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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 08-27-06, 12:10 PM   #1
Roody
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Is global warming the only important issue?

The more I research global warming, the more scared I get. Sometimes I think it is so menacing that other issues--including Iraq, peak oil, terrorism, Congressional elections and nearly everything else--should be pushed onto the back burner until we solve the issue of greenhouse emissions. After all, if the planet is going to be nearly uninhabitable in a few decades, how can anything else really matter?

Do some of you agree? Or have I finally gone off the deep end?
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Old 08-27-06, 01:15 PM   #2
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I don't think the planet will become uninhabitable.

I think that with the end of the oil era there will be a huge die-off of the human population and after all the ensueing changes, a way of life and level of technology approximating medieval times will become the new norm. For the few who are left.

The greenhouse gas emissions will drop accordingly.
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Old 08-27-06, 03:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
The more I research global warming, the more scared I get. Sometimes I think it is so menacing that other issues--including Iraq, peak oil, terrorism, Congressional elections and nearly everything else--should be pushed onto the back burner until we solve the issue of greenhouse emissions. After all, if the planet is going to be nearly uninhabitable in a few decades, how can anything else really matter?

Do some of you agree? Or have I finally gone off the deep end?
Yawn. Just get on your bicycle and ride.

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 08-27-06 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 08-27-06, 03:32 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Roody
The more I research global warming, the more scared I get. Sometimes I think it is so menacing that other issues--including Iraq, peak oil, terrorism, Congressional elections and nearly everything else--should be pushed onto the back burner until we solve the issue of greenhouse emissions. After all, if the planet is going to be nearly uninhabitable in a few decades, how can anything else really matter?

Do some of you agree? Or have I finally gone off the deep end?
Maybe it's best to hedge our bets and get off this planet ASAP.
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Old 08-27-06, 03:57 PM   #5
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Greenhouse gases are only part of the problem. The other--a cyclical wobble in the earth that causes polar regiions to melt...causing cooling of the oceans...then frigid temps for 40 or so years. Full "tilt" was expected in 2012.

(Some scientists are now worried because the wobble has decreased since the earthquake that caused the SE Asia tsunami. If they could only settle on one thing for us to worry about!)
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Old 08-27-06, 04:42 PM   #6
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I think mass extinction is an important issue-- perhaps more important than global warming. The climate has flucuated throughout the Earth's history, and species have adapted. The difference now is that species are unable to adapt because we've appropriated most of the valuable habitat for ourselves, so they have no way to migrate, and no place to migrate to. Extinction trends already underway are expected to accelerate with global warming. The second difference is that we now have national boundaries demarcating where people may go and where they may not go. As the temperate zone shifts northward, some humans will benefit from nature's new largesse, and some humans will suffer agricultural catastrophe. Similarly, conflicts over resources such as water and land will be expected to increase as the effects of global warming impact these resources.

Whether these factors makes global warming a cumulative-effects problem, or whether global warming is a new problem that supersedes the old problems is how I see the question. I would argue the first position-- that global warming is a problem because it exacerbates already-existing problems, probably beyond our ability to solve those problems. In my opinion, that doesn't make it the most important problem, in and of itself, because it is global warming's exacerbating effects that are the problem; however, it is a problem which must be solved if any of the problems which it exacerbates are to be solved.
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Old 08-27-06, 05:08 PM   #7
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Civilizations come and they go...so I guess it is our turn...unless you are one of the survivors There have been some like the Egytians that had some advances that we have yet to duplicate with all of our modern technology, the Mayans and then there is always Atlantis

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Old 08-27-06, 05:33 PM   #8
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*gULp*
Over this rainy weekend I watched a VT Public Tv special that
compared the fall of the 800+ year riegn of the Roman empire to events
happening today in Western (US) civilization
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Old 08-27-06, 06:04 PM   #9
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I don't think global warming is the most important issue, rather I think the entire way we relate to our environment - including global warming, resource usage, etc. - forms one great issue, best defined as "we humans need to grow up".
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Old 08-27-06, 06:05 PM   #10
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I don't think it's an exaggeration at all to say that global warming is the most serious problem that civilized humans have ever faced (Al Gore's movie is more optimisitic than the data justify), but I'm not worried about the Earth at all. Living systems will reach a new equilibrium in a few ten thousands of years at most, and then things will happily continue as before, only with far fewer humans, perhaps none. The interim, however, will probably really suck. Enjoy electrical lights and plentiful food while you still can. The really sad thing is that, given enough political and cultural will, we might actually still be able to save ourselves; the rats and cockroaches will be just fine no matter what we do.
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Old 08-27-06, 06:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by patc
- forms one great issue, best defined as "we humans need to grow up".
Most Americans are totally unwilling to make any concessions to
energy 'dieting'. Alternative sources of energy are seen as augmentation
to a selfish, overindulgent lifestyle. You dont cure an alcoholic by
giving them whiskey.
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Old 08-27-06, 06:36 PM   #12
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...I'm not worried about the Earth at all. Living systems will reach a new equilibrium in a few ten thousands of years at most, and then things will happily continue as before, only with far fewer humans, perhaps none. The interim, however, will probably really suck. Enjoy electrical lights and plentiful food while you still can. The really sad thing is that, given enough political and cultural will, we might actually still be able to save ourselves; the rats and cockroaches will be just fine no matter what we do.
True, eventually, however E.O. Wilson points out that a full recovery from each of the 5 past major extinction events has taken tens of millions of years.
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Old 08-27-06, 10:08 PM   #13
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I do not have any kids but I do Say

I do not have any kids. I ride my bike to work an try to live as clean as possible reusing things as much as possible. I have given up my Gas Powere d Boat for a Self Propelled Kyak.

When hearing people at work talk about how bad gas is how bad, pollution is and how fat us americans are. I say there are solutions we just do not want to do it. They usually look over at me with like what response do you have ??

I say hey man I do not have any kids or really have to worry about anything but myself, but I could choose to drive to work, boat with gas and do as much as possible that is harmful to the planet because it will last my life time but probably not your kids or your grand kids. So I ask them why should I care about what I do?

After that I have not really had any reponses from any of the folks that I have spoke with because they know it is on all of us and they do not want to talk about it anymore.

thanks

jay
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Old 08-27-06, 10:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by patc
I don't think global warming is the most important issue, rather I think the entire way we relate to our environment - including global warming, resource usage, etc. - forms one great issue, best defined as "we humans need to grow up".
Instead of growing up, how about building better humans and successor species that can adapt and thrive in a future, traumatized environment? Why relate when we can design?
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Old 08-28-06, 07:32 AM   #15
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True, eventually, however E.O. Wilson points out that a full recovery from each of the 5 past major extinction events has taken tens of millions of years.
'full recovery' is not something like 'return to balance' it's just repopulation as another stage in a dynamic process of ups and downs.
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Old 08-28-06, 07:55 AM   #16
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Maybe it's best to hedge our bets and get off this planet ASAP.
The meek shall inherit the Earth. The bold are going to Outer Space.

In the long term, expanding into the Solar System and then other galaxies is the wisest strategy for survival. No telling what is going to happen as the Andromeda galaxy rips through the Milky Way galaxy.
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Old 08-28-06, 11:05 AM   #17
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I have to dismiss space colonization and designed trans-humans as possibilities for two reasons.

First and foremost, these solutions are still in the dream stage, and we don't seem to have the time to fool around with dreams at this point. Second, even if we do transcend our current existence, if we don't "grow up" (as patc eloquently said), we will be doomed to repeat the current mistakes: If we migrate to another world, we'll mess that one up also; if we redesign our bodies, our juvenile minds will continue to get us into deadly trouble.
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Old 08-28-06, 11:55 AM   #18
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Maybe it's best to hedge our bets and get off this planet ASAP.
If you think that gas and electricity are expensive on earth, just see what you would think trying to heat or cool a home on Mars or Venus.

And, by the way, if there are any planets as habitable as Earth, Mars, and Venus, then we don't know what solar system they are in. -- and if fuel is scarce, then a spaceship that can travel to another solar system (in less time than it takes for said spaceship to turn to dust) is another thing we are going to have a hard time pulling off.
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Old 08-28-06, 12:34 PM   #19
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'full recovery' is not something like 'return to balance' it's just repopulation as another stage in a dynamic process of ups and downs.
OK, fair enough, but Wilson's point is that the argument that our actions don't matter because nature will recover glibly underestimates the amount of time it takes to recover. A return to balance, whatever that is, must still reflect the effects of human-driven mass extinctions if it's not full recovery, so saying everything will be OK in a few thousand years still underestimates the damage we've done.
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Old 08-28-06, 02:34 PM   #20
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I think the issue here is greed. We can use a nuclear baseload with renewables, biofuels for heavy transport, and be GHG free. But, we don't because they aren't "profitable", fossil fuels are. Even if going GHG free is better for our entire society, it's not better for those who have profited the most from fossil fuels, and are very powerful. So, we'll probably continue to use fossil fuels for some time, because it's better for those who make money off of them.
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Old 08-28-06, 03:01 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Roody
I have to dismiss space colonization and designed trans-humans as possibilities for two reasons.

First and foremost, these solutions are still in the dream stage, and we don't seem to have the time to fool around with dreams at this point. Second, even if we do transcend our current existence, if we don't "grow up" (as patc eloquently said), we will be doomed to repeat the current mistakes: If we migrate to another world, we'll mess that one up also; if we redesign our bodies, our juvenile minds will continue to get us into deadly trouble.
If the human condition is as depressing and doomed for failure as you believe, then that's more reason why we ought to build better humans. I, for one, will welcome our biologically,- intellectually- and technologically-superior overlords!
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Old 08-30-06, 04:55 PM   #22
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I think we already know what we must do, but we may lack the will to do it.

lyeinyoureye certainly hit on one big reason--corporate greed and the profit from GHGs. But don't new technologies usually bring new profits to those who are daring enough to invest in them? Computers did, for just one example. If people (that's us!) start demanding GHG-free products, the profit will follow.

That's why being carfree has a big impact--much bigger than just the actual reduction of GHGs. Some day we can hope that our pioneering efforts will result in a critical mass being reached, and there will be a "sudden" surge in demand for GHG-free products.
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Old 09-06-06, 01:22 AM   #23
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The recently passed bill in CAlif to reduce GHG emissions will drive more alternative technology, but it is only one state (although 12th largest economy in the world). We really need a national standard to level the playing field and to start setting an example for China to follow. In 20 years, their GHG emissions will dwarf ours, and after all our waste and refusal to join Kyoto, etc, it will be hard to point the finger at them with any credibility. I think with the action plan Lyeinyoureye mentions we could transition in time, although this week James Lovelock, who proved the existence of the ozone hole 20 years ago, has stated that we have passed too many critical tipping points to stop it. It is a cycle that once started, unfortunately, reinforces itself and keeps speeding the rate of change.

Yeah, I'd say it is the biggest problem on the horizon...
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Old 09-07-06, 12:14 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Artkansas
The meek shall inherit the Earth. The bold are going to Outer Space.

In the long term, expanding into the Solar System and then other galaxies is the wisest strategy for survival. No telling what is going to happen as the Andromeda galaxy rips through the Milky Way galaxy.
space.com
+1. developing self-sustaining space habitats would teach us more about our own ecology than anything we can do on earth, not to mention it would up our odds of survival in the long term.

I'm seriously not as worried about the greenhouse problem as I am about the energy problem. give humans enough energy and imagination and we seem to wriggle our way out of every problem we've hit so far.

maybe second to my concern with energy is a general concern over us triggering enough extinctions to tank the biosphere (that is to say the interconnected web of all living things). I think the biosphere in general will survive a climate change, maybe not in the form its in now, but I think it can handle things. on the other hand, if we kill off enough of it, the rest might just die off.
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Old 09-07-06, 12:29 PM   #25
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.... We really need a national standard to level the playing field and to start setting an example for China to follow....
Didn't China sign Kyoto? Maybe we should be following their example.
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