BlackRedLittleDevil on Jun 24 2009, 02:17 PM, said:
There are a huge number of changes - GM crops that are poisonous to certain parasites but not to, say, bees. Pebblebed nuclear reactors instead of coal factories. Mining and oil companies that are publicly accountable for the mess they make. Subsidies to south American loggers to essentially bribe them into not logging. Education in third world countries aimed specifically at women in order to bring the birth rate down.
I mean, the list of small things that have a large leverage factor is nearly endless, but you're spot on when you say we have about 20 years maximum to implement these changes and much much more.
Personally, I don't think it will happen. We may well get a mid century population crash - conservative estimates number around 2 billion as sustainable. This is providing the earth's climate (Gaia, mentioned before) doesn't tip out of its metastable state due to pollution and mass population.
If this happens, there are projections that Europe could freeze over, Africa literally turns to dust, and the most inhabitable place to live will be in the Russian sub-Arctic. A planet in that state couldn't support much more than 500 Million people.
These isn't scare mongering. These are the views of such people as Martin Rees, Jared Diamond and James Martin.
KennyB on Jun 24 2009, 03:26 PM, said:
At the massive cost it could bring tomorrow? The crux of this is, that most of these people that have to be (I agree) fed, watered and sheltered won't live very long if the planet and the climate can't sustain them. Its a Catch 22.
Sorry, people are important but not as important as the planet. This is the only known example of a planet that can support life in the universe, and may well be the only example we ever know about - its our duty to be able to live within our means - and unfortunately this might mean a population crash, but this is the better of two evils if you consider the other option is the earth's metastability being drastically disrupted. This would be a unprecedented disaster.
Edited by Emma_Acid, 24 June 2009 - 03:00 PM.