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

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

  1. zion2 0

    zion2 0 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    LaGrange OH. USA
    Again humans are not going to go extinct. This conversation is largly based on some facts and some opions. My opinion happens to be a fact.

    I am not saying that i'm better than you, just that you're wrong in this subject. You are probably MUCH smarter than me, but you are mistaken. There is proof, first hand accounts of Gods almighty hand.It is His Siscion What will happen. But we Will Never go Extinct Because everyone lives forever. If you don't believe it,It is your mistake. I mean our country was built on Christian Principls. but we have largly lost them:(
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2008
  2. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,525
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
    What ever you believe you believe if it gives you comfort. I am happy with my lot now back to the organic topic and away from the etherial :).

    Liz
     
  3. zion2 0

    zion2 0 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    LaGrange OH. USA
    It's not just that I believe it, it's that its true
     
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,012
    Likes Received:
    351
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    I feel obliged to pipe up.

    To answer the original question, I think SunnyTruckie has it right on: Homo sapiens has previously been much closer to extinction. David Goldstein's research on human genetic diversity suggests that the population of Homo sapiens underwent a bottleneck sometimes around 100 000 years ago. The number of human beings on the planet at the time? Perhaps 10 000 (popular source: BBC's The Evolution of Man). We are in no present danger of outright extinction, barring any colossally stupid events such as a miscalculation in particle physics. Ultimately, though, Homo sapiens will go extinct.

    To add a few accompaniments to statements in this thread:

    In that Washington Post article linked to:

    "But when you press him on his theory of how thermohaline circulation has caused recent warming of the planet and will soon cause cooling, he concedes that he hasn't published the idea in any peer-reviewed journal. He's working on it, he says."

    And a refutation of Gray's ideas:

    Gray and Muddy Thinking about Global Warming

    Regarding the Russian article, you have to dig deeply, but eventually you do come up with links to the petroleum industry. That's definitely not an argument for dismissal. At least some of the articles by his collaborators appear in peer-reviewed journals (though they aren't climate science journals - they're petroleum engineering / energy / resource extraction journals).

    I, and I suspect at least a few others on these forums, can assume otherwise. I highly recommend religious discussions occur elsewhere on the web, at least in part because these forums have international participation. Persons of many different religions are welcome, but first and foremost, these forums are part of a science-based community at a university, so where the two don't mix, I'm going to err on moderating on the side of science. I don't mind the occasional expression of faith, but if it is something that one is projecting onto others, that crosses the line, even in the fewer-restrictions conversations and chat area.

    Many religions do believe in some form of everlasting life, including, but not limited to, Asatru, Christianity, Islam, and some Wiccans. This has little bearing on the discussion at hand. Individuals of a species are living things (not after-living things), so the question re: extinction of the human species has little to do with religious beliefs of an afterlife.

    One error here:

    "our country" - this is an international forum, so you should perhaps have used "my country" (plus, the forum is based in Canada...)

    and one comment:

    We can entirely ignore the historical record (see The Christian Nation Myth), if you like, but I will say this at the least - the same core set of principles define most societies. They have to, if the society is to function and prosper. I think one could make the argument that many religions (and indeed, even secular humanism), provide similar guidance.

    ******************************************

    Ok, now that all of that's been said, I'll post my list of things that we do:

    1) one vehicle by choice (a smart car, at the time the second-lowest CO2 emitter on the roads in Canada)
    2) a home near mass transit by choice
    3) carpooling to work
    4) it's rare that we venture out on a "single" errand (in fact, we most often run errands on the way home from work to minimize trips)
    5) preferentially buy local re: food (and try not to purchase out-of-season fruits and veggies)
    6) new this year is to increase our number of meat-free meals, which we've had some success with
    7) avid recyclers
    8) cloth shopping bags - almost always now, unless we plan to reuse the plastic bag for garbage bags
    9) increasing the number of charities we support every year
     
  5. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    427
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Dunbar area
    The problem for me is that although I follow most of those precepts, the use of mass transit would force me to change my life more dramatically that I am willing to do. I do believe that humans will be extinct within a century - no problem created by humans has ever been solved by humans - but I also believe that the anti-Green forces are far too powerful to be overcome until it is way too late.

    Of course such defeatism is not a valid philosophical excuse for not following the correct path, but in my case it is coupled with the fact that our society does not easily permit me to be Green.

    I arrive home from work and have to take one kid to hockey on the North Shore and then another to hockey in Burnaby. I would like to use mass transit, but it would take over 2 hours to get to one rink and then at least 8 to get to the next. So forget mass transit: I drive. I could car pool to the first game, and home from the second game, but no way can I carpool from the first to the second game. I could hitchhike but I must be, and would not be, guaranteed an arrival time.

    I certainly agree that religious ideas, like political ideas, ought to be verboten on this site. I can read about Stephen Harper and what-are-their-names the American candidates on other web sites - I can even read about Aussie politicians (yawn - but Judge Einstein makes for fascinating reading) - and I can sure read religious material all over the place. I go to this site for botanical material. I think we all do. Anything else is just grafitti.
     
  6. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,525
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
    Even tho you have problems trying to be environmentally GOOD :)) you are at least trying and thinking about it. Maybe there are other ways you can think about to counter balance the need for the car. There have been many suggestions re buying local recycling, less standby machines etc etc and of course educating any one who will listen including your children.

    Liz
     
  7. zion2 0

    zion2 0 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    LaGrange OH. USA
    now that you are done bringing me down......
     
  8. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    427
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Dunbar area
    Well, it is almost unnecessary to educate one's children regarding such matters here: in Vancouver a failure to recycle (to take an example) is socially unacceptable, and every child that I know is very environmentally conscious.

    Of course by acting responsibly ourselves we parents reinforce that message. But we don't act responsibly to achieve that end; we do it because it is right, and that end is just an incidental result.

    Anyway, I think my kids will be OK. A decade and a half ago ago they started telling strangers to stop smoking in their presence ... to my simultaneous intense pleasure and indescribable mortification.
     
  9. bedixon

    bedixon Active Member

    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    gulf islands, canada
    Buying locally is as important as using transit; you do what you can, when you can. I remember reading an article that cited x number of million pounds of almonds exported from California to be sent out across the world... and close to that same number, x number of million pounds of almonds, were imported back into California... !?! it's that kind of craziness we really have to look at, it's making somebody somewhere good money, but it's no good for the planet. So when we're in the grocery store and see apples that came from NZ that are 20 cents a pound cheaper than apples that were grown in BC, it's a good thing to spend the 20 cents when you live in BC. We have to vote with our dollars. Bottled water is another thing we should stop and think about before grabbing another case when it's on sale... do we really need to BUY water that's trucked in stacked on pallets from who knows where? A good kitchen sink filter and a reusable (non plastic, they now say) bottle saves a lot of those carbon miles.

    As for the transit options, you use it when you can. Our community just last month got our first 2 little buses, and we're very grateful to finally have that option. Many of us have no choice but to drive, cycle or walk if those buses don't service our nearby area, but it's a start. The buses have bikeracks for cyclists; they bike to the nearest stop and then get the long ride into town. Where there's a will, there's a way.
     
  10. bedixon

    bedixon Active Member

    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    gulf islands, canada
    here's a link I received by email on climate change. It's from Friends of the Earth called Climate Code Red; I haven't read it yet, but it looks informative and in-depth for those that are looking for a good read on the subject... it's a long one!!

    http://www.carbonequity.info/climatecodered/index.html
     
  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,199
    Likes Received:
    326
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    I've noticed people being picked up at the ends of their country driveways by the Dial-A-Ride buses here. Wonder how that works, are they mopping up several riders with each trip? Otherwise, from a conservation standpoint it's the public paying to have you picked up by a bus instead of driving yourself in an SUV or pickup (big heavy vehicles still seeming to be the preferred choice among those who can afford them).
     
  12. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,525
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
    Bottled water, we had a talkback discussion re this very thing yesterday. Unfortunatly I can't remember the figures but it shocked me as to how much it costs. Given that we have excellent drinking water here in this city I can not for the life of me see why we have to drink French imported water or our own spring water bottled by the cocacola mob. It's not just the water that is the cost it is the making of the container and the transport. The conclusion they came to as to why people do it. It's a fashion statement!!!!!!!!

    Soccerdad congratulations to your kids for their stance. Mine need a few reminders re the recycling the correct bin bit, a bit too often for my liking. We have had the no smoking in public places for quiet a long time now but there are still so many fags (cigarettes ) butted out on the footpath that then go down the storm water to the bay

    Re public transport. It is almost non existant out here but what many do is take the car, etc. to the nearest train , tram, connection and park the car there. Transport authorities are actually providing parking to encourage this. I suppose those big decentralised shopping complexes also serve their purpose in a far flung city like ours. In a round about way they become our CBD when living on the outer edge. My choice for transport has always been my bike and side car but that is becoming problomatic in that we are both getting old. The bike is efficient and you would be suprised what can be lugged in the chair. Chooks (chickens), hay bales, shopping, kids, work material, and adults. May not be as elegant as the SUv's etc but damned site more practicable. Can even get dressed up to go out. but then of course there can be the weather problem.......but at least it is an all year vehicle here.

    Liz
     
  13. soccerdad

    soccerdad Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    427
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Dunbar area
    We have just now introduced a "carbon tax" - or announced that we will do so - here in BC. In keeping with the modern view of "Polluting is OK but only if you are rich" approach that politicians like to describe as representing a new, Green, philosophy.
     
  14. earthy smells

    earthy smells Member

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    USA, MA
    We are witnessing a total assault on the environmental world upon which we rely. We lose thousands of species every single year. Gone. Never to come back or grace this planet ever again. And it's because of our actions, sadly.

    We clearcut ancient forests, absolutely wiping out ecosystems.

    We overfish oceans to the point where, currently, the world's fisheries are predicted to collapse by 2050 at this rate.

    We drain aquifers to the point where the ground sags and sinks. Meanwhile, we have private industries buying up all water sources because water is predicted to be 'the next oil' by the world bank.

    Then there's global warming. Then there's population. Population statistics mimic that of deer populations if compared.

    Check this out:
    http://www.rainforestlive.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=214

    # Rainforests are home to more species of plants and animals than the rest of the world put together.
    # An astounding number of fruits (bananas, citrus), vegetables (peppers, okra), nuts (cashews, peanuts), drinks (coffee, tea, cola), oils (palm, coconut), flavorings (cocoa, vanilla, sugar, spices), and other foods (beans, grains, fish) come from rainforests.
    # Tropical forest fibres are found in rugs, mattresses, ropes and strings, fabrics, industrial processes, and more.
    # Tropical forest oils, gums and resins are found in insecticides, rubber products, fuel, paint, varnish and wood finishing products, cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, perfumes, disinfectants, and detergents.
    # Madagascar is 2% of Africa's landmass but has 10,000 species of plants -- 80% are endemic (found no where else in the world).
    # The Amazon River is the world's largest river system. Its annual outflow accounts for one-fifth of all the fresh water that drains into the world's oceans.
    # 780 tree species have been found in a 10 hectare plot of Malaysian rainforest -- more than the total number of tree species native to the US and Canada.
    # In 1800, there were 2.9 billion hectares of tropical forest worldwide. There are 1.5 billion hectares of tropical forest remaining.
    # Between 1960-1990, 445 million hectares of tropical forest were cleared.
    # Asia lost almost a third of its tropical forest cover between 1960-1980 -- the world's highest rate of forest clearance.
    # Almost 90% of West Africa's rainforest has been destroyed.
    # We lose 50 species every day -- 2 species per hour -- due to tropical deforestation.
    # Tropical rainforests act as a global air conditioner -- by storing and absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, storing the carbon, and releasing fresh, clean oxygen.
    # Tropical forests yield some of the world's most beautiful and valuable woods, such as teak, mahogany, rosewood, balsa, and sandalwood. These woods surround us at home, in shops, and in offices.
    # About 50% of all mammals and 25% of all bird species in peninsular Malaysia will become extinct by the year 2020 if the rainforest destruction continues.
    # Over 50% of the Earth's species live in tropical forests.
    # Over 2000 tropical forest plants have been identified as having anti-cancer properties. However, scientists have only tested 1 in 10 tropical forest plants for these properties and only intensively screened 1 in 100.
    # 90% of all primates are found in tropical forests.
    # Madagascar is home to all of the world's lemurs -- all are endangered.
    # Almost 90% of Madagascar's forests have been destroyed.
    # In Southeast Asia, traditional healers use 6,500 different tropical plants.
    # Before 1500, there were approximately 6 million native people living in Brazilian Amazonia. By 2000 there were less than 250,000.
    # 75% of Australia's tropical rainforest has been cleared since the late 1700s.
    # Over 90 different Amazonian tribes are thought to have disappeared in the 20th century.
    # It takes 60 years for a tropical rainforest tree to grow big enough to be used for timber.
    # Tropical rainforests cover 6% of the earth's surface and contain over 50% of the earth's species.
    # Over 2000 rainforest plants have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
    # Tropical rainforest temperatures are high all year around at between 20 - 30 C
    # Approximately 80% of all insect species live in tropical rainforests
    # 1 in 5 of all the birds on Earth live in Amazonia
    # Only 4% of the world's tropical rainforests are protected.
    # An area of woodland containing 10 species of trees in the UK would contain 180 species in a tropical forest.
    # The tallest tropical tree in the world is recorded at 83 metres tall.
    # More than 9000 species of orchids grow on tropical trees.
    # The largest flower on Earth comes from a tropical forest - the Rafflesia grows up to 1 metre across.
    # Costa Rica was the first Central American nation to cultivate coffee.
    # Costa Rica was the first Central American nation to cultivate bananas for export.
    # The developing countries, which account for most of the tropical rainforests, have almost 75% of the world's people but only about 15% of the world's goods.
    # Unlike our forests most of the nutrients of a rainforest are stored in its vegetation rather than in its soil.
    # The common way to clear land for agriculture or ranching is by felling and burning the trees.
    # On September 9, 1987, a satellite picture of the Amazon River Basin showed a total of 7,603 fires burning in the rainforest.
    # Some 25% of all medicines used by Americans originated in a tropical rainforest.
    # Many species of plants and animals are disappearing from the rainforests before they can be catalogued and studied.
    # In most tropical countries only one tree is replanted for every ten cut.
    # About 2,000 trees per minute are cut down in the rainforests.
    # Half the rainfall in Amazonia returns to the atmosphere through the process of transpiration.
    # In the tropics, wood is the main source of energy for cooking for millions of poor, rural people.
    # Almost 65% of Central America has been cleared to create pastureland for grazing cattle.
    # Rainforest land cleared for pasture or farming degrades quickly and is usually abandoned.
    # Biologists Paul and Anne Ehrlich have likened the loss of individual species, from bacteria to mammals, to the continued loss of rivets that hold an airplane together. While the short-term effects may not be noticeable, the long-term effects could be disastrous.
    # The Ganges Plain, in India, is the most densely populated region in the world. It has suffered severe flooding because of deforestation.
    # Most of the forests in India and Nepal have been cleared for agriculture.
    # Use of powerful pesticides on banana plantations in Costa Rica has killed huge numbers of fish in nearby rivers and streams.
    # In 1990, Brazil's President Jose Sarney signed laws allowing more than five million acres of forest areas to be managed by rubber tappers, nut gatherers and others whose livelihood depends on the rainforest harvest.
    # In Papua New Guinea, butterfly farms are a successful operation that provides income and supports forest preservation.
    # At least 42 million acres of tropical forest are lost each year, approximately 100 acres/minute.
    # In the 20th century, 90 tribes of native peoples have been wiped out in Brazil alone.
    # Some of the medical problems solved with rainforest plants include: a. malaria (the bark of the cinchona tree produces quinine) b. a muscle relaxant used during surgery (curare, a vine extract used by indigenous peoples to poison arrows and darts) c. strokes, seizure, depression and Alzheimer's disease (secretions of an Amazonian frog called Phyllomedusa bicolor)
    # The rainforest is home to 155,000 out of 225,000 plant species known in the world
    # Just 100 hectares of Amazon rainforest can contain up to 1500 different plant species, as many as in the whole of the UK
    # There may be as many as 300 different species of rainforest trees in 1 square kilometre.
    # For every tropical plant species that becomes extinct it is thought that 20 insects are certain not to survive.
    # Only 3% of all tropical tree species used for timber and paper products are grown in plantations


    Yet we absolutely demolish the rainforest every day. Roughly 2000-9000 acres per minute are destroyed in the rainforest.
    http://faculty.ncf.edu/morris/rainforest/logging.html


    We should be treating our environment like gold. We treat it like dirt, instead.
     
  15. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,698
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Denver,Colorado USA
    I stand with those that say man made "Global Warming" is yet another in the very long line of environmental scares like Alar, Y2K, Gobal Cooling of the 90's, over population -- one could go on with at least another 50 examples. - Millet
     
  16. Ralph Walton

    Ralph Walton Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    630
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Denman Island,BC
    If you are about to be run over, does it really matter who (if anybody) is driving the truck?

    Isn't "What can I do?" the vital question? Even if the truck is some distance away I still fell a responsibility to point it out to my children as maybe they are the ones who will find themselves in harm's way.

    Or maybe not. I'm delighted that we never had to use those bomb shelters that were being built during my childhood, but that doesn't mean the danger didn't exist.

    My own ever closer relationship with the land and the weather (we live on a small operating farm) leads me to believe that changes are happening but my limited event horizon and intellect prevent me from knowing exactly what they are. So what? "The only constant is change" somebody once said, and they were right. This consideration should follow more of a civil suit template where the court is looking for a balance of probabilities rather than the criminal court seeking a verdict "beyond a reasonable doubt".

    I happen to think that climate change/global warming is happening beyond a reasonable doubt, and was convinced enough ten years ago to sell up and move from a great neighborhood and recently completed house renovation. Why? It was located behind dikes at an elevation of 0.6 meters. So far that home is still above the tideline, but does that make me wrong or just prudently early?

    In the meantime we are developing more capability to feed ourselves (and our neighbors), have downsized our main family vehicle, and several other little things that together probably don't amount to a "hill of beans". That's no solution, but if you need one more bit of information to convince you that there is a problem, look at this:
    http://science.hq.nasa.gov/directorate/images/arctic.jpg

    Ralph
     
  17. earthy smells

    earthy smells Member

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    USA, MA
    It's well known accepted fact that man is causing the climate to change. So well known and accepted, that entire industries are investing millions because of it..

    We here in America have been hindered because of the NeoCon Reign (Bush) and as a result are now behind in the technological race towards improving our emissions and finding alternative energy sources.

    This kind of denial we see hurts us as a nation when we don't listen to authorities on topics such as this, and listen to politicians instead.

    It's just plain fact. I go to school and it's accepted that man is warming the globe with CO2. It isn't even a question, in any of our science courses. The evidence is so strong you get looked at funny if you deny such statements. How much evidence do we need to present..I just don't get it. We can't just say we'll never know for sure, so we can't do anything, because we will never know for sure. That's how science works. You can't prove *anything*, including gravity, for example....
     
  18. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,525
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
    Ok here is a bit of physical evidence. I just saw a mother blackbird feeding her young and have seen in the last few days a whole flock of baby Mynors. Given that we are heading towards autumn/winter they must know something we don't. My dogs are also again not putting on winter coat and they are prone to very thick under coat. I am holding off shearing my small flock of sheep as they have not put on much wool. I will get them done after winter instead of when they were due at the beginning of Feb.

    Liz
     
  19. fernwood

    fernwood Member

    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    london GB
    the land slide from cumbre vieja...caldera in Yellowstone ...the disruption of the jet stream...the halting of the Atlantic conveyor ..three new coal powered power plants in china every week(and the leader of free world can lecture china. lol) you know what i don't give it a second thought
     
  20. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Langley, B.C. Stones throw from old HBC farm.
    Earthy smells list is a good example of why we are close to realizing our own extinction. Knowledge placed in the contexts of history which we now are able to do as never before should be a tool to help us see whats coming if we keep on this course. Pictures of China and India and the cramped conditions this will be our own future, people scrambling to just get by without the time or will to worry about the consequences. Yes I do think we are not just close to realizing our own extinction its in the back of our minds all the time. Our generation has seen the changes and can look back at what was. The next generation coming has no idea whats coming and will only have time reflect when they are much older. Its history we need to show or next genertion in a way that they can understand what the consequences will be if we keep on this course.
     
  21. earthy smells

    earthy smells Member

    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    USA, MA
  22. fernwood

    fernwood Member

    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    london GB
    i can't leave this subject alone...what it is! a new cause celebre of the middle classes in the west.first flower power then birthing pools followed by organic food & non gm..off they toddle to a ashram in Goa and shed tears over the Dali lama..the poor in exotic places is far more sexy than poor white trash in kentucky that can't afford health care! don't forget deice your 4by4 mom to pick little sally from ballet class.
     
  23. fernwood

    fernwood Member

    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    london GB
    FASHION UP DATE...a must have this season!!! (a little black child from Malawi ) YOU CAN EXSERIZE WITH ( a little girl from Cambodia)
     
  24. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,012
    Likes Received:
    351
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Well, I don't agree with the way you stated things, fernwood, but I agree that when the media treats social causes addressed by celebrities as entertainment, it tends to trivialize them.

    Assuming you meant that "climate change" is the new cause celebre of the middle classes in the west, hmm... well, I look at the constituents of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and I see an international group of scientists. I look at Climate Change: Africa Gets Ready and I see African citizens adapting to environmental change. I don't think it is so easy to dismiss on that particular point re: western middle classes.

    ***

    On a broader picture, two things I've learned from lately that might be of some general use:

    Getting to Maybe (link goes to a review) on the topic of social innovation in complex environments (here's another summary)

    Susan Jacoby's interview on Bill Moyers Journal re: The Age of American Unreason
     
  25. Millet

    Millet Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,698
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Denver,Colorado USA
    Earthly Smells, I do not want to start an anti discussion, but it is not an accepted fact that global warming is "man made". Perhaps you personally accept it, but many millions ( with a M) do not accept it as fact. Anyway I made my point, and really do not want to restate my (and million of others) point over and over. Take care.- Millet
     

Share This Page