Benefits of environmental optimism.

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Lance Kennedy
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Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:03 am

Reference : New Scientist, 14 October 2017, page 38

There are real benefits to an optimistic feeling about the environment. And there are real reasons to feel optimistic. Humanity is moving towards actions that result in less harm. Consider the following.

1. Between 2004 and 2012, deforestation in the Amazon dropped by 80%.
2. Since the 1982 moratorium, many whale species have increasing populations.
3. More carbon free electricity generation is being developed than dirty coal and gas combined.
4. Protected natural areas are growing. Ocean reserves have grown over 17 years from 2 million square kilometers to 40 million.
5. Oil spills have dropped in number 20 fold since the mid 1970's.
6. Global greenhouse gas emissions have plateaued.
7. The ozone layer is recovering.
8. Globally, more land is going back, to wilderness than is being cleared.

You can, of course, still be a pessimist, but optimism has its rewards. There is evidence that positive messaging motivates people to do more to combat environmental harm. Given an environmental message of harm, the people were less motivated, compared to groups given positive messages related to progress and improvement. People who feel hopeful about the future are more likely to be responsible about matters affecting the environment. Hope encourages people to take action .

Not only are there very positive signs that the natural environment is being helped, but optimism about it leads to more positive action.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:17 pm

Ha, ha. ....................................... I SAY HAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SO WRONG: in every aspect.

Putting your head in a bucket and living in La La Land IS NOT GOOD.

The very heart of the matter: feelings got nothing to do with it.

Silly hoomans. You too Poodle. Both of you are chronically............. "optimistic"........... which isn't bad except you do it for no good reason....actually is destructive for the issue you apply it to.

Sad.................................. but true.

(( :twisted: Note the sarcasm, but heed the message.))
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Poodle » Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:32 pm

Optimistic? Moi?
I took lessons from Eeyore.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:35 pm

Everywhere I look: "I see thistles."
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:11 pm

I expected this from you, Bobbo.

I wonder if you have yet come to terms with the fact that your pessimism is not based on data, but simply reflects an underlying pessimistic nature.

Of course not all in the world is roses. There are still things that need substantial improvement. But humanity is on its way.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:33 pm

You mean I should be optimistic at each and every counter tick in a very steady progression elsewhere?

Like the Oceans are near dead with most commercially valuable stock down 99% but we should be optimistic that a stock just increased 100% in three years and is back to 2% of historic levels?

.......................that kind of optimism..............Like Trump wants what is best for America?????? That kind of diversion from what is important and OVERRIDING the entire discussion????

..........and its NOT pessimism. But we aren't going to have a happy result if we take any satisfaction at all with any zig in the zag of things. Make REALITY your friend. Save the BS for the gullible.
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:24 pm

It is called balance, Bobbo.

Recognise when progress is made, and where it still needs to be made.
Your pessimism, though, is rooted in your emotions. Not rational thought.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:27 pm

OK Lance: why is your optimism any different from my pessimism? THAT is in YOUR mind..... not mine.

.......and where did you pull this "emotional" argument out of??? I GAVE YOU THE RATIONAL THOUGHT: collapsed communities making large % gains in populations: IS STILL A COLLAPSED COMMUNITY.

Optimism v Pessimism
Emotional v Rational.

................................. I think its more a difference between short term vs long term thinking.

What do you optimistically emotionally think Lance?
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Poodle » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:57 pm

I'm with Lance on this one. It used to be one step forward and two back - now it's two forward and one back. I've seen endangered species removed from the list, and I've watched attitudes change. I'm optimistic.
What I find strange, though, is the number of people who claim it's all too late so it ain't worth bothering. British waters HAVE been overfished, but no-fish areas have been established and positive results are already noticed. Several bird and insect varieties have (after having been presumed extinct in the UK) been spotted once more. It's been bad, but it's no longer so bad and things continue to move in the right direction.
The same, apparently, can be said for the Amazon Basin. Yeah - I'm definitely optimistic.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:05 pm

Thanks, Poodle.

Bobbo
I do not claim you must be 100% optimistic.
There are things still wrong with the way humans operate in this world. However, we also need to recognise the things we do right. I agree the oceans are over fished, but I also realise that this is now recognised and many initiatives are under way to correct the situation. For example, every year there are more marine reserves, covering more ocean. Here in little old NZ we are developing one of the world's largest round the Kermadec Islands. In other parts, new management methods are being introduced.

Look at both sides of the coin. There are things done wrong, but a lot of things being done right. And the latter is on the increase.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:29 pm

I only want: the truth. Without binders....without being blinded by one side's blather over another. Optimism too often is a Siren's Song. Rest on Optimism...and the shoales of reality are more likely hit. Pessimism: when you are wrong...things are better.

Opt or Pess: doesn't say a thing about what ACTION TO TAKE. But.....without being able to identify and add them all up...I'll wager both balls that every optimistic thing you can identify is but a blip on the steady course downward. Again...some 100square miles of UK "no-fish" sanctuary vs the entire rest of the oceans being decimated and turned into jellyfish occupied dead zones. yeah.......lets be optimistic.

Ha, ha.......just saw the ass hats on Fox News last night cawing about not giving a permit to some metal mining company that was "100 miles away" from the worlds last pristine salmon spawning grounds in Alaska. They even said something as assine as "You can't walk 100 miles...." I was "blacked out" at the stupidity of their reportage....or should I have been optimistic at the mine site being 100 miles away?
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Poodle » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:38 pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-35328286

See, bobbo? Since you posted your last post, it's gone up to 8000 square miles and it's been backdated by almost two tears. How's that for a reaction time?

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:50 pm

EXACTLY.....................only because of my pessimism.................. operating for the greatest good of all life on Earth.

Why do anything if everything is looking good?
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:34 pm

Bobbo

The New Scientist article quotes several studies which demonstrate that those exposed to a more optimistic view are more likely to act responsibly. Pessimism is not the answer. Exposing people to a more optimistic view, with hope that we can get things right, is more likely to get us the results we want.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:47 pm

Ahhh....yes. Unfortunately, the solution to most challenges to the human race have very little to do with individuals acting responsibly. It has more to do with tax policy and other such corporately corrupted fraudulent endeavors. Like I said: feelings got nothing to do with it...............like optimism. Its just an opiate to keep the masses asleep so the top 12 richest people in the world can stay that way.

Ha, ha.........."like I said"...........like most of your positions: ENTIRELY AND WHOLLY WRONG....actually part of the problem. You buy the PR.

Its not the optimistic people that take to the streets and actually force changes on the status quo that is.

Just LOOK FOR KEERIST SAKE. At least understand THAT you are drowning..........and why.
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:52 pm

Bobbo

Can you back up your assertions with data, like the studies New Scientist quoted, or are they just an outpouring of your negative emotions?

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:02 pm

What data? Like there are fewer fish in the seas? Increasing dead zones?? Why the sky is blue?

Optimism. Is that to be confused with a few bright sparks in an otherwise dark tunnel that still leaves us in the dark? finding an ice cube in hell doesn't make it cool.
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:26 am

The world is gradually improving. Air pollution in China is falling as are their carbon emissions. Electric cars are increasing at an extra two thirds per year. Within 30 years, they will be in the majority, at that rate. Battery technology growing. Electric trucks and buses are soon. More trees are being planted than being felled. Coal burning is decreasing. The signs are there.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Gord » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:10 am

Eeyore took lessons from me.

Then he got back in his time machine and buggered off back to the fictional past to kill Hilter. (His poor spelling explains many things....)
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby ElectricMonk » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:55 am

there is optimism, and there is complacency.

Europe is more heavily forested than in centuries because it is heavily managed - almost nothing is "natural" or "original".
Similar things can be done everywhere, but we mustn't kid us into thinking we are preserving anything: we are adapting nature to co-exit with us for mutual long-term benefit.

Enlightened Self-Interest is a wonderful thing.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
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2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:04 am

EM

Nothing new there.
Planet Earth has not been pristine for a long, long time. Humanity has been modifying it for thousands of years. Anyone who dreams of ancient landscapes reborn is doomed to disappointment. But we can aspire instead to creating a world that is healthy, with verdant ecosystems, even if they are different to the originals.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:05 pm

Pristine is a nonsense concept.

There will be no "healthy world" as I suppose you mean it when the Earth has 11 Billion people. all of "nature" will be under glass or minutely managed...................or at least................ we hope so.

Population Collapse. What a concept.
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Gord » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:05 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:...we are adapting nature to co-exit with us....

Did you mean co-exist, or are we all going somewhere together?
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:26 pm

Gord, the spelling monitor.

Bobbo

11 billion does not need to be any worse than the over 7 billion today. It is not numbers that count, but how we manage the situation. For example, compared to 50 years ago, we can now grow a specific amount of food on half the land area. This will become even more efficient as time passes. In fact, even today, the total area set aside to grow food is shrinking while wilderness area is expanding.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:49 pm

"Its not numbers that count." //// What do you count with Lance? .................... and what is an asymptotic limit? I ask, but have some memory you've used the term yourself.

MYPOINT: the total area set aside in the future will be under glass, and the area not under glass highly managed.

Not pristine. .............. you know.............. like the Earth with its carbon atmosphere before algae laid waste to it upchucking all its waste products.
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:39 pm

Bobbo

The United Nations estimate is a maximum population of about 10 billion. Plus or minus a bit. There is a clear cut relationship between wealth and low fertility. As nations become wealthy, the population growth falls. Even sub Saharan Africa has an average economic growth of 3.5% per year. Twice the wealth every 20 years. This will inevitably lead to population stability.

Very little will be under glass. If you are talking glass house agriculture, you should be aware that, to feed 10 billion requires only one sixth the area of Australia. A lot less land will be needed to grow food and a lot more will be available for wilderness. This trend is already under way.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:20 pm

I thought the trend underway was that with more co2 food plants became less productive. Fighting the green revolution. It might be your "optimistic" mind set to think large % growth based on near extinction level population numbers is a positive sign. I don't. I see it as the very fabric of our existence being worn thin. We probably won't see it, probably not our kiddies, but I fear for the grandkiddies.

I don't think hoomans can exist on this planet without a healthy meaning diverse and resilient biosphere. I don't think its possible to have 10 billion people and a healthy and resilient biosphere. Our grandkiddies will see.
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:50 pm

Bobbo

You are arguing without data. 10 billion is NOT near extinction level. Greenhouse agriculture using hydroponics can feed the average adult on 100 square meters of crops. That is without meat, of course. There is ample potential for feeding 10 billion or more, if needed. In fact, if we did away with meat, humanity could feed 10 billion or more using standard 2017 year agriculture methods. And using less land. You are hung up on population, in spite of the fact that a higher population can be managed without loss of wilderness.

On more co2 making plants less productive.
Sure, if you ignore innovation. That principle applies ONLY to current mass crops, like wheat. But with a little tweaking to breed new crops with better CO2 tolerance, no problem. In fact, a lot of existing crops actually do better with more CO2. That is why glass house farmers burn organic matter inside their glasshouses, to raise CO2 levels and thus increase production.

The thing is, Bobbo, that food production per acre just keeps right on growing.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:20 am

C'mon Lance......its not just crops. Think of the line at DMV.
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:31 am

What has Drinking More Vodka got to do with it ?

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:35 am

Good point about the limitations of hydroponics. Ive never seen corn or wheat or rice grown that way.

Optimism. When I consider it...........it just strikes me as leaving out too much information...... but yeah, I'm going with trends rather than hard data.

..........................its our grandkiddies.
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:45 am

Actually, in terms of calories per square meter grown, potatoes are the best, and they can be grown hydroponically. We have by no means reached the limits of this technology. In Singapore, they have vertical hydroponic farms under artificial LED lights, which produce vast amounts of food per square meter, although if you measure the square meterage vertically, it is not quite so impressive. But in terms of acres of land under cultivation, the amount of people who can be fed per acre is massive.

I suspect this technology will be used in space ships, and likely on any future Mars colony. With a small nuclear reactor for power, food production per acre will be impressive.

The truth is that growing crops in soil is totally adequate for 10 billion population, while still permitting more farmland to revert to wilderness.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:38 pm

Just for grins...........I plan on planting some sprouted potatoes on the City Park Land that abuts my property. They've been cleaning the underbrush out the last week and the area actually has sunlight hitting the ground now. Add potatoes and water and see what happens. Just for fun. Anyone will be free to take what they want. Might try some peanuts too. I enjoy watching vines grow across the land. Watermelons and Pumpkins too attention grabbing.

I hope we don't go down the rabbit hole again........but I doubt we will ever have colonies on Mars. maybe a short visit at the most. Its just too expensive given other needs. An interest only of a very small group. It can be done...but who cares? Now....turning an underground tunnel on the Moon into a Science Lab....some how appeals to me. Cost/benefit/alternatives still a big deal in my mind...........but a space elevator all the way sure would be cool.
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby ElectricMonk » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:56 pm

Careful Bobbo,

Potatoes are part of the nightshade family and their flowers and leafs might be dangerous to kids and pets.
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
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2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:17 pm

Who has to be careful then?

........................I assume one would need to consume "large" quantities of the poisonous parts before any ill effect? And since I've never heard about potato flowers, I do assume its not that relevant. Same with the caution regarding eating green parts of potatoes or apple seeds?

But, being a responsible public property trespasser........I will look it up. I'll post back if dangerous, or not..........Hah...meaning I'll post back.......but now, might take more time.

Thanks EM. Keep me on the straight and narrow.
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:22 pm

I say: not poisonous.

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002875.htm

Tubers and green parts, not flowers and leaves, are the dangerous parts........and are underground. Safe enough.

Of note...its sweet potatoes that appear to be more generally toxic, while tomatoes also in the Nightshade family are totally ok ((that assumes some variety might not be...........)).

Knowledge is power.........always balanced against hubris............
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Poodle » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:26 pm

Careful there, bobbo. ALL parts of the potato plant are toxic - the tuber only very mildly so if it isn't green. Leaves and stems and the occasional fruiting body and - yes - the flowers should never be regarded as harmless. They're not.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:30 pm

Any green part of a potato is toxic. The sprouts are more likely to be eaten, but the leaves are also very toxic. The poison is solamine, a nasty alkaloid, which probably evolved to discourage insects eating the plant. Anywhere sunlight causes green chlorophyll to develop, the solamine is found also.

Actually, toxic leaves are pretty much par for the course. Most wild plants have toxic leaves.

On colonies away from Earth, my view has been, for a long time, that it is silly to build colonies on planets or moon's, since you just have to fight another gravity well. Much better to stay out away from the battle against gravity, and build space habitats. Since even on Mars you have build giant gas tight structures, build them in the weightless conditions of space. A giant cylinder that rotates will give gravity, and a 3 meter layer of water around the outside will screen out radiation. All the metals and water are available in abundance on asteroids. This structure can then move around among the asteroids, making a vast wealth of resources available.

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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:37 pm

From the link: "Potato plant poisoning occurs when someone eats the green tubers or new sprouts of the potato plant."

...........and yes its says that all parts are toxic..........but its as usual a matter of degree?

Course...........I would only eat the nice white tubers which is 100% safe and in the main the tubers would be what people are attracted to?

....................... Let Darwin Rule (after I am informed with all relevant information and have access to grocery store food wrapped in petro-chemical film).
Real Name: bobbo the existential pragmatic evangelical anti-theist and Class Warrior.
Asking: What is the most good for the most people?
Sample Issue: Should the Feds provide all babies with free diapers?

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Lance Kennedy
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Re: Benefits of environmental optimism.

Postby Lance Kennedy » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:14 pm

When the potato was first introduced to Europe, and people were still finding out about it (the hard WAY! ), it is on record that some people tried potato leaves in salads. They did not die, but they got very sick.


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