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Passions in Poetry

Can we survive on Earth?

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moonbeam
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0 posted 03-18-2011 06:58 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Sustainable living, is, or ought to be, at the forefront of every persons mind.

We are now starting to pay big time for the greed and waste which has spiralled out of control since the shift from an agrarian society to an industrialised one.  

The small problem occurring in Japan right now (blown out of all proportion as usual by the media) is but a microcosm of the difficulties we face.  Yet incredibly, some politicians and leaders of industry still call for the selfish "I'm alright jack" exploitation of our remaining oil and gas reserves with hardly a thought for the long long overdue investment that is needed in sustainable sources of energy, and worldwide "joined up" thinking.

As poets we ought to be in the vanguard of forward thinking, breaking out of the moulds of conservatism and traditionalism, which would have us preserve our "age old" priorities at any cost.

Poets after all create new and exiciting ways of looking at things don't they?  

Our forefathers lived in a very different world, a world where their very survival was at stake, and they knew it.  Every day they knew it: short life expectancies, dying babies and children, disease, malnutrition, danger everywhere to life itself.  They set their priorities accordingly, and that mean exploiting every resource they could without a care for the consequences to the planet or animal and plant life.  And who can really blame them.

Nowadays however, we live in a (western) world where we are, by comparison, fat lazy couch potatoes, cocooned in a web of cosy self satisfaction and plenty.  The irony is that we share something with our ancestors: our survival is at stake too.  The difference is that we don't perceive it.

Sure we have a vague idea that "we need to do something".  We make feeble attempts to recycle, and fiddle with roof mounted windmills.  This is all too little too late.

Ideas to save the world on a postcard please!!??

serenity blaze
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1 posted 03-18-2011 03:05 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Hi.

?

I was just looking yesterday for a solid science source regarding cloning as a possible solution. Even in mah foggy head, I admit that this seems to be the equivalent of "Hail Mary" pass in the game of football, but I've seen those work in the game.

If anybody has any credible information regarding research in this area, please post a link for me?

And Mb, I do think that even if we had a "spare" planet to flee to, I think that we would soon make that situation FUBAR if we don't change our ways radically.

Good word, radical.
moonbeam
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2 posted 03-18-2011 04:01 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Karen

Cloning!?

What am I missing?  How will that help?

Shouldn't we be celebrating anything that REDUCES the human population (humanely of course).

Clones that were unable to reproduce would be good I suppose - not sure how Sarah Palin and the Catholic Church would view that though!

I agree with whay you say about another planet.  Until we learn to eradicate our greatest fault - arrogance - I don't think we DESERVE another planet.



serenity blaze
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3 posted 03-18-2011 08:08 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I'm not talking about cloning people.

I'm talking about the possibility of cloning lifeforms necessary for people to survive that might be introduced on ... some other planet.

A modern day Noah's Ark.
Essorant
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4 posted 03-19-2011 04:43 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


I have no doubt that humans will be around for a long time yet.  We have numbers and technology on our side. But I can't say the same about tigers, rhinos, pandas and many other wonders of the animal kingdom that actually are endangered.   If we don't do something for them it may be a few years, not decades or centuries in which they will go extinct.
 
moonbeam
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5 posted 03-19-2011 05:18 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Ah lol, ever the obscurist Karen I get it now.  I'll have to think about that and come back to you.

Technology, on our side Ess??!!

I am not sure that you picked a good time to declare that technology is helping us to survive!  

Technology itself isn't the issue is it?  It's the motivations and human character that wields it that matters surely.  And we've been pretty much proving that we aren't grown up enough yet to play with our toys.

Over in the Alley Bob is wary of nuclear power because it has the potential to be devastingly damaging - but if I understand him correctly, it isn't "nuclear" itself which he is frightened of, so much as the lies, shortcuts and greed that permeate the industry.

Even a soft toy can be a weapon in the hands of a motivated madman.

serenity blaze
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6 posted 03-19-2011 04:46 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

No. <--Just clarifying my answer.

moonbeam
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7 posted 03-19-2011 06:39 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Er ... "no"? (Ron, you need to supply an "utterly confused" smiley)

:utterly confused:

nope it doesn't work

serenity blaze
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8 posted 03-19-2011 06:42 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I was speaking for myself. (Not really an Immortal--I just play one on the internet.)

Sunshine
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9 posted 03-19-2011 09:12 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

  

This works as utterly confused, in my book. Continue...I'm enjoying the dialogue!

moonbeam
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10 posted 03-20-2011 11:28 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Ok Karen, lol, immortal eh.  Well perhaps if you are immortal online you can get started and solve the world's problems virtually.    

As for the extinction of pandas and/or humans, and what we do about it, I think a lot depends on how much time we have, which frankly, is impossible to predict as we are probably talking about anything from a 3rd WW, to a nuclear accident, to a meteorite strike, to catastrophic climate change, to a disease pandemic, to nanobots out of control, to global famine.  

If we have "plenty" of time, a couple of centuries, say, then we may have the latitude to continue as we are, muddling along complacently with the gradual shift towards global peaceful democracy.  

Peaceful democracy, personal freedoms, the free market etc etc are all very comfortable at an individual level, and possibly even at a national level for humans, but they are woefully ineffective when it comes to emergencies.  How far do you suppose Ghengis Khan, or Hitler, or Churchill, Thatcher or even Bush would have got if they'd taken much notice of democracy when going to war for instance.

If indeed we are about to face an emergency on a global scale then perhaps the only form of leadership or governance which will save us, by making the hard decisions fast enough is some form of benign/principled global dictatorship.  

All those facets of our lives that we cherish: constitutional rights, justice, free speech, freedom of movement, freedom to procreate at will,  have to be earned and then used responsibly and proportionately.  The more comfortable we become the more we want, and the more we tend to abuse them with no thought for the sustainability of our actions.  

Imo we are now way past the point of "responsible" living.  Obama for instance has been accused of interfering too much in people's lives, of infringing personal freedoms, but I think, in the coming century, people may find they lose a whole lot more of that so called "personal freedom" in order to preserve some semblance of freedom in the future.  Far from interfering too much in peoples lives, leaders like Obama have to understand that they need to interfere a whole lot more if we are going to take some of the painful decisions that need to be taken to shift the world onto a sustainable course.

serenity blaze
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11 posted 03-20-2011 03:01 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

I tend to agree with you about being past the point of "responsible" living.

Obviously, the people of this world are not going to "get it" and make the changes necessary that would allow nature to heal itself. Governments would have to go up against the very corporations that made them rich to lay down laws of environmental priority. The propaganda would commence even as obvious concerns of natural disasters accelerate, lesser peoples not of the ruling class becoming increasingly unhappy, and anarchy would erupt in every corner of the world.

OH.

tsk...that does sound familiar.

sigh

What we do affects not just ourselves, not just our neighbors, but the entire world.

Maybe we are witness to a revolution of The Information Age to ...The Golden Age of Connected. I don't know.

At this point, I'm simply grateful that I will not live forever. I shall place two chips on the craps table of life--I want to die laughing, or die in my sleep--or perhaps both.

Now all I need is a "hot" roller of the dice.

Krawdad
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12 posted 03-21-2011 06:56 PM       View Profile for Krawdad   Email Krawdad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Krawdad

With less than 100,000,000 to go, the global human population will soon (later this year) exceed 7 billion individuals.

What, by your definition, is "sustainable living" for all of these individual humans and for the trillions upon trillions of other living plants and animals that will also need to be "sustainably living" to support these billions of humans?
serenity blaze
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13 posted 03-21-2011 09:12 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Well I'm not sure about Moonbeam up there, but I could probably live for a year in this house.

We've got water. We've got...stuff.

(seasoned hurricane vet yanno...scarred for life) *tapping my head*

Good to see ya though, E.

moonbeam
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14 posted 03-22-2011 08:31 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

" Governments would have to go up against the very corporations that made them rich to lay down laws of environmental priority"

Yes exactly - or a "global government" - if we wanted to see drastic and immediate change there would in fact have to be a kind of environmental war (if not an actual war even) that empowered an Authority with the necessary political and military muscle to override national and corporate interests.  That's hard to envisage without some cataclysmic upheaval which would no doubt involve a large loss of life.

Perhaps there are really only two choices - die quickly over a few decades, and maybe have a small chance of rebuilding or die slowly over a couple of centuries, but die comprehensively and finally.  The other alternative which involve some miracle technological breakthrough and happy human families ever after look increasingly unlikely to me.

Hi Krawdad  

You touch on one of the main elements in the argument - that of over consumption.

It might be helpful to trot out the Wikipedia definition of sustainability:

"Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In ecology, the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions.

Healthy ecosystems and environments provide vital goods and services to humans and other organisms. There are two major ways of reducing negative human impact and enhancing ecosystem services. The first is environmental management; this approach is based largely on information gained from earth science, environmental science, and conservation biology. The second approach is management of human consumption of resources, which is based largely on information gained from economics.

Sustainability interfaces with economics through the social and ecological consequences of economic activity. Sustainability economics involves ecological economics where social, cultural, health-related and monetary/financial aspects are integrated. Moving towards sustainability is also a social challenge that entails international and national law, urban planning and transport, local and individual lifestyles and ethical consumerism. Ways of living more sustainably can take many forms from reorganising living conditions (e.g., ecovillages, eco-municipalities and sustainable cities), reappraising economic sectors (permaculture, green building, sustainable agriculture), or work practices (sustainable architecture), using science to develop new technologies (green technologies, renewable energy), to adjustments in individual lifestyles that conserve natural resources."

Ok, it's a bit long winded, but essentially it makes the central point that the consumption and production of resources in a system has to be "in balance" to be sustainable - i.e. to last indefinitely (or as indefinitely as anything material can last!).

The Earth's ecosystems were doing pretty well even as late as a couple of centuries ago.  A balance of sort, ignoring the slow grind of evolution and natural/cosmic catastrophes) had developed and had persisted for hundreds of thousands of years.

That's not the case any more.  Humans have created conditions, via industrialisation and the ability to "insulate" ourselves against the Earth's natural cycles, where we can breed and consume and breed and consume in a manner which takes us "outside" ecosystems that have developed over the millenia.

This is patently dangerous because the easiest way to maintain this "bubble" of human existence is to create our own sub-system - which not only is proving patently incapable of long term sustainability, but also actively damages or conflicts with the existing natural order.  Human arrogance, being what it is, has pushed ambition way beyond understanding.  So that, long before we have any real clue as to what we are tampering with when we extinguish habitats, flora and fauna, we do it anyway and damn the consequences as long as it serves to maintain our hallucinogenic sub-system bubble.

Mushrooming population is a direct result of the cocoon we have placed around ourselves, but it isn't per se the cause of our unsustainable situation.  To answer your question directly, I don't think that we can say that any particular population level is sustainable or unsustainable without looking at how that population is behaving, living, travelling, breeding etc.  The fact is that humans, as distinct from other lifeforms, consciously manipulate, the ecosystem.  That in itself, might not be a disastrous thing to do provided, and it is a very big provided, we actually have sufficient understanding to predict accurately.  We patently don't have this ability at present, and yet our shortsightedness, selfishness, uncaringness, ignorance, arrogance ... whatever!  allows us to carry on as if none of our actions will adversely affect ourselves or other animal life.  

What has changed in the last 50 years or so is that the majority of intelligent humans are waking up to the fact that we can't behave like this and survive.  The problem is that they don't agree on a solution.  Accordingly, it seems patently obvious to me that until we DO understand what we are dealing with better, we need to make some drastic changes to try and reduce the impact of our human sub-system bubble on the remainder of the natural world and the Earth itself.  Population control as part of a package of measure, would be a very good start imo.

Thinking this through, I got the title of this thread wrong.  It should have read:

"Can life on Earth survive us?"
serenity blaze
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15 posted 03-22-2011 02:42 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Nodding, about "can Earth survive us."

I told my friend that all of these natural disaster reminds me of a dog I'd seen once with very bad fleas. The dog urinated a puddle on the ground and rolled himself in it in desperation...

(and I apologize for my prior offering, I'm a bit depressed.)

moonbeam
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16 posted 03-22-2011 04:23 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Lol about the dog Karen - good analogy.  

Sorry you are depressed my friend - you didn't really come over as being depressed if it's any consolation.   

Funny you should type "Can Earth survive us?"  I was going to write it like that, but I remembered once that I read something along the lines that it would be extremely unlikely that we could actually destroy the planet itself.  Significant life on the planet, possibly - but short of finding some way of knocking ourselves off orbit, probably not the globe itself.
 
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