,

Thanks for making that concrete.

Dohboi,

I think your question about the purpose of humanity is spot on. How do we know how many humans we need if we don't understand what we are trying to do. Some years ago started a thread in that very topic, but it was not received well.
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby Subjectivist » Sun 23 Jul 2017, 19:23:08

dohboi wrote:We don't actually need more farm land. There is plenty of food to go around now. The problem is mostly distribution and food choice.

Mostly we need to be turning land that is now ag back into prairie, with rich biodiversity. It has been shown that this is among the most effective ways to sequester carbon. And yes, you meat eaters can have some of the bison that can be allowed again to roam in these prairies, but leave some for the wolves, please. And mostly, most of us will most of the time be having to eat mostly plants.

(And the more people who choose all-plant diets, the more meat there will be left for the die-hard carnivors, so the latter should definitely be cheering on the former, rather than berating or belittling them! :-D :-D )

I think you will want to move vital functions and more and more populations further inland. Why bother going through that twice. I'm thinking Atlanta, Richmond and a few others in the South, and places like Pittsburgh and Scranton in the North.

I do agree that we should be improving and extending canals, locks and damns to insure plenty of low energy (if slow) transportation around the country, at least in the East and Midwest where navigable rivers are relatively plentiful.

Not that any of this will absolutely stop really bad things from happening, but there are all sorts of ways we could be helping human and non-human communities be a bit more resilient and a bit less fragile in the face of the enormous challenges both will be facing going forward.

Reducing vast disparities in wealth distribution is also a well known way to make societies more resilient, but not a strategy that is equally popular with all crowds, for some reason... :-D :-D :-D


We may not need a lot of extra farm land today, but there will soon be 9.5 Billion humans wandering around this planet looking for a good meal. If the Paleoclimate reconstructions are right a lot of current farmland won't be very useful in a decade or two down the road.

I do think we should preserve/restore some of the prarie ecosystem just as we preserve chunks of the eastern woodland biome. However there is the peactical reality that people eat farm raised food.
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Re: The Extinction Of Humanity pt. 3

Unread postby dohboi » Mon 24 Jul 2017, 00:35:57

It's not just about preserving habitat and ecosystems.

We now have pretty well forced the future to come up with a way not only of drastically and totally eliminating carbon emissions from their energy and ag areas, they will also have to devise ways of sequestering vast amounts of CO2...and native grasslands are one of the best ways to do it, especially in these latitudes.

Native grasses have up to 90% of their mass underground, with roots often going down 15 feet or more. And since they die back and get easily buried in snow, in the winter and early spring months, albedo stays very high (versus forest, for example).

We desperately need to reduce both population and unequal distribution, and to change most people's lifestyle into (mostly) vegan diets if we want any chance of feeding anything like the whole population. But much land is needed in the mean time for this vital role of re-sequestering at least some of the carbon that we have so foolishly ripped out of its deep, safe, sequestered deposits and vomited into the atmosphere at rates of ten + of billions of tons a year.
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