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Are we fooling ourselves about the whole "green " thing?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Seasoned Oak, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Im into the green thing,but not to "save the planet". mostly cuz its usually cost less than the old wasteful methods,and cuz im a fiercely independent sort,a self reliant type.
    Just when we think were making a huge impact on energy and resource consumption those sobering numbers pop up on the news.
    According to the news we are adding 80 million new faces to the planet each and every year. About 5 million to the US alone(depending on the source)mostly from immigration legal and otherwise.
    You could repopulate the entire US in just 4 years. 80 million people require a tremendous amount of energy(depending on where they are born and live).They need housing ,food, clean water,and the land to produce all that is becoming scarce. Our efforts to conserve are like a drop of water fighting a tsunami of new consumers every year.
    So whats the solution? I don't have the foggiest idea.

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  2. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You're right. Population growth is a worldwide problem. The best we can do is use our resources effectively to extend their supply as long as possible and then......

    I have one sibling. I have only two children. My three generations have not increased the population so is that being "green"?
  3. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I have not personally increased the population. Does that mean I can drive my 7 mpg 40 year old and 10 mpg, V10 powered trucks more?
  4. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    yes, and if you pick up hitchhikers (call it car pooling) you are doubly green....may want to change your avatar to look like Al Gore.
  5. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    Population growth is a huge sustainability problem. Some would say it's the biggest & a few would say the ONLY problem. Luckily this is one area where there's some good news. Birth rates worldwide are dropping & have been for some time. Much of the developed world is already at below-replacement birth rates & is soaking-up population from developing countries. While the U.S. is not close to that yet, we did have the fewest babies born in a very long while last year.
    Many of the poorest countries still have ballooning populations, but that situation is changing fast as NGOs & Gov'ts have been working hard to provide education to women & girls, as well as basic healthcare to slash infant mortality, and it's actually been working. The conventional wisdom is that world population is now on course to stabilize. Exactly when & at what # it will stabilize is still crucial & unknown though.
    I think most enviro groups don't like to talk much about population because they don't want to give their opponents any opportunity to link them with repressive or coercive policies like Chinas 1 Child policy...
    Most do acknowledge that there is a finite carrying capacity of humans on this planet no-matter whether those humans are car-less, vegan, organic farmers or what .
    I think how many kids people have does matter from a sustainability standpoint, and that is a major factor in my & my wifes own decisions, but I'm sure not gonna try to tell someone not to have a kid(s), just as I would not take kindly to anyone trying to tell me whether or how many to have...
    I think it is a topic that deserves more discussion than it gets & that the discussion needs to be civil, respectful & open-minded in order to get anywhere.
  6. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Unless I'm missing something if every couple that wanted or was able to have kids only had two of them we'd have a negative population growth.

    Somehow that just doesn't seem like a big sacrifice to me.
  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    If every couple only had two then population growth would be zero. A wash. If that steady population also reduced consumption then you are making steps towards sustainability.
  8. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Thats probably the greenest thing any one can do but if US policies(on immigration and enforcement) dont change were still be buried in a sea of other countries overpopulation growth
    From what iv read population in the US already would be declining slightly except for Immigration both legal and illegal which is providing 100% of the growth. Latinos alone are responsible for over half the
    growth(according to wikipedia). I think the Govt wants it that way or they would enforce the laws, guess they think we can grow our way to prosperity. Problem is so many destitute people flooding into the country the only thing growing will be the need for govt services and more infrastructure when the existing Inf is already crumbling.
  9. ckarotka

    ckarotka Minister of Fire

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    I'm out, got three kids now and one on the way, I'm sure my face could be on a wanted poster or something for screwing things up. We wanted a big family, but we buy only what we need, buy tons of stuff second hand. This will be our first xmas where the bigger gifts are all second hand.

    Good news is, I will probably die before my life expectancy from the stress of four kids, so that helps a little.
  10. PastTense

    PastTense Member

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    No, because there is a part of the population which never couples.
  11. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Its an extremely fortunate set of circumstances that allows life to survive on earth given how hostile the universe actually is. Earth is a unique sanctuary.

    Unfortunately, I think its unlikely that humans will be smart enough to limit their population to the point where the sustainability of human civilization is assured. I think we'll keep populating and exploiting to the point where the quality of life decreases greatly and there won't be enough timely technology to save us from ourselves. Overcrowding will result in a violent and low quality society with severe consequences for the rest of earth's inhabitants. In the end though, life on earth will probably prevail, whether humans are there to enjoy it our not.

    That's why I feel that those that are trying to Save the Planet, Save the Whales, Protect the Spotted Owl, Stop Over-foresting, and so forth should be sporting bumper stickers that instead say "Save the World...for Humans".
  12. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    There have been a lot of studies that suggest we are already beyond the"natural" carrying capacity of the earth (without external energy input). I don't know the figure, but I think its somewhere between 1 and 2 billion, the number of humans that can be fed with purely organic farming methods and no mechanization.

    Today we support the extra 4-5 billion beyond that based off the industrialization of farming - fossil fuels to run the machines, and oil and natural gas derived fertilizers and pesticides to increase the fertility of the soil.
  13. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    We've got one kid and one fur-baby. The dog has a party to go to tomorrow. We all have to dress up. I blame my wife. There had better be alcohol.

    My truck is a big, stinky (or so-called), school-bus sized vehicle that is completely larger than my current needs. My wife's eco-expert friend suggested that the responsible thing for me to do was to go for cash-for-clunkers, because obviously her Lexus SUV hybrid was just awesome! She's the kind of person who drinks bottled water and buys ANYTHING with the words organic on the cover. $20 bottles of natural cleaners, composite decking that's "the right thing to do" because its saving all that wood and re-using all those plastic drinking bottles.

    I tried explaining that my truck was:

    1.) Diesel, and I ran B20 on a monthly basis.
    2.) A salvage vehicle, so not only did I re-use and keep it out of the landfill, I kept a factory from making another car.
    3.) I haven't had a car payment for the 6 years I've owned it, and the extra $45,000 I would have to make to pay for it would do untold damage to the enviroment.
    4.) I need a truck.

    Her response was: "Yeah, but a new one wouldn't stink up my driveway".
  14. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    First of all, why don't you care about the planet? You do live here.

    Where did you get the idea we are "making a huge impact on energy and resource consumtion" ? We have barely begun to make the efforts needed. You still burn coal, what kind of effort is that? There is no dirtier fuel.

    Sorry to hear overpopulation is news to you. You may want to try to be better informed.

    The solution is clear and obvious. We must implement every possible solution, ASAP not wait for the silver bullet.

    Instead of whining about how hopeless it is, be more proactive.
  15. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I know of intelligent people (e.g., advanced degrees etc.) who believe that the earth's population is decreasing. They misunderstood that the "growth rate" was decreasing meant that the population was decreasing; not the same thing. The world's population is still growing fast, just not as fast as it was previously.
  16. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Here's the best response BAR NONE to the enviromentalist movement:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eScDfYzMEEw


    When I started looking into renewable resources, veggie fuel, solar, basically everything, I had a much different attitude. I was a lot more hopefull. I burn wood from my own land, without the cost of transportation, processsing, marketing, storage, insurance, profit and taxes of a 3rd party and still I couldn't do it without fossil fuels. Oil is indeed our god that we have yet to wound let alone kill.
  17. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Yep, to a dog, a retarded human is a genius.
  18. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Carlin was a genius.
  19. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Carlin is right on. I disagree with his take on peoples motives. that's too cynical even for me, but the rest of what he says is right on.

    Thanks for posting that I've never seen it.
  20. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    ITs not the planet thats in danger, the planet will be here when we are gone. Im making a huge impact on energy and resources ,50 % of my heating is done with waste wood ,the other 50% is a domestically produced fuel that for now allows me to replace 100% of the oil i used to buy. Iv cut my transportation fuel in half another 50% How many americans are using 50% renewable energy and 50% less gas than they used to?Do you ? Iv been watching the overpopulation debate come and go since the 80s, im just bringing it up for discussion now.Im a news junkie also so i think im well informed.
    Your making my point as far as a solution,there is no clear and obvious solution if the population keep increasing,no amount of "conserving" on your part will make up for the tsunami of new earthlings on the assembly lines.For the US its rather simple since 100% of our population growth comes from immigration legal and illegal thats our silver bullet,if we ever get leaders who will enforece our laws we may have a chance.For the developing world perhaps YOU have a solution, Be proactive, maybe you can tell them to stop having so many kids they cant support. If im whining then everyone here who brings up an energy related topic for discussion is also whining. I respect everyones opinion here ,even those i dont agree with,you should try it sometime.
  21. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Dont fret ckarotka THe US population would actually be in decline were it not for massive immigration driving the numbers, so as a demographic native born americans are NOT contributing to the population increase.
  22. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    The "green thing" must be looked at on both a worldwide basis and a local, regional and national basis. This is very easy to see - because we in the USA are directly responsible for much of the pollution and industrialization of the rest of the world. The old quote, which has probably changed, was that we are "5% of the worlds population, using 25% of the worlds resources"....

    It's not hard to see that can't work out - especially now when the rest of the world can clearly see what is/was going on (wars for resources, them working hard and not seeing all the results, etc.)......

    In the long long run, none of it matters at all. We will each pass away and eventually the sun will die. We are all doomed.

    At the same time, many of the problems we face daily - from cancer, to heart disease, to destruction of the environment, etc. are directly related to our lack of wise use of resources.

    I have great respect for those who can singularly cut their energy use - however, everything I have seen which approaches the subject on a deeper level says that most of the change will come from above....no, not heaven, from from the Big Picture of engineering, government, politics, invention, etc.

    As an example, each of us in the US uses a vast amount of energy for the common things...like the military, etc.

    Food is another big issue - our "mistake" of eating both fast and processed foods is directly responsible for vast energy use.

    The future is always hard to see. If I had to guess, I think that it will be multi-pronged, with hyper-local economies taking hold in many places, but at the same time having vast engineering accomplishments in transportation, energy production, etc.

    Despite the rhetoric, lifestyle will not suffer....in fact, I think it will improve.
  23. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    ckarotka, as far as I've seen no-one here has suggested that you should be anything other than proud of your children. It seems like whenever someone brings up overpopulation there is an assumption by those who have/had/want to have kids that others are looking down on them or viewing them as the problem. I just don't see that being true. Let's just pretend that nearly everyone stopped having kids next year. What would happen? Complete and utter economic collapse. Not just a bad recession, not another Great Depression... more like another freaking dark ages. As well as it'd be a pretty boring damned life with no kids around to lighten things up...

    trump, can you cite some sources for your statements above? The reason I ask is that from what I've read you're wrong and anytime someone says that native born americans... are not the problem, but someone else is, I smell ignorance,xenophobia or prejudice. Immigration contributes a significant amount to U.S. pop'n growth, but nowhere near 100%. Data for U.S. from CDC for 2007 (most recent):
    Number of births: 4,317,119
    Birth rate: 14.3 per 1,000 population (1,430/100,000)
    Number of deaths: 2,423,712
    Death rate: 803.6 deaths per 100,000 population
    The birth rate dropped to around 13 per 1000 last year, but still way above replacement level.
    Also, if the discussion is about world population growth, then immigration can't contribute at all since it's just moving people around.

    Anyway all this points to the big, ugly elephant in the room. That is that our entire economic system is based on growth. Growth of consumption and population. That is why the U.S. lets in millions of immigrants. We need more people every year. We just don't have a woking model of how to prosper or keep our current quality of life without constant growth. It's even true at a local level; just look at any town, city or county in the country that is steadily loosing population and you will see poverty and decay. There aren't jobs, real estate prices plummet, tax-bases shrink, services are cut, infrastructure begins to break-down & fall apart. Now expand that scenerio across the county & the globe and we get an ugly picture of what will happen if we can't find a way to support our economy & way of life without growth. I do think we'll manage it, probably after way too much delay & some false-starts, but I think we'll get there & I'm curious to see what we'll base our economy on after the end of constant growth.
  24. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    There are many who are being proactive and have been for many years. Educating girls and women empowers them to make their own decisions about fertility. Shockingly their decisions more often than not are not to go through half a dozen or more pregnancies & births with marginal healthcare. Improving basic healthcare during pregnancy & birth drastically reduces infant mortatlity aqnd that reduces birth rates because people don't have additional children when they aren't seeing babies die all the time.
    Oh and I would pay to see you travel around a developing country"telling them" how "they" should live.
  25. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Exactly, Thats why its important for the US to maintain a stable population. WHen that quote was made i believe we were at 200 million,now were over 300M. If we were using 25% at 200 million how much of the world resources will we use at 400M and so on. We have more middle class people here with a higher standard of living than many countries. Drastically cutting my use of resources was relatively easy for me,getting every other american to do it will not be so easy, and i dont see any scenario were we will be maintaining a stable population with the current levels of both legal and illegal immigration. Im not anti-immigrant hell im married to one.

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