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View Full Version : Two-thirds of world's resources 'used up'



Sonja
Sunday, April 10th, 2005, 08:14 AM
Tim Radford, science editor
Wednesday March 30, 2005
The Guardian (http://guardian.co.uk)

The human race is living beyond its means. A report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries - some of them world leaders in their fields - today warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure.

The study contains what its authors call "a stark warning" for the entire world. The wetlands, forests, savannahs, estuaries, coastal fisheries and other habitats that recycle air, water and nutrients for all living creatures are being irretrievably damaged. In effect, one species is now a hazard to the other 10 million or so on the planet, and to itself.

"Human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted," it says.

The report, prepared in Washington under the supervision of a board chaired by Robert Watson, the British-born chief scientist at the World Bank and a former scientific adviser to the White House, will be launched today at the Royal Society in London. It warns that:

· Because of human demand for food, fresh water, timber, fibre and fuel, more land has been claimed for agriculture in the last 60 years than in the 18th and 19th centuries combined.

· An estimated 24% of the Earth's land surface is now cultivated.

· Water withdrawals from lakes and rivers has doubled in the last 40 years. Humans now use between 40% and 50% of all available freshwater running off the land.

· At least a quarter of all fish stocks are overharvested. In some areas, the catch is now less than a hundredth of that before industrial fishing.

· Since 1980, about 35% of mangroves have been lost, 20% of the world's coral reefs have been destroyed and another 20% badly degraded.

· Deforestation and other changes could increase the risks of malaria and cholera, and open the way for new and so far unknown disease to emerge.

In 1997, a team of biologists and economists tried to put a value on the "business services" provided by nature - the free pollination of crops, the air conditioning provided by wild plants, the recycling of nutrients by the oceans. They came up with an estimate of $33 trillion, almost twice the global gross national product for that year. But after what today's report, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, calls "an unprecedented period of spending Earth's natural bounty" it was time to check the accounts.

"That is what this assessment has done, and it is a sobering statement with much more red than black on the balance sheet," the scientists warn. "In many cases, it is literally a matter of living on borrowed time. By using up supplies of fresh groundwater faster than they can be recharged, for example, we are depleting assets at the expense of our children."

Flow from rivers has been reduced dramatically. For parts of the year, the Yellow River in China, the Nile in Africa and the Colorado in North America dry up before they reach the ocean. An estimated 90% of the total weight of the ocean's large predators - tuna, swordfish and sharks - has disappeared in recent years. An estimated 12% of bird species, 25% of mammals and more than 30% of all amphibians are threatened with extinction within the next century. Some of them are threatened by invaders.

The Baltic Sea is now home to 100 creatures from other parts of the world, a third of them native to the Great Lakes of America. Conversely, a third of the 170 alien species in the Great Lakes are originally from the Baltic.

Invaders can make dramatic changes: the arrival of the American comb jellyfish in the Black Sea led to the destruction of 26 commercially important stocks of fish. Global warming and climate change, could make it increasingly difficult for surviving species to adapt.

A growing proportion of the world lives in cities, exploiting advanced technology. But nature, the scientists warn, is not something to be enjoyed at the weekend. Conservation of natural spaces is not just a luxury.

"These are dangerous illusions that ignore the vast benefits of nature to the lives of 6 billion people on the planet. We may have distanced ourselves from nature, but we rely completely on the services it delivers."

Erlingr Hįrbaršarson
Monday, April 11th, 2005, 11:53 PM
"These are dangerous illusions that ignore the vast benefits of nature to the lives of 6 billion people on the planet. 6 billion people, half of which have no worth to live throught out this night, is much too many. Every non-north european birth is a threat to the planets viability, whereby a threat to the lives of our children, childrens children osv. is reinforced every second. I have learnt that each year the world grows 70 million (75 million as of 2004 has also been confirmed) a year and 3 childs are bourne every second. How many do you reckon of those 70 million are White? :cool: Not many. %33 of the worlds population is christen and %20 is muslim, respectively. How many are true įsatrśar? Guess. :frown:

1. The world's population is growing by something like 70 million a year (a half dozen New Yorks or LAs).

2. Almost all of that population increase is coming in poor countries that do not have, and not likely to ever have, decent jobs for most of the unsustainable increase in their work forces. The global long term trend of jobs is still upwards but is noticeably more gradual than the growth in the number of job seekers.

3. If we manage to massively transfer resources from wealthy "center" countries to impoverished "periphery" countries over a long and sustained time period (assume, for the moment, that this can be done efficiently and democratically) but fail to stop population growth, then our kids, grandkids, and great-grand kids will be something 10-15 billion wonderfully equally miserably poor peasants. If, other the other hand we manage to stabilize the world's population at something like 6 or 7 billion, most of our descendants will have a much better standard of living (than under the 10-15 bil scenario), even if redistribution efforts fall short of socialist utopian ideals.

4. Achieving zero population growth (ZPG) around the world is not impossible. Many countries have done it. As a whole, these mothers and potential mothers (in poor countries, see point 2) would have far fewer children if they (the mothers) had other a more viable range of other options, such as education, job training, and had something closer equal rights with men.

From: http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=25923


We may have distanced ourselves from nature, but we rely completely on the services it delivers."

True, absolute true. We need to drink of the streams once again, live deep in the forgotten hills of yester, understand through a mind of autumn leaves and speak with a tongue made of sky and cloud. Listening to the cloak of Gråskjegg whisper within the winds before sleepings and watching an old moon rise...our people are foreign to the ways of the world to day. We are all betrayl. We are all poison to our own seed. Our forefathers would be ashamed on uss if they heard of what mindless drivel we speak and of what frivolous thoughts with which we bear plastic burden. As Varg said so beautifully, "Vi dųdde ikke...vi har aldri levd." He has right and his words encapsulate that of which I write here. Praise be to him and our people on this rainy night...

Stig NHF
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 09:28 AM
I have only one word Pentti Linkola or others like him.

Erlingr Hįrbaršarson
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 07:03 PM
He is very interesting. Here are some quotations from the ecofascist him self:

"What to do, when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and only one lifeboat? When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship's axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides of the boat."

"Any dictatorship would be better than modern democracy. There cannot be so incompetent dictator, that he would show more stupidity than a majority of the people. Best dictatorship would be one where lots of heads would roll and government would prevent any economical growth."

"The most central and irrational faith among people is the faith in technology and economical growth. Its priests believe until their death that material prosperity bring enjoyment and happiness - even though all the proofs in history have shown that only lack and attempt cause a life worth living, that the material prosperity doesn't bring anything else than despair. These priests believe in technology still when they choke in their gas masks."

"That there are billions of people over 60kg weight on this planet is recklessness."

more on Linkola her http://www.anus.com/zine/db/linkola_pentti/

SouthernBoy
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 07:07 PM
It is obvious modern humans are parasites. I doubt this will change much in the future. We simply need to find a new planet to destroy after Earth is gone.

Sonja
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 08:41 PM
It is obvious modern humans are parasites. I doubt this will change much in the future. We simply need to find a new planet to destroy after Earth is gone.Speak for yourself...

Gustavus Magnus
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 08:52 PM
Speak for yourself...

Oh? You're saying you effect the environment very little or not at all?

Sonja
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 08:56 PM
Oh? You're saying you effect the environment very little or not at all?Please. All living creatures affect the environment, especially humans.

I am saying that I have no desire to "find a new planet to destroy after Earth is gone". I would rather preserve this one.

Death and the Sun
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 09:22 PM
It is obvious modern humans are parasites. I doubt this will change much in the future. We simply need to find a new planet to destroy after Earth is gone.

Please bear in mind that we would have to overcome two pretty difficult obstacles: physics and evolution.

Any remotely habitable planet would be an impossibly long distance away from us. I know that faster-than-light travel is a staple in science fiction, but everything we presently know about the universe indicates that it is in fact physically impossible.

Also, we have evolved on this planet and adjusted to the conditions here. We would survive with great difficulty on another planet, if at all.

No, we must make do with the one planet we've already got, because we will not get a second chance to start again.

Stig NHF
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 09:49 PM
1. Of course we should preserve our own planet, anything else is completely out of the question.
2. If our societies were healthy and organic societies of tradition again, I bet we could colonize Mars in no time if we really wanted to, don't you? If the best minds of the european people set their heart to do something without the bull**** of 2005 all around us, we could do ANYTHING we damn want to.

Gustavus Magnus
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 10:23 PM
Please. All living creatures affect the environment, especially humans.

I am saying that I have no desire to "find a new planet to destroy after Earth is gone". I would rather preserve this one.

Fair enough.

Son of a gun
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 11:02 PM
World's resources are soon used up, indeed. Last time I was reminded of this fact was today at the gas station, when I was filling up.Gas price skyhigh, and there is no returning

Lissu
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 11:17 PM
World's resources are soon used up, indeed. Last time I was reminded of this fact was today at the gas station, when I was filling up.Gas price skyhigh, and there is no returning*sigh* You're right about the gas prices...

but it has mostly to do with the fact that gas is highly taxed here, and the current political situation in the middle east and Russia.

But, we will run out of oil, eventually... that day will come.

Death and the Sun
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 11:43 PM
Don't worry, the hi-tech Utopian future will come someday ... :D

http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/ny/newyork/postcards/future.jpg

Triglav
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 11:43 PM
*sigh* You're right about the gas prices...

but it has mostly to do with the fact that gas is highly taxed here, and the current political situation in the middle east and Russia.

But, we will run out of oil, eventually... that day will come.
Well, don't get your hopes up too high. Not all resources are depleted, and new technologies to extract oil are being developed.

Sonja
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 11:47 PM
Don't worry, the hi-tech Utopian future will come someday ... :D

http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/ny/newyork/postcards/future.jpgThis would be more accurate if everything were plastered with billboards and advertisements.

The future is bright...

Erlingr Hįrbaršarson
Tuesday, April 12th, 2005, 11:54 PM
The future is bright...

Indeed; and in fact as bright as a cave at the bottom of the deepest sea. :rolleyes:

Erlingr Hįrbaršarson
Wednesday, April 13th, 2005, 12:05 AM
Don't worry, the hi-tech Utopian future will come someday ... :D

http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/ny/newyork/postcards/future.jpg


I really love all these trees and flowers in our neighing future. :bloed_2: Every thing one needs to live a true life may be learnt under a tree and seen aside a stream. The future above looks as though Niflheim vomited its thickest and most hollow hatred and Hels laughings shal echo twixt the tarmac streets and concrete walls evermore. I wil take my own life if I am to live in such a world. Death greets greater warmth than the fires of plastic homes and hearts-for-sale.

Death and the Sun
Wednesday, April 13th, 2005, 12:16 AM
That was meant as an ironic comment on the naivete of pre-WW2 people, who thought humans would be taking weekend trips to Mars in their private space shuttles by the year 1970. In their visions of the future, everything was clean, sterile and safe. Just about the only thing appealing about it is that everyone was White, too. ;)

Son of a gun
Wednesday, April 13th, 2005, 12:37 AM
*sigh* You're right about the gas prices...

but it has mostly to do with the fact that gas is highly taxed here, and the current political situation in the middle east and Russia.

But, we will run out of oil, eventually... that day will come.
It is highly taxed here, but so is it in most of european countries. There was a time when it was profitable to fill up behind border, but prices are going up in russia too.

Arcturus
Wednesday, April 13th, 2005, 12:56 AM
I'm heading home this weekend to take my "american iron" out of hibernation... Luckily I have already decided that this summer will see hardly any driving but a lot of restoration. I love old american cars (old stuff in general even) but I'm not too wild about having to fill up a 98 liter gas tank to feed the 7.2 liter engine... :bloed_2:

Then again, I do walk or bike 9 months out of the year..
:shrugani:

Son of a gun
Wednesday, April 13th, 2005, 01:07 AM
I'm heading home this weekend to take my "american iron" out of hibernation... Luckily I have already decided that this summer will see hardly any driving but a lot of restoration. I love old american cars (old stuff in general even) but I'm not too wild about having to fill up a 98 liter gas tank to feed the 7.2 liter engine... :bloed_2:

Then again, I do walk or bike 9 months out of the year..
:shrugani:
Keeping car ain't cheap, no matter what kinda tuna can it is.Allthough my "german iron" is small (only 3.5L flatsix), it still costs fortunes to drive it

Arcturus
Wednesday, April 13th, 2005, 01:30 AM
Perhaps this might still be the solution. At least it would buy us some time until the scientists come up with a new fuel.
http://www.microcarmuseum.com/tour/images/schmitt201-13.jpg

Son of a gun
Wednesday, April 13th, 2005, 09:15 AM
Perhaps this might still be the solution. At least it would buy us some time until the scientists come up with a new fuel.
http://www.microcarmuseum.com/tour/images/schmitt201-13.jpg
Looks like solution is worse than problem itself