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The Forum > Article Comments > The necessity of protecting the natural world > Comments

The necessity of protecting the natural world : Comments

By Sheila Newman, published 1/11/2007

The more of other creatures and the fewer of us, the better for the planet, and for those who will inherit the mess we are making.

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Holy pork sausages!!

(:>0
Posted by Ludwig, Thursday, 1 November 2007 9:15:46 AM
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I've never been terribly convinced about the issue of humans creating entropy by burning fossil fuels, simply because those fossil fuels have always been part of the planet's ecosystem.
The issue is largely the *pace* at which we're burning them, and the fact that were we to release all the CO2 currently locked up inside fossil fuels, the climate and sea levels would be too different from what we have currently for our agriculture and coastal cities (and hence most of *us*) to survive.
A bigger issue is the use of nuclear power, which definitely would add more entropy to the system, however in theory that entropy could contained, and in practice it probably wouldn't be all that much in the scheme of things.

BTW the argument that "the fewer of us, the better for the planet" is specious - it implies that the Earth would be "best off" if there were no humans at all. But "best off" according to who, or what principles? It's one thing to accept that on balance, the Earth's ecosystem would be healthier, and better able to support life - *including* humans - if there were less of us, but the same would be true if we all lived vastly simpler lives. There is no logical reason why the net effect of the existence of humans on the planet cannot be positive, even if there 8 or 9 billion of us, and this is far more realistic goal to aim for than to wish for some sort of magical but "kind" population reduction within a sort period of time.
Having said that, there's no doubt more can be done to help slow the inevitable population growth over the next few decades.
Posted by wizofaus, Thursday, 1 November 2007 9:44:34 AM
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No seriously, an eminently sensible article Sheila.

The thing that befuddles me the most is the extraordinary lack of action in addressing population growth, on local to global scales.

It remains a huge blind spot. While we are now getting ourselves together on the issues of climate change, water shortages, etc and are thus tackling per-capita consumption head-on, we still donít even have it within our collective psyche to meaningfully address the ever-increasing number of Ďcapitasí.

How on earth anyone who is concerned enough to be in any way active about wildlife, habitat loss, climate change, and every other environmental issue, canít see fit to also be active in opposing continuous population growth, is just beyond me!
Posted by Ludwig, Thursday, 1 November 2007 10:02:50 AM
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If less of us and more of everything else is best then Sheila should lead the way by junking her computer, cancelling her internet service and offering herself as a free lunch to a supposedly starving Polar Bear.

Quoting physics to justify a morbid, and ultimately fatuous, loathing of her own species would have to be one of the lead indicators of what we now know as the "articulate bimbo".

I do hope she is taking her own advice and eschewing procreation. It is the most reasonable and practical step she could possibly take to prevent entirely foreseeable harm to a child.
Posted by Perseus, Thursday, 1 November 2007 10:50:10 AM
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Human beings are capable of contributing positively to the ecoystem as well but with ever increasing human populations and human activity we are in danger of destroying our own habitat.

In the 1970s we used to be taught human geography which covered topics like population control, birth rates, decentralisation - topics you don't here these days. Sometimes you hear commentators refer to talk of population control as racist so maybe this spurious connotation has prevented people from raising the over-population issue. It is a shame because until you address this issue environmental problems ie. climate change,deforestation, pollution will continue unabated.

This is not to say that population is the only factor - there are others such as better use of resources, using naturally available energy sources, tree planting etc. but population control has to be part of the debate and relevant to the mix of solutions.
Posted by pelican, Thursday, 1 November 2007 10:51:17 AM
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me too, ludwig. i note with alarm that wiz is complacent about population growth, '8 or 9' billion being perfectly acceptable to him.

wiz, why stop there? shall we just keep going until oz looks like one of those indian trains with people covering the roof, pouring out the windows and doors of each carriage?
Posted by DEMOS, Thursday, 1 November 2007 10:56:00 AM
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