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View Diary: "Climate change: it's even worse than we think." A sobering reality for Thanksgiving ... (114 comments)

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  •  Agreed, and really hard to talk about (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cliss, A Siegel, maryabein

    I was convinced by Alan Weisman's book The World Without Us, which ends with a plea to reduce the human population to somewhere in the 1-2 billion mark.

    I am not a scientist, but my impression is that when any animal species exceeds the carrying capacity of its habitat, bad things happen that cause a population collapse. Which of the "four horses of the apocalypse" isn't clear. But 9 billion, or even 7 billion, is just not sustainable, which means it will go down one way or another. And that won't be pretty.

    And it's very difficult to talk about, when we value individual choice about pregnancy, a right to medical care when we're sick, and Federal disaster relief to prevent and recover from disasters including climate-related ones.

    •  it is not quite so (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      yes of course, the number of humans matters. But so does the consumption level that these humans have.

      What overloads the earths carrying capacity is not the human number, but their cumulative consumption.

      And this consumption is very very unequally distributed. Practically all the consumption that brought us the current dire state of the biosphere is done by  max. 2 of the current 7 billion humans.

      Some aging numbers in my head say that an average US human consumes about 25 times as an African (and not from the real poor holes there, say a West African). So even though there are more Africnas than US citizens, ecologically, only the US matters.

      So, while yes human population is part of the issue (especially as we view 9 bn), the actual issue is consumption levels and that is caused by a rather small fraction of humans. So, the population argument should not be mistaken to dilute the focus on the real culprits (that are not "all humans" but specifically "we" the rich ones).

      Practically, planetary carrying limits don´t mean "we can have ony x billion humans". They mean "we can have only 1 billion humans max. who consume like Americans". That´s the crux of it.


      •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

        although we have a lot of Europeans and Asians who are getting up to our level of excess. I am, as you say, not too worried about Africans at that level. Ironically, because they subsist at a much lower level, they may be better suited to survive than we are. Maybe it's going to be a "Back to Africa" story?

        For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

        by Anne Elk on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 04:32:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  always so frustrating. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel

        people just don't seem to understand the concept of climate change footprints.  If we reduce ours and india and china follow then we will be able to make it through the next 50 years with over 1 billion humans surviving.

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