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> Global Warming, Is it the end of the world?
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Swanny 
Posted: 27-Apr-2006, 07:56 PM
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The only significant way to reduce the impact of human populations is to reduce human populations. Some biologists argue that we have already exceeded the carrying capacity of our planet. Even if not, we are certainly coming very, very close.

There is no such thing as a "balance of nature", but rather there is a dynamic equalibrium that allows for such things as population and climatic shifts. All species that grow at an exponential rate have a population crash at the peak of the growth. There is no bell curve when it comes to exponentially growing populations. That is true of hares and rabbits, grouse and other upland game birds, and I believe it is also true of humans.

I've seen estimates that the black plague of 17th century Europe wiped out over 40% of the population, and that the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-19 took out about 25%. It really is only a matter of time before Nature flushes the planet again and I don't believe there is anything at all that we can do about it.

The best evidence shows that Global Warming is a real thing, but the cause of that warming is still under debate, even among scientists who are leaders in the field. Whether or not it is a natural or human-caused event is immaterial, that it will affect human populations is inevitable. We will either adapt or perish, just like all other species.

So long as sex remains popular, the problem of overpopulation can not be solved.

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Elspeth 
Posted: 28-Apr-2006, 05:45 AM
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Yep, Swanny you are right. Unfortuantely, the only way carrying capacity can be known for certian is to exceed it. sad.gif

And yet... This is where belief systems come in. Humans are an animal species, and they're not. Now don't everybody get their knickers all atwist, I'm only saying what I believe. We aren't an overcroweded ball, teeming with life and drowing in filth rotating haphazardly around the sun to our eventual doom. God is in control and we and this planet aren't going to expire until its time.

But, while we are still here, it is our responsibility to not degrade the garden we were given to live in. If we do, it won't bring about the end of the world, just make this an ugly, unhealthy place to live.

Personally, I don't like to dwell on this stuff. Science is a practice even more than medicine. So much gets published because academia has to publish or perish. What 'science' deems truth is often disproved years later. I remember in the span of one week two articles coming across my desk. One stated the greenhouse effect would keep the sun's rays from the planet and would eventually lead to the next ice age. The other stated it would trap in the heat from the earth and cause global warming. Opposing views published in reputible journals, both claiming to be fact.

So, live responsiblily to our fellow human beings and the planet, enjoying the time we are given here on what is still an amazingly beautiful place to live. cool.gif


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Swanny 
Posted: 28-Apr-2006, 09:56 AM
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Elspeth, I won't get my briefs in a bunch, but my own beliefs differ from yours considerably. It is my belief that while we are certainly blessed by the Master of Life in many respects, we are nonetheless large, gregarious, hairless, omnivorous and very intelligent primates. While we have an understanding and closeness of and to the spiritual realm that other species probably don't share, most human behaviors both normal and aberrant are easily explained when viewed in a biological model.

Like you, I believe the Master of Life gave us a special responsibility to care for our planet (the source of all life). Part of that responsibility is to control our own numbers as well as controlling all of our other behaviors to ensure proper stewardship of our environment. It is a responsibility we have failed to achieve and the consequences of that failure will simply be a normal result of the dynamic forces that control ALL life. I believe we aren't nearly as "special" as some of us wish to believe we are.

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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 28-Apr-2006, 10:44 AM
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QUOTE (Swanny @ 28-Apr-2006, 10:56 AM)
very intelligent primates

Not real sure about that part. Maybe we're just very delusional.


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Posted: 28-Apr-2006, 10:58 AM
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I am not having any children ever. If any child ever comes into my care he or che will be adopted. Another point...I just learned about Sustainability in my geography class, and our ecological footprint. Most of what everyone has said here would agree with those ideas. But anyway, has anyone heard of Biodiesel it is supposed to be simple to make, from left over cooking grease and it burns cleaner than gasoline. It might be a good idea, but I have yet to find more info about it.


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CelticCoalition 
Posted: 28-Apr-2006, 12:25 PM
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Unfourtunately, I don't believe much will be done about these problems until the damage comes to a point that is unbearable. That is the way I see human behavior: it changes when things become unbearable and not before.

The gas price example given earlier is an excellent example of my point. Car companies didn't really see a market for hybrid cars, and you only saw one or two on the market, until last year. Now all you hear about are the new hybrids coming out and potential new fuels such as hydrogen or electric cars. People always grumble about high gas prices, but now they are finally reaching a point where people are taking action.

It's going to be the same for everything else. When you walk outside and there's garbage everywhere, we'll start creating less.


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reddrake79 
Posted: 08-May-2006, 01:39 PM
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Are we sure there is more emphasis in the industry on hybrids now, or are we just hearing more because the news media wants to capitalize on the high oil prices? Maybe the emphasis has been there for a while the average person just didn't know about it. I remember hearing about companies looking for alternative fuel sources when I was younger, early eighties. True it was only a few years ago that there were maybe two companies with hybrids and only in a couple of models. but they have been increasing in numbers before this new oil crisis. (maybe in part they are responsible for the higher US oil prices smile.gif )

biodiesel is cheaper, however you have to process it yourself and convert your car to use it. A diesel engine does not have to convert much, but a gas engine has to change alot. The way the two engines use fuel is very different.

beliefs aside, there is alot about our planet that has been overstated. We are not globaly crowded, anybody living in the midwest of the US can see that, there are vast areas on every continent that have little to no population. I once saw a map of the world, the size of the country depended on its then current population per square mile. India, China, and a few other countries were almost 3 times there actually land size. America was about even (1 person every square mile avg.) Canada was a half inch strip of land on US northern boarder. again, humans contribution to the polutants in our atmosphere are insignificant to what the planet naturally produces. Yes, in certain areas there is overcrowding and rampant polution (New York, LA, Mexico city, Tokyo,etc.), but globaly there is not.


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Raven 
Posted: 16-May-2006, 08:55 AM
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QUOTE (Macfive @ 14-Apr-2006, 08:39 AM)
Well, this is a bit odd for me to post a message of this content because it was not too long ago that I honestly thought that Global Warming was something that someone made up to create more profits.

Over the past year I have watched this topic on the news develop until at this point events are happening faster than scientist can even report on.

With the arctic poles melting, hurricanes flourishing, extreme & dangereous weather on the rise and the atlantic conveyor belt slowing all signs point towards the beginning of climate change now. We might have already reached the point of no return and everyone needs to be aware of what is down the road for us and our children.

Take a message from the Arctic Inuit tribe in this article:

http://www.amhersttimes.com/index.php?opti...=1013&Itemid=27

View all of the articles on Arctic melting on google:

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&tab=wn&i...=arctic+melting

What is really scary is that scientist have probably under-estimated the amount of sea rise and warming because of failing to include certain unknown factors until now.

Like a big switch, the earth is making a change and while I am not trying to say this is the end of the world, I think everyone needs to step back and examine what is really happening here before we are confronted with a situation that could become very unmanagable very fast!

I have been following this topic for some time myself Mac and I tend to agree with your first assumtion (all about Money) on a certain level.

I don't doubt that the earth is going through a warming trend. What I doubt is what scientists purport as the cause or that the earth is actually headed for any permanent change.

I don't think that we have enough accurate data history to speak with authority that this is not just something that happens in a cycle. Given the age of the earth, even a few hundred years of record keeping is really not enough and baring some sort of cataclysmic event, I simply doubt the voracity of such claims.

Will shrinking poles effect us in the short run? Probably on some level. I certainly feel for the Inuit people having spent time with them in the 70's.

BTW I thought it odd that the one gentleman said "We will no longer be Eskimos" Implying that the word "Eskimo" has something to do with the cold. It is actually an Indian name that means, "Eater of raw flesh" and you can take this to the bank,,,they don't feel obligated to cook anything tongue.gif

The word Inuit simply means the people in their language.

Finally an end of the world senario is much more likely to be cold than hot (a few years in the future:)) that is if you believe in the 2nd Law of Thermo Dynamics.

But for now, Crank up the Air conditioning every body smile.gif

TTFN

Mikel


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Emmet 
Posted: 13-Feb-2007, 09:54 AM
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Global Warming, Is it the end of the world?


Yes; it is the “end of the world”, but global warming isn’t our most immediate concern. Our entire civilization is based upon and completely dependent upon the unfettered and unlimited consumption of a finite, non-renewable natural resource; fossil fuels. Petrochemicals are the sine qua non of the Industrial Age. At some point it is inevitable that global demand will outstrip supply; demand will continue to rise while production precipitously declines. The best estimates of when this will actually occur are somewhere between now and 2010. The discovery of new oil reserves peaked in the 1962 and has declined to virtually nothing in the past few years. Every year we consume 6 barrels of oil for every single barrel we find. The global supply of oil will peak, and then steadily decline, but global demand will not. By some estimates, there will be an average of two-percent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead. In 2003 we burned 76 million barrels; by 2020 we will be using 112 million barrels a day, after which projected demand accelerates (provided of course that there is any oil to fuel the accelerated demand; some models show global oil production to be essentially zero by 2030; Chevron predicts that the world will consume approximately one trillion barrels of oil over the next 30 years - about as much untapped petroleum as is thought to lie in all of the world's known oil reserves.). Current world demand for oil is about 84 million barrels per day, and current world production capacity is about....well, 84 million barrels per day. We’re maxed out; there is essentially no reserve production capacity in the system. Even a small drop in production can be economically devastating. For instance, during the 1973 OPEC oil embargo, shortfalls in production as small as 5% caused the price of oil to nearly quadruple. The same thing happened in California a few years ago with natural gas: a production drop of less than 5% caused prices to skyrocket by 400%. Once the decline gets under way, production will drop by between 3% and 8% per year, every year. An 8% yearly decline would cut global oil production by a whopping 50% in less than nine years. If a 5% cut in production caused prices to triple in the 1970s, what do you think a 50% cut is going to do, socially, economically, and politically?
The "End of the World" will begin with increasingly drastic fluctuations in the price of oil as demand meets and starts to exceed production capacity. Industrialized countries will go to war to secure their access to oil, but production will start to fall off, either due to disruptions in the supply stream due to war, and/or the decreasing productivity of the oil fields exacerbated by rising demand. This will not follow a bell-shaped curve; all of the "easy" oil, readily accessible and relatively close to the surface, is long gone; extracting the remainder will rapidly reach a point of diminishing returns that will require more energy than it will produce. This will result in a "crash and burn" global economic depression that will make October 28th 1929 look like a minor market correction. Industries will shut down, there will be increasingly frequent blackouts and shortages of heating oil and food as an ever-increasing share of increasingly scarce resources are diverted to the war machine, desperately trying to squeeze out just one more quarter's profits for the military industrial complex. The newly impoverished populace; hungry, cold, permanently unemployed and completely lacking the survival skills necessitated by this new reality, will start to rebel, but will be repressed by the increasingly draconian "emergency measures" of an increasingly Fascist government. As people become more desperate, the social fabric will fray, and then quickly unravel as a society awash with firearms that prides itself on "rugged individualism" (actually a synonym for selfishness, self-centeredness, and narcissistic egocentrism) and have always assumed that their privileged position (just 6% of the world's population but consuming more than 25% of it's resources) is the manifest will of God become increasingly pissed off that the teat's gone dry, abandon any pretense of polite society and start preying upon one another. The chaos and violence escalates as Government's span of control contracts and finally disappears altogether as the lights finally go out for the last time.
Now the real problems begin.

Between 1950 and 1984 world grain production increased by 250%, essentially due to fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers (natural gas), pesticides (oil), and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation. In the United States in 1994, 400 gallons of oil equivalents are expended annually to feed each American. Agricultural energy consumption is broken down as follows:
· 31% for the manufacture of inorganic fertilizer
· 19% for the operation of field machinery
· 16% for transportation
· 13% for irrigation
· 08% for raising livestock (not including livestock feed)
· 05% for crop drying
· 05% for pesticide production
· 08% miscellaneous
Energy costs for packaging, refrigeration, transportation to retail outlets, and household cooking are not factored into these figures. In the US, the average piece of food is transported almost 1,500 miles before it gets to your plate. In Canada, the average piece of food is transported 5,000 miles from where it is produced to where it is consumed. Just think what crop yields will be like without irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides, gasoline for the tractors, or diesel fuel for the trucks to bring it to market (or for that matter the industrial manufacturing base necessary to create everything from gigantic combine harvesters to garden hoes). Like every other aspect of modern civilization, agriculture is completely dependent upon petrochemicals, and there are no viable alternatives available, either now or on some futurists drafting board.
There are 6.5 billion people on the planet now; in 1600 there were 500 million. Even in the unlikely event that accountants and software engineers can suddenly master medieval agricultural techniques, feeding even 500 million will present unique challenges. Do not underestimate the importance of technological breakthroughs like the wheeled plow versus the turning board, horse versus oxen, or the spinning wheel versus the drop spindle. These technologies were the cumulative result of the collective experience of thousands of years; the learning curve for farmers in the last half of this century is going to be brutally steep.
Some climactic models show that reductions in crop yields could be as high as 50% as global temperatures increase. Most of the American Midwest, central Europe, Africa and Asia will become deserts; the absence of glacial runoff and annual snowmelts making water much scarcer than it is now. Already 20% of the global population has no access to safe potable water. A corn crop that produces about 118 bushels per acre a year of grain requires more than 500,000 gallons an acre of water during the growing season. While areas of Canada and Russia will become more temperate, clearing and cultivating land on a large scale is a highly fuel-intensive industrial process; and at least 1.2 acres per person is required in order to maintain current American dietary standards, and that’s using modern petrochemical-based agricultural methods. Without oil, as many as 10 acres per person might be needed. Also, it's not simply a matter of moving a crop up a few degrees of latitude; it's an entirely different environment; different seasons, sunlight, soil, pests, diseases. Unfortunately, our modern genetically modified crops are optimized to grow precisely where they are now, and are entirely dependent upon massive applications of man-made fertilizers and pesticides. The "field wheat" of the Middle Ages was genetically diverse; big wheat, little wheat, tall wheat, short wheat, drought resistant wheat, mold resistant wheat, bug resistant wheat. A wet or dry year might produce a poor crop, but at least it produced a crop; modern GM crops are likely to fail entirely if the growing conditions are even slightly out of their narrow optimized range.
One of the universal commonalities of previous famines is the consumption of seed stock, followed by farm animals (including those necessary for planting and cultivation), all wildlife, and finally plants, insects, and grasses. Repeatedly throughout history this imperative for immediate short-term survival has drastically impeded long-term agricultural recovery. It’s unlikely that seed stocks and large animals like oxen and draft horses will survive the starvation of six billion people.
In pre-industrial times, people supplemented their diets with wild game and fish, a luxury we will not be able to rely upon. With a 5 degree Fahrenheit temperature increase due to global warming, as much as 30% of species are likely to go extinct. With the precipitous worldwide drop in agricultural production, we'll do our very best to eat all the rest.
In 2003, 29% of open sea fisheries were in a state of collapse. Despite bigger vessels, better nets, and new technology for spotting fish the global catch fell by 13% between 1994 and 2003. Freshwater fish stocks have declined by up to 90% in many of the world's largest rivers. The rate of population collapses has accelerated in recent years. As of 1980, just 13.5% of fished species had collapsed, even though fishing vessels were pursuing 1,736 fewer species then. Today, the fishing industry harvests 7,784 species commercially. At the current rate of decline global fishing stocks will completely and irreversibly collapse by 2048. Today, 1 billion people rely upon seafood as their only source of protein. The world's population grows at an estimated 1.14% annually; the number of humans increases by 203,800 every day, while 6 million children starve to death annually. The imperative to feed this population will result in the oceans being swept clean of virtually every edible organism from krill to blue whales within the next 50 years.
Any ecosystem can only sustainably support the population that it can feed. The Malthusian implications for the future should be obvious to anyone with even the most rudimentary math skills.


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stoirmeil 
Posted: 13-Feb-2007, 10:55 AM
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QUOTE (Emmet @ 13-Feb-2007, 09:54 AM)

The newly impoverished populace; hungry, cold, permanently unemployed and completely lacking the survival skills necessitated by this new reality, will start to rebel, but will be repressed by the increasingly draconian "emergency measures" of an increasingly Fascist government. As people become more desperate, the social fabric will fray, and then quickly unravel as a society awash with firearms that prides itself on "rugged individualism" (actually a synonym for selfishness, self-centeredness, and narcissistic egocentrism) and have always assumed that their privileged position (just 6% of the world's population but consuming more than 25% of it's resources) is the manifest will of God become increasingly pissed off that the teat's gone dry, abandon any pretense of polite society and start preying upon one another. The chaos and violence escalates as Government's span of control contracts and finally disappears altogether as the lights finally go out for the last time.

Well, something has to severely crash the population to supportable levels . . . wouldn't you rather that the predators picking off the weak were your very own species, and not some nasty hyenas or something?

I've thought for decades, at my most pessimistic moments, that our species is one or maybe both of two things: 1.) a highly complex disease state on the planet, a disease being defined as a failed symbiotic organism that is stupid or uncontrolled enough to kill its host; or 2.) an evolutionary experiment in extremely rapid overgrowth of new brain architectures on top of old, whose success is going to be totally predicated on the new architectures exercising enough control over the older ones to regulate itself. Practically speaking, we have all this fancy cortical development (not to mention thumbs) that is no end of destructive ingenuity, but should have been used mostly for putting brakes on the limbic system, which fundamentally runs on fear and lust. Fear and lust is an OK driver for any self-respecting lizard who wants to survive long enough to put his genes into the next generation, but not for the animal with the thumbs and ingenuity to put himself out of the gene pool forever.

Add that to the conscious knowlege and understanding of death as a cessation of Self, which we seem to have uniquely, and the notion that the only way to control death is to deal it to somebody else, and there you have our prize package Homo Sapiens.

How DID we get this far?
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Posted: 13-Feb-2007, 07:12 PM
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I think we got this far due to the fact that humans have survived because of intelligence. Most species on the planet evolved some physical way of surviving. Camoflage, physical strength, agility, speed, etc. Also, species usually are confined to only certain geographical environments. Animals evolve to survive in one area based on natural selection. When the environment changes, animals either die or thrive based on how their physical traits match with the environment.

The most sucessful animal speicies are the ones that are the most adaptable. Humans, I would argue, are not very adaptable at all. However, we survived because we have the intelligence to adapt our environment to us. If it's cold, we make warm shelters and clothing. If it's warm we make cooler shelters and clothing.

Physically we are very weak, so we created weapons and armor to make up for it.

My point is that we have created a world where there is nothing natural that can kill us. To that end, we got bored. We have all this intelligence to help us survive, and nothing really to survive against. We have created a system that rewards intelligence, for the most part. That, and from an evolutionary standpoint, the entire human race is bored out of its mind.

So, we create our own conflict. We create enemies of ourselves so that we have a reason to continue to evolve. Plus, if we have the fear of death then we won't be so bored.
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Nova Scotian 
Posted: 23-Mar-2007, 05:04 AM
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I think it is pretty sad that Al Gore, the supposed profit of global warming now, couldn't answer why his own house consumes 20% more energy then the common American household. sad.gif unsure.gif He also refused to sign a commitment stating he'd decrease that and be an example. He never actually said "no" he wouldn't. He just dodged the question with a question. I'd say that's being hypocritical?


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Antwn 
Posted: 25-Mar-2007, 01:43 PM
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Wow Nova S. we agree on something!! An Inconvenient Truth was a convenient untruth for Gore, making him big lecture circuit money while fostering half truths at best and occasionally insultingly stupid statements. Not to mention his devotion of an inordinate amount of time to himself in his film, which has nothing to do with global warming, unless he's factoring in his own hot air as a greenhouse gas. Like you say, he seems to fall short of practicing his preaching. Where are his solar panels? His Toyota Prius? Does he have wind generators on that Tennessee farm?


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  Posted: 25-Mar-2007, 02:40 PM
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Aye all is a tad scary but such is life. Personally I feel it is a natural thing that we as humans are making things happen faster then would be normal. This is why I try to block all this out and live in the moment trying to do things for the better not worse! Life is as Life should be - why worry just do the best you can......


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stoirmeil 
Posted: 26-Mar-2007, 12:22 PM
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QUOTE (parkers1 @ 25-Mar-2007, 02:40 PM)
Aye all is a tad scary but such is life. Personally I feel it is a natural thing that we as humans are making things happen faster then would be normal. This is why I try to block all this out and live in the moment trying to do things for the better not worse! Life is as Life should be - why worry just do the best you can......

Yes, I suppose it is a "natural" thing that we behave like a highly evolved species that half the time creates the miraculous with our advanced development, and the other half the time runs destructively amok. It is just as natural, by this standard, given our proven capacity to alter our environment, that we recognize what a mess we have made on so many different fronts, and exert ourselves to correct it, instead of sitting there taking one day at a time, saying "Why worry? Life is as it should be." I find that dangerously passive. You say you have grandchildren?

Antwn -- What Al Gore does or does not do to practice what he preaches should not have all that much to do with our recognizing that the problem exists, and there is a narrow window of time to contemplate reversing or even slowing the melting of the polar ice before it isn't possible any more. Al Gore did not discover or invent the problem, he is just a spokesperson. If he has been opportunistic, or as NS loves to throw his favorite quasi-biblical word around, "hypocritical," it still does not alter the fact.
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