17 votes

Topic deleted by author

10 comments

  1. [6]
    citizenpremier
    Link
    So, I hope this isn't read in the scope of climate change denial. It's not. This is the idea I disagree with, and that I think is too hyperbolic to be useful. After all, it presents a simple claim...

    So, I hope this isn't read in the scope of climate change denial. It's not.

    The world is dying.

    This is the idea I disagree with, and that I think is too hyperbolic to be useful. After all, it presents a simple claim that, when refuted, could threaten to refute the movement to end climate change.

    The earth's ecosystem has never had any kind of balance; it's always been a perpetually changing, never repeating tapestry. People have noticed negative feedback cycles which do tend to perpetuate certain situations for longer periods, but nature is full of positive feedback cycles too, where small causes set off larger changes.

    What the earth is in the middle of now is a pretty large mass extinction event. This is absolutely something that we, as people who interact and use the earth's environment, should be terrified about. But it is not something that is new to the earth. There have been big temperature changes and mass extinctions before. This case is different... yes. Earth is always like that.

    What is at stake, and which could motivate people more, is the very ecosystems that surround us. This is a persuasive argument especially since conservative folk often paradoxically live closer to nature. Your family will probably survive global warming; but what if the woods that you go hunting in don't?

    The problem I have with the hyperdoom views of global warming is that if global warming doesn't produce enough horrible effects, people might begin to feel it's a non-issue. The wealthier half of the world that we live in will get more and more used to not seeing much of nature at all. People in the southern hemisphere will starve and boil. But people in the northern might just see our food quality slowly decreasing. Something happening slowly and with unclear risks that we will just shrug off.

    16 votes
    1. [5]
      NoblePath
      Link Parent
      Perhaps a better way to say it to satisfy the technical is that Earth as we know it is dying. Earth has undergone multiple gross ecological and geological shifts (dinosaurs anyone?). Earth will go...

      Perhaps a better way to say it to satisfy the technical is that Earth as we know it is dying.

      Earth has undergone multiple gross ecological and geological shifts (dinosaurs anyone?). Earth will go on doing this until the sun undergoes its expansion. But humans will not survive if we foment such drastic change that our support system collapses.

      10 votes
      1. [4]
        psi
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Somewhat of an aside, but even without climate change the Earth will become uninhabitable long before then (at least, without technological breakthroughs such as [1]). I'd recommend looking at...

        Earth will go on doing this until the sun undergoes its expansion.

        Somewhat of an aside, but even without climate change the Earth will become uninhabitable long before then (at least, without technological breakthroughs such as [1]). I'd recommend looking at Wikipedia's timeline of the far future [2] starting at approximately the 500 million yr mark.

        To summarize:

        • 500 million CE: the Sun's increasing luminosity disrupts the carbonate-silicate cycle. Consequently carbon dioxide levels begin to drop, causing all plants that utilize C3 photosynthesis to die (99% of plant species).
        • 900 million CE: C4 photosynthesis also becomes impossible, which eventually results in the death of all multicellular life.
        • 1 billion CE: the oceans evaporate.

        By 2.8 billion CE, the Earth's surface temperature is around 300 deg F. For reference, the sun won't supernova until about 8 billion CE.


        [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_sunshade
        [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_far_future

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          Cycloneblaze
          Link Parent
          Bit of a quibble, but the sun won't supernova at all. It's not massive enough for that. Not that it makes any difference for the Solar System's chances of survival!

          the sun won't supernova until about 8 billion CE.

          Bit of a quibble, but the sun won't supernova at all. It's not massive enough for that. Not that it makes any difference for the Solar System's chances of survival!

          3 votes
          1. [2]
            psi
            Link Parent
            Whoops, good catch. Yes, the sun will transition from a red giant to a white dwarf instead – I'm not sure what that process is called.

            Whoops, good catch. Yes, the sun will transition from a red giant to a white dwarf instead – I'm not sure what that process is called.

            2 votes
            1. Cycloneblaze
              Link Parent
              I don't think there is any name, besides evolution / aging and death - it's kinda the most general case of what can happen to a star.

              I don't think there is any name, besides evolution / aging and death - it's kinda the most general case of what can happen to a star.

  2. [4]
    Greg
    Link
    There's a sort of messianic hubris to the kind of people who claim to see so clearly what others can't. The part about music lessons being worthless particularly irked me: you're really saying...

    There's a sort of messianic hubris to the kind of people who claim to see so clearly what others can't. The part about music lessons being worthless particularly irked me: you're really saying that you can predict both the timeline and the specifics of societal collapse so precisely that you know they'll be wasted?

    It's not that I fundamentally disagree with him. We need to enormously alter society or a hell of a lot of people will end up worse off and/or dead. I think people at the edges like Kalmus are helpful as organisers and as extreme examples to make previously radical stances look more moderate - it's just that the unacknowledged arrogance rubs me the wrong way.

    Perhaps this is just my own denial of the true scale of the issue, exactly as the article describes. Perhaps I'm an utterly unrealistic optimist comforting myself with thoughts that humans are resilient and inventive, and when push really comes to shove we'll come in with technical dei ex machina to curb the worst of the consequences. But for all that, as I continue to follow the science and advocate for radical change, I'll still maintain a healthy scepticism of those who claim to see the holy truth that others miss.

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      nacho
      Link Parent
      Everyone who warns about a potential catastrophe that is subsequently averted (maybe even in part due to their concerns) will always look as a fear-monger. Similarly, anyone who says things will...

      Everyone who warns about a potential catastrophe that is subsequently averted (maybe even in part due to their concerns) will always look as a fear-monger. Similarly, anyone who says things will surely work out always look super optimistic post-disaster.

      What's the worst thing that will happen from being too pessimistic about the climate/ecological/diversity disasters and society taking too strong measures curbing the destruction of our planet? Unused economic opportunities? Slightly lower quality of life?

      What's the worst thing that will happen from being too optimistic about the same situation? Catastrophic collapse? An unrecognizable world? An unlivable planet? An unstoppable self-reinforcing spiral outside of human control?


      In this complex situation, (climate, biological and ecological systems are extremely complicated) we're strongly incentivized to err on the side of caution. At the same time, it's a lot more comfortable to have faith in invention/technology solving issues that seem unresolved or maybe even unresolvable today.

      That's why the messaging can seem so extremely negative. We're incentivized to be extra negative in this situation.

      10 votes
      1. SantalBlush
        Link Parent
        The worst thing that can happen from being too pessimistic is that people will ignore the problem, because it's a huge source of anxiety, they can't individually change the course of the planet,...

        What's the worst thing that will happen from being too pessimistic about the climate/ecological/diversity disasters and society taking too strong measures curbing the destruction of our planet? Unused economic opportunities? Slightly lower quality of life?

        The worst thing that can happen from being too pessimistic is that people will ignore the problem, because it's a huge source of anxiety, they can't individually change the course of the planet, and if we're probably doomed anyway, then what is the point of trying? Better to spread a message of both urgency and optimism, along the lines of "Our future can be good--in some ways even better than it is today--but we must make drastic changes to our infrastructure and way of life." That is how you get buy-in. I see a lot of comments on the internet about how it's "too late", and those are counterproductive.

        12 votes
      2. jlj
        Link Parent
        As someone who worked on code to fix a lot of broken code prior to Y2K, and was paid to sit at a different desk through that momentous night, I have to say that there is much wisdom in this statement.

        Everyone who warns about a potential catastrophe that is subsequently averted (maybe even in part due to their concerns) will always look as a fear-monger.

        As someone who worked on code to fix a lot of broken code prior to Y2K, and was paid to sit at a different desk through that momentous night, I have to say that there is much wisdom in this statement.

        10 votes