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 Post subject: Re: Earth as farm ?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:58 am 
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No doubt about it time spent in natural places is healthy for body and mind - I just don't think we can strictly call anywhere truly wild anymore - although walking through the woods somewhere it's going to be hard to see the effect of heightened CO2 on your surroundings unless it's something dramatic like a forest fire going on. Or a swim in the sea in which every organism has to live in very slightly more acidic water. But yeah, for now, for most people, there's no practical difference.
I'm not convinced about resource limits, because we are already using non-terrestrial energy in the form of solar, and the beginnings of a n extra terrestrial mining industry are starting. So I think looked at as a whole race, the Earth isn't our only resource base. On the other hand resource scarcity is a problem for many and Earth does have limits in many ways - oil being a good example of something already scarce enough to be the focus of resource wars. I suppose it would be more accurate to say that the Earth isn't the only resource base for some people, but many people are going to find the Earth resources they depend on are going to be limited.

I don't know about survival of future raised temperatures. Obviously people live in super hot and arid climates now, so it's not like people can't make a life on a warmer planet even if it is after huge upheaval or catastrophe. The loss of a thousand rainforest species wouldn't make much difference to those living around the Sahara area, or those who in the future may live in a baking hot Spain or Italy. Unless I am mistaken.
The fact that the Romans grew grapes in Scotland is often cited as an example of how we can benefit from increased warming, and this seems true, but that's a Eurocentric view that doesn't take into account what would happen in more southerly lattitudes. Warming might open up tundra to farming, and such, but it must also mean a loss of agricultural land to the south.

I can see some of the more radical effects being a bigger problem, like loss of the Northern Ice cap which looks highly likely, and alteration in the Gulf stream or greater thermohaline circulations. If that happened you would see an incredible squeeze on the European population, and radical changes in heat distribution and currents in the Atlantic affecting populations all over the world. I think that would be much worse than a gradual global warming of a fraction of a degree every decade.


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 Post subject: Re: Earth as farm ?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:09 am 
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For me food is the most obvious area of resource waste. I don't know what it's like where you are but in the UK millions of tons of food gets thrown out, plus all the stupid packaging that goes on our perfectly round supermarket tomatoes and such. So much energy goes into removing nutrients in processed food, and then into extra health care as people suffer all those diseases of poor diet. I think we could probably lose a big chunk of food production, in the rich countries, and still eat well - if we were smart. I think it's the smart bit that's the problem in this case, not the resources themselves.


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 Post subject: Re: Earth as farm ?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:13 pm 
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Well, it would be nice if the Earth were infinite, but it is not.
You have to look at the critical resources and their rates of use and replenishment, including aquifers, soil, and climate.

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“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children”― Chief Seattle
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