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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:22 am 
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right to left wrote:
What exactly is your point in all this? Unless you just want to argue that human-created mass extinction is natural!


A species can cause the extinction of another or several and it be perfectly natural. How is it not when humans are the culprit?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:14 pm 
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Fosgate wrote:
right to left wrote:
What exactly is your point in all this? Unless you just want to argue that human-created mass extinction is natural!


A species can cause the extinction of another or several and it be perfectly natural. How is it not when humans are the culprit?

Setting aside the issue of mass extinctions caused by external sources: volcanism, asteroids/comets etc., most species are kept near optimal population levels by disease and predation. When a species is dropped into a small ecological niche like the reindeer herd on St. Matthews Island, it may be temporarily freed from those natural checks and balances until it has consumed virtually all available food sources. And that's the bad side of being freed from the bonds of nature; as when the food runs out, and animals (and people in some examples) are weakened by starvation and disease epidemics, so that even after a population crash, the survivors may be too weak, and have too little genetic variety to rebuild the population....some of the idiot survivalists who fantasize about surviving the end of the world out in the woods ought to take note!

From my pov I do not believe technological progress is either unlimited or even linear. The modern global civilization we consider natural today has only been around for less than two centuries, and has already consumed more than half of the oil in the ground which took millions of years for nature to sequester in place. We are running out of many other natural resources also, but oil - specifically cheap, easy-to-extract oil has been the lifeblood of modernity, and the real source of the food supply that is straining today to try to feed 7 billion people. So, you could say that we will once again be in harmony with the natural order of things....but that's providing that we, or our children and grandchildren actually survive the process back to real sustainable living.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:50 pm 
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Ann Vole wrote:
right to left wrote:
From what you're saying, except for cattle, pasturing other livestock animals would raise the costs of pork and chicken....which would be a good thing in my opinion, since I believe that meat and dairy products are overly subsidized to our detriment. A truly sustainable system meat and dairy production would shift the average diet more to plant sources as prices reflected real costs of food.
Here in Canada there is very little government subsidy and most of it is disaster relief for grain production from floods and tornadoes. Because the government-run insurance requires an accountability for the crop losses, the crop must be harvested and sold no matter how poor it is or how damaged from destroyed granaries. This causes a glut in grain unfit for human consumption and suddenly Canada is building more feedlot operations near grain shipping points. My point is that the livestock industry is NOT subsidized in most parts of the world but may benefit from disaster relief for grain farmers who are forced to waste fuel and manpower harvesting garbage to get their insurance payout. I have only worked on one dairy farm (poisoning ground squirrels) so I have no insight in how they are financed but I suspect it also lacks government money in Canada or we would be exporting milk to the USA but we are importing milk instead.

I live in Canada also...Ontario to be specific, so I am a little familiar with some of the agricultural issues here. Out west, the co-ops, like the wheat marketing board have protected farmers from the ups and downs of market forces....which I guess is why the Conservative Government wants all of the marketing boards abolished! But, here in Ontario, many of these feedlot operations have been importing U.S. produced animal feeds....which as you noted, are mostly produced from bulk grains generously subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. So, like many other factors in our lives, Canadians are still subject to U.S. market forces, which also makes us subject to the same unhealthy diet that most Americans, especially poorer Americans consume every day.

I have been aware of difference in milk prices from the days when I lived close to the U.S. border and milk and dairy products were one of the things we bought, along with gas of course, even during the times when our dollar was worth less than 70c U.S. It was still cheaper. I'm sure that the scale of large U.S. dairy operations might provide some of the lower production costs, but having a cheap food source would be a big one. There has also been the issue of health and safety regulations, which Canadian producers (like a chicken grower my parents used to buy eggs from) have long complained cut in to their profit margins.

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As far as chickens and pigs go, it will just be impractical to graze them and always has been... chicken coops have been used to protect chickens for hundreds of years as far back as we have documentation. Pigs were herded by shepherds (like sheep were) in the distant past to protect them (mentioned in the Bible twice) and sheep are only grazed in places where predators are killed (usually with poison) so it is only practical to graze them without protection on wildlife that we now have. Llamas might be a game changer though because a llama will attack and kill individual predators and will stay with herds and flocks of smaller livestock. In warmer countries, goats are the preferred livestock due to their climbing abilities... they can go fast over rocky places that predators cannot follow as fast. Goats do not handle Canadian winters well though.


Now I know why I am seeing more and more llamas on farms - especially in the more remote areas near where I live. All in all, it seems without the U.S. Farm Bills distorting true costs, our diets would have much less corn, soy and cheap grains, along with less animal products in it, and arguing about veganism would be more of a moot point, as more people had to shift to a more balanced diet.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 4:30 pm 
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[quote:left to right]Setting aside the issue of mass extinctions caused by external sources: volcanism, asteroids/comets etc., most species are kept near optimal population levels by disease and predation. When a species is dropped into a small ecological niche like the reindeer herd on St. Matthews Island, it may be temporarily freed from those natural checks and balances until it has consumed virtually all available food sources. And that's the bad side of being freed from the bonds of nature; as when the food runs out, and animals (and people in some examples) are weakened by starvation and disease epidemics, so that even after a population crash, the survivors may be too weak, and have too little genetic variety to rebuild the population....some of the idiot survivalists who fantasize about surviving the end of the world out in the woods ought to take note!

From my pov I do not believe technological progress is either unlimited or even linear. The modern global civilization we consider natural today has only been around for less than two centuries, and has already consumed more than half of the oil in the ground which took millions of years for nature to sequester in place. We are running out of many other natural resources also, but oil - specifically cheap, easy-to-extract oil has been the lifeblood of modernity, and the real source of the food supply that is straining today to try to feed 7 billion people. So, you could say that we will once again be in harmony with the natural order of things....but that's providing that we, or our children and grandchildren actually survive the process back to real sustainable living.[/quote]
Great post. I agree that human knowledge and technology reach plateaus, or dead ends. The human population is on the same general curve as other mammal stimulated population crash curves, i.e. the half bell curve. Afterward, it would softly undulate around long term sustainable, but in humans' case, another thing comes up;
http://www.independent.co.uk/environmen ... 06484.html
It is not so much "may" as will if HGHGs are not cut 90% by 2020. It is unfortunate that the population crashes around or just before mid-century, country by country, region by region, with migrations, wars, diseases, and cannibalism along with killing everything in sight to eat, plant and animal. It would be bad enough if humans just caused their own extinction, but taking down most other species, too, is unforgivable. Anthropocene Epoch Thermal Maximum and Extinction Level 'Event' (on a geologic scale), are words and processes not understood by most. Can an underground fortress with the sum total of human knowledge and genomes/seeds, etc., a nuclear breeder reactor over a large aquifer, with a human population kept at a level well above genetic erosion, last 200,000 years???? Then could they still be human enough to come to the surface, this time living sustainably as they replant the world?(and fighting cockroaches and ants which have taken over).

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:05 pm 
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Johhny Electriglide wrote:
Great post. I agree that human knowledge and technology reach plateaus, or dead ends. The human population is on the same general curve as other mammal stimulated population crash curves, i.e. the half bell curve. Afterward, it would softly undulate around long term sustainable, but in humans' case, another thing comes up;
http://www.independent.co.uk/environmen ... 06484.html
It is not so much "may" as will if HGHGs are not cut 90% by 2020. It is unfortunate that the population crashes around or just before mid-century, country by country, region by region, with migrations, wars, diseases, and cannibalism along with killing everything in sight to eat, plant and animal. It would be bad enough if humans just caused their own extinction, but taking down most other species, too, is unforgivable. Anthropocene Epoch Thermal Maximum and Extinction Level 'Event' (on a geologic scale), are words and processes not understood by most. Can an underground fortress with the sum total of human knowledge and genomes/seeds, etc., a nuclear breeder reactor over a large aquifer, with a human population kept at a level well above genetic erosion, last 200,000 years???? Then could they still be human enough to come to the surface, this time living sustainably as they replant the world?(and fighting cockroaches and ants which have taken over).

Some critics of techno-optimism like Michael and Joyce Husseman - authors of Techno-Fix, point out that the notion of applying science and new discoveries to build new technologies, is a very modern concept, that has only been with us in the West since the Age of Enlightenment began with Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes. Even some of the most advanced and sophisticated cultures - the Ancient Greek city states, could have started the industrial era more than 2000 years ago, since the steam engine was invented by Hero and Archimedes invented many applied mechanical devices; but the Greeks, even the scientists and philosophers who came up with new ideas, still maintained reservations about applying new knowledge as technology. It wasn't just because of the availability of cheap labour - cities like Athens had an abundance of slaves, there was also a cultural ethos that time was cyclical and progress and advancement were not linear.

But, now that we have the technology, and have pretty much destroyed the world, some kind of high tech Noah's Ark, like you described, may be necessary to preserve everything that would be necessary to rebuild the planet after the mass extinction event is over.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:38 pm 
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Why this air of negativity? If technology and science is not going to save the world, what will? And while I am concerned about overpopulation, it think it is only fair to ask whether those who are so concerned have children? And how many? And what do you do to help reduce population increase? Women who can control their own fertility usually will do so, provided they also have some certainty about survival of the children they have, and the economic means to provide for them. So do you actually contribute, personally, to NGOs in poor countries that try to help? Sponsor any child? And no. I chose not to have children many years ago because I thought there were enough children in the world, and many of them, especially girls, never stood a chance unless a helping hand was given. So I had up to six foster children at the time, and now, most of them are adults, can read and write, and hopefully, will have a better life. All those for far less than raising one Western child in the luxury they insist they are entitled to.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:45 am 
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Johhny Electriglide wrote:
ralfy wrote:
The issue involves not just water scarcity but also peak oil, and not just meat but also plants. It's not about vegetarianism but being forced to eat less food that require more resources and energy, and as a combination of three predicaments take place--a permanent global economic crisis due to increasing debt, peak oil and generally a resource crunch, and the long-term effects of environmental damage and global warming--even eating less food.

You keep forgetting overpopulation, ralfy.
" food shortages from AGW droughts and >too many people< will force more people into a less meat diet or even vegetarianism. Food shortages will also drive some to poach wild game to extinction or low numbers. It will drive others to wars, and still others to cannibalism.
Food shortages will lead to malnutrition and compromised immune systems, which leads to more disease. Food shortages will drive people to use soils totally up(no organics left) and use poor soils prone to desertification. It will drive more people to slash and burn more forests for short term soil and high CO2 output. The more people, the more food shortages, until the effects of water loss, soil loss, and cheap energy depletion cause large reductions in yields and distribution with the mass die off of humans.
Large areas will be devoid of even bugs to eat as the "horsemen" pass, leaving human skeletons and bone fragments behind."


Overpopulation is the outcome of oil and other resources used during the Green Revolution, and overconsumption given the same oil to support a middle class lifestyle. For example, the U.S. has less than 5 pct of the world's population but has to consume up to a quarter of world oil production. Similar levels can be seen in countries with low birth rates.

Thus, food shortages will be driven not just by droughts or "too many people" but also overconsumption from around 15 pct of the world's population and less oil.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:51 am 
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From what I remember, only around 3 pct of water worldwide is fresh water. One video adds that up to half of that is polluted.

Other articles state that you need something like a thousand tons of water to produce a ton of grains, around seven bushels to produce a kg of meat, etc., and several calories to produce one calorie of food.

We also face problems in fishing.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:23 pm 
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You forget about the aquifer depletion over 100 times regeneration since the mid 20th century. That drives up yields 6 times, and when they are gone around 2040 or before for many major ones, the crops are stuck with 1/6th the production, and only in a year that doesn't have a drought, early frost in fall, late frost is spring, or floods all effects of AGW climate fluctuation.
Fish are more important for food than you may know. 3 billion people get 60% of their protein from the oceanic harvest which will be totally gone between 2035 and 2050. Plus the fish are being polluted with plastic and mercury to unsafe levels, which are not often tested, leading to learning impairment and mental dysfunction of those who eat them, dumbing down the world more, when more knowledge is needed globally.
Then you have soil depletion effects on nutrition and yields, and the effect of losing mechanized farming and distribution as oil depletes to a very expensive resource, that should not have been burned anyway after 2020(runaway methane self release CAGW).
Free range animals eat grass, not grains, and forage on land unsuitable for growing crops. Some use hormones and grain feeding near selling to get more money, but certainly not even close to most.
Food shortages from all the various effects from the root cause of grossly overshot population, will first lead to malnutrition with its attendant diseases. The death rate will increase, eventually to the birth rate and well over.
2015 is when we can expect fuel prices to start skyrocketing even more, and increasing food prices to unaffordable for many. The billion hungry now will increase toward increased malnutrition deaths. Then water depletion will lead to less crops and livestock, and AGW will be taking more and more. Reduce consumption 10% and overpopulation takes its place, back to where you were.
People will try to grow crops on grazing land, leading quickly to desertification. Insufficient variety of diet and decreasing nutritional value of crops gown in depleted soils lead back to malnutrition and increasing death rates. Water will probably be the source of more conflict, and higher death rates. In the end, desperate people will eat all wild game and flora, then turn cannibal. They will then eat the peaceful vegetarians and steal their crops. Then the crops fail, and the rivers run dry.
People will still live, in conflict, around the worlds great lakes as they, too, empty. A return to medieval and even stone age life, until large regions lose their eco-systems to AGW. Eventually, global, and the end of humanity and all they depended upon.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:13 pm 
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Cobie wrote:
Why this air of negativity? If technology and science is not going to save the world, what will?

We had no need to "save the world" before we the Age of Enlightenment, and its ground-breaking shift in thinking that knowledge applied as technology was a good in itself, and consideration for the negative effects of new technology come after the fact, usually with techno-fixes through the invention and development of counter-technologies to deal with the negative aspects of the original technology, and then the fixes end up requiring their own techno-fixes and on and on. The pattern of technological development in the last 200 years has been to invent ways that enable us to exploit more and more natural resources, eventually leading to depletion. Claims that innovation and substitution can keep the process going indefinitely cannot be backed up with numbers.

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And while I am concerned about overpopulation, it think it is only fair to ask whether those who are so concerned have children? And how many? And what do you do to help reduce population increase? Women who can control their own fertility usually will do so, provided they also have some certainty about survival of the children they have, and the economic means to provide for them. So do you actually contribute, personally, to NGOs in poor countries that try to help? Sponsor any child? And no. I chose not to have children many years ago because I thought there were enough children in the world, and many of them, especially girls, never stood a chance unless a helping hand was given. So I had up to six foster children at the time, and now, most of them are adults, can read and write, and hopefully, will have a better life. All those for far less than raising one Western child in the luxury they insist they are entitled to.

I have two children, and yes I sponsor foster children and contribute to NGO's like UNHCR that are trying to deal with the near hopeless task of feeding increasing numbers of refugees in drought-stricken regions that have become war zones. And I believe population is a concern, as everyone needs to eat and have fresh water available, but it is a problem that could easily be dealt with (and was before conservatives declared war on birth control and abortion) as you mentioned. The stress of overcrowding, and costs of raising children would reduce population to sustainable levels. The reason why we are at 7 billion now is because of industrial agricultural methods that have allowed us to farm the land in an unsustainable manner, with oil-based fertilizers and pesticides, mined phosphates and of course - irrigated water, much of it coming from fossil aquifers that will run out in a manner of years or decades.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:24 am 
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No, I didn't forget. I just don't think I can--or should--mention everything. But no one's stopping you from adding to what I and others have written.


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