Climate Change: We're Doomed

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby viniketa » Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:58 am

Ukigumo wrote:I can't afford the false optimism and groundless hope of an earlier generation - a generation that has consistently failed to face reality. I am very grateful to Huseng for bringing these issues up and for addressing them from a Buddhist perspective. I would rather hear a harsh truth than a comforting lie.


There is a big difference between facing reality and "abandon hope, all ye who enter here."

A new take on "green building":

Image


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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:25 am

viniketa wrote:There is a big difference between facing reality and "abandon hope, all ye who enter here."

A new take on "green building":


Lovely, but that doesn't address the fact that almost our entire global industrial infrastructure depends on finite fossil fuels which are disrupting the climate and killing off plenty of species.

The first world greenies think recycling or gardening somehow makes it all better, but it doesn't. All the hidden energy expenditures we indirectly make use of in daily life (think of the street lamps and asphalt roads for example) which are necessary for our standard of living are still there regardless. The trucks which transport your organic vegetables still need diesel.

Self-declared environmentalists like recycling, but never mind that their standard of living is already propped up by massive amounts of energy and resources obtained from fossil fuels. You might ride your bicycle, but think of all the carbon expended to build and maintain a city's streets. Multiply that by tens of thousands of cities.

If you want to know what a low energy lifestyle looks like, you need to look at the rural third world where the average person uses a fraction of the energy first world citizens do. That is akin to what life was like in much of the west a century ago. Local seasonal foods, no A/C, limited electricity, a lot more manual labour for daily chores (washing clothes by hand for instance), etc...

So how many people are willing to sacrifice to that extent? Almost none. This is why even environmentalists are guilty of the same sin they condemn others for, although to a lesser extent of course.

The problem really lay in the fact that as a society adds complexity (=increased energy consumption), it becomes impossible to voluntarily simplify because the system becomes locked in place and social structures around that energy become ingrained in people. If the powers that be for whatever reason need to decrease energy consumption, you have social upheaval, increased suicide rates and the risk of revolution.

So, by whatever means possible the complexity must be preserved and as energy becomes short there is increasing strain leading to additional policing and legitimization (nowadays this is propaganda about freedom, progress and the free market, etc...). It is a quite organic process that has unfolded with past societies as well. You can discern the same patterns in the rise and fall of the Mayans, Rome and even various Chinese dynasties. They overshot their resource bases and unable to curtail energy use started to falter.

In our case we are unfortunately dependent on energy sources that are also harming the planet to a considerable degree. What we can expect is two things:

1. That every ounce and gram of affordable fossil fuels (oil, coal, natural gas) will be used as there is no other alternative that packs the same type of condensed and easily stored energy. Not just our technology and infrastructure, but our levels of social complexity likewise depend on it (fossil fuels enable most of the population to be engaged in activities other than producing food). The outcome of this will be a much warmer planet, death of vast amounts of megafauna and possibly areas of the planet uninhabitable for humanity. This places additional strain on societies and their food production.

2. As fossil fuels become a lot more expensive there will be conflict over them. Domestically as the pie shrinks a lot of the working class and middle class will be tossed to the sharks to prop up the lifestyles of those above them (in most of the west the working class was already sacrificed by using overseas labour which conveniently gave the middle class a nicer, cheaper lifestyle). This will alienate people from the system and as they gain little benefit from such a system they will turn to alternatives be it religions, fringe political ideologies or crime. The system reacts by using additional policing, but this requires more energy in the long-term and the staff who run such a system likewise need to be reasonably treated and compensated, otherwise they'll turn corrupt or just rebel.

So, we can expect environmental destruction to occur along with the related social and political degeneration as well. In due time our modern industrial civilization will simply die and our species will revert back to pre-industrial population levels. No doubt this will entail much suffering and hardship during a period of dark ages while we adjust to radically different climates and ecosystems.

I don't see any alternatives to this short of some miracle technology giving us the same energy on return that fossil fuels do.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby greentara » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:31 am

Beautiful, timeless poem by John Donne (1624)

No man is an island:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby viniketa » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:02 am

Huseng wrote:Lovely, but that doesn't address the fact that almost our entire global industrial infrastructure depends on finite fossil fuels which are disrupting the climate and killing off plenty of species.


I don't dispute any of the facts presented -- in fact, I teach at the post-secondary level and I, and millions of other teachers, teach these facts everyday. My students are now turning in papers about actions the U.S. as a whole and they, individually, could take to reduce global inequality, energy consumption, and environmental degradation.

I disagree with some of your premises about the nature of humans and the conclusions drawn from those about the inevitability of certain outcomes. Are some of the outcomes you propose possible, you bet! Inevitable, no. If I thought that doom and gloom were the proper attitudes to teach, I wouldn't bother with the facts.

You are saying the efforts of teachers all over the world are useless because society is evil, people are flawed, and no one can do anything about it.

I respectfully disagree. I don't try to predict the outcome, I try to teach how we might be able to avoid even more widespread destruction.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:57 am

Huseng wrote:
viniketa wrote:There is a big difference between facing reality and "abandon hope, all ye who enter here."

A new take on "green building":

Lovely, but that doesn't address the fact that almost our entire global industrial infrastructure depends on finite fossil fuels ...

The first world greenies think recycling or gardening somehow makes it all better, but it doesn't. ....
Self-declared environmentalists like recycling, ....

If you want to know what a low energy lifestyle looks like, you need to look at the rural third world ....

So how many people are willing to sacrifice to that extent? Almost none. ....
The problem really lay in the fact that as a society adds complexity (=increased energy consumption), it becomes impossible ....

So, by whatever means possible the complexity must be preserved ....

In our case we are unfortunately dependent on energy sources that are also harming the planet to a considerable degree. ...

So, we can expect environmental destruction...

I don't see any alternatives to this ...

Huseng,
This is exactly the barrow-load of half-truths and quarter-truths that I objected to when I first responded to the thread, and repetition does not constitute proof.
You have justified none of it, perhaps because so much of it is unjustifiable, and you have not responded substantively to any of the more positive viewpoints expressed here.
I think it's past time you actually responded to some of my posts. I would really like you to start with this one, because I think it goes to the root of your position: http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=6973&start=140#p141304
If you can't handle that one, perhaps you could start with documented evidence that climate catastrophe is inevitable (your core claim) or that fossil fuels are the only possible energy source for our society for the foreseeable future (which I will take as being 50 years).
And if you can't do that either, perhaps you need to admit your ignorance.

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but this discussion is in its ninth page and you haven't added anything to it since your OP.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:40 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:If you can't handle that one, perhaps you could start with documented evidence that climate catastrophe is inevitable (your core claim)


I can't foretell the future for certain, but the probability of climate change continuing as a result of fossil fuel use is inevitable unless humanity decides to radically simplify, but voluntary simplification seldom occurs in history. You need to challenge this and prove otherwise if you are going to demonstrate that the Third World will happily accept poverty while the First World likewise willingly reduces their economies and energy consumption for the greater good while demilitarizing at the same time (economics are always tied in with military capacities).

Bill McKibben in his article points out the issue with how we are already planning to burn through all the current reserves (and yes it is 'we' because we're all using fossil fuels):

    "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."

http://www.alternet.org/story/154055/pr ... ly_screwed

There are no global initiatives to scale down fossil fuel use. From China and Indian burning massive amounts of coal (and building more power plants every year), to consumers in the west unwilling to give up their cars and decadent lifestyles, carbon emissions are increasing year after year. The Guardian reported that again this year we're facing rising carbon emissions.


    "Carbon dioxide emissions from industry rose an estimated 2.6% this year, according to a study of global carbon emissions."


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... ge-certain


or that fossil fuels are the only possible energy source for our society for the foreseeable future (which I will take as being 50 years).


This is one example of energy on return. Note how fossil fuels are notably more efficient than other sources. Hydro and wind seem alright, but fossil fuels are used to build and maintain such forms of energy production. I doubt you could build a hydro electric dam with electric machinery, to say nothing of all the steel that goes into it.

Image


The other thing to bear in mind that because a lot of our food is produced using petro-chemicals and oil driven machinery (plus transport), and that we don't have any alternatives, this will likewise become an issue. You can have a wind farm, but electricity doesn't produce food.


Anyway, you haven't undermined any of my arguments nor really addressed them with anything substantial. Your optimism and hope are fine, but I prefer realism and knowing cold hard limits of energy and food. When you put climate change and peak oil together the result is a dark future ahead of us filled with vast misery and pain.

Welcome to kaliyuga. Welcome to saṃsāra.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sat Dec 08, 2012 12:56 pm

viniketa wrote:I disagree with some of your premises about the nature of humans and the conclusions drawn from those about the inevitability of certain outcomes. Are some of the outcomes you propose possible, you bet! Inevitable, no. If I thought that doom and gloom were the proper attitudes to teach, I wouldn't bother with the facts.


Doom and gloom are subsequent to the hard realities of resource limits and ecological payback for our sins against the environment. We should draw our conclusions, and plan ahead, based on facts rather than being pessimistic just for the hell of it.


You are saying the efforts of teachers all over the world are useless because society is evil, people are flawed, and no one can do anything about it.


Yes and no. Teachers if teaching right view and realistic approaches to reality (as opposed to idealistic fantasies) will prepare their students mentally and spiritually for hard circumstances. Society is evil by virtue of how it is established and how it operates (exploitation of the proletariat, animals, the environment, etc...) and most people are immoral by virtue of their overwhelming afflictions which dictate their decisions and values. Throughout history there has never been a utopia and never will be because sentient beings exist as such because of their afflictions. Societies rise and fall like the tide. This is an organic process of history and civilizations.

One unique feature of our civilization is that we struck gold, so to speak, with fossil fuels and knowledge of how to exploit them. Once the ball got rolling on that it was impossible to stop because the use of such energy sources meant a lot of prosperity and ease for many people, albeit short-lived in the large scale of things, and moreover enhanced military capabilities which could secure both tribute and power. Humans being the flawed beings that they are will collectively commit vast evils to secure ease, power and wealth, and will seldom give it up. Individuals, however, can sacrifice and simplify.

Hence why I believe while fate is one of decline and degradation in this age (kaliyuga), as an individual you still have options.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Fruitzilla » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:24 pm

Actually, change is happening. It's still small, but there's definitely a big momentum coming.

Watch this for example: Fresh, the movie http://vimeo.com/41450294
Or this: Greening the desert http://vimeo.com/7658282

It's actually, as also mentioned in Fresh, the movie, nonsense that you need industrial agriculture to feed a lot of people. Medium sized diversified farms are much more productive than the silly giant monoculture stuff we are doing now.

Furthermore, there's a lot of "greenies" in the west that know that riding a bike and eating local organic food is only where the solution to the coming problems starts, not where it ends. I think too many people read too much John Michael Greer for their own good.

Just sayin. Not that the doom-and-gloomer will be satisfied with anything less than total societal collapse tho......
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby viniketa » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:53 pm

Huseng wrote:Society is evil by virtue of how it is established and how it operates (exploitation of the proletariat, animals, the environment, etc...)


Please cite your sources, data, and proof for the assumption that societies, invariably, throughout time, have only been established through exploitation of the proletariat, animals, the environment, and please detail the etc.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby greentara » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:22 pm

There are huge problems afoot. It still surprises me that so few people mention the massive over population of the globe. The destruction of vast forests and jungles (the lungs of the earth) Interesting that very seam of coal underground represents a fallen petrified forest.
The transplantation of flora and fauna to other countries also causes havoc.
As an example Sitka Spruce favoured by commercial forestry, is native to Canada, although it flourishes in Britain, it does so at considerable ecological price: native Oak trees have been found to support 284 species of insect, compared to the Sitka Spruce's 37. Fewer insects, mean fewer birds andf fewer birds means less botanical diversity that in turn means fewer native animals. These trees are planted in straight rows, very close together with often deep drainage cuts of stagnant water underneath. These plantations really are 'dead' in an ecological sense.
In continental Europe massive forests swept down from Mediterranean to the Arctic circle, now only pockets left. The Amazonian rain forest is in deep trouble with the illegal cutting down of ancient trees. Mining both legal and illegal are rampant along the Amazon.
There are countless examples one could give but enough said.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby viniketa » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:39 pm

greentara wrote:There are huge problems afoot. It still surprises me that so few people mention the massive over population of the globe.


Currently, the population stretches resources, but if we are conservative, the resources are adequate. However, if the current trend of exponential growth continues, it won't be long until we are "maxed-out" in terms of a sustainable population.

Right now, 25% of the world's population consumes almost 85% of the world's resources. Those 25% are the wealthiest. If that consumption can be cut-back to even 50% in the next ten years, disaster can be averted. That, however, will require great restraint.

In encourage everyone to take a look at these resources:

http://www.theglobaleducationproject.or ... /index.php

http://www.globalissues.org/

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:12 pm

Thanks, viniketa, for being a voice or reason amongst the doom-and-gloom. :thanks:

Husing, I haven't got much time this morning so I will just respond to the beginning of your post:
Huseng wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:If you can't handle that one, perhaps you could start with documented evidence that climate catastrophe is inevitable (your core claim)


I can't foretell the future for certain, but the probability of climate change continuing as a result of fossil fuel use is inevitable unless humanity decides to radically simplify, but voluntary simplification seldom occurs in history. You need to challenge this and prove otherwise

You have just admitted that your don't know if your core claim is correct.
And then you put the onus of proof on me. But my position (that we do face serious problems but can do something about them) is the mainstream one and yours is the fringe one: I reckon the earth is round, you reckon it's flat. The onus of proof is therefore on you, to demonstrate that your extraordinary claim is true, not on me.
And you have just admitted that you can't.

More later, if necessary - and (sigh) I suspect it will be.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:28 am

viniketa wrote:
Huseng wrote:Society is evil by virtue of how it is established and how it operates (exploitation of the proletariat, animals, the environment, etc...)


Please cite your sources, data, and proof for the assumption that societies, invariably, throughout time, have only been established through exploitation of the proletariat, animals, the environment, and please detail the etc.

:namaste:


Is it really necessary to get antagonistic with me and play the academic card?
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:39 am

viniketa wrote:Currently, the population stretches resources, but if we are conservative, the resources are adequate. However, if the current trend of exponential growth continues, it won't be long until we are "maxed-out" in terms of a sustainable population.


We have finite resources on the planet. We are burning through them at an alarming rate:

Image

http://www.energybulletin.net

With these projections our current population levels cannot be sustained long into the future. Think of how our populations skyrocketed after industrialization really came into force, but without that industry could our populations remain at their present levels? Of course not.



Right now, 25% of the world's population consumes almost 85% of the world's resources. Those 25% are the wealthiest. If that consumption can be cut-back to even 50% in the next ten years, disaster can be averted. That, however, will require great restraint.


That won't happen. You cut back and people revolt. Countries like China and India cannot attempt to cut growth because social stability depends on economic growth.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:40 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:You have just admitted that your don't know if your core claim is correct.


No, I admitted I'm not psychic.
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby viniketa » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:39 am

Huseng wrote:Is it really necessary to get antagonistic with me and play the academic card?


I do not ask to be antagonistic nor to play cards. If there is evidence, I would like to be informed.

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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Indrajala » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:44 am

viniketa wrote:I do not ask to be antagonistic nor to play cards. If there is evidence, I would like to be informed.


Is it not obvious? I don't need to write a whole monograph on these points.

-In complex societies there are almost always working classes, slaves and general grunts who get paid little in terms of resources for their hard labour. In many cases women are exploited for their labour and not rewarded in the same degree as men.

-In pre-industrial times animals were used for their labour. Their flesh is used as a food source. In present times we might not use much animal labour in the first world, but we exploit animals as a food source on an industrial scale (quite gruesome too).

-The environment even in pre-industrial times was exploited. Forests could be hacked down, land cleared through burning, etc... yet humanity had its destructive limits (they couldn't blow entire tops off mountains to get at the coal for instance).
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:40 am

Huseng wrote:
viniketa wrote:I do not ask to be antagonistic nor to play cards. If there is evidence, I would like to be informed.


Is it not obvious? I don't need to write a whole monograph on these points.

-In complex societies there are almost always working classes, slaves and general grunts who get paid little in terms of resources for their hard labour. In many cases women are exploited for their labour and not rewarded in the same degree as men.

-In pre-industrial times animals were used for their labour. Their flesh is used as a food source. In present times we might not use much animal labour in the first world, but we exploit animals as a food source on an industrial scale (quite gruesome too).

-The environment even in pre-industrial times was exploited. Forests could be hacked down, land cleared through burning, etc... yet humanity had its destructive limits (they couldn't blow entire tops off mountains to get at the coal for instance).

Huseng,
I'm with Viniketa on this.
As I said before, you continue to trundle out the same wheelbarrow-full of half-truths and quarter-truths. You have admitted you are not psychic (that's a relief in a way :tongue: ) and your claims go against the weight of expert opinion so we need to look carefully at whether your claims are even credible.
Googling [climate "catastrophe OR disaster"] gets me 170 million results and I am quite sure that (1) you haven't read them all and (2) most of them are rubbish. So just what are you relying on? Expert opinion? Junk science? Fossil-fuel industry disinformation? If you present your sources, we will be able to judge.
And if you turn around and say that you are relying on a general impression formed by reading all around the subject, rather than any identifiable sources, then subjectivity (yours) becomes a huge issue and leads us back here:
Kim wrote:I think it's past time you actually responded to some of my posts. I would really like you to start with this one, because I think it goes to the root of your position: viewtopic.php?f=42&t=6973&start=140#p141304


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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby pueraeternus » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:55 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:As I said before, you continue to trundle out the same wheelbarrow-full of half-truths and quarter-truths. You have admitted you are not psychic (that's a relief in a way :tongue: ) and your claims go against the weight of expert opinion so we need to look carefully at whether your claims are even credible.


Half/quarter-truths? The same thing can be said about what you and Viniketa have put forth. Weight of expert opinion? It cuts both ways and based on statistics there one can also easily demonstrate that the green techniques and piecemeal approach can never keep pace with the rate of resource consumption. It doesn't take much common sense to understand that the race towards economic and resource advantage among the big powers is not going to stop anytime soon. Please - stop this childish characterization of other opinions when your own is easily subject to the same
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Re: Climate Change: We're Doomed

Postby viniketa » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:57 am

Huseng wrote:
viniketa wrote:I do not ask to be antagonistic nor to play cards. If there is evidence, I would like to be informed.


Is it not obvious? I don't need to write a whole monograph on these points.

-In complex societies there are almost always working classes, slaves and general grunts who get paid little in terms of resources for their hard labour. In many cases women are exploited for their labour and not rewarded in the same degree as men.

-In pre-industrial times animals were used for their labour. Their flesh is used as a food source. In present times we might not use much animal labour in the first world, but we exploit animals as a food source on an industrial scale (quite gruesome too).

-The environment even in pre-industrial times was exploited. Forests could be hacked down, land cleared through burning, etc... yet humanity had its destructive limits (they couldn't blow entire tops off mountains to get at the coal for instance).


The above statements I can easily find sources and data to support. However, those statements do not support an assumption that societies, invariably, throughout time, have only been established through exploitation of the proletariat, animals, the environment (much less the etc.), so it is not obvious.

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