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Some cheerful thoughts for a Tuesday


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#1 (feral)epg

Posted 17 September 2019 - 01:31 PM

Fact 1.  The world's population now is a bit under 7 billion people.  Current trajectories show it rising to 9 billion people by 2050 and somewhere between 10 and 11 billion people by 2100.  That is 80 years away, ie the world our grandchildren will be adults in.

Fact 2.  Global carbon emissions are rising.  Despite all the marches, and letter writing and inter-governmental reports and global summits and climate accords we haven't actually achieved anything to stop the climate crisis.

Fact 3.  On current trajectories the world in 2100 will be 3 or 4 degrees warmer than it is now.  At that level we just can't expect crops to grow reliably.  Predictions suggest that this world will only be able to feed 1 billion people.

That's a shortfall of around 9 BILLION people.  

So will your children (who will be in their 80's and 90's) and your grandchildren be in the 10% of global population with access to food?  

Yet somehow we live in a society that sees going without cars or plane flights, changing to a plant based diet and sometimes blocking a few city streets as being the extremists.

#2 seayork2002

Posted 17 September 2019 - 01:36 PM

And how much are individuals doing to help? and how much is 'oh we don't matter the government has to do it all'

Should we look at ourselves and see what changes we can make first?

#3 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 17 September 2019 - 01:36 PM

David Suzuki (and I'm sure many others) have said that the single best and most important thing you can do for the planet is to vote for progressive governments that are willing to make the difficult decisions necessary for change.

Recycle all you like.  Buy an electric car.  But if the Govt won't make the change, it is all a drop in the ocean.  Those drops count, but we need more than that.

#4 Ozquoll

Posted 17 September 2019 - 02:27 PM

Sorry to nitpick, but the world population right now is actually 7.7 billion. We're a plague species 😳.

Your Fact #2 paragraph is correct, although I'll add the only thing that has, and will, temper the rise in carbon emissions is economic crisis. I posted a graph on a similar thread here on EB showing the (small) downturn in carbon emissions during the GFC in 2007-8. Apart from that, the trend line of emissions has been steeply upward since the early 80s...which, funnily enough, was when the term 'greenhouse effect' began to be widely used.

Will my kid be one of the lucky ones who actually has food in a few decades? I sure hope so! The general prognosis doesn't look good though, does it?

#5 No Drama Please

Posted 17 September 2019 - 03:37 PM

DD said at school they showed them a documentary about how in the future we’ll all be eating insects which seemed pretty interesting on a sustainability level.

#6 ~J_F~

Posted 17 September 2019 - 03:50 PM

Is everyone changing to a plant based diet going to help if we can’t grow crops?

I am genuinely interested in the answer to this, not taking the p*ss!

I think the only this planet has of surviving is for humans to be eradicated.

#7 (feral)epg

Posted 17 September 2019 - 04:40 PM

View Post~J_F~, on 17 September 2019 - 03:50 PM, said:

Is everyone changing to a plant based diet going to help if we can’t grow crops?

I am genuinely interested in the answer to this, not taking the p*ss!

I think the only this planet has of surviving is for humans to be eradicated.

huge amounts of beef, dairy, pork and chicken come from animals that are basically feedlotted - ie kept in small areas and fed grains.  The land, water and other 'inputs' for those grains could be used to grow food for people far more efficiently.
In Australia a reasonable portion of our meat comes from extensively kept animals ie on pasture and there is an argument that much of that land is low yield and couldn't be used to grow crops for humans. So that part of the sector wouldn't make much difference.  

I think you're right that our planet's 'hope' is for humans to be eradicated - and strangely we seem to be doing a pretty good job of it ourselves!

#8 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 17 September 2019 - 04:58 PM

Interesting (and timely, and depressing) article by Tim Flannery.

https://www.theguard...olossal-failure

#9 Ivy Ivy

Posted 17 September 2019 - 05:01 PM

Needless work travel using fuel and planet resources gets my goat.  When my children were small and one never slept, my husband went for a job i/v, and was offered the job on the proviso that he travel interstate twice a week.  "We really need you to sit in on these meetings sorry but you'll have to travel there etc..."

He asked me if that was OK (i.e. would I be ok with 2 young kids alone for a few nights every week), and as I was at the end of my tether (and he not being the main wage earner probably influenced too) I said, "absolutely no way / I could not cope / I am already on the edge of reason watching the clock for you to walk in by 6pm every night and take a kid from me /please do not take that job".

SO he goes back to them and says sorry, can't do the travel, so can't accept the job.  He said they paused for all of 3 seconds before saying, "that's OK, you can skype into the meetings and not travel, here's the job".

I mean really are there many jobs that really need the people to all be in the same room for the meeting?  Cut business flying for a start and save on half the domestic flights in every country, I'm thinking, re jet fuel.

#10 Freddie'sMum

Posted 17 September 2019 - 05:06 PM

OP - do you think that as individuals we should not try and change our current planet destroying life style?

I am trying to make small changes in how we live as a family.  I know it isn't enough but it's the best I can do on an individual level.

#11 (feral)epg

Posted 17 September 2019 - 06:05 PM

I see 3 possible outcomes

1. doom and gloom - we fail to act, catastrophic climate change kicks in, probably at about the time our oceans fill up with plastic.  Most people starve.  There is mass migration, civil unrest and global conflict.  Someone drops a nuke somewhere and right about this time we probably experience a few epidemics of ebola, influenza and mosquito borne diseases.  I don't see how our current systems of capitalism and democracy could survive this.  Future generations see capitalism and democracy as the systems that broke the world and we lurch to either a communist or fascist world order.  Maybe things get better with a world of only 1 billion eco-conscious future beings :shrug:

2. We wake up to ourselves.  We reduce carbon emissions 50% in the next decade and eliminate them by 2050.  We institute massive programmes to suck carbon out of the air and manage to save our coral reefs.  Somehow we do this without radically changing our economies or systems of government and everything is great.  I don't see this happening.

3. Middle road.  We don't complete avert the crisis but we manage to limit it a bit and slow it's onset enough that we can institute some adaptive measures.  All the poor people die, most of the rich people survive (look at the effects of hurricane Dorian for how this works).  Most wildlife and wild places are destroyed but we manage to keep our current world order.

#12 (feral)epg

Posted 17 September 2019 - 06:10 PM

View PostFreddie, on 17 September 2019 - 05:06 PM, said:

OP - do you think that as individuals we should not try and change our current planet destroying life style?

I am trying to make small changes in how we live as a family.  I know it isn't enough but it's the best I can do on an individual level.

I think that we need both individual change and system change.  Without both the other will fail.

And also, whilst I do tend to thinking we're doomed, I also think that any small change is worth doing.  We might delay or limit the crisis a little, and that is worth while.  We might preserve a remnant of a remnant of our amazing world and that is worthwhile.

Or YOU might be the link in the chain that convinces a million other people to act.

#13 Lifesgood

Posted 17 September 2019 - 07:11 PM

The people who will survive are the ones with enough wealth and power to turn the system in their favour - they aren't interested in saving the climate/human existence, just their own lives and those of their families and friends. Not 'eco-conscious' people.

I believe we are headed globally for increasing civil uprisings, food wars and climate-led natural disasters and disease which will actually drive the population back to a manageable level.

There is nothing wrong with recycling, changing behaviour etc at an individual level but it isn't going to change the overall direction we are headed in.

Good times ahead hey?

#14 (feral)epg

Posted 17 September 2019 - 07:46 PM

View PostLifesgood, on 17 September 2019 - 07:11 PM, said:

The people who will survive are the ones with enough wealth and power to turn the system in their favour - they aren't interested in saving the climate/human existence, just their own lives and those of their families and friends. Not 'eco-conscious' people.

I believe we are headed globally for increasing civil uprisings, food wars and climate-led natural disasters and disease which will actually drive the population back to a manageable level.

There is nothing wrong with recycling, changing behaviour etc at an individual level but it isn't going to change the overall direction we are headed in.

Good times ahead hey?

It could be worse.  Imagine if you were a teenager thinking about these things.  And you would have to live through it.

#15 No Drama Please

Posted 17 September 2019 - 07:54 PM

It’s worse because it’s going to be happening to our kids.

#16 Lifesgood

Posted 17 September 2019 - 08:02 PM

View Post(feral)epg, on 17 September 2019 - 07:46 PM, said:

It could be worse.  Imagine if you were a teenager thinking about these things.  And you would have to live through it.
Yep, its going to be f**cked for our kids, and their kids. That's why I want to shake people who live with their head in the sand. And that's why Greta Thunberg is an absolute treasure.

#17 Ozquoll

Posted 19 September 2019 - 12:52 AM

Jonathan Franzen, writing in The New Yorker, gets it:
https://www.newyorke...ped-pretending?

Edited by Ozquoll, 19 September 2019 - 12:52 AM.


#18 Lifesgood

Posted 19 September 2019 - 08:41 AM

View PostOzquoll, on 19 September 2019 - 12:52 AM, said:

Jonathan Franzen, writing in The New Yorker, gets it:
https://www.newyorke...ped-pretending?
Now that is 'cheerful'!

I despair for our children.

#19 TrixieBelden

Posted 19 September 2019 - 08:54 AM

View Postseayork2002, on 17 September 2019 - 01:36 PM, said:

And how much are individuals doing to help? and how much is 'oh we don't matter the government has to do it all'

Should we look at ourselves and see what changes we can make first?

Absolutely. Why not list the top five things your family has changed due to your concerns about climate change Seayork? We can perhaps learn from you.

I’m vegetarian but not vegan. I don’t have a car anymore but use a taxi if I get called into work.  Have cut back on flying but still visit my family OS every few years. It’s obviously not enough even if everyone did it.

I’m not sure what the answer is but it seems clear relatively minor lifestyle changes by a minority is unlikely to be it.

#20 Lucrezia Borgia

Posted 19 September 2019 - 09:06 AM

we (humans) are the problem so we have to be part of the solution. no one is perfect but if enough people change their habits then hopefully the rate of the catastrophe can be abated over time. someone wrote here (or maybe in another thread) that the one thing we can do is vote for progressive governments who (a) believe in the climate crisis and that it’s man made and (b) actually form meaningful policies to enact change - it needs to be systemic change, I don’t think individuals alone can do this BUT each individual has a part - educate yourself and  believe the science, vote for politicians who do too, agitate for change, when laws are made to try to address a particular issue abide by the law no matter how much that inconveniences you personally....

i’d be interested to see - a few years down the track - how effective the supermarket ban on plastic bags have been. i remember everyone at  first thinking “this is hard, i keep forgetting” now it’s just second nature to me to bring a reusable bag.


#21 blimkybill

Posted 19 September 2019 - 09:29 AM

I opened this thread thinking it might  actually be something cheerful to brighten my day.

But while I am here anyway, I wanted to know where the prediction came from that we might only be able to feed 1 billion people? That seems unrealistic to me, given we now feed 7 billion. I would be interested to see the source.

I am devastated by the situation. Devastated by the short sightedness and selfishness of so many leaders. Also devastated that my young adult children still just want a chance to live good lives, raise their own children etc, but this has to hang over their heads.
I am also angry with all the well meaning people who over the years have said "population doesn't matter as there is plenty of food to feed everyone we just need to share it better". It has been obvious for more than 50 years that population does indeed matter - along with a whole host of other factors, none of which we seem to be able to address very well. As a species we are not as smart as we need to be or thought we were.

#22 Fourteenyears

Posted 19 September 2019 - 12:44 PM

View Postseayork2002, on 17 September 2019 - 01:36 PM, said:

And how much are individuals doing to help? and how much is 'oh we don't matter the government has to do it all'

Should we look at ourselves and see what changes we can make first?

The problem is Seayork, those of us who are paying attention have already done this.  Some of us have been doing it for twenty ****ing years because the science on climate change isn’t exactly new.

I was in my teens the first time I had a power bill in my own name.  I am in my forties now.  And all that bloody time I have been paying extra for green power in an effort to help ‘market forces’ sort out what the government is refusing to sort out.  What a waste of money that was.

We have progressively reduced our meat consumption.  We walk or take public transport whenever it is a viable option.  We don’t have air conditioning, or run a second fridge, or own a clothes dryer.    We have stuff like our wifi on timers that turn them off overnight to reduce electricity use.  We are mindful of food miles and embedded energy in consumer goods.   We don’t upgrade phones etc until the old ones are no longer repairable.   We shop secondhand.  We don’t take long haul plane flights and paid to offset our short haul flights (although I no longer believe this is a viable mitigation strategy). I  have always voted for governments promising environmental reform.

Blah, blah, blah.

I’ve been worried about global warming since I was a child and none of my personal actions have made a jot of difference because I can’t bloody stop the government from continuing to allow overseas companies to dig up coal from the ground and burning it.  I can’t bloody change their irresponsible land clearing rules.

We KNOW as a planet what we need to do at this point.  We need to reduce our consumption and we need to increase tree cover again.    And the really sh*tty thing is that for the western world, this doesn’t even require us to lower our standard of living.   Changes, yes, but going without?  Not really.  Just a new way of doing things.

But there is no political will and without systemic change, you may as well be me.

Quite frankly, I wish I had bloody not bothered.  I could have enjoyed twenty ignorant non-anxious years like most of the rest of Australia for all the difference my effort and worry made to the eventual outcome.

If I hadn’t had kids back when Rudd had just ratified the Kyoto profile, an ETS was on the cards and we looked like we were going  to be sensible, not stupid, I’d be childless now, because why would you bring a kid into this?

We could do it, but we’re not going to.  People are too selfish and stupid.




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