View Poll Results: Which of these two statements "more" aptly characterizes the impetus for environmenta

Voters
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  • We need to control population (future generations) to preserve the Earth's resources.

    2 20.00%
  • We need to preserve the Earth's resources for future generations.

    8 80.00%
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Results 61 to 80 of 81
  1. #61  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    Interestingly, say mankind went extinct in the next 100 years, if another ape evolve into a strongly technologically capable being in 100 000 years, they will find a very different world from what we had. Most of the easily accessible fossil fuel will be used up. Most of the easily accessible uranium will be used up. Iron deposits will be distributed in rubbish dumps, not ore. There would be a strange gap in the fossil record, with millions of the species suddenly disappearing.

    Surur
    There are already gaps in the fossil record. The new species, once they're smart enough, will just fill in the missing pieces with interesting theories like we have.
  2. #62  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    There would be a strange gap in the fossil record, with millions of the species suddenly disappearing.
    I don't think species extinction today is notably different from species extinction in the past.
  3. #63  
    Quote Originally Posted by samkim View Post
    I don't think species extinction today is notably different from species extinction in the past.
    Why? If previous extinctions were due to natural effects, and we have supra-added human effects, logically why would it not be worse?

    Surur
  4.    #64  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    Why? If previous extinctions were due to natural effects, and we have supra-added human effects, logically why would it not be worse?

    Surur
    Aren't all effects natural? Even if our technology is accelerating our demise, it could be classified simply as the use of "tools"
  5. #65  
    There is the simple distinction between natural and technology. Technology is a force multiplier, the simplest machine being a slope of course, which allows us to lift weights much heavier than we can carry, and build Stonehenge and the pyramids.

    Due to technology, we have been able to do much more damage to the environment than any other specie of similar number, and due to technology we have the ability to near sterilize the earth.

    So no, human intervention is far from natural these days.

    Surur
  6. #66  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    Why? If previous extinctions were due to natural effects, and we have supra-added human effects, logically why would it not be worse?

    Surur
    As I mentioned earlier, evolution resulted in the extinction of millions of species over the millennia - probably billions, but I wouldn't know how to count them. Just think of our single branch of the evolutionary tree and trace it back to the single cell. How many species did we lose along the way?

    And every time the weather patterns changed, countless species died off. We know of many global ice ages and thaws, but it doesn't take that much to kill a local ecosystem. Even a small flood or drought will do it. Happens all the time.

    There's no question that we're having a major effect on the physical environment through land development and resource gathering. The big claims of species die off, however, are tied to global warming. But from the Earth's perspective, that's just another change in climate that favors some types of organisms over others. Many will go extinct, but if our understanding of natural evolution is correct, new species will propagate, just as they always did in the past.
  7. #67  
    I was not just or even mainly thinking of global warming. I was thinking of clear cutting whole forests, replacing grass lands with farm lands, trawling fish stock to extinction, killing of whole species of whales, introducing new predator species to isolated ecosystems, polluting rivers with chemicals and heavy metals, hunting animals to extinction for trophies and fashion etc.

    I am sure the rate of extinction by humans is much higher than the natural background rate, due to the rapid rate we are changing the planet. There is an article here ( http://app.iucn.org/info_and_news/pr...ecies2000.html ) claiming the rate of extinction is currently 10 000 times the background rate from previously, and accelerating. Even if only half or a quarter that, it means we are probably having as much effect as an ice age.

    Surur
    Last edited by surur; 03/15/2007 at 04:34 PM.
  8. #68  
    Another article saying the same thing.

    THE SIXTH GREAT EXTINCTION: A Status Report

    Janet Larsen


    Almost 440 million years ago, some 85 percent of marine animal species were wiped out in the earth's first known mass extinction. Roughly 367 million years ago, once again many species of fish and 70 percent of marine invertebrates perished in a major extinction event. Then about 245 million years ago, up to 95 percent of all animals—nearly the entire animal kingdom—were lost in what is thought to be the worst extinction in history.

    Some 208 million years ago, another mass extinction took a toll primarily on sea creatures, but also some land animals. And 65 million years ago, three quarters of all species—including the dinosaurs—were eliminated.

    Among the possible causes of these mass extinctions are volcanic eruptions, meteorites colliding with the earth, and a changing climate. After each extinction, it took upwards of 10 million years for biological richness to recover. Yet once a species is gone, it is gone forever.

    The consensus among biologists is that we now are moving toward another mass extinction that could rival the past big five. This potential sixth great extinction is unique in that it is caused largely by the activities of a single species. It is the first mass extinction that humans will witness firsthand—and not just as innocent bystanders.

    While scientists are not sure how many species inhabit the planet today, their estimates top 10 million. Yet each year thousands of species, ranging from the smallest microorganisms to larger mammals, are lost for good. Some disappear even before we know of their existence.

    The average extinction rate is now some 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the rate that prevailed over the past 60 million years. Throughout most of geological history, new species evolved faster than existing species disappeared, thus continuously increasing the planet's biological diversity. Now evolution is falling behind.

    Only a small fraction of the world's plant species has been studied in detail, but as many as half are threatened with extinction. South and Central America, Central and West Africa, and Southeast Asia—all home to diverse tropical forests—are losing plants most rapidly.

    Today nearly 5,500 animal species are known to be threatened with extinction. The IUCN—World Conservation Union's 2003 Red List survey of the world's flora and fauna shows that almost one in every four mammal species and one in eight bird species are threatened with extinction within the next several decades. (For access to IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species database, see www.redlist.org).

    Of 1,130 threatened mammal species, 16 percent are critically endangered—the highest threat level. This means that 184 mammal species have suffered extreme and rapid reduction in population or habitat and may not survive this decade. Their remaining numbers range from under a few hundred to, at most, a few thousand individuals. For birds, 182 of the 1,194 threatened species are critically endangered.

    Although the status of most of the world's mammals and birds is fairly well documented, we know relatively little about the rest of the world's fauna. Only 5 percent of fish, 6 percent of reptiles, and 7 percent of amphibians have been evaluated. Of those studied, at least 750 fish species, 290 reptiles, and 150 amphibians are at risk. Worrisome signs—like the mysterious disappearance of entire amphibian populations and fishers' nets that come up empty more frequently—reveal that there may be more species in trouble. Of invertebrates, including insects, mollusks, and crustaceans, we know the least. But what is known is far from reassuring.

    At the advent of agriculture some 11,000 years ago, the world was home to 6 million people. Since then our ranks have grown a thousandfold. Yet the increase in our numbers has come at the expense of many other species.

    The greatest threat to the world's living creatures is the degradation and destruction of habitat, affecting 9 out of 10 threatened species. Humans have transformed nearly half of the planet's ice-free land areas, with serious effects on the rest of nature. We have made agricultural fields out of prairies and forests. We have dammed rivers and drained wetlands. We have paved over soil to build cities and roads.

    Each year the earth's forest cover shrinks by 16 million hectares (40 million acres), with most of the loss occurring in tropical forests, where levels of biodiversity are high. Ecologically rich wetlands have been cut in half over the past century. Other freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems have been degraded by pollution. Deserts have expanded to overtake previously vegetated areas, accelerated in some cases by overgrazing of domesticated animals.

    A recent study of 173 species of mammals from around the world showed that their collective geographical ranges have been halved over the past several decades, signifying a loss of breeding and foraging area. Overall, between 2 and 10 percent of mammal populations (groups of a single species in a specific geographical location) are thought to have disappeared along with their habitat.

    Direct human exploitation of organisms, such as through hunting and harvesting, threatens more than a third of the listed birds and mammals. Other threats to biodiversity include exotic species, often transported by humans, which can outcompete and displace native species.

    A recent survey of some 1,100 animal and plant species found that climate change could wipe out between 15 and 37 percent of them by 2050. Yet the actual losses may be greater because of the complexity of natural systems. The extinction of key species could have cascading effects throughout the food web. As John Donne wrote, "no man is an island." The same is true for the other species we share this planet with: the loss of any single species from the web of life can affect many others.

    Healthy ecosystems support us with many services—most fundamentally by supplying the air we breathe and filtering the water we drink. They provide us with food, medicine, and shelter. When ecosystems lose biological richness, they also lose resilience, becoming more susceptible to the effects of climate change, invasions of alien species, and other disturbances.

    The 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity provides a framework for countries to conserve biological diversity and promote sustainable development. It has been signed by 168 countries, notably excluding the United States. The parties, which recently held their seventh conference in February 2004 in Kuala Lumpur, have set a target of substantially reducing biodiversity loss by 2010. Yet the convention lacks mechanisms for action and enforcement, which may make it difficult to achieve the target.

    Consciously avoiding habitat destruction and mitigating the effects of land use change, reducing the direct exploitation of plants and wildlife, and slowing climate change can help us stop weakening the very life-support systems we depend on. While this may be the first time in history that a single species can precipitate a mass extinction event, it is also the first time in history that a single species can act to prevent it.
    http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/Update35.htm

    Surur
  9.    #69  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    There is the simple distinction between natural and technology. Technology is a force multiplier, the simplest machine being a slope of course, which allows us to lift weights much heavier than we can carry, and build Stonehenge and the pyramids.

    Due to technology, we have been able to do much more damage to the environment than any other specie of similar number, and due to technology we have the ability to near sterilize the earth.

    So no, human intervention is far from natural these days.

    Surur
    That fact that we are more efficient in our destructive capabilities does not make them any less "natural" in this context. In an era when use of stones was cutting edge, their ability to destroy was increased as an order of magnitude higher. But, ultimately we are just another species utilizing capabilities, of which history will demonstrate rather we turned out to have an advantage or not.

    Your point is taken that our "technological" advances may prove to be disadvantageous. However the exericising of our capabilities and adaptation of materials as tools (technology) is part of our genetic predisposition.

    ...or so the theory goes.
  10. #70  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    Another article saying the same thing.


    http://www.earth-policy.org/Updates/Update35.htm

    Surur
    See post #61
  11. #71  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs View Post
    See post #61
    There is no doubt that in a few million years the earth will recover as if we have (almost) never been here. As a young specie however we need to think a bit shorter term, and of course in terms of our own self preservation and desired quality of life, and decide if we want it to include (for biodiversity and sentimental reasons) as much possible of the currently living species, or pass on to our children dramatically less living species than we ourself experienced.

    Surur
  12. #72  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    I was not just or even mainly thinking of global warming. I was thinking of clear cutting whole forests, replacing grass lands with farm lands, trawling fish stock to extinction, killing of whole species of whales, introducing new predator species to isolated ecosystems, polluting rivers with chemicals and heavy metals, hunting animals to extinction for trophies and fashion etc.

    I am sure the rate of extinction by humans is much higher than the natural background rate, due to the rapid rate we are changing the planet. There is an article here ( http://app.iucn.org/info_and_news/pr...ecies2000.html ) claiming the rate of extinction is currently 10 000 times the background rate from previously, and accelerating. Even if only half or a quarter that, it means we are probably having as much effect as an ice age.

    Surur
    Actually, the widely quoted figures among scientists seem to be 100 to 1000 times the background rate based on the fossil record.

    Models show that in the next 100 years, as we go through global warming, the extinction rate could rise to 1000 to 10,000 times the background rate.

    There are a few big problems with these figures.

    We don't know how many species there are. And we don't know how many species there were millions of years ago. Most species comprise tiny organisms, like bacteria and fungus, and we're never going to be able to count all of them, since they change so often.

    The background rate of extinction is estimated based on fossil records. While bacteria leave evidence of their existence in fossils (e.g., in the form of bubbles), we can't say much about the bacteria itself. So not only don't we know the rate of extinction for these organisms today, we also can't know what it was millions of years ago. We do know that the rate of extinction of bacteria is likely to be orders of magnitude greater than for large organisms. No one can know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if hundreds of species of micro-organisms went extinct daily.

    So the fossil records really just give us an indication of extinction rate for large organisms, which is a small subset of all species. This background extinction rate, which is sometimes quoted as one species per million per year, is artificially low.



    All that said, yes, we are having a big impact on biodiversity. When we develop an area of land, as we often do, we're destroying a local ecosystem, and with it, probably a number of unique species. I can understand why some would see that as a bad thing. Personally, I accept the fact that the world is irreversibly changing. In a hundred years, we'll have a couple billion more people (a guess), and so we'll have to use more land and more natural resources. That means hundreds of thousands of species will be gone. As long as we're not setting the stage for our own extinction, I think that's a fair trade-off.
  13. #73  
    All that said, yes, we are having a big impact on biodiversity. As long as we're not setting the stage for our own extinction, I think that's a fair trade-off.[/QUOTE]

    What is the "our own" that you'r so generously not willing to extinction ? Is it all of the human life forms on our planet ? Do us funny lookin' tree huggers that like to run around naked and eat fresh fruit mean much to you or do we get on the train with the rest of the irrelevant ?
  14. #74  
    Quote Originally Posted by samkim View Post
    All that said, yes, we are having a big impact on biodiversity. When we develop an area of land, as we often do, we're destroying a local ecosystem, and with it, probably a number of unique species. I can understand why some would see that as a bad thing. Personally, I accept the fact that the world is irreversibly changing. In a hundred years, we'll have a couple billion more people (a guess), and so we'll have to use more land and more natural resources. That means hundreds of thousands of species will be gone. As long as we're not setting the stage for our own extinction, I think that's a fair trade-off.
    This is reasonable, and I dont really see what impact the extinction of the kangaroo mouse for example would have on my quality of life. As mentioned earlier, I see it more as a short term irreversible loss to mankind, like for example losing the original copy of the Constitution.

    Surur
  15. #75  
    Yes . This Is Logical . We must make room for more Humans . Humans Good . Rats not necessary . Loosing rats just temporary loss . like baby teeth . Power to the people . If god want save rats he build ark .
  16. #76  
    Quote Originally Posted by byronchurch View Post
    All that said, yes, we are having a big impact on biodiversity. As long as we're not setting the stage for our own extinction, I think that's a fair trade-off.
    What is the "our own" that you'r so generously not willing to extinction ? Is it all of the human life forms on our planet ? Do us funny lookin' tree huggers that like to run around naked and eat fresh fruit mean much to you or do we get on the train with the rest of the irrelevant ?
    The question of extinction has nothing to do with animals that run around today. It has to do with the unborn ancestors of today's animals and the unborn ancestors of today's people. I'm just saying I don't think we need to plan our world around making sure that every type of animal has grandchildren.
  17. #77  
    I wonder what sort of person would be best suited to decide which species were expendable and which ones we should step over ? I would hope she had both sides of his brain talking .. Wouldn't want some humo/centric son of tricky Dicky making hasty decisions on our whole ecosphere now would we ?
  18. #78  
    Quote Originally Posted by byronchurch View Post
    I wonder what sort of person would be best suited to decide which species were expendable and which ones we should step over ? I would hope she had both sides of his brain talking .. Wouldn't want some humo/centric son of tricky Dicky making hasty decisions on our whole ecosphere now would we ?
    Survival of the fittest is the rule of nature.
  19. #79  
    Thats one of the contributing factors of survival . Co-dependance / symbioses, the grace of of a benefactor . As is random luck and of corse the cute factor can get you a good spot on the couch. As far as human intervention is concerned I think we have strayed so far from the proverbial garden that we are more like big thug delinquent inbreds having "our way" with our own mother earth . We are far from fit.
  20. #80  
    But except of few greedy leaders and mad inventors and sociopaths priests , most of humanity are quite like the rest of nature ... Happy to live a simple life close to the earth in harmony with the seasons . We're so easily lead; I think we must have a lot of sheep in us . If somehow we all woke up in time . Some kind of psychedelic bird flue . Just a magnificent musical planetary awakening . An ocean of gut laughter and waves and waves of cleansing tears . ..perhaps we could save this planet from the big slab of progress . ..I'd kiss that bird ...... but whatever
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