No, I don't quite agree with that. I would say that some of us - or even most of us - are the cause of the problems, but not all of us. I can't really put 'humans' as a problem, since I'm hoping for solutions that do not require the extinction of the human race. I could put something like human nature or habit. If I didn't believe that we could change, then I wouldn't be here.
I'm not so sure about that. I think parasitic life forms leech on an ecosystem more than they're part of it. I really think that there are some life forms that do nothing but harm other life forms. However having said that I also think we should be extremely careful about trying to eradicate certain life forms that are - in our limited view - bad for the environment. Just look at what happened to China under Mao.
Wow, thanx for bumping this up. First time seeing this. Didn't we do something about the ozone layer?
That's a very good point. Every economic bubble seems to have been built on the expectation of endless growth. If stocks don't increase their value they are no good. If a company doesn't earn more the next year compared to the previous year it's no good. At least that's the impression I get.
I agree that calling it global warming seems to mislead many people about what to expect from the weather. Calling it global climate change or global climate instability might be more useful.
But saying that nature will just have to take care of it on her own, is like saying that it won't be taken care of at all.
I wonder what the social and political ramifications would be if this turned out to be true?
Given the anti-science mindset of a substantial swath of people in this country. I can't imagine it not helping to fuel those fires. Personally I think a discovery like this would be great for us. Imagine the potential to learn more if it were true.
The video was indeed an mind-opening documentary. And I can very well agree that we are not paying the real amount in the gas station, but in its effects in our health. I guess we really have to reduce the use of vehicles in order to protects ourselves and the environment. It's really alarming so we have to do something about it.
Exactly! Even people in the nuclear industry knows this. In light of the Fukushima nuclear disaster the Italian nuclear engineer and safety expert Cesare Silvi explained why he left his former pro-nuclear stance for solar and other renewable energy sources:
“I soon came to the conclusion that neither international cooperation nor technological advancements would guarantee human societies to build and safely run nuclear reactors in all possible conditions on Earth (earthquakes, floods, droughts, tornadoes, wars, terrorism, climate change, tsunamis, pandemics, etc.). I am sadly reminded of this turning point in my life as I listen to the news about the earthquake, tsunami and extremely worrying nuclear crisis in Japan.”
It's not that they are denying all these weather changes, they just don't want to admit that it's global warming and that we are causing it. Some have the belief that all this climate changes are happening because they are supposed to be happening. Kind of like the ice age and all the warming eras.
We have had our disagreements to the answer to this question before Simon, but perhaps we're not that far from each other. I would say that the biggest problem is overconsumption. Wasteful nature is dangerous and it is something we must always be mindful of. But that does not mean that I think overpopulation isn't a problem, I think it's almost as big a problem as overconsumption. You could even view it as a certain type of overconsumption. There's a parallel between using more resources than what is sustainable, and having more people than the resources that we have can sustain. I believe we face both problems. There is some truth in the following from the second article:
I think it would help us, even a lot, but not enough on it's own. But let's imagine the opposite case:
"All consumption is spread equally to all people on the planet; no one consumes more than anyone else."
The carbon emission, the waste, the other types of pollution and so forth would still continue, simply because in the above statement, the population hasn't stopped growing. Even if we add that the consumption growth is zero, the ecological footprint is already too great. And I can't for the life of me see how we can keep the consumption growth at zero, when the population still grows and grows. You might say that if the population grows no further, then it is the consumption rate that we should focus on. I can agree with that. But first the population has to stop growing. As it is now, we have to deal with both issues. We just can't blame it all on overconsumption. My reply to the thread can be summed up as this:
Overpopulation is not the biggest problem compared to overconsumption, but it is almost as big.
From a legislative or liberal point of view it is also much harder to tell people to have less kids, than to tell them to waste less. It's such a personal issue, and most people will say that it's no one else's business whether they have 2 children or 10. Especially not if they live in a rich country and don't see starvation all around them. I would hate to see something like the one-child policy in China become the norm in the rest of the world, and that's why I always urge people not to take lightly the problem of overpopulation. It might not be a problem now, but whether or not it will become a problem for our children or grandchildren will depend on how we address the problem now.
I would actually say overconsumption trumps overpopulation in a lot of ways.
The population of a country doesn't always have much of a bearing on how much energy they waste. Take the US for example. Compared to many countries, we have a pretty even ratio of people/population to land area. Yet, we waste so much of the world's natural resources. As a whole, our countries carbon footprint is astronomical, and unlike some European countries we seem not to care much about trying to find alternative energy sources. There's a statistic I've heard many times that only 20% of earth's population use up 80% of the resources, and I definitely think that's true.
On the other hand overpopulation can and will to some extent always be a less controllable factor. The larger a country's population, the more resources they'll use up, even if they keep their use at a low borderline.
I think in the end that education is the best tool for everything. Educating about the dangers of overpopulation, proper birth control methods, how to reduce resource use and waste. And especially drive home the point about the future effects and how such things could effect one's children or grandchildren. I feel that people are more likely to listen to what you say if you remind them that their actions now have very far reaching implications.
This is a philosophical question, not a political question. It is something I have been wondering about for quite some time. What is freedom of will? Do we have freedom over our actions, or is everything predetermined by god, laws of causation, genetics or whatever? And if you don't believe in free will, then why bother 'trying' to change anything?