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Old 01-16-2014, 02:38 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
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I'm reading Bill McKibben's "Eaarth" right now, and...the facts point to nothing outside of cataclysmic collapse being sustainable.
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Old 01-16-2014, 06:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
I'm reading Bill McKibben's "Eaarth" right now, and...the facts point to nothing outside of cataclysmic collapse being sustainable.
That's what Malthus said.
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Old 01-17-2014, 01:48 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
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Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
That's what Malthus said.
The entire biological world is ultimately part of and dependent upon an ecological system composed of a dizzyingly complex conglomerate of interrelated subsystems (which ALWAYS involve interplay between biological life and what we would call "environmental factors"). At any given point a given species' (or individual's, but ultimately we're talking about a species-wide issue here, so) chance of survival for some X amount of time is some probability P. Make X large enough, obviously, and P will eventually hit 0 for any species S. Of course there are many many other variables in play here that change as X changes...more variables than we can conceive of, in fact, which ultimately is the problem for any attempt to "think" about (and the source of some seemingly ineradicable margin of error for any attempt to model) humanity's future on Earth.

Anyway. The aforementioned equation/series of equations never ceases and will never cease until the destruction/cessation of all that which we call "life". Malthus' 18th century calculations being proved (not necessarily sure that "proved" is the word I should use here, but) erroneous is meaningless for the current predicament. New calculations of ever greater precision are always welcomed/needed. For the people who do this kind of research or related research, the outputs tend to look nearly unanimously grim (I say "nearly" because, well, oil companies can fund research too. Also, computer models will attempt to account for various future scenarios, and some of the wildly optimistic sets of inputs/circumstances may result in output along the lines of "tentative non-catastrophe" or somesuch). All you have to do is read the book I mentioned (and I'm only 100 pages through, myself) to get a handle on what sort of forecasts exist, inside academia and out. Hell, going back a bit (not nearly as far back as Malthus' time, however), the Club of Rome's "Limits to Growth", issued in 1972, was a pessimistic (read: realistic) statistically derived assessment, and you know how that's turned out? Quite accurate (for the period of time that has so far elapsed). See the information listed under the "Reception" heading of its wiki page for some recent "reviews" of the report:

The Limits to Growth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So the consensus of the scholarly retrospectives of the report is that it has been accurate in its projections so far...given that, should we then perhaps be a bit worried that it predicts a global collapse to occur midway through the 21st century?

Obviously currently unforeseen/unforeseeable (not to mention unforeseen/unforeseeable in 1972) technologically innovative measures may emerge in the interim. But we'd be betting a lot on both their emergence and, crucially, their ability to be implemented on some significant scale (the scale needed would of course vary depending on the nature of the technology in question). Regarding renewable energy schemes already in existence, I just skimmed a Scientific American (posted on Facebook, hence my skimming) article yesterday about the unfeasibility of adopting solar and wind energy on a large scale for the next several decades. If that's true (and perhaps that's not an ironclad if), well, too little too late, and say goodbye to some billions of people. I am not privy to cutting-edge research being done to address (however directly or indirectly) the problem of humanity's future on earth, but it's safe for any of us laymen to conclude that any one person moving to the city and cycling to and from work isn't going to do a ****ing thing to address the scale of the problem we have here. Now if we all hypothetically did that, that'd be a different story. And if we all consumed less and minimized fossil fuel usage, etc...but any one person's "conversion" is irrelevant if it has no effect on the actions of others. I say this as someone who currently leads a pretty standard American life in terms of resource consumption. Reading "Eaarth" and gaining awareness of the scale of the problem tempts me to change my ways...but if it's futile, then why bother? How I will live in the future is still an open question, so, we'll see. But I could never foresee a future or present me who isn't a gambler, and with that in mind, I'm certainly going to gamble (hypothetically) on 21st century collapse for civilization.

PS: I know very little about Malthus, except for the fact that his name will be dependably invoked by climate skeptics and others online. Wiki says his work influenced Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace...that alone makes his thinking worthwhile on some level.

Last edited by Matt Marcinkiewicz; 01-17-2014 at 02:42 AM..
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Old 01-18-2014, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Michigan
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Yes, it is sustainable, if we stop increasing the population through immigration.
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Old 01-18-2014, 05:13 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
That's what Malthus said.
And he was wrong.
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,744,100 times
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Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
LA as well, no advantage to living in the center.
That's right. Jobs and employment centers are decentralized and "sprawled" all over the place in Los Angeles. It's not like every one works downtown anymore, although downtown is indeed ONE of the many centers of employment. So there would be an advantage to living in the center only if one's job is in the center. For the last 21 years of my full-time career I never had a commute of more than 15 minutes one-way (eight and a half miles). And that is not unusual. There are people here who have acquiesced in horrendously long commutes, but that is not necessary in most cases and those stories represent exceptions; the stories are told and re-told because they are indeed extreme, not because they are typical.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,068 posts, read 16,090,068 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
That's right. Jobs and employment centers are decentralized and "sprawled" all over the place in Los Angeles. It's not like every one works downtown anymore, although downtown is indeed ONE of the many centers of employment. So there would be an advantage to living in the center only if one's job is in the center. For the last 21 years of my full-time career I never had a commute of more than 15 minutes one-way (eight and a half miles). And that is not unusual. There are people here who have acquiesced in horrendously long commutes, but that is not necessary in most cases and those stories represent exceptions; the stories are told and re-told because they are indeed extreme, not because they are typical.
Yes and no.

It's not that uncommon in the Bay Area, for example. One parent gets employment in the Oakland/Berkeley area and one in the Peninsula or San Jose area. Anyway you slice it, it means bad commutes. Eventually the best solution is to switch jobs so that they're not on opposite ends of the metro area. It is somewhat rare. That's why you see that decentralized places like LA have such short commutes. While the metro is huge and sprawling, people work near where they live. Your 15 minute one-way commute isn't particularly short in LA. In the bowl, you're averaging 20-25 minute commutes. In a more centralized area like NYC that's not the case. Manhattan/Brooklyn is basically the job center, but most people have to make a large sacrifices to be able to afford to live within 20 minutes of the Manhattan/Brooklyn job centers. That might mean never having kids. You might be able to afford a studio apartment as DINKS but could never afford a 2bd without moving out much farther.
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Old 01-24-2014, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,252,873 times
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Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
Re: telecommuting, I wonder how high the bar is set to reach the tipping point. It's becoming more and more practical. WebEx, Skype, Go2MyPC/Meeting, VoIP, VPNs are all making it practical for a lot of jobs, but it hasn't caught on. I can't imaging what ELSE it needs, or how much easier it can get at this point.
I know a lot of telecommuters. I have one friend who works for a contractor in the DC area and he only goes into the office about once every two weeks. A lot of the tech people I know seem to work from home a lot too.
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