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Will Earth Expire By 2050?

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the check-the-due-date-on-the-card dept.

Science 1638

_josh writes: "Will overconsumption force humanity off this planet in less than 50 years? It may sound sci-fi, but according to the WWF in this story at the Observer, it's entirely possible. Maybe now I can convince my brother not to buy that SUV ..." Take with as large a grain of salt as you think appropriate.

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1638 comments

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First musical post! (-1)

Mr F J Musical-Troll (582606) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838622)

Good day, for this first post I wish to present It's Warp Records again [warprecords.com] . Farewell!

Re: First musical post! (-1)

The Lyrics Guy (539223) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838652)

Hey, that sounds pretty cool. Who/what is it?

2nd Postz0r (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838627)

SP BITCHES

WWF (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838629)

A planet controlled by wrestlers? The devil, you say!

Re:WWF (0)

dfung (68701) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838770)

It was a shocking tale, that unfolded in the quietest of ways.

An epidemic spread, wiping out all of man's politicians. Average people, missing their senators and assemblymen, started again with their closest substitute - professional wrestlers. It started with just a governor in Minnesota, but soon, wrestlers were everywhere.

And then, they learned to say "no".

No (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838630)

It will probaly be earlier than that. Get it? Heheh

It's The End Of The World As We Know It (-1)

The Lyrics Guy (539223) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838633)

REM - It's The End Of The World As We Know It

That's great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes, an aeroplane -
Lenny Bruce is not afraid. Eye of a hurricane, listen to yourself churn -
world serves its own needs, don't misserve your own needs. Feed it up a knock,
speed, grunt no, strength no. Ladder structure clatter with fear of height,
down height. Wire in a fire, represent the seven games in a government for
hire and a combat site. Left her, wasn't coming in a hurry with the furies
breathing down your neck. Team by team reporters baffled, trump, tethered
crop. Look at that low plane! Fine then. Uh oh, overflow, population,
common group, but it'll do. Save yourself, serve yourself. World serves its
own needs, listen to your heart bleed. Tell me with the rapture and the
reverent in the right - right. You vitriolic, patriotic, slam, fight, bright
light, feeling pretty psyched.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

Six o'clock - TV hour. Don't get caught in foreign tower. Slash and burn,
return, listen to yourself churn. Lock him in uniform and book burning,
blood letting. Every motive escalate. Automotive incinerate. Light a candle,
light a motive. Step down, step down. Watch a heel crush, crush. Uh oh,
this means no fear - cavalier. Renegade and steer clear! A tournament,
a tournament, a tournament of lies. Offer me solutions, offer me alternatives
and I decline.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.

The other night I tripped a nice continental drift divide. Mount St. Edelite.
Leonard Bernstein. Leonid Breshnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs.
Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom! You symbiotic, patriotic,
slam, but neck, right? Right.

It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine...fine...

(It's time I had some time alone)

You can't possibly believe this.... (1, Funny)

graphicartist82 (462767) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838634)

It may sound sci-fi, but according to the WWF in this story...

Everybody knows that the WWF is all scripted! None of it is real!

WWF! (3, Funny)

clinko (232501) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838635)

I always knew that wrestling was a sign of the end of the world. Now the WWF has confirmed it.

Re:WWF! (1)

iosphere (14517) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838646)

Not to nitpick, but I think now it's called the WWE or something. Not that I'm in to that sort of thing...

Re:WWF! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838681)

go watch nascar you hick

Re:WWF! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838688)

Yeah, WWF = World Wildlife Foundation
WWE = World Wrestling Entertainment
Apparently there has been on ongoing court battle over who got to use WWF as their abbreviation, the wildlife hippies won. But their information is no more accurate than it would be had it been the WWE writing the article.

Re:WWF! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838733)

Screw court, they should take the dispute to the ring!

Re:WWF! (1)

FunkSoulBrother (140893) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838747)

thats right! The squared circle! Its gonna be pandemonium baby!

That's funny... (1)

corebreech (469871) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838679)

I was going to say the same thing, but now that you've beaten me to it, I realize that it wasn't very clever after all.

World will end January 19 2038 (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838640)

It is fairly well known that the world will end at midnight on January 19, 2038.
I'm waiting for my PDP-11s to explode then although I'll be in my 70s

Thomas Dzubin

You consumption weenies better watch out! (4, Funny)

metalhed77 (250273) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838641)

cuz i'll take you down in a steEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL CAGE!

Wrestlers? (0, Flamebait)

_ph1ux_ (216706) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838643)

What do wrestlers know about the overconsumption of resources and its effect on habitable planets?

Re:Wrestlers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838750)

You pledge allegiance to a piece of cloth? Not ideals? Not values?

Poor son-of-a-bitch Nationalist.

Re:Wrestlers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838774)

i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands

Another option? (5, Insightful)

stirfry714 (410701) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838645)

From the article:
The report offers a vivid warning that either people curb their extravagant lifestyles or risk leaving the onus on scientists to locate another planet that can sustain human life. Since this is unlikely to happen, the only option is to cut consumption now.

Okay, does this strike anyone as leaving out the most likely option? It's highly unlikely we'll massively change our ways. It's also highly unlikely that we'll colonize other planets in the next 50 years.

What's that leave? Simple! Massive resource wars! Woohoo!

It just amazes me that the whole article ignores the inevitable outcome... we'll all fight over dwindling resources, thus thinning the population down to sustainable levels.

Re:Another option? (4, Insightful)

Peyna (14792) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838672)

Someone figured that out a long time ago actually. Thomas Malthus, back in the early 1800s said that basically the human population is increasing at the same that food supplies are, but at a much greater rate. Thus, there are three inevitable population checks. Famine, War, and Disease. These will take place when we run out of resources. They'll kill off enough people that we can survive just a bit longer to do it all over again, wheee.

Re:Another option? (5, Insightful)

stirfry714 (410701) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838716)

Exactly. It seems like we'd have a lot more luck if people would just start figuring out the most humane way to "thin the herd" in advance, instead of pretending you can stop me from buying that nice huge plasma-screen HDTV I saw today. *Drool*

This reminds me of an econ assignment in high school that I "failed". We were given a set number of resource units, and told to distribute them throughout the town. Most people gave food to everyone, TVs to most everyone, and luxury cars to a few. I gave two or three luxury cars and TVs to a few people, and let something like a third of the town starve to death.

I defended my homework as a more realistic portrait of the world than any of my neo-socialist classmates, but I still failed since my solution wasn't "nice". So sad...

Re:Another option? (5, Interesting)

crawling_chaos (23007) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838723)

And as someone else noted up-thread, Malthus "proved" it would happen in his lifetime. It didn't. We get this every so often, and I generally file it with the "Christ is coming back and the world is going to end next year, so you better repent now" freaks. Same thing, different words.

Re:Another option? (2)

delta407 (518868) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838745)

the human population is increasing at the same that food supplies are, but at a much greater rate
This is the new math?

Re:Another option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838749)

Malthus had his head up his ass. He's been proven wrong time and time again.

some resources are nonrenewable (2, Interesting)

js7a (579872) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838768)

... Famine, War, and Disease. These will take place when we run out of resources. They'll kill off enough people that we can survive just a bit longer to do it all over again....

However, the energy we are adding to the troposphere by burning fossil fuel [bovik.org] does not look like it is going to stabilize any time soon. Note the r^2 > 0.98, meaning that over 98% of the variance is predicted by a four-parameter sigmoid (resource consumption) curve.

The solution to the problem is likely to involve genetic modifications to seaweed [slashdot.org] . Seaweed such as kelp, also known as nori (e.g., sushi nori), is a delicious and nutritious snack, being very rich in magnesium [bovik.org] , which, as the relative cardiopulmonary health of the Japanese can attest to, is a good thing [bovik.org] .

Re:Another option? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838731)

Massive resource wars! Woohoo!

Except that every single resource has gotten CHEAPER in the last 30 years. Paul "Doomboy" Erlich lost a famous bet to Julian Simon about this [geocities.com] .

There's no shortage of energy, either, if we stop thinking about nuclear power the way our ancestors thought about evil spirits.

it is unlikely (3, Insightful)

BlueboyX (322884) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838755)



Putting people in space will take alot of resources, and not gain us much. How much fuel would it take to bring back a useful amount of grain from Mars? The article really doesn't give justification for this claim.

They fail to note that we don't need to only use farms, in the conservative sense. If things really get that bad, there will be a massive switch to hydroponics, which would yield a huge yield per unit land. Want meat? It isn't hard to raise huge numbers of cattle and pigs in stalls that are the same size as the animals. It is considered inhumane (and illegal in the US) now, but if mass starvation is the alternative I think this will change very quick. To say that the surface of the earth cannot support us in 50 years is stupid.

This reminds me of an article that said that at the current rate of consumption, the plants chocolate comes from will be extinct by (i think) 2008. Well duh. Does that mean that it really will become extinct? No, it means we will make plant more to match the increasing rate of consumption. As I said above, space isn't close to being a limiting factor.

Another thing; it is alot easier and cheaper to mow down civilians than to set up farms on mars. Do you really doubt places like China would hesitate if they felt it was necessary?

That said, I don't thing that things like 'resource wars' will come about anytime soon (bigger than the current ones I mean; we already have had wars in the middle east over resources). People will just switch to more costly but higher yield/more efficient alternatives. It is cheaper to do so than to start a war or randomly kill people.

What the hell... (0, Flamebait)

Aknaton (528294) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838647)

does pro wrestling have to do with overconsumption?

Oh, nevermind, I was thinking of the WWE! :)

What do the WWF know anyway??? (0, Redundant)

FyRE666 (263011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838648)

I'm sorry but I need a more reliable source than Hulk Hogan and Mankind before building my rocket to the moon...

Re:What do the WWF know anyway??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838722)

God you people are dense..
WWF = World Wildlife Foundation

Re:What do the WWF know anyway??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838730)

i'm sorry but hulk hogan is WCW loser

Oh come now.. (0, Flamebait)

NiGHTSFTP (515896) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838649)

We _all_ know very well the WWF is all drama. ::rolls eyes::

I hope so (1)

Glanz (306204) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838650)

....so all this idiocy we call mankind will cease. I personally, can do without mankind, or if you prefer, humankind.

Re:I hope so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838692)

Fine, then kill yourself.

But you're not taking me with you, angst-boy.

WWF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838651)

Hmm. Just like a wrestling company to say everyone should use less so they become weak, then the wrestlers can take over. You know that's what they're planning.

The response this deserves... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838654)

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

Damn that lameness filter...

predictions... (2, Insightful)

copycatjsh (259819) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838655)

so let me think... first they said we'd be gone by 1985, then it was 2000, now its 2050? hrm...

I love reading about our doom... its so funny.

Humans begin moving to AI (2)

metalhed77 (250273) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838658)

well yet another argument for the human race to move to machines instead of biological bodies, the tech (at least according to kurzweil if i'm not mistaken) is supposed to be ready by then right? then we'll just be bots mining silicon living in a virtual earth.

Re:Humans begin moving to AI (-1)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838669)

Right, and you're going to have your brain put in an Adrianne Barbeau-bot, right?

It's the END OF THE WORLD! (-1)

Reikk (534266) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838659)

It's the end of the world as we know it. and I feel fine.

But I will spend the next 50 years masturbating like the horny monkey I am.

50 years? Or 5000 years? (0, Troll)

Dr. Eric Peters (586095) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838660)

People have been saying that we will run out of fossil fuels and giving the estimation of "50 years" for nearly 100 years now. However, due to increases in technology in the area of combustion engines that allow them to use less fuel for the same amount of propulsion and in the area of drilling that allow drillers to extract fuels in areas never thought possible, we've been able to continually extend this number.

It is highly unlikely that we will ever run out of fossil fuels on this planet when you consider a few facts:

1. Less fuel is being used due to engine technology. (As I mentioned.)
2. More fuel is being found because of drilling technologies. (As I also mentioned.)
3. Hybrid vehicles. We won't even need fossil fuels eventually, and it will happen long before there is a risk of running out of them.

So stop worrying! Just sit back, enjoy life, and stop thinking about running out of fossil fuels. It's not going to happen!

Re:50 years? Or 5000 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838699)

This thing isn't really all that different than the wall street analysts telling you when to buy and sell your stocks. Create hype, fear, and play on ignorance to hope people in this sound bite driven society and they keep you poor, scared and ignorant for future ploys.

Re:50 years? Or 5000 years? (1, Insightful)

SpatchMonkey (300000) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838743)

On the other hand, you could look at it like this: if they hadn't done the research and made such predictions from it, it may very well have happened like that as we would have taken no steps to prevent it.

Similarly, the Y2K bug was hyped for a reason - to get people doing something about it so it actually went smoothly in the end. Without the hype, we probably would have problems much worse than automatic web pages printing '19100'.

Analyzing the future, and publishing the results, generally changes the described outcome as people do something about it.

Re:50 years? Or 5000 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838746)

1) Absolutely not true. Our fuel consumption is growing at an increasing rate. We could use less fuel- but we definitely are NOT.
2.) This may be true- but keep reading.
3.) This is not happening fast enough, and the engines already in existence can keep chugging away for years.

Stop worrying about running out of fossil fuels? Well, there are worse things than running out of fossil fuels- like not running out of fossil fuels! If we continuted even at our current rate of consumption (remember, it is increasing, the rate of increase is increasing- so this is not likely) it is still too much for any natural means to return the pollutants to their source.
I agree that we are not going to 'run out'- but I think that if we don't make huge changes, things will get pretty uncomfortable.

WWF? (0, Flamebait)

andres32a (448314) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838661)

WWF as in "World Wrestling Federation"???

World Wrestling Foundation? (3, Informative)

unformed (225214) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838662)

Piece of advice: when writing a topic, any use of acronyms that have a high possibility of being misunderstood (ie: World Wildlife Fund) should be explained, so as to prevent people from being mistaken.

I, for one, have -never- heard of the World Wildlife Fund before this, and I'm sure there are others like me, who thought why the fsck are we believe the World Wrestling Foundation these days?

Re:World Wrestling Foundation? (2, Flamebait)

delta407 (518868) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838724)

why the fsck are we believe the World Wrestling Foundation these days?
A better question is "why the fsck should we believe the World Wildlife Fund"?

"Forests have dwindled by 12 percent." Yeah, get over it. People cut down trees, and 88% isn't exactly dwindling, especially given that in the past 30 years the human population has doubled. The article makes it seem that forests are the only things that "absorb carbon dioxide emissions". That's a load of crap; algae are responsible for the majority of carbon-dioxide recycling, and it's always been that way.

Sure, you can hug your trees, but know your facts. (Hug your librarian instead.)

Re:World Wrestling Foundation? (1)

Issue9mm (97360) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838744)

Well, considering the WWF (wrestling) no longer goes by that acronym since they were wrested of it by the WWF (wildlife), I would have thought it pretty safe.

The WWF (wrestling) is now going by WWE (World Wrestling Enterprise or Entertainment, or something), until they can find some legal claim to take back their WWF acronym.

That said, I'm a contributor to the WWF (wildlife), so perhaps I'm biased.

-9mm-

rerun, over and over again (2, Insightful)

freshfromthevat (135461) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838664)

This is the same story we heard in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. It comes back over and over. I can only assume that the same story was told in the 17th century. Dumb da dumb dumb... DUMB????

Let's all throw off our clothes, turn off the lights, and eat the grass in our lawns. That will last about a week and then we'll start eating each other and soon die of all sorts of diseases normally prevented by hygiene, running water and refrigeration (and not eating human meat).

Re:rerun, over and over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838738)

Maybe not the 17th century, but certainly the 19th. Thomas Malthus wrote about the perils of population growth and suggested regulating child birth among the poor to avoid famine. In 19th century England.

How much salt? (5, Funny)

cperciva (102828) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838667)

Take with as large a grain of salt as you think appropriate.

I'd do that, except with the amount of salt which would be appropriate, the world would likely run out of salt long before 2050.

Correction (1, Redundant)

digitalcowboy (142658) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838668)

It's not WWF anymore. It's WWE. They had to change their name from World Wrestling FEDERATION to World Wrestling ENTERTAINMENT.

Something about defrauding the public, truth in advertising, some shit like that.

So why are they predicting the end of the world?

I didn't RTFA, but it's probably just some stupid publicity stunt that they're starting to hype 48 years early to pump up the pay per view receipts.

Re:Correction (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838685)

WWF = World Wildlife Fund

They won in court against the wrestling one. Maybe thats why WWF is now WWE.

Re:Correction (2)

cperciva (102828) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838697)

It is WWF. World Wildlife Federation.

And the confusion afflicting everyone here is precisely why the wrestling group had to stop calling themselves the "WWF".

Re:Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838758)

What sort of fucking moron are you?

lying with statistics, preaching to the choir (2, Flamebait)

S. Allen (5756) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838670)

this has been predicted by tree-hugging morons every decade for the last god-knows-how-long. get over it. it's not "damning" because it's not true.

Re:lying with statistics, preaching to the choir (1)

Badanov (518690) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838687)

I have to concur. Every study of dire predictions in the last 30 years have been proved wrong. And the greenies who publish this propoganda don't let truth get in the way of their politics or their pushing of 'pro-green' policies.

Re:lying with statistics, preaching to the choir (0, Flamebait)

bug1 (96678) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838735)

Yea, those damn "tree-huggers"....

I remember in the 70's them "tree-huggers" something about CFC's from aerosol cans destroying something called the ozone layer.

How ignorant are those "tree-huggers", i can see the ozone layer so how can it be destroyed ?

Bah... (2, Interesting)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838673)

Let's see...a scientific analysis of resource consumption based on the decline of animal population over the past 100 years, plus a very relevant hectare/person statistic. Sounds like excellent research to me...

If they really want to be taken seriously, quote the actual usage of arable land per person in each country. Countries like Ethopia and Burundi will be astronomically high, while the US will be very low comparatively. The truth is that those countries are overpopulated based on their own resources and require outside assistance from countries like the US.

Overall, if worse comes to worse, don't fret for the Earth. Nature is self-regulating and will find a way to keep man's progress in check. More likely, if such a scenario is possible, man will make himself extinct before the effects can jeopardize the world.

Re:Bah... (5, Funny)

whiteranger99x (235024) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838709)

This reminds me of what George Carlin said in one of his stand-up shows...

"It's a self correcting system...The Planet is fine.....The PEOPLE are fucked!"

Maybe Malthus was right (2, Interesting)

Ramesh Diltan (590930) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838674)

The population is growing at a rate much higher than the Earth can sustain. I suppose we can look back to the cynical economist Thomas Malthus to see what will happen. He predicted that, since the population grows exponentially and the food supply only grows linearly, famine and disease will be the ways in which the population is kept in check. This may very well happen, but I don't believe Earth will expire by 2050. I have befriended a number of economists over the years, and they have stated that the food supply has always grown faster than predicted. Interesting topic, though. R.Diltan

Re:Maybe Malthus was right (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838703)

Except that population is not growing at all in any civilized countries.

It's only in breeder infested third world countries where you are still seeing a population explosion.

I'm not trolling, it's true.

Re:Maybe Malthus was right (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838714)

The population is growing at a rate much higher than the Earth can sustain.

No, it isn't. The developed countries are actually LOSING population.

The best way to cut back on population growth is by high technology, the very thing the greenies are trying to stop.

There's plenty of food to go around. It's just poorly distributed, and equitable distribution requires 1) Cheap energy and 2) the rule of law.

Re:Maybe Malthus was right (1)

WetCat (558132) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838720)

You just forgot AIDS... it's now in China and Africa...

6th time lucky (0)

splint3r (315106) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838676)

The 6th extinction? I can't wait.

The Planet... (2, Funny)

whiteranger99x (235024) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838680)

So the article's saying we've slashdotted the planet, in a manner of words.

Way to go,people! :P

Nuke the Niggers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838682)

It's a start ...

Let's turn Africa "black".

Oxygen Supply and Demand (1)

Aknaton (528294) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838689)

I have have always wondered something. With the forests growing smaller at a frightening speed and the world population growing ever larger each day, how long it will take for oxygen demand to outgrown supply?

Re:Oxygen Supply and Demand (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838704)

Easy, just learn to breath carbon dioxide, duh :P

Re:Oxygen Supply and Demand (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838762)

Most of the Earth's oxygen supply doesn't come from forests. In fact, forests are rather inefficent at photosynthesis.

The ocean is where most of it comes from.

Mindboggling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838690)

While there are reports out there that indicate various atrocities, it doesn't send humans even the slightest amount of doubt over what they do in their wasteful day to day lives.

What do people do when the EPA comes out with a global warming alert? I read in the Chicago Tribune, some lady who wrote in saying that she didn't really believe in this global warming thing, because the scientists can't make up their minds if the climate is going to get warmer or colder.

Are people stupid? Probably. What is happening is that I have a feeling we're being too scientific about things. What we need to do is to tell Jane and John Doe that their children won't be able to play in a park anymore without sunscreen 3000. Or that there will be any more food because man-kind has overspent. Without language that common people can understand, the Bush energy policy is going to stand because it allows for corporate growth and SUV's.

Re:Mindboggling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838773)

Are people stupid?

You certainly appear to be.

Get back to me when a climate model run backward accurately predicts the climate of the past.

Hint: None of them do.

Consider the WWF's motivation (5, Insightful)

schnell (163007) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838691)

Saving the environment is unquestionably a noble goal, and I applaud the WWF for their work on environmental issues. I am *not* dismissing the potentialy validity of what they're saying here.

However, when reading this, keep in mind that the WWF subsists on donations from people interested in saving the environment. As such, the WWF's existence is dependent upon people being concerned about the state and future of the planet's environment. If they release a report saying "the environment's future is looking better," then donations will decrease. So of course anything they're going to release publicly will be about how the environment is deteriorating and more donations are needed to help things out.

I don't think this necessarily invalidates their conclusions, but it certainly is germane to consider the motivations of the issuer when evaluating a report.

2010 MS colonizes Moon to aovid Anti-Trust Ruling (2, Funny)

linuxislandsucks (461335) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838693)

Do we really want MS colonizing the Moon?

Stop over consumption now!

Boycott MS!

In a related story... (4, Interesting)

plastercast (234558) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838694)

The Chicago Trib is running this [chicagotribune.com] story on the shrinking of various glaciers around the world that is also pretty terrifying. Perhaps its time for Bush to reconsider Kyoto?

Other factors. (2)

Matt2000 (29624) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838696)

Not to dismiss this study out of hand, but this prediction has been made in the past many times, most famously by the economist Thomas Malthus in 1798 entitled An Essay on the Principle of Population [wwu.edu] . Malthus predicted man would outgrow it's resources within ~50 years if strict population checks were not enforced. However, he did not take into account the pace of technological change and food production far exceeded his estimates for the time frame.

It is very difficult to predict the future, especially almost 50 years out. As stock brokers are supposed to say "Past performance is no guarantee of future performance." Or something like that.

Hahahahahah (2)

pryan (169593) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838698)

This is more than a little alarmist. There is a problem, however the quote

"extra planets (the equivalent size of Earth) will be required by the year 2050 as existing resources are exhausted"

is just irresponsible.

WWF? (1)

OakLEE (91103) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838701)

Oh come on I hardly think Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon, and The Rock, et al can predict the fate of humanity.

Seriously though, for us "crass" Americans, to whom WWF is an acronym for World Wrestling Federation, I think it would have helped if for someone to point out(especially an editor, you listening timothy?) that in this post refers to the World Wildlife Fund. In fact, I think in general it would be a good idea to clarify any algorithm which might not be popular in the Slashdot lexicon. That way, stupid comments like that above will not be made by the many of us (including myself) who prefer to spout our mouth off before reading the story.

________________________

Indeed, there is grave danger... (1)

The Man (684) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838702)

that we will run out of salt. Move along, nothing new here.

but according to the WWF... (1)

dutchdabomb (248104) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838705)

So now The Rock's gonna tell me we're all doomed? Great.

Assumptions (1)

numbuscus (466708) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838706)

I guess, if you make the assumptions that population will grow at a continued rate, there aren't any major wars, some desease doesn't wipe out much of the Earth's poor population (no AIDS?), and that materials/food production technology doesn't advance any further than it has - then I guess you could come to this conclusion. I'm a bit skeptical, though, as I know their analysis probably made some of these assumptions.

That doesn't mean, however, that we should keep up our current wasteful practices. I think more does need to be done to slow our usage of raw materials. Hell, if NASA can't even get a funding boost, how the hell are we going to be able to develope the tech to get us to other planets?

Maybe the WWF should label the 'natural resource crisis' as some sort of terrorism so that Bush et al. will being pooring money into the 'Ecological Defense Fund for the Preservation of the American Way of Life through the Rape of Other Planets and Near Earth Objects'.

My $0.02

WWF = World Wildlife Fund (3, Informative)

Thomas M Hughes (463951) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838707)

I quick search (and reference from my sibling) indicates that the World Wildlife Fund brought Suit against the World Wresting Federation in the British House of Lords (a case which the World Wildlife Fund won). Instead of fighting some more, the World Wresting Federation changed its name to World Wresting Entertainment.

I also believe their new slogan is "Get the 'F' out."

Born on date. (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838708)

I just wish the Earth would have a Born On Date like fine beers [budweiser.com] do.

I can see it now.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838713)

Please spare me the Wrestling jokes... The WWF mentioned is the World Wildlife Fund [wwf.org] , a globally recognized environmental group that has done more for the welfare of the world than most anyone.

the short answer: no (3, Insightful)

archen (447353) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838715)

Expire is a pretty strong word. Will the earth exceed critical mass and humanity implode? Maybe. Maybe humans won't survive at all - but believe me, SOMETHING will survive.
As the lyrics to an In Flames song goes:
Species come and species go, but the Earth stands forever fast

Fuckin SUVs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838732)

Soccer moms of America [chevrolet.com] and yuppie cockeaters [dodge.com] need to belly up to the table and cut out the fucking consumption competition [lincoln.com] ..

Past predictions were all wrong, why believe this? (5, Informative)

rbook (409739) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838734)

These are the same folks who predicted that the world would run out of food by 1980, then predicted we'd run out of oil by 1985.

And of course Thomas Malthus predicted imminent mass starvation in the early 1800s.

In the 1970s, they predicted:

"The world as we know it will likely be ruined before the year 2000
and the reason for this will be its inhabitants' failure to comprehend
two facts. These facts are (1) World food production cannot keep pace
with the galloping growth of population. (2) 'Family planning' cannot
and will not, in the foreseeable future, check this runaway growth."

"Agricultural experts state that a tripling of the food
supply of the world will be necessary in the next 30
years or so, if the 6 or 7 billion people who may be
alive in the year 2000 are to be adequately fed.
Theoretically such an increase might be possible, but it
is becoming increasingly clear that it is totally
impossible in practice."

Except, here we are in 2002 and those 6 or 7 billion people are eating better than any of their ancestors in all of human history, even in the poorest countries.

For more info, see The Ultimate Resource [juliansimon.org] by Julian Simon [juliansimon.org] , and The Skeptical Environmentalist [cambridge.org] by Bjorn Lomborg [lomborg.com] .

Consumption vs. Morality (2)

debrain (29228) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838736)

Earth's natural resources may run out in 50 years, but there's years left of resources for those willing to "consume" humans themselves ... When it's do or die, immorality is a selective advantage.

On another note, I do take issue with the concerns for "overpopulation". The 1st world populations are not growing - it's the 3rd world that has the population problems; they are already existing beyond sustainability. The problem the 1st world encounters is consumerism, not overpopulation. One consumer in the 1st world can use more resources than hundreds of human beings in the 3rd need to survive.

Also, coming from Newfoundland (just off the Grand Banks), the cod fishery was the life-blood of the economy there, which they use as an example of devasted Earth resources. There is now a moratorium on cod fishing, which also devastated that economy. Since the moratorium was instantiated, it is widely believed that the cod stock has partly recovered, and will continue to. So I am not so sure I buy their verdict, given this choice of example with contrary information they conveniently omitted. This is a little salt to their bitter assessment.

Certainly, though, they are outlining important trends in the environment as a result of human presence.

Re:Consumption vs. Morality (1)

dpete4552 (310481) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838763)

Relevant reference: http://www.prb.org/Content/NavigationMenu/PRB/Educ ators/Human_Population/Population_Growth/Populatio n_Growth.htm

More Malthusian bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838739)

Let's see, who has an agenda that is based on the belief that humanity is despoiling the planet?

And who really wants to decree that we use "too much" resources?

And how many centuries ago was it the Malthus said we were all going to run out of food and starve to death?

Oh, come on... (1, Troll)

mikethegeek (257172) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838740)

This is crank "science" by the same bunch of idiots who said that we were going into an ice age back in the 70's, and who put in children's readers in the early 80's (I remember this in school) that you wouldn't be able to go outside in the 1990's without an oxygen mask.

This trash is funded by the WWF. No wonder they wanted to divorce themselves from the wrestlers (now WWE), their science is just as fake.

No (1)

Stephen VanDahm (88206) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838752)

Everyone knows that the answer to a question appearing in the headline of a Slashdot article almost always "No".

Steve

I'm gonna blame the president (1)

TheCyko1 (568452) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838753)

Maybe now, or after the geneva convention, our good ol' president Bush will sign the Kyoto Protocal. After all, he was the only one who didn't agree to the terms of this movement, you can read actual agreement here:
http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/1997/global.war ming/st ories/treaty/
and here's a story about it:
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/earth/storie s/s33 6357.htm

fear mongering (1)

NixterAg (198468) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838754)

Sounds like more fear mongering from environmentalists. Carl Sagan, anyone?

Malthusian Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838756)

It sure is hard to permanently kill bad ideas. This particular one is like Jason; it just keeps coming back.

Balderdash (1, Flamebait)

benzapp (464105) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838757)

I can't believe this article was posted. It is almost as bad as any troll. It isn't even an article, it is more the ramblings of a eco freak socialist. My god, we have been hearing these same apocolyptic predictions since the industrial revolution began.

These zealots unfortunately suffer from the same problems as all zealots. They are irrational, and unable to see reality.

Does any single sentence in this ridiculous article give any shred of proof to the assertion mankind can go extinct in 50 years? How did they come up with this number? Nothing but gobblygook to back up their outrageous claims.

If anything indicates this story was not based on sound scientific evidence it is mention that the evil Republicans headed by George W Bush will cause the collapse of civilization as we know it because Bushie pulled out of the Kyoto treaty.

Of course, the snivelling remark of every socialist was evidence the real nature of this article - and the environmental movement - in the following quote: "The report offers a vivid warning that either people curb their extravagant lifestyles or risk leaving the onus on scientists to locate another planet that can sustain human life"

This assertion does not give any indication who suddenly posseses the ability to see the future, to know which technological advancements will be available tomorrow to deal with this problems. This article is based on the absolutely absurd notion that a) current consumption of natural resources by britons increases at certain rate per year. b) this rate will forever remain the same for all humans c) this rate of increase in consumption will ultimately apply to all humans who indulge in the capitalistic pig fest.

Is it not logical to assume that history will continue to repeat itself? Technology will increase and solve these problems? As it always has? That we will ultimately kill the weaker persons who are stealing the natural resources to which we are the rightful owners?

Of course, as socialists, they don't understand nature. Nature always forces shortages on populations, the result of this is natural selection, competition. Those humans that can survive win, those they cannot die. But for all their clammoring about nature, they can't for a second realize the real problem in this world is we keep too many people alive who otherwise should die. Death, that evil word, sends chills down the spines of do-gooders everywhere. It doesn't matter, when the population competition does get that fierce, we will just have another war. Nothing really starts wars EVER other than competition for natural resources. Let the blood flow!!!!

Expire? (2)

istartedi (132515) | more than 12 years ago | (#3838761)

I didn't know we had to register it. Anybody got a crack?

fa! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3838769)

If we're lucky, greens, anti-globalists, NGO's, communists, socialists, anarchists, fascists, climatologists, terrorists, scientologists, "experts", and plenty of other plagues of mankind will have expired by 2050.
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