Climate Change: We're Doomed

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Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:09 pm

I read this interesting article on Alternet:

Profiting From Catastrophe: If Fossil Fuel Companies Burn All Their Reserves We're Undeniably Screwed
Here are the facts: The business models at the center of our economy are in the deepest possible conflict with physics and chemistry.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/154 ... ly_screwed

This is particularly relevant:

If we spew 565 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere, we’ll quite possibly go right past that reddest of red lines. But the oil companies, private and state-owned, have current reserves on the books equivalent to 2,795 gigatons -- five times more than we can ever safely burn. It has to stay in the ground.

Put another way, in ecological terms it would be extremely prudent to write off $20 trillion worth of those reserves. In economic terms, of course, it would be a disaster, first and foremost for shareholders and executives of companies like ExxonMobil (and people in places like Venezuela).


Of course it goes without saying that they'll keep burning that carbon into the atmosphere as to do otherwise would mean financial disaster and in some cases violent uprisings against states. Democracies won't elect leaders who demand economic sacrifice in exchange for ecological security. Nevermind the fact that even if half the world actually did do that, you'd still have giants like China, India and the USA among others not curtailing their fossil fuel use.

This of course leads one to foresee a rather bleak future. It is inescapable. We're screwed. Optimism won't fix the problem. The ship is sinking.

However, as a Mahayana Buddhist what can you do? You might curtail your own energy consumption, but at the end of the day it is just a token gesture given the monstrous pollution created by our greater societies.

So, in the coming decades, Buddhism as a whole will face unprecedented problems with the rest of the world. Ecological payback that will probably see deaths on an enormous scale. With it all the social discontent and emotional and psychological deterioration that accompanies cultures in rapid decline.

This leads me to think that mere "Dharma Centers" teaching meditation and a few classes won't be enough. Institutions will have to address a lot more severe problems than stress from the workplace and family. Poverty, hunger and destitution will be huge problems in the coming decades. Moreover, you can expect violence to become more and more commonplace in what was once peaceful communities as economies contract and governments inevitably slap down anger revolts.

We'll see what happens over time, but everything from peak oil to climate change points in the direction of everything going down hill. Still, I know few Buddhists who really recognize and acknowledge this. In modern Chinese Buddhism they like to talk about "building a Pure Land on Earth," which is essentially utopianism, but I think quite blind to the hard reality facing us all. The sentiment is that if you purify your own mind and maybe take up environmentalism, people will follow suit. This might mean bringing your own reusable bag to the grocery store, but such practices fail to consider that there are more cars on the roads than ever which shuttle those shoppers with their reusable bags. A nice gesture, but ultimately futile.

Ideally, we can be of aid to others as much as possible as the sting of our collective past deeds becomes intolerable, but in order to do that we should really prepare for some seriously hard times.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Nemo » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:36 pm

I don't know how old you are but I am not doomed. I won't live long enough to see the environmental collapse. Social collapse seems more likely in my lifetime.

The next generation is doomed. Ha Ha. Sorry we screwed you. BTW we loved the pensions, free education, unlimited healthcare and career opportunities you will never receive. Boomers Rule! :twothumbsup:
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:42 pm

Nemo wrote:I don't know how old you are but I am not doomed. I won't live long enough to see the environmental collapse. Social collapse seems more likely in my lifetime.

The next generation is doomed. Ha Ha. Sorry we screwed you. BTW we loved the pensions, free education, unlimited healthcare and career opportunities you will never receive. Boomers Rule! :twothumbsup:



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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby justsit » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:01 pm

Nemo wrote:I don't know how old you are but I am not doomed. I won't live long enough to see the environmental collapse. Social collapse seems more likely in my lifetime.

The next generation is doomed. Ha Ha. Sorry we screwed you. BTW we loved the pensions, free education, unlimited healthcare and career opportunities you will never receive. Boomers Rule! :twothumbsup:


Hey, if you miss it this time, you can catch on the next round. :crying:
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:22 pm

Nemo wrote:I don't know how old you are but I am not doomed. I won't live long enough to see the environmental collapse. Social collapse seems more likely in my lifetime.

The next generation is doomed. Ha Ha. Sorry we screwed you. BTW we loved the pensions, free education, unlimited healthcare and career opportunities you will never receive. Boomers Rule! :twothumbsup:


What commie state do you live in where you got free education, heathcare and career opportunities to say nothing of pensions? I'm considered a Boomer and I never saw any of that stuff in my part of North America.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby kirtu » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:23 pm

justsit wrote:
Nemo wrote:I don't know how old you are but I am not doomed. I won't live long enough to see the environmental collapse. Social collapse seems more likely in my lifetime.

The next generation is doomed. Ha Ha. Sorry we screwed you. BTW we loved the pensions, free education, unlimited healthcare and career opportunities you will never receive. Boomers Rule! :twothumbsup:


Hey, if you miss it this time, you can catch on the next round. :crying:


Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin ....

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Nemo » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:16 pm

kirtu wrote:
Nemo wrote:I don't know how old you are but I am not doomed. I won't live long enough to see the environmental collapse. Social collapse seems more likely in my lifetime.

The next generation is doomed. Ha Ha. Sorry we screwed you. BTW we loved the pensions, free education, unlimited healthcare and career opportunities you will never receive. Boomers Rule! :twothumbsup:


What commie state do you live in where you got free education, heathcare and career opportunities to say nothing of pensions? I'm considered a Boomer and I never saw any of that stuff in my part of North America.

Kirt


Canada!
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Jesse » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:09 am

It really is a sad truth, I hope the world will wise up as a whole before things get that bad, but I fear we will face much suffering before our collective self interest becomes synonymous with natures.

I remember a lecture I had listened to by Alan Watts along time ago; I had no idea what he was talking about then.

"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Nemo » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:45 am

The irony is that the only way to save the environment now is to condemn most of the humans on the planet to death or dire poverty. You have to choose humans or the biosphere. There is no longer a middle ground. We passed the point of sustainable ecology decades ago. The boomers were very greedy and decided to be the last and richest generation before environmental collapse.

There is no reason to quit smoking once the cancer has spread so far it is incurable. We still have a few good years left. Maybe not a great time to have kids. If you do have some show them some of the wonders this beautiful planet created. You have to take them to the oceans soon. In as little as a decade there may not be much left to see.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:39 am

Nemo wrote:There is no reason to quit smoking once the cancer has spread so far it is incurable. We still have a few good years left. Maybe not a great time to have kids. If you do have some show them some of the wonders this beautiful planet created. You have to take them to the oceans soon. In as little as a decade there may not be much left to see.


There's such a horrific irony there.

We know massive sacrifice is required, but we're locked into a destructive course due to our collective greed and ignorance.

We know all the oil in the ground companies want to pump out and burn will mean catastrophe, but we let it happen anyway.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby plwk » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:51 pm

There's always Mars.... :toilet:
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:13 pm

plwk wrote:There's always Mars.... :toilet:


Mr Gingrich, I presume?

Huseng wrote:We know all the oil in the ground companies want to pump out and burn will mean catastrophe, but we let it happen anyway.

That's quite probably the most maddeningly frustrating piece of knowledge I've ever come across. Words just fail here, and the feeling, it won't go away even though I rage and rant about it at least once a week. :evil:
. . . there they saw a rock! But it wasn't a rock . . .
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Nemo » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:13 pm

The people who understand the problem don't have the fortitude to do what is needed so late in the game. The developing world will only do what is needed at gunpoint. We have no ethical authority to stop them from embracing industrialization. We couldn't even stop ourselves in the 1980's when all the science was perfectly clear that this would happen.

Energy efficiency, recycling, eating crappy grain based foods are all irrelevant when faced with the fact that in 2040 there will be 3 billion more people. It's over on a global scale. Time to find pockets of sustainability to retire. Keep the flame of culture and Dharma alive for the dark times ahead. If the Kalachakra prophecies are true even that is a waste of time. Just practice and don't worry about other stuff. Pure food and eco snobbery are a total waste of precious time.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:50 pm

Nemo wrote:Energy efficiency, recycling, eating crappy grain based foods are all irrelevant when faced with the fact that in 2040 there will be 3 billion more people. It's over on a global scale. Time to find pockets of sustainability to retire. Keep the flame of culture and Dharma alive for the dark times ahead. If the Kalachakra prophecies are true even that is a waste of time. Just practice and don't worry about other stuff. Pure food and eco snobbery are a total waste of precious time.


I don't think keeping the dharma alive, or at least trying to, will be a waste of time. If our predecessors had thought that when the ruling dynasty was collapsing or invaders were burning down their institutions, we wouldn't have much passed down to us. In times of chaos Buddhists have proven time and again that they can preserve their traditions for future generations.

At the moment I'm engaged in a translation project here in Taiwan. In the long-term I hope it will help to preserve and transmit a lot of teachings, especially into the west where these works will be available in English. Just think how much Indian Buddhist literature was lost on the sub-continent, but preserved in other countries or non-Indic languages (like Tibetan or Chinese for example). In the long-term I really just want to translate and help preserve Buddhist texts while doing meditation. I foresee some very ugly times coming, and I might die prematurely, but in the meanwhile I'd like to contribute to the preservation and transmission of the canon as best I can.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:54 pm

Nemo wrote:Canada!


Might not have your pension, or the better half of it anyway, for long.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Buddhist Prime » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:13 am

Either attain Enlightenment or prepare now.

I have a SHTF list ready:
http://www.amazon.com/lm/RK5YKYA5NVNWF/ref=cm_lm_pthnk_view?ie=UTF8&lm_bb=

I've got everything I ever need, so for the mean time until SHTF,
I will work on attaining enlightenment.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Dave The Seeker » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:13 pm

out of curiosity I read your list.
An interesting list for sure, but why work on obtaining Enlightenment when you have items listed for the killing of not just living beings, but other people, as your comments for the items state.
In doing this, by self defense or for any other means, you're breaking the first precept.
And in effect, destroying all the works you seem to be trying to do helping people understand the Dharma.


Kindest wishes, Dave
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Sara H » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:56 am

Nemo wrote:I don't know how old you are but I am not doomed. I won't live long enough to see the environmental collapse. Social collapse seems more likely in my lifetime.

The next generation is doomed. Ha Ha. Sorry we screwed you. BTW we loved the pensions, free education, unlimited healthcare and career opportunities you will never receive. Boomers Rule! :twothumbsup:

That's not very funny.
*narrows eyes.*
I know you were trying to be ironic, but I don't find that very funny at all, actually.

I have, actually, a great deal of anger that I sit with over that.

That generation has done an incredible amount of harm out of childishness, selfishness and arrogance.

And I know, that's the point you were trying to make, by being ironic, but I don't find that topic funny one bit.

That's not hilarious to me, it's quite frustrating and infuriating.

And provides no end to opportunities to sit with anger.

In Gassho,

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IT IS OUR CHOICE
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We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Dan74 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:29 am

I am not sure why people are so fatalistic over this issue.

Humankind has a knack for being very resourceful when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan. The extent and severity of the warming are still fraught with a great deal of uncertainty though yes, as the evidence stands, it doesn't look great at all. But it doesn't look like the end, either. Particularly for most of us in the 1st World. Shame for the Bangladeshis, for the Islanders who will lose their land and culture, for the many species that will be driven to extinction, but humankind as a whole will make it. Might even be the thing we need to bring us together, working together for the benefit of the entire planet. There is going to be a silver lining in it all, I suspect.

Sorry to spoil the rain with a bit of sunshine, folks... but of course you're not going to believe me anyway! ;)
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Sara H » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:39 am

Dan74 wrote:I am not sure why people are so fatalistic over this issue.

Humankind has a knack for being very resourceful when the proverbial sh*t hits the fan. The extent and severity of the warming are still fraught with a great deal of uncertainty though yes, as the evidence stands, it doesn't look great at all. But it doesn't look like the end, either. Particularly for most of us in the 1st World. Shame for the Bangladeshis, for the Islanders who will lose their land and culture, for the many species that will be driven to extinction, but humankind as a whole will make it. Might even be the thing we need to bring us together, working together for the benefit of the entire planet. There is going to be a silver lining in it all, I suspect.

Sorry to spoil the rain with a bit of sunshine, folks... but of course you're not going to believe me anyway! ;)

I hope it wasn't me who sounded fatalistic, I think things will work out as well.

I do get frustrated though.

My Love (spouse) says things are sometimes like a wild fire.

A natural thing that has to burn through things to make things better.

Very destructive, but also fertilizes the forrest for new life and growth.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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