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85StoneWhiteFurball
12-12-2004, 13:57
It seems as if global warming, which at least some environmentalists blame on industrialisation and the resultant overabundance of hydrocarbon emissions, may be causing the demise of several species of flora and fauna, including the one depicted in my avatar.

The question is - at the end of the day, does extinction of species matter? The world is certainly doing fine without the dodo bird, and all phony identities of mine notwithstanding, the polar bear is not affectionate, not fun, not nice, but rather a dangerous predator whose main benefit to humankind is a deceptively cuddly appearance that attracts crowds to zoos (where, like the practically extinct Amur tiger, it can always be preserved for posterity and for research purposes).

Considering that we human beings are but the products of evolution in any event (flame away, fundamentalists), it is just about a given that we will evolve further, and global warming may just be nature's way (admittedly spearheaded by human behaviour) of speeding that evolution along.

So, does global warming really matter to anyone except the disappearing polar bears? To be sure, it is time to find a substitute for oil, but that is mainly because of geopolitical trends and a need to reduce dependency on dubious regimes which control much of the world's oil. But will it matter to anyone except some polar bears if Russia, let's say, develops a Rio de Janeiro style climate in 1000 years, or will humankind just deal with it when, and if, it happens?

yankee@moscow
12-12-2004, 14:13
I didn't used to believe the global warming theory, but now, I am just not sure if it's true or not. I don't think that there is enough evidence in either direction.

However, I do think that it's time to quit using fossil fuels, and it's not that difficult to do. As a matter of fact, it would be very easy. Right now, I think hydrogen is the answer. Yes, it takes a lot of energy to make hydrogen, but the result of hydrogen cumbustion is water.

How do you make the hydrogen without burning fossil fuels? Unfortunately, you convert all electrical generation facilities to nuclear facilities and deal with the disposal problems the best you can. You still need to responsibly address this issue, but that is manageable, if done correctly.

I wasn't convinced of hydrogen being a substitute for fossil fuels until I read about BMW's new hydrogen cars. Here's a couple of links about their hydrogen cars: General Information (http://www.bmwworld.com/hydrogen/)

Here's the Article that convinced me! (http://www.bmwworld.com/hydrogen/h2r_racer.htm)

Sparafucile
13-12-2004, 01:35
I seem to remember that the Polar Bear minority on this Board had pointedly said they intended having no truck with the Politics board, once it was established? ;-)

I believe that the extinction of polar species is not the only issue. The gaping gaps in the ozone layer are likely to have a deleterious effect on most other species as well, and the increasing size of those gaps is of great concern.

Low-lying parts of the world are likely to suffer flooding and even possible permanent immersion if water-levels continue to rise.

sparky
13-12-2004, 10:06
Originally posted by 85StoneWhiteFurball
.... whose main benefit to humankind is a deceptively cuddly appearance that attracts crowds to zoos....

It will be a sad day for humanity when we judge whether a species is allowed to survive by its benefits to us. By the same criteria we should eliminate 99% of ALL species.

What is often forgotten is that man is part of the same eco-system as all these species and it is to our detriment when we allow our actions to kill off flora and fauna.

There are many examples where man has used the earth as a dustbin and the next generation(s) have lived to reap the consequences.

Without question the earth is becoming warmer. Is it part of a natural cycle? Is it caused by manís activities? What seems to be of concern to scientists is the rate of change of the warming, which is without precedence. It cannot be denied that the weather is changing, with far more violent storms that in recorded history.

Agreed we have to move away from fossil fuel, and start putting more effort into conservation. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere global warming is not good, as it will result in another ice age, so at least one benefit for the poor old polar bear is we can use its fur for clothing.

J.D.
13-12-2004, 11:01
Are people not a natural part of this planet?

Brezhnev L.I.
13-12-2004, 22:31
People are the main species

This is I, hunting

am4rw
13-12-2004, 23:35
The major problem with environmental change, and governments' attitudes toward it, is the assumption that technology will always save us from its effects. Technology, and the resources needed to support it, may not always be up to the task. Living underground, and growing enough food underground to support a population may not be feasible.

A useful exercise for any environmental trend is to carry it to an extreme conclusion and see what kind of world results. If it's really nasty, then it stands to reason that you would want to limit the distance you go down that path.

yankee@moscow
14-12-2004, 00:16
Originally posted by am4rw
The major problem with environmental change, and governments' attitudes toward it, is the assumption that technology will always save us from its effects. Technology, and the resources needed to support it, may not always be up to the task. Living underground, and growing enough food underground to support a population may not be feasible.

A useful exercise for any environmental trend is to carry it to an extreme conclusion and see what kind of world results. If it's really nasty, then it stands to reason that you would want to limit the distance you go down that path.

Sorry, but could you restate this in English so that the rest of us can understand what the heck you are talking about?:confused:

am4rw
14-12-2004, 21:06
Originally posted by yankee@moscow
[B]Sorry, but could you restate this in English so that the rest of us can understand what the heck you are talking about?:confused: --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by am4rw
The major problem with environmental change, and governments' attitudes toward it, is the assumption that technology will always save us from its effects.
] Most governments, and all corporations that pollute, make the assumption that somehow, someway, someday, technology will bail us out, i.e. we'll find a solution for all the damage that's been done to the environment. A magic wand that will make plutonium safe, or restore the ozone layer, or turn herbicides into harmless fertilizer. Up to this point, we haven't had enough people in the world that the damage we did couldn't be avoided. But how do you turn the Sahara back into a region that grows enough food to feed its populace?



Technology, and the resources needed to support it, may not always be up to the task. Living underground, and growing enough food underground to support a population may not be feasible.
[/BPast a certain point, the ecosphere could be damaged enough that the surface of the planet will no longer support life. At that point, the only options are living underground or leaving the planet (essentially the same technological solution). If you don't believe this is possible, I suggest taking your next vacation to Chelyabinsk or Oak Ridge, Tennessee.


A useful exercise for any environmental trend is to carry it to an extreme conclusion and see what kind of world results. If it's really nasty, then it stands to reason that you would want to limit the distance you go down that path.

An example that should make sense even to people on this site: If you drink too much, fall down and get hangovers, at some age you either stop such behavior or drink yourself to death. As a species, we have choices.

sparky
15-12-2004, 12:34
Topical (or should that be tropical)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4095133.stm

ife
15-12-2004, 15:42
I'm reading an excellent book called A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, and he touches on life, evolution, DNA, the ice ages etc. It makes you realise just how insignificant we all are here. Apparently we are well overdue for another big freeze...