Peregrine flight

Saturday, December 12, 2009

People Glut

My friend Jim came by today and was telling me about a brouhaha that has been apparently stirred up regarding the Copenhagen Climate Conference. Diane Francis wrote an opinion in the Financial Post about the need for population control when discussing global warming and man's effect on the environment. I guess conservative troll Laura Ingraham went ballistic on O'Reilly yesterday over the column and blasted any plans to either discuss the issue or implement ZPG. Ingraham happens to be a converted catholic.

I raise this issue on the heels of a story this morning about a reality show matriarch/breeder who just had her 19th child. I don't watch television so I don't know the ins and outs of the situation but think that having that many children is excessive in a world where resources are so obviously stretched. I don't know the theological bent of the woman.

I saw a bumper sticker recently that said "keep mythology and government apart - maintain the separation of church and state." And I largely agree. We have a clash of world views here - a canon that says that the good lord will provide all that we need if we merely have faith, running square into a reality where too many inhabitants of the planet go to bed hungry each night due to malnutrition. In places like North Korea or Somalia. Where water, air and soil are tainted across the globe.  We can't move forward without assessing the ability of the planet to support the exponential growth curve we are witnessing.

Jim and wife Janis are republicans with major environmental awareness and concerns. Sort of a rare breed I think. He told me that it was his opinion that population growth has to be on the table at Copenhagen. Sounds reasonable and responsible to me as well.


Daisy Deadhead said...

Bob! Are you on Facebook? There are only 20,000 people with your name on there!

I'm under "Daisy Deadhead"--easy to remember, if you wanna 'friend' me. I'd love it!

Blue Heron said...

Hi Daisy! People of the Blast, Daisy Deadhead is the only blog I read on a daily basis. Very smart lady with a vigorously contentious audience. Check it out.

I got off of Facebook for the following: Although I miss a few of my friends like Roy Cohen, there are too many vacuous hourly reports that are just plain stupid or the people who are bragging about their latest real estate deal or conquest. It was a good way to link to my blog but I don't think facebookers tend to want to parse at our level of nitpick.

Some very square people friended me and I always wondered if I offended them?

Bye Bye - oh and did you know of the Greenville gospel singer I youtubed Hovie Lister?

Blue Heron said...
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grumpy said...
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grumpy said...
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MMWB said...

So, what we need to do is:

1. Implement a sterilization plan so that we don't produce too many people.
2. Go back to a time that was less productive so we can save energy.
2A. Give up the big energy users: medical, information, commmunication, transportation, etc.
3. Stop using the resources available to us so we can help the planet from getting too warm (or at least that's what we were being told until it was discovered that the planet was getting cooler).
4. Stop using the resources available to us so we can help the planet from experiencing climate change (although the history of the world is a history of climate change).
5. Pretend that we are so powerful and impactful that we are the cause of climate change; Greenland used to be green with trees before it became covered with ice. (see the viking communities discovered under the ice.)
6. Blame the poverty and starvation on the number of people instead of those who deny the shipment of food to the hungy (Somalia, North Korea, etc.) and because you don't understand that faith = a belief strong enought to act, add a misguided blame of believers in deity instead of researching far enough to see that orgainzed religion provides food & relief to millions of people each year
7. Make policy that will maintain the poverty of third world countries,(energy is what fuels the creation of wealth), and commit to cover the expenses of other countries while limiting our own economic growth, thus making it impossible to make the payments for said commitments.
8. Make policy about energy use while sitting in a heated building, using a computer and without asking the opinion of those who live without energy.
9. Pretend that there aren't sufficient energy sources avilable even though the United States has enough resources (oil, coal, shale, wind, sun, nuclear) to last for hundreds & hundreds of years, within our borders.
10. Whenever anyone questions our misguided green beliefs, attack, attack, attack. Call them names, question their spiritual beliefs, suggest that they are vapid and incapable of understanding the greater good & wisdom you posess. All this and more, because nothing covers up the truth better than vitriol & violence.

What a staggering, bewildering, myopic understanding of the earth's resources and of the worth of man.

Unknown said...

Yes, MMWB, you do indeed have a staggering, bewildering, myopic understanding of the issues surrounding climate change. Your comments are too devoid of facts and full of unfounded assumptions to bother refuting. I suggest you check out the summary of the 3000-page IPCC report "Climate Change 2007" as a starting point to rectify your cluelessness. And/or check out the webcasts from the Copenhagen climate talks.

Anonymous said...

"I suspect that you are one of the few people with some influence on
the course of the upcoming climate summit in Copenhagen who will not
scoff at what I have to say.

I have a neocon website to thank for bringing a rather brave quote
that you co-authored to my attention. – the one calling for a massive
campaign to de-develop the U.S. and other Western nations. In 2009, I
would go further to declare that essentially civilization needs to
power down. I’m here to encourage you to be more radical.

Telling someone with your credentials about the ominous effects of
climate change is a bit like hauling coals to Newcastle, though with
less adverse impact on the environment. Please restrain the “I
already know that” impulse for these few paragraphs. I am hoping that
if you and a few other participants take note of my ideas, somehow
they will find their way into the discussions.

The situation is more grave than is realized by all but a tiny fraction of
humanity. Previous episodes of rapid climate change were set in motion
by lesser increases in CO2 than we have already produced. It was
positive feedback effects which then effected most of the subsequent rapid
climate change. In my review of the literature I have noted twelve
different positive feedbacks in progress; among these is rampant
deforestation by humans, not even a factor in earlier eras.

The changes which have enveloped Earth over a few years and continue
to accelerate are unprecedented in terms of hundreds of thousands of
years if not in all of Earth’s history. To rectify this, we need to
expand our frame of reference beyond the form which civilization has
taken in the last few moments of humanity’s history.

I submit that climate change is a symptom of two fundamental factors
which are incompatible with the continuation of a robust biosphere
beyond the global limits that we have over-reached. These two factors
are overpopulation and the growth-driven economic paradigm.

Although it is precipitously overdue that society address
overpopulation, to do so will require a larger timeframe than we are
afforded by the onrushing effects of climate change. On the other
hand, a fundamental change in our economic behavior can be quickly

Virtually all of the participating organizations to the Copenhagen
talks are deeply entrenched in the dominant economic and cultural
paradigm. Although the sense of urgency and commitment to corrective
change is genuine, the range of possible solutions is circumscribed to
encompass only those which perpetuate the existing paradigm.

This mentality is so entrenched that officials routinely place the
global catastrophe of climate change subordinate in priority to
economic considerations, even when they are supporting action on
climate change. Consider this quote from the State Department web
site: “The world community must work collaboratively to slow, stop,
and reverse greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a way that promotes
sustainable economic growth, increases energy security, and helps
nations deliver greater prosperity for their people.” Probably not
even realizing it, they have once more subordinated climate change to
economic considerations....

(to be continued)

Anonymous said...

...Climate change had already become an urgent matter before the current
convulsion of economic growth in China and other developing nations.
To continue to seek across-the-board economic growth for all of
humanity is catastrophic folly. To insert the adjective “sustainable”
is to place a green band-aid over the fatally flawed, misbegotten
doctrine of economic growth. The shining truth is that the rich
nations must descend toward the per capita living standards of the
less-environmentally corrosive poor nations.

Happily, this is not the same as a lower quality of life.
Civilization advanced to a very high level before the age of fossil
fuels. If we didn’t need this lifestyle two hundred or two thousand
years ago, why do we now?

Where is the Churchill to succeed these Neville Chamberlains? Did
Thoreau live in vain? Who will fill this vacuum of vision?

There are vastly more options than have been proposed. The Economy,
after all, is only an abstract construct which society, or rather a
powerful fragment of society, invented to control allocation of
resources and wealth. To attempt to solve climate change constrained
by this bad invention is an effort doomed to catastrophic failure.

I wish that I could make my case satisfactorily in this letter; I take
heart when I remember that the IPCC report “Climate Change 2007” had
several hundred authors and encompassed almost 3,000 pages. I have
written a 115-page essay which provides a more solid foundation for my
views, with supporting references. I’ll send it to you if you’re

I will argue that the key to effectively combating climate change lies
in moving from a state of higher complexity to one of lower
complexity, or to use terminology borrowed from physics, from a lower
to a higher entropy state. Analogously, it is far easier to let air
out of a balloon than to blow air into it. An epic shift to a non-
growth-driven society, a virtual powering down, is more feasible than
the methods thus far officially proposed, which involve piling
technology upon technology, ratcheting the level of complexity ever

When you consider that we will run out of oil before most of our lives
are over, a pro-active powering down is an infinitely preferable
alternative to the grim struggle for survival which will then face
mankind, even without climate change. Mere survival doesn’t interest
me that much. A proactive, immediate powering down will allow us to
save Earth’s beauty and bounty, not merely survive.

I urge you and your colleagues to expand your frame of reference to
address the disease and not merely the symptom.

grumpy said...

love the photo, makes you look like Jerry Lewis somehow; i've already made it my desktop background.