Have we ever been this close to realizing our own extinction?

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by burton420, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    A quote from the book Where Have All the Leaders Gone?
    by Lee Iacocca:

    "You don't get anywhere by standing on the sidelines waiting for somebody else to take action. Whether it's building a better car or building a better future for our children, we all have a role to play. That's the challenge I'm raising in this book. It's a call to "Action" for people who, like me, believe in America . It's not too late, but it's getting pretty close. So let's shake off the crap and go to work. Let's tell 'em all we've had "enough."
     
  2. bedixon

    bedixon Active Member

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    What we do at home with our consumer choices should, collectively, be the most important chance for change (although strong leadership that didn't bow under corporate pressure sure would be huge). I'd like to think that when I take my shopping bags to town in my small car to buy local food and products, having parked once and walked everywhere I need to go, then head back to our 880 sf cozy home that is collecting rainwater from the roof as I write, and where I put on a sweater before putting more logs on the fire and I could go on and on but you get the idea... I'd really like to think that my choices every day do make a difference, but at the same time I wonder if it's just pissing in the wind. That's why it's important to talk. Consumer choice has immense power. People need to get together on this, share ideas, talk.
    As for Walmart, it has shut down so many smaller businesses it will never be able to reduce the negative impact it's already had on the smaller communities that have lost their cores of family businesses. By NOT buying products there, I am supporting a smaller business owned by my neighbor.
     
  3. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    "what we need to do is cut WAY back on our consumption of everything."
    bedixon

    Me personaly I am as I said doing grass roots. Learning to live with less, [eg clothes are well worn before they are recycled.) I attempt to buy materials in less packaging, this can be VERY difficult. Recycle all my house hold wastes as best I can, compost, glass, tin, plastic, paper (good council co-operation for this). Taught my kids to respect and hopefully carry out non waste ideas. Turn unecissary switches, stand by lights off. Use energy saving lighting (government has banned anything else anyway now). I run my car on natural gas which I hope is helping. Look after my 5 acres with good management which includes keeping some of the remnant grass and tree stands in the area. Keeping invasive weeds out using animal power (goats, chickens) grow my own vegetables as best I can.Talking to people like you to feel as tho I am doing something and also passing on the ideas on other forums and to individuals as I find them.

    Liz
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 16, 2010
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Best thing anyone can do: don't have children.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Same decisions continue to be made at high levels without regard to majority of population and how they are living now or may be affected later. Much of what is done is undertaken to increase fortunes and power. Changing personal habits may help when millions also do likewise, in the meantime the main impacts will be on yourself.
     
  6. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ah Michael best laid plans of mice and men. I did only replace existing population. :) I keep my animal population at zero. I do however seem to collect other peoples rejects.

    I will handle the impact on myself but I am wondering how to change the powers. I myself can't and won't apire to that level but maybe by exercising my vote I can change or at least rattle a cage or two. The problem is gettig someone up there that thinks for the people and not their own pocket or are in the pocket of the puppet master.

    Liz
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Support existing organizations that work for goals you approve of. These can be political parties, conservation organizations, unions...you can sign up and send money or serve as an active member in various capacities.
     
  8. Sabine

    Sabine Active Member

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    I believe that humans are incredibly creative and adaptable. Hopefully, we can put some of this creativity towards solutions to our problems of overtaxing and overconsuming our environment today. I think some people feel technology is the problem, and we need to cut back and simplify - go without, in some cases. No dishwasher, washing machine, vehicle, etc. Maybe we can come up with something that works, and lets people keep their easy lifestyles. Or maybe not, and we all need to be farmers. I don't know.

    What am I doing? What I can, I suppose. My husband and I have one car, which everyone I meet thinks is "weird." We carpool when we can, or one or both of us walk or take the bus, mostly. I garden organically. I try to the best of my ability to buy food in this order: local and organic, if unavailable, local, and if that is not available, then organic. I think buying local food is more important than buying organic food. If the organic food is coming from New Zealand, the transportation of it more than offsets the benefits of the organic growing method. I recycle as much as possible - we produce very little trash, since Portland has a great recycling program and I compost almost all my food scraps. I email insead of write letters, I buy post-consumer recycled products, I look for recycled or sustainably harvested wood when buying furniture or other things made of wood, I reuse my shopping bags multiple times from the grocery store, I support local businesses that sell the same thing as Walmart for a little more (Walmart isn't necessarily "evil," but I would much prefer to support my local economy than some huge conglomerate). I support the businesses/restaraunts in my community that buy from local farmers and have a strong environmental policy. I am not perfect, and I am not preaching, but someone asked and I am answering. I'm sure I could do a lot more, like never drive, and never fly, and who knows what. There is a limit in an urban environment to what you can do sometimes. I would love to own land and set it up permaculture style, with a stream powering stuff, a huge organic garden, solar power, wind power, etc. but unfortunately that takes a lot of money to start up.

    We all do what we can, but I still see people litter, and co-workers buy huge gas guzzling SUVs, and drink bottled water by the gallons. I still see streams overrun with tires and old sofas and truck bumpers, and even though I live in Portland, Oregon, voted the most sustainable city in the US, it feels like only 1 out of 5 people I talk to actually care and take any steps. The rest just want their playstations and new cellphones even though the old one works perfectly fine and all the rest of the mindless crap marketing tells us we must buy buy buy now! I don't know what the answer is, but I think we all have the problem pretty well pinned down.
     
  9. lhuget

    lhuget Active Member

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    I also feel that a strong iniative to support locally owned and operated small business is a good thing. By spending our dollars in business that have a vested interest in our communities I believe that there is less chance that they will cut corners to save dollars at the expense of our environment. Niave maybe. But I believe that my local baker, butcher, arborist, nursery, seed supplier, used book store, wild bird store etc. care more about my community environment than the chains/franchasies. If we start at home just maybe.................. Just my thoughts.

    Les
     
  10. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    It's getting harder and harder to shop locally. Our country towns if small don't have a post office or even a branch. No bank and sometimes even the small primary school is gone. Certainly the general store is a thing of the past. When I moved up here 25 years ago each little hill town had a store. We are down to one not near me. I need to go into the next town some 8 km down the road to get the milk and bread. So have devised other ways to make sure at least the bread is handy. Either freeze commercial stuff or make my own. I now shop once a month and use my freezer (energy) to keep food. But at least I on't need the car so much. The Internet has also helped with services such as bill paying etc. and of course being able to work from home.

    There is a great push to encourage baby boomer generation to move out of the city and hopefully that will bring back some country services.. Given that we have a population of approx. 21 million you would think we could cut down on usage of all types. Trouble is we are a very urbanised nation living along the coastal fringe. The huge conglomerates have a strangle hold and more and more of our food is being imported. I too support Australian made and my independent chain of supermarket. Speaking of supermarket. TV current affairs had a programm on showing how fruit from many of these out lets is 9 month to 2 years old and is being sold as fresh. I try and buy in season produce for this reason.

    At least we have received some much needed water in our interior river system. Huge floods in NSW and Qsld. There is of course also the down side of damaged property and huge crop and animal loss.
    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23089446-421,00.html

    http://www.mda.asn.au/
    http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,23071487-5014332,00.html
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/01/08/2133993.htm?section=australia

    Liz
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2008
  11. bedixon

    bedixon Active Member

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    Rather than move people out of the cities, the cities need to cluster into small residential/commercial areas that become small communities within the larger. This way people can work, shop and live in one area, reducing the need to commute for hours every day. Imagine city neighborhoods that have shops, services, residences, parks, schools and businesses cleverly combined. Perhaps not everyone, but so many more people could walk to work, bike to grocery shop, take a bus to the dentist instead of driving everywhere across town and back again. Imagine the reduced number of cars on the roads... and more bike and walking paths developed, lined with trees and benches... Community and rooftop gardens for those that live in apts or small houses... saturday markets to sell produce from local farms. Even smaller electrical grids for these areas, possibly developed from alternate sources... don't know much about that, but I went to a seminar that outlined some of these amazing possibilities for innovative neighborhoods. The idea is to get away from the "suburbs" of hundreds upon hundreds of houses, full of people that all commute in cars to do everything in their lives far away... we are losing "community".
     
  12. Sabine

    Sabine Active Member

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    I love the idea of small communities within the larger city, and I wish city planners all thought this way. I wish city planners actually planned, sometimes, instead of just letting stuff sprawl everywhere. I hate seeing row upon row of the same suburban home over clear cut land, with all the shopping centers and work areas clustered far away from the homes.

    I feel very fortunate to live in Portland, where local businesses are a huge part of our economy, and the customer base is dedicated to supporting them. I take it for granted sometimes that I can go to a local bike shop, nursery, bakery, deli, butcher, hardware store, movie store, the largest independent book store, etc. I went to visit my sister in Indiana last fall, and was in a sort of culture shock when I looked around and all I could see was Target, McDonalds, TGI Fridays, Home Depot, Barnes and Noble... There were no small business that I could see. It was disgusting to me, it looked like every other town in the states. There was absolutely nothing that told me "This is Indiana, and we are proud!" besides all the cornfields, although they are paving over those and putting up new housing developments, so I guess that's out the window too.
     
  13. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    It's the use of good arable land for this sprawl that is something I have been worring about for a long time. We have very old soils here and they are deplete of many nutrients so farming is hard work. I was really shocked recently to see an area that was good market gardens (commercial vegetable growing) all beng heaped up into big hills and the soil being sold off. In it's place a concrete and tar 1/4 acre house blocks with hideous carbuncle houses that do not work for this climate (pseudo Georgian) No room for trees and everything paved to with in an inch of it's life. As a selling point the developers had put in a couple of mosquito breeding "lakes" and some paths through some trees. Sorry not my idea of town planning.

    I am not sure if it is the geography in Switzerland (suspect it is) They make use of every nook and cranny but it seems to be in such a way that it still feels spacious. Eg where my mum lives in a small town/village she is in a set of apartments 3 stories high. Ilooks like a large gabel roofed house. What I found interesting was that the local farmer was given the grass growing around the block it stood on which was probably about half an acre. He came every couple of weeks to cut fodder for his animals. This was not the only plot he collected from.
    When one comes down at Zurich (Kloten) airport they were stooking either hay or similar along the runway. I was most amused having just come in from the wide brown land of space. It was a reminder from mum that they had to make use of every bit of land.
    The third thing that was fairly new to me was the miles of community gardens along railway easements etc. It was fabulous to see. I know we have a few here but certainly not on all the spare land lying around being used as waste dumps.
    some interesting figures on this page

    http://www.communitygarden.org.au/about/lookback.html

    Liz
     
  14. Sarriiance

    Sarriiance Member

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    I actually believe that to be 2012, not 2011... If I remember correctly...

    But anyway - I have heard this 'extinction' theory before - and I don't believe that for a second...It might be that most of the human race will be ravaged by disease or something - but some of will survive - and it's apparent from our population explosions all over the world that we breed like rabbits so that in itself won't be a problem...

    Also - we are highly adaptable, very skilled and well... I just don't think we will ever be extinct...
     
  15. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

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    The Easter Islanders clear cut all the trees and had no materials to build boats with, to get off the island. Very strange for a sea faring peoples. We can learn from the past if we only pay attention and use the information wisely.
     
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  16. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Destroying the natural resource base continues today, so maybe it's not so hard to understand the Mayan or Easter Island histories after all.
     
  17. bedixon

    bedixon Active Member

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    and even with all our incredible knowledge and technology (I mean, really, we've walked on the moon!!) that the earlier civilizations didn't have the benefit of, we still run like lemmings toward the edge... there's lots going on to save the world, and such inspiring brilliant people out there (ever watch the TEDtalks podcasts?) but nothing of substance to lead the way (as in, effective government). If we ever get a handle on climate change, we've still got a s**tload of problems (AIDS, hunger, WAR, pollution, GE contamination and food security etc etc) that threaten our existence, but all of it could be figured out, if only we had uncorrupted leadership, at least for a little while. (History also shows us that 'uncorrupted government' is almost oxymoronic) Grassroots is a good route; we all need to be involved.
     
  18. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

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    As for the Easter Islanders appearently they did nothing to stop their own demise. In fact they clear cut the whole island and deprived themselves of the only way off the island, by boats very odd for a seafaring peoples. I have a feeling we will most likely do something similar but in a more advanced fashion suited to our own particular way of life.
     
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  19. Laughing Dog

    Laughing Dog Active Member

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    This thread is fascinating in many ways, great way to get a good "gardener's" perspective on things. I wholeheartedly agree with Liz about grassroots initiatives being of vital importance, and I also agree that one should read the science behind climate change with healthy skepticism ... but to act with due regard in that we likely are having some serious negative impact on Mother Earth with our greed and desire for resources.

    What I most agree with is Greg's comments about the benefits of creating a garden and how it helps us build a better relationship with nature. It amazes me that large urban settings such as Vancouver, BC have programs to show kids where eggs come from or how vegetables are grown ... kids today in large urban settings are totally disconnected from Mother Nature and have no understanding of its fragility, yet they are our future leaders!

    When I left Nova Scotia over ten years ago, a large percentage of their lakes where considered "dead" due to acid rain ... the Loon population was being rendered sterile from mercury poisoning, as were the beautiful Beluga Whales in the St. Lawrence where toxicological studies have revealed that the whales are contaminated with high levels of mercury, lead, PCBs, DDT, and other chemicals. The "sad" state of reality at the time was that there was little being done to turn things around - Nova Scotia was quietly referred to as the 'Tailpipe of North America' in reference to prevailing winds bringing in acid rain from large American urban centers. What is even more disturbing is that over ten years later, there is very little change in this situation!

    I have family in Whitehorse who indicate that climate change is affecting their lives on a daily basis in the Northern Territories; my farming friends in the Prairie Provinces indicate water concerns and the huge problem of genetically modified crops and cross contamination; my family kept bees while growing up, so I am very sensitive to the fact that the bee population is being decimated for no clear reason - lots of good scientific speculation, but nothing which will help recover the dying bee populations. I fail to see governments accomplishing very much and, as such, I am back to the agreement that grassroot organizations are the potential 'agents for change' here and we as individuals can collectively make a huge difference - one small lifestyle change at a time.

    The original question was: Have we ever been this close to realizing our own extinction? For me, I have to answer No - in our brief human history we have never been this close to our own extinction. Can we change ... I work in the field of forensic psychiatry and study human nature and the 'stages of change', my only response would be - I sure hope so!
     
  20. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  21. bedixon

    bedixon Active Member

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    ... more reason why we need to really, really cut back on our use of fuel, period... whatever the source. And, more reason as well to buy local when possible. I read in the paper last week about the US getting closer to implementing the plan to use hydrogen as an alternative to gasoline, when I've heard nothing but negative reports about how much more energy it takes to make hydrogen than is produced, not to mention the millions they'll spend on the massive infrastructure required.
     
  22. zion2 0

    zion2 0 Member

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    No offence, but I know that the human race will never go extinct. If you look around us you can only assume that there is a creator to it all. We cant't say that it was a thing that hppend over a long period of time? The Bible says that God will come again. We will not, by any means, go extinct!
     
  23. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure there is some dissention with you on that statement, but I'm in your court! Besides, we as a race are very resilient. We just sometimes do try to screw up our own environment. But it appears people are realizing there is a problem. And that's the first step.
     
  24. zion2 0

    zion2 0 Member

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    There is no problem with our world! so there's a lot more trash and not enough oil! Big deal. Wearn't going to run out of water, The polar ice caps are not goin to melt! just use less oiland be smarter with your trash!

    I'm not saying that anyone by any means is stupid just hat they should be smarter.
     
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  25. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Thats the whole idea with the discussion to try and make those of you not connected yet to at least think about it. If you are observant you will see change in the environment. We are a very grubby animal when it comes to the environment in which we live. Any animals that are not confined to a place by a human is clean. What they do produce is biodegradable. So it is time we learned to do with less or different so that our nest can clean it's self. It will one way or the other wether we co-operate or not but it might be to our detriment. We are no more special in the scheme of the world than were the dinosaurs.....

    Liz
     

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