How we live today is clearly unsustainable. Why history proves that is completely irrelevant.

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    Jun 14, 2011 6:05 AM GMT
    http://www.newsweek.com/2011/06/12/bjorn-lomborg-explains-how-to-save-the-planet.html

    Renowned for centuries for its infamous smog and severe pollution, [London] today has the cleanest air that it has had since the Middle Ages. In virtually every developed country, the air is more breathable and the water is more drinkable than they were 40 years ago. Shanghai (right): Some of the most polluted places are the megacities of the developing world, such as Shanghai, New Delhi, and Mexico City. In the 1930s and 1940s, however, London was more polluted than any of these cities are today.

    From the 18th through the mid-19th century, whale oil provided light to much of the Western world. At its peak, whaling employed 70,000 people and was the United States’ fifth-largest industry. The U.S. stood as the world’s foremost whale slayer. Producing millions of gallons of oil each year, the industry was widely seen as unassailable, with advocates scoffing at would-be illumination substitutes like lard oil and camphene. Without whale oil, so the thinking went, the world would slide backward toward darkness.

    By today’s standard, of course, slaughtering whales is considered barbaric.

    Two hundred years ago there was no environmental movement to speak of. But one wonders if the whalers, finding that each year they needed to go farther afield from Nantucket Island to kill massive sea mammals, ever asked themselves: what will happen when we run out of whales?

    Such questions today constitute the cornerstone of the ever-louder logic of sustainability.

    Climate alarmists and campaigning environmentalists argue that the industrialized countries of the world have made sizable withdrawals on nature’s fixed allowance, and unless we change our ways, and soon, we are doomed to an abrupt end. Take the recent proclamation from the United Nations Environment Program, which argued that governments should dramatically cut back on the use of resources. The mantra has become commonplace: our current way of living is selfish and unsustainable. We are wrecking the world. We are gobbling up the last resources. We are cutting down the rainforest. We are polluting the water. We are polluting the air. We are killing plants and animals, destroying the ozone layer, burning the world through our addiction to fossil fuels, and leaving a devastated planet for future generations.

    In other words, humanity is doomed.

    It is a compelling story, no doubt. It is also fundamentally wrong, and the consequences are severe. Tragically, exaggerated environmental worries—and the willingness of so many to believe them—could ultimately prevent us from finding smarter ways to actually help our planet and ensure the health of the environment for future generations.


    I'd highly recommend clicking the link above and reading the whole thing..
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    Jun 14, 2011 2:14 PM GMT
    The argument is flawed... it doesn't actually argue against the current thinking...

    eg... if we were to take it's line of thought, countries would never be covered in wind farms, cause technology would advance such that we produced new wind farms that wouldn't take so much land...

    Technology cannot solve all our problems, although I admit it has made it possible to ignore the issues we face for centuries...
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    Jun 14, 2011 3:16 PM GMT
    76coopers saidThe argument is flawed... it doesn't actually argue against the current thinking...

    eg... if we were to take it's line of thought, countries would never be covered in wind farms, cause technology would advance such that we produced new wind farms that wouldn't take so much land...

    Technology cannot solve all our problems, although I admit it has made it possible to ignore the issues we face for centuries...


    Not sure how you think it's flawed. I think taking the Y2K non-disaster position is a valid one (ie nothing significant happened arguably because of the hysteria preceding it) - except that we have adapted far before we became increasing alarmist as Lomborg argues.

    The incentives have always been there to find better, cheaper alternative energy sources - and that countries are peppered with wind mills may not actually be a good thing (given that it appears that they will generally be wiped out in favor of more consistent/persistent sources of energy except in a few geographic locales).

    And to qualify your statement - it's not so much that that technology has allowed us to ignore the issues we face, but it has outright solved them or made them irrelevant.
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    Jun 14, 2011 3:22 PM GMT
    You know that the clean air and water there in London is a direct result of regulation of polutants. Yet on another of your topics concerning the new regulations against coal fired Electric Generation Plants polution, you claim its bad because those regulations are job killing.

    Are you against the US citizens breathing clean air and having clean water as they do in London as a result of regulation?
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    Jun 14, 2011 3:26 PM GMT
    realifedad said You know that the clean air and water there in London is a direct result of regulation of polutants. Yet on another of your topics concerning the new regulations against coal fired Electric Generation Plants polution, you claim its bad because those regulations are job killing.

    Are you against the US citizens breathing clean air and having clean water as they do in London as a result of regulation?


    Except that it isn't a direct result of regulation of pollutants. Reference your source, and then look further back at the impact of regulation and what you see is a consistent fall in pollutants irrespective of regulation (in fact if you looked at the graphs you wouldn't even be able to tell at what point in the time series that regulation was implemented) - which to me, when I saw this myself I thought was remarkable.
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    Jun 14, 2011 3:26 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    76coopers saidThe argument is flawed... it doesn't actually argue against the current thinking...

    eg... if we were to take it's line of thought, countries would never be covered in wind farms, cause technology would advance such that we produced new wind farms that wouldn't take so much land...

    Technology cannot solve all our problems, although I admit it has made it possible to ignore the issues we face for centuries...


    Not sure how you think it's flawed. I think taking the Y2K non-disaster position is a valid one (ie nothing significant happened arguably because of the hysteria preceding it) - except that we have adapted far before we became increasing alarmist as Lomborg argues.

    The incentives have always been there to find better, cheaper alternative energy sources - and that countries are peppered with wind mills may not actually be a good thing (given that it appears that they will generally be wiped out in favor of more consistent/persistent sources of energy except in a few geographic locales).

    And to qualify your statement - it's not so much that that technology has allowed us to ignore the issues we face, but it has outright solved them or made them irrelevant.


    Technology hasn't solved any problems... technology has adapted to them... and the current debat is technology adapting to those problems...

    Climate change is real babe... there are few that remain that deny it... even if it isnt real... waht is the harm in being cautious about it?
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    Jun 14, 2011 3:37 PM GMT
    76coopers said
    riddler78 said
    76coopers saidThe argument is flawed... it doesn't actually argue against the current thinking...

    eg... if we were to take it's line of thought, countries would never be covered in wind farms, cause technology would advance such that we produced new wind farms that wouldn't take so much land...

    Technology cannot solve all our problems, although I admit it has made it possible to ignore the issues we face for centuries...


    Not sure how you think it's flawed. I think taking the Y2K non-disaster position is a valid one (ie nothing significant happened arguably because of the hysteria preceding it) - except that we have adapted far before we became increasing alarmist as Lomborg argues.

    The incentives have always been there to find better, cheaper alternative energy sources - and that countries are peppered with wind mills may not actually be a good thing (given that it appears that they will generally be wiped out in favor of more consistent/persistent sources of energy except in a few geographic locales).

    And to qualify your statement - it's not so much that that technology has allowed us to ignore the issues we face, but it has outright solved them or made them irrelevant.


    Technology hasn't solved any problems... technology has adapted to them... and the current debat is technology adapting to those problems...

    Climate change is real babe... there are few that remain that deny it... even if it isnt real... waht is the harm in being cautious about it?


    I agree that the evidence is overwhelming that there is climate change - but the evidence is also overwhelming that substantial climate swings have occurred over time and that there remains a significant debate as to whether or not it is anthropological. That said, even if we accept that it is anthropological, the existing prescriptions for resolving this do not have buy in from the largest polluters (and last I checked most western countries are in decline with respect to greenhouse emissions).

    The problem with pushing countries like China and India in check is that the cheapest technologies to development pollute more (it's just a function of trade offs - that people choose always to live better and healthier and longer lives but if you're so poor to afford better technologies or to value cleaner air since you would never live long enough for cancer to kill you anyway, it's a non-starter). Look at the increasing life spans in context. in the early 1900s we had a life expectancy of under 40 - we have practically doubled that in 100 years.

    There is a push now to revert to "the way things were" with organic farming and fear of technology based on the "precautionary principle". But just as point of fact - an organic farm in Germany killed more people last week than the nuclear disaster in Japan and the oil spill in the gulf combined! It's irrational fears like things like irradiation (which could have killed the e coli) that actually kill. Technology has solved a lot of our problems. Theoretically there are solutions like pumping up particles into the atmosphere to cool down the earth if we really wanted to do so (see Nathan Mhyrvold). There are of course a lot of reasons why we might not want to do so yet, but humanity has proven remarkably resilient.

    The reality as well is that the earth and her resources aren't what's scarce and vulnerable - we are.
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    Jun 14, 2011 3:37 PM GMT
    I think the article actually goes against the point you are trying to make in your subject line. HOW we are living and have been living IS unsustainable, that is why we switch power sources. I think you mean that we shouldn't worry because we will be able to adapt and find ways to fix what we screw up.

    However, our current way of living is unsustainable because we WILL run out of petroleum and resources, and animals DO go extinct, unless we change how we do things.
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    Jun 14, 2011 3:50 PM GMT
    Rockbiter saidI think the article actually goes against the point you are trying to make in your subject line. HOW we are living and have been living IS unsustainable, that is why we switch power sources. I think you mean that we shouldn't worry because we will be able to adapt and find ways to fix what we screw up.

    However, our current way of living is unsustainable because we WILL run out of petroleum and resources, and animals DO go extinct, unless we change how we do things.


    I think the first page of Lomborg's article notes our transition away from whale blubber as an energy source (which thankfully we no longer use - not the least reason of which is because I'm told it's really pungent). We move away and we switch power sources because it is unsustainable and we recognize it as such because alternatives also become cheaper.

    Once we let users and suppliers price commodities or resources themselves (versus central price controls), pricing becomes how we communicate scarcity to each other. Talk to any electricity analyst today about the state of coal power generation now and they're likely to tell you that there has been a transition for a couple years now towards shutting down aging coal plants in favor of natural gas because natural gas has risen in abundance (which also burns cleaner).

    Consistently and historically we move to energy sources that are cheaper and cleaning burning for the simple fact that pollution by definition, is an unwanted and inefficient byproduct. We will not run out of petroleum and resources if history is a guide, and that's because we will find and begin to use more abundant alternatives (petroleum becomes obsolete). And insofar as energy is concerned, that's likely to be solar or nuclear is what I figure with natural gas as a transitional fuel source.
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    Jun 14, 2011 4:10 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    realifedad said You know that the clean air and water there in London is a direct result of regulation of polutants. Yet on another of your topics concerning the new regulations against coal fired Electric Generation Plants polution, you claim its bad because those regulations are job killing.

    Are you against the US citizens breathing clean air and having clean water as they do in London as a result of regulation?


    Except that it isn't a direct result of regulation of pollutants. Reference your source, and then look further back at the impact of regulation and what you see is a consistent fall in pollutants irrespective of regulation (in fact if you looked at the graphs you wouldn't even be able to tell at what point in the time series that regulation was implemented) - which to me, when I saw this myself I thought was remarkable.



    Riddler, now come on !!! lets just take for example londons sewage and waste regulations that started a hundred years ago, those regulations had a huge impact on cleaning things up and on improving health conditions. Regulation becomes more and more important as population centers spring up and or grow. Its just a fact of life, regulations are important and valuable for everyones good. I am with you on unecessary bureaucratic regulations, but I'm not sure those are a real problem where pollution comes into play.



    but more on topic is that I don't think the way we live is unsustainable if we could just move away from polluting sources of energy to renewable sources of energy. Something I've thought about is tapping into the heat deep in the earth like on Iceland where villages use thermal heat from hot springs, do you know of research to tap into the earths natural heat ? A lot of heating systems in the north pull heat from ground water even now, I'd bet there could be a lot more done down these lines, in addition to wind and solar power.
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    Jun 14, 2011 5:20 PM GMT
    History proves nothing of the sort. Enough with the psuedo-intellectual corporatist libertarian bullshit you peddle.

    Name a country following this path that has achieved success, even supremacy.

    Explain how you measure success, and how you measure wealth.

    As our planet's inhabitants consume its resources, please impress me with the tales of how our altruistic overlords eke out ever-diminishing returns on the dwindling shit-pile they pinch out on our heads.

    Yes, regulation is dead. They killed it because it actually worked.
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    Jun 14, 2011 5:30 PM GMT
    riddler78 saidhttp://www.newsweek.com/2011/06/12/bjorn-lomborg-explains-how-to-save-the-planet.html

    Renowned for centuries for its infamous smog and severe pollution, [London] today has the cleanest air that it has had since the Middle Ages. In virtually every developed country, the air is more breathable and the water is more drinkable than they were 40 years ago. Shanghai (right): Some of the most polluted places are the megacities of the developing world, such as Shanghai, New Delhi, and Mexico City. In the 1930s and 1940s, however, London was more polluted than any of these cities are today.

    From the 18th through the mid-19th century, whale oil provided light to much of the Western world. At its peak, whaling employed 70,000 people and was the United States’ fifth-largest industry. The U.S. stood as the world’s foremost whale slayer. Producing millions of gallons of oil each year, the industry was widely seen as unassailable, with advocates scoffing at would-be illumination substitutes like lard oil and camphene. Without whale oil, so the thinking went, the world would slide backward toward darkness.

    By today’s standard, of course, slaughtering whales is considered barbaric.

    Two hundred years ago there was no environmental movement to speak of. But one wonders if the whalers, finding that each year they needed to go farther afield from Nantucket Island to kill massive sea mammals, ever asked themselves: what will happen when we run out of whales?

    Such questions today constitute the cornerstone of the ever-louder logic of sustainability.

    Climate alarmists and campaigning environmentalists argue that the industrialized countries of the world have made sizable withdrawals on nature’s fixed allowance, and unless we change our ways, and soon, we are doomed to an abrupt end. Take the recent proclamation from the United Nations Environment Program, which argued that governments should dramatically cut back on the use of resources. The mantra has become commonplace: our current way of living is selfish and unsustainable. We are wrecking the world. We are gobbling up the last resources. We are cutting down the rainforest. We are polluting the water. We are polluting the air. We are killing plants and animals, destroying the ozone layer, burning the world through our addiction to fossil fuels, and leaving a devastated planet for future generations.

    In other words, humanity is doomed.

    It is a compelling story, no doubt. It is also fundamentally wrong, and the consequences are severe. Tragically, exaggerated environmental worries—and the willingness of so many to believe them—could ultimately prevent us from finding smarter ways to actually help our planet and ensure the health of the environment for future generations.


    I'd highly recommend clicking the link above and reading the whole thing..


    Who the f*ck is paying you (and Newsweek) to propagate this garbage? None of these examples have anything to do with each other scientifically. You are just resting on the extremely dangerous "oh it'll all work out" nonsense, based on the fact that some would argue things have worked out in the past. It's got the vibe of religious blind faith.

    Oil is cancer throughout it's processing as well as it's countless uses. Just look around you. Technology will never stop nature and nature will always win out. We are forever just buying time before we realize indigenous people had it right with respect to natural resources. Further, energy technology continuously leads to overpopulation, which leads to increased energy needs and a degradation of the habitat in which humans live. We are at the same time making our lives more convenient and more miserable.
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    Jun 14, 2011 9:13 PM GMT
    realifedad said
    riddler78 said
    realifedad said You know that the clean air and water there in London is a direct result of regulation of polutants. Yet on another of your topics concerning the new regulations against coal fired Electric Generation Plants polution, you claim its bad because those regulations are job killing.

    Are you against the US citizens breathing clean air and having clean water as they do in London as a result of regulation?


    Except that it isn't a direct result of regulation of pollutants. Reference your source, and then look further back at the impact of regulation and what you see is a consistent fall in pollutants irrespective of regulation (in fact if you looked at the graphs you wouldn't even be able to tell at what point in the time series that regulation was implemented) - which to me, when I saw this myself I thought was remarkable.



    Riddler, now come on !!! lets just take for example londons sewage and waste regulations that started a hundred years ago, those regulations had a huge impact on cleaning things up and on improving health conditions. Regulation becomes more and more important as population centers spring up and or grow. Its just a fact of life, regulations are important and valuable for everyones good. I am with you on unecessary bureaucratic regulations, but I'm not sure those are a real problem where pollution comes into play.

    but more on topic is that I don't think the way we live is unsustainable if we could just move away from polluting sources of energy to renewable sources of energy. Something I've thought about is tapping into the heat deep in the earth like on Iceland where villages use thermal heat from hot springs, do you know of research to tap into the earths natural heat ? A lot of heating systems in the north pull heat from ground water even now, I'd bet there could be a lot more done down these lines, in addition to wind and solar power.


    There is some concern about geothermal causing earthquakes with some massive power generation projects halted in the last few years though there are hopes that new technologies can mitigate the risk though I have not followed that area recently. (here's one link to a project in Cali that was ultimately halted - http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/06/geothermal-power-earthquake.php)

    As for regulation - I am not adverse to regulation but I am highly skeptical that it has had the impact that some believe on environmental standards. Again because the evidence does not support it - but further, the danger is that regulation impedes the development of alternative energy, sustainable resources or adds unnecessary costs to existing viable options. This is a legitimate concern though for instance with the shut down of coal plants that will result in electricity prices rising 40-60% in many parts of the US. Regulation is not cost free.
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    Jun 14, 2011 9:15 PM GMT
    Chip2Stan saidWho the f*ck is paying you (and Newsweek) to propagate this garbage? None of these examples have anything to do with each other scientifically. You are just resting on the extremely dangerous "oh it'll all work out" nonsense, based on the fact that some would argue things have worked out in the past. It's got the vibe of religious blind faith.

    Oil is cancer throughout it's processing as well as it's countless uses. Just look around you. Technology will never stop nature and nature will always win out. We are forever just buying time before we realize indigenous people had it right with respect to natural resources. Further, energy technology continuously leads to overpopulation, which leads to increased energy needs and a degradation of the habitat in which humans live. We are at the same time making our lives more convenient and more miserable.


    History isn't relevant? Evidence isn't important? It's sad that there are those who take up environmental issues with what amounts to faith based religious fervor with little regard to the costs.
  • Rowing_Ant

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    Jun 14, 2011 9:22 PM GMT
    The only reason London has clean air is due the Clean Air Act (1956) when the government in order to make peoples lives better accross Britain regulated emissions into the atmosphere. In many cases this meant getting rid of coal fires, coal fired power stations and introduction of diesl and electric trains in place of filthy steam trains.

    The only reason it has drinking water is due to Government Funded sewage works and sewers built by Bazalgette following the mass outbreak of Cholera and Typhus in the 1840s.

    The Cholera of the 1840s led to massive regulations about where bodies could be buried and wells sunk and also led to many big cities cleaning up their sewage disposal.

    It was led by Government and Regulations to make peoples lives better.

    Im British and a British 19thCentury History. Get your bloody facts right. That paper is pseudo history and immensely biased towards big business and Corporate bosses saying "hey its ok to pollute!".
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    Jun 14, 2011 9:30 PM GMT
    Rowing_Ant saidThe only reason London has clean air is due the Clean Air Act (1956) when the government in order to make peoples lives better accross Britain regulated emissions into the atmosphere. In many cases this meant getting rid of coal fires, coal fired power stations and introduction of diesl and electric trains in place of filthy steam trains.

    The only reason it has drinking water is due to Government Funded sewage works and sewers built by Bazalgette following the mass outbreak of Cholera and Typhus in the 1840s.

    The Cholera of the 1840s led to massive regulations about where bodies could be buried and wells sunk and also led to many big cities cleaning up their sewage disposal.

    It was led by Government and Regulations to make peoples lives better.

    Im British and a British 19thCentury History. Get your bloody facts right. That paper is pseudo history and immensely biased towards big business and Corporate bosses saying "hey its ok to pollute!".


    Um no - with respect to the clean air act, pollution had been falling consistently even prior to 1956. If you look at the chart of smoke levels prior to 1956 to the 1920s or even further to the 1800s you would not even notice that there was an act that was passed. Please get your facts straight.
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    Jun 14, 2011 9:59 PM GMT
    Okay....did you know that one volcanic eruption does more damage to the earths atmosphere than man could do in a year????

    Have people ever stopped to think about "global warming" from a scientific explanation of how, maybe, just maybe, this is a normal cycle that this planet (which has been around billions of years before us and will continue on after) does?

    And even if it's not a typical cycle, scientifically speaking, what will actually take place in "2012" is a complete alignment of our solar system, which hasn't happened for what 2 million years or so.

    Is it possible then, that the gravitational force that pushes each planet in our solar system around, that immense force coming together in one fine point at the same time, could that be an explanation for the extreme weather anomaly's, natural disasters and warming of our planets surface. (I'm not saying this is fact for what has been happening around the world of late, I'm asking if you think it's a good possible explanation.)

    When it comes to Nature, the planet will heal itself, even if we nuked the entire thing, 2000 years later it will have improved itself and would have developed new living organisms.

    We should look/learn from history so that we strive to change the way we live to and take better care of the planet for our children. It's silly to say we are killing the planet though. Nature will always win vs. man, just look at the tsunami's, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcano's....maybe mother nature is finally getting sick of our species' shit and is trying to cleanse herself.

    I do have to say that when you really think about it, we are the only "Animals" out of the thousands of other species that roam or have roamed the planet, that have actually changed the face of the planet permanently with our buildings, bombs and technological developments... so way to go humanity, we suck as a species we have in fact damaged an entire planet with our brilliance. We may be useing up OUR natural reasorces but the planet will be fine.

    Oh well, back to my IPOD.
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    Jun 14, 2011 10:31 PM GMT
    riddler78 saidI'd highly recommend clicking the link above and reading the whole thing..


    Ehm, just reading it there already convinced me its irrelevant, illogical and faulty argumentation

    iow, bull-crap
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    Jun 14, 2011 10:35 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Rowing_Ant saidThe only reason London has clean air is due the Clean Air Act (1956) when the government in order to make peoples lives better accross Britain regulated emissions into the atmosphere. In many cases this meant getting rid of coal fires, coal fired power stations and introduction of diesl and electric trains in place of filthy steam trains.

    The only reason it has drinking water is due to Government Funded sewage works and sewers built by Bazalgette following the mass outbreak of Cholera and Typhus in the 1840s.

    The Cholera of the 1840s led to massive regulations about where bodies could be buried and wells sunk and also led to many big cities cleaning up their sewage disposal.

    It was led by Government and Regulations to make peoples lives better.

    Im British and a British 19thCentury History. Get your bloody facts right. That paper is pseudo history and immensely biased towards big business and Corporate bosses saying "hey its ok to pollute!".


    Um no - with respect to the clean air act, pollution had been falling consistently even prior to 1956. If you look at the chart of smoke levels prior to 1956 to the 1920s or even further to the 1800s you would not even notice that there was an act that was passed. Please get your facts straight.


    Ehm, he argumented with more than just the clean air act... you failed to address cholera... which he, as a British historian, and i as a medical student, have to admit was the beginnings of preventative health measures in the modern west....

    Just looking at the clean air act argument will not convince me that your article, nor this guy are in the wrong
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    Jun 14, 2011 10:37 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    And to qualify your statement - it's not so much that that technology has allowed us to ignore the issues we face, but it has outright solved them or made them irrelevant.


    Ehm, really? I have trouble taking you seriously if you say something like this...
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    Jun 14, 2011 11:03 PM GMT
    The relevance of history on unsustainable societies:

    Well lets look at:

    -The Roman Empire

    -The Mayan Empire

    -The Kingdom of France

    -Easter Island...

    Now Im expecting a storm of alternative theories as to all of their demise, but lets be honest...

    The Roman empire simply couldnt AFFORD to keep all those armies around to keep their borders in control.....

    The Mayan empire, people are still not out about what the reason is of its demise, but the fact that they ran out of the RESOURCES to sustain a complex society, is still taken as the most likely cause

    The Kingdom of france fell because the people were hungry and tired of not having BREAD, as the famous scene of Marie-Antoinette telling them to eat Brioche shows.... there simply wasnt enough FOOD

    Easter Island became a barren wasteland because the entire island had been hunted out and all the trees chopped... so it collapsed because they RAN OUT

    Sustainability in history, yes, Im sure ths article of yours can come up with tons of convoluted, reinterpreted facts aimed at rewiring human logic to re-explain history... sometimes things are really just plain obvious though.. when it quacks like a duck, talks like a duck, and acts like a duck, its probably a duck
  • Rowing_Ant

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    Jun 14, 2011 11:26 PM GMT
    The Cholera Epidemics in London and accross the major cities in Britain led to the passing of a raft of legislation to clean up British cities and do deal with the problem of filthy streets and filthy water supply.

    Bazalgette led the way in London and quickly followed in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester. Cholera th en was believed to be caused by "bad air" and miasmas from low lying water and filthy air and water. In some cities it was believed to be caused by the Irish.They didnt know it was caused by a bacteria. Cleaning up the water supply and cleaning the streets got rid of the bacteria. The Rev. Henry Whitehead and a chap called Snow plotted the demographics of the 1850s cholera epidemic in London and arguabled deveoped epidemiology.

    A Royal Commission was encated to clean up the Thames in 1882 but by the 1930s the Thames was as filthy as ever but the Second WorldWar intervened in getting it clean again.

    Ergo the Government stepped in to clean up the River Thames, Business carried on as usual dumping into it, leading to Government to step in again in the 1950s with the 1951 RIver Pollution Prevention Act to clean up the Thames and other rivers with a raft of harsh legislation...this time for good!

    There was a similar pattern in Manchester when the River Irwell was ordered to be cleansed in 1862 but no one had the power in local government to do anything about it.

    In 1876 the Rivers Polution Prevention Act was passed which attempted to solve the problem of poluted rivers, water courses and water supply but again was largely ineffecutal with Big Business but it did set the foundations for far more draconian legislation which followed in 1891. Government taking note of the effect of pollution and of big business ignoring its legislation to improve the welfare of its people and having to take harsher measures.

    The Clean Air Act of 1956 was a direct response to the 1952 "Great Smog" in London, when it was recognised that the burning of fossil fuels and their emissions into the atmosphere were harmful and led to smog. A second Act followed in the 1960s. 12,000 people are estimated to have died during that one smog. If, as you say that the air quality in London was improving prior to the 1956 Clean Air Act, how come 12,000 people died the largest casualty figure ever for smog? In the aftermath of that one smog a further 8,000 people died. If the air was getting cleaner by the 1950s...why was there a smog? Why was a Clean Air Act needed? Why was it needed to be amended in 1968 with stricter measures?


  • Rowing_Ant

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    Jun 14, 2011 11:30 PM GMT
    And if you want some archaeological data on non-sustainable socieites

    British Late Neolothic/Early Bronze Age.Massive expansion of land under cultivation due to a growing population. Marginal land on upland zones was cleared of its natural forests and put under the plough or under pasture. This was marginal land ith poor soil which was rapidly exhausted leading to more land having been cleared.

    In the mid Bronze Age there was a drop in Global Temperature and an increase in rain fall. The marginal soil on the uplands, already over exploited, became water logged and podsolised. The soil became acided and over time became peat bogs and marsh, e.g. the Yorkshire Moors or Dartmoor.

    Those are not natural landscapes. They are man-,made and a sign of man's greed and over exploitation of natural resources causing a catastrophic effect in local environment and biosphere and also collapse of existing societies. The mid to late Bronze Age is when we get the first archaeological evidence for warfare. Land under stress. People under stress.......And thats 4,000 years ago.

    Read it and weep. Yes, weep. We've been raping our planet since we began to farm.

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    Jun 15, 2011 1:12 AM GMT
    Rowing_Ant saidThe Cholera Epidemics in London and accross the major cities in Britain led to the passing of a raft of legislation to clean up British cities and do deal with the problem of filthy streets and filthy water supply.

    Bazalgette led the way in London and quickly followed in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester. Cholera th en was believed to be caused by "bad air" and miasmas from low lying water and filthy air and water. In some cities it was believed to be caused by the Irish.They didnt know it was caused by a bacteria. Cleaning up the water supply and cleaning the streets got rid of the bacteria. The Rev. Henry Whitehead and a chap called Snow plotted the demographics of the 1850s cholera epidemic in London and arguabled deveoped epidemiology.

    A Royal Commission was encated to clean up the Thames in 1882 but by the 1930s the Thames was as filthy as ever but the Second WorldWar intervened in getting it clean again.

    Ergo the Government stepped in to clean up the River Thames, Business carried on as usual dumping into it, leading to Government to step in again in the 1950s with the 1951 RIver Pollution Prevention Act to clean up the Thames and other rivers with a raft of harsh legislation...this time for good!

    There was a similar pattern in Manchester when the River Irwell was ordered to be cleansed in 1862 but no one had the power in local government to do anything about it.

    In 1876 the Rivers Polution Prevention Act was passed which attempted to solve the problem of poluted rivers, water courses and water supply but again was largely ineffecutal with Big Business but it did set the foundations for far more draconian legislation which followed in 1891. Government taking note of the effect of pollution and of big business ignoring its legislation to improve the welfare of its people and having to take harsher measures.

    The Clean Air Act of 1956 was a direct response to the 1952 "Great Smog" in London, when it was recognised that the burning of fossil fuels and their emissions into the atmosphere were harmful and led to smog. A second Act followed in the 1960s. 12,000 people are estimated to have died during that one smog. If, as you say that the air quality in London was improving prior to the 1956 Clean Air Act, how come 12,000 people died the largest casualty figure ever for smog? In the aftermath of that one smog a further 8,000 people died. If the air was getting cleaner by the 1950s...why was there a smog? Why was a Clean Air Act needed? Why was it needed to be amended in 1968 with stricter measures?






    I'm sure we will shortly be hearing some complaining from riddler about the inconvenient facts that you posted.
    He doesn't like when the right-wing BS he posts gets fact checked.
    Good job on holding him accountable.

    I'm still wondering who's paying him to post all these many many threads of right-wing propaganda/talking points!
    What he posts is more than just stuff from current events.
    As we can see in this thread and in others, he posts threads that are just propaganda from the right.
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    Jun 15, 2011 5:43 PM GMT

    Rowing_Ant saidIf, as you say that the air quality in London was improving prior to the 1956 Clean Air Act, how come 12,000 people died the largest casualty figure ever for smog? In the aftermath of that one smog a further 8,000 people died. If the air was getting cleaner by the 1950s...why was there a smog? Why was a Clean Air Act needed? Why was it needed to be amended in 1968 with stricter measures?


    I noted that it had been in decline - this doesn't suggest in the slightest that the air was anywhere near clean at the time. In fact, practically anyone in the western world has at least a small sense of how bad air quality was in London given the popularity of Charles Dickens. What I pointed out was that the Clean Air Act was unnecessary if the previous trends held - that is that the air and smoke was improving - which to be more explicit, would have happened with or without the legislation. Political expediency does not necessarily result from necessity (nor vice versa) and yet that is what you are arguing. I'm not saying that the legislation ended up necessarily to be a bad thing - just simply that it was irrelevant.

    It's sort of like asking me why is there smog now despite clean air legislation as if all of a sudden that there will be some magical wand that will make it all magically disappear - which incidentally, also didn't happen immediately following the legislation either.

    Your argument also does not consider why there continues to be substantial improvements in air quality and water quality. For instance, as tracked by the EPA in the US, between 1980 and 2005, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels decreased 37 percent, sulfur dioxide (SO2) dropped 63 percent and carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations were reduced by 74 percent. Even if you argue that regulation is the cause of some of it, it does not remotely explain the vast majority of the improvements.

    I'm not terribly familiar with cholera beyond the fact that it is spread through fecal matter but in that context your arguments are not persuasive given that it is governments who have traditionally controlled water distribution.


    Rowing_Ant saidThe mid to late Bronze Age is when we get the first archaeological evidence for warfare. Land under stress. People under stress.......And thats 4,000 years ago.

    Read it and weep. Yes, weep. We've been raping our planet since we began to farm.


    Jared Diamond's books cover much of the arguments both you and greenhopper make - and they have been thoroughly debunked. Take Easter island for instance, which is most popularly used by environmentalists as an example of environmental collapse - not sure if you can access this: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440306002019

    "In this paper, I critically examine the historical and popular narrative of human-induced environmental change, its causes and consequences, for Rapa Nui. I review new and emerging Rapa Nui evidence, compare ecological and palaeo-environmental data from the Hawaiian and other Pacific Islands, and offer some perspectives for the island’s prehistoric ecological transformation and its consequences. I argue here that a revised, later chronology for Rapa Nui calls into question aspects of the current model for the island’s ecological history. A critical examination of the paleo-environmental and archaeological records also reveals a more complex historical ecology for the island; one best explained by a synergy of impacts, rather than simply the reckless over-exploitation by prehistoric Polynesians. While my focus is on the palaeo-environmental record, it is essential to disentangle the related notion of prehistoric “ecocide” with the demographic collapse (i.e., post-contact genocide) that would come centuries later with European disease, slave-trading, and the other abuses heaped upon the Rapanui people. Contrary to the now popular narratives (e.g., Diamond, 1995 and Diamond, 2005), prehistoric deforestation did not cause population collapse, nor was it associated with it. Such an argument can be based only on facile assumptions and an uncritical faith in contradictory accounts from the island’s oral histories; but this is a critical subject worthy of detailed, continued examination (see Metraux, 1957, Peiser, 2005 and Rainbird, 2002)."

    And it goes on. Not all societies are created equal - and neither I or Lomborg have argued as much. Environmental degredation is never the actual primary cause of collapse - but may have been a factor lobbed in with war, political and cultural failures. The counter examples of how other societies have adapted to much worse environments are rife.

    Resource depletion is also never the actual cause for collapse considering that there are many countries who have prospered even better with fewer resources and land. Read it and rejoice. Yes, rejoice for we have been shaping the environment to our needs since we began to farm and we're improving at make life better, healthier and yes, cleaner for ourselves as time goes on.