In the beginning… one last chance

March 4, 2009 at 12:20 pm 1 comment

I have decided to start this blog with a sense of urgency, and in honor of Darwin’s recent bicentennial celebration, I will start out with the theme “survival of OUR species!” The following interview with James Lovelock, founder of the Gaia Theory, was in the New Scientist last month.

One last chance to save mankind

The interview takes a necessary tone, in my opinion. Whenever I read about the new green movement, I wonder if people are being serious. Carbon offsets? Get real. For example, Al Gore has done more than the average human to make the world aware of the problem… but he is part of the problem too. His huge home in Tennessee uses something like an order of magnitude more energy than the average house. So how does he reconcile this? By stating that he buys carbon offsets.

So basically if you have enough money, you can spew as much carbon into the atmosphere that you want, as long as you buy a tree in the Amazon…

Back to the article, an excerpt in Q&A format is below.

Do you think we will survive?

I’m an optimistic pessimist. I think it’s wrong to assume we’ll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food, unless we synthesised it. Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less. It has happened before: between the ice ages there were bottlenecks when there were only 2000 people left. It’s happening again.

I don’t think humans react fast enough or are clever enough to handle what’s coming up. Kyoto was 11 years ago. Virtually nothing’s been done except endless talk and meetings.

What Lovelock is saying, and I agree with, is that if we don’t get our act together NOW, then we are in trouble. Modern day humans, or maybe it’s the new American way, seem to have lost the ability to plan for the future to avoid disasters, and we have become a reactive society.

The temperature rising is more than the oceans rising a few inches… although that in and of itself is disastrous! It has a huge impact all over the world. So now you can’t live in Manhattan, or any other coastal city so you move inland… that’s find and dandy, but you still need to eat!

So just go to the store and buy some food? Oh yeah, we forgot about where food comes from. Things like land, water, and CLIMATE need to be in the right conditions. So Lovelock says the population could be as low as ONE billion at the end of this century. Maybe this is a good thing?

It’s a depressing outlook.

Not necessarily. I don’t think 9 billion is better than 1 billion. I see humans as rather like the first photosynthesisers, which when they first appeared on the planet caused enormous damage by releasing oxygen – a nasty, poisonous gas. It took a long time, but it turned out in the end to be of enormous benefit. I look on humans in much the same light. For the first time in its 3.5 billion years of existence, the planet has an intelligent, communicating species that can consider the whole system and even do things about it. They are not yet bright enough, they have still to evolve quite a way, but they could become a very positive contributor to planetary welfare.

I agree with the bolded part above. The only problem is that we are at over 6 billion now, so going to 1 billion will require some tough times ahead. But maybe this is a good thing. Maybe life would be a lot better if there were only 1 billion mouths to feed. That’s less food, less cars, less medicine, less everything that is needed. So that’s good for our grandchildren… that is if your grandchild is one of the 1 billion remaining…

And I don’t think the rich will be immune to this problem. Having money to buy food only works if that money is worth something to those with the food. In addition to the decline of our economy, and our savings, there is the added problem of how much food is worth in the future times of famine.

If I have just enough food stockpiled for my family for a year, and there are massive famines going on around me, how much is that food worth? Do I sell it for a million dollars a can… or maybe a billion? Why would I do that? I can eat the food in the can, but I can’t eat money, which isn’t even in the form of gold, but rather some digits on a bank server somewhere.

So I don’t want to be all doom-and-gloom, but I do think we need to refocus TODAY. We need to invest in real science to find solutions. And we need to change our habits. If we don’t, the future habitat will change our habits for us…

Advertisements

Entry filed under: The Future. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Evolution of video games and violence… but not what you are thinking!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Enelusstesk  |  April 4, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Great site this mathgeneration.wordpress.com and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Pages

Twitter Updates

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

RSS Democracy Now!

  • Major Education Victory in Philadelphia as Parents, Teachers & Activists Reclaim Control of Schools
    We look at a major education victory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where parents, teachers and activists mounted a successful campaign to reclaim control of their local public school system after then-Pennsylvania Governor Mark Schweiker declared it financially distressed in 2001. Under the plan, dozens of Philadelphia public schools closed, and the city sa […]
    mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
  • FCC Set to Roll Back Digital Civil Rights with Thursday's Vote to Repeal Net Neutrality
    The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote Thursday on whether to repeal the landmark net neutrality protections passed under President Obama in 2015. Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers treat web content equally and do not block or prioritize some content over others in return for payment. The move could allow internet […]
    mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
  • No Moore! Doug Jones Rides GOP Storm to Senate in Victory That Could Add Momentum to #MeToo Movement
    In a stunning upset, Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in the controversial race to fill the Alabama Senate seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. With 100 percent of the vote tallied, Jones led Moore by nearly 21,000 votes, a margin of 1.5 percentage points. With Jones in the Senate, the Republicans' majority will narrow to […]
    mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
  • Headlines for December 13, 2017
    Democrat Doug Jones Wins Alabama Senate Race with Overwhelming Support of Black Voters, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Slams Trump's "Sexist Smear," Saying "I Will Not Be Silent", Trump Signs Massive $700 Billion Military Spending Bill, Palestinians Continue Protesting Trump's Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's Capital, R […]
    mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
  • Rep. Gutiérrez on Passing the DREAM Act, Deaths in Puerto Rico & His Aspirations for the Presidency
    In one of the biggest immigration rallies of the year, thousands rallied last Wednesday on Capitol Hill to demand Congress pass the DREAM Act before the end of 2017. About 100 people were arrested in an act of civil disobedience, including our guest, Illinois Congressmember Luis Gutiérrez, Democrat of Illinois. He is a member of the Judiciary Committee and c […]
    mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
  • Cecile Richards: Mike Pence is "Orchestra Master" of Assault on Women's Rights Under Trump
    Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards says the first year of President Trump's administration may be the worst year for women of any administration in United States history. But, she notes, it has also been a year of organizing and resistance by women and their allies.
    mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
  • Roy Moore Attacks Doug Jones over Abortion Rights, Deflecting from Child Molestation Accusations
    In Alabama, voters are heading to the polls today in a special election for a U.S. Senate seat that pits Democrat Doug Jones against Roy Moore, an anti-abortion candidate who has been accused by at least nine women of sexually harassing or assaulting them when they were teenagers—one as young as 14. We get response from Planned Parenthood President Cecile Ri […]
    mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
  • Meet the Miss USA Contestant Accusing Trump of Sexual Misconduct as Senators Call for Him to Resign
    Five senators are now calling on President Trump to resign over allegations that he sexually harassed or assaulted women, and 56 House lawmakers with the Democratic Women's Working Group are calling for a congressional investigation into the allegations. This comes as three of the 16 women who have publicly accused Trump of sexual harassment held a pres […]
    mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
  • Headlines for December 12, 2017
    Right-Wing Leaders Rally for Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore, As Polls Open, Alabamians Face Voting Hurdles, Women Accusing Donald Trump of Sexual Abuse Call for Congressional Probe, Lawmakers Demand Accountability over Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Trump, Famed Chef Mario Batali Takes Leave Amid Sexual Abuse Allegations, New Yorker Correspondent Ryan […]
    mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)
  • Amid Worst Winter Wildfires in California History, Farmworkers Are Laboring in Hazardous Air
    In California, drought-fueled wildfires raged toward Southern California's coastal cities over the weekend. The fires have scorched some 230,000 acres of land and forced nearly 200,000 people to evacuate. At least one woman has died so far. The wildfires are already the fifth largest on record in California history. Climate experts say the intensity of […]
    mail@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)

RSS Science Blogs

  • Comments of the Week #164: From black holes to moons with moons of their own [Starts With A Bang]
    “There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” -Ray Goforth We’ve really investigated some amazing scientific stories this week here at Starts With A Bang! There’s always so much to consider, think…
    Ethan
  • The Oldest Human Bones, Jebel Irhoud, Morocco [Greg Laden's Blog]
    You’ve heard to story. I’m here to give you a little context. But in case you haven’t heard the story, this is from the press release which is, so far, the only information generally available: New finds of fossils and stone tools from the archaeological site of Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, push back the origins of…
    Greg Laden
  • Comments of the Week #163: from the edge of the Universe to the Milky Way’s demise [Starts With A Bang]
    “Humanity has won its battle. Liberty now has a country.” -Marquis de Lafayette There’s so much science to talk about in any given week here at Starts With A Bang! It’s sometimes hard to choose, but one particular topic stole the show this past week: black holes. Sure, we took on other things, too, but we didn’t even…
    Ethan
  • Various comments and current news [Greg Laden's Blog]
    For some reason, Facebook is not posting reliably and I will not abide writing paragraphs that the Internet sucks into oblivion! So, I have a few thoughts I’ll put here and try to link to. Rebecca Otto for Governor Let’s start with Rebecca Otto, who just gave a great talk at the DFL (that’s what…
    Greg Laden
  • Swedish Academia Is No Meritocracy [Aardvarchaeology]
    After almost 14 mostly dismal years on the academic job market, I find it a consolation to read an opinion piece in Times Higher Education under the headline “Swedish Academia Is No Meritocracy“. In my experience this is also true for Denmark, Norway and Finland. In Norway, for instance, the referee board that evaluates job…
    Martin R
  • We’ll always have Paris [Greg Laden's Blog]
    If you are upset about Trump and upset about Trump pulling the US out of the Paris agreement, please let me help you get through the day. Trump announcing that the US is pulling out of Paris does not mean the end of Paris, the end of action on climate change, or much else about…
    Greg Laden
  • Improving endurance exercise [Life Lines]
    We all know that aerobic exercise is good for us because it helps improve muscle function and our ability to move well. For fish, aerobic exercise helps animals escape predators, catch prey as well as improve reproduction success. When we exercise, our muscles adapt by altering the metabolism of energy, the way calcium is handled as…
    Dr. Dolittle
  • Comments of the Week #162: from singularity evaporation to the loss of Earth’s helium [Starts With A Bang]
    “The ability to listen and learn is key to mastering the art of communication. If you don’t use your verbal skills and networking, it will disappear rapidly.” -Rick Pitino It’s been a week full of amazing and controversial stories about the Universe here at Starts With A Bang! Did you catch the fantastic live event on Wednesday at…
    Ethan
  • Using fish skin to treat burn victims [Life Lines]
    Researchers in Brazil are testing a new way to treat burn victims. They have found that tilapia skin is rich in collagen which helps the damaged skin heal better than standard wound dressings and eliminates the need to wait for donor tissue. Check out these videos from YouTube describing this radical new idea in burn…
    Dr. Dolittle
  • Seven Stories Of Science Gone Wrong [Greg Laden's Blog]
    What, with all the attacks on science and scientist these days, we may not want to be focusing on those times when science goes off the rails and makes a huge mess of things. But, science at its best and scientists at their best, will never shy away from such things. Dr. Paul Offit just…
    Greg Laden

RSS AZ Daily Star

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

%d bloggers like this: