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Earth Approaching Tipping Point Say Scientists

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the let-the-flaming-begin dept.

Earth 759

Hugh Pickens writes "The UC Berkeley News Center reports that a prestigious group of 22 internationally known scientists from around the world is warning that population growth, widespread destruction of natural ecosystems, and climate change may be driving Earth toward an irreversible change in the biosphere, a planet-wide tipping point that would have destructive consequences absent adequate preparation and mitigation. 'It really will be a new world, biologically, at that point,' warns lead author Anthony Barnosky. 'The data suggests that there will be a reduction in biodiversity and severe impacts on much of what we depend on to sustain our quality of life, including, for example, fisheries, agriculture, forest products and clean water. This could happen within just a few generations.' The authors note that studies of small-scale ecosystems show that once 50-90 percent of an area has been altered, the entire ecosystem tips irreversibly into a state far different from the original, in terms of the mix of plant and animal species and their interactions. Humans have already converted about 43 percent of the ice-free land surface of the planet to uses like raising crops and livestock and building cities. This situation typically is accompanied by species extinctions and a loss of biodiversity. 'My view is that humanity is at a crossroads now, where we have to make an active choice,' says Barnosky. 'One choice is to acknowledge these issues and potential consequences and try to guide the future (in a way we want to). The other choice is just to throw up our hands and say, 'Let's just go on as usual and see what happens.'"

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This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (5, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251509)

Just coincidence? I think not...

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251537)

World Ending. News at 11.

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (4, Informative)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251581)

It would have been nice if you provided a link [wikipedia.org] or two [rt.com] .

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251621)

Yeah. But then, I wouldn't have gotten Fr1st Psot.

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251757)

Given your SlashID, can we call you the original Karma Whore then? ;-)

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (2, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251815)

Given my downmods, no. :-)

But /. is a game with elaborate scoring - and Karma is not the sole scale for measuring this.

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251839)

Given my downmods, no. :-)

But /. is a game with elaborate scoring - and Karma is not the sole scale for measuring this.

An interesting game -- the only winning move is not to register.

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251603)

FYI,
They showed us a movie in Jr High, about this same thing. We were being warned of the immenent human-driven catastrophe that would subsume our civilization and imperil human existance.

That was 1977.

I suggest that if 1% of the planet's human inhabitants did not disproportionatley gobble and discard 90% of the wealth, resources and energy, that there'd be plenty to go around in a reasonably sustainable way - and quite comfortably.

Watch out when you are propagandized like this. Once you accept that this is "Science" - they will present you the "solution". It will be a complete horror.

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (-1, Flamebait)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251667)

I'd at least consider the possibility that this latest "scientists warn of crisis" scare was anything but BS if the last 20 "scientists warn of crisis" scares weren't, every one of them, BS!

If you live in the US, you're almost certainly one of the "evil 1% of the earth's inhabitants". Well, if you want to go back to a cave, no one's stopping you, but I want to see the other 99% living as well as I do, not give up on modern life due to liberal guilt. If that raises new engineering challenges along the way, so be it - we can figure shit out (for example, we're closing in on figuring solar out, maybe 20 year or so - sorry Peak Oil fans, never gonna happen).

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251735)

You do realize the universe doesn't give a flying fuck about liberal vs conservative, your way of life or the price of tea in China. This idiotic obsession with trying to turn any science you don't like into some ideological position is bizarre. Not everyone in this world is motivated by simplistic dogmatic positions.

And how is declaring "engineering solutions will be found" not just simply passing the buck to the future?

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (5, Funny)

Phil06 (877749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251933)

Whatever happens, it will become history, and you can't change history.

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (-1, Flamebait)

kick6 (1081615) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251987)

You do realize the universe doesn't give a flying fuck about liberal vs conservative, your way of life or the price of tea in China. This idiotic obsession with trying to turn any science you don't like into some ideological position is bizarre. Not everyone in this world is motivated by simplistic dogmatic positions.

By that notion the universe doesn't give a flying fuck about the entirety of human existence and what we may or may not be doing to the planet. So why get butthurt enough to make your comment?

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40252043)

The reason to state it is to point out the stupidity of trying to insist science you don't like is just some opposing political/ideological claim. If the science is right or wrong it is because of the data, not because one is conservative or liberal.

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 2 years ago | (#40252057)

That's exactly why I didn't make a comment but then, I realized that we are the f*cking universe.

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251947)

Here's why the "new engineering" argument doesn't work for energy: how are we going to engineer our way out of entropy?

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251983)

Ask MultiVac.

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (3, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40252009)

If you live in the US, you're almost certainly one of the "evil 1% of the earth's inhabitants".

Well, the "evil 1%" amounts to about 70 million people, and the USA has about 330 million.

So it looks like you have no better than a 25% chance of being one of the "evil 1%" if you live in the USA.

And that would be assuming that noone else in the world is part of the 1%....

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251785)

Watch out when you are propagandized like this

And your scientific evidence that this group of scientists are lying is where exactly? Because when you call their conclusions "propaganda", like Fox News, then you're accusing them of lying.

The Earth's load limit is 5 billion and we're over 7 billion already. There aren't enough resources to go around no matter how you divide it.

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251969)

The Earth's load limit is 5 billion and we're over 7 billion already. There aren't enough resources to go around no matter how you divide it.

What kind of "science" gave you that conclusion?

Recent estimates indicate that there are enough raw materials in the earth's crust to last another 10,000 years of advancing civilization. Just because we have historically only mined the top ½ mile of the earth's crust does not mean that we will not develop new ways to reach natural resources. The beauty of the future is that it does not have to be restricted based on our current technological inabilities. It is organic, adaptable as situations change. In 1950, nobody thought we would be able to sustain a planet with four billion people. By 1980, not only had we surpassed that number, but we also improved world average life expectancy and were agriculturally productive in places that had been barren wasteland before. Do not limit the potential for our children based on the archaic limitations that we face today.

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251805)

But it is this 1% that is posing these questions, so they pose it in such a way that the "right" solution is to control population else where but allow the tens of acres of land per person in the 1% group. What did Henry Kissinger call it? By some horse shit logic "we" are allowed own properties which can last for generations but "they" can't have any number f children they want. And they are evil for doing that.

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251837)

Hmm... perhaps, globally. But look at how localized regions have done, as there are many regional cultures that have been thwarted by regional climate (meso-climate?) change.

Or, compare biblical accounts of Palestine and Lebanon areas - the hills had lots of Lebanon Cedar trees everywhere, but there are very few now. Where'd they all go? Well, firewood and desertification, kind of in a bit of a feedback loop there.

India and Bangladesh come to mind, too. Deforestation because of use of any woody vegetation for firewood or grazing for goats.

We'd choose Choice A if someone greedy enough could show the other greedy fuckers how to make lots of money from the change as well as the new order. For now, there's still too much to be mined from the current setup in the next 20-50 years.

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251949)

Yes, the mysterious "they". Who made it? What were their credentials? How many climatologists did they convince at the time? Do you trust all used car salesmen because a friend told you to beware of them, yet the first one cut you a great deal on a good car?

Re:This Announcement Hot on Heels of Bilderbergers (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251989)

I always thought this talk by Chris Martenson was pretty good:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WBiTnBwSWc [youtube.com]

So, scientists are off by a bit. To ignore trends just because it might stay "good" for a little while longer is a bit like sticking your head in the sand. Back in 1977, we really didn't have the same computing power, google earth, or a million other things that makes research and all that thousands of times more comprehensive today. And maybe today scientists are wrong, science tends to do that with new information, to undo some previous conclusions.

The Change Is Already Here, Just Have To Cope (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40252053)

For anyone who's been keeping up with the literature, whether it's rainfall patterns on the major climate zone boundaries, the reaction of wildlife to their environment, acidification of oceans, and polar conditions, it's obvious major change is already underway. That this occurs after a couple centuries of man-made increases in atmospheric CO2 isn't likely to be coincidence.

It's known that we could moderate and reduce said concentrations without sending everyone back to the farm. But, most of the practical methods absolutely will result in a short term income cut for most of the US top 0.1%. Virtually nobody likes a cut in income, the top 0.1% has ready access to the levers of political power and astroturf propaganda PR, so the US has sat on its collective ass. Until the US commits to act, China and India won't.

The parent post is a very common example of the result, someone who at least claims to think that this is all a plot to take most of your stuff and give it to someone else. The funny thing is that as recently as four years ago, pretty much everyone in the GOP leadership agreed we needed to get off our asses and implement some of the solutions. But, after the crash of '08 wiped out about a third of the 0.1%ers net worth, they're not in the mood anymore, and with the ongoing joblessness, their mood is an easy sell.

So, I think it's getting to be time to admit we're just going to have to cope. You and me, able to sit at a computer to hash this out, we'll manage. The current generation in places like Bangladesh and large swaths of India, China, and southern Africa... they're going to get screwed. Our kids, they're going to get screwed. Their kids? They're going to get really screwed.

Us? We've got a demonstrated tendency to discount future hardship. Like the demotivational poster says: Procrastination: hard work pays off over time, laziness pays off now.

Choice B it is (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251517)

I'm sure we're going to pick Choice B, "throw up our hands and say, 'Let's just go on as usual and see what happens.'" Choice A would require some serious coordinated effort from all the world's industrialized nations, and there's absolutely no way that's ever going to happen.

Choice B has worked before (3, Insightful)

mveloso (325617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251623)

Hey, we're still here, aren't we?

Apocalyptic visions of the future seems to be a human pastime. Ignoring them seems to be the other human pastime.

Re:Choice B has worked before (5, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251935)

I see people driving dangerously all the time and I realize the driver is thinking "Hey, I've done this hundreds of times before and it's never been a problem." And they're right. Until the one time they're not right. Then it's too late. I don't think getting away with something many times is an excuse to keep doing it. People die that way every day.

Re:Choice B it is (1)

EaglemanBSA (950534) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251647)

...all we need is a Garden of Eden Creation Kit and a few vaults...we'll be fine :D

Re:Choice B it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251863)

No we just need q from star trek...wipe out america, china, russia, and israel....the rest of us would be fine

Re:Choice B it is (3, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#40252011)

Yes, Europe is doing so wonderfully right now.

Re:Choice B it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251697)

I think that the white population in the US already has a negative growth rate and I believe that this is the trend in most European countries too. So, which party do you think will take up the mantle of reducing the number of brown people being born?

Re:Choice B it is (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251835)

The coordinated effort which these genocidal loons want is the murder of billions of people and the return of the few survivors to Stone Age technology--they are Pol Pot on a planetary scale.

Re:Choice B it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251899)

Welcome to the world of limited choices brought about by studies of small concerned groups who don't have your wellbeing in mind.

"A or B .. hmmm .. OMG! We've got to choose A, NOW!!! DDDOOOOOOOOMMMMM"

Wake up and smell the Methane they're shoveling. I choose C! We boycott our day jobs in favor of growing veggies and making love in the bushes. Who's with me*?

*Must be good looking.

a third way (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251519)

or we can all slit our wrists over green guilt!

Re:a third way (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251611)

Indeed. You first :)

Deniers howling (1, Insightful)

asmiller1950 (625539) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251533)

No really, it really IS reaching a tipping point, no matter what your energy company overlords are saying. The problem is the denier class didn't take chemistry and physics in high school and they know nothing of how peer-reviewed science works. And I say that as a general contractor that did get some science education well after high school, while the deniers were at Bible study.

Dialectic failure (4, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251607)

Thanks for the broad sweeping generalizations, it was highly informative.

Re:Dialectic failure (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251741)

Watch Albert Bartlet's "energy arithmetic and growth" on youtube. Also see Assamov's the law of the bathroom. Smarter people than you know you're wrong.

Re:Deniers howling (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251645)

I hear you, but to be fair, 'Irreversible' in the article is a bit misleading. It's only 'irreversible' in regards to our current time frames. As many of the deniers like to point out, the earth has been this warm and warmer and colder and just about everything else before. That's the nugget of truth they can cling too. The rates of change and whatever else is technically different now vs then are just 'details'.

The earth will recover just fine. We on the other hand are likely pretty well in for a 'fun' ride in the much nearer term.

Re:Deniers howling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251803)

'Irreversible' isn't referring to changes in the climate, it's referring to changes in the biosphere. If a species goes extinct, that species is gone for good no matter how long you wait.

Re:Deniers howling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251999)

Unless you have this one really creepy species of ape that's evolved a behavior of putting other species (especially rare ones) in natural or artificial habitats, protecting them from predation, sometimes even putting more resources towards keeping these individuals of other species alive than low-status members of the group. Nobody's quite sure why they've evolved this trait, but it has the potential to preserve species that would otherwise be extinct...

(e.g. American Bison)

Re:Deniers howling (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251857)

Well they are humans speaking to humans about the future of human civilization. There is enough time before the sun expands and destroys the earth to come full circle, unless all life was extinguished their is probably enough time left to create a new advanced civilization from microbes or cockroaches.

But on the scale of human civilization, it likely would be irreversible as the species would likely be extinct long before it was back to "normal".

Re:Deniers howling (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251705)

No really, it really IS reaching a tipping point, no matter what your energy company overlords are saying.

If you're so big into peer reviewed research, you might want to scale back your claims there, mate. The scientists in the article are a lot more careful in their claims than you, as we see from this quote, "The authors of the Nature review argue that, although many warning signs are emerging, no one knows how close Earth is to a global tipping point, or if it is inevitable." The world would be a better place if more people were careful in what they asserted,like these scientists.

In other words, don't load up on oil futures just yet.

Re:Deniers howling (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251761)

Amazing. I love hearing about peer reviewd from people claiming AGW. If you actually looked into AGW research you see it is not even close to peer reviewed. The IPCC reports are all based on research done by Phil Jone at the CRU in the UK. He admitted to manipulating data to match his theories on AGW over a 20 year period. He also ignored FOI requests for years because he didn't want other scientists to review his work. He went so far as to DELETE the original unmanipulated data his research was based on instead of risking someone else double checking his work. Phil Jones is the ONLY PERSON on the planet to see the original unmanipulated data that goes into all the IPCC reports. He is a known liar and has admitted to deleteing data instead of risking peer review.

So here you are lecturing us on peer reviewed science while you are backing "science" that hasn't been peer reviewed and never can be now. Its like living in the Twilight Zone hearing people like you complaining that the rest of us don't follow the claims of a single person who has been found guilty of scientific fraud. You must truly be proud of yourself for not questioning anything.

Real science means listening to scientists (1, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251855)

Since there are a slew of climate scientists [notrickszone.com] who claim the IPCC is making many absurd claims, you come off as the real denier for cherry-picking who you pay attention to. You just can't stand being wrong so you've doubled down on your cultism.

You are ignoring the work of REAL scientists, not those backed by governments that stand to gain hugely by the changes they wish to force upon us.

Sorry pal, but the world has woken up to the massive scam you nearly succeeding in pulling over on the world - now the earth will go on just as it did, in some centuries warmer, in some cooler. But 20 years hence when there's not a problem to be found YOU and your puppeteers will not be able to claim credit for it.

First-World already below replacement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251539)

What do they think the solution is, since the first world is already below replacement fertility [wikipedia.org] ?

evolutionist's (-1, Troll)

jwilljr (141997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251549)

Why don't evolutionist's believe in evolution?

Re:evolutionist's (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251613)

I'm unclear what your accusation means. If I retrain myself from beating you to death with a baseball bat, does that represent a denial of evolution.

Re:evolutionist's (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251981)

He means we'll all be okay in the end because we'll evolve. As a species, that's almost certainly true. But I wouldn't want to have been around during the time of the major extinctions, even though we all did get through it as a group. The individuals who were there went through hell. George Carlin [armageddononline.org] said it best: "The planet...the planet...the planet isn't going anywhere. WE ARE!"

Re:evolutionist's (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251651)

evolutionist's what?

Apostrophes are not for plurals, even when you're talking about evolutionists.

Re:evolutionist's (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251777)

Obviously the apostrophe was a mutation.

punch line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251673)

their primitive monkey brains won't let them?

Re:evolutionist's (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251699)

Perhaps they do and are trying to delay our species' "adapt or die" phase.

Re:evolutionist's (5, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251713)

"Why don't evolutionist's believe in evolution?"

We don't believe in evoltution. Your phrase implies a faith that is not necessary. We merely understand evolution. For example, we understand that evolution is a biological mechanism, not an all encompassing silver bullet that guarantees survival of the human race regardless of the behavior of the planets inhabitants on a global scale. It is called an ecosystem for a reason, which leads to a need to understand entropy. Note that you don't need to believe in entropy. It is going to happen even if you become best friends with the flying spaghetti monster. The question is, can we dynamically counteract it. Some of us believe we can, and so it matters how we behave. Others don't believe it is necessary to change our behavior as a species, and will keep ignoring any evidence that is contradictory to their comfortable world view.

Re:evolutionist's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40252037)

I think what my friend really meant was, "How is babby formed?"

Cancel the Parking Permits (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251553)

Good time to cancel the special parking permits for Nobel Prize winners

  * http://www.berkeleyside.com/2011/10/04/new-nobel-winner-gets-real-prize-a-special-parking-permit/ [berkeleyside.com]
  * http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113883274 [npr.org]

"Nobel Prize winner Saul Perlmutter joked that the “only reason to win a Nobel Prize” was to receive the famous Nobel laureate (NL) parking permit, reserved for laureates on the Berkeley campus."

And still some religions ban birth control (2, Insightful)

SirBitBucket (1292924) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251555)

How greedy must a religion be to try to breed more members by banning birth control when we have soaring population growth? Makes me think that the leaders of churches banning birth control or some of the most morally corrupt people on the planet for all the unwanted births they have caused.

Re:And still some religions ban birth control (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251635)

leaders of churches ... morally corrupt

Well, yeah.

Re:And still some religions ban birth control (3, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251641)

The world is not being overrun by Roman Catholics. Or even by Floridian Baptists.

Re:And still some religions ban birth control (1)

SirBitBucket (1292924) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251721)

That is because so many Catholics become fed up with that sect and leave: 10% of the US population is ex-catholic... http://pewresearch.org/databank/dailynumber/?NumberID=494 [pewresearch.org] Perhaps birth control/population growth played a role... I find it sad that people on /. down-modded the original post. I thought most of us were a little more scientific, and a little less fanatical... But that is the thing with religion... you aren't allowed to question it...

Re:And still some religions ban birth control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251893)

What are you basing that on? Have a look at the numbers:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_population_growth [wikipedia.org]

You could certainly say that Christianity isn't growing any faster than any other religion, but compare to the "other" row in the absolute growth table (mostly atheists). Religious populations do grow at a much faster rate than non-religious ones, and that isn't due to conversions it's due to births.

ban stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251737)

but adoption rates are much higher among the religious. Also focusing on one narrow issue does not help anyone. I honestly believe that if the Catholic church started giving out condoms at mass that we'd still have the same problems in the world.

One of the fastest ways to reduce birth rates is to provide abundant food, water, education and entertainment. The other side of the coin is that the fastest way to increase your population is for a wealthy nation to allow immigration.

Also I find it amusing[pathetic] that overpopulation arguments typically come from people in countries where overpopulation is simply not going to become a problem (like western Europe, the US, and even Japan). The amount of area for each individual is high in these wealthy countries, and the capacity for industrial farming and trade is also high (they are wealthy after all).

Overpopulation in poor countries has already already been going on for a long time, more people are there than their society's to adequately feed and employ. Of course climate change accelerates the situation when the capacity to produce food is diminished even further.

Perhaps these discussions are only about a poor definition for overpopulation by people making such arguments.

Re:And still some religions ban birth control (3, Interesting)

ichthus (72442) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251829)

Watch this [ted.com] , and stop hyperventilating.

Re:And still some religions ban birth control (1)

eagee (1308589) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251951)

They're not morally corrupt, they're morally bankrupt :).

No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251577)

Just make a law against predicting such catastrophes, problem solved!

Choice made (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251595)

The other choice is just to throw up our hands and say, 'Let's just go on as usual and see what happens.'"

The choice has been made. Problem with this group is they don't offer a reasonable alternative. Or any alternative really, all they say is, "listen to us!"

Yeah (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251615)

Good luck with that. Humans will continue plodding along exactly the same as they always have, until they start dying off suddenly once the reserve is gone and some minor catastrophe or other strikes that is just too much to deal with, pushing everyone over the edge. After all that's how disease happens. You're fine until the day you're not. This will happen because everyone thinks it's someone else's problem. Witness people - not even only lower class uneducated peasants but middle class supposedly educated people - gladly boasting of having 5 or more kids even today. Now consider the undevelopped world parts of which are still growing at rates like 6% (which means doubling in size every 12 years). I'd say a few generations is too generous.

Re:Yeah (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251939)

Have you ever considered contributing by committing suicide? If you started a movement, you might even get followers.

I thank you for your sacrifice.

Ahhh yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251625)

Nothing like a chicken little answer to get everyone on your side! Especially the doubters! Well done!

bytch Gaia gets fyucked ... about time (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251633)

Yep, I agree. Too many people on the earth. I can hear the bastards every day, and mostly those young are the worst. Makes you wish for an ice-age or something. Then we can get back to screwing snake-goddess bytch Gaia, the sponsor of ectopic pregnancy, Ebola and rabies virus and CO spewing lakes of snarky death. Is there **any** human value beside speckled-trout fishing against which Gaia does not muster killing cohorts? Humans Terra.form while bytch.Gaia terrifies. Need a postcard? haha.

Nature (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251649)

Posting as AC because I'll probably get modded flamebait or troll, especially with my hint of sarcasm...

Why should we worry about things like this? Aren't people generally in favor of letting nature do its thing? If humans are a product of nature, then whatever we do is natural. Any way the planet changes is a natural process toward a new equilibrium. Whatever happens to us because of our actions will cause (read: force) future generations to adapt to any changes we bring about --- and in this case, perhaps cause them to learn to be dependent on fewer resources. Don't we want to be dependent on fewer resources? The only thing we're doing is forcing that change to happen, instead of trying to let humanity voluntarily do it before this "tipping point" occurs.

This "tipping point" seems to simply be a change in how we are used to life. I am interested to know how the species will adapt to changes we bring about beyond the tipping point.

Re:Nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251847)

Ultimately we are merely a filigree on the edge of one star system, built up in a fractal-shaped universe that ultimately doesn't care whether we will survive or not.

Ultimately, despite all our conservation efforts, the earth will be consumed by a growing red giant sun. And should our species survive that, we will all die in the heat death of the universe.

So go have a drink and have fun, happy in the knowledge that you will be dead and forgotten long before any of this happens.

Re:Nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251913)

Posting as AC because I'll probably get modded flamebait or troll, especially with my hint of sarcasm...

In other words, you lack the courage of your convictions. In other other words you rank "karma" granted by an Internet discussion board above openly* stating your opinion.

*As open as one can be while using a fairly anonymous nom de plume.
(Posting AC because I see no reason to sign up.)

Re:Nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40252021)

In other other words you rank "karma" granted by an Internet discussion board above openly* stating your opinion.

AC's opinion was stated in the open, thus AC openly stated his opinion. I don't really understand your connection between karma and saying something anonymously. To me, it seems AC doesn't trust moderators to mod the comment up, as he wishes it would be. By taking the risk in having it modded down, it affects whether his comments will be seen in future discussions.

(Posting as AC because I do not trust moderators to mod this comment up, but instead "offtopic", if moderated at all.)

Malthus Lives!! (1)

hawks5999 (588198) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251653)

Next news: there are no more patentable ideas.

The sky really IS falling! (1, Insightful)

miltonw (892065) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251679)

The report cites "explosive population growth" [citation needed] and "rapid temperature increases" [citation needed].

While I'll agree that there is a lot of harmful stuff that humans do to the environment, I don't agree with this whole "tipping point", panic now, panic often, "the sky really IS falling this time!" message. It doesn't help.

Because people listen to that hyperbole and then find out the population growth isn't "explosive" and the temperature rise isn't "rapid" and that invalidates the whole message.

Do they really think they can still sell their "Oh God! Panic now!" message?

Re:The sky really IS falling! (4, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251773)

The report cites "explosive population growth" [citation needed]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:World-Population-1800-2100.png [wikipedia.org] would be a start. For your other claims, maybe actually read TFA?

Re:The sky really IS falling! (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251879)

From the look of your referenced chart, it looks like population is leveling off.

Re:The sky really IS falling! (2, Insightful)

miltonw (892065) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251945)

Using that kind of graphing tricks, any increase can be made to look very steep. It's not data, it's data manipulation to make it look bad.

Re:The sky really IS falling! (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40252049)

Hmm, population doubled in 20 years, and the WORST CASE projection shows population doubling again in 40 years.

Wow, that's explosive growth alright - worst case is half as fast as it's been increasing.

Re:The sky really IS falling! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251923)

Hmm... we can see it in historical record for past regional cultures - climatic patterns changed, threw off the food system, and collapse. Incan and Mayan civilizations had past their tipping points by the time they were "discovered". Smallpox and other things helped hastened the decline, if not of all the people, certainly of their civilizations.

Same for Easter Island. or Nauru, Anasazi, et al. Granted, those two were very small, contained physical locales, but both were mined out of their natural resources, which fucked the civilization/society on those islands.

To think that globally we may be special and not run into the same kinds of walls?

Re:The sky really IS falling! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40252063)

Simply put, humanity went from 0-3.5 billion in thousands of years. Then it went from 3.5 billion to 7 billion in 40 years. How is that not explosive growth? Even if it levels off completely or begins a decline.

No need to worry (3, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251687)

Everything will correct itself. Once things get real bad, there will be large scale fighting which will kill off a fairly significant number of people which should bring us to the balance needed. Nature is self-correcting after all.

Re:No need to worry (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40252083)

Everything will correct itself. Once things get real bad, there will be large scale fighting which will kill off a fairly significant number of people which should bring us to the balance needed. Nature is self-correcting after all.

Maybe, but then again you may not like the results from nature correcting itself.

try to guide the future (in a way we want to)? (2)

Nutria (679911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251759)

Someone has been reading too much Science Fiction and not enough History.

What other country besides the PRC could successfully implement a one-child policy? (Even then, it's fertility rate is 1.7.)

Huge-scale genocide or pandemic are the only solutions to getting the population down to a more manageable 4Bn.

Of course, we must... (0)

spud_boy_65986534 (807093) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251767)

...hire a ton more scientists like themselves to study the problem and come up with "solutions."

Quite simply, (2)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251771)

Perhaps this is why it is so difficult to find life in the universe. Most of them burn themselves out.

What a Crock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251795)

OK - 43% is/will be cities or cropland. Of the 43%, how much is pasture and mixed farming, which are very similar to the ancient uses of the land? This needs to be "peer reviewed" by skeptics. The scare quotes are intentional.

It's been said many times... (1)

Jaktar (975138) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251801)

It has been said many times before.

"What if we were wrong about all of this science? We will have built a better Earth for nothing!!"

We are approaching peak Human. See:
http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_on_global_population_growth.html [ted.com]

Peak Human doesn't address the damage done to the ecosystem though.

A call for sanity... (4, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251821)

This is a call for sanity. We need to appreciate, accept, and design for the best and the worst that human beings are prone to and for. The genius of the American form of Government was checks and balances (before greedy self serving people removed them.) We need to understand that there are conflicting interests, belief systems and human enterprises and we need to account for them all.

There must be a sane position between human desire and human need. We need to find and develop that position. We need to evaluate our behavior and our beliefs against hard physical reality and abandon philosophies which are fundamentally bankrupt and ideologies which are inherently self destructive. We can't react our way out of this problem. We need to come together embracing our differences and honoring our distinctiveness. Together we must pick a target, an inspiring and achievable future that serves both the human condition, and the future condition for life on the planet. The problem is not and has never been about life. Life can't be stopped. Its about a world capable of sustaining complex higher lifeforms capable of intelligence. We are an apex species. Destroy the habitat and our numbers will collapse (its happened before, at one time the human population dwindled to less than 5,000.)

That said, we must not let the Plutarchs push the vast majority of humanity off the edge. There is clear indication that education is transformative. Bring knowledge to superstition, starvation, plague and famine, and life improves instantly. Where there is education the natural environment is seen as a value outside of its ability to be burned or eaten. Where there is education, there is social change, contraception, medicine, increased health and lifespan and decreased reproduction rate. We need to educate the developing world and we have amazing new tools to accomplish this. We need to remove the false gods and dangerous superstitions from our midst. Starting with Profit and Endless Material want. Its time to discover what is good for us as human beings and pursue that with passion and joy. It is time for us to honor the miracle of our world and protect it, because until we can leave it, it is the only home we know and we are unfit for any place else. It is time for us to appreciate the miracle of being human and put an end to strife and hatred, fear and war, xenophobia and discrimination.

This is a call for sanity.

Read the full article? (5, Funny)

kasper_souren (1577647) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251827)

"Instant access to this article: $32" I'd say were doomed.

hank lays it out for ya. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251871)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dD-yN2G5BY0

Isn't that the plan? (2, Interesting)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251895)

When we convert land to agriculture, don't we usually want it to stay that way? Sometimes I wonder if people appreciate just how harsh the natural environment is for people. I don't think it's reasonable to say we should kill half the population just to restore the environment to it's original condition (if that's even possible). Most people wouldn't want to live that way anyway. Rather, we need to be making decisions about how to deal with the environment change that we expect to occur.

Besides, who's to say if it's 50% or 90%? Since the earth is very large, I'd bet on 90%. Also, why are we excluding oceans and ice covered land from our equation?

Long story short, humans alter their environment. Deal with it.

did a Romney staffer write this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251919)

I did not need to be told that altering an area by 90% will change it's ecosystem into something different. Changing anything by 90% usually ends up with something completely different... 50-90% seems close to shoot from the hip science to me anyways...

Soylent Green.. (1)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251921)

IS PEOPLE!

So Global Warming is good? (2)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251927)

"Humans have already converted about 43 percent of the ice-free land surface of the planet"

So if we have global warming that will free up more land from the ice reducing the percentage making Global Warming a good thing... Hmmm. Okay.

But seriously folks, to give a historical example, here in Vermont and New Hampshire almost all the forests had been cut back in the 1700's and 1800's to make land for agriculture. Then due to the mini-ice age of the 1800's people left this area and the farms grew up to be forests again. This is real. Nature recovers the land if you don't keep it as grass lands. The beavers know all about this.

50-90%... They can't get any more accurate? (1, Informative)

pavera (320634) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251957)

So... we've altered 43% of the land mass.. and catastrophic things happen *somewhere* between 50-90%... So either in like 10 years the world will fall apart, or it won't because it turns out that the number is much closer to 90% than 50%...

It would be nice if these "scientists" could you know.. provide some accurate data upon which to make their oh so important decision. Last time I looked that was their job, not making sensationalist claims with little to know proof or evidence.

Re:50-90%... They can't get any more accurate? (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40252045)

And this the day after other Slashdotters criticize me for saying that people are losing faith in Science.

Yeah, Yeah, Every Year Same Old Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40251967)

But nothing has changed. GM has been bailed out and is still advertising nothing but gigantic SUVs, fresh water still comes out of the tap, and people aren't killing each other for canned goods (at least not in my neighborhood). I'm going to have to experience some changes in my surroundings that personally affect me before I change my behavior, and even then I'll be too stupid, like everyone else, to be doing anything other than reacting to an immediate inconvenience or threat.

Well, I'm doing my part (4, Funny)

epp_b (944299) | more than 2 years ago | (#40251997)

I'm making the humanitarian sacrifice and choosing not to mate... yeah, choosing, that's it.
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