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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  1.    #1  
    If you feel it's "none of the above" or "all of the above" feel free to post your rationale in text instead of voting.
  2. #2  
    I can't speak for the environmental movements, but I feel unspoilt nature has an intrinsic value beyond its utility, to myself or future generations. I admire the natural work of life over 100's of years as much as I admire the intricate creations of technology.

    Surur
  3. #3  
    Both choices seem very prudent to me.
  4. #4  
    For me, environmentalism is important because nature takes a long time to build things.. and we take just a moment to use/destroy it.

    Think trees, what it took to make that ton of coal or barrel of oil in the ground. Then think how quickly we use up these resources. The problem increases as the human population growth creates more load .. but that will slowly ease. Look at Europe, Japan where the population is declining. Eventually, China, India will also control their growth (by diktat or by what makes economic sense to their people).

    So, if I have to pick one, I'll pick "preserve Earth for future generation".
    --
    Aloke
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  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by cellmatrix View Post
    Both choices seem very prudent to me.
  6. #6  
    All life on Earth is dependent on the whole system . If one life form is weakened or becomes to prolific , the whole system is affected . The human race with all its intelligence and potential to be a Stuart of life has become a cancer to this planet. If we don't wise up fast and stop treating our planet like a pile of "resources" and get a grip on our inter dependance there may not be many future generations.
  7. #7  
    For all the folks out there inclined toward the sciences, who don't feel humans have any special claim on the planet but who also put so much responsibility on humans to protect the planet, let me posit this theory: Humans have a place on this planet just like any other species, right? And, just like any other species, humans have either migrated or adapted to their environment in order to survive. Just like every other species, human population rises and falls with it's environment's ability to support it. If you like, healthcare, technology, etc. are just particularly human methods of adaptation. Still, they are not necessarily better at adapting than, say, bacteria or viruses. Just like other species, where we thrive, other species die out. Yet, we insist on trying to manipulate the populations of other species well beyond their utility to us. Isn't that the way that we are different than other species? Isn't trying to protect certain species--to the detriment of our own--really the unnatural and, by defenition, harmful thing to do? Not only to humans but to the planet? Aren't we altering the natural cycle of evolution and extinction that's occured on this planet for many millions of years by actually trying to curb our own population to support others?

    Or, can we take the purely naturalistic view and say that everything humans do, from nuclear and biological testing to controlled burns to wildlife conservation, just part of the natural cycle of life? Because, altering our environment in order to survive is a completely natural thing to do.

    Let me ask something else: if we try to curb the population growth (presumably including our own descendents) in order to save the planet for future generations, for whom are we actually saving the planet? The descendents that would have otherwise existed but don't?
  8. #8  
    Don't you wish the Egyptions expended a bit more effort to preserve the Library of Alexandria, or the Romans the colloseum? Preserving nature for future humanity is the same kind of thing.

    Surur
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs View Post
    For all the folks out there inclined toward the sciences, who don't feel humans have any special claim on the planet but who also put so much responsibility on humans to protect the planet, let me posit this theory: Humans have a place on this planet just like any other species, right? And, just like any other species, humans have either migrated or adapted to their environment in order to survive. Just like every other species, human population rises and falls with it's environment's ability to support it. If you like, healthcare, technology, etc. are just particularly human methods of adaptation. Still, they are not necessarily better at adapting than, say, bacteria or viruses. Just like other species, where we thrive, other species die out. Yet, we insist on trying to manipulate the populations of other species well beyond their utility to us. Isn't that the way that we are different than other species? Isn't trying to protect certain species--to the detriment of our own--really the unnatural and, by defenition, harmful thing to do? Not only to humans but to the planet? Aren't we altering the natural cycle of evolution and extinction that's occured on this planet for many millions of years by actually trying to curb our own population to support others?

    Or, can we take the purely naturalistic view and say that everything humans do, from nuclear and biological testing to controlled burns to wildlife conservation, just part of the natural cycle of life? Because, altering our environment in order to survive is a completely natural thing to do.
    The trouble is, we cannot oftentimes predict the long term effects of altering the environment. Look at global warming, that was not appreciated years ago. Look at China, who has been going full bore at development at the expense of the environment and now is suffering major consequences in water pollution, deforestation and air pollution. Its what we could be if we let mining, timber and energy companies etc operate without any controls. Its insane to think that this is a good thing. Destruction of our country's natural resources is self defeating and short sighted and we cannot just let the private sector do what is best.

    Quote Originally Posted by hoovs View Post
    Let me ask something else: if we try to curb the population growth (presumably including our own descendents) in order to save the planet for future generations, for whom are we actually saving the planet? The descendents that would have otherwise existed but don't?
    No decendents? If we simply averaged two children for each family we would still have a slightly negative population growth. Thats pretty much the case in many european countries today.
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    Don't you wish the Egyptions expended a bit more effort to preserve the Library of Alexandria, or the Romans the colloseum? Preserving nature for future humanity is the same kind of thing.

    Surur
    I think the motivations you describe are much different from what shopharim had in mind. He's focused on the depletion of natural resources due to population growth; this relates to mankind's future ability to survive and thrive. I don't think we're anywhere close to the Earth's capacity for human population, but I also don't think the resources are infinite. Land certainly isn't. Energy is another matter.

    You're talking about preservation for aesthetics and sentimentality. I agree it'd be nice to still have some of the great sites that existed in the past, but then there are hundreds of entire civilizations for which there is no trace left because they never built large stone monuments that could survive for thousands of years. Sad, but I'm okay with it.

    When I look at Manhattan, I know that only a couple hundred years ago, it was mostly undeveloped land with dirt and cobblestone roads. Again, it's a little sad, but the benefits of cities are immeasurably broad and large, and it's a trade-off we made for the better.
  11. #11  
    Its likely in time our descendants will have access to much greater resources than us, through the advances of technology. The only thing they wont have is the history associated with an authentic unspoilt wilderness.

    We dont miss the library of Alexandra for the science it held, but for the large collection of authentic historical artifacts. Until science gives us a time machine, the best gift we can give our descendants is time capsules from the past.

    Surur
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by surur View Post
    Its likely in time our descendants will have access to much greater resources than us, through the advances of technology. The only thing they wont have is the history associated with an authentic unspoilt wilderness.
    Spoilage depends on one's perspective.

    And holodecks will give your great great grandchildren better access to this "unspoilt wilderness" than you'll ever have.
  13. #13  
    Once a species is extinct, we'll never get it back. Sure, meteors have done this on a mass-scale in the past .. But is it OK to reduce the diversity of life through preventable human action?
    --
    Aloke
    Cingular GSM
    Software:Treo650-1.17-CNG
    Firmware:01.51 Hardware:A
  14. #14  
    The concept of a "natural balance of nature" which mankind is disturbing is a myth. Our ecosystem is actually very dynamic. Millions of species have gone extinct, and millions more will. Extinction of species is the underlying basis for evolution and happened for many millennia before man walked the Earth. Species go extinct when weather patterns change (naturally), land erodes, ponds dry up, predators wipe out prey, or diseases spread. Sometimes there's a chain reaction. Sometimes they go extinct for no good reason at all. Life is fragile. And we're not smart enough to know how to "manage" the ecosystem. Any attempts to preserve any one species will have unintended and unmanageable consequences for countless other species.
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by samkim View Post
    The concept of a "natural balance of nature" which mankind is disturbing is a myth. Our ecosystem is actually very dynamic. Millions of species have gone extinct, and millions more will. Extinction of species is the underlying basis for evolution and happened for many millennia before man walked the Earth. Species go extinct when weather patterns change (naturally), land erodes, ponds dry up, predators wipe out prey, or diseases spread. Sometimes there's a chain reaction. Sometimes they go extinct for no good reason at all. Life is fragile. And we're not smart enough to know how to "manage" the ecosystem. Any attempts to preserve any one species will have unintended and unmanageable consequences for countless other species.
    By that logic, we can do no wrong when it comes to environment. Would a nuclear armageddon affecting many species (including our own) fit into your model of life on earth?

    Natural process is one thing, human actions within our control should be held to a different standard.
    --
    Aloke
    Cingular GSM
    Software:Treo650-1.17-CNG
    Firmware:01.51 Hardware:A
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by aprasad View Post
    By that logic, we can do no wrong when it comes to environment. Would a nuclear armageddon affecting many species (including our own) fit into your model of life on earth?
    Self preservation is a good standard for decision making. By that standard, nuclear armageddon which kills us or hurts our own food chain would be a bad thing.

    As for saving species, the standard seems to be cuteness or human appeal. When we knock down a forest for a commercial development, why do we care about the birds and squirrels, but not the bugs and rats? Or the bacteria indigenous to those rats?
  17. #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by samkim View Post
    As for saving species, the standard seems to be cuteness or human appeal. When we knock down a forest for a commercial development, why do we care about the birds and squirrels, but not the bugs and rats? Or the bacteria indigenous to those rats?
    I totally agree with this part. Also, bigger animals evoke more sympathy from us. An elephant shot and dying is bigger deal than a tiny rat (or bacteria).

    This article explores some more on our perceptions and biases, especially when it comes to security and risks.

    http://www.schneier.com/essay-155.pdf

    This newsletter is highly recommended:
    http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram.html
    --
    Aloke
    Cingular GSM
    Software:Treo650-1.17-CNG
    Firmware:01.51 Hardware:A
  18. #18  
    I feel that Environmentalism/ Conservationism has only commercial motivations by catering to those who feel that it is a "good" thing. If something is not economically viable, it will die off.

    I agree with samkim that everything is dynamic, but I also feel that mankind and earth are miniscule (and of no consequence) in the universe. Whatever man does (good and bad) on this earth, nature can wipe out all traces of it in a matter of seconds. (yes, even plastic and arsenic and carrots).

    We were not there to save the Dinosaurus (or to take the blame for their extinction). Just the "age" they existed in boggles the mind. Imagine cockroaches existed at that time, to witness all that. Modern Man is just a few tens of thousands years old (probably).

    Ultimately, the idea that Man must do something to "save" nature smacks of arrogance and egoism.
    Game over!
  19. #19  
    I consider it more from self preservation. If we f**c up our environment, depleting resources that took eons to form, that can't be good for our future as a species.
    --
    Aloke
    Cingular GSM
    Software:Treo650-1.17-CNG
    Firmware:01.51 Hardware:A
  20. #20  
    GREAT!!! Now I've had it! If the cockroaches were there at the time, why dIdn't THEY save the dinosaurs? About time we get rid of the cockroaches!

    Ooops.
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