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Is Time Running Out?

  1. Oct 22, 2003 #1
    Can we afford to curb our use of global resources? Can we afford not to?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2003 #2


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    Does not the mountain need the snow?
    Does not the desert need the sun?
    Does not your scrotum need kicking?

    - Warren
  4. Oct 22, 2003 #3
    Good point. I'm the kind of person who believes that we have to drastically reduce our resource consuption no matter what the price. I worry about the environmental impact that we're having and the long term effets this is going to have on the balance of nature. Some people say that it would be too costly, but think about the economic impact when/if we start to run out or fossil fuels.
  5. Oct 23, 2003 #4
    Is this another Antropogenic Global Warming thread with emission control as the great solution? :wink:
  6. Oct 23, 2003 #5


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    Sounded more like population explosion/resouces running out to me. In 1919 it was predicted that if the then current rate of rise in telephone usage continued for 100 years, the world would run out of copper.
  7. Oct 24, 2003 #6


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    In elementary school I learned we'd run out of oil in roughly 20 years. So we'd better do something soon, we only have 3 years left! :wink:
  8. Oct 24, 2003 #7
    Right, when I was very young, horses were a common sight on the streets. It was predicted that if horse stacks would continue to grow, the global temperature would rise a couple of degrees due to the warmth of the massive heaps of dung on the street, which were also emitting vast amounts of methane gas, a powerfull greenhouse gas.
  9. Oct 24, 2003 #8
    Copper? 3 years left? Horses? Upon reading all of your posts, it appears humans have created/discovered new technologies from time to time.

    I do think that humans are 'eating' this planet alive in every way due to overpopulation though.
    Has anyone read Daniel Quinn's theory regarding food production/population?
  10. Oct 24, 2003 #9


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    Resources don't run out. They become scarce and expensive. At that point it becomes economical to develop alternatives. Unfortunately, it also becomes more economical to fight wars over them. There are limits. A terrestrial civilization can not use more energy than is incident on the planet for very long. At current rates of increase, we'll hit that point in 300-500 years. Hopefully, we'll learn to deal with it by then.

    BTW, those doomsayers about oil consumption were just about right. Oil consumption had been doubling every 10 years. While we are still increasing our oil consumption, doubling time is roughly 30 years now. If it had gone on at the faster rate, we would have probably exhausted all known reserves that could be extracted for less than $50 per barrel. That's the problem with being a doomsayer. If your good at it, people change their ways and make you look bad.

  11. Oct 24, 2003 #10
    Yes Daniel Quinn has some valid ideas:


    However if we need to grow food for all people, we need more carbon, since that is where living stuff is made off. We also need good high temperatures to grow crops fast. Would anybody have an idea how we could accomplish that? :wink:
  12. Oct 24, 2003 #11

    I think this is a trick question ;)
    Good. I'm here to learn.

    Also, Quinn's theories about limiting/slowing food production make sense to limit population growth...but how is that accomplished?
  13. Oct 24, 2003 #12

    Maybe we need more doomsayers.

    I do not believe we could continue to live this way for much longer. Civilization needs to begin co-existing more with other life on earth.
    I can't say I am exactly 'green' but natural settings are becoming sparse in NYC where I'm from. Glass, steel, cement, truck and car exhaust fumes.
    I imagine technologies are available to assist/change civilizations direction (downward spiral), but will they be welcomed?

    In my opinion the doomsayer is important. Thank you for laying it out so plainly.

  14. Oct 24, 2003 #13
    Instead of emissions 'control'...why not rethink industry?
    I've also read that global warming is cyclical - but humans have had an effect too.
    So if the brilliant minds of the world conspire with McWorld to create or release new technologies as well as increase profits, the earth (our home) benefits no?
  15. Oct 24, 2003 #14

    You seem to have some good ideas. The problem is, do we know the problem? I think we do not
  16. Oct 24, 2003 #15
    anybody ever heard of the word Malthusian Limit? i think humans are a very adaptable species and can change lifestyles dramatically if a true crisis is felt. doomsdayers who give early warnings about probable future risks based on rational extrapolation of current trends are welcome. unfortunately not all are like that. i feel energy, food and water need special attention when conservation is concerned. and of course biodiversities need protection too.
  17. Oct 24, 2003 #16


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    I was actually thinking about Malthus when I posted. I was just reading about Malthus and Ricardo. Malthus was probably closer to the truth in his ideas, but Ricardo was just so eloquent that he always out-argued Malthus. I think the only problem with Malthus' writings is that he did not have the benefit of observing hundreds of years of capitalism in action. Condemning Malthus as wrong is like condemning Newton for not seeing the relativistic limitations of mechanics.

  18. Oct 24, 2003 #17


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    Except, that's wrong. The hot summer recently has led to widespread crop damage with some countries losing as much as 60% of their wheat yield this year. Look up the Ukraine argicultural figures for 2003. In fact, all recent studies factoring in a combination of both factors have resulted in a dieback stage when temperature continues to rise.
  19. Oct 24, 2003 #18
    Maybe one problem is nearly 6.4 billion people and counting?
  20. Oct 25, 2003 #19
    OK I was just toying with ideas. But now the opposite. Suppose that the Antropogenic Global Warming is really that strong (which is not), and we can´t wait to get the CO2 level back to the 200ppm region, Now there are two effects.

    Earth cools to a new ice age that allegedly is due already and crops don´t grow either both due to cold conditions but also due to little carbon dioxide available.

    So, that is what we could call the law of maintaining misery.

    I don´t know about hot dry summers elsewhere but both the cold winter and the hot dry summer in Europe were caused by an extreme stubborn blocking high pressure area that remained in place for ages. At the same time the North Atlantic south-west or Ireland had unusual low sea surface temperatures for about the same period. There is a idea that this would have prevented the stream of Azores low pressure areas to form that usually moderate the weather in Europe
  21. Oct 25, 2003 #20
    Right, So who are you going to send away from Earth?
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