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World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction pt. 2

Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction

Unread postby Ibon » Mon 23 Oct 2017, 15:15:42

vtsnowedin wrote:Obviously you haven't driven around the central USA much.


I lived 8 years in Illinois spent 2 years in Champagne Urbana and lived 3 years in Salina Kansas. I know very very well what I speak of. I studied tall grass prairie ecology.

I am not an arm chair internet scientist spewing bullshit. 99 percent of the tall grass prairie has been eliminated from Iowa, Indiana, Illinois. That is right 99%.


Distribution of Illinois Prairies
In 1820, Illinois had 22 million acres of prairie land and 14 million acres of forests. Prairies were mainly in the northern two-thirds of the state with forests in the southern one-third. All but nine counties had large areas of prairies. In central Illinois, trees could only be found in scattered sites called "prairie groves" or along waterways.

By 1900, most of Illinois ' prairies were gone. The majority of these lands were converted to agricultural practices. By 1978, less than 2,300 acres of high quality prairie remained in the entire state. Most of the undisturbed prairie sites today are found along railroad rights-of-way, in pioneer cemeteries and in places that are not suitable for farming.


VTS, that is 2,300 acres remaining of an original 22 million acres.

https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/education/ ... iries.aspx

Source: DNR website


Anyway, you move west from the midwest into Kansas and Oklahama and you slowly go from tall grass prairie to short grass prairie. More arid landscape. Here there is more acreage still remaining. What you referred to above. This is land for grazing, too arid without irrigation to plant soy or corn. Grazing cattle for grass fed beef without pumping them full of corn and antibiotics in feedlots at a sustainable carrying capacity is absolutely viable and in agreement with what I mentioned in my last post. You preserve the habitat, graze ruminants at low densities, etc.

The Tall grass prairie soils in the mid west were perhaps the worlds most fertile soils with humus layers reaching 8 meters depth. With adequate rainfall in the mid west the economic incentives to convert Iowa, Indiana and Illinois to one vast soy and corn monoculture was too great. If you drive from southern Indiana through Illinois and into Iowa you will see one vast uninterrupted monoculture of corn and soy. The only remaining significant tall grass prairie is along old railroad right of way and a few abandoned military munition sites that were converted over the nature reserves. Here is a great example of a refuge tall grass prairie.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/midewin/home

Remember the importance of maintaining refuge habitat. These are the places out of which one day when Kudzu Ape recedes that nature will reclaim and recolonize former habitat.

I was very active in preserving a very small tract of tall grass prairie in the west suburbs of CHicago when I in my late teens. Here is a link of some pictures of this wonderful refuge prairie, Wolf Road Prairie... These are my photographs.

https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipO ... TKVtMaang4

So let's take this as a case study of what I was discussing in my previous post. Those 8 meter deep prairie soils are still fertile but the humus top soil level has eroded by more than 2/3rds. Subsidized agro industry has sucked nutrients year after year, corn for ethanol, bit export markets. This is no way to manage a potential renewable resource. This is the egregious mis use of agricultural land as a result of globalization. These former tall grass prairies could be restored by 50% and you could take the other 50% and feed the US population easily on their grain requirements especially if you allow beef cattle to graze in larger tracks of short grass prairie out west instead of feeding them subsidized corn in what was previously tall grass prairie! Talk about stupid. We can easily feed our population and maintain a renewable agriculture resource and restore 50% of the former habitat if we didn't turn this resource into a major export industry of GMO corn and soy sprayed to hell with herbicides and insecticides. All the negative environmental impacts often discussed here.

The same efforts that went into ready Round Up corn and soy with patented seeds all brought to you by Monsanto could have been directed toward perennial varieties of wheat and corn. Imagine that, corn and wheat from a perennial plants that require no soil tilling and preserve top soil and mirror the prairie ecology. Could we still do this? Yes. Are there efforts in this direction? Yes... Ask me if your are interested. That is another post..

Anyway, this misuse as you see with tall grass prairies was repeated all over the world again and again and here is the silver lining. If we contract back to a billion and if we abandon the export market of corn and soy and if we property manage this valuable habitat we really really could have 10 million acres of tall grass prairies with buffalo roaming on them within 5 decades. This possibility is at our finger tips. If we choose. Which we wont before we experience some serious overshoot humble pie..... finger licking good.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction

Unread postby dohboi » Mon 23 Oct 2017, 15:31:59

Another move toward extinction?


US prepping nuclear bombers for 24-hour ready alert status



http://thehill.com/policy/defense/35665 ... ert-status
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Mon 23 Oct 2017, 16:42:52

Ibon wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:Obviously you haven't driven around the central USA much.


I lived 8 years in Illinois spent 2 years in Champagne Urbana and lived 3 years in Salina Kansas. I know very very well what I speak of. I studied tall grass prairie ecology.

I am not an arm chair internet scientist spewing bullshit. 99 percent of the tall grass prairie has been eliminated from Iowa, Indiana, Illinois. That is right 99%.


Distribution of Illinois Prairies
In 1820, Illinois had 22 million acres of prairie land and 14 million acres of forests. Prairies were mainly in the northern two-thirds of the state with forests in the southern one-third. All but nine counties had large areas of prairies. In central Illinois, trees could only be found in scattered sites called "prairie groves" or along waterways.

By 1900, most of Illinois ' prairies were gone. The majority of these lands were converted to agricultural practices. By 1978, less than 2,300 acres of high quality prairie remained in the entire state. Most of the undisturbed prairie sites today are found along railroad rights-of-way, in pioneer cemeteries and in places that are not suitable for farming.


VTS, that is 2,300 acres remaining of an original 22 million acres.

https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/education/ ... iries.aspx

Source: DNR website


Anyway, you move west from the midwest into Kansas and Oklahama and you slowly go from tall grass prairie to short grass prairie. More arid landscape. Here there is more acreage still remaining. What you referred to above. This is land for grazing, too arid without irrigation to plant soy or corn. Grazing cattle for grass fed beef without pumping them full of corn and antibiotics in feedlots at a sustainable carrying capacity is absolutely viable and in agreement with what I mentioned in my last post. You preserve the habitat, graze ruminants at low densities, etc.

The Tall grass prairie soils in the mid west were perhaps the worlds most fertile soils with humus layers reaching 8 meters depth. With adequate rainfall in the mid west the economic incentives to convert Iowa, Indiana and Illinois to one vast soy and corn monoculture was too great. If you drive from southern Indiana through Illinois and into Iowa you will see one vast uninterrupted monoculture of corn and soy. The only remaining significant tall grass prairie is along old railroad right of way and a few abandoned military munition sites that were converted over the nature reserves. Here is a great example of a refuge tall grass prairie.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/midewin/home

Remember the importance of maintaining refuge habitat. These are the places out of which one day when Kudzu Ape recedes that nature will reclaim and recolonize former habitat.

I was very active in preserving a very small tract of tall grass prairie in the west suburbs of CHicago when I in my late teens. Here is a link of some pictures of this wonderful refuge prairie, Wolf Road Prairie... These are my photographs.

https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipO ... TKVtMaang4

So let's take this as a case study of what I was discussing in my previous post. Those 8 meter deep prairie soils are still fertile but the humus top soil level has eroded by more than 2/3rds. Subsidized agro industry has sucked nutrients year after year, corn for ethanol, bit export markets. This is no way to manage a potential renewable resource. This is the egregious mis use of agricultural land as a result of globalization. These former tall grass prairies could be restored by 50% and you could take the other 50% and feed the US population easily on their grain requirements especially if you allow beef cattle to graze in larger tracks of short grass prairie out west instead of feeding them subsidized corn in what was previously tall grass prairie! Talk about stupid. We can easily feed our population and maintain a renewable agriculture resource and restore 50% of the former habitat if we didn't turn this resource into a major export industry of GMO corn and soy sprayed to hell with herbicides and insecticides. All the negative environmental impacts often discussed here.

The same efforts that went into ready Round Up corn and soy with patented seeds all brought to you by Monsanto could have been directed toward perennial varieties of wheat and corn. Imagine that, corn and wheat from a perennial plants that require no soil tilling and preserve top soil and mirror the prairie ecology. Could we still do this? Yes. Are there efforts in this direction? Yes... Ask me if your are interested. That is another post..

Anyway, this misuse as you see with tall grass prairies was repeated all over the world again and again and here is the silver lining. If we contract back to a billion and if we abandon the export market of corn and soy and if we property manage this valuable habitat we really really could have 10 million acres of tall grass prairies with buffalo roaming on them within 5 decades. This possibility is at our finger tips. If we choose. Which we wont before we experience some serious overshoot humble pie..... finger licking good.
Sorry if I touched a nerve there. There is of course a huge difference between virgin prairies and ag land that has been repeatedly tilled and presently is planted to a forage or grass crop with live stock grazing on it. Just like the second and third growth forest I have on my land is a faint shadow of what the virgin New England forest was. It would take three hundred years without humans present to restore the Eastern forest but that does not mean the forest I have today is not viable and productive. The problem I see with restoring a Illinois prairie back to a semblance of it's historic condition is how to reintroduce Bison for the correct amount of time they would have spent on any given acre during their migrations north and south. I've seen people raise bison. They are a headache to fence and control.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 23 Oct 2017, 22:34:34

Ibon, in light of the discussion over what constitutes an extinction vs predators entering a new territory what do you think of the Great American Interchange when the Panama land bridge formed and predators migrated both north and south between the two American continents? I remember studying it a long time ago and was fascinated to learn that the giant velociraptor like birds of South America Titanis walleri that had been the top predator there until the land bridge formed. Terror Bird They spread north into the south east USA with skeletons found in Florida and other deep south states but ultimately they were out competed by the Dire Wolves and Sabertooth Cats of North America.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction

Unread postby ralfy » Tue 24 Oct 2017, 00:27:42

vtsnowedin wrote:I don't know exactly which five previous extinction events they are counting as the five but weren't there two extinction events that were brought about by humans already? One being the extinction of all the large animals in Australia 40,000 years ago when humans first moved in and the other the the extinction of many of the large animals in the Americas when the Clovis peoples arrived 15,000 years ago?


They are mentioned here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinctio ... ion_events
http://sites.google.com/site/peakoilreports/
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction

Unread postby Ibon » Tue 24 Oct 2017, 07:17:37

Tanada wrote:Ibon, in light of the discussion over what constitutes an extinction vs predators entering a new territory what do you think of the Great American Interchange when the Panama land bridge formed and predators migrated both north and south between the two American continents? I remember studying it a long time ago and was fascinated to learn that the giant velociraptor like birds of South America Titanis walleri that had been the top predator there until the land bridge formed. Terror Bird They spread north into the south east USA with skeletons found in Florida and other deep south states but ultimately they were out competed by the Dire Wolves and Sabertooth Cats of North America.


I discussed this with VTS up thread. I will repost it here as there is such an important distinction to be made.

Ibon wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:I don't know exactly which five previous extinction events they are counting as the five but weren't there two extinction events that were brought about by humans already? One being the extinction of all the large animals in Australia 40,000 years ago when humans first moved in and the other the the extinction of many of the large animals in the Americas when the Clovis peoples arrived 15,000 years ago?


I compare the two examples you give above to normal forces of bio geography and colonization. Like the great faunal exchange that happened when 3 million years ago a land bridge formed between north and south america and this event caused accelerated extinctions due to the reconfiguration of the fauna due to this exchange. South America lost alot of marsupial mammals for example that could not compete with placental mammals that migrated southwards.

The dynamics of life on our planet is a story of extinctions and constant change and adaptation. Homo sapiens being a keystone predator influenced the assemblage of fauna much like a mountain lion did migrating from north to south america.

Today we have full scale genocide of natural ecosystems. The Great Biotic Exchange of natural ecosystems converted over to man made environments along with our slave plants and animals.

It is important to distinguish between normal changes due to bio geography as in the two examples you mentioned and contrast this to the the extinction event happening today due to The Great Biotic Exchange.



Tanada, you have brought up on a number of occasions the fact that there is not this perfect base line of harmony and stability that is the goal, that change is the only constant and this is true whether you are looking at history or ecology.

Why this needs to be emphasized in reference to human overshoot and extinctions is really in the understanding of the difference between humans as a keystone species re arranging the deck so to speak as they did when they arrived in the western hemisphere and distinguishing this from human overshoot currently in modern civilization where we aren't re arranging the deck but rather destroying the deck as a rogue parasite. The Great American Exchange is an example of a bio geographical event when the land bridge formed between north and south america and we witnessed a re arranging of the deck, migratory movements of fauna, extinctions increasing. It was an inflection point, a punctuated event. The same as when humans colonized the western hemisphere. Some mega fauna disappeared. The assemblage of life was re arranged. Natural habitats remained intact. No big deal. Very similar to the Great American Exchange. A normal punctuated event which is the story of evolution and life and extinctions on our planet.

It's funny you brought up the Great American Exchange because my understanding of that was what specifically made me coin the term Great Biotic Exchange which is what we modern humans are doing replacing natural eco systems all over the planet with human landscapes and our slave crops. This is not a normal event, not a punctuated event. This is a first time event in the history of life on our planet when a single dominant species replaces natural ecosystems all around the planet with their own habitat and that of our slave species. What should make every one nervous about our current state of affairs is that this is a highly unstable anomalous moment. Highly susceptible to volatile consequences. This observation does not come from having a "doomer sentiment" . It comes from my knowledge of ecology. Humans and their slave species are very very vulnerable to correction, in fact stresses in the external environment like climate change will disproportionately affect homo sapiens because the proverbial apple cart is full of 7 billion plus and already teetering.

If we envision some balanced place for humanity in the community of life in our biosphere once human overshoot collapses back to some new carrying capacity, it will not be to some mythical balanced place somewhere back before human overshoot when ecosystems or our climate was in some "pure state" . Things have changed. Human culture has changed. Technology is part of the matrix. And you know what else will be part of the matrix? The witnessing and grinding down of the consequences of human overshoot. Anyone who believes that we will remain stubborn kudzu apes all the way down the back slope of human overshoot completely lacks the knowledge of history or ecology or cultural evolution.

We will be culturally molded by the events coming our way.

You either learn the easy way or the hard way. We are choosing the hard way but learn we will.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 24 Oct 2017, 11:46:46

Something I find fascinating about our current western culture is the concept of 'invasive species'. Throughout the entire geologic record of the planet from the time of the first multicellular organisms on to recent history when a biological entity gets a toehold in a new range where it can thrive and reproduce it does so. It doiesn't really matter how the species got to the new territory, all biological imperative cares about is survive and reproduce on a multi generation basis.

In the great extinction event 65 MM ybp there existed a wide variety of life forms distributed broadly over different continents. These included an avian branch I find fascinating, evolved from Dinosaurs like the rest of the bird species, that effectively had four wings because their hind legs were also feathered and evolved into air support/propulsion systems. While two wing bird species were widespread over every continent then existing the four wind bird species were limited to a much smaller range and took the brunt of the asteroid impact over their whole territory killing them all. The two wing birds because they were spread all the way around the Earth survived in swampy environments roughly the opposite side of the planet from Chixilub(sp) in the Yucatan. Those surviving waterfowl radiated over the last 65 MM years into all the tens of thousands of bird species alive to day from Penguins to migratory waterfowl to canaries found on isolated islands in the Atlantic ocean.

Humans today are like those two winged birds of 65 MM ybp. We have spread world wide from extreme mountain communities in Tibet and the Andes down to below sea level establishments in the dead Sea and Caspian Sea basins below sea level. We also extended from the hottest deserts to the most humid tropical zones to the north polar zone beyond the Arctic Circle by long established communities that were able to self support. I discount the Antarctic science bases because those are most definitely not self supporting, but if we still allowed wale/sea/penguin harvesting as a lifestyle choice they could be self supporting.

IOW whether it is another asteroid/comet/CME/nuclear war/peak oil/global warming or BAU with gradual societal collapse the species we both belong too is so wide spread it would take a literal world ending event to kill off all the breeding population.

The other factor is, we have spread our livestock/companion species to most corners of the planet along with the suite of plant species we find useful. So much so that certain people who despise change in 'pristine' environments spend millions of dollars every year in futile efforts to, for just two examples; 1) elimination of Dandelions from central Alaska in Denali National Park; and 2) fighting the spread of European and North American pine tree species from upland New Zealand where the climate is ideal for those trees and no natural competition exists because New Zealand became isolated before upland tree species evolved. We have spread rats and cats and dogs and cattle and sheep and goats and reindeer and on and on everywhere we go. We even spread North American grey squirrels to Great Britain and South Africa where they displaced native species because they are better suited to the environment than the native species in those locations.

Point being Humans have caused the greatest Biotic Exchange between isolated populations that has ever happened. The closest any time in the past has come to this was when the world was one super continent. If every human alive at this very moment were raptured or dropped dead or kidnapped by space aliens all at once, depending on your preference, then the livestock, companion species, and plants we have spread everywhere would resume evolving in isolated populations by natural selection to become more suited to whatever local environment they exist within. Rabbits would once again over run Australia until the newly unconstrained Dogs bred enough new packs of predators to balance their population. Other than being friendly to humans Dogs are no less predators than the wolves we bred them from and when left to their own devices they use those pack hunting instincts to survive quite well without us.

While I see your cultural adaptation to recognizing limits as one possible effect of an overshoot population crash I also know no culture is truly static. A thousand years or less after the crash you predict the descendants of the survivors would consider the stories of the crash as little more than stories and some would seek to better themselves at the expense of the neighboring populations by out breeding them. The Chinese were very successful in this strategy and absorbed the genetic traces of the Mongol invaders pretty darn well. By the same token the English of the south east Great Britain did the same with the Roman invaders, incorporating the invaders genetics into their own but still reasserting their own descendants into all family lines existing today.

A decade or more ago when DNA mapping was first becoming a useful technique they took skeletal remains from places like China and England from the oldest examples they could find and compared them to the modern DNA of the populations living in the area near where those skeletons were found. In both cases, despite many waves of invasion in the intervening millennia, both skeletons proved the population alive today in those geographic areas is nearly identical to that of the skeletal remains that date back to as much as 13,000 ybp. It is only in places like North America where a combination of disease and brutal elimination tactics were used that the original population have been genetically replaced. Even at that the Inca of Peru and the Mayan descended 'natives' of Yucatan alive today have large populations of DNA descendants from the Inca and Maya civilizations. On the order of half the people living in Yucatan today are genetically indistinguishable from the Maya that lived there 2000 ybp and a smaller but significant minority of Peru can show the same result from the Inca of the same period. What is even more significant is the fact that most of the remaining population in those same territories is of mixed ancestry of European/American Native/African and if you extend the timeline out another thousand years the inter marriage that typically happens will have gradually lowered the European DNA percentage until it requires DNA testing to prove it exists at all. In other locations like for example Minnesota in the USA the Scandinavian immigrants predominate the DNA samples and in another thousand years baring something unprecedented those which dominate now will have grown to be the visible total population.

If you look back to England and look at the region around northumbria, the south east of Scotland and north east of England you will discover that the Norse colonizers brought enough of their own women colonists to have left a viable trace in the local DNA even now after a thousand years. Colonists in most other places were predominantly male and predominantly fathered children with the local female population so each succeeding generation has more 'native' and less 'imported' DNA in its makeup. This is why for example most of the population of South and Central America is genetically mixed and those areas with a large urban native population, Peru and Mexico, have the largest number of 'native' DNA descendants. Add in the fact that the European colonizers not only fathered children off the oppressed natives but also with the imported African slave populations and South America is a fascinating genetic blending process that will keep going on for many generations into the future. Eventually baring some unforeseeable event the population there in a thousand years or so will be a new native population where folks alive then look like a given standard but in most places that standard will have a mix of European/African and Native American features because none of the three DNA groupings is dominant. Heck in the USA today there are very very few African Americans without some percentage of European ancestry in their DNA and to a large extent outside of the populations on strictly controlled reservations most Native Americans in the USA also have mixed ancestry. Ultimately this means in a thousand years or so the North American population will also develop into a new DNA 'standard' North American but given the former predominance of European genetics those folks will probably be close to what most people today call 'hispanic' appearance, no matter what language they speak or culture they follow. They will have more frequent blond hair and light eye color, but other than that you would be unlikely to see anything 'white bread European' dominating their DNA.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction

Unread postby Ibon » Tue 24 Oct 2017, 20:22:44

Tanada wrote:
Humans today are like those two winged birds of 65 MM ybp. We have spread world wide from extreme mountain communities in Tibet and the Andes down to below sea level establishments in the dead Sea and Caspian Sea basins below sea level. We also extended from the hottest deserts to the most humid tropical zones to the north polar zone beyond the Arctic Circle by long established communities that were able to self support..


I would like to focus on this part of your post cause you packed in a lot of information. Which was great by the way. Staying centered on the topic of the resiliency of our species moving through calamitous events.
I am completely with you on the hybrid vigor of all those mixed races of humans spread around the world and how this builds resiliency. We no longer have any remaining populations of humans vulnerable to disease like the Pre Columbian indigenous peoples. I am also in agreement that the sheer reach of our presence physically around the planet in all bio regions and continents and how this increases the survival chances of our species just as in your two winged bird analogy.
Hybrid vigor and the reach of our geography. I am with you there. These are arguments in favor of surviving major external calamities.

The greatest weakness to your two winged bird analogy is the fact that today our global civilization is becoming quickly a single vast mono culture culturally and in the structure of our global human habitat, tethered to technology, tethered to our digital devices, tethered to pretty much a single economic system. We are basically in one habitat, a human urban habitat. If we were going to take your two winged bird analogy and apply it to humans in terms of habitat diversity I would point to the example say of first nation (eskimos) up in the arctic, the bushmen of the Kalahari or native peoples of the Amazon basin. Here we see the incredible adaptability of humans in totally different habitats surviving. But they are gone. Today we have basically a single habitat.
Let’s not even go so far back as these noble HG peoples. Let’s go to the early 20th century when agrarian areas around the planet were still functioning as self sufficient and self subsistence enterprises with a myriad of farm practices and thousands of varieties of crops planted. How many varieties of apples, varieties of wheat, rice, etc.

Today? Our farmers are as tethered to technology as our urban dwellers, they are indentured servants to banks and agro businesses and the genetic diversity of our major crops like corn, wheat, rice and soy are reduced to a very few varieties, high yielding, but only high yielding with the agro chemical and petro chemical fertilizers in a mechanized farming practice that is integrated with distribution systems that are highly interdependent. This is happening all over the world to agriculture. Globally we are mechanizing our food production. This makes us quite vulnerable. Let's take China. The biggest migration story in human history was the last 25 years as over 500 million chinese left agrarian self subsistence life styles and migrated into urban areas working in factory jobs. In one fast generation all of that subsistence agrarian knowledge is out the window. Puff. gone.

You mentioned in your post Tanada all those habitats humans currently occupy. This was perhaps true still even as recently as 100 years ago. Have any of us really grasped the extent of the monoculturalization that has penetrated all aspects of modern civilization from how we communicate, how we grow food, the interdependence of our economic system, energy distribution etc. In a very very short time all around the planet the old knowledge of self sufficient agrarian life, small cottage industry skills, all of that is largely being replaced with a single global economy that removes humans every day more and more from the organic regions where they live, from the skill set they not too long ago still could pull from in order to survive.
We have the reach geographically. We have the genetic hybrid vigor. But we do not have the habitat diversity as you stated. We are a genetically diverse vast monoculture reaching around the globe. This is not a resilient arrangement.
What is promising though with all of this is the speed to which the contraction can actually happen. With such a high percentage of our global population dependent on this monoculturalization, the correction can be swift and fast, the suffering quickly over with. There will be pockets all around the planet of folks rediscovering resiliency in their bio regions untethering themselves from this mono culturalization and they will be using applied technology to re integrate with their natural habitats. Not as a concept but as a practical survival strategy.
A huge percentage of urban dwelling humans can die off really really fast given the right circumstances of calamitous events because occupying a single habitat and being highly dependent on technology makes us extremely vulnerable.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction

Unread postby dohboi » Tue 24 Oct 2017, 20:28:06

Nicely put, Ibon.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 25 Oct 2017, 03:05:16

Ibon wrote:We have the reach geographically. We have the genetic hybrid vigor. But we do not have the habitat diversity as you stated. We are a genetically diverse vast monoculture reaching around the globe.

This is not a resilient arrangement.

What is promising though with all of this is the speed to which the contraction can actually happen. With such a high percentage of our global population dependent on this monoculturalization, the correction can be swift and fast, the suffering quickly over with. There will be pockets all around the planet of folks rediscovering resiliency in their bio regions untethering themselves from this mono culturalization and they will be using applied technology to re integrate with their natural habitats.

Not as a concept but as a practical survival strategy.

A huge percentage of urban dwelling humans can die off really really fast given the right circumstances of calamitous events because occupying a single habitat and being highly dependent on technology makes us extremely vulnerable.


Yes this is how I see it as well. Extinction of our species is unlikely because we are as you put it, likely to have surviving pockets all over the planet in a diverse set of pockets. IMO this is as true for Sheep Ranchers in Montana as it is for Llama ranchers in southern Chile, they have a small human population living a lifestyle rejected by most modern people because it involves hard work in all sorts of weather. Yes they each would be inconvenienced by the loss of mechanized equipment if it comes to that, but at its root herding animals with working dogs as companion helper species is a sustainable practice going back at least 6,000 years and has prevailed in mountain regions for the simple reason that most urbanites and row crop farmers want to live in the low lands.

Four or five years ago I stumbled over a CBC series about the north Canadian coast First Peoples who were suffering an epidemic of diabetes and obesity and dental issues that Anthropologist typically label 'The Diseases of Civilization'. One bright physician started a program to teach his patients how to resume the traditional native diet that existed as recently as the 1970's or to at least substitute as close to that dietary pattern as they could from the supermarket supplied foods in their community. Somewhere around 70% of his patients resolved their diabetes/obesity/heart disease within a few months of leaving the modern dietary practice and resuming the First People diet or the simulated diet. The bureaucracy in Canada was so shocked they couldn't deal with the fact that the modern dietary guidelines are really very unhealthy for first people who are only a generation removed from HG lifestyles and not much better even for those who have been agricultural for millennia in their ancestry.

The truth is, while our lifespans have grown about 20% our general health has declined substantially since the beginning of the 20th century.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction pt. 2

Unread postby dohboi » Wed 25 Oct 2017, 14:38:40

There are similar local efforts going on like this one: http://sioux-chef.com/
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction pt. 2

Unread postby dohboi » Fri 27 Oct 2017, 12:44:51

The Sixth Mass Extinction of Wildlife Also Threatens Global Food Supplies

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/sixt ... lies-21735

"Huge proportions of the plant and animal species that form the foundation of our food supply are just as endangered [as wildlife] and are getting almost no attention,” said Ann Tutwiler, director general of Bioversity International, a research group that published a new report.

“If there is one thing we cannot allow to become extinct, it is the species that provide the food that sustains each and every one of the seven billion people on our planet,” she said in an article for the Guardian. “This ‘agrobiodiversity’ is a precious resource that we are losing, and yet it can also help solve or mitigate many challenges the world is facing. It has a critical yet overlooked role in helping us improve global nutrition, reduce our impact on the environment and adapt to climate change.”
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction pt. 2

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 27 Oct 2017, 15:31:03

T - Not like it hasn't happened before:

"The Toba supereruption was a supervolcanic eruption that occurred about 75,000 years ago at the site of present-day Lake Toba (Sumatra, Indonesia). It is one of the Earth's largest known eruptions. The Toba catastrophe theory holds that this event caused a global volcanic winter of 6–10 years and possibly a 1,000-year-long cooling episode.

The Toba eruption has been linked to a genetic bottleneck in human evolution about 70,000 years ago, which may have resulted from a severe reduction in the size of the total human population due to the effects of the eruption on the global climate. According to the genetic bottleneck theory, between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago, human populations sharply decreased to 3,000–10,000 surviving individuals. It is supported by genetic evidence suggesting that today's humans are descended from a very small population of between 1,000 and 10,000 breeding pairs that existed about 70,000 years ago."

Just think: one day the USA could be inhabited by a bunch of inbreed tobacco chewing cowboys. LOL.

And think about it: if this is the earth's 6th great extinction the it has already recovered from such an event 5 times. Maybe not humans but who cares about those ass holes? We had our chance...now it's time to give the cockroaches their shot.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction pt. 2

Unread postby GHung » Fri 27 Oct 2017, 15:59:37

ROCKMAN wrote:T - Not like it hasn't happened before:

"The Toba supereruption was a supervolcanic eruption that occurred about 75,000 years ago at the site of present-day Lake Toba (Sumatra, Indonesia). It is one of the Earth's largest known eruptions. The Toba catastrophe theory holds that this event caused a global volcanic winter of 6–10 years and possibly a 1,000-year-long cooling episode.

The Toba eruption has been linked to a genetic bottleneck in human evolution about 70,000 years ago, which may have resulted from a severe reduction in the size of the total human population due to the effects of the eruption on the global climate. According to the genetic bottleneck theory, between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago, human populations sharply decreased to 3,000–10,000 surviving individuals. It is supported by genetic evidence suggesting that today's humans are descended from a very small population of between 1,000 and 10,000 breeding pairs that existed about 70,000 years ago."

Just think: one day the USA could be inhabited by a bunch of inbreed tobacco chewing cowboys. LOL.

And think about it: if this is the earth's 6th great extinction the it has already recovered from such an event 5 times. Maybe not humans but who cares about those ass holes? We had our chance...now it's time to give the cockroaches their shot.


I watched PBS Nova this week: "Killer Volcanoes", about a previously unknown super eruption in 1257 that resulted in worldwide famine starting in 1258, especially in Europe. Mass graves were previously attributed to the Plague, but better dating techniques showed the graves were from about 100 years before the Plague, leading to a mystery. Seems a massive Indonesian eruption caused a barely recorded volcanic winter:

Program Description
Follow a team of volcano sleuths as they embark on a worldwide hunt for an elusive volcanic mega-eruption that plunged medieval Earth into a deep freeze. The mystery begins when archaeologists find a hastily dug mass grave of 4,000 men, women, and children in London. At first they assume it’s a plague pit from the Black Death, but when they date the bones, they turn out to be too old by a century. So what killed off these families? The chronicles of that time describe a run of wild weather that devastated crops and spread famine across Europe. NOVA’s expert team looks for the signature of a volcanic eruption big enough to have blasted a huge cloud of ash and sulfuric acid into the atmosphere, which chilled the entire planet. From Greenland to Antarctica, the team finds telltale “fingerprints” in ice and soil layers until, finally, they narrow down the culprit to a smoldering crater on a remote Indonesian island. Nearly 750 years ago, this volcano’s colossal explosion shot a million tons of rock and ash every second into the atmosphere. Across the globe, it turned summer into winter. What would happen if another such cataclysm struck again today?
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/kill ... anoes.html


It occurred to me that the industrial age has yet to experience a truly massive event of this type, and that, not only are human societies more vulnerable because of their technological reliance and shear numbers and just-in-time supply chains, but wild animal populations, being already badly stressed by human activity, are very vulnerable as well. A double whammy of human planetary overshoot and a natural disaster of this scale would likely be doubly catastrophic. Wild food chains can also experience 'crop failures'.

How fragile is our biosphere at this point in time? That's the question. We've squandered resilience to gain growth over the last 200 or so years.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction pt. 2

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 27 Oct 2017, 16:18:53

GHung wrote:I watched PBS Nova this week: "Killer Volcanoes", about a previously unknown super eruption in 1257 that resulted in worldwide famine starting in 1258, especially in Europe. Mass graves were previously attributed to the Plague, but better dating techniques showed the graves were from about 100 years before the Plague, leading to a mystery. Seems a massive Indonesian eruption caused a barely recorded volcanic winter:


Europe was vulnerable to famine in the middle ages and up to the industrial revolution due to their dependence on wheat. A wet and cold summer would create a crop failure. Rye is a type of wheat a bit more resistant to cold and damp conditions which is why it was planted in northern Europe. Back then there was not alternative source of carbohydrate, no trans atlantic food shipments. Potatoes and corn had not yet been brought over from the New World. Rice does not grow in temperate Europe. A volcano causing a several year wet and cold weather pattern was enough to create a famine back then.

When the first Europeans went to South America and saw the caches of stored potatoes high up in the Andes they wrote in their journals how incredible it was that the local peoples had thus reliable storage of food.

I wonder how we would handle today a global event similar to a major disruption in weather patterns. If crop yields were affected all around the world I do not think many countries currently exporting agricultural grains would give up a significant strategic reserve for their own population.

Even though we can see a more hard core nationalism emerging around immigration and turning inward to give more importance to domestic resilience we are still a long way away from when nationalism will grow to the point when we would refuse to send grain reserves to a part of the world experiencing severe famine. This could change quickly in a global disruption. Food security then becomes a national security priority.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction pt. 2

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 27 Oct 2017, 16:39:02

Ibon wrote:
GHung wrote:I watched PBS Nova this week: "Killer Volcanoes", about a previously unknown super eruption in 1257 that resulted in worldwide famine starting in 1258, especially in Europe. Mass graves were previously attributed to the Plague, but better dating techniques showed the graves were from about 100 years before the Plague, leading to a mystery. Seems a massive Indonesian eruption caused a barely recorded volcanic winter:


Europe was vulnerable to famine in the middle ages and up to the industrial revolution due to their dependence on wheat. A wet and cold summer would create a crop failure. Rye is a type of wheat a bit more resistant to cold and damp conditions which is why it was planted in northern Europe. Back then there was not alternative source of carbohydrate, no trans atlantic food shipments. Potatoes and corn had not yet been brought over from the New World. Rice does not grow in temperate Europe. A volcano causing a several year wet and cold weather pattern was enough to create a famine back then.

When the first Europeans went to South America and saw the caches of stored potatoes high up in the Andes they wrote in their journals how incredible it was that the local peoples had thus reliable storage of food.

I wonder how we would handle today a global event similar to a major disruption in weather patterns. If crop yields were affected all around the world I do not think many countries currently exporting agricultural grains would give up a significant strategic reserve for their own population.

Even though we can see a more hard core nationalism emerging around immigration and turning inward to give more importance to domestic resilience we are still a long way away from when nationalism will grow to the point when we would refuse to send grain reserves to a part of the world experiencing severe famine. This could change quickly in a global disruption. Food security then becomes a national security priority.

Sending reserves or surpluses are one thing. Sending food you need for your own people quite another.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction pt. 2

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 27 Oct 2017, 17:03:19

vtsnowedin wrote:Sending reserves or surpluses are one thing. Sending food you need for your own people quite another.


You can apply this to a whole suite of commodities as well as finance. I am guessing that we could see in a pretty short period of time a retrenchment to national preservation if we experience a severe jolt in our global population such as the eruption mentioned here or a series of calamities spawned by climate change or growing resource depletion.

Many of us ponder exactly how the human population will contract. I think it is a safe bet that this retrenchment away from globalization will be the impetus, it will become the new normal to preserve and selectively feed your own. We won't bat a moral eye over regions of the world left to fend for themselves when famine and disease happens.

A good comparison is what your body does when you go in shock, blood is reserved for the vital organs and the extremities are with held and turn cold.

What is interesting to consider is that when this retrenchment goes into full mode our global population will start contracting at different rates, regions start declining into varying levels of technology, varying levels of law and order, a splitting up starts to happen in contrast to what we were discussing up thread here regarding the vulnerability we currently have with this global mono culturalization.

The contraction of our human population will initiate a swing with the pendulum away from mono culturalization and back over to a larger diversity of cultural, economic and other living arrangements.

The next couple of decades this tug of war of trying to keep globalization intact vs countries focusing on their domestic priorities will be a major theme exasperated by peak oil and external feedbacks from our environment.

Trying to keep alliances intact as you protect your own resource base, trying to keep alliances intact as the remaining and depleting reserves of energy are viewed while domestic needs grow to desperate levels.

We will be tested.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction pt. 2

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 27 Oct 2017, 17:43:10

The only thing to add to the above discussion is the impression you all give that there is an impending "event", that something is about to happen, that a change is coming.

In my view, the 6th Great Extinction began about 1804, when the world population topped the 1 Billion milestone. Some afficianadoes of Malthus place that sustainable upper limit as high as 2 Billion, which did not happen until 1927. But (unless you are 90+ years old) you have never known a world where the Earth was NOT DYING from the consequences of human overshoot. Nor did your parents, most likely.

You are unlikely ever to perceive anything of a Doomish nature, your whole life. Get over that, the World's ecology sickens and dies around you, and you will never really distinguish any "event", unless somebody presses the nuclear button, and all the city dwellers experience a +100 degree C warming trend, in the space of an hour or two. Possible, but unlikely in my view.

The duration of the environmental oscillations and disruption after the Chicxulub impact Tanada spoke of are set at 900-1300 years. The Younger Dryas impact that exterminated North American megafauna caused dozens of years of temperature chaos.

As I have said before: It's a process, not an event, none of us here have ever experienced a World not in the throes of the 6th Great Extinction.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction pt. 2

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 27 Oct 2017, 18:03:34

KaiserJeep wrote:The only thing to add to the above discussion is the impression you all give that there is an impending "event", that something is about to happen, that a change is coming.


I don't completely agree but your point is taken. Nothing is purely linear. Evolution has punctuated inflection points. We are talking here about the contraction of over population and external environmental feedbacks creating a much more volatile environment. Volatility increases the likely hood of extreme situations. Increases the likely hood of punctuated "events"

There will be inflection points quite powerful in punctuating this linear decline. Sometimes events are also only understood in hindsight once it becomes clear how it has affected the culture at large.

For example, an event for me would be defined as the first time we stop providing aid to a country or bio region of even continent suffering famine due to climate change or energy constraints. Up until now this has been a given. The moment you see any nation or nations acting as a group refusing to send aid in order to preserve for strategic reasons their own domestic population this will be a hallmark event. It will set a precedent. It will be a new normal.

Think about how the USA since WWII has defined itself geo politically as defending human rights which of course is an ideology to defend capitalism. Just imagine how this old meme will dissolve over night when we refuse to send aid to a part of the world we will simply write off.

That is for me the definition of an event that changes the cultural trajectory.

If we don't see this in our lifetime our kids will. I am pretty confident of that.
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Re: World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction pt. 2

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 27 Oct 2017, 18:23:52

By the way it is not the physical event itself that becomes trans formative but rather how suddenly a whole culture can shift on a dime as a result of something external. Sometimes it is not even that major an event that can cause this to happen.

These cultural shifts can have a profound impact in accelerating or decelerating the correction of human over population.

We focus a lot on physical external events as if one big storm or one big drought will be the one that changes everything. It wont be the physical event itself but the cultural response or lack thereof which will create a punctuated disruption to what everyone had thought up until then was the status quo.
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