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World On Brink Of Sixth Great Extinction pt. 2

Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby Cabrone » Tue 12 Dec 2006, 16:37:11

Life will pull through but most of us won't.

We can't help ourselves.

Like the scorpion on the otters back it's just in our nature.
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby coyote » Wed 13 Dec 2006, 01:41:13

Cabrone wrote:Like the scorpion on the otters back it's just in our nature.

Wow, I'd forgotten about that story. Thanks.
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby MrBill » Wed 13 Dec 2006, 02:45:51

Cabrone wrote:Life will pull through but most of us won't.

We can't help ourselves.
Like the scorpion on the otters back it's just in our nature.


Great article in Reuters today about corrupt politicians and dodgy contractors in Spain that are being arrested and prosecuted for illegal building on protected lands and in national parks for wealthy criminals, rich Arabs and the like.

A perfect example of a situation in which public lands were set aside to preserve a small part of nature, but men are so greedy they cannot even accept that little concession to mother nature, so they bribe their way around the local laws and politicians so they can have a mansion on protected land with no noisy neighbors. Many forest fires have been started in Spain by arsens just so that the land could eventually be rezoned for development.

I dare say that a lot of houses have also been built in places like California, Colorado and as far away as Australia too close to national parks and nature reserves where the safe thinning of forests cannot take place setting those places up for wildfires sometimes intentionally started.

We regularly see nations cheating on everything from fishing quotas to CO2 emissions to deforestation. No one is blameless. Greed is a human condition. Even when we try to protect nature we cannot because there are always those amoung us that will do anything for their own personal gain at the expense of the environment. And governments are corruptable, so they aid that process as much as they hinder it in the end.

Only a massive die-off of the human species will slow or reverse the damage done by mankind and let nature heal itself as best as it can.
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby seldom_seen » Wed 13 Dec 2006, 03:50:36

We die, the earth dies, the sun dies. A new sun is born, a new earth, a new life. We can't stop any of this, because we are this. We want to control nature, as if it's something outside of or apart from ourselves. Yet we can't even control our own heartbeat, it is nature beating inside of our chests to a reggae rhythm (ka chink ka chink ka chink).

How sad for us. We cling so desperately to this life, as if it's our only chance. As if life was a bank robbery where we try to make out with as much loot as possible. We chop the land up in to grids, fence it off, cut it down, burn it, pave it over. Then we try to fill our own section of the grid up with as much stuff as possible before we fall over dead. Dammit though, we're going to do everything in our power to keep from falling over dead. We never win though, we always fall over dead. The first rule of the game is that it's not a game. We are the universe playing a practical joke on itself.

We go about our business oh so seriously, as if our life depended on it, but our life doesn't depend on any of it. Living proof that the universe has a since of humor.

Here we come again! In waves. Every wave is followed by a trough. Don't fret over the trough. You'll be back again. Not in these shoes. Not in this jacket. A wise person said "the secret of life is to die before you die and realize there is no death." That's somebody who's now in on the joke, and must've had a good chuckle.

We, er, I mean the earth is going to be fine. The plates will shift, the ice will come and go. Remnants of great cities will be thrust to the tops of mountain ranges. Our grandest monuments to immortality will be driven in to the earths mantle and incinerated. Volcanoes will spill out of the ocean. A bird will drop a seed and a new island will be created.

I like how Alan Watts put it the best: "As we look out upon the world, we often forget that world is looking back at itself, through our eyes and its."
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby Pablo2079 » Thu 14 Dec 2006, 15:03:36

I voted no.... but the question really doesn't make sense to me....

We have caused extinctions and modified the Earth so that no matter how long you wait, it won't be the same place it would have been without us.

However, another way to look at it would be that we are a "product" of the Earth... so it wouldn't be the "same" without us.

One last way to look at it is that the Earth will eventually be swallowed up by the Sun when it runs out of Hydrogen fuel and expands to start using Helium. Once that happens, the Earth will be no more and will have ended up exactly the same way it would have with or without us.
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby dohboi » Fri 15 Dec 2006, 17:40:11

As I've posted elsewhere, the mutliple possitive feedback loops we seem to have kicked in--albedo, tundra methane, phytoplankton die off, perhaps even clathrate release--will likely drive us beyond even the "Great Dying" between the Permian and Triassic ages some 250 million years ago when 95% of life disappeared, possibly after a clathrate methane "burp." It takes tens to hundreds of millions of years for complex life to re-evolve from the fungi and bacteria that may survive such a cataclism. By that time, Pablo's scenario of a super-heated and expanding sun cooking the planet could be well underway.

This is it folks. There is no second chance--for us or for complex life on the planet.

Cheers.
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby AWPrime » Fri 15 Dec 2006, 19:05:24

There is no third option in the poll:

3. I don't know
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby Kylon » Fri 15 Dec 2006, 20:34:15

It would be really sad to think we might be the only complex life forms in the universe.
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 16 Dec 2006, 07:06:45

dohboi wrote:As I've posted elsewhere, the mutliple possitive feedback loops we seem to have kicked in--albedo, tundra methane, phytoplankton die off, perhaps even clathrate release--will likely drive us beyond even the "Great Dying" between the Permian and Triassic ages some 250 million years ago when 95% of life disappeared, possibly after a clathrate methane "burp." It takes tens to hundreds of millions of years for complex life to re-evolve from the fungi and bacteria that may survive such a cataclism. By that time, Pablo's scenario of a super-heated and expanding sun cooking the planet could be well underway.

This is it folks. There is no second chance--for us or for complex life on the planet.

Cheers.


First off that 95% figure is of complex vertebrates not bacteria, the complex life forms that leave fossil's behind are much more delicate as species than bacteria.

Secondly that means that 5% of complex forms did survive the worst die off in Earth's history, and those forms evolved rapidly to fill the ecosystem niches left empty by the great die-off.

Thirdly the expanding sun is not schedualed to happen for another 3 to 6 Billion years, in other words two to three times as long as it has been since the Earth developed stable oceans and 6 to 12 times as long as there has been detectible life on Earth. We could have a 99% die off of complex life and there would still be plenty of time for Complex life to refill all the ecosystem niches on the Earth.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby coyote » Sat 16 Dec 2006, 23:24:25

dohboi wrote:This is it folks. There is no second chance--for us or for complex life on the planet.

What a bizarre time to happen to be alive, isn't it?

But the truly bizarre thought is that if we botch it big time, and cause another p-t boundary type event, there will be time for another intelligent species to evolve... and by that time, there will be a whole new endowment of oil and natural gas to use up, and do it all over again...

8O
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby django » Sun 17 Dec 2006, 13:15:46

The Earth itself has nothing to worry about.

It's existance is measured in the billions. Homo has only existed for a mere 2 million years, Homo sapien a miniscule 150,000, agriculture a teeny 10,000 and empire/civilization a smaller 6,000.

The majority of today's humans may have been able to compete with an asteroid but if Gaia had a doctor, he would probably say "Hmm. This infliction is pretty unusual. You currently have a disease that came from within your own system, rather than those other external factors. Oh, well, no matter, we'll just concentrate on sweating it out and those microbes [humans] won't be able to do that again for a long time."

It's perversely comforting to think that no matter how much damage we do to this planet, it will get better.

That's why true environmentalists are what they are for human reasons. There's no guilt for the Earth, only methods by which we have to save ourselves.
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby coyote » Sun 17 Dec 2006, 18:09:30

django wrote:That's why true environmentalists are what they are for human reasons. There's no guilt for the Earth, only methods by which we have to save ourselves.

Disagree. Some truly love the wild and think it's senseless to destroy beauty for questionable gain, regardless of what it does to us -- though a thought to preserving our own hides would be reason enough to be an environmentalist, it's not the only reason.
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby Liamj » Mon 18 Dec 2006, 09:29:20

The planet wont be bothered by its heat rash, these things pass. Life in some form will also almost certainly survive anything less than a planet-cracking impact. Everything bigger than ?a mouse however is going to fry if we get runaway global warming and +10C mean temp, maybe even +5C will finish off homo sapiens. Thems the breaks!
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby Doly » Mon 18 Dec 2006, 09:54:10

Liamj wrote:Everything bigger than ?a mouse however is going to fry if we get runaway global warming and +10C mean temp


Don't think so, the dinosaur age was roughly +10C from now, if I remember it right.
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby Liamj » Tue 19 Dec 2006, 07:14:48

Indeed you're closer to right than i was Doly, couldn't quickly find a more recent figure than below ..

[web]http://www.gcrio.org/CONSEQUENCES/winter96/article1-fig6.html[/web]
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby smallpoxgirl » Tue 19 Dec 2006, 12:48:40

Doesn't look like happy days for all the hairy mammals. Humans shouldn't suffer much in the way of direct effects from the temperature change. Clothing makes us pretty adaptable to different temperature situations. That's why we live in equatorial deserts and on arctic permafrost. Gonna be good living for the cold blooded critters though.
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby skiwi » Wed 20 Dec 2006, 18:06:38

Environment in crisis: 'We are past the point of no return'

The world has already passed the point of no return for climate change, and civilisation as we know it is now unlikely to survive, according to James Lovelock, the scientist and green guru who conceived the idea of Gaia - the Earth which keeps itself fit for life.

In a profoundly pessimistic new assessment, published in today's Independent, Professor Lovelock suggests that efforts to counter global warming cannot succeed, and that, in effect, it is already too late.
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby MrBill » Thu 21 Dec 2006, 03:55:41

the scientist and green guru who conceived the idea of Gaia - the Earth which keeps itself fit for life.


How egotistical is that? Imagine? I am sure most philosphers and major religions throughout time have imagined a natural world in balance with itself. Forms of nature worship were some of man's earliest relgions. But this guy 'thinks' he conceived the idea of an Earth that keeps itself fit for life?
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby coyote » Sun 24 Dec 2006, 23:11:12

MrBill wrote:But this guy 'thinks' he conceived the idea of an Earth that keeps itself fit for life?

Now that you mention it, it's probably a bit overstated, yeah. But Lovelock is very important. He's the first one who presented such a concept as a scientific theory. Some of Hawking's ideas about the universe, or Schrodinger's ideas about particles, or Mandelbrot's ideas about complexity, also previously existed in philosophy. In the world of science, Lovelock formulated the first really new way of looking at life since Darwin. Ridiculed at first, the Gaia theory is now pretty well accepted (though they still don't like to call it that -- too froofy-sounding I guess -- they call it 'earth system' theory).
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Re: Will the planet recover from our abuse?

Unread postby MrBill » Mon 25 Dec 2006, 02:41:19

Because of substitutability, peak oil is not just a liquid fuels crisis.
It is an ecological crisis.


Thanks for the clarification over the Gaia theory. Also a good point you make about substitutability and the environment in general instead of framing the argument solely in terms of net energy or EROEI. Merry Christmas!
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