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Environment Climate Change, Pollution, Endangered Species, Industrial Agriculture, Degrading Habitats & Renewable Energy.

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Old Mar 22nd 2011, 09:24 PM
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Default Enviropessimism

The more I read about all the incredibly complex and interconnected problems facing the world today, I can't help but to admit to a feeling of being overwhelmed. Or rather, I can't stop being pessimistic about our chances to keep this modern world humming along for anything more than another dozen years before the 'proverbial shit' really starts to hit the fan.

I despair of the ability of modern society to actually respond to any of the major challenges facing the world today, let alone succeed. The size and scale of the problems facing modern society are just too large to admit solutions, and even if any reasonable solution is possible, I fear that human inertia, hubris and laziness will prevent the implementation of that solution in time to impact the problem in any positive way.

The energy crisis has been with us for forty years now. Our addiction to oil - and all the ugly vulnerabilities this opens us up to - has been widely known and studied since the early 1970s. And all of the brilliance of science and capitalism has been able to do in all that time is to improve the efficiency of the fossil fuel engine so that we can all drive bigger, safer and more luxurious cars/trucks.

Likewise with the roofs over our heads. All that we have learned about energy efficiency has been applied to making windows and doors more effective air-seals, and furnaces and air-conditioning systems to produce many times more powerful outputs for slightly reduced energy consumption - all of which has just enabled us to build larger sprawling suburbs filled with ever bigger houses (that are warmer in winter and cooler in summer - and costs less too!).

I recently moved to a new job at larger company. On my first day, I had can of Coke from a machine. I wondered where the recycle bin was... I asked... there wasn't one. You see, paper recycling is a big thing in offices and easy to do. Everyone has a blue/green bin and all paper goes in them and the cleaners make it all disappear into large recycle paper bins out back that get serviced by paper recycling companies. And of course, everyone has curbside blue/green bin recycling programs at home for almost all metals/glass/plastic items. But companies don't get that service given to them. They have to pay someone to do that and in my experience, most just don't bother. At my old employer, one of the employees would take a big bag of recycling material home with her and dump it in her own bin at home on a regular basis. But we were a small company, so that worked easily enough. But the bottom line is, most people only engage in recycling when it is easy and convenient to do so. And this is just recycling. The whole idea of 'reduce and reuse' seems to be lost entirely.

In other words, absolutely nothing has changed in forty years. Global climate change, fossil fuel depletion, environmental destruction, species loss, etc, all continue unabated over time. We've known about all of these problems now for forty years and yet virtually nothing has been done about any of them and still most people don't take the topic seriously.

So is anyone else getting pessimistic about our chances to keep modern society going in anything remotely resembling the 'American Dream' on into the medium term future?
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Old Mar 23rd 2011, 12:09 AM
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Default Re: Enviropessimism

There isn't much to be optimistic about.

Convenience is a major part of our society and it is hurting us in the long run. I'm just as guilty as the next person. Habits are hard to break and even harder to learn....well when they're "good."
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Old Mar 23rd 2011, 04:41 AM
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Default Re: Enviropessimism

I dont expect to live past my 60s because in about 2 decades, we are going to be entrenched in wars, disease and famine.

Bill McKibben has wrote about how we may come to adjust our lives to the oncoming climate disaster- sensibly and democratically. All the experts know and have said that change is coming, and it is for the worse. I am not sure if people are willing to change themselves to accommodate to the consequences they have brought unpon themselves though. I think they are going to blame somebody else and kill each other in the name of god.
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Old Mar 23rd 2011, 06:16 AM
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Default Re: Enviropessimism

Quote:
So is anyone else getting pessimistic about our chances to keep modern society going in anything remotely resembling the 'American Dream' on into the medium term future?
Yes.
However, if you recognize it early enough you can make the necessary changes to your own life.
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Old Mar 23rd 2011, 09:19 AM
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Default Re: Enviropessimism

At some point we will have to stop pretending we can stop oceans from rising, and figure out what the fuck we are going to do when the entire river delta that is Bangladesh (with a whole lot of people in it) is under water.

It's not pessimism, it's realism.
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Old May 10th 2011, 07:57 AM
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Default Re: Enviropessimism

Why is the environment relevant?

Yes, that is a serious question.

If your goal is to perpetually preserve the environment, then you're stepping on freedom of association as a matter of letting market participants self-determine their rates and styles of consumption.

On the other hand, if self-determination doesn't exist, then even the decision to preserve or not the environment is an illusion.

The only environmentalism that matters is in making sure people don't pollute the environment of others. The holistic alternative makes it immoral to so much as breathe, walk, or speak.

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Old May 10th 2011, 09:07 AM
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Default Re: Enviropessimism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daktoria View Post
Why is the environment relevant?

Yes, that is a serious question.

If your goal is to perpetually preserve the environment, then you're stepping on freedom of association as a matter of letting market participants self-determine their rates and styles of consumption.

On the other hand, if self-determination doesn't exist, then even the decision to preserve or not the environment is an illusion.

The only environmentalism that matters is in making sure people don't pollute the environment of others. The holistic alternative makes it immoral to so much as breathe, walk, or speak.

Push a particle, go to jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
The environment is a system. I can't dump toxic waste on my half acre and then say, but hey, I'm only polluting that which I have sovereignty over.
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Old May 10th 2011, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Enviropessimism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey View Post
The environment is a system.
"System" is subjective because it depends upon interpretation which is a subjective action. Otherwise, even breathing, walking, and talking would be polluting actions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkey View Post
I can't dump toxic waste on my half acre and then say, but hey, I'm only polluting that which I have sovereignty over.
Yes you can.

The only reasons you don't are (you believe) 1) there's someone who's willing to beat you up who doesn't like it, or 2) someone you care about doesn't like it.
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Old May 10th 2011, 06:06 PM
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Default Re: Enviropessimism

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daktoria View Post
"System" is subjective because it depends upon interpretation which is a subjective action. Otherwise, even breathing, walking, and talking would be polluting actions.
This is true.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daktoria View Post
Yes you can.

The only reasons you don't are (you believe) 1) there's someone who's willing to beat you up who doesn't like it, or 2) someone you care about doesn't like it.
This seems like projection. You may accept those reasonings, but I doubt if Donkey does. Seems like you are projecting your own libertarian views about the issue onto Donkey - which is entirely unjustified.
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Old May 10th 2011, 07:29 PM
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Default Re: Enviropessimism

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Originally Posted by Michael View Post
This is true.



This seems like projection. You may accept those reasonings, but I doubt if Donkey does. Seems like you are projecting your own libertarian views about the issue onto Donkey - which is entirely unjustified.
I don't know if I'd call it projection so much as universalizing.

I'm just trying to think of an alternative, and I can't. Maybe I have a limited perspective, but OK, then can you really blame me for trying?
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