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Acknowledgement of a great bunch of thinkers and writers on this site -

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  • Independent
    Massachusetts
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    I'm entering this as a new thread: it's been awhile since May 17th -- and I'm considering a greater breadth than that single thread and responses thereto.

    In response/reaction to my May 17th post re. evangelical solution of environmental threats . . . . I very much enjoyed what I read. Great thoughts including great satire (Jesus's pet dinosaur!! Wise men on snails, etc. etc.). Such should be compiled into a "Book of the Sacred Absurd", and I'd be more than happy to copy cumulatively, over whatever period of time, whatever would be posted (noting approval to be collected"). At least at booklet length, the collection could be published online, under the "authorship" of a group or "organization" or whatever consensus we posters might come up with. I think such satire would have a market, though not amongst the Millenarians.

    One of my latest publications presents research on the destination of their train of thought -- that "The Times They are a-Ending". Based on supposed Biblical prophecy and current events' revelation of the actualization of sin and circumstance predicted even in the Old Testament, the "end-times-ers" are rejoicing that all of creation except for their little clique (of 144,000) will be wiped out. The "end-times signs" are seen in catastrophic events which are the "sorrows" preceding Armageddon's wipeout of the earth; and all but those who'll ascend to live forever with Jesus (and for some even their pets!!!). All others will suffer eternal torment in Satan's Resort below (which must surely be an exponential of the horrors of "Hotel California").

    But to my point herein. My survey of the data on catastrophes obviously reveals that the worst five already occurred. Mass-extinctions of the preponderance of species on earth (the dinosaurs and trilobites were engaging in gay sexual behaviors . . . .the coelacanths stopped praying in their schools?) Not that something proportionately devastating couldn't happen again. From a prior assumption of dinosaur demise (rat proliferation devouring dinosaur eggs) . . . to the present meteor-strike/climate-devastation-extinction theory . . . such could come again, now taking the present biota and botana to the edge of (or even off it) extinction. [One contention vs. Creationist theory that humans and dinosaurs shared the planet together is, "how come the dinos wiped out and we humans didn't?] But I digress again.

    Aside from the Big Five, "Nature's stuff happens" has been going on with numerous fluctuations, for recorded history (and longer, but nobody kept the records before they did). The results of my research (in The Times They are a-Ending . . .but then again maybe not") are that: earthquakes and eruptions and typhoons and blizzards and floods and heat waves and such have not increased in frequency overall. Those categories of calamity and catastrophe seem (given "cluster-incidences") constant.
    As for plagues and epidemics, and other factors of heath and longevity and freedom from pain . . . "ya gotta admit it's gotten better". The incidences of plagues of cholera and yellow and scarlet fever and diptheria and so many others have, within the last century, diminished, in some cases and locales, to obliteration of outbreak, if not extinction of bacterial or viral potential. Medical care is even extended into the wilds and wildernesses by Doctors Without Borders and other agencies, thus to alleviate the discomforts and even disfigurements of those disenfranchised from 1st World Medical Hierarchies that even lengthen the lives of elders through organ transplants.
    In the domains of the mind, intellectually, socially, aesthetically, even "entertainmentally" -- considering the venues and technologies even provided to primitive premises now, such "exponential of creation" is evidenced by the expanse of man's experience of life now available to him.

    One major factor of the "worsening-effect" is that we now hear about everything that happens everywhere via that technology. So it seems like the end of the world -- but it's only a continuum of frequencies -- yet now with another factor: there are so many more people that the effects of a storm of X intensity are greater disaster than the same storm X would have caused in the same place years ago. So population growth is sin???

    But, again, in most cases I found no statistical support for "end-times-coming" exacerbation of earth's and man's "sorrows"

    Except:
    Yes, the environmental/climatic/de-speciation trilogy is ominous enough that science is terming this the "Anthropocene" age (man, the causal factor) and "The sixth extinction" (the result, possibly, of human activity not only warming the climate with all the threats thereof -- but also creating chemical such as Ph level variations in the seas and soils. The "trilogy" may become "triage"-level.

    One consideration is resistant mutations of pathogens. Very, very seriously scary. But given resurgence of some diseases, we're back where we started from in whatever specific affliction -- while still far ahead in other aspects of survival. For we started, not that long ago, with no abilities to implement (or even knowledge of what to implement upon). Even at the beginning of the 20th century, the realm of microbes was just becoming known. Things could become worse. But they'd still be so much better than even so short a time ago!!
    Another threat is sustenance. Water. Food. A truly open-eyed survey of Western Civilization's cornu copial supply is almost disgusting, especially in that the substance supply may be proportional to the surplus size people are becoming!! With innovative technologies for growing, even systems for "manufacturing" nutrition, "progress" might overcome the obsolescence of our present way of produce and product.
    Fuels -- I'll take the liberty to mention "The War Effort Got Us Out of the Great Depression -- Now We Need A Peace Effort . . . . ." ) new systems will have to include new systems of lifestyle. The every-day commute should be against the law. Semi-subterranean ("berm") home construction might result in 80% energy use decrease for both heating and cooling.
    Water -- that pure (even flouridated!!!) water is pissed and shit in ??????? I should really research the proportionate usage of water -- how much intake (drinking etc.) and how much for "out-take" flushed or poured-down.

    We may be at an environmental crisis-point.
    But we may be at the beginning of a new systematology of life in many, many ways, which will actually enhance the quality of even 1st world life by minimizing waste, including time, and maximizing efficiencies with LEDs and workplace-dwelling proximities (even within the same building -- one going up in China already was featured on a recent TV program). Total-systems replacements can be done. Have been done. Think back. From the late l800s, the whole country was "plumbed"!! Wired (new systems but also replacing the previous little pipes that distributed gas to light fixtures.

    We may need, also, to recognize that we've already come a long way. Considering the potential for mayhem if seas rise, comments and concerns of how terrible things are, how messed-up the environment, are valid alarms. For in most cases, there's no place for the displaced to go because everywhere else is already full!!
    But extreme negativism should be tempered. We've come a long, long way. Think the deforestation during the l800s. Though we're still decimating rain forests, elsewhere reforestation is taking place. The mining as well as clear-cutting operations in the West decimated riparian ecology and even significantly damaged estuarian outflows such as in San Francisco. We've stopped such ravages even by Federal enactments. There used to be lead in the gasoline to point that there was lead trace in breast milk. We went unleaded. Disposal used to be a convergence of whatever crap that then became a nightly conflagration as the fumes and carcinogens and all conjoined the atmosphere. Even residential open-burning is now strictly controlled. What wasn't burned used to be dumped onto the ground off the rear dock of the chemical plant. Thus the "super-fund" sites which entailled excavating to even 30' depths to remove the contaminants. And now Haz-Mat is regulated and controlled even at the level of the truck driver taking the stuff and precise paperwork to proper disposal (or reprocess) facilities
    We'e come a long, long way.
    Sewage used to be piped to the nearest moving water (even reciprocally --such as tidal confines within Boston Harbor. Now treatment can even yield potable purity -- and otherwise outfall is even miles deep-seaward.
    The ozone was disappearing but we outlawed HFCs, managing to maintain our cool with other forms of chilling agents.

    And in so many other ways and by so many means . . . I see that so much is better than it used to be. The cumulative results of what was may be beyond remediation -- but at least we should stop any possible addend to prior assaults on our land and sea and sky. For I'm cynic-optimist enough to think man will survive, progress in ways, in part by some regression to past ways (and means).
    But of ultimate importance may be a "worst-case-scenario" paradigm on which to base present preparation (R&D and manufacture and initial implementation/installation). If . . . . but we've developed this . . . . . then . . . .

    And, as one of the above books stresses, think of how many jobs can be created by a govt.-funding of private enterprise -- to once again revolutionize lifestyles and systems. Progress progressing . . . .
    For, as another book pictures . . . . if we don't, . . . . . . . . . . Antithesis (Almighty Gord of) . . . . . . . . . may be the outcome . . . . . . .
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    schneider -- Good intellectual discussion of issues that have challenged our ingenuity in the past. These were mostly all hot button issues at one time, but scientists and politicians rose to the occasions. Many people on the right don't know that Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and signed into law the Clean Air Act and National Environmental Policy Act. Despite our political differences we made immense progress on environmental and other issues for the good of the country.

    Today that kind of progress would be more difficult with a polarized Congress and the contempt that so many on the right have for our first African American president. I have looked at what might be our undoing...is it war and militarization...climate change (or the lack of response to it) or inequality and the resultant civil unrest that it fuels, mostly in countries that are struggling for lack of economic resources?

    Right now these three...inequality, climate change and unchecked militarization and war are the biggest challenges facing society globally. Maybe I should add a fourth...ignorance and apathy as the masses succumb to the oligarch propaganda.

    I believe we can rise to the challenges but it does require an informed and supportive public. That is largely missing from half the populace.
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    It is with much hesitation, one would try elucidation, on subjective vegetation and its worth. Some have way too much insistence, that our very own existence, relies on purest water, soil and earth. But before the world shall finish, it surely will diminish, any organisms here that give life birth. Notwithstanding crucial thinking, after much excessive drinking, we have lost most reasoned linking. And it sucks. And with that very suction, it creates inversion and induction, & the world is not exactly drowning in too many surplus bucks. Rejecting suicide or sorrow, we look forward to tomorrow, where we earn or steal or borrow all we need. In spite of crooks & corporate millionaires that live their whole lives just for greed. We go outside, breathe our unfresh air, & try to plant just one more little seed.
  • Strongly Liberal
    Independent
    Seattle, WA
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    Love the language, EF. Great stuff.

    And Schneider, great post. We have indeed come far, and too many people cannot see that or are too busy wallowing in their grief or swallowing lies to see it.

    You know me, I'm an optimist who sees a brighter future even as I point out the horror of the present, because only by clearly seeing the past are we able to take the right path to a brighter future.

    You folks see that, and I'm so glad you do.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Guy --

    I have always appreciated your writings and your website, even when I disagree on a few points. You do your research and keep all the dialogue respectful...a good role model for others to follow.
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    Humanity is so incredibly inventive. Here we were, wondering what to do with all this "over-population" on the earth. The excess millions of people were causing sky-rocketing unemployment, housing shortages, massive starvation, and excessive crime. But just when you begin to believe things are almost the worst in history, that mankind may be doomed to total extinction -----then along come the magic Solutions:

    (1) Putin decides to start a huge war in the Soviet, Ukraine & Crimea region, which has been dormant for decades. And this will most likely entail the United States to rush over there (as always) as the perpetual referee, umpire for all world disputes, getting a few more million of our US soldiers killed.

    (2) Our brilliant right-wingers (GOP) have written laws allowing any caricature of a human being to carry a gun to a school, hospital, airport, dining hall, bar or restaurant, union meeting, or church, & be entitled to shoot anyone they wish, just for target practice. That should be a good way to lower the population numbers, and make those statistics look a little bit better. (Talk about death panels). If we had to build a whole lot more facilities for the wildly irrational & insane, -- then the carpenters & electricians would suddenly have a whole lot More JOBS. // Gee, it's looking better already, isn't it?