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wonderful piece painting a somewhat brighter picture of moving on.

Forward Guidance
The Hydrocarbon Era’s Spectacular End
Replacing fossil fuels is a tall order, but it has to happen.
By Liam Denning
August 6, 2019, 2:00 AM MST

[bloomberg.com]

I disclaim some (slight) overlap with this, will not provide specifics on this site.

kmaz 7 Aug 6
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We have to get the politicians in Washington to re-instate and strengthen the regulations that have been obliterated by the guy occupying the Oval Office and his administration. Without strong regulations on the carbon based fuel industry, we're behind the Eight-Ball before we even begin.

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Sorry, it is not enough. We have to go after the constantly increasingly demands for energy. Unless we start to curb our numbers all other causes will be lost causes (from the 94 UN conference on population in Cairo).

The rise of the French Yellow jackets over the small increase in fuel prices shows what a hurdle we are up against.

Thanks @JackPedigo,

I have lost track of whether you have offered up some ideas for solutions to over-population

@kmaz The first road to a solution simply involves recognizing the problem. Another road to awareness of the issue is to admit that the environment is the top priority with all others as simply luxuries. We say we must deal with Climate Change but then promote millions of people to increase their carbon footprint. My late partner (an immigrant who was aware of the seriousness of this issue) once asked her 2nd graders which is more important people or dirt? We need to accept our dependence on the natural resources.

@JackPedigo

I'm of the belief that there is much more to understanding various environmental issues than just stating "over-population" is an underlying problem, that the environmental issue can't be addressed without addressing over-population, and then leaving it at that. Yes, all environmental issues would seem to have a context of defining the carrying capacity of the system, and the long-term sustainability within that context. The population would impact the equations.

To me, over-population is an example (but not the only example) of the so-called tragedy of the commons, something I don't recall if you've discussed. One of the ways we can make broader progress (and not just specific progress on specific sustainability issues such as climate change) is if we simultaneously carry out smart inquiries into improved social and governmental systems that are designed to take cognizance of the tragedy of the commons and to address it in new or better ways, or at least let people within the system know that some cognizance has been taken of the issue.

@kmaz I agree with most of what you say. Unfortunately, in order to understand the over-population issue we have to accept it and most people simply don't want to hear of it. They see it as doom-and-gloom (a woman in a class a friend gave actually told him that but his presentation kept her there and she listened. Too often it is about the messenger not the message). Having said that the next step is to present solutions. ZPG had a treasure trove of ideas and workshops that presented ideas and solutions and all of us in the chapter board spent time in classrooms/meeting rooms presenting these ideas.

The 'tragedy of the commons' is one way but it has shifted the focus to the affected people and tends to ignore the cause. I just wrote a letter to the Humanist group as their July/Aug. issue was full of 'environmental justice' issues which ignored the overall cause. People have become more important than the planet in many people's eyes. A group NumbersUSA has a video that shows how far reaching the problem is and how little our so called social efforts can do to alleviate the billions of affected people.

We in ZPG erected a kiosk at the Seattle zoo with several interactive displays. One display had Bill Nye and Walter Cronkite giving lessons but one really important one asked people about numbers. We have lost the basic concept of numbers and how large millions and especially billions are. People have lost touch with reality (kids all think their food comes from the store and when my late partner told them where their meat came from many were horrified) and that is especially true of we in the developed countries.

Hi @JackPedigo

I'm not entirely sure what it is you think we agree about, but thanks for writing out the response.

I see the tragedy of the commons (and the political-economic systemic design problem that underlies it) as a cause, not only of environmental issues, but of over-population. Once that is established, then in my view a next step is discussion of some issues of philosophy. For example, if we have an understanding of the nature of individual humans, and if it seems like there is a conflict in how we conceive of rational self-interest with how we conceive of sustainable societies of such individuals, then does this mean that sustainable life on Earth is not possible, or does it mean that we need to modify some of our ideas as to individuals, societies, or the perceived conflict?

I watched the video. It was interesting, and the speaker manages to maintain an even keel for the most part, though you can see a bit that he is angry with some of the folks whom he opposes.

In any case, I had some mixed views on it.

On the negative side, in my view, the highest priority in advocating for immigration is one that he seemed to ignore. It is when we encounter people who are faced not only with the life and death issues of extreme poverty, but other life and death issues, such as the threat of genocide. If you are faced with large numbers of people fleeing violent persecution, do you take any of them in, and how many?

However, this is not to dismiss the difficult main point of the video. To be sure, we humans dance around a lot of the hard issues that can be raised when we look at the tough problems. These include:

  • How do we all, as humans on the planet, face the fact that charitably trying to help others may not accomplish our goals?
  • Should we try to charitably help others? Why? To what end? Is allowing for immigration helping?
  • For those of us in countries with not only a high degree of developed wealth, but a huge bounty of existing natural resources, is it fully appropriate for us to presume to let others in on the bounty? Are we flattering ourselves to see it as charity (I don't really see it as charity, but I think some of my focus for the last three points comes from my perception of the video).
  • Over-population seems to be partially dependent on ignorant and malevolent religious views hating on sex, outlawing abortion, and encouraging over-procreation regardless of economic consequences for the individuals involved and for the society in which they live. So, what is the best way (and by what standard) to speak out against that problem? Is there a way to speak on this that will reach the thinking of individuals in their family planning?
  • A philosophic problem that I think should be brought out into the open and discussed is the question of individual moral responsibility. To what degree (if any) should individuals within societies try to weigh supposed societal goals (keeping population down, conserving water, reducing CO2 emissions, etc.) against their own selfish needs? Should individuals - seeing an environmental issue - take it as their first priority to modify their own behavior (such as reducing the number of children they will have, getting into a less polluting form of transportation, etc.), or is this the opposite of what they should do (such as a Californian who responds that hell no, they are not going to reduce their already-moderate home water use, when the California Agriculture interests are the real problem)? How much does context matter for these questions? Also: how can the design of a governmental/economic/political system play a role in modifying individual conserving or non-conserving behaviors, and how much should it play a role? Not at all? Entirely?
  • When we talk about what we think other people and other societies of people "should" be doing, do we expect that to have any meaning? Are we talking about forcing them militarily? Pressuring them economically or legally? Shaming them (a more powerful weapon than I think some realize, if wielded smartly)? Or not bothering about them at all, perhaps under the heading of the moral importance of minding our own business.

So, I don't think it's possible to have a lot of these conversations in 3 seconds - I think they're inherently far more complex than most of what I see taking place on agnostic.com - and I respect the fact that you've already indicated there are other things for you to be doing, and certainly that applies for me. I think I'm writing this one out partially for myself - I wanted there to be at least one attempt at getting at what I fallibly see as a summary of at least some of the deeper and ultimately determining issues here - even if I am not up to the task in some ways.

If anyone got this far, thanks for reading.

@kmaz I saw a agreement in ""over-population" is an underlying problem, that the environmental issue can't be addressed without addressing over-population, and then leaving it at that...." My point was that I/we are4 not leaving it at that. My point was that firstly a majority have to come to an agreement that it is the overall problem and only then can we take steps to address it. As far as the immigration issue goes it is addressed in the film. We cannot take in the billions of people and expect to have any sort of viable country. This is the tragedy of the commons.
The 2 driving forces for all life is to procreate and survive. Normally nature does the balancing but, if we are the reasoned and caring creatures we say we are, we humans need to do this with a minimum of suffering. That is not and probably will not happen simply because we let our emotions and prejudices get the better of us.
You are right, we cannot have a real conversation in 3 seconds or even 3 hours. It is complex and far reaching and I learn another aspect every day.

@JackPedigo

"...My point was that I/we are4 not leaving it at that. My point was that firstly a majority have to come to an agreement that it is the overall problem and only then can we take steps to address it...."

Well, I put it that way because it has seemed to me you're occasionally being disruptive to the conversations that others are having in the name of insisting that everyone must discuss the topic that you consider to be at the base of it all. fwiw, I've named some other thing or things that I think is at the base of it all. You have not seemed to say much to my points, but ok. We're kind of having this conversation in a vacuum so far, with no others paricipating.

"...As far as the immigration issue goes it is addressed in the film. We cannot take in the billions of people and expect to have any sort of viable country. This is the tragedy of the commons...."

Well, from this, I can't really tell if you do or do not understand the tragedy of the commons, and how it is leading not only to over-population but Carbon pollution and all manner of other things.

"...The 2 driving forces for all life is to procreate and survive. Normally nature does the balancing but, if we are the reasoned and caring creatures we say we are, we humans need to do this with a minimum of suffering. That is not and probably will not happen simply because we let our emotions and prejudices get the better of us...."

I can't fully follow how all this applies but ok. I will say that I do not accept the primacy of the environment over humans, that you seemed to name earlier as a basic premise.

"You are right, we cannot have a real conversation in 3 seconds or even 3 hours....."

Yes, agree.