Water Wars

Ageing? What lunacy is this? The planet is billions of years old, and I don't think that human activity is going to account for much in geological timescales. In another billion years, the only residue of human existence will be some weird chemistry in a thin layer of rock, some artificially cut diamonds, and possibly some eroded deep space junk.

The global climate is a changeable, and surprisingly volatile thing. The fossil record suggests that it is prone to chaotic behaviour, and tipping into new states at short notice.
The next point is that the triggers for these tipping points are not well understood. Sometimes catastrophic events, like huge volcanic eruptions, (Deccan Traps) sometimes slower things like changing oceanic currents.

Next, humans. Humans have been having landscape level environmental impacts almost from the point we mastered fire. Populations were tiny, and remained so until recently.
Industrial human activity has put so much GHG in the atmosphere in a geological eyeblink, that the effects are only starting to feed through now. We could (and probably have) hit one of those climate tipping points, and just haven't noticed yet.

The human population is not so much huge, as just really badly distributed, and very badly managed. It is concentrated in coastal and river valley areas, where there is access to ocean resources and fresh water. These are also the areas most vulnerable to drought, flash flooding, and rising sea levels.

If you took the whole global land mass, and spread the population evenly, they would have trouble seeing each other.

The overpopulation issue is, as I have said, usually a fig leaf for the usual tired old racism. If you were really worried about overpopulation, then you should be clamouring for the introduction of the global Chinese one child policy and enforced sterilisation of the untermenschen. How very 1930's eugeneticist.

What you SHOULD be worried about is the the enforced migration of millions of people because their local environment is too degraded and resource poor to support them.
A good post but not everyone who considers "overpopulation" is racist. I don't recall the Swedish eugenicists using the term "untermenschen" at any point in the 40 years they practiced it but I suppose it's possible.
Eugenics scandal reveals silence of Swedish scientists
 
The sentence I highlighted sums up your misunderstanding of the issue.
Why would we need industry if we didn't have a population that demanded industry?
Your childlike view of the world, living as a self sustaining small village is bizarre but unsurprising, given todays education standards.
Nonsense. Utter nonsense.
Your weird argument is that we have big industry BECAUSE we have a big population. Clearly and factually wrong.

Industrialisation required a larger workforce, but it didn't make people have more babies. It just encouraged people to move from small self sufficient villages to cities. Basic village life is labour intensive and cash poor. Town life was easier, if more squalid. Ironically, a machine can do the work of many people. Industry DEMANDS fewer but more skilled people.

People don't DEMAND industry. They have Needs and Wants (GCSE Economics text book stuff here!) They Need food, shelter, warmth, water and the basic means if survival. You can get that living in a rainforest. They 'Want' Gucci stuff. That is where the whole structure of economics comes in.The allocation of resources to meet those desires. Industrialisation allows more of the desires to be met.

Industrialisation ENABLED population growth, in the same way it ENABLED urbanisation. It certainly didn't CAUSE it.

More clever apes working may generate a bigger economy, but that is in the context of an industrial civilization. The first world is now moving into a post-industrial economy. It will drag some other nations along with it, but not all have the capacity or capability.

My 'Childlike view', as you put it, is not the result of today's education standards. I am over 50, with a degree, and a background in environment policy and history.

What I do have is an appreciation of the historical and social economic process by which we get here today.

Apart from a tinfoil hat and an opinion, what do you have?
 
The effects on the glaciers and icecaps are part of an ongoing thaw phase as we exit the last ice age. However, we are pushing at an opening door with the emissions of Industrial GHG. We are accelerating a process that was already happening, but at a pace that the ecology (and us) can't cope with.

The linkage is not necessarily to overpopulation- it is to over -industrialisation.

The change from what was historically a wood, muscle, wind and water based energy economy throughout most of human history to a fossil fuel based one enabled us to make more stuff, but did not really kick off a huge population explosion.
That didn't occur until industry started feeding into agricultural production, which allowed a certain amount of land to feed more people.

The killer event was the Green Revolution. From 1950 to 1990 the population doubled, from 2.5 billion to 5 billion. That isn't because people shagged more. It was because their kids stopped starving to death, or dying of diseases from malnutrition.
The Green Revolution is a drive factor for climate change, and certainly a major driver of environmental problems. It enabled overpopulation.

Did it CAUSE climate change? No. The timescale is wrong. The climate was changing long before, but got worse when the first steam engine was lit.
Good points H. In this debate about population and resources it's impossible to ignore Africa and India. Over the past 70 years they've been having a baby-fest with a much higher proportion of those babies surviving to adulthood thanks mainly to western medicines. This would normally be a good thing, obviously, but it's coincided, especially in Africa, with the wilful destruction of the farming base as newly powerful 'local' governments try to show their people that they can manage perfectly well without the help of the colonial legacy.

This has not led to them asking for First World help, which would be the sensible thing to do, but rather has led to an exodus of Africans heading north into Europe. So a lot of Africa, which could be a resource-rich paradise, is now a land of famine purely because of the hubris of its leaders.

But..... the biggest villain here is China. They are in the middle of a programme to open a new coal-fired power station every three days for...... 25 years. Until the environmentalists start looking closely at them, anything we do is meaningless.
 
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A good post but not everyone who considers "overpopulation" is racist. I don't recall the Swedish eugenicists using the term "untermenschen" at any point in the 40 years they practiced it but I suppose it's possible.
Eugenics scandal reveals silence of Swedish scientists
Nor did the Americans, as they forcibly sterilised thousands of their citizens, and whose work influenced the Nazis, and whose laws weren't fully repealed until the 1970's.
Oddly enough, an amazing number of the "unfit" were poor, black, or native Americans.Weird that.
 
Nonsense. Utter nonsense.
Your weird argument is that we have big industry BECAUSE we have a big population. Clearly and factually wrong.

Industrialisation required a larger workforce, but it didn't make people have more babies. It just encouraged people to move from small self sufficient villages to cities. Basic village life is labour intensive and cash poor. Town life was easier, if more squalid. Ironically, a machine can do the work of many people. Industry DEMANDS fewer but more skilled people.

People don't DEMAND industry. They have Needs and Wants (GCSE Economics text book stuff here!) They Need food, shelter, warmth, water and the basic means if survival. You can get that living in a rainforest. They 'Want' Gucci stuff. That is where the whole structure of economics comes in.The allocation of resources to meet those desires. Industrialisation allows more of the desires to be met.

Industrialisation ENABLED population growth, in the same way it ENABLED urbanisation. It certainly didn't CAUSE it.

More clever apes working may generate a bigger economy, but that is in the context of an industrial civilization. The first world is now moving into a post-industrial economy. It will drag some other nations along with it, but not all have the capacity or capability.

My 'Childlike view', as you put it, is not the result of today's education standards. I am over 50, with a degree, and a background in environment policy and history.

What I do have is an appreciation of the historical and social economic process by which we get here today.

Apart from a tinfoil hat and an opinion, what do you have?
That you are so animated and disagreeable tells me all I need to know about you.
What is your degree in, you seem to be ashamed of it otherwise you would have mentioned it.
Let's get back to my statement for a minute:
Industry for the sake of industry would be useless, unless there was a demand for it in the first place.
'Demand' comes from people and people in numbers create a demand.

Go and have a lie down or get a job.
 
My 'Childlike view', as you put it, is not the result of today's education standards. I am over 50, with a degree, and a background in environment policy and history.

What I do have is an appreciation of the historical and social economic process by which we get here today.

Apart from a tinfoil hat and an opinion, what do you have?
Good discussion.

But having a degree means diddly squat in terms of intelligence.

Continue.
 
Good points H. In this debate about population and resources it's impossible to ignore Africa and India. Over the past 70 years they've been having a baby-fest with a much higher proportion of those babies surviving to adulthood thanks mainly to western medicines. This would normally be a good thing, obviously, but it's coincided, especially in Africa, with the wilful destruction of the farming base as newly powerful 'local' governments try to show their people that they can manage perfectly well without the help of the colonial legacy.

This has not led to them asking for First World help, which would be the sensible thing to do, but rather has led to an exodus of Africans heading north into Europe. So a lot of Africa, which could be a resource rich paradise, is now a land of famine purely because of the hubris of its leaders.

But..... the biggest villain here is China. They are in the middle of a programme to open a new coal-fired power station every three days for...... 25 years. Until the environmentalists start looking closely at them, anything we do is meaningless.
China is the poster boy for how NOT to do it. -Their policies are pretty much entirely focussed on not having yet another social and political meltdown, and reducing their population by civil war and calling in the Four Horsemen.
To do this, they have committed to a one child policy (which has caused some insane demographic problems), industrialised agriculture and dirty industry to a startling level.
The upshot is a wealthier population, but the local environment is degraded and polluted beyond belief.

However, as much as they are exporting their GHG to us in the stmosphere,,we have to accept we are happy for them to make stuff for us and make their country a cess pit.

We could make it ourselves, but we would demand it be made more cleanly, and that would up the price.

Likewise we could help Africa out (That "Foreign Aid budget" thing....) but as fast as we buy it, the rackety governments steal it, wreck it, or let it rust.
As I have said before, the problem is not poverty. It is not overpopulation. It is bad governance, and the theft and ruin of the public goods for personal gain.

India is heading down that slope. Not because of too many people,but because of its factional politics.
Punjab was the Green Revolution success story becoming a breadbasket of India. Now it is falling apart.
Good discussion.

But having a degree means diddly squat in terms of intelligence.

Continue.
Nor does having a tinfoil hat and an unfounded opinion.
Next.
 
That you are so animated and disagreeable tells me all I need to know about you.
What is your degree in, you seem to be ashamed of it otherwise you would have mentioned it.
Let's get back to my statement for a minute:
Industry for the sake of industry would be useless, unless there was a demand for it in the first place.
'Demand' comes from people and people in numbers create a demand.

Go and have a lie down or get a job.
BA (Hons) Classical History and Archaeology. 'A' levels in English, History and Economics. Quite proud of it actually.

Yours?
 
BA (Hons) Classical History and Archaeology. 'A' levels in English, History and Economics. Quite proud of it actually.

Yours?
BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance. 'A' levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Economics.

Spewing your CV like it actually adds any depth to your discussion. If you can't get your point across with a substantial plethora of well thought out qualitative points, then don't bother and stop typing.
 
BA (Hons) Classical History and Archaeology. 'A' levels in English, History and Economics. Quite proud of it actually.

Yours?
I'd rather not compare cocksize with an eco loon thanks but suffice it to say my qualifications are industry specific.
I was in the Hydrocarbon industry for 15 years.
Your textbook nonsense knowledge about foreign climes is probably garnered from the internet, given your vague one liner comments.
I have travelled the globe and seen the problems up close and personal and I fully understand the political circumstances across Africa, particularly.
The issue is overpopulation. Come up with a solution to that and I'll listen to you, otherwise all you are doing is talking to yourself, or other tinfoil hat wearing eco loons.
 
BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance. 'A' levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Economics.

Spewing your CV like it actually adds any depth to your discussion. If you can't get your point across with a substantial plethora of well thought out qualitative points, then don't bother and stop typing.
You started it. Incidentally, I am not a disagreeable person I am just disagreeing with you.
Cos you are wrong.
 
Published on 28 Oct 2008
http://www.ted.com Why do societies fail? With lessons from the Norse of Iron Age Greenland, deforested Easter Island and present-day Montana, Jared Diamond talks about the signs that collapse is near, and how -- if we see it in time -- we can prevent it.

 
Published on 28 Oct 2008
http://www.ted.com Why do societies fail? With lessons from the Norse of Iron Age Greenland, deforested Easter Island and present-day Montana, Jared Diamond talks about the signs that collapse is near, and how -- if we see it in time -- we can prevent it.

He is basing his theory on traditional interpretations of the history of the Norse settlements in Greenland. Newer interpretations don't see it as a "societal collapse", but rather as a resource extraction outpost of European society.

Their economy was heavily based on narwhal ivory and furs, and they supplied much of the ivory demand for medieval Europe. For reasons that we don't currently understand, demand for narwhal ivory in Europe declined which led to the gradual abandonment of the Greenland settlements as no longer being economic. Fundamentally it's not any different from modern day remote mining towns today where towns grow and die with the mines their economy is based on. When the mine is operating people come for the money, when the mine declines they leave for opportunities elsewhere. The same was true for the Norse ivory industry in Greenland.
 

To paraphrase Ms Antoinette "Let them drink Coke"
Ermm, slight de-railment: The quote you paraphrase is now attributed by some historians as coming from Marie Therese (or Maria Teresa) Louis XIV's queen not Mrs (rather than Ms, or even more accurately, Sa Majesté - after all she was married to Louis XV) Marie Antoinette.

Back on track. There are some interesting early points in this thread referring to exporting water from northern Europe, and reference was even made to the Libyan Great Man Made River (GMMR). Unfortunately the GMMR is aquifer based and as recent events have shown is an inherent security risk, needing as it would to be several thousand miles long to get from Norway say, to Central or south asia.

To my mind, China (and to a lesser extent Russia) holds the keys to the solution. One thing I noticed about Afghanistan, apart from the fact that some of the inhabitants seemed a bit angry about something, is that it has abundant quantities of four things:
1: Sun.
2: Wind.
3: lots of space where there is **** all.
4: Shit dust.

The locals are welcome to the fourth as a building product but the first three, if expIoited to the max would seem to have huge potential for energy generation. This could not only clean up our global supply but also provide enough revenue and power for regional de-salination projects.

I assume the rest of central asia may be fairly similar but stand by to be corrected.
 
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