2011-08-07 04:09:53Earth's systems in rapid decline -- Stephen Leahy -- Aljazeera
John Hartz
John Hartz
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2011-08-07 11:42:56Main point of my article: National Parks and the like have failed and cannot possibly work without...
Stephen Leahy

writersteve@gmail...
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Well, you have to read the article to find out what some folks think we really need to do. 

Stephen Leahy

Thanks Badger. 

2011-08-07 19:40:47
nealjking

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Yes, I believe that in the long run, the loss of biodiversity will prove to be the most important impact of AGW, more significant than the loss of coastline.

Another aspect of that problem is the issue of growing population. But we have another serious contradiction here:

- From an ecological perspective, we ought to be trying to reduce our population to something like sustainable levels

- But from a social perspective, a shrinking (or even a stable) population means that it is difficult to support a growing percentage of the population that is in retirement. Look, for example, at the primary financial problem in the US: It is the issue of the growing bite in the federal budget that is due to Social Security (support for the retired) and especially Medicare (medical insurance for the retired). These systems both worked well at inceptiion, when there were a small number of retired folks who were supported by a large and growing population. But if we imagine a steady-state population that is NOT growing, it doesn't work: Suppose a typical age of death at 85 years. The folks from age 0 to 20 are not working, and the folks from 68 to 100 are not working; that constitutes 20 + 32 = 52% of the population who are not working, that must be supported by the working 48%. That means every worker supports him/herself plus one other person; whereas in the beginning, the system was set up with more each worker supporting something like 1/4 of another person. You can adjust the numbers a bit, but it doesn't change the big picture. And this same problem is already on the horizon for China (because of their imposition of the one-child policy for the last few decades), and it will be on the menu for every country that is "successful" (i.e., not a Somalia or Zimbabwe).

So until we can change the nature of retirement, there is a direct conflict between what is socially a good population strategy and what is environmentally a good strategy. Until we either:

- find a way to support half the population in idleness; or

- find a way to ensure excellent health (not just excellent health-care) until we suddenly and inexpensively die,

we have a long-term problem.

2011-08-08 03:13:04problem of growth model
Stephen Leahy

writersteve@gmail...
24.239.1.234

Neal as you point out our retirement system is based on the assumption of ever-increasing pop growth. And that fundamental assumption is what has got us into this mess and it is the basis of our economic system etc. So it does mean things will have to be different in future. 

2011-08-08 04:49:31
perseus

owlsmoor@googlemail...
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Indeed Nealjking you summarise the range of issues quite well. 

Simply reducing population through birth control creates immense social problems.  Population control twinned with medical advances may introduce the horror of a predominantly older population surviving with chronic but not life threatning conditions?  Should we be focusing on quality of life rather than length? 

Perhaps, we should take the morals of Solyent Green and Logan's run more seriously? 

2011-08-08 05:03:51
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
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A problem is that lots of people suddenly decide that a little bit of quantity seems to be worth quite a bit of quality, at the end.

Another interesting long-term issue: When we're able to compensate for more and more genetically inherited health problems, what direction is human evolution going to take? But maybe that won't be an issue: If advanced civilization goes into crisis, we won't be able to compensate, going forward. A silver lining, perhaps.

2011-08-08 08:52:05
citizenschallenge
Peter Miesler
citizenschallenge7@gmail...
166.183.84.109

nealjking:  "{...}

- From an ecological perspective, we ought to be trying to reduce our population to something like sustainable levels

- But from a social perspective, a shrinking (or even a stable) population means that it is difficult to support a growing percentage of the population that is in retirement.

{...}
we have a long-term problem. . . . . . . ."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

"Houston, We've Had a Problem"

;-(

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And you're not even touching on the problems of an economy dependent on ever increasing consumption.

Nor mentioning our societal mentality of: it's all about me and I don't need to share with the community... "that's socialism" don'tcha no.

Houston, We Have a Problem