Overshoot and Collapse of global populations

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Donald Gordon Graham, Aug 29, 2017.

  1. Donald Gordon Graham Registered Member

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    Climate change, imho, is a smokescreen to deflect attention from the man-made chemicals we've unwittingly loosed upon our planet's ability to adapt to their accumulating presence in our entire biosphere. "Planet Ocean" and many other documentaries, have demonstrated that, which Dr. Blake's 1989 BBC production of "After the warming" warned the world about, which Ban Ki-Moon warned us about in the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference. Willful ignorance is bliss. There is absolutely nothing that has been invented, proven effective and scaled up to prevent the deaths of the less adaptable life forms on our planet. Contaminated, or cooked, when the microorganisms at the base of all our food chains can no longer adapt to the presence of those chemicals in their environment and food, global famine, mass migrations, pandemics, and conflicts become inevitable.

    How many species have become extinct in my lifetime, 73 years, I have no idea. None have evolved that are worth consuming, yet.
     
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  3. Donald Gordon Graham Registered Member

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    We've not a pleasant history of gas chambers, have we? I do expect that living will become increasingly stressful as our eating and drinking options are reduced. We've always known that our death was inevitable, but not our ability to survive as a species. I'm slowly re-reading Ernest Becker's "the Denial of Death" for further insight. At this point, I'm inclined to think of death as the time I make the transition to whatever is likely. Not mythologically. We do know of the Conservation of Matter and Energy.

    The material parts (M) of me will decay, but the subatomic particles of which I am currently composed will continue as they have since the Big Bang.
    The E parts of me will continue, and like my subatomic particles, having no memory follicles either will return from whence they came; what a Comparative Religions prof, in a postgraduate class I took 35 years ago, called "The Undifferentiated AEsthetic Continuum." No heaven, no hell, just what Chopra called "THAT."

    I can "grok" that. Can you?

    I can also imagine people lining up for a "Black Mariah"- to quicken their transition rather than waiting for the decay and dissolution of the quality of their lives.
     
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  5. Donald Gordon Graham Registered Member

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    Agreed.
    Unfortunately, many times more people are having their "effective demand" reduced, considerably.
     
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  7. Donald Gordon Graham Registered Member

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    Unfortunately, the carrying capacity of the planet is no longer capable of continuing to adapt to our current population. Declining it is.

    The "decreasing resources crisis" was first brought to my attention by an article in The Guardian, written by Nafeez Ahmed, in which he used the phrase to explain the second gathering in Tahrir Square. Those people were not pleased with the reality of the Arab $pring. A few months later, a similar article out of Lebanon said that crisis was a major factor in the civil war in Syria. The mass migrations which followed were never reported as a response to the poisoning of their resources, particularly of the uncontaminated water needed to grow their food. Their soils were also unable to adapt to the pollutants of war.
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    How many species have gone extinct due to synthetic chemicals? The life span of most animals is far shorter than people. The wildlife around Chernobyl is famously thriving. I agree that chemical pollution is harmful, but compared to habitat loss, it's effects are orders of magnitude less dangerous. I think your message would be better received if it were more evidence based.
     
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  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Whole societies are becoming richer. Just look at China and Indochina over the last 3 decades.
     
  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Absurd conspiracy theory allegation. From the evidence of the last couple of years, anybody who uses the term "MSM" to claim information is being suppressed seems to be either a fool or a knave. It looks increasingly as if you are just pushing a preconceived crank agenda, with no interest in a proper scientific discussion. I'm rapidly losing interest in this.
     
  11. superstring01 Moderator

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    I don't disagree with the concerns. I want to reiterate that I think that most people under 50 will probably live to see swathes of animals killed off by our negligence. The problem is that every issue has to be critically evaluated and stand on its own. If it's something that personally resonates with your and my values, we have to scrutinize it EVEN MORE than if we disagreed with it. Our guard is up against things we don't agree with. The danger never approaches from the direction we bravely face. It comes from the place of comfort. So when I hear claims that I want to agree with, I question them more thoroughly. I do this because:
    1. I've been caught nodding in agreement with things that sounded like they should be true or that confirmed my personal values and I ended up humiliated.
    2. Every thing that we --in the liberal camp-- claim has to be rigorously investigated and questioned because WE have to be better than the others side.
    3. We can win this argument with empirically verifiable facts. We need make nothing up because in this case, the actual facts support our claims -- we don't need to "fluff" them with hyperbole.
    4. Hyperbolic claims, emotional claims, outright lies -- they discredit us. They don't turn people on. They don't attract believers. Truth does that. Calm, dispassionate truth. (And the people that this doesn't work on weren't going to come around to our side anyway, so debasing ourselves isn't worth it regardless.)
    I jokingly call this "The Hitler Maneuver". It goes like this:
    • SUZY: "Hey John. Did you hear that Hitler was a pedophile and ate puppies?"
    • JOHN: "Um. I don't think that's true, Suzy. I mean, he was a bad guy, but I don't believe there's historic information to support that claim."
    • SUZY: "Oh, nice, John! You're a Hitler apologist. Why? Do you love Hitler?"
    You're NOT doing that. But it comes close. Comfortable claims should be questioned more thoroughly than the uncomfortable ones. Just because I question what you're saying doesn't mean that I am not passionately in the camp of environmental protection. It means that there is --at least for me-- an axiomatic value above our goals of environmentalism and it's: There must be a respect for the scientific method with a committment to the truth even when it doesn't support our personal values. I'm divorced from that fact even when I end up having to confess that something I believed maybe doesn't withstand scrutiny.

    I spent the better part of my first four years here being a douche-bag, conservative. (Tiassa will confirm.) It was a painful experience for me, but I left SciForums in 2011 (well, mostly left) and spent the better part of the following four years figuring out what it is I believed. I had to because everything I saw, tore down the previous values I had. I got an education specifically in science (but I'm not a scientist by a long shot - I have a degree in Computer Science). I left religion (twice baptized, Pentecostal cum agnostic-atheist).

    The thing about CS is it's nothing but a degree in physics, logic and a bit of electrical engineering. But ALL OF THAT is non-stop logic. Logic. Logic. When I applied that to myself and my life, I had to figure out a way to dispassionately evaluate things I believed in even if the conclusion was that I had to change my mind and admit that "that thing" was not really worth defending.

    I digress. And I apologize.

    When you make claims about the Mainstream Media, you have to support it with verifiable evidence. If you can't, then we're in an epistemological dilemma where not even YOU can truthfully claim to have anything more than a hunch. You should be prepared to change that hunch if new and better evidence arrives. It doesn't mean that you abandon the suspicion. It means that you be prepared to change you mind. A good rule to live by is: "If you want to be right, divorce yourself from the opinion. Opinions are just bits of information you wrote on a note-card and carry in a box in front of you. You can and should change them at any time. If you cling to those opinions, if you confuse the opinions with your 'true self', you will defend them emotionally even when they're manifestly wrong. If you want to be right, be prepared to change your mind."

    The way you do this is you ask the fundamental epistemological question: "How do I know this?" If you cannot verify what you know from an original source (sorry, websites don't really count, though they're a good starting point), then you're really on shaky ground. The internet is unfiltered junk that far too many people use to confirm their biases. The create Rube Goldberg machines of logical fallacies to cling to that opinion even when it's hilariously wrong.

    Am I saying you're wrong? No. Fuck no. But when you make an affirmative claim and you cannot support it with anything but personal opinions and rhetoric, you're just special pleading. That's dangerous and it's a huge breakdown in a cycle of logic. So, in my case, I revert back to the Socratic Method and have to ask the fundamental question: How do you know ANY of this? And if you cannot demonstrate how you know, then how are you comfortable making any of these assertions?
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    And these civilizations are overshooting - which means they are balanced on the edge now, maxed out on several inputs; any serious bump, from a volcano to a spread of that rubber tree fungus that's ticking away in the Amazon forest like a forgotten bomb, can crash them. When searise ruins Bangladesh and salinates the most fertile of the Chinese and Indochinese rice fields, when the monsoons shift in time and space, when and if the opaque and classically trouble prone banking system of China suffers the common fate of similar setups throughout history, there's a real question whether these fragile ballooned civilizations will be able to handle the situation.

    (re the rubber trees: The recently announced revocation of rain forest protections in Brazil risks the loss of genetic resources in wild rubber trees, and simultaneously risks mobilizing the fungus from its pockets into the chaotic circumstances around Venezuela's implosion - a potential double whammy. That is the kind of thing that can hammer an overshoot. There are many more).
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2017
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Sez you.

    But I'm weary of this now: too many people with preconceived agendas in the thread and no science to speak of.
     
  14. superstring01 Moderator

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    That's generally a problem with anybody who holds an opinion and won't budge on it. Cherry picking, confirmation bias and far too much Dunning-Kruger. We don't have an alternative to the scientific method. It isn't perfect. We mess it up, but it's the least bad of all the processes we have. It's why I just won't bother arguing over potential future tangents.

    The future is a fool's bet. We've never been good at predicting it. Every attempt ends up being laughable in hind-sight. It gets even harder when we add in the very real fact that we're accumulating exabytes of data and the increase of the increase is increasing. I'm not sure anything we consider important at this moment will be relevant to what we think is important two generations from now.
     
  15. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Well yes and no. It's worth keeping a lookout for dangers - climate change and the ozone hole being two examples. But just blanket statements of doom, without supporting detail to enable practical action, is pointless.
     
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  16. superstring01 Moderator

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    12,110
    I agree with that. Maybe I didn't communicate that part clearly (which is my fault). I fall decidedly on the side of very strong environmental protections. I have just the very basic capacity to follow claims through to their source and evaluate them to see if they're fluff or actually supported by the science.

    Most of the doom and gloom stories depend far too much on, "Well, this might..." and "Well, this could..." and "I firmly believe that..." and "Most probably..." That's when I tune out. Like I said yesterday, we're going to fuck it up. Shit's gonna get ugly. We'll be forced to fix what we broke (or invent some way of surviving). This is essentially what we've been doing for millennia.
     
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  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    And anybody else paying the slightest attention.

    And I'm weary of that kind of purposeless dismissal of perfectly accurate and easily verified common knowledge observations.
    What, specifically, do you doubt about any of that post - or did you miss the illustrative specifics? You appear to have:
    Are you dismissing all "supporting detail" unless it is accompanied by some grand program for practical action? That doesn't seem reasonable.

    The ongoing loss of genetic resilience in major agricultural resources, for example, is 1) common knowledge, long recognized 2) a "supporting detail" which nobody I know of has a politically workable way of addressing overall. It's not just the recent needle-eye of GMO tech that is driving it, either. (That rubber tree fungus is a time bomb, and the recent revocation of rain forest protections by the Brazilian government moved the needle closer to high noon. No "program" to address it overall exists, afaik).
    Nonsense. Prudent preparation for handling obvious risks and looming disaster is not foolish. Fukushimas are foolish. Being surprised and overwhelmed by Katrinas and Harveys is foolish. Not getting ready for the searise and monster rains due to hit overpopulated Bangladesh is foolish.

    You've got a solidly predicted and long foreseen disaster in Houston going on right now, for example. It wasn't a fool's bet, it was a near certainty.

    So is the emergence of a major disease epidemic spreading from the equator into higher latitudes.

    So is another financial implosion of global significance, either triggered or self-induced.

    Do you think that every single one of the looming and increasingly likely disasters aimed at China and India via climate change and their overshot populations will not happen? That's like persuading yourself that Houston is likely to go 80 years without a major hurricane, or that the storms and monsoons and other major rainfall deliverers forming under AGW will not carry extra rain.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    What we've been doing for millenia has been locally crashing (partly from local overshoot), scrabbling for local survival in much reduced circumstances for generations, and (most often) getting locally restored to civilization by outside input from distant locales.

    There isn't much in the way of "outside" any more. The crashes we are setting ourselves up for, like the overshoots, are no longer nearly as local or bounded.

    So you essentially agree with the people you dismiss as "doom and gloom", only you don't regard the disasters as "dooms", or the generations scrabbling in reduced circumstances as "gloom".
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017

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