Countdown to Earth Day - Environmental Issues

BlueRidge

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58,045
You're assuming there will be future historians. I have a much more apocalyptic view that life on earth as we know it will be wiped out.

I know and a lot of people fear that will be the outcome. If we hit one of the "tipping point" scenarios it will be so I'm not ruling it out. But I think technology is such that the environment can be engineered and when the wealthiest feel threatened that's where they will turn and I think its possible to completely end non-human nature as an independent force on earth and humans still survive. Well, post-humans, really, because humans themselves will be engineered to something very different. I base these thoughts not on science fiction but on today's science that I read about.
 

BlueRidge

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This is look at how Democrats slow-walk their response to climate change due to fossil fuel industry donations and influence:

On Wednesday, the 103-member New Democrat Coalition –whose PAC BP, ExxonMobil and the Edison Electric Institute have all maxed out on donations to this year –outlined a series of incremental and “pro-market” steps to curb emissions. A suite of legislation unveiled on Wednesday would do many great things, like investing in clean energy research and development via ARPA-E and limiting emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. It’s not, however, a plan for fulfilling the challenge laid out by the IPCC, leaving the door open to define coal as a potential source of “clean energy” in pursuit of a “technology-neutral, market-oriented standard for electric energy generation” and providing a financial incentive for fossil fuel companies to capture carbon dioxide and funnel it back into pumping out more fossil fuels.

Scientists don’t recommend a specific policy suite, but it’d be hard to listen to them earnestly and reach the conclusion that you can gently nudge the fossil fuel industry toward a world warmed by less than 1.5 degrees, as New Democrats hope to. It’s also hard to square their argument that that approach would “build bipartisan consensus” with the last decade-plus of climate policymaking, where yielding off the bat to the Republicans and fossil fuel industry – boosting narrowly focused, technocratic measures – has failed to create any meaningful policy wins.

Greta is right. Congress is ignoring science – and that includes Democrats (The Guardian)
 

BlueRidge

AYS's snark-sponge
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58,045
Three billion North American birds have vanished since 1970, surveys show

NY Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/opinion/crisis-birds-north-america.html

What we need most is a societal shift in the values we place on living side-by-side with healthy and functioning natural systems. Natural habitat must not be viewed as an expendable luxury but as a crucial system that fosters human health and supports all life on the planet. The loss of nearly three billion birds signals a looming crisis that we have the power to stop. We call on all our lawmakers, political candidates and voters across the continent to place renewed value on protecting our common home — the great tapestry of natural systems we share with other species and must protect for future generations.

I'll be honest. I don't believe most people care. "Nature" is a luxury they aren't interested in tradeoffs that mean giving up larger living spaces and more technology. There's another article today about companies testing out drone deliveries so we can all get more, more, faster, faster. I believe most people want that more, more, faster, faster and don't care if they have to live on a spaceship earth with a few potted plants and maybe some caged birds.
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
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39,326
The article says that most people don't notice because they didn't live at a time when there were more birds. So I think you are correct that people would be okay if they lived on Spaceship Earth. The older people would grumble about the good old days but they'd die out eventually and once everyone alive is someone who doesn't remember what it was like to live out in the open, why would they be sad about not being able to?
 

BlueRidge

AYS's snark-sponge
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58,045
The article says that most people don't notice because they didn't live at a time when there were more birds. So I think you are correct that people would be okay if they lived on Spaceship Earth. The older people would grumble about the good old days but they'd die out eventually and once everyone alive is someone who doesn't remember what it was like to live out in the open, why would they be sad about not being able to?

Seriously, as long as we can look our smart phones day and night, what's to be bothered about?

Here we are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-kdRdzxdZQ
 
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BlueRidge

AYS's snark-sponge
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58,045
In all seriousness though, birds aside, the spaceship earth future involves immense suffering for billions of people on the way to a new reality.

We do still have a chance to address climate change and reduce the suffering (and possibly even maintain bird populations as a side effect) that is going to occur in a warming world. IMO, we should do everything we can to try for that, however likely failure may seem.
 

ballettmaus

Well-Known Member
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16,062
I have been avoiding this thread because it is just too depressing, but the Trump administration plans to revoke California's waiver to set its own emission standards, which are followed by 13 other states.

There are some days when I feel like doing this :wall: all day.
The administration would probably force automakers to not adhere to any admission standards and go back to the way cars were produced 30 years ago or so, if they could. It just makes no sense.
 

BittyBug

The missing ingredient
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23,038
Three billion North American birds have vanished since 1970, surveys show
I knew we were in the onset of the 6th mass extinction, but seeing these numbers broke my heart. Three BILLION birds gone. And that's on top of the massive decline in insect population, cetacean populations on the brink of extinction along with other large mammals, coral reefs dying off, and forests everywhere on fire. We are destroying the earth for absolutely no reason other than a callous disregard for any form of life that is not our own.
 

BlueRidge

AYS's snark-sponge
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I knew we were in the onset of the 6th mass extinction, but seeing these numbers broke my heart. Three BILLION birds gone. And that's on top of the massive decline in insect population, cetacean populations on the brink of extinction along with other large mammals, coral reefs dying off, and forests everywhere on fire. We are destroying the earth for absolutely no reason other than a callous disregard for any form of life that is not our own.

And those who think that it is just quaint nostalgia to care about birds need to be reminded that this is about whether our home is inhabitable. If we continue on the path we are on, it is not just birds that will suffer a holocaust, it is humanity. I admit I think that a portion of privileged humanity will find a way to continue, at least if climate change is mitigated to some extent, but that world is one in which there will be a human holocaust of unimaginable proportions as portions of the earth become uninhabitable, people try to migrate to other areas, food production is upended, and so forth. Basically those who say we should take only limited (or no) action are advocating mass death for millions and ultimately billions of people.

Each of us can't stop it simply by refusing a straw, but each of us can be a part of the change by supporting movements that put in office individuals who will legislate the change needed.
 

BittyBug

The missing ingredient
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23,038
It's called an ecosystem for a reason! These die offs are a blaring alarm telling us that our planet as a whole is dying, and with it we are going to lose our means of food production. The ocean is already overfished, factory farming is reducing productivity of the land, extreme weather is causing massive crop losses, and vital rainforest is being slashed and burned to make way for crops and cattle, who will in turn drive climate change through reduced carbon capture and increased methane emission.

Our pollinators are in a state of rapid decline. I don't have a reference handy but something like half of our crops depend on pollination. And a few days ago I read a statistic that we only have 60 years of topsoil left, largely due to mono crop industrial agriculture.

I don't know what it will take to wake people up and take action, but if it doesn't happen soon, our species and every other except probably cockroaches and rats will be doomed.
 

ballettmaus

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Bloomberg article on the climate change migration that has already begun within the U.S., and what's coming (preview: it ain't good).

Over the weekend, they reported on the radio that the number of climate change migrants had increased significantly.

And, today, the German government released some half-cooked plan to address climate change that's more smoke and mirrors than anything else. :fragile:
 

BlueRidge

AYS's snark-sponge
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Bloomberg article on the climate change migration that has already begun within the U.S., and what's coming (preview: it ain't good).

Bloomberg

And the Idiot in Chief: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/im...own-evidence-climate-change-s-impact-n1056381
Your link didn't work for the Bloomberg story, here it is:
America’s Great Climate Exodus Is Starting in the Florida Keys

Florida accounts for 40% of the riskiest coastal land in the U.S., according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, but it’s done little so far to pull people back from the coasts and lags behind states such as New Jersey, North Carolina and Texas. Across the country, the effort is still more theory than practice, even as a consensus among planners grows that “managed retreat” may be the best of bad options.


This year, HUD made available $16 billion for climate resilience, its first dedicated fund to fortify for future storms. Nine states, plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, will decide how to use it, whether to build sea walls, put houses on stilts or move people out of the way. The money is a fraction of what’s needed, and the process is moving at the speed of government.

A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council this month found that buyouts by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which responds to disasters, take five years on average to be completed. By that time, many homeowners have rebuilt or moved. Similar data isn’t available on the grants from HUD, which also provides money to demolish homes.
 

BittyBug

The missing ingredient
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23,038
Reports from the global climate strikes around the world are encouraging. I read that the march in Australia was the largest protest ever. And here is a view of the scene in NYC:

 

DORISPULASKI

Watching submarine races
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12,299
Three billion North American birds have vanished since 1970, surveys show

NY Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/opinion/crisis-birds-north-america.html



I'll be honest. I don't believe most people care. "Nature" is a luxury they aren't interested in tradeoffs that mean giving up larger living spaces and more technology. There's another article today about companies testing out drone deliveries so we can all get more, more, faster, faster. I believe most people want that more, more, faster, faster and don't care if they have to live on a spaceship earth with a few potted plants and maybe some caged birds.

Part of the songbird loss is that when we eliminated DDT and saved and increased the population of hawks, owls and other songbird predators, we got fewer songbirds.

Osprey population still rising in CT



Ospreys (fish hawks) AFAIK prey on fish, but the stats are similar for hawks that prey on other birds, ilke red-tailed hawks also increased throughout their range.


In so much conservation work, people do not try to think of consequences.

Fortunately, I just heard a climate activist in CT recognize that 98% of the carbon free energy produced in CT is produced by our local nuclear plants, and we better not shut them down until we have other carbon free energy sources in place enough to replace them.

This was after a discussion of how much methane is released into the air in fracking for natural gas, and burning off natural gas in oil production. We have been steadily replacing coal, nuclear, and oil with natural gas here in New England, which was probably not a good choice. Methane is some 80x the global warming cause as CO2.

People are beginning to concentrate on the goal, rather than how they would like things to work. That is a good thing.
 

BlueRidge

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New UN climate report details the current science on where we are and where we are headed.

We must act without delay to prevent further warming.

New U.N. climate report: Massive change already here for world’s oceans and frozen regions

Extreme floods that have historically struck some coastal cities and small island nations once every 100 years will become an annual occurrence by 2050, according to the IPCC. In addition, if emissions continue to increase, global sea levels could rise by more than three feet by the end of this century — about 12 percent higher than the group estimated as recently as 2013. Melting glaciers could harm water supplies, and warming oceans could wreck marine fisheries.

“As a result of excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the ocean today is higher, warmer, more acidic, less productive and holds less oxygen,” said Jane Lubchenco, a former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “The conclusion is inescapable: The impacts of climate change on the ocean are well underway. Unless we take very serious action very soon, these impacts will get worse — much, much worse.”
 

BittyBug

The missing ingredient
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23,038
We must act without delay to prevent further warming.
This. And in the meantime, each of us can take small steps to do our part:
  • Minimize air travel
  • Stop ordering from Amazon Prime - do you really need something immediately? Can you get it at a local store?
  • Stop using anything and everything that is single use - plastics (recycling plastic is a myth - there is no market), bottled water, that take out coffee, etc. etc.
  • Take mass transit rather than drive if it's an option
  • Turn your heat down and your air-conditioning up
  • Use LED light bulbs and turn lights off when you leave a room
  • Unplug devices rather than just turning them off (avoids ghost usage)
  • Just generally all the way around thing about reducing your consumption

On a somewhat happier note, the Senate just voted 54-41 to terminate the President's "emergency" declaration that allowed him to divert military funding for the border wall. Trump will probably veto it but any push back is good.
 

BlueRidge

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Stop using anything and everything that is single use - plastics (recycling plastic is a myth - there is no market), bottled water, that take out coffee, etc. etc.

This in particular, is easy, as long as people realize that flipping that bottled water plastic bottle into a blue recycle bin IS NOT HELPING.

Just so easy, don't buy single serving bottled water, refuse straws, get a takeout coffee container for yourself. This is small stuff, but why not do it?

Especially because we have a plastic crisis along with the climate crisis. Plastic is choking the oceans, and not only is it getting into the bodies of wildlife, microplastics are in our own bodies.
 

ballettmaus

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16,062
Just so easy, don't buy single serving bottled water, refuse straws, get a takeout coffee container for yourself. This is small stuff, but why not do it?

Because airport security doesn't allow you to take liquids and European airports don't have water fountains where you could fill up something you bring. :slinkaway

I'm one person who flies twice a year and only buy bottled water then. But there are others who fly a lot more often, so even if they also only buy bottled water then, it probably adds up.
 

BlueRidge

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58,045
Because airport security doesn't allow you to take liquids and European airports don't have water fountains where you could fill up something you bring. :slinkaway

I'm one person who flies twice a year and only buy bottled water then. But there are others who fly a lot more often, so even if they also only buy bottled water then, it probably adds up.

Well there are circumstances where if its the only way to get water and you need water, its okay.

Granted, some pressure campaigns for an alternative such as water fountains is in order!
 

ballettmaus

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Well there are circumstances where if its the only way to get water and you need water, its okay.

Granted, some pressure campaigns for an alternative such as water fountains is in order!

Plus, move quicker on the development of scanners that can detect liquid explosives and until then, make people take a sip. I believe they already do that with baby formula. (I also read that making a bomb out of liquid explosives would take more than 10 hours. How many flights are that long to being with?)

I have my doubts that it's still about security (how many people buy a soft drink when they'd normally take water, for example) and considering how many people fly each day, they should rethink their policies.
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
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39,326
Because airport security doesn't allow you to take liquids and European airports don't have water fountains where you could fill up something you bring. :slinkaway
You can fill up using the bathroom tap. It's the same water. ;)

Sometimes bottled water is convenient. Though I did a 10k on Sunday and they were giving out bottles of water and the bottles were made of aluminum! (Just like soda cans.) I'm not sure how we ended up with all these drinks in plastic bottles instead of aluminum bottles. The metal ones stay cold longer too.
 

ballettmaus

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16,062
You can fill up using the bathroom tap. It's the same water. ;)

As in the bottles? I'm not sure I trust the Berlin airports that far.


Sometimes bottled water is convenient. Though I did a 10k on Sunday and they were giving out bottles of water and the bottles were made of aluminum! (Just like soda cans.) I'm not sure how we ended up with all these drinks in plastic bottles instead of aluminum bottles. The metal ones stay cold longer too.

I read that there's a plastic film inside aluminium cans. https://www.aluminum.org/bpa-aluminum-cans
 

aftershocks

Banned Member
Messages
17,335
I know and a lot of people fear that will be the outcome. If we hit one of the "tipping point" scenarios it will be so I'm not ruling it out. But I think technology is such that the environment can be engineered and when the wealthiest feel threatened that's where they will turn and I think its possible to completely end non-human nature as an independent force on earth and humans still survive. Well, post-humans, really, because humans themselves will be engineered to something very different. I base these thoughts not on science fiction but on today's science that I read about.

Are you implying a technological-based existence without nature? Hmmm, I don't think so. Nature is too important. It is too connected to human existence, even despite the fact that our current culture and many people are divorced from it and/ or oblivious to nature and its importance.

That said, surely the top wealthy movers and shakers and well-connected have some self-preservation scenarios in mind or maybe even well thought out and in place already.

In any case, the earth just narrowly missed being hit by an asteroid that would have wreaked havoc, maybe similar to the event that happened which led to dinosaurs being wiped out.
 

FGRSK8

Toad whisperer.....
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19,703
My assessment of global warming is not good at all.

Potential remedies to the problem will not end well for the human race.....
 
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