Humans Vs. The Environment: The Easter Island Effect:
Long long ago on a small little island in the far away southern Pacific Ocean there was a culture that lived on a place called Easter Island. The natives of Easter Island chopped down all their trees to build ever-larger monuments to themselves and their granduer. But what they failed to see beyond their own sea of self arrogance, was in doing so they destroyed their entire ecosystem and so soon perished, never to be heard from again.
The entire human civilization is now pulling an Easter Island on a global scale.
There seems to be a battle brewing, one of what is really to blame for all of the woes of our planet (excluding the fact that there are those whom see nothing wrong in the first place).
The former states basically that due to the pure numbers of our species, damage is laid upon our planet as we need more of everything to survive. Proponents of this idea of thought believe human activity is responsible for much of the damage, and that a reduction in population would automatically result in both less ongoing damage and a greater opportunity for the Earth’s systems to heal themselves. In short, drop the religious thoughts and male oriented thinking of being dominant and stop having so many babies.
The latter say the problem lay not in the amount of people on the planet but in our consumption habits. They point to the relative consumption patterns of industrialized and developing nations (where for example an American consumes 30 times as much of the world’s resources as a person from Bangladesh), and so their thoughts on this matter lay in the idea that restraint in consumption trumps restraint in population growth. In short stop buying shit you don’t really need.
No matter what side of the fence you may rest on, overpopulation, over consumption or perhaps a combination of the two, one thing is for sure taking place, and deny it as much as one wants, all evidence points to this fact: We are (as a species) in overshoot.
A species is said to be in overshoot if the resource requirements of its population exceed the carrying capacity of its environment — in other words, its needs exceed the ability of its environment to supply those needs sustainably over the long term. Humanity is already in overshoot, (estimates range by at least 25% and perhaps by as much as 100% or more).
A reduction in population would help to redress the balance. It would reduce the pressure on the planetary ecosystems we depend on and give them a chance to recover. Unfortunately, as we can all see at the present time, there is no sign that our population will stabilize within the next 40 years, let alone start to decline. As a result, the ecological changes we are inflicting on the planet we need for our survival logically will most likely increase as the years go by. For a species that is already in overshoot, this is a very ominous prediction. As we run into resource limits such as Peak Oil, the underlying damage we have done will assume ever greater importance as our degradation of the world’s carrying capacity is progressively revealed and the damages and changes we see now will only be multiplied as time marches on.
So what is our species to do?
It seems the first logical step is to understand that there is a problem in the first place. The time for people to ignore what is happening has passed us by. No religious belief, no ideas of the domination of our species, no thoughts of our inherent right to succeed in our free market consumption free for all can mask the fact that the planet (in many ways) is dying… and as the planet goes, so does our species.
The population of the world will eventually begin to recede, but we don’t have the luxury of waiting for that time to happen. Consumption patterns of us all needs to be address and readdressed on an individual basis. Waiting for governments to lead will never work.
The earth’s resources are limited.
All persons whom ever existed have and do consume some part of these limited resources.
Humans are altering the environment
Humans like to have babies
Governments have never made laws and changes. The general population has. Nothing comes from a government that does not start from the people (be it one, one hundred or one hundred million)
Try not to forget that the next time you think… I am only one person, what can I do?
Half empty? Half Full? Pessimist? Optimist? Let’s ask a person of Physics
Traditionally, the optimist sees the glass as half full while the pessimist sees it as half empty. But what if the empty half of the glass were actually empty—a vacuum? (Even a vacuum arguably isn’t truly empty, but that’s a question for quantum semantics.)
The vacuum would definitely not last long. But exactly what happens depends on a key question that nobody usually bothers to ask: Which half is empty?
For our scenario, we’ll imagine three different half-empty glasses, and follow what happens to them microsecond by microsecond (well not really but in a sense)
In the middle is the traditional air/water glass. On the right is a glass like the traditional one, except the air is replaced by a vacuum. The glass on the left is half full of water and half empty—but it’s the bottom half that’s empty.
We’ll imagine the vacuums appear at time t=0.
For the first handful of microseconds, nothing happens. On this timescale, even the air molecules are nearly stationary. For the most part, air molecules jiggle around at speeds of a few hundred meters per second. But at any given time, some happen to be moving faster than others. The fastest few are moving at over 1000 meters per second. These are the first to drift into the vacuum in the glass on the right.
The vacuum on the left is surrounded by barriers, so air molecules can’t easily get in. The water, being a liquid, doesn’t expand to fill the vacuum in the same way air does. However, in the vacuum of the glasses, it does start to boil, slowly shedding water vapor into the empty space
While the water on the surface in both glasses starts to boil away, in the glass on the right, the air rushing in stops it before it really gets going. The glass on the left continues to fill with a very faint mist of water vapor.
After a few hundred microseconds, the air rushing into the glass on the right fills the vacuum completely and rams into the surface of the water, sending a pressure wave through the liquid. The sides of the glass bulge slightly, but they contain the pressure and do not break. A shockwave reverberates through the water and back into the air, joining the turbulence already there
The shockwave from the vacuum collapse takes about a millisecond to spread out through the other two glasses. The glass and water both flex slightly as the wave passes through them. In a few more milliseconds, it reaches the humans’ ears as a loud bang. Around this time, the glass on the left starts to visibly lift into the air.
The air pressure is trying to squeeze the glass and water together. This is the force we think of as suction. The vacuum on the right didn’t last long enough for the suction to lift the glass, but since air can’t get into the vacuum on the left, the glass and the water begin to slide toward each other. The boiling water has filled the vacuum with a very small amount of water vapor. As the space gets smaller, the buildup of water vapor slowly increases the pressure on the water’s surface. Eventually, this will slow the boiling, just like higher air pressure would. However, the glass and water are now moving too fast for the vapor buildup to matter. Less than ten milliseconds after the clock started, they’re flying toward each other at several meters per second. Without a cushion of air between them—only a few wisps of vapor—the water smacks into the bottom of the glass like a hammer.
Water is very nearly incompressible, so the impact isn’t spread out—it comes as a single sharp shock. The momentary force on the glass is immense, and it breaks.
When the bottle is struck, it’s pushed suddenly downward. The liquid inside doesn’t respond to the suction (air pressure) right away—much like in our scenario—and a gap briefly opens up. It’s a small vacuum—a few fractions of an inch thick—but when it closes, the shock breaks the bottom of the bottle.
In our situation, the forces would be more than enough to destroy even the heaviest drinking glasses. The bottom is carried downward by the water and thunks against the table. The water splashes around it, spraying droplets and glass shards in all directions. Meanwhile, the detached upper portion of the glass continues to rise
After half a second, the observers, hearing a pop, have begun to flinch. Their heads lift involuntarily to follow the rising movement of the glass. The glass has just enough speed to bang against the ceiling, breaking into fragments…
The glass has just enough speed to bang against the ceiling, breaking into fragments…
which, their momentum now spent, return to the table
And so my dear half empty/half full thinkers… the lesson of this little tale? : If the optimist says the glass is half full, and the pessimist says the glass is half empty, the physicist ducks
The (Word) Games People Play
Thou Shall Not Commit Logical Fallacies (In easy to remember symbols)
Bandwagon: You appeal to popularity or the fact that many people do something as a form of validation. The flaw in this argument seems to be that the popularity of an idea has absolutely no bearing on its validity.
Composition/Division: You assume that one part of something has to be applied to all, or other parts of (whatever) it (is). Often when something is true for the part it does also apply to the whole, but the crucial difference is whether there exists good evidence to show that this is the case. Because we observe consistencies in things, our thinking can become biased so that we presume consistency to exist where it does not.
Black-or-White: You present alternative states (to something) as the only possibilities, when in fact more (often than not always) exist. Also known as the false dilemma, this insidious tactic has the appearance of forming a logical argument, but under closer scrutiny it becomes evident that there are more possibilities than the either/or choice that is presented. Binary, black-or-white thinking doesn’t allow for the many different variables, conditions, and contexts in which there would exist more than just the two possibilities put forth. It frames the argument misleadingly and obscures rational, honest debate. Black and white is how most humans see the world in general at any given time.
Begging The Question: You present a circular argument in which the conclusion was included in the premise. This logically incoherent argument often arises in situations where people have an assumption that is very ingrained, and therefore taken in their minds as a given, so they include the conclusion (their own idea) in the premise (question) as it just seems… logical… to do so.
Well isn’t that ironic
I saw this on the Fast Company blog with the caption…” Rising Water: An Interactive Map Of Where Not To Buy A Beach House”..
Why not just state it like it is… the coastlines are eroding.. and it is because of climate change….. you know, the melting of the polar icecaps.
It gets tiring listening to people whom deny what is happening because they state it is not a consequence of human action…. WHO CARES?!?! The fact is… it is happening…. and so no matter what the reason, we are the species that will have to deal with it (well all species will, but we think we are the most important, so of course we should be thinking of us first.)
Climate change is a reality. Deny it is you want, but like this picture shows (with the caption), if you can’t think of it in terms of a problem for all species of the planet, think of it in terms of a monetary ideology (since that seems to get the attention of people most of the time)… water on land = bad = not an opportunity to make a dollar!!!! (do I have your attention yet?)
Good intention photos that make me think .. well wait a minute……
Every once in awhile I see (what I refer to as )a Dr. Phil/Depak Chopra thought (no offense to either of them or the persons whom like them).. .and they get me to wondering about the deeper idea behind the instant feel good/deep thought intended message before me.
I can see what this means in its simple yet digestible message.. yes, all the best things in life are not “things”. But that all depends on what one sees these… things … as… Does it not? I am sure that the person whom spray-painted this here meant “things” to be the ones with form and shape, the ones you purchase and use as a replacement for, or satisfying emotion of (something), but what of the others?
Love, security, happiness, hope, peace, fulfillment (the list goes on)… are these not also … things… as well? Just because they are not (as) tangible as the ones you buy at the mall, are they any less a thing then the others?
and what of the things that we need… like food and water? They seem to me to be pretty basic in our needs system and are most definitely something tangible and with real form. And most importantly, something good (and necessary) in our lives.
….oh, the relativity of it all