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JimD

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How do you get here? - from there???
« on: December 25, 2014, 09:33:53 PM »
A little bit of New Year's reflection. 

I often have to deal with responses to my comments about where we are going to end up in a civilizational sense due to Climate Change and energy supply issues.  The level of incomprehension I run into I must admit I often find staggering.  The minimum wage stare (or written equivalent) otherwise called the deer in the headlights look is often priceless as they say, but also a bit disheartening.  I often hear or read comments that indicate the person responding has never actually thought about the situation in depth nor has any understanding of the cause and effect of things.  For them to hear me talk (or read what I have written) amounts to the equivalent of having someone say that they can prove God does not exist. They are horrified and I get immediate rejection not because what I have to say does not make perfect sense, but because if they listen to me and arrive at the same conclusions it means that almost nothing about the way they live their lives and how they view the prospects of the future has any validity any more.  This is a terrifying prospect for almost everyone and is an individual example of the current global civilizational response to our situation.

So, where is "Here" and how did we get here?  "Here" can actually be found just by reading my posts here on the Forum over the last couple of years in detail as well as the thoughtful responses to them.  There is a large body of my work out there on this blog and others over the last 2 years that amounts to some 400 thousand words.  So I not only do not want to repeat all of that here, but I actually could not unless I sat down and wrote a book on the subject (which I have actually spent some time on, but chose not to go forward with).

It will come as no surprise to anyone who reads my work that I hold the opinions I try and articulate with some strength of grip and tenacity.  If those questioning what I have put forward cannot demonstrate a clear and deep understanding of the science behind the issues (physics), the engineering issues involved, the economic issues involved, and (biggest of all) the human nature issues involved, I do not feel they have any business advocating for specific solutions.  It is like discussing world affairs with a teenager who, due to lack of education, life experience and the maturity of years, is just not capable of comprehension.  They are passionate...but clueless.

Just below I will give a macro non-nuanced snapshot of where "Here" is.  And then to the main point of this post - the journey from "There" to "Here".  A road does exist and, while difficult to follow, it does connect the two places.

Here:
Climate Change is REAL and unequivocal.
Climate Change is the greatest challenge of human history
The number 1 driver of climate change is population levels
Population is increasing rapidly
Population levels are driven by available per capita energy supplies
The number 1 energy issue is EROEI which is in serious decline from peak levels
Human population is wildly over the Earth's carrying capacity
ALL cheap dense sources of both energy and resources are gone or dwindling quickly
The global environment is severely damaged and rapidly getting worse
The base of the food chain (the oceans) is in a critical state and collapse is on the horizon
Global food production is facing the headwinds of loss of top soil, water supplies, energy EROEI, sea level rise, unstable weather, crop diseases, etc, etc.
Economic conditions around the globe are supported only by borrowing heavily from the future via debt, exceeding the Earth's carrying capacity and living off a point source of millions of years of stored solar energy (whose use is driving climate change and must therefore cease)
The time when one could have conceivably started a global program to successfully adapt to and mitigate the above passed about 30-40 years ago.
It is no longer possible to avoid catastrophic climate change and all we are waiting for is to see how bad it is going to be.  Everyday of our current approach makes the end game more difficult.
The fundamental driver of our inability to deal with the above facts is our basic human nature and method of arriving at decisions and taking action.  It is hardwired into our brains by a few million years of evolution.  For almost all humans there is nothing in our makeup that provides the ability to make rational decisions about anything more than short-term issues.  We are fight or flight wired like all animals and even the most rational clear thinking human makes almost all decisions subconsciously and then justifies them with some pseudo-rational after the fact justification.  In a group setting the above process falls apart completely and results in something that makes even worse decisions.
Civilization as we know it with its vast population, levels of resource consumption, staggering complexities and almost limitless layers of technology cannot and will not continue given the above.  And it will not.  Period.  There is just no way past that statement.

Is the above the end of the world?  No.  But we are getting a different world.  Pursuing BAU's via they be Green or Black is a form of suicide.  I want to live not die (in a species sense), so I look on BAU proponents as purveyors of evil.  As their path leads not to an optimistic future but to death.

The future:  (to digress a bit here on what I think will happen)
"We" will continue to run BAU with a slow transition from the black version to the green version and it will make zero difference as the facts indicate.  Basic human nature dictates this decision path.  "We" will experience a dramatic civilizational collapse which will (over some period of time) result in a total population which is just a faction of our peak.  That great die-off will commence within the lives of those who are under 30 years old at the latest and it will last for generations.  Capitalism as a global economic system will disappear as it depends on economic growth, debt and cheap energy and we will return to older forms of economic structures - feudal structures most likely.  Many technologies will disappear from use entirely due to the lack of resources and energy to maintain extreme complexity.  Others will only be available to the few. Life will not end but it will return to more old fashioned forms of organization.  Many of the most cherished themes of the highly industrialized and incredibly wealthy countries will largely fade from the scene - i.e. freedom, equal rights, feminism, sexual rights, religious freedom and so on - thus a return to historical norms.  I do not advocate ANY of this.  I just see it as inevitable as the world returns to the rule by rough men and we all become much poorer.

Finally we get to the main point.  How does one gain the knowledge to really understand that the above IS going to happen in the macro form.

The Journey.

This is my journey. I fully accept that I am not a normal person.  But I am also certain that I can add value in a way that, if not unique, is somewhat rare.  I do not think hardly any are capable of making the journey I have made for a variety of reasons; mostly due to human nature constraints, but also due to the requirements of needing a certain kind of personality (which runs counter to many of those tenets of basic nature) as well as unusual life experience and a solid grounding in physics, engineering and the function of economic structures.  But it can be done.

To begin with one must set aside religion as the source of miracles and the reason for existence.  Accept the world for what it is and how it functions and that we are responsible for our actions.  I got thrown out of Sunday school about the age of 10 because I insisted that the Sunday school teacher answer my question about if God created the universe then who created god.  I still read books on this subject 50 years later.  I washed my hands of non-rational arguments about that time and proceeded from there.  I did not drift into a great love of science and math as one might imagine, but rather towards the philosophical disciplines.  This is where the pinnacle of human intellectual achievement lies.  All of the earliest great thinkers whom we think of as the early scientists, were from the philosophical arenas.  Math as well as scientific rigor is an out growth of logic.  I grew up in a family where I was one of the least intelligent in terms of raw IQ and our house reverberated with intense discussions of the why and what for. My father and both my grandfathers were engineers and my mother, who had a masters degree, was just as brilliant as my father.  Needless to say I got my head handed to me on a daily basis for a long time as my mind underwent development.  The only way to hold ones own was utterly unemotional fact based logical reasoning which included not only an understanding of physics and math, but also the underlying reasons that decisions are made and arrived at which seem to contradict clear thought.  I, being a typical young idealist of the 60's, struggled mightily with this dichotomy of life.  My brother, the PhD in math, multiple degrees from MIT, masters degrees in logic and computer science, helped me a lot by explaining to me that real deep thought required one to set aside the things in our brains that make us human for a time and to become just an impartial observer of reality.  You have to divorce yourself from your feelings and emotions to think clearly and rationally.  A very difficult thing to do and no one succeeds at it all the time.

During the course of my working professional life my job required me to combine my formal education in engineering and my background in attempting to think from a very rational unemotional point of view to help execute, plan and eventually direct actions which put at risk my life and the lives of many others, and which sometimes took lives. A government job supporting the empire.  One thing you learn in this type of environment is that optimists die young.  Your only chance of a high rate of success in such a job is to be a committed pessimist who is certain that if every eventuality is not taken into account and planned for it will go wrong and someone will die. Such an approach is the only reason I am alive today.  It is fine to be an optimist about your chances of dating that smoking hot cheerleader in high school, but when lives are on the line, especially the lives of everyone, being an optimist is not just a sloppy way of thinking but is the definition of being a fool.

When I left the above very busy life in 2004 I started to take more time to study issues which had been nagging at my mind from my casual readings.  The main ones being Peak Oil and Climate Change and, at that time and to a lessor degree, economic issues.  I have a lifetime interest in environmental issues and was already well versed in them.  I have a long familiarity with farming issues due to both my parents and my wife's parents growing up on farms.  I owned and operated an organic farming operation until 2012. From 2004 to the present I have spent untold hours studying and thinking about climate change, energy issues and all the related sub-issues mentioned above.  I have tried to apply all of my background to as rigorously work my way through the facts to see where they lead.  I strongly think they lead to the above location labeled "Here".

In my journey I have found compelling evidence and help in many locations.  Some of the most useful I am listing below.  I do not always agree with all of what they say there (and while I will not tell you who I am there I am present in many of the discussion under one of my other internet names) and my conclusions are sometimes different.  But often in a nuanced way and not as a large disagreement.

The Oil Drum blog - no longer active but available as archives. This site has a monstrous amount of information and data which, though it would take much time to go through and learn, can provide the best overall education in understanding energy issues, EROEI, the fossil fuel industry, economics, many technologies and such.  It was one of the more rigorous venues on the internet in terms of using math, science and logic to explain things.  If one works their way through this site one can gain a deep understanding of energy issues and supporting complex technologies.  If you leave out the chattering media masses and just look at the body of work and the real world data of today you realize that the Peak Oil folks hit the nail right on the head.

Limits to Growth:  The original famous study was published in 1972 by a team of MIT researchers (no my brother was not one of them) with follow up works in 1992, 2002 and 2012.  Contrary to the BAU mythology about these works being wildly wrong they have turned out to be eerily prescient.  We are dead on the track to the possible civilizational collapse forecast detailed in the 1972 work (forecast being if you don't change your ways this is where you are headed).  All the subsequent works have served to strongly reinforce the conclusions found in the original and added along the way.  Read these works.  In forty years we have not changed the trajectory of the curves in any meaningful way.  Proponents of BAU should think really hard about what is said in these works and what they are always choosing to support.  You just can not sugar coat the phrase suicidal tendencies.

The ArchDruid Report.  Yes I am suggesting you read the entire body of work on a religious man's site.  John Michael Greer is one of the most gifted and articulate writers of today and provides perhaps the best line of reasoning on energy, climate change and civilizational collapse I have seen.  While I do not agree with all of his conclusions (my most significant disagreement being over the rate of collapse) there is not a better articulated line of reasoning in existence on these subjects that I am aware of.

The Naked Capitalism blog.  Economics, debt, banking, impactful news. 

Read Jared Diamond and Joseph Tainter on the collapse of civilizations.

If you are very technical read the bulk of the RealClimate blog. 

Read and study the issues presented on the blog Skeptical Science.

Read the OpenMind blog.

Read and study publications on food production.

Study economic systems and how and under what circumstances they function.

Observe the significant and continuing disintegration of the industrialized countries. 

Study what is involved in the building of large complex technological systems.  And note that the US is incapable of properly maintaining its road, electrical, water and sewer systems already. 

Really think about the scale of change required to follow the Green BAU policies, the resource requirements, the time required to execute them, the need to service a constantly growing population, the fact that we have already passed the point of ending up with a climate catastrophe and declining wealth which follows declining EROEI.

There are many other good sources of course, but the above should be sufficient if one makes a real effort.

Our basic human nature tells us to run and hide from threats.   Only when cornered do we fight.  So that is what almost everyone is doing.  They are hiding behind soothing rhetoric and sticking to some version of BAU because reality is so scary they cannot wrap their minds around it.  But we ARE in the corner and we have to do whatever is necessary.

The point is not about someone being a bad person because they bring up a distasteful subject like the critical need to immediately implement rapid population reductions. 

One is not a good person because they find such thoughts distasteful.

What is important is doing what is required to mitigate the massive suffering which facts and logic says is inevitable.  We ARE going to suffer a civilizational collapse and a dramatic population reduction.  Again.  Just like we have had happen many times before. Yes, this time it IS different.  But not in a good way.  You cannot deny the laws of physics.  This time we have foolishly exceeded our carrying capacity across the entire globe as well as seriously caused a significant reduction in the globes carrying capacity compared to the past and initiated a further large reduction in the future carrying capacity via climate change.  There is simply no way out of the situation.

To continue BAU practices as long as possible (the choice of about 99% of the people) just serves to continue the burning of the candle from both ends.  It in no way prevents collapse.  It is highly probable that it brings collapse forward in time.  But most importantly it continues to use up precious resources needed for post collapse reconstruction as well as making the end result of climate change much worse.  Thus BAU versions black and green will result in the maximum amount of suffering.  Not the least.

So I say that the choice in this discussion about who's approach to the problem is the most concerned with preventing human suffering, which would result in the least amount of harm overall, which would give the greatest chances for rebuilding sometime in the future, which is the most humane and just and moral...is mine.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

werther

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2014, 12:31:15 AM »
Are you still there? Forgive me, Jim. After reading I had a moments' consideration that your choice might be giving up the self. I've often contemplated that, because I agree with your story.
I was about sixteen, doing chemical, physics classes and biology. Having some of the right teachers, I picked up the big picture on 'Limits to growth'. I remember well debating 'there's forty years left' in class (I seem to love getting attention and make a fool of myself...).

After wasting most of my professional life in managing how to kill weeds, my debate came back to me around 2011/-12. It's not that I have any belief in prophecy, certainly not my own. But I do think I was right then and could have done better to live closer to my convictions.

Not that it would have made a difference.

I saw a great movie tonight, a wildlife movie called 'The new wilderness'. You're not gonna belief it but there's a 50 km2 patch of land over here, the small, densest populated country in Western Europe that we happened to 'forget'.
I saw a horse dying in that movie. It had a certain kind of beauty. I hold it as an example for when my time comes...

JimD

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2014, 05:55:57 PM »
Werther

Of course I'm still here :)

I fully intend to live as long as possible if not just to be able to say "I told you so!".  I watch, I read, I think and sometimes I write about it.  I am actually a pretty happy guy overall.  I enjoy life pretty much.

I am pretty philosophical about our situation though I have trouble tolerating idiots.  If everyone wants to commit suicide that is their choice and I might occasionally try and let them know it is a pretty stupid idea, but, hey, it's their choice.  Freedom and all that.  I do intend to piss on a few of their graves when the opportunity comes of course.  Fair is fair.

While we get all emotionally involved in the situation, in the great scheme of things nothing that happens here on Earth makes even the smallest difference to the universe.  We are one worn out planet circling a star in a galaxy of hundreds of millions of stars in a universe of 500 billion galaxy's.  And Hawking and company's recent work indicates that there are likely 10 to the 500th universes?  A single grain of sand on Daytona beach has more importance to the Earth than the Earth has to existence.  One must try and keep perspective.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Neven

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2014, 09:29:37 PM »
Hey, Jim. Nice to read you again.

I was wondering: What does your brother think about collapse theories etc? That is, if he's still alive (I hope he is).
Il faut comparer, comparer, comparer, et cultiver notre jardin

ccgwebmaster

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2014, 09:35:03 PM »
So I say that the choice in this discussion about who's approach to the problem is the most concerned with preventing human suffering, which would result in the least amount of harm overall, which would give the greatest chances for rebuilding sometime in the future, which is the most humane and just and moral...is mine.

So long story short, what are you doing to help those in the future? Promoting early collapse and acceptance? Anything else?

It only gets lonelier the further forward you go in the battlelines.

JimD

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2014, 12:10:05 AM »
Hey, Jim. Nice to read you again.

I was wondering: What does your brother think about collapse theories etc? That is, if he's still alive (I hope he is).

Ahh, no Neven he passed long ago.  It would indeed be interesting to have him look through all of it and give an opinion. 

An interesting fact about him.  He was one of the architects, on the Fortune 500 side, of planning out how to execute what we now call globalization.  He and I used to have discussions about this and in response to my pointed questions freely admitted that it would eventually bring the working class and then the middle class of the industrialized world to their knees.  He termed what the big companies were planning on doing as "labor arbitrage".  In other words they were going to arrange for US workers to have to compete with 3rd world workers.  It was just a matter of getting the trade agreements in place, expanding the local educational systems and building the factories.  How right he was.

We see that system starting to break down today I think.  The next big economic downturn will likely shine a light on how bad the fundamentals are.

To show you how smart he was when he was 12 he independently of any help thought up the math of derivatives.  I can remember to this day the feeling of awe that came over me when I realized what he was trying to show me on a piece of paper.  He was so disappointed when I had to tell him that Newton and Leibniz had beat him too it. 



We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2014, 12:49:58 AM »

So long story short, what are you doing to help those in the future? Promoting early collapse and acceptance? Anything else?

It only gets lonelier the further forward you go in the battlelines.

Hey ccg.

I've sort of been on a long vacation I guess. 

But I would phrase it as promoting a 'managed' collapse.  Admittedly I do not think there is any chance of that happening.  But then you already know that I think this from earlier interaction.

Though I occasionally do see others who post comments or write articles who seem to agree with my conclusions about the core of the problem and that nothing can be fixed without addressing it first and foremost, I do not see anyone who is actually trying to push the issue.

As one sees from the reactions to the subject it is one of the great 3rd rail subjects which must never be discussed.  I just can not imagine that the global 'we' have the intellectual capability to pick up that ball and run with it.

It is the only battle worth fighting in any real sense as all other skirmishes will be of little consequence if it is not dealt with.  Not that I have a problem with people working on lots of topics which might prove useful on the other side of the bottleneck.  At least as long as they don't talk trash about how what they are doing is going to save us.  Like what you have mentioned you work on.  You are young and you should be doing what you can.  If I was young like you I would be following similar paths to your's (or perhaps trying to bring down the system in some way if I could think of one).  But, even in a worst case scenario I will likely have passed from the scene before the crap really hits the fan and we come to a consensus on what is happening and will happen.

The basic core of our nature as humans determines how humanity is reacting to this situation.  We (speaking in the all inclusive sense) are not capable of rational logical thought.  Our lizard brain makes all critical decisions and is easily manipulated by those smart enough to trigger its responses.  We are good at creating a layer of rationalization on top of those decisions, but we are essentially totally incapable of the ability to reason out that what the lizard brain wants to do is a really really bad idea.  Asking humanity to completely change course and rationally work the problem is no different than expecting dramatic evolutionary changes to occur in a single generation.

But I guess the plain answer to your question is, No, there is not much else I am doing right now, though over the years I have strongly emphasized and promoted old fashioned self sufficiency - it is the engineer and farmer in me I guess.  I am a bit worn down with beating my head upon the wall of lizard brain thinking.

What would you suggest I do?  Is there any way to turn this ship around and head back in the other direction?



We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Pmt111500

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2014, 05:13:17 AM »
I've been thinking anything that promotes a larger generation gap so the women would have their children post 30 years of age would be a significant factor in reducing the effects of CC. Then the subsidies paid for children in some countries should be taken away if there's a third child in any family, but I'm not too sure these can be achieved.... so I'm promoting feminism on many part of human culture. Agree with most of what you've written, and expecting the world to return (in about 100 years) to the agricultural practises used in 1920s with way less potential for capital growth, but at the same time a bit sad because some of the good achievenents mankind has reached 1920s-2030s will have been lost too. At one time planned a list of  'Tech to be saved to the 2200s' but never finished the list.

viddaloo

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2014, 08:58:26 AM »
Interesting to read the path of JimD.

My first philosophical 'lovestory' was with the newly passed Norwegian Peter Wessel Zapffe (only in Norwegian, but sometimes compared to Schopenhauer & Nietzsche) at Uni, whose selfstyled 'eco–philosophy' pretty much consists of warnings about over–population and over–development (which he defines as 'tragic', in the old Greek tragedy theatre sense).

Zapffe was reasonably celebrated in a small community like Norway, but articles, TV–documentaries and books tended to focus on his mountaineering and outdoor life ('friluftsliv'), just like the focus was on his colleague and co–mountaineer, eco–philosopher Arne Naess.

That doesn't mean these two famous and celebrated Norwegians didn't focus much of their thinking on population and related problems, though. So I would stress — by this — that you are not alone in your thinking or analysis.

The problem is more that this topic doesn't sell tabloid newspapers. Human beings in groups, thinking through tabloid newsmedia, is a sad and sordid story.
[]

wili

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2014, 05:29:53 PM »
Quote
anything that promotes a larger generation gap so the women would have their children post 30 years of age would be a significant factor

Thanks, Pmt. That is an underappreciated point. Average age of first birth is increasing globally, but not at a fast enough rate.

Obviously, an enormous and rapidly expanding (even if at a slightly declining rate) global population is a vast and fundamental problem than needs much more serious open discussion than what it is currently getting now in various fora.

But for the nth time I will remind all that, in a world where the top 1% controls half of all resources, and the top 10% nearly 90% of all resources, it is those minorities of very high-level users whose 'populations' are currently the greatest threat to global ecosystems. And most of us here are probably in that top 10%.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

wili

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2014, 06:24:29 PM »
Jim wrote: "Our lizard brain makes all critical decisions and is easily manipulated by those smart enough to trigger its responses."

That suggests at least a potential strategy--get 'those smart enough to trigger...responses' to trigger different responses. Essential, getting at least a portion of the propaganda branch of industrial society to play a different tune must be an important element of any remotely less-than-absolutely-worse-case scenario going forward. But with everything, how to achieve that is the difficulty (though perhaps not quite as difficult as trying to directly alter all of basic human nature).
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

wili

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2014, 08:41:21 PM »
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

viddaloo

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2014, 04:06:27 AM »
I love being this wrong!  ;D

The problem is more that this topic doesn't sell tabloid newspapers. Human beings in groups, thinking through tabloid newsmedia, is a sad and sordid story.



How to Defuse the Population Bomb
[]

JimD

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2014, 05:37:06 PM »
viddaloo

That is a good link and well worth the read.

But a big quibble with it.  Re the below quote.

Quote
......Out of Control

Not all experts agree that better family planning will save the planet. Connelly argues that the environmentalist argument for population control is at best wrong, and at worst disingenuous. “An individual human who is a subsistence farmer consumes about as many calories as a dolphin,” he says. “You and me are consuming calories equivalent to a blue whale. One American blue whale is worth dozens of Bangladeshi dolphins. To say ‘if only there were fewer dolphins, the rest of us whales would be OK’ I think is crazy. And it’s a cop-out. And it’s unfair.”

The point he is making is that the real problem for the planet is overall consumption. In some family-planning clinics, he says, there are posters on the wall depicting two families: the unhappy, unplanned family, living in abject poverty and violence, and the happy, planned family, with a suburban home and two cars parked in the driveway. The idea it promotes is “the miracle of family planning: If you get rid of the kids, you can have more stuff.”

But, he adds, “you can’t have it both ways. Either we’re going to lift hundreds of millions and eventually billions of people out of poverty and make them consumers of cars and everything else, or we’re going to reduce numbers of people so they will consume less. How do you reconcile these two things?”

The last part I bolded is very confused.  That is not the choice at all.

This overall conclusion jumps to the most frequent retort to figuring out how to make serious population reductions; i.e. it implies we can accomplish our goals just by reducing consumption.  This solution is siezed upon by many who understand we have a critical problem, but are unable to see that the reduction of consumption - by itself - is inadequate by a long ways from being sufficient.  I think they take this path because, just like almost everyone, they shy away from that 3rd rail issue of the implications of 'mandatory population reductions'.  Just that phrase brings out of the woodwork those who jump to inflamatory Nazi like statements about anyone who would suggest something which sounds so authoritarian.

But you just cannot get there from here using their argument.  In discussions about population reductions and the causes of climate  change we MUST always keep one fact very clear in our minds and that is this one.  If EVERY person on Earth reduced their consumption to that of the 'average' African and our population never climbed above where it is today (and you can be sure it is most likely going up about 2 billion more - not the 5 billion from the article - but we will just figure from 7+ billion) then the global emissions of carbon would still be an increase of about 10 Gtonnes per year.  Now we all know for certain that average global consumption is not going to shrink to that level.   So given this arguments implementation we would never stop the worsening of climate change.  It is a good idea but it is not by itself a solution.

So even if we think that cutting consumption is a good idea (and I agree that it is) we have to acknowledge that by itself it is wholly inadequate.

Implicit in the proposing as humane a mandatory population reduction program as possible is that it be conducted jointly with a mandatory global program focusing on reductions in per capita carbon emissions.  The two approaches are not separate ideas one chooses between but inseparable parts of one overall program.

One must also recognize the inherent conflict between the idea of improving the economic circumstances of the worlds poor and the idea of reducing patterns of consumption.  Both are certainly popular ideas but, if we all chose to live with emission patterns identical to the poor and that would still not be sufficient, we have a big problem with advocating economic growth.  You can see why when I look at the above I am so focused on population reduction. It stands heads and shoulders above all other items on our to do list.

One other item from the article that many people who have looked into our problems would violently disagree with is the statement it repeats that humans are only exceeding the Earth's carrying capacity by 1.5 times.  This is serious cooking the books nonsense and there is a host of work out there which provides solid work indicating that a more realistic number is that we are at about 3-5 times.  But worse than that is that our rate of degrading the global carrying capacity proceeds unabated so that number worsens every day even if one does not take population growth, economic development or worsening climate change into account.   IF the human population in pre-industrial times was somewhere around 1-1.5 billion that does NOT mean that that was the global carrying capacity.  It is clear that humans by 1700 had already seriously damaged vast swaths of the Earth and our various civilizations and empires over history had undergone repeated collapses due to exceeding the carrying capacity in the regions they occupied.  The damage to the carrying capacity of those regions from those events was substantial and in many cases it never recovered.  So one can make a pretty good argument that the true global carrying capacity is likely lower than even the one I suggested above. 

Interesting stuff.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Bruce Steele

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2014, 08:08:14 PM »
JimD, I probably misunderstand something in your question about emissions if we all consumed like an average human in Africa but just ballpark numbers. 7 billion times 2tons CO2 per person =
14 gigatonnes CO2.  14 times .2729 = 3.82 Gt Carbon .  Although 2013 emissions were 36 Gt Co2 and our total Carbon emissions were 9.82 Gt if we did live like an average person in Africa or better yet an Indian with  1.8 tons of CO2 average per person emissions we would cut total worldwide emissions by a third. Even with 9 billion of us we would still keep emissions to half our current rate if we could live much simpler lives. So I would argue controlling population is important but changing our expectations for comfort is as important. i.e. We should change our value system.

werther

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2014, 09:58:36 PM »
I admit that most issues discussed in this thread submerge me into severe ethical difficulties. Here’s what constrains my thinking. ‘Limits to Growth’, ‘peak-oil’, agricultural- and fishery concepts combined with unsustainable population growth provide the background to assume that there will occur an unimaginable die-off.
Given that outcome, it is logically foolish to apply any program that would bring the timing of that event closer or would multiply the scale.

So how should be dealt with international programs like: medical aid, development, disaster-relief etcetera? What about refugees? Or military intervention aimed at pacifying civil conflict?
No matter how well-intended, almost any program cynically contributes to the die-off. That goes for most national support programs, too.

I’ve tried to visualize this from the core-values. Justice, compassion, courage, wisdom, selfcontrol. Good-old Plato with a hint of Buddhism. What seems right on the short term, becomes compromised in the light of destiny. So I guess any action taken should be done from a comprehensible and clear example, as well personal as societal.

I would opt for drastically reducing energy-consuming materialism. See the “crash on demand or mobilize”- thread. One of the foolish programs I mentioned above is active stimulus of birth-rate growth in countries that have aging populations. A program like that takes an annual share of about 1,2% from the Netherlands’ government budget. I’d promote to end that and take regulatory action to limit births to one per married couple or household.
I’d suggest medical aid more directed at comforting sickness and death, instead of aiming at prolonging life. I understand that that would go for myself too.
I would opt to stop any program to actively inviting people from less fortunate countries, though I would feel committed to help those that arrive by their own means (a phenomenon that will strain society to the limit as climate change disaster grows).

I could go on like that. Liberty would be restricted, but after all it is no core-value. There’s only liberty in the false conviction that there’s an independent self. Just there lies the clue in how people could be convinced not to revolt. A new and true paradigm. If religion could support that paradigm, I wouldn’t even object to a new bond between state and clergy.

Is there any chance of the masses to accept that kind of leadership?

viddaloo

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2014, 11:22:11 PM »
Interesting stuff.

Jim,

now that there is discussion in the tabloid media about overpopulation — a very rare thing, as I understand it — maybe you could author a 'letter to the editor' of Newsweek, for printing in a week or two? Just a thought. The chance may not come again very soon.
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viddaloo

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2014, 01:21:49 AM »
I’d promote to end that and take regulatory action to limit births to one per married couple or household.

Werther, with the social and moral trends of today, such a policy would only result in a woman having 7 kids with 7 dads. So your limit would have to be per woman in order to be meaningful.

Also, in response to your earlier post, that 'wildlife' area you mentioned is a *polder* below sea level 100% dependent on human 'gardening' and fatally threatened from day 1 of a sea level rise or dike breach event. That's all right for an amusement park, but IMO no reason to be hopeful.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2014, 01:27:25 AM by viddaloo »
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AbruptSLR

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2014, 04:35:37 AM »
The linked article indicates that Pope Francis is drawing a line in the sand to fight against climate change; however the article indicates that: "… a strong majority of white evangelicals in the U.S. believe that worsening natural disasters are a sign of the apocalypse, not climate change, and other conservative evangelical sects will likely oppose Francis' efforts."

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/12/28/3607083/pope-francis-climate-secret-weapon-next-year/

It seems to me that any step to fight climate change is a step in the right direction (even small steps), and that the U.S. white evangelicals should consider that according to their own belief that God gave man free will, & it is that free will that mankind is using to create climate change and thus mankind can and should use his/her free will to fight against climate change.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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werther

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2014, 08:55:57 AM »
Vid, my naïve attempt on the birth-control only shows the difficulties on the way. I don't see a political momentum for any of these issues; our government first has economical profit in mind when climate policy is even discussed at all. Opportunities for Dutch watermanagement.

I see you have heard of the wildlife area. If with 'gardening' you mean that it would immediately perish without human maintenance, you're right. Musing on this some further, the situatio over there has some symbolic meaning. An annual 0,72 Gt of water is pumped out of the 1100 km2 polder with the aid of fossil fuel burning. That and an eight meter high dike protects not only the wildlife area, but also some 300.000 people.

PS I mentioned it for the dying horse.

TerryM

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2014, 12:56:50 PM »
Great thread!!
My own timeline for the future course of complex civilization has been undercut by events in the Ukraine.
I'd like to know more about the USS Donald Cook. After the event in April she reentered the Black Sea on December 26th.
Terry


 



JimD

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2014, 05:38:17 PM »
JimD, I probably misunderstand something in your question about emissions if we all consumed like an average human in Africa but just ballpark numbers. 7 billion times 2tons CO2 per person =
14 gigatonnes CO2.  14 times .2729 = 3.82 Gt Carbon .  Although 2013 emissions were 36 Gt Co2 and our total Carbon emissions were 9.82 Gt if we did live like an average person in Africa or better yet an Indian with  1.8 tons of CO2 average per person emissions we would cut total worldwide emissions by a third. Even with 9 billion of us we would still keep emissions to half our current rate if we could live much simpler lives. So I would argue controlling population is important but changing our expectations for comfort is as important. i.e. We should change our value system.

No argument with that at all Bruce.  But to change our "value system" immediately runs into that inability to think rationally problem.  Normally a significant change in what we call a value system (which is not really based upon values at all) requires a period of evolution to change the subconscious hardwiring which makes almost all decisions.

Global emissions are still rising every year.  The rate of rise well exceeds the rate of population increase so what we are seeing (even with all the green efforts to convert to more efficient technologies and alternative energy systems) is a rise in the per capita global emissions.  Thus we see the effects of the drive for economic growth and a higher standard of living.  Voluntary reductions in our standards of living are not on anyone's radar at this time.

But to try and make my point more clear.

1. Even the most minimal level of civilizational comforts which could be imagined to be 'acceptable' on a global level still result in emissions well above neutral and a worsening of climate change.

2. This leaves no alternative but to dramatically reduce population in order to achieve emission levels as near as possible to net zero (we won't even go into the need to be negative).

Since item 1 is almost certainly a non-starter (or at least will take a few generations) the only option remaining is to make large negative changes  (quickly meaning over a generation or so - not meaning extermination) in population levels at a rapid rate.

Note that I consider this all an academic discussion only.  I may have a lack of imagination about all this, but I can not envision global humanity ever getting its act together and acting rationally.  So everything seems to point to the train wreck.
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2014, 06:24:19 PM »
Werther

Excellent post.  You are a civilized man.

I admit that most issues discussed in this thread submerge me into severe ethical difficulties. Here’s what constrains my thinking. ‘Limits to Growth’, ‘peak-oil’, agricultural- and fishery concepts combined with unsustainable population growth provide the background to assume that there will occur an unimaginable die-off.
Given that outcome, it is logically foolish to apply any program that would bring the timing of that event closer or would multiply the scale.

The foolishness of applying such a program would seem to be dependent upon the probable outcomes of executing the program or continuing BAU.  If the facts indicate (as I think they do) that continuing BAU will result in a much more violent die-off due to higher population levels at its beginning, much less remaining resources for those who make it through the bottleneck of the die-off and such  - then the path with the smallest amount of death and suffering is to apply the population reduction strategy as soon as possible.  Choosing the path of least suffering can be argued to be the most moral, ethical and humane - even if that choice results in the suffering coming earlier rather than later.  Given this situation choosing to wait is evidence of not just a moral failure but also of cowardice as one is choosing their personal comforts at the expense of the innocents who will be born after them and have no input to the decision.

Quote
So how should be dealt with international programs like: medical aid, development, disaster-relief etcetera? What about refugees? Or military intervention aimed at pacifying civil conflict?
No matter how well-intended, almost any program cynically contributes to the die-off. That goes for most national support programs, too.

This is a very astute question.  And one which has no clear answer.  It is a dilemma.  No matter which choice one makes it results in suffering with one choice making it earlier and the other later.  But I think the course of events will take the form of continuing such programs until the shrinking amount of resources and wealth result in such activities just being defunded.  A process that will be part and parcel of the collapse requiring a back off in complexity.  Helping others on the far side of the world is an expensive process and only grew into prominence with the rise of vast amounts of cheap energy.  What can not continue eventually will not.

Quote
I’ve tried to visualize this from the core-values. Justice, compassion, courage, wisdom, selfcontrol. Good-old Plato with a hint of Buddhism. What seems right on the short term, becomes compromised in the light of destiny. So I guess any action taken should be done from a comprehensible and clear example, as well personal as societal.

I would opt for drastically reducing energy-consuming materialism. See the “crash on demand or mobilize”- thread. One of the foolish programs I mentioned above is active stimulus of birth-rate growth in countries that have aging populations. A program like that takes an annual share of about 1,2% from the Netherlands’ government budget. I’d promote to end that and take regulatory action to limit births to one per married couple or household.
I’d suggest medical aid more directed at comforting sickness and death, instead of aiming at prolonging life. I understand that that would go for myself too.
I would opt to stop any program to actively inviting people from less fortunate countries, though I would feel committed to help those that arrive by their own means (a phenomenon that will strain society to the limit as climate change disaster grows).

I could go on like that. Liberty would be restricted, but after all it is no core-value. There’s only liberty in the false conviction that there’s an independent self. Just there lies the clue in how people could be convinced not to revolt. A new and true paradigm. If religion could support that paradigm, I wouldn’t even object to a new bond between state and clergy.

Is there any chance of the masses to accept that kind of leadership?

Good points and good questions.  The possible answers would seem to depend on whether our global population can 'choose' to take a 'civilized' approach or not.  If we could choose to behave like rational civilized human beings we could surely choose paths which were of a more moral and humane nature than the ones we are following now.  But then again, if we were capable of such group decision making it is hard to imagine how we would have gotten into this situation in the first place.  It is not like there was not plenty of evidence to draw our attention to it and a number of smart people warning us about it a long time ago.   We instead chose the lizard brain decision making approach and arrived at where we are today.

I do expect "new" leadership to arise in the coming years.  But times are going to be getting rougher and in such times history has shown us that humans choose a path in those circumstance of following rough men.  Rough men do not have a history of civilized approaches to solving problems.  And frightened people are pretty much incapable of comprehending the nuances of moral and ethical decision making and feel very comfortable with following the directions of those rough men.  Can we break this mold imposed upon us by evolution and history.  It is a truism that all of us alive today are here because our ancestors behaved the above way and were the survivors.  Can we step outside those mental restraints and dramatically alter ourselves  - or not?
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

viddaloo

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2014, 04:13:42 AM »
Jim,

I absolutely agree that climate change was a Doe or Die situation, a couple decades ago. So let us turn this thread into a 'What If' counterfactual discussion on what could have been, if only we'd acted in time, and what sort of acts those would have to be, OK?

I recently brought up Oðinn — the old patriarch or Norse god — who according to myth gave his one eye to gain wisdom, in a family discussion on what would have to be done under what kind of leadership, to have any chance of solving this kind of problem.

In my language, at least, being 'one–eyed' means seeing things from fewer angles, so a one–eyed wise man like Oðinn would be a leader fixated on solving the problem, and less receptive of All Other Concerns. This means most people would view him as stupid or stubborn, but that is another rant entirely.

You've brought up the complete inability of human beings gathered in groups to make intelligent or rational, long–term decisions. I've read books that support this view, and that focus on the complete inability of a 'democratic' system — real or illusive/imagined — to deal with a systemic problem like climate change.

This suggests that what would probably have been needed sometime there in the 1980s at the very least, would be a 'one–eyed', focused and dedicated leader/dictator like the Oðinn figure — which brings up all the complex and difficult discussions of suffering and sacrifice for a bigger goal.

I would likely be the last person on Earth to campaign for a dictatorship — particularly back in the eighties! — but intellectually, and in a Doe or Die situation, I think I would say that *ANY* policy that could save the planet and the human race from a severe extinction event, would at least call for my consideration.

At least I would say that in the 00s. Now I'm not so sure anymore.
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AbruptSLR

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2014, 04:57:52 PM »
While I do agree that the global population is a serious problem, the linked reference by Bradshaw & Brook (2014) illustrates the complex nature of our current anthropogenic climate change challenge (especially when combined with potentially high climate sensitivity, timing issues, communication issues, political/economic issues, etc).  This work indicates that the population challenge is not going to go away easily (before system collapse), and projects that population may likely reach 12 billion people by 2100 (excluding major famines, epidemics or warfare), plus the footprint of the affluent is getting larger even more rapidly.  Unless, we make some major economic change (like a carbon fee & dividend plan), then I believe that increases in population and affluence will swamp any climate change progress made by simple regulations, cap & trade systems, efficiency programs, or normal technological progress:

Corey J. A. Bradshaw and Barry W. Brook, (2014), "Human population reduction is not a quick fix for environmental problems," PNAS, 10.1073/pnas.1410465111

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/10/23/1410465111

Abstract: "The inexorable demographic momentum of the global human population is rapidly eroding Earth’s life-support system. There are consequently more frequent calls to address environmental problems by advocating further reductions in human fertility. To examine how quickly this could lead to a smaller human population, we used scenario-based matrix modeling to project the global population to the year 2100. Assuming a continuation of current trends in mortality reduction, even a rapid transition to a worldwide one-child policy leads to a population similar to today’s by 2100. Even a catastrophic mass mortality event of 2 billion deaths over a hypothetical 5-y window in the mid-21st century would still yield around 8.5 billion people by 2100. In the absence of catastrophe or large fertility reductions (to fewer than two children per female worldwide), the greatest threats to ecosystems—as measured by regional projections within the 35 global Biodiversity Hotspots—indicate that Africa and South Asia will experience the greatest human pressures on future ecosystems. Humanity’s large demographic momentum means that there are no easy policy levers to change the size of the human population substantially over coming decades, short of extreme and rapid reductions in female fertility; it will take centuries, and the long-term target remains unclear. However, some reduction could be achieved by midcentury and lead to hundreds of millions fewer people to feed. More immediate results for sustainability would emerge from policies and technologies that reverse rising consumption of natural resources."

Also see:
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29788754
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AbruptSLR

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #25 on: December 30, 2014, 05:13:38 PM »
As a follow-up to my last post, again while I agree with the idea of working to limit population growth (even to the point of having negative population growth due to low birthrates), I would like to point out just limiting population growth is not sufficient as wealth per capita (particularly in China) is growing several times faster than the population.

For example, the attached image from uses IPCC data to show that the single largest component contributing to the recent growth in CO2 emissions is growth of GDP per capita, while the following linked reference states that it is not realistic to expect developing countries to limit their economic growth in order to control GHG emissions (note that climate change was intentionally excluded from the agenda of the APEC summit meeting to discuss economic development).  This supports the idea that the world is headed towards an era of high positive feedback mechanisms (triggered by high GHG emissions).


Michael Jakob, Jan Christoph Steckel, Stephan Klasen, Jann Lay, Nicole Grunewald, Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso, Sebastian Renner & Ottmar Edenhofer , (2014), "Feasible mitigation actions in developing countries", Nature Climate Change, Volume: 4, Pages: 961–968, doi:10.1038/nclimate2370

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n11/full/nclimate2370.html

Abstract: "Energy use is not only crucial for economic development, but is also the main driver of greenhouse-gas emissions. Developing countries can reduce emissions and thrive only if economic growth is disentangled from energy-related emissions. Although possible in theory, the required energy-system transformation would impose considerable costs on developing nations. Developed countries could bear those costs fully, but policy design should avoid a possible 'climate rent curse', that is, a negative impact of financial inflows on recipients' economies. Mitigation measures could meet further resistance because of adverse distributional impacts as well as political economy reasons. Hence, drastically re-orienting development paths towards low-carbon growth in developing countries is not very realistic. Efforts should rather focus on 'feasible mitigation actions' such as fossil-fuel subsidy reform, decentralized modern energy and fuel switching in the power sector."
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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viddaloo

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #26 on: December 30, 2014, 10:44:54 PM »
(note that climate change was intentionally excluded from the agenda of the APEC summit meeting to discuss economic development).  This supports the idea that the world is headed towards an era of high positive feedback mechanisms (triggered by high GHG emissions).

So both the APEC summit and the recent G8 summit in Brisbane, Australia, dropped climate change as a topic? I would have to agree with you that's not a very good sign (unless one has concluded that a rapid collapse is the best overall 'final solution' for the biosphere).
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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2014, 12:32:29 AM »
ASLR

We are in complete agreement that dramatic population reductions are not sufficient to stop the worsening of climate change.

I firmly believe that the No 1 issue that we have to address is population levels.  Nothing can be solved with out making solid progress on that issue.

The No 2 issue is most likely the issue of affluence.  The greatest offenders in this category are clearly the industrialized countries both historically and at present.  But it is a mistake to think the affluence problem can be solved (and I don't think this is your opinion but I am just pointing the mistake out as it is a very common one that is often heard) just by reducing the consumption and lifestyle patterns of the wealthy countries.  It is much more complicated than that.

Not only is that voluntary affluent lifestyle reduction almost as highly unlikely as getting dramatic population reductions, everyone who is not affluent thinks it is their right to become so and they are fully engaged in that pursuit.  This just does not work from either end.

To save the situation not only do we need the affluent to become like the 'poor' we need the poor to stay poor - speaking in a sense of carbon emissions and living beyond the globe's carrying capacity.  What will be the response to that requirement?  Well India has formally stated that economic development comes before dealing with climate change.  India will not too long in the future have more citizens than any other country.  On the other end of the spectrum is the US which has had it's Vice President state that our way of life is not negotiable (I assure everyone reading this that his statement reflects the views of most Americans).  No one is innocent when it comes to carbon emissions and excess consumption.  Some of us are felons but all are at least on the wrong side of right.

Where does that leave us other than rushing towards collapse with an almost eager anticipation.

We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

viddaloo

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2014, 01:04:43 AM »
Where does that leave us other than rushing towards collapse with an almost eager anticipation.

Good question, but there will always be options, as I see it. In this case, these options:
  • Slow collapse of civilization — a greater part of the Biosphere will join us
  • Medium pace collapse of civilization — a slightly smaller part of the Biosphere will join us
  • Rapid collapse of civilization — a large, but minimum part of the Biosphere will join us
As an environmentalist — and because the decision not to avoid collapse was taken before I even had the right to vote — I would have to root for Option 3.
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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2014, 02:13:42 AM »
Where does that leave us other than rushing towards collapse with an almost eager anticipation.

JimD,

I agree that we are rushing towards a collapse (of one size or another), and while I do not eagerly anticipate this collapse (although I admit that I would like a near-term shock sufficient to wake the public up), I believe that it is wrong to ignore/deny this coming collapse, because as viddaloo points out there are always options, and even though things are bad, one can decide to either make them better, or worse.

You point out that you believe that after the collapse (with a large fraction of the world population dying) that we will return to more old fashioned forms of organization (say feudal society); however, I believe that at the very minimum if we prepare now the future forms of organization could be even more enlightened that what we have today, because for at least of couple of hundred year the surviving population will be motivated to work to prevent such a reoccurrence for as long as people remember.

Call me a Pollyanna, but I believe that "Natural Selection" lead directly to some of man's more admirable qualities like compassion, cooperation and empathy; and that our modern society has twisted this force of nature into a belief in "Survival of the Fittest" were the belief that "greed is good" is nourishing the seeds of climate change; when if we just put a price on carbon proportional to the risks we are facing; then our surviving offspring would say that at least we put-up a fight, rather than cursing us for our mutual weakness.

Best,
ASLR
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”
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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #30 on: December 31, 2014, 04:53:03 PM »

So long story short, what are you doing to help those in the future? Promoting early collapse and acceptance? Anything else?

It only gets lonelier the further forward you go in the battlelines.

What would you suggest I do?  Is there any way to turn this ship around and head back in the other direction?

No, we're headed for the rocks on the whole - it is senseless to attempt to fight the tide on this I think it's fair to say. Even attempting a managed collapse is almost certainly similarly hopeless unless you happen to hold substantial influence with those at the apex of the socioeconomic pyramid who no doubt will contemplate precisely that if they think they can concentrate all the pain on others than them.

But what to do? I guess it depends - if you are young enough - you may as well prepare to fight directly, however long the odds.

If you are older - the question would be why not help others to do so? Does one have no children or grandchildren that one brought into existence? Failing that, is there no sense of fighting for ones wider community, tribe or species as a whole?

It generally seems to me that the older end of the population shrugs and says "we don't care too much, we won't live through the worst of it" while the younger end says "we're screwed, there is no point trying, let's just enjoy the diminishing days".

Should that gap not be bridged? Is it worthless to try? Is our species so pathetically apathetic to truly en masse march off the cliff into a far worse collapse and far more brutality and suffering for much longer than was required? Apparently generally so, and yet I still occasionally question my assumptions.

JimD

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #31 on: December 31, 2014, 05:29:52 PM »
Where does that leave us other than rushing towards collapse with an almost eager anticipation.

Good question, but there will always be options, as I see it. In this case, these options:
  • Slow collapse of civilization — a greater part of the Biosphere will join us
  • Medium pace collapse of civilization — a slightly smaller part of the Biosphere will join us
  • Rapid collapse of civilization — a large, but minimum part of the Biosphere will join us

As an environmentalist — and because the decision not to avoid collapse was taken before I even had the right to vote — I would have to root for Option 3.

I agree and such is the thrust of most of my posts.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2014, 05:51:11 PM by JimD »
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

JimD

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #32 on: December 31, 2014, 05:50:28 PM »
Where does that leave us other than rushing towards collapse with an almost eager anticipation.

JimD,

I agree that we are rushing towards a collapse (of one size or another), and while I do not eagerly anticipate this collapse (although I admit that I would like a near-term shock sufficient to wake the public up), I believe that it is wrong to ignore/deny this coming collapse, because as viddaloo points out there are always options, and even though things are bad, one can decide to either make them better, or worse.

So true.  Which is part of the reason I still argue for making changes that would make the end result less worse.  I just don't think anyone will make those changes in time to make a meaningful difference.

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You point out that you believe that after the collapse (with a large fraction of the world population dying) that we will return to more old fashioned forms of organization (say feudal society); however, I believe that at the very minimum if we prepare now the future forms of organization could be even more enlightened that what we have today, because for at least of couple of hundred year the surviving population will be motivated to work to prevent such a reoccurrence for as long as people remember.

I also have such hopes.  But if such does occur it will probably not occur on a wide scale and will likely be restricted to those places which fared best in the squeeze through the bottleneck.  Sort of like the monks who kept alive much of the knowledge which would have been lost otherwise in the Dark Ages.  Those who make it but fare worst will be driven very low on the civilizational scale so it is hard to see them landing on an enlightened plane of existence.

Quote
Call me a Pollyanna, but I believe that "Natural Selection" lead directly to some of man's more admirable qualities like compassion, cooperation and empathy; and that our modern society has twisted this force of nature into a belief in "Survival of the Fittest" were the belief that "greed is good" is nourishing the seeds of climate change; when if we just put a price on carbon proportional to the risks we are facing; then our surviving offspring would say that at least we put-up a fight, rather than cursing us for our mutual weakness.

Best,
ASLR

Hmmm... yes and no?  On a village or tribal level I think you have a point.  At least in the good times.  But in the bad times all of those small cultures had methods for maintaining their levels within in their local carrying capacities.  Infanticide, abandoning the old, warfare with the next tribal unit on the other side of the hill, letting the weak starve, etc.  And those admirable qualities almost never were extended to those outside the tribal group.  Just the opposite in fact.

Our occasional adherence in modern times to those admirable qualities on a global basis (excluding the 3rd world most of the time) could also (and has been) attributed to the dramatic rise in the available per capita energy provided by the use of fossil fuels.  And one could extrapolate from that to say the decline of energy EROEI will result in a return to historical norms regardless of any considerations of Climate Change.

It's a pleasure.  I have to work to keep up with you.

Best, Jim
We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. Alexander Solzhenitsyn

How is it conceivable that all our technological progress - our very civilization - is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal? Albert Einstein

Sigmetnow

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #33 on: December 31, 2014, 05:51:39 PM »
I’d promote to end that and take regulatory action to limit births to one per married couple or household.

Werther, with the social and moral trends of today, such a policy would only result in a woman having 7 kids with 7 dads. So your limit would have to be per woman in order to be meaningful.
...

You neglect to mention the men who have 7 kids with 7 different women.  If birth control were as convenient to obtain as Viagra, and women had independence and control over their own bodies, the world's population could stabilize normally.  But the responsibility must be equal.
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #34 on: January 03, 2015, 02:36:49 AM »
Brilliant post JimD. Thank you.

If birth control were as convenient to obtain as Viagra, and women had independence and control over their own bodies, the world's population could stabilize normally.

I will have to object to such a notion. You can't really fool evolution or human nature that way in the long run. To quote JimD:
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Population levels are driven by available per capita energy supplies
If you want to permanently stabilize the world population you would either have to impose direct birth control (Chinese style), or deny people access to more energy (i.e. starve them).

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #35 on: January 03, 2015, 04:23:52 AM »
I very much doubt that a limit of one birth per man would make much difference to world population figures, but granted, it has been known to happen, though very rarely.

In sharp contrast, a one birth per woman policy would make some difference to world population figures, at least in the corners of the Earth where you have some sort of societal control with these things.

Going back to the earliest suggestion of a one birth per marriage or relationship rule, this wouldn't stop out–of–control breeding, as devoted breeders would then simply divorce (if even married) or go from one relationship to the other, to legally have more kids.

Out of those 3 suggestions, then, the limit per woman seems to be the most efficient.

Do I want such regulation or do I believe that it would make any significant difference to the population or energy or climate change crisis we're currently knee–deep in? Absolutely not. All I'm saying is an efficient rule with regard to limiting the number of births would have to be per woman.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2015, 09:13:13 AM by viddaloo »
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Sigmetnow

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2015, 04:28:26 PM »
Since over 200 million of the world's women do not have access to birth control, how do you propose to prevent men from creating all those extra babies?
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

ivica

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #37 on: September 29, 2017, 12:12:55 AM »
and where are we now, today?

magnamentis

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #38 on: September 29, 2017, 10:16:10 PM »
Since over 200 million of the world's women do not have access to birth control, how do you propose to prevent men from creating all those extra babies?

we refuse to use any artificial birth control for decades and it works/worked for decades, it simply depends whether the spirit (brain) or the animal (body) has control over us and that does not only apply to procreation, applies to consumption, nutrition and any other vices and exagerations for not being misunderstood, we enjoy life a lot and have lots of fun, just not mainstreem stupidly LOL

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Re: How do you get here? - from there???
« Reply #39 on: September 29, 2017, 10:29:15 PM »
Since over 200 million of the world's women do not have access to birth control, how do you propose to prevent men from creating all those extra babies?

we refuse to use any artificial birth control for decades and it works/worked for decades
It worked for men. It still works for men. Women died and still die often simply through too many pregnancies overwork and not enough food. Your post does not deserve and will never receive an LOL from me.
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