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Thread: Predictions of Environmental Doom

  1. #1
    Mourning in America madanthonywayne's Avatar
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    Predictions of Environmental Doom

    The environmental movement, since it's inception, has been plagued with false prophets of doom. These predictions are used to gin up support for environmental causes but, like Chicken Little or the Boy who cried Wolf, these repeated alarmist predictions that don't pan out have seriously eroded public confidence and probably account for much of the public skepticism over current predictions of doom associated with global warming.

    To celebrate Earth Day, Reason Magazine has put out a video highlighting the top environmental predictions of doom that turned out to be completely wrong.
    For this year's Earth Day celebration, Reason.tv is proud to present "The Top Five Environmental Disasters that Didn't Happen." The environmental movement began in 1962 when Rachel Carson published her best-selling book Silent Spring. And ever since, chicken littles have warned us about imminent environmental disasters that ultimately didn't happen.

    We all worried needlessly about acid rain, expanding deserts and global cooling, but these failed predictions weren't quite dire enough to make our list. To find out which prophecies of doom did make our list, you'll need to watch Reason.tv's "Top Five Environmental Disasters that Didn't Happen."

    Approximately 7 minutes.

    Produced by Feine, Manning, Jensen, Bragg, Swain, Epstein and Gillespie. Narrated by Melissa Palmer. Special thanks to Ron Bailey and Julian Morris
    .
    Follow this link to watch the video:

    http://www.reason.tv/video/show/the-...ironmental-dis

  2. #2
    Valued Senior Member Rhaedas's Avatar
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    The environment will eventually recover from whatever we can dish out. It's more a question of can we survive the changes we make to that environment in the meantime.

    Men come and go, but Earth abides.

  3. #3
    Registered Senior Member
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    They seem to be vastly misrepresenting several serious issues. Desertification is still a serious problem, loss of biodiversity is still a serious problem (higher animals aren't the only organisms in the ecosystem, e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_extinction), ok energy isn't a huge issue but obviously climate change is and so finding more sustainable energy is. Also we'll get to peak oil sooner or later. We have loads of coal though (if we don't care about the environment) and uranium/thorium so as long as we make some good electric cars/ships?/aircraft? we should be ok there. Acid rain was a serious issue for europe and part of the US and the only reason it isn't as much anymore is because coal power plants etc now scrub their emissions better to remove SO2. As for Silent Spring, ok maybe she went over the top, but DDT wasn't banned for no reason. It is toxic to all manner of species and was linked to the decline of various marine animals, amphibians and birds. There are a number of human health issues it was linked with also. The super-famine thing I don't have a problem with, obviously people are still starving but on nothing like the scale predicted.
    I have never heard of reason.tv before, but overall I think they now fall into my full of crap category. Maybe their other videos are more sensible though *shrugs* but I'm not going to bother looking on the basis of this one.

  4. #4
    It's interesting that the protagonists of reason.tv don't acknowledge that the "false prophets" were all inventions of the media.

    There wasn't any scientist making claims about an impending ice age, there were a lot of journalists talking about it though. This was because the journos discovered that scientists actually discuss possible future climate scenarios, and what is or isn't known about climate at the time (fascinating isn't it?). There is no evidence that the environmental movement promulgated this as a "prediction", that's a denialist myth, and those guys certainly need a bit of mythology--it really is the only alternative to understanding the problem.

  5. #5
    The reasons some of these things didn't become actual doom is because their exposure in the media caused us to do something about it.

  6. #6
    I predict environmental gloom, actual doom comes at $50 a head, but you can have some gloom for free.
    There will be humungous torandoes in the midwest, the el~ninio will kick off again, and Iceland Greenland and the north Canadian ice-sheets will melt increasingly quickly.
    The Sahara will continue to grow and there will be a plague of frogs somewhere. Maybe it will happen in France [who will just eat them with garlic and white wine...]

  7. #7
    C'mon, get happy! chimpkin's Avatar
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    I predict environmental gloom, actual doom comes at $50 a head, but you can have some gloom for free.
    There will be humungous torandoes in the midwest, the el~ninio will kick off again, and Iceland Greenland and the north Canadian ice-sheets will melt increasingly quickly.
    The Sahara will continue to grow and there will be a plague of frogs somewhere. Maybe it will happen in France [who will just eat them with garlic and white wine...]
    Heh, we have a ten year run of drought and heat, I've seen two funnel clouds myself (Gotta start carrying the camera!)
    We are close enough to Louisiana that frogs may be consumed as well...just the legs, breaded and fried...because we will batter and fry anything.
    Including alligators, rattlesnakes, ice cream and beer.

    I have yet to see a plague of frogs, but I have seen a nuisance of toads at my old residence ten years ago...the males try and clasp your foot if you don't move.

    Coal's only slightly less nasty if we use carbon capture... nuclear's the least-worst current option, but I really want us to pour our research resources into renewable energy.

    The ocean is turning dangerously acidic.

    This could shut down the ocean food chain.

    Raedas said:
    The environment will eventually recover from whatever we can dish out. It's more a question of can we survive the changes we make to that environment in the meantime.

    Men come and go, but Earth abides.
    I worry about other critters as well, but life will start over if we stupidly self-destruct, at whatever level we drop it to.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by ULTRA View Post
    I predict environmental gloom, actual doom comes at $50 a head, but you can have some gloom for free.
    There will be humungous torandoes in the midwest, the el~ninio will kick off again, and Iceland Greenland and the north Canadian ice-sheets will melt increasingly quickly.
    The Sahara will continue to grow and there will be a plague of frogs somewhere. Maybe it will happen in France [who will just eat them with garlic and white wine...]
    Oh that is good . Yeah the Sahara is growing . I heard that . They are getting more rain than normal and growth is occurring. Some other desert too .
    We in the environmental religious movement don't call it global warming anymore. WE call it climate change. We can't figger out long term if its a gonna cool off our heat up so we thought we would encompass the whole gambit . Always good to hedge your beats if it don't cost you anything.
    Old Stevi Running lives hear in Missoula . Can you believe that . He is a Forester dabbling in Climate change . I think he uses tree rings as a guide. Funny thing about tree rings " They are localized . The more water a tree gets the further the rings are apart . So if you are closer to a drainage a tree might get more water . Just teasing Yeah Steve if you are listening . I know you are a real scientist . You better get on board with "Wood For Haiti" Steve . It is the right thing to do

  9. #9
    The energy crisis is still impending. These idiots are taking predictions of a few people out on the edge to impune actual dangers that still exist.

    Silent Spring was effective in curbing use of many synthetic chemicals. And it might very well be that they are causing cancers now.

    This isn't reason, this is a bias in favor of ignoring clear environmental dangers that still exist. Legislation might cut into the profit margins of those who pollute, hence the distribution of misinformation.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhaedas View Post
    The environment will eventually recover from whatever we can dish out. It's more a question of can we survive the changes we make to that environment in the meantime.

    Men come and go, but Earth abides.
    Our vile natures will cause the environment and our future selves to pay dearly if we do not act now and change our ways.

  11. #11
    Be kind to yourself always. cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Our planet depends on the vitality of the ocean to support and sustain it. But our ocean faces major threats: global climate change, pollution, habitat destruction, invasive species, and, not least, the dramatic decrease in ocean fish stocks now so extensive that more than 40 percent of the ocean has been severely affected and no area has been left untouched. Species are disappearing and entire ecosystems are degraded, especially those near the coasts. Consequently, humanity is losing a source of food, jobs, and critical environmental services that a healthy ocean generates. Recognizing the need for an urgent response, a new coalition of committed communities is coming together to take action.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...s2EmrRkRupC4HQ

  12. #12
    C'mon, get happy! chimpkin's Avatar
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    Hmmm...one thought though...
    All those melting ice sheets will at least help with the acidification problem a bit.

    There's your Happy Thought

  13. #13
    Valued Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by madanthony
    The environmental movement, since it's inception, has been plagued with false prophets of doom.
    If you compare their actual predictions (not the lies, or the corporate propaganda videos) with the actual events, the ecologists and similar science types (otherwise known as "environmentalists", when the science interferes with Exxon's business model) look pretty good so far, and the trend is in their favor.

    They called Rwanda, Somalia, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the destruction of the Aral Sea, widespread antibiotic resistance, and so forth. They called Fukushima, and Katrina, and the past fifty years of Haitian rolling misery. They called the collapse of major fisheries, problems with loss of genetic diversity in crops, large scale emigration from Mexico and northern Africa and the SE Asian area including the Indonesian islands, serious consequences of weather pattern changes, the only barely prevented and still imminent extinction of many large vertebrates.

    And they look especially solid in comparison with the corporate sponsored "think tanks" and their media campaigns, video propaganda outlets, etc. The flying cars, nuclear reactor electricity too cheap to be worth metering, clean plentiful water, cheap easy freeway auto travel, Africa's "Green Revolution" in agriculture, twenty hour work week, and a world without war, are still in beta development or something. But the strip mine wastelands and acid rain killed hemlocks of the Appalachian poverty zones are not imaginary.

    One of the problems here is the lack of recognition of the damage done. People easily become accustomed to even seriously degraded environments. We have lost the two dominant tree species and the two most common and significant living vertebrates on the NA continent, we have mercury poisoned most of the fish and fouled almost all the fresh water, - but it's like losing the big tree in the front yard: the grass fills in, and it's like it was never there. The sun beats down, you have to crank the AC in the house, but pretty soon that's just normal life.

    Of course we will be eating compressed krill protein and modified food starch instead of fresh chestnuts and whale steaks, but we won't know any better.

  14. #14
    Be kind to yourself always. cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    Of course we will be eating compressed krill protein and modified food starch instead of fresh chestnuts and whale steaks, but we won't know any better.
    But as my post above states there won't be any life in the oceans not even krill.

  15. #15
    Registered Senior Member
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    GreenGas.cc is 50 cents a liter and zero emissions. It is not biofuel or like anything we have seen. A machine makes it at your location from water and air. The science is done and now they need you business people to step up and do the next stages.
    Last edited by jimW; 04-23-11 at 11:37 AM.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post
    If you compare their actual predictions (not the lies, or the corporate propaganda videos) with the actual events, the ecologists and similar science types (otherwise known as "environmentalists", when the science interferes with Exxon's business model) look pretty good so far, and the trend is in their favor.
    The problems you list are predominately just the problems of too many people.

    No one has denied that there would be severe problems if we didn't get the global population under control, but unless Exxon executives are sneaking into our bedrooms at night they aren't the cause of these problems.

    Arthur
    Last edited by adoucette; 04-24-11 at 09:21 AM.

  17. #17
    Extravagantly Introverted ... universaldistress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iceaura View Post

    Of course we will be eating compressed krill protein and modified food starch instead of fresh chestnuts and whale steaks, but we won't know any better.
    Love it for its scary probability if current attitudes I have been exposed to on this forum are any type of median.

  18. #18
    Extravagantly Introverted ... universaldistress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adoucette View Post
    The problems you list are predominately just the problems of too many people.

    No one has denied that there would be severel problems if we didn't get the global population under control, but unless Exxon executives are sneaking into our bedrooms at night they aren't the cause of these problems.

    Arthur
    Aren't some countries breaking even in the bedroom? I have only one child anyway.

    PS can't someone get rid of jimW already?

  19. #19
    ALEA IACTA EST Trippy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by universaldistress View Post
    Aren't some countries breaking even in the bedroom? I have only one child anyway.

    PS can't someone get rid of jimW already?
    The double derivative of population growth has already turned negative (the rate at which population growth is increasing) and has been that way for around 20 years. All but the worst case scenarios predict world population plateuing or decreasing by 2050

  20. #20
    Extravagantly Introverted ... universaldistress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trippy View Post
    The double derivative of population growth has already turned negative (the rate at which population growth is increasing) and has been that way for around 20 years. All but the worst case scenarios predict world population plateuing or decreasing by 2050
    I am not 100% convinced (certain areas of the world have plenty of unused land) but resources are a factor; water being probably the most important. But with rainfall set to increase due to the polar caps melting . . . Technology has the potential to keep driving up the population levels.

    Psychology of individuals knocking on into the social psychology could be another important buffer. People are definitely shifting in there desire to procreate. With increased health (and monetary considerations) has come less need to have big families

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