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Some Thoughts on Earth Day

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    April 22nd is Earth Day, and I thought it would be a good time to stimulate some thinking about the future of our planet. I see disturbing trends on climate change, population growth, and dwindling supplies of natural resources, particularly water. Couple that with economic inequality amongst the population in certain geographic areas of the world, and we are ripe for conflicts and war. In many parts of the world, we have reached the tipping point or passed the tipping point in what environmentalists call "sustainable development".

    In Gaza, for example, we are already passed the tipping point as the underlying aquifer has largely been depleted by large withdrawals "upstream" by Israelis, which has resulted in the natural flow of underground water to reverse itself, thereby contaminating the aquifer by the flow of salt water from the sea inwards. Palestinians living in Gaza now have little natural water left and have to rely on imported bottled water to drink. That's just one example, but throughout the world, as the effects of climate change have resulted in droughts and larger demands on natural aquifers, wells are drying up and people are migrating to urban centers. That's what has happened in Syria, but the urban centers likewise cannot provide the needed employment or resources to support the influx of people and that leads to civil unrest.

    Add to that the migration from wars and conflicts, many of them driven by religious ideology, and we can see that the entire Middle East is a powder keg that we are seeing exploding before our eyes right now. Some can blame western imperialism for upsetting the balance in the area, and that is true to the extent that we (America and European countries like Germany), along with the Russians and Chinese, are the world's biggest suppliers of arms and weapons to both sides in the conflicts. And of course we have an enormous thirst for their oil. So yes by our very presence we have contributed to the problem. But even without our presence and arms deals, we cannot dismiss the underlying religious and tribal tensions and lack of opportunities for young people that are a major factor in the civil unrest. Basically in many of the regions, perhaps driven by the short term prosperity of oil wealth, the population growth has exceeded the ability of the land to support the people. In other words...unsustainable development.

    In this somewhat controversial Newsweek article from last year,

    Newsweek, October 28, 2014: Even a Pandemic Wouldn’t Create a 'Sustainable' Population, Study Says

    the author writes: "Environmental scientists generally agree that the growth rate of the world’s human population and its current rate of consumption are unsustainable." There are currently 7 billion people on the earth today, and at current trends, the population is expected to be about 11 billion by the year 2100. At that level, and depending on how the population is distributed (e.g. how much mass migration into Europe can be tolerated), the world will have increasing conflicts and wars. The authors point out that reducing fertility rates to a level below 2.00 would take generations to bring the population growth under control. Even with a worldwide pandemic event or war that killed off 2 billion people, the population would still continue to grow to about 8.5 billion by 2100. And by some estimates, the planet cannot support the current 7 billion, let alone the 8.5 billion or 11 billion.

    I see little energy to control population growth by government imposed means like they do in China, but I do credit Europe for bringing their fertility rates below 2.0. I guess in a way that makes more room for the migration of peoples from Africa and the Middle East where their fertility rates in many cases exceed 5.0.

    Okay chime in on any aspect of this as you like. Happy Earth Day.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: April 22nd is Earth Day, and I thought it would be a good time to stimulate some thinking about the future of our planet. I see disturbing trends on climate change, population growth, and dwindling supplies of natural resources, particularly water. Couple that with economic inequality amongst the population in certain geographic areas of the world, and we are ripe for conflicts and war. In many parts of the world, we have reached the tipping point or passed the tipping point in what environmentalists call "sustainable development".

    In Gaza, for example, we are already passed the tipping point as the underlying aquifer has largely been depleted by large withdrawals "upstream" by Israelis, which has resulted in the natural flow of underground water to reverse itself, thereby contaminating the aquifer by the flow of salt water from the sea inwards. Palestinians living in Gaza now have little natural water left and have to rely on imported bottled water to drink. That's just one example, but throughout the world, as the effects of climate change have resulted in droughts and larger demands on natural aquifers, wells are drying up and people are migrating to urban centers. That's what has happened in Syria, but the urban centers likewise cannot provide the needed employment or resources to support the influx of people and that leads to civil unrest.

    Add to that the migration from wars and conflicts, many of them driven by religious ideology, and we can see that the entire Middle East is a powder keg that we are seeing exploding before our eyes right now. Some can blame western imperialism for upsetting the balance in the area, and that is true to the extent that we (America and European countries like Germany), along with the Russians and Chinese, are the world's biggest suppliers of arms and weapons to both sides in the conflicts. And of course we have an enormous thirst for their oil. So yes by our very presence we have contributed to the problem. But even without our presence and arms deals, we cannot dismiss the underlying religious and tribal tensions and lack of opportunities for young people that are a major factor in the civil unrest. Basically in many of the regions, perhaps driven by the short term prosperity of oil wealth, the population growth has exceeded the ability of the land to support the people. In other words...unsustainable development.

    In this somewhat controversial Newsweek article from last year,

    Newsweek, October 28, 2014: Even a Pandemic Wouldn’t Create a 'Sustainable' Population, Study Says

    the author writes: "Environmental scientists generally agree that the growth rate of the world’s human population and its current rate of consumption are unsustainable." There are currently 7 billion people on the earth today, and at current trends, the population is expected to be about 11 billion by the year 2100. At that level, and depending on how the population is distributed (e.g. how much mass migration into Europe can be tolerated), the world will have increasing conflicts and wars. The authors point out that reducing fertility rates to a level below 2.00 would take generations to bring the population growth under control. Even with a worldwide pandemic event or war that killed off 2 billion people, the population would still continue to grow to about 8.5 billion by 2100. And by some estimates, the planet cannot support the current 7 billion, let alone the 8.5 billion or 11 billion.

    I see little energy to control population growth by government imposed means like they do in China, but I do credit Europe for bringing their fertility rates below 2.0. I guess in a way that makes more room for the migration of peoples from Africa and the Middle East where their fertility rates in many cases exceed 5.0.

    Okay chime in on any aspect of this as you like. Happy Earth Day.
    The same to you Schmidt!! Yes I said so before, but was rebutted; so I still think at one time or another a certain virus will pop up for which we have no cure; it will hit us like the "black plague" in the past. The universe/nature will likely correct our stupid ways, like it always did. No "god" or "jesus" will change that.
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    The lack of water in many parts of California, is just horrifying, while the WASTE of existing water is appalling. Right next to a veritable desert, there are man-made lakes & ponds & swimming pools. Just for a few people to live in a "resort" area, for Fun in the Sun, millions of crops & water reservoirs are drying up..People must be very selfish and greedy, to allow a rich "few" to destroy the meager water supply that is needed by so many people & crops & animals.
    Lots of the water is being wasted, just to water the Golf Courses, & some fountains (for Entertainment) -- as the critical Food supplies are totally drying up.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Schmidt Wrote: Okay chime in on any aspect of this as you like. Happy Earth Day.
    I like to think of myself as a perpetual optimist, but it is very hard to stay that way when I sit back and watch the world quickly running out of the natural resources we rely upon to survive.

    Water is the new oil. If we thought that wars for oil were bad, just wait until the wars for water begin. The human species can survive without fossil fuels, but we can not without clean drinking water. Whoever controls the water will have absolute control over those who do not. Your Palestinian example is a case in point. It also makes me wonder if Israel is continuing their apartheid because they aren't willing to give up their source of clean water.

    Deforestation is another thing that I'm really starting to get worried about. It adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than all of the cars and trucks on the world’s roads each year. Think about that one for a second...

    The double whammy of global climate change and an unsustainable population growth pose a real and present threat to the survival of the human species. We can not keep digging our heads in the sand and think that everything will correct itself if we just keep ignoring it. Witnessing the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee bring a snowball onto the Senate floor to disprove global warming doesn't give me much hope that we will ever stop ignoring it. Add in the fact that nearly every Christian in this country thinks that everything is in Gods hands and I'm beginning to think that we will be the first species in the history of the planet that is responsible for its own extinction.

    The earth will continue to spin for many billions of more years, but I'm beginning to worry how much longer the human species will be around to take part
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    EF and Jared -- I agree with you both. Time Magazine had an article on California water usage (wastage). I don't have that link but here's an NBC link. The pictures of Palm Springs tell the story. Maybe they are now responding.

    NBC: California Drought

    I live in Colorado and was considering ripping out my grass up front and xeroscape to help out the California drought. Much of our water is piped in across the divide from the Colorado River drainage system.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    President Obama was in the Florida Everglades today addressing C****** C****** and G**** W**** those words that Florida elected officials are not allowed to mention because it isn't happening in Florida. So I suppose when the southern part of Florida eventually is under water by sea level rise, it will be attributed to "God's work". Or they can look back in history and blame Obama.

    And being good socialists, the rest of America taxpayers will bail them out...pun intended.
  • Independent
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    Michael klare and resource wars.

    water will be fought over. So will rare earth minerals that are needed to run the technological marvels of today's world. Buffoon's like zuckerburg want to get the whole world on line and connected. Where will the hardware come from? Where will it be built? Where will the resources for said venture come from?

    more simplistic bullshit from so-called elites.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: President Obama was in the Florida Everglades today addressing C****** C****** and G**** W**** those words that Florida elected officials are not allowed to mention because it isn't happening in Florida. So I suppose when the southern part of Florida eventually is under water by sea level rise, it will be attributed to "God's work". Or they can look back in history and blame Obama.

    And being good socialists, the rest of America taxpayers will bail them out...pun intended.
    Schmidt; it again shows how badly Obama is informed by his inner circle; the biggest environmental problem in FL is not the Everglades itself ; it is the "sugar" industry which destroys everything here. Mr Scott ( our evangelical governor) received three -quarter of a million for his campaign from the sugar and more from all industries who pump toxic waste in lake Ocheshobee, which is now ruining our beaches etc. He refuses to give huge fines to that industry or built a filtration plant before water is released into the river. Sorry Obama did not put in any effort to find out the thruth about the Everglades while visiting.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Dutch -- As I understand it the problem of restoring the Everglades and addressing the problems of pollution by the sugar polluters is being jointly addressed by both the state and federal governments. It's nothing new that Obama doesn't know about or chooses not to address. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is a 35 years, $10.5 billion dollar project that has been underway since 2000, although progress has fallen short of their own timeline of goals.

    Regarding the Sugar industry pollution, as reported in the Sun Sentinal last year, Sugar industry accused of dodging Everglades clean-up costs:

    "A "Polluter Pays" amendment to the Florida Constitution that voters approved in 1996 was supposed to force the sugar industry to at least cover its share of cleaning up damage to the Everglades. But some say state leaders have failed to fully enforce the measure. That means "it shifts the burden of cleaning up the Everglades to taxpayers," said Dave Cullen, Sierra Club lobbyist. "Everybody else's [share] gets bigger."

    The taxpayers' share of the Everglades cleanup gets even bigger under Gov. Rick Scott's $880 million water pollution cleanup plan. Last year, state lawmakers agreed to keep charging Everglades restoration fees paid by sugar-cane growers and other farmers south of Lake Okeechobee at existing levels for 10 years longer than once planned. But lawmakers haven't been willing to increase those fees, even as the public cleanup costs increase."


    So I ask, is this something that Obama needs to interject his authority over? It seems that this is a state initiative, but your governor Rick Scott is letting the sugar growers off the hook. Florida voters reelected Rick Scott, and he is doing what Rick Scott does. Should the federal government take charge because he and his fellow Republicans in the State legislature are not holding the Sugar industry accountable for the rising costs of clean-up including not building a filtration plant. I guess I am pushing back on "it's all Obama's fault" again.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: Dutch -- As I understand it the problem of restoring the Everglades and addressing the problems of pollution by the sugar polluters is being jointly addressed by both the state and federal governments. It's nothing new that Obama doesn't know about or chooses not to address. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is a 35 years, $10.5 billion dollar project that has been underway since 2000, although progress has fallen short of their own timeline of goals.

    Regarding the Sugar industry pollution, as reported in the Sun Sentinal last year, Sugar industry accused of dodging Everglades clean-up costs:

    "A "Polluter Pays" amendment to the Florida Constitution that voters approved in 1996 was supposed to force the sugar industry to at least cover its share of cleaning up damage to the Everglades. But some say state leaders have failed to fully enforce the measure. That means "it shifts the burden of cleaning up the Everglades to taxpayers," said Dave Cullen, Sierra Club lobbyist. "Everybody else's [share] gets bigger."

    The taxpayers' share of the Everglades cleanup gets even bigger under Gov. Rick Scott's $880 million water pollution cleanup plan. Last year, state lawmakers agreed to keep charging Everglades restoration fees paid by sugar-cane growers and other farmers south of Lake Okeechobee at existing levels for 10 years longer than once planned. But lawmakers haven't been willing to increase those fees, even as the public cleanup costs increase."


    So I ask, is this something that Obama needs to interject his authority over? It seems that this is a state initiative, but your governor Rick Scott is letting the sugar growers off the hook. Florida voters reelected Rick Scott, and he is doing what Rick Scott does. Should the federal government take charge because he and his fellow Republicans in the State legislature are not holding the Sugar industry accountable for the rising costs of clean-up including not building a filtration plant. I guess I am pushing back on "it's all Obama's fault" again.
    Schmidt; your last line "it's Obama's fault again"; I never said that; you are probably better informed than Obama. Scott keeps getting priviledges and money from that industry; that is a "bribery problem" . In such case it shows that our "election" system is at fault; thus points to our federal government which should reform the election process by getting "money" out of elections; That is called "democratic" not " greedy capitalism" Sorry therefore Obama and Congress are both indirectly at fault.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Dutch --- I guess I don't follow that logic. Yes our election process is deeply flawed, and it should be reformed by getting the money out of politics. But this is not something that can happen overnight. Remember we did have laws on the books, although imperfect, but it was the Supreme Court that gutted those laws, and our Republican controlled legislature will never lift a finger to fix the election process. It will take a Constitutional Amendment to override SCOTUS. Obama has been an advocate for election reform, but to think he has the power to change things is a bit of a stretch.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: Dutch --- I guess I don't follow that logic. Yes our election process is deeply flawed, and it should be reformed by getting the money out of politics. But this is not something that can happen overnight. Remember we did have laws on the books, although imperfect, but it was the Supreme Court that gutted those laws, and our Republican controlled legislature will never lift a finger to fix the election process. It will take a Constitutional Amendment to override SCOTUS. Obama has been an advocate for election reform, but to think he has the power to change things is a bit of a stretch.
    I read out of your reply that you did understand my logic. Thus in other words an elected official can be bribed and all is well. Why can an election process not be like over in Europe where very little money is used for elections let alone that bribery is allowed. Are we such a backwards country with still diapers on?
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    I wish somebody could figure out a way to SUE the Republicans who have stashed $$ Millions in Swiss Bank Accts -- & make them "bring back" our American Money to our own Homeland. It should be criminal to use Swiss Bank Accts to "avoid taxes" & to deprive our OWN Govt of critical funds we need for necessary
    maintenance of waterways & infrastructure. Republicans have excelled at "criminal" activities across foreign borders for many decades. And you can plainly see how well they take care of our people (even injured soldiers), who have a "right" to aid & assistance from our government. The GOP has discovered their OWN method of "birth control" & population limitation -- they just start up another WAR to "kill" many young men in battle, & starve the civilians to death from lack of jobs & a Failing Economy -- (plus training our police to be brutal Nazi Gestapo). There are many neo-Nazi's in the GOP.

    As the previous article suggests, we find on planet Earth, that with too much over-population, & the way our resources are being depleted, that life here, with any quality at all, will SOON be "unsustainable." In other words, we will be DOOMED. The only way to prolong Life with any quality at all, will be to cut down the population of planet Earth. Obviously, then, the solution would be to reduce the number of babies born. How could that be accomplished? By TWO methods that the Republicans HATE. (1) By using "birth control" so that women do not get pregnant. (ie: condoms, contraceptive devices, foams, the rhythm method,
    & "the pill" (which has been around since 1960). /// (2) By ending a pregnancy early --- surgically (ie) called an ABORTION. Naturally, the 2 best ways to save the planet from the horrors of "over-population" -- will be fought politically, legislatively, & with religious fervor --- by the pompous right-wing Republicans.

    It can be PROVED that the IRAQ WAR (2003) -- fabricated by BushCo & Halliburton Inc --- was a PNAC (GOP) Plan dreamed up 15 yrs earlier, These filthy crooked industrialists planned to scour the earth, looking for valuable resources, so that they could start a WAR & then "steal" all of the resources -- & become fabulously Wealthy. (True patriots would have at least SHARED some of the stolen OIL with We, the American People) -- but NO, -- not from the corrupt GOP Republicans. -- they are selfish & greedy to the Core. /// The part that REALLY gets to me, is that most all Republicans claim to be "so Christian" --- when they do the exact OPPOSITE of what Jesus Christ preached. // (a) Jesus was "anti-war" -- the Prince of Peace.// (b) Jesus taught that "sharing the wealth & taking care of the poor" is the most important thing that he will JUDGE You By. // Matthew 25: 31 - 45 // So, we can confidently conclude that on the Judgment Day, many pious & devout Republicans will need a huge emergency supply of "asbestos underwear." : )
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    eternal flame Wrote: I wish somebody could figure out a way to SUE the Republicans who have stashed $$ Millions in Swiss Bank Accts -- & make them "bring back" our American Money to our own Homeland. It should be criminal to use Swiss Bank Accts to "avoid taxes" & to deprive our OWN Govt of critical funds we need for necessary
    maintenance of waterways & infrastructure. Republicans have excelled at "criminal" activities across foreign borders for many decades. And you can plainly see how well they take care of our people (even injured soldiers), who have a "right" to aid & assistance from our government. The GOP has discovered their OWN method of "birth control" & population limitation -- they just start up another WAR to "kill" many young men in battle, & starve the civilians to death from lack of jobs & a Failing Economy -- (plus training our police to be brutal terrorists, like the Nazi Gestapo). There are many neo-Nazi's in the Republican Party.

    As the previous article suggests, we find on planet Earth, that with too much over-population, & the way our resources are being depleted, that life here, with any quality at all, will SOON be "unsustainable." In other words, we will be DOOMED. The only way to prolong Life with any quality at all, will be to cut down the population of planet Earth. Obviously, then, the solution would be to reduce the number of babies born. How could that be accomplished? By TWO methods that the Republicans HATE. (1) By using "birth control" so that women do not get pregnant. (ie: condoms, contraceptive devices, foams, the rhythm method,
    & "the pill" (which has been around since 1960). /// (2) By ending a pregnancy early --- surgically (ie) called an ABORTION. Naturally, the 2 best ways to save the planet from the horrors of "over-population" -- will be fought politically, legislatively, & with religious fervor --- by the pompous right-wing Republicans.

    It can be PROVED that the IRAQ WAR (2003) -- fabricated by BushCo & Halliburton Inc --- was a PNAC (GOP) Plan dreamed up 15 yrs earlier, These filthy crooked industrialists planned to scour the earth, looking for valuable resources, so that they could start a WAR & then "steal" all of the resources -- & become fabulously Wealthy. (True patriots would have at least SHARED some of the stolen OIL with We, the American People) -- but NO, -- not from the corrupt GOP Republicans. -- they are selfish & greedy to the Core. /// The part that REALLY gets to me, is that most all Republicans claim to be "so Christian" --- when they do the exact OPPOSITE of what Jesus Christ preached. // (a) Jesus was "anti-war" -- the Prince of Peace.// (b) Jesus taught that "sharing the wealth & taking care of the poor" is the most important thing that he will JUDGE You By. // Matthew 25: 31 - 45 // So, we can confidently conclude that on the Judgment Day, many pious & devout Republicans will need a huge emergency supply of "asbestos underwear." : )
    Sorry, the Republicans do not need " asbestos underwear" ( asbestos is also forbidden for use) as well the crematorium will not allow it; what's left is just "hot air" and adds to climate change. By the way do you have any record of how many "poor" your Jesus buddy did help ( the middle east is a large poor area) may be 25? Sorry "it" was a preacher; preachers don't help the poor; they only preach. Judgement day? ;it does not exist; dead bodies can not defend themself in any court let alone on Mars. I've never seen anyone collecting the smoke above the crematorium and judge that smoke. Wow get real. Nothing leaves a dead body let alone brain data; ask any doctor. Science is not able to retrieve data from a dead brain either yet. The "judge" will not allow dead people in his/her courtroom.
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    Hi Dutch: I am glad you are still alive, & do not need any judgment yet. But we are ALL coming into very perilous times, & Life as we know it may be coming to an End, due to pollution, over-crowding, lack of water, & global warming, etc. California is just the beginning. Oil slicks, magnified all over the earth, will make the water undrinkable, & will kill most of the sea creatures & fish on the earth. I guess Republicans do not know how to read a thermometer, so they can not notice that things are getting hotter world-wide.. All the icebergs are melting, which have been our source of water for hundreds & thousands of years, but now all of a sudden, they are gone with the wind.

    We can just ignore it all, or pretend not to notice, but then we would be to blame for not even TRYING to find a way to slow down the Hideous End. People with children should be especially worried -- what will happen to them? Space travel, as we all once believed in back in the JFK era, looks hopeless. Now we know there are no habitable planets for us to move to, so that is not a viable option. What is YOUR solution? But we gotta hurry up. TIME IS A WASTING.