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Human ‘behavioural crisis’ at root of climate breakdown, say scientists

icehorse

......unaffiliated...... anti-dogmatist
Premium Member
The problem imo is we have developed a culture of freedom. The freedom to do what you want, identify as who you want, go where you want, buy what you want. Freedom is resource intensive. The idea of the article is to try and manipulate this culture. Using media, entertainment, advertising to get people to desire less freedom.

Freedom equals happiness. That belief is causing a resource crisis.

I suspect the fear of losing our freedoms is greater than the fear of any coming environmental crisis.

I think you would need to culture the belief that "managed care" equal happiness. IOW, someone/something else sees to your needs not you. Giving up your freedom now means giving up your happiness.

Good luck trying to convince people that freedom is bad for them.

I think there is truth to that. But I'd refine it a bit and say we've developed a culture of artificial, unsustainable hedonism. One example of something powerful we could do is phase out all government subsidies. So beef for example would probably climb up to costing $50 / pound. That's a better indicator of how much it damages the planet to produce a pound of beef. And most likely, consumption would go down.
 

icehorse

......unaffiliated...... anti-dogmatist
Premium Member
My first reaction was to engage you w/ topsoil and aquifers but that's a think-process that I don't find bouncing around w/ various subjects to be useful. The geophysical process that I mentioned is the supposed catastrophic global warming that many talk about --and until I see hard measurements supporting that warming I'll have to peg this topic w/ stories about clairvoyance that talking to the dead. It may be true but it's unproven.

Climate change is a symptom of overshoot. Overshoot is the real issue. So for the sake of discussion, I could agree that we don't have to worry about climate change. (I think we do, but we could take it off the table for this discussion.) We're still left with all of the other existential issues associated with overshoot. Fresh water and topsoil being two important concerns.
 

icehorse

......unaffiliated...... anti-dogmatist
Premium Member
The report I linked to stated that immediate action is needed to solve the problems including:-


  • Transition rapidly from fossil fuels to renewable energy – wind, solar, tidal and geothermal power
  • Prevent mercury pollution of the oceans by eliminating coal combustion and controlling all industrial uses of mercury.
  • End plastic pollution of the oceans by reducing plastic production and imposing a global ban on production of single-use plastic.
  • Promote effective waste management and recycling
  • Reduce agricultural releases of nitrogen, phosphorus and animal waste; industrial discharges; and releases of human sewage into coastal waters.
  • Support robust monitoring of ocean pollution.
  • Extend regional and international marine pollution control programs to all countries.
  • Support research programs that increase knowledge of the extent, severity and human health impacts of ocean pollution.
  • Create, expand and safeguard Marine Protected Areas.

Do you disagree with any of these? I fully agree with you that an enforceable international treaty for curbing marine and estuarine pollution is urgently needed. I was just saying that reports like the one I linked by an international group of scientists would hopefully be a key first step towards that goal.

Mostly agreed. But the problem is that - as they exist today - wind and solar at least are not as green as we're led to believe.
 

sayak83

Veteran Member
Staff member
Premium Member
Mostly agreed. But the problem is that - as they exist today - wind and solar at least are not as green as we're led to believe.
It's far greener than the alternatives that are being replaced. I can dig up research on lifecycle emission intensities of all renewables in comparison with fossil fuels based generation. They are at least one order of magnitude less.
 

icehorse

......unaffiliated...... anti-dogmatist
Premium Member
It's far greener than the alternatives that are being replaced. I can dig up research on lifecycle emission intensities of all renewables in comparison with fossil fuels based generation. They are at least one order of magnitude less.
I think we have to analyze these approaches from a perspective broader than just emissions. For example, the emissions from a lithium mine need to be considered, but the mine ALSO produces huge amounts of other kinds of problems. For example, that mine can foul huge aquifers, it can make large swaths of land uninhabitable for man and beast. And then what are the impacts of spent lithium batteries? How do we dispose of them?
 

sayak83

Veteran Member
Staff member
Premium Member
I think we have to analyze these approaches from a perspective broader than just emissions. For example, the emissions from a lithium mine need to be considered, but the mine ALSO produces huge amounts of other kinds of problems. For example, that mine can foul huge aquifers, it can make large swaths of land uninhabitable for man and beast. And then what are the impacts of spent lithium batteries? How do we dispose of them?
We can discuss the relative environmental problems associated with lithium mining vs oil drilling. I believe the latter is far more damaging. Further
a) Lithium can be recycled unlike CO2
b) Most of lithium is being used in electronics for cell phones and laptops and that market will remain the primary consumer of lithium
c) Lithium can be replaced by sodium ion batteries for EVs and technology is already moving towards that end. So usage of lithium will decrease in renewable energy within 20-30 years. So lithium should looked at as a transitional tech.
 

Nakosis

Non-Binary Physicalist
Premium Member
I think there is truth to that. But I'd refine it a bit and say we've developed a culture of artificial, unsustainable hedonism. One example of something powerful we could do is phase out all government subsidies. So beef for example would probably climb up to costing $50 / pound. That's a better indicator of how much it damages the planet to produce a pound of beef. And most likely, consumption would go down.

I don't eat beef or meat but if the government stopped subsidizing beef, I don't suppose I get a tax break. :rolleyes:
 

icehorse

......unaffiliated...... anti-dogmatist
Premium Member
We can discuss the relative environmental problems associated with lithium mining vs oil drilling. I believe the latter is far more damaging. Further
a) Lithium can be recycled unlike CO2
b) Most of lithium is being used in electronics for cell phones and laptops and that market will remain the primary consumer of lithium
c) Lithium can be replaced by sodium ion batteries for EVs and technology is already moving towards that end. So usage of lithium will decrease in renewable energy within 20-30 years. So lithium should looked at as a transitional tech.

As I said, lithium is just one example of many. But we can stick with lithium for now.

- isn't it the case that recycling lithium is extremely inefficient, low yield and toxic?
- I thought EVs were also a major consumer of lithium, no?
- And wouldn't an EV use 100x or more lithium than a personal device?
- We can hope that lithium is transitional, but does that mean we need to just accept all the toxins that lithium mining adds to the environment for the next 20-30 years?
- Isn't it the case that EVs require a wide array of metals to produce? All of which must be mined?
 
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icehorse

......unaffiliated...... anti-dogmatist
Premium Member
I don't eat beef or meat but if the government stopped subsidizing beef, I don't suppose I get a tax break. :rolleyes:
I'm with you, I've felt the same way for years. You and I are subsidizing factory farming and ecological destruction so that people can eat beef :(
 

Pete in Panama

Active Member
Climate change is a symptom of overshoot. Overshoot is the real issue. So for the sake of discussion, I could agree that we don't have to worry about climate change. (I think we do, but we could take it off the table for this discussion.) We're still left with all of the other existential issues associated with overshoot. Fresh water and topsoil being two important concerns.
here's a standard definition of "overshoot":

over.PNG

Nobody's using a standard definition here, everyone seems to have their own one made up to suit whatever nonsense their spouting.
 

sayak83

Veteran Member
Staff member
Premium Member
As I said, lithium is just one example of many. But we can stick with lithium for now.

- isn't it the case that recycling lithium is extremely inefficient, low yield and toxic?
- I thought EVs were also a major consumer of lithium, no?
- And wouldn't an EV use 100x or more lithium than a personal device?
- We can hope that lithium is transitional, but does that mean we need to just accept all the toxins that lithium mining adds to the environment for the next 20-30 years?
- Isn't it the case that EVs require a wide array of metals to produce? All of which must be mined?
I am parking this paper link here for reference. I will read it and get back to you with numbers in my next post.
Google Scholar
 

Pete in Panama

Active Member
The official phrase is "ecological overshoot". These days it is often shortened to just "overshoot".
Whoa, that THAT'S what I've needed here --THANKS!

OK, so here's a standard description of "ecological overshoot":
oversht.png

--and you said...
..We're still left with all of the other existential issues associated with overshoot. Fresh water and topsoil being two important concerns.
Frankly, I'd have a hard time seeing any global measurement of potable water and topsoil availability, much less being able to scientifically show how any shortage was caused by man made CO2. What I would believe is that leaders of a given political partisan faction could drum up a big following that could perceive some kind of crisis, but observable hard measurements would be a whole different ball game.
 

icehorse

......unaffiliated...... anti-dogmatist
Premium Member
Frankly, I'd have a hard time seeing any global measurement of potable water and topsoil availability, much less being able to scientifically show how any shortage was caused by man made CO2. What I would believe is that leaders of a given political partisan faction could drum up a big following that could perceive some kind of crisis, but observable hard measurements would be a whole different ball game.

First you have to abandon the idea that all of our ecological problems are caused by CO2. Aquifer and topsoil depletion are happening mostly independent of CO2 levels. They are happening because humans are using and abusing these critical resources much, much faster than nature can restore them. For example, in the last 200 years, most of the US's topsoil is gone. It took thousands of years for that topsoil to be created. In this case CO2 levels had little or nothing to do with the topsoil depletion.

Zooming out, ecological overshoot is the bigger concern, and climate change is just one symptom of overshoot.
 

Pete in Panama

Active Member
First you have to abandon the idea that all of our ecological problems are caused by CO2.
Huh, I was not aware that I was advocating that idea.
Aquifer and topsoil depletion are happening mostly independent of CO2 levels. They are happening because humans are using and abusing these critical resources much, much faster than nature can restore them.
We really can't make believable statements without some kind of supporting data.
For example, in the last 200 years, most of the US's topsoil is gone. It took thousands of years for that topsoil to be created.
--and you have valid hard numbers on the amount of topsoil in the U.S. in 1824 and can compare it to equally valid numbers for 2024?
 

icehorse

......unaffiliated...... anti-dogmatist
Premium Member
Huh, I was not aware that I was advocating that idea.

We really can't make believable statements without some kind of supporting data.

--and you have valid hard numbers on the amount of topsoil in the U.S. in 1824 and can compare it to equally valid numbers for 2024?

I just did an internet search on the phrase "topsoil depletion in the US". If you're interested, you could learn a lot with just a few minutes of reading.
 

Pete in Panama

Active Member
I just did an internet search on the phrase "topsoil depletion in the US". If you're interested, you could learn a lot with just a few minutes of reading.
Let's reach an understanding here on how our approaches differ. You made the statement...
...in the last 200 years, most of the US's topsoil is gone...
--and I asked for supporting data. Often when I chat w/ advocates for environmental concerns I often hear about how it's my job --nobody else's-- to do the research. However, it's my thinking that if someone makes a claim then it's their job to support the claim w/ recorded observations.

fwiw, you're in very good company as most environmentalists I chatted w/ feel that the research is my job.
 

icehorse

......unaffiliated...... anti-dogmatist
Premium Member
Often when I chat w/ advocates for environmental concerns I often hear about how it's my job --nobody else's-- to do the research. However, it's my thinking that if someone makes a claim then it's their job to support the claim w/ recorded observations.

fwiw, you're in very good company as most environmentalists I chatted w/ feel that the research is my job.

I've come to believe that requests for citations is a really thorny issue. It doesn't matter to me whether it concerns the environment or politics or religion or whatever.

Sad to say, I've come to believe that a lot of posters on RF are here only to "win" debates. And they're happy to debate in bad faith in order to "win". A very common tactic in this regard is a constant demand for citations. I've seen this approach derail and obfuscate otherwise useful debates. As I'm sure you know, there's even a name for this tactic when taken to extremes, it's called sea-lioning.

Now as I recall, you and I haven't interacted very much. So I can hope that you're debating in good faith :)

Another point on this topic is that I think Carl Sagan had good advice when he said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinarily good evidence.". From that perspective, I've frequently found that the poster who asks for citations is actually the one making an extraordinary claim (either implicitly or explicitly). So in this case, since I've been concerned about the environment for 40 years now, I find your (implicit?), claim that we have nothing to worry about when it comes to the environment is actually the extraordinary claim, and that my claims are the common knowledge, ordinary claims. :)

Next, there is a way in which demanding citations is quite arrogant. It implies that the demander is somehow the arbiter of what's common knowledge and what isn't. My personal approach is to rarely ask for citations. If I'm ignorant on a topic, I usually spend a few minutes with my favorite search engine. Typically, I ask for citations only when I feel pretty well grounded in a topic and I hear something that doesn't agree with what I think I know.

IMO, most people haven't thought much about "topsoil depletion" or "aquifer depletion". That doesn't matter, I think any honest person would admit that they are ignorant on most of the world's topics, and who cares.

But in this case, you decided to wander into this thread, no one pulled you here. So I'd say, if you're ignorant about topsoil depletion, spend a few minutes reading up on it. If you think you know something about topsoil depletion, then you could have said so in your post to me. :)

Long story short, I think you're the one making an extraordinary claim, and I've already given you a search phrase that I took the time to test. That's all you're going to get from me.
 
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