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Do you think we are going to destroy are planet with GLOBAL WARMING Answered

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OK well most of the question is in the title. But I have herd things like there wont be anymore snow in fifty years, the polar ice caps are being destroyed, the ozone is covered in holes and that ethanol is actually worse for the enviorment than gasoline because it produces more carbon emissions. And to go along with that question are we getting to smart ? A little to technologically advanced.

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GroundingStick (author)2008-03-12

According to the IEDABIEDAB it would take more than just blowing away our atmosphere...

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trebuchet03 (author)2008-01-23

Global warming completely aside... We're en route to destroy our viability on this planet. The planet will be just fine - it'll heal.. We might not be part of that healing equation though. The global population has EXPLODED. If easter island was any indication - that's a bad thing... On the subject of GW.... Does anyone really want to find out, first hand, the consequences? Replace GW with meteorite... Do you really want to know what happens when a meteor the size of Texas decides to move in? Or would you rather do everything in your power to avert that disaster?

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VIRON (author)trebuchet032008-01-24

The earth is not overcrowded. Try leaving the city and going to some place where you can't get a signal on your cell phone. You can walk for days without seeing any people. China and India each have over a billion people AND areas like that. Everyone on earth could swim or drown in Loch Ness at once! Can you even see it on a globe?

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trebuchet03 (author)VIRON2008-01-24

Cell phone service is not a metric for population ;) The fact that China and India have over a billion people AND have desolate areas is a perfect indication that one can not use that as a metric. Additionally, both China and India are having new food strains due to supply and new global demands. We have yet to hit the period where a population falls under traumatic fertility cut - but we're exponentially approaching that point... A few years ago, in the US, 1 farmer fed 121 people... Compared to 50 years ago - 1 farmer fed 4-10 people. This is greatly due to technology advancements, indicating that our current population support was engineered, not balanced. Again, we will eventually (and exponentially wrt time), reach a max production. Be that due resource availability (such as the ever lowering aquifer stores) or lack of tech. breakthrough. A resource consumption balance will be reached... We're either going to do it ourselves - or let mother nature do it for us... The latter option is more painful and involuntary :/

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VIRON (author)trebuchet032008-01-24

What I meant is that there is a lot of land with no people where no cellphone infrastructure has been needed. Therefore there is plenty of room and the planet's not full. There's no lack of water on this planet, especially in the ocean. I don't think there are enough people to eat all the fish. Desalinization, Waterstills, Aquaducts, ICE CAPS ... still thirsty? I think that the awful planned obsolescence junk (PC's , phones , cars) are finally getting recycled nowadays. Although it would be better if it lasted much longer so the billions of people could work on progressive things like going to Mars. If people are hungry they need food, and food is made of mostly CARBON, NITROGEN, HYDROGEN, and OXYGEN. Which of these is rare on this planet?

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trebuchet03 (author)VIRON2008-01-24

CARBON, NITROGEN, HYDROGEN, and OXYGEN.
Which of these is rare on this planet?

None of those are edible as food (but they are constituents of food)... Don't believe me? Try living on graphite for a month :p I'd love to see you tell that to the people of Niger - where their children literally die because the crop that can live on their land is millet (which lacks necessary nutrition for children). Why is their fertility rate so high(7.2/woman)? Because their child mortality rate is incredibly high (248/1K)...

There's no lack of water on this planet, especially in the ocean.
I don't think there are enough people to eat all the fish.
Desalinization, Waterstills, Aquaducts, ICE CAPS ... still thirsty?

Tell that to Australia and their three decade+ drought :p

Desalinization is an option, but it comes at a high energy cost. Especially if water needs to be pumped into the nation's interior.

What I meant is that there is a lot of land with no people
where no cellphone infrastructure has been needed.
Therefore there is plenty of room and the planet's not full.

Again, cell phone coverage is not a metric of the ability of a region of sustain a population. If easter island wasn't example worthy, imagine if we were to seal off New York City - there'd be cell phone coverage and a lack of food supply. Dense population requires regions with very little population for support (and no cell phone coverage :p).

18% (and falling) of the US' land is arable - it's foolish to think that this can support an infinite population. We're lucky to have that much - globally, about 3% (and falling) of the Earth is arable.

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VIRON (author)trebuchet032008-01-24

It's an interesting and peculiar 'fact' that fertility rate increases with mortality rate. I suppose that will guarantee 'overpopulation' inevitability! Forget about cell phones, I mean vacant land. Imagine "Burning Man" (instant city), but more permanent. In the wastelands, high creativity to eco-destruction ratio is needed for survival. On google earth, I see agriculture in the middle of the arabian desert. (If the land is bad, must need to make it good.) Got lots of "WORTHLESS" land? Grant it to me! Easter island suffered a sudden disaster. Work was quickly abandoned. If the work took too many people to live on the island, then the island has eroded away a lot since it was abandoned.

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jtobako (author)VIRON2008-03-12

Where are you getting your statistics? Easter Island still has natives, and very little problem with erosion (you may be thinking of coral islands-Easter Island is volcanic).

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trebuchet03 (author)jtobako2008-03-12

Easter Island is a pretty well documented/researched site... Quick google search brought up a Mcgraw Hill (big textbook publisher) resource

Historical studies have shown that conditions on the island were once very different than they are now. Until about 1500 years ago, the island was covered with a lush subtropical forest and the soil was deep and fertile. Polynesian people apparently reached Easter Island about A.D. 400. Anthropological and linguistic evidence suggests they sailed from the Marquesas Islands 3500 kilometers to the northwest. Excavations of archeological sites show that the early settlers' diet consisted mainly of porpoises, land-nesting seabirds, and garden vegetables. Populations soared, reaching as much as 20,000 on an island only about 15 km across.

By A.D. 1400 the forest appears to have disappeared completely-cut down for firewood and to make houses, canoes, and rollers for transporting the enormous statues. Without a protective forest cover, soil washed off steep hillsides. Springs and streams dried up, while summer droughts made gardens less productive. All wild land birds became extinct and seabirds no longer nested on the island. Lacking wood to build new canoes, the people could no longer go offshore to fish. Statues carved at this time show sunken cheeks and visible ribs suggesting starvation.

I think you're right in saying that Easter Island doesn't have major erosion problems, currently... But currently there's not much of a population problem as there's only a handful of people compared to it's population high.

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royalestel (author)VIRON2008-01-25

You can buy an acre of land in Idaho for $300. But water rights are quite a bit more expensive!

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trebuchet03 (author)VIRON2008-01-25

Forget about cell phones, I mean vacant land.
Burning Man is not self supporting... Imagine burning man without anyone bringing outside supplies... Nor is farmland in the middle of the desert. Vacant land is also not any indication either - urban regions and urban sprawl and suburban regions and etc. can not self support themselves - they need that vacant land in order to live there...

As for easter island, the sudden disaster was human... The archaeological record shows a period where there wasn't very much in the way of trees. Moai carvings were not completed on site - they had to be pulled (experimental archeology theorizes it was done on wood frames/rollers). No trees - no shipbuilding - no food. why is it heavily eroded? Attempts at agriculture on top of deforestation (this is the same reason why Haiti has land slide problems - they've literally cut their island's trees down). That island went from a population of 10-15K people to a population of less than 200 - this started right around the time of the deforestation period.

It's an interesting and peculiar 'fact' that
fertility rate increases with mortality rate.

It's more of a cultural thing for Niger - not a rule. In N. America - the entire population isn't dependent on children to work fields and tend to animals. This is why about half of their population is under the age of 15.

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Patrik (author)VIRON2008-01-25

"Everyone on earth could swim or drown in Loch Ness at once! Can you even see it on a globe?"

Keep in mind that comparing volumes with surface areas can be very misleading...

In the classic dystopian science fiction novel Stand on Zanzibar, the author projected that whereas in the early 20th century the entire world's population could stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the Isle of Wight (area 381 km2), by 2010 it would take an area the size of Zanzibar (1554 km2). In comparison, Loch Ness is only 56.4 km2...

Stand on Zanzibar is a great read, by the way. Written in 1968, but set in the then-far-future 2010. Given the time it was written, it offers a quite visionary view of population pressure (don't expect it to be scientifically accurate, naturally - I just bring it up here as an interesting piece of entertainment).

"Throughout the book, the image of the entire human race standing shoulder-to-shoulder on a small island is a metaphor for a crowded world where each person feels hemmed in by a prison made not of metal bars, but of other human beings. By the end of the book, some of that crowd is (metaphorically) getting its feet wet in the Indian Ocean surrounding the island."

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teaaddict314 (author)VIRON2008-01-24

lmao u do know the US has (i could be wrong but i think its) 3% of its original forests left. and canada (where i am) is choppin everything down cause so many people are immigrating here...

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VIRON (author)teaaddict3142008-01-24

Don't worry, you have 1/6 the population of the USA, and more land, and the northern half of every province is wilderness! You have what percentage of original forests then? I have seen them and they're vast and beautiful. 100 years ago my area was totally deforested for hundreds of miles around. Now it has reforested and there are trees even in the cities. I know someone who remembers, and has photos.

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Kiteman (author)VIRON2008-01-24

Overcrowding isn't just people, it's the amount of planet required to support those people. If everybody on the planet lived a "western" lifestyle, we would need six times the land surface we actually have, just to stay alive. The population is growing, and the material demands from them are growing even faster (compare your gadgets with those of your parents). At the same time, our impact on the environment is reducing the amount of land that is capable of supporting agriculture, and reducing the amount of water available to irrigate that land or for us to drink.

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Goodhart (author)Kiteman2008-01-24

Overcrowding isn't just people, it's the amount of planet required to support those people.

Exactly, even if we just consider food, we can not produce large quantities of nutritious food in a few pots in the apartment (or flat). Even the advent of hydroponics takes space.

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westfw (author)trebuchet032008-01-23

do everything in your power to avert that disaster?
What? Interfere with the natural course of environmental change? Isn't that what got us into this supposed mess in the first place? (At least one theory I've heard says that we would have been in another ice age already, if not for mans interference...)
See comment on accidentally making other things worse.
Maybe when the US diverts a lot of food crops that would have fed the third world to fuel for our vehicular infrastructure instead, the resulting drop in population will make a difference. Won't THAT be swell?

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Weissensteinburg (author)westfw2008-01-24

If we could just get couples to only have one child for a few years, our population would drastically decrease into a much more manageable size. After the bubonic plague took care of a population problem, and afterwards, there was a huge increase in the standard of living. There was more of a demand for workers, and people began being paid higher wages.

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Let's just watch Europe for a few decades. They have too few births too even replace the current population.

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Notice where it says for a few years

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I think Europe's been that way for a at least a few years.

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What I mean is that we could cut down on births for a few years, get us back to a manageable number, and continue with our conceiving.

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I disagree. There is enough and to spare on the earth, if we are wise stewards. Not having children out of fear of "GLOBAL HOLOCAUST!" is another fear in a long line of fears for not having children. Children are a wonderful gift. Families are the great schoolmasters. In them we learn more about love, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice than in any other way.

Any who would limit these things? Who would you have deciding who gets to have children? How would you avoid the wholesale murder of millions of children as happens in China? Would the state force surgical infertility on people?

You say you want to convince people not to have children. I say the world has already convinced most people in the developed world not to have children. This is a catastrophe of the highest proportions. No disease, no war, could reduce the human population faster than people believing that having children is morally wrong, something that you and an increasing number of people seem to believe. This is simply not true. Having children is the brave and right thing to do, as long as you can provide for your children's physical, emotional and social needs. You shouldn't have children if you can't do that.

Coping with the changing demands of society and policy and managing resources has been and will always be a difficult task. That doesn't mean we need huddle in fear of the unknown challenges of the future. We act upon what we know and plan for what we think will happen.

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There is enough and to spare on the earth, if we are wise stewards. Not having children out of fear of "GLOBAL HOLOCAUST!" is another fear in a long line of fears for not having children.

It's not our of fear, it's based on fixing the problem of an over populated world.

Any who would limit these things?

They were sure able to pick someone in China

Who would you have deciding who gets to have children?

It would preferably be a voluntary campaign in which a majority of citizens pledge to have just one child. (Never would I support a law against having more than X kids)

You say you want to convince people not to have children. I say the world has already convinced most people in the developed world not to have children. This is a catastrophe of the highest proportions

I dunno..we're still pumping them out pretty fast, and the world's population is increasing at an alarming rate.

something that you and an increasing number of people seem to believe.

It's not the wrong thing to do, but too much of a good thing is usually bad. We have too many people. Have you seen the inhumane way that animals are treated, just so that we can feed our populations. Most livestock are fed huge amounts of steroids to make them grow faster, shortening the amount of time needed to raise them.

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It's not our of fear, it's based on fixing the problem of an over populated world. This is simply not an existing problem. While local, even regional resource management has and always will be an issue, and while overpopulation, or rather, overconsumption and unsustainable systems have been problematic for even whole countries, the world is not in danger. It is the fear of a future overpopulation problem that people are reacting to.

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Seeing as there is no optimal population that has been defined scientifically, overpopulation is an opinion, and as such, one cannot state that another person is wrong in saying that the world is or isn't overpopulated.

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trebuchet03 (author)westfw2008-01-23

I've said this for awhile... But... If we don't regulate ourselves - nature will be so happy to do us a favor and regulate for us. That's just not a very pretty experience.

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Goodhart (author)trebuchet032008-01-24

Yeah, I think you and westfw would agree on that, I think he is trying to say we should try to drastically control nature in any way. This I agree with too (look what we do every time we attempt to "control the weather") so I think you are both correct.

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westfw (author)trebuchet032008-01-25

Most of the "1st world" has had a fertility rate BELOW "replacement rate" for quite some time, with the US being "unique" in having just passed replacement rate (in 2006) for the first time since 1971.
But, WRT the "spendthrift" state of the US consumer, it's not clear to me that the nominal "DINK" family is a more environmentally efficient consumer than the "family of five." Who do you think consumes less: the DINKs with two people and a combined income of, say, $140k, or the family of five with income of $100k (saving for college and "estate")? The whole consumerism mentality says you should consume based on your income, rather than based on necessity. The US may be a high (low?) point of consumerism, but I suspect that things aren't THAT much different in any country with zero to NPG fertility rates. Something about the difference between planning a family based on children as an expense vs children as a resource: In the third world you have kids to help raise/gather food and take care of you in your old age. In the 1st world, children are a responsibility to their parents until they're old enough to contribute to society on their own...

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dung0beetle (author)2008-03-12

Every 100 years, the Earth is bombarded by approximately 3.5 pounds of sunlight.

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killerjackalope (author)2008-01-25

you know the way the sea aborbs a certain lump of Co2 doesn't that mean that it will become fizzy lol if we were really good at clever chemsitry and science tricks we could somehow use solar power to get some of our hard earned already burnt carbon back from Co2 but that's a pipe dream and a half...

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When the sea clicks into a mode where it absorbs lots of carbon that's called a Global Anoxic Event. It's not very pleasant and many people think that a Global Anoxic Event is what will eventually happen to us if we don't wise up soon.

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royalestel (author)2008-01-25

In short, no. Should we continue policies of factory planned obsolescence and personal spendthriftiness? No. The more money you save, the fewer resources you are demanding from society. As for climate and weather, according to a meteorologist acquaintance of mine, we're pretty good at predicting the weather out to about 2 weeks. The method they use to make those predictions is sampling the wind direction, humidity, and temperature (and a couple other things) all across the world, in as many places as possible. Then they plop all the data inside a modified fluid dynamics simulation and out comes the temperature, humidty, etc. for tomorrow. These kind of predictions can be called "high frequency, dense data set" predictions. And they are indeed pretty accurate. Climate change predictions are an entirely different proposal. That is, understanding and predicting what the fundamental driving forces, of weather and climate are and will do. And we just don't know much. We have lots of competing models and theories, though. As an example, for seven years in a row, the weather services predicted something relatively simple: A "worse than usual" hurricane season for the Gulf Coast. They were right . . . only one year. That's about 15% accurate. They would have had a better prediction if they had tossed a coin. That's a simple prediction, with terrible accuracy. In art, learning to copy a photograph is a great beginner's exercise. You learn to recreate the high frequency information with pencil and paintbrush, and this can be done in a few years. This is daily forecasting. Learning to paint a photorealistic scene from your imagination is a much tougher task, requiring decades of dedication and practice to even come close. This is because instead of copying high frequency data, you are trying to understand and employ the fundamental principles of art and human perception. It's an incredibly complex affair. This is climatology. At this point we are just barely beginning to understand some climate fundamentals, let alone master them. When we can predict earthquakes and hurricane frequency and intensity, I might start believing we can predict a few degree temperature rise over 100 years. As it stands, I'm not holding my breath.

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royalestel (author)royalestel2008-01-25

Just a note, I mention earthquakes because they affect weather, not that atmospheric warming affects earthquakes. I stopped worrying when I realized that every morning when I get up there's a giant glowing ball of gas that makes things significantly warmer as the day goes on and things get a lot colder when it goes down. That's good enough for me.

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westfw (author)2008-01-23
"Global warming" is a pretty complicated issue, and not all the facts are in, and even if all the facts were in it still isn't clear we'd understand what the effects would be, or what we could do about it. To start with:
  • Do we actually have "global warming", or is this just another of the cyclic climate changes that have occurred throughout history?
  • If it's really different than previous cyclic warmings, is that because of the higher level of greenhouse gases, or something else?
  • If due to greenhouse gases, do the greenhouse gases contributed by man play a significant part?
  • If mans emissions play a part, is there anything realistic that we can do about it? Or is it already too late?
  • If global warming is occurring, which (if any) of the predictions of its effects are accurate? We don't really have a good understanding of weather, much less global climate.
  • Would the solutions we could apply make things worse in some other way? Like: large scale nuclear power would cut down on carbon emissions. Large scale use of wood fuel might cause enough particular air pollution to increase the planets albedo. Detonating a couple nukes might cause a "nuclear winter" just big enough to counteract warming.
I think global warming is unlikely to "destroy the planet"; other events have resulted in dramatic climate change and mass species extinctions, and the planet (and life) has gone on. If the more dire predictions of effects come true, it could drastically alter human life; probably more so in undeveloped parts of the world. It doesn't help "the cause" that there have always been dire predictions for ecological disasters for the "next generation", and yet the streets are NOT knee deep in horse manure, nor does everyone die in early middle age by wood-or-coal-smoke induced emphecema (sp?) Even LA is a lot less brown than it used to be when I first moved to California.

We shall see.

And alcohol is supposed to be better than fossil fuels not because it releases less carbon per unit of energy releases, but because that carbon was "recently" scavenged from the atmosphere by plants. The problem with fossil fuels is that they release carbon that has been "safely" stored underground for millions of years.

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Ferrite (author)westfw2008-01-24

About you point concerning how much greenhouse gases humans emit, my math teacher told our class that humans only contribute 7 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

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killerjackalope (author)2008-01-23

You know we could jam up a few volcanoes and lower the emmisions of them, then we can all have big cars with big engines...

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LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-01-23

What do you mean "going to " we already did

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Tool Using Animal (author)2008-01-23

I think we're neither smart enough nor technologically advanced enough.

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