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Save the planet or save the status quo?





Moonspider
We often see the phrase “save the planet” coupled with global warming. I posit that this is in fact a falsehood. Addressing global warming has nothing to do with “saving the planet.” A more accurate phrase would be, “save the planetary status quo.”

The earth naturally goes through cooling and warming cycles. Species have to adapt to these changes or go extinct. Furthermore, far more severe events occur than the current global warming: ice ages/global cooling, asteroid impacts, magnetic polar shifts, or super volcano eruptions. Mass extinction events have occurred several times, such as the “Great Dying” of the Permian-Triassic extinction and the well known K-T extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. The point is that the planet and life did fine in those and every other extinction event. Sure, large numbers of species became extinct. Sure geography changed. However the planet recovered and life advanced.

So stopping global warming today does not “save the planet.” If the earth warms some species may go extinct, but not many, certainly not a mass extinction. Coastlines may change a little. Some fertile land may become less so. However some land that’s not fertile currently may become fertile. Humans may have problems adjusting in some places. Homo sapiens may even suffer issues of carrying capacity. But nothing like the challenges humans would face adapting to a period of global cooling.

No matter the cause or how severe this period of global warming may be, the planet and life will be fine. Efforts to stop or reduce global warming are really about saving what we humans consider to be comfortable and ideal for the planet and our species. The status quo. It has nothing whatsoever to do with “saving the planet.”

But the latter makes for better marketing.

Respectfully,
M
deanhills
Moonspider wrote:
My point is no matter the cause or how severe this period of global warming may be, the planet and life will be fine. Efforts to stop or reduce global warming are really about saving what we humans consider to be comfortable and ideal for the planet and our species. The status quo. It has nothing whatsoever to do with “saving the planet.”
I agree. However, there is a real problem with too many people using scarcer and scarcer resources indiscriminately. To "save the planet" would have to start with taking better care of overpopulation and dwindling resources. Let's face it, the quality of food, water and air today, is not the same as ten years or twenty years ago. We will obviously keep on adjusting as things deteriorate, but at some or other point in time people in the large cities may have to walk around with oxygen equipment or they will have to build tunnels from building to building. Some of the cities in the Far East are already at that point.
Moonspider
deanhills wrote:
Moonspider wrote:
My point is no matter the cause or how severe this period of global warming may be, the planet and life will be fine. Efforts to stop or reduce global warming are really about saving what we humans consider to be comfortable and ideal for the planet and our species. The status quo. It has nothing whatsoever to do with “saving the planet.”
I agree. However, there is a real problem with too many people using scarcer and scarcer resources indiscriminately. To "save the planet" would have to start with taking better care of overpopulation and dwindling resources. Let's face it, the quality of food, water and air today, is not the same as ten years or twenty years ago. We will obviously keep on adjusting as things deteriorate, but at some or other point in time people in the large cities may have to walk around with oxygen equipment or they will have to build tunnels from building to building. Some of the cities in the Far East are already at that point.


I concur. However, as cold as it may sound, in nature those things eventually take care of themselves. As a sentient species we have the ability to try and address these concerns and mitigate future problems, like those you mentioned. But if we don't the cold reality is that nature will take care of it through the normal process of starvation and disease, just as we see in other species with few or no predators that locally run into problems of over poulation and competition of scarcer resources.

Respectfully,
M
deanhills
Moonspider wrote:
I concur. However, as cold as it may sound, in nature those things eventually take care of themselves. As a sentient species we have the ability to try and address these concerns and mitigate future problems, like those you mentioned. But if we don't the cold reality is that nature will take care of it through the normal process of starvation and disease, just as we see in other species with few or no predators that locally run into problems of over poulation and competition of scarcer resources.

Respectfully,
M
I get your point. Except that human beings through their intelligence and technology have been able to beat nature in every respect, including survival of the weak in its species. By allowing the weak to survive, it may destroy the earth, before the earth can destroy them.
ocalhoun
Moonspider wrote:


I concur. However, as cold as it may sound, in nature those things eventually take care of themselves. As a sentient species we have the ability to try and address these concerns and mitigate future problems, like those you mentioned. But if we don't the cold reality is that nature will take care of it through the normal process of starvation and disease, just as we see in other species with few or no predators that locally run into problems of over poulation and competition of scarcer resources.

Respectfully,
M

The problem with that happening to humans is that we've spread so far, and have influence over so much, that we're sure to take a lot of other species with us. When it gets to that point, humans will die as a part of yet another mass extinction.

Also, I agree with you about how climate change efforts have taken over, and mostly replaced, more traditional environmental concerns...

No longer are we concerned about the rainforests themselves, we're concerned about the CO2 those lost trees would have processed.
No longer are we concerned about recycling to reduce landfills, we think of how much energy savings we get from recycling vs. making new stuff.

Overfishing/overhunting, habitat reduction, irresponsible agriculture, non-greenhouse pollution, diminishing food and water supplies... the truly important issues have been forgotten amid all the global warming hype.
An estimated 30 species go extinct per day, but we're worried that the temperature will increase 2 degrees per century.
handfleisch
Any positive effort to slow down the incredible man-made pollution that is choking this planet is a good thing.
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:
Any positive effort to slow down the incredible man-made pollution that is choking this planet is a good thing.

Not if it slows down unimportant pollution at the expense of ignoring important pollution.
liljp617
ocalhoun wrote:
Moonspider wrote:


I concur. However, as cold as it may sound, in nature those things eventually take care of themselves. As a sentient species we have the ability to try and address these concerns and mitigate future problems, like those you mentioned. But if we don't the cold reality is that nature will take care of it through the normal process of starvation and disease, just as we see in other species with few or no predators that locally run into problems of over poulation and competition of scarcer resources.

Respectfully,
M
An estimated 30 species go extinct per day, but we're worried that the temperature will increase 2 degrees per century.


Would you agree it's not really the best idea to downplay either issue? If we assume the average temperature is legitimately rising (even just the two degrees), don't you think that is going to have some pretty significant consequences as well, especially in the long run?
Moonspider
liljp617 wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Moonspider wrote:


I concur. However, as cold as it may sound, in nature those things eventually take care of themselves. As a sentient species we have the ability to try and address these concerns and mitigate future problems, like those you mentioned. But if we don't the cold reality is that nature will take care of it through the normal process of starvation and disease, just as we see in other species with few or no predators that locally run into problems of over poulation and competition of scarcer resources.

Respectfully,
M
An estimated 30 species go extinct per day, but we're worried that the temperature will increase 2 degrees per century.


Would you agree it's not really the best idea to downplay either issue? If we assume the average temperature is legitimately rising (even just the two degrees), don't you think that is going to have some pretty significant consequences as well, especially in the long run?


I don't think so, depending upon how one defines "significant consequences" and "long run." I believe this to be an effort to save the status quo. It won't save the planet or the ecosystem, because both are always evolving even under normal circumstances, which include dramatic climactic changes. Humans don't like change.

Humans always seek to alter the environment to their liking as much as they can. That's why we build microenvironments as shelters. Even if global warming isn't anthropomorphic, (or even if we suffered from global cooling whether natural or anthropomorphic) we would do everything within our capability to prevent that from happening. Not because it's "good for the planet" although we might say that and do say that, but because it's good for us, for our species, and what we consider "normal."

Respectfully,
M
ocalhoun
liljp617 wrote:

Would you agree it's not really the best idea to downplay either issue? If we assume the average temperature is legitimately rising (even just the two degrees), don't you think that is going to have some pretty significant consequences as well, especially in the long run?

Significant consequences, yes.
Bad consequences? Not entirely.

Overall, there will be more habitable and arable land available, and both humans and animals will adapt (with varying degrees of success). I certainly wouldn't mind if South Dakota was a bit warmer!

If we put our efforts into adapting to the change, rather than trying to stop it, we'd be much better off, I think.
deanhills
handfleisch wrote:
Any positive effort to slow down the incredible man-made pollution that is choking this planet is a good thing.
I agree with Handfleisch. Something needs to be done about the deterioration of the quality of air. It should be made a focus point without trying to scientify it with global warming or no global warming, or global warming and let's adapt to global warming. We also have to do something to stop the pollution of our waters, and save our fish. Just the smell of polluted rivers has to be harmful in its own right. And most of all, we have to pay attention to the root cause, which is an overpopulation of earth, the majority of which cannot really look properly after themselves, that is the worst pollution of all.
handfleisch
deanhills wrote:
handfleisch wrote:
Any positive effort to slow down the incredible man-made pollution that is choking this planet is a good thing.
I agree with Handfleisch. Something needs to be done about the deterioration of the quality of air. It should be made a focus point without trying to scientify it with global warming or no global warming, or global warming and let's adapt to global warming. We also have to do something to stop the pollution of our waters, and save our fish. Just the smell of polluted rivers has to be harmful in its own right.


Exactly. Diseases like asthma from increasing pollution are a worldwide epidemic, that's what we should be focusing on. But the multinational oil corporations in places like Saudi Arabia and USA don't want us to focus on air pollution and fossil fuels because it threatens their profits, and so we get the well-funded Denialism propaganda.
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