Saturday, December 10, 2016

"We killed 58% of all vertebrate wildlife just between 1970 and 2012"

"We killed 58% of all vertebrate wildlife just between 1970 and 2012, and at a rate of 2% per year we will have massacred close to 70% of it by 2020, just 4 years from now...

How many need and/or want how much of what,
where is half way, who’s got what’s left, who gets cut off when,
who will compete with who for what’s left,
and how is who most likely to win?

...we don’t get to choose to stop the ongoing wildlife annihilation at 70%; we are witnessing, and indeed we are actively involved in, raising that number by 2% every year that we ‘live’ in this world.

It's too late to fix

This is our only home.

Without the natural world that we were born into, or rather that our species, our ancestors, were born into, we have zero chance of survival.  Because it is the natural world that has allowed for, and created, the conditions that made it possible for mankind to emerge and develop in the first place.

There are probably already too many people on the planet.

We need to continue to decrease the growth rate of the global population.

The planet can't support many more people.

Dr Nina Fedoroff
National Medal of Science Laureate
Professor of Molecular Biology
Science and Technology Advisor to the US Secretary of State

...Two thirds of our world is gone, and it’s we who have murdered it, and what’s worse – judging from our lifestyles- we seem to have hardly noticed at all.

Cognitive Dissonance 

...Our perhaps biggest problem (even if we have quite a few) in this regard is our ability and propensity to deny this, as we deny any and all -serious, consequential- wrongdoing.

Too many cows to feed too many people

...The tragedy is that we may have gained some knowledge of natural laws and the universe, but we are completely clueless when it comes to keeping ourselves from destroying our world.

...We treat this entire extinction episode as if it’s something we’re watching from the outside in, as if it’s something we’re not really a part of. I’ve seen various undoubtedly very well-intentioned ‘green people’, ‘sustainable people’, react to the WWF report by pointing to signs that there is still hope...

You're captives of a civilizational system
that more or less compels you to go on destroying the world
in order to live.

Daniel Quinn
Postulated correlations between  population growth
and natural resource consumption

...There is no reversal, there is no turnaround. It’s like saying if a body doesn’t fall straight down in a continuous line, it doesn’t fall down at all.

...Conservationist groups today serve as apologists for the havoc mankind unleashes on its world: all people have to do is donate money at Christmas, and conservation will be taken care of. Recycle a few bottles and plastic wrappings and you’re doing your part to save the planet. ...It’s denial writ large, and in the flesh.

It’s not advertised that way, but that doesn’t mean it’s not how it works. Saying that ‘it’s not too late’ is not a call to action as many people continue to believe.


It’s just dirt poor psychology. It provides people with the impression, which rapidly turns into an excuse, that there is still time left. As almost 70% of all vertebrates, those animals that are closest to us, have disappeared. When would they say time is up? At 80%, 90%?

If Gazelles need water and grass
and Cheetahs need water and Gazelles
and an abundance of sustenance leads to more Gazelles
should more Gazelles and water lead to more Cheetahs?

If too many Gazelles relative to water and grass lead to fewer Gazelles
do fewer Gazelles = fewer Cheetahs?

We do not understand why, or even that, we are such a tragically destructive species. And perhaps we can’t. Perhaps that is where our intelligence stops, at providing insight into ourselves. Even the most ‘aware’ amongst us will still tend to disparage their own roles in what goes on...

Attachment is suffering 

...Every species that finds a large amount of free energy reacts the same way: proliferation. The unconscious drive is to use up the energy as fast as possible. ...understanding it would get in the way of the principle itself. The only thing we can do to stop the extinction is for all of us to use a lot less energy.

Not possible with the current number of people
and animals used to feed said people

But because energy consumption provides wealth and -more importantly- political power, we will not do that. We instead tell ourselves all we need to do is use different forms of energy.

We already messed up the environment
passed the point of being able to fix it

Our inbuilt talent for denying and lying (to ourselves and others) makes it impossible for us to see that we have an inbuilt talent for denying and lying in the first place. Or, put another way, seeing that we haven’t been able to stop ourselves from putting the planet into the dismal shape it is in now, why should we keep on believing that we will be able to stop ourselves in the future?

Confirmation bias

...We see ourselves as highly intelligent, and -as a consequence- we see ourselves as a species driven by reason. But we are not. Which can be easily demonstrated by a ‘reverse question’: why, if we are so smart, do we find ourselves in the predicament of having destroyed two thirds of our planet?

We already destroyed 'our' planet, it's just not done yet,
but the planet will survive, just without overwhelmingly most of 'us'

Do we have a rational argument to execute that destruction? Of course not, we’ll say.

If we stop having kids, the world's economy will collapse, 
killing off billions anyway from a breakdown of civilization

...It’s the same question, and the same answer that will NOT have us ‘abandon whatever it is we do’ when we read today that 70% of all wildlife will be gone by 2020, that 58% was gone by 2012 and we destroy it at a rate of 2% per year. We’re much more likely to worry much more about some report that says returns on our retirement plans will be much lower than we thought. Or about the economic growth that is too low (as if that is possible with 70% of wildlife gone).

After all, if destroying 70% of wildlife is not enough for a call to action, what would be? 80%? 90? 99%?

Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio.

Subsistence only increases in an arithmetical ratio.

Thomas Robert Malthus
Suggested populations could increase faster than food supplies

...relying on conservationist groups to take care of it for us is not a viable route. Because that same 70% number spells out loud and clear what miserable failures these groups have turned out to be.

...What drives us is the part of our brains that we share in common with amoeba and bacteria and all other more ‘primitive forms of life, that gobbles up excess energy as fast as possible, in order to restore a balance. Our ‘rational’, human, brain serves one function, and one only: to find ‘rational’ excuses for what our primitive brain has just made us do.

The flapping of a single butterfly's wing today produces a tiny change…
…so, in a month's time,
a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn't happen,
or maybe one that wasn't going to happen does.

Ian Stewart
The Mathematics of Chaos

We’re all intelligent enough to understand that driving a hybrid car or an electric car does nothing to halt the havoc we do to our world, but there are still millions of these things being sold. So perhaps we could say that we’re at the same time intelligent enough, and we’re not.

What could happen if there’s enough food but some can’t afford it,
or governments can’t provide it?

...We have done exactly the same that any primitive life form would do when faced with a surplus, of food, energy, and in our case credit, cheap money. We spent it all as fast as we can. Lest less abundant times arrive. It’s an instinct, it comes from our more primitive brain segments, not our more “rational” frontal cortex. It’s not that we’re in principle, or talent, more devious or malicious than more primitive life forms. It’s that we use our more advanced brains to help us execute the same devastation our primitive brain drives us to, but much much worse.

Only seven meals separate civilization from potential anarchy.

Josette Sheeran
UN World Food Program

That’s what makes us the most tragic species imaginable. We’ll fight each other, even our children, over the last few scraps falling off the table, and kill off everything in our path to get there. And when we’re done, we’ll find a way to rationalize to ourselves why we were right to do so. We can be aware of watching ourselves do what we do, but we can’t help ourselves from doing it.

The greatest miracle you will ever see, that you could ever hope to see, is so miraculous you can’t even recognize it for what it is."

Fleas put in a jar will jump out.

Fleas in a jar with a glass plate across the top will jump,
hit the plate, and stay in the jar.

Eventually, fleas in a jar with a glass plate across the top
won’t jump high enough to hit the plate.

If the fleas stop hitting the plate,
and the plate is removed, the fleas won’t jump out.

If the removed glass plate is a metaphor for fear,
are you certain you’ve not been conditioned to fear glass plates
that aren’t there?

Doesn't really matter on this point at this point anyway,
but we are the fleas stuck in a jar

If mold continues to multiply after eating half a piece of cheese,
what happens when demand exceeds supply?

If we’re the mold and Earth is the cheese, how many need and/or want how much,
where is half way, who’s got what’s left, who gets cut off when,
who will compete with who for what’s left, and how is who most likely to win?

Mold can't collectively prevent the procreation of a larger generation
that can’t be fed by the remaining cheese,
and we are the mold

Two fundamentally different stories have been enacted
…during the lifetime of man.

One began... some two or three million years ago by the Leavers,
and is still being enacted by them today, as successfully as ever.

The other began to be enacted here some ten or twelve thousand years ago
by the Takers,
and is apparently about to end in catastrophe.

Ishmael, a wise fictional gorilla

If arable land, fresh water, irrigation, genetically modified seed
modern equipment, pesticides and fertilizers
convert fossil fuel into enough food to keep pace with population growth,
is the populace dependent on ever increasing supplies of finite resources?

The major advances in civilization
are processes which all but wreck the societies in which they occur.

Alfred North Whitehead

Fossil fuel, pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified seed, 
irrigation, exponentially productive technology, arable land and fresh water
created enough food to keep pace with population growth so far,
meaning Earth’s industrialized civilization dependent 
on ever increasing supplies of what appears to be finite resources
which are going to run out, along with the number of cheetahs,
which is 'us'

The greatest shortcoming of the human race
is our inability to understand the exponential function.

Dr Albert Bartlett