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Jan. 30th, 2004 | 01:57 pm

If the Great Conveyor Belt, which includes the Gulf Stream, were to stop flowing today, the result would be sudden and dramatic. Winter would set in for the eastern half of North America and all of Europe and Siberia, and never go away. Within three years, those regions would become uninhabitable and nearly two billion humans would starve, freeze to death, or have to relocate. Civilization as we know it probably couldn't withstand the impact of such a crushing blow.

The current thoughts are that we need to lower our CO2 emissions by 60% of 1990 levels.

Some suggestions can be found in the article Tacking Stock. Though I'd also include eating less meat. I recently ran across a reference that every pound of beef also produces half a pound of methane. (Methane is actually a stronger greenhouse gas than CO2).

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Nafees

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from: nogbogfrog
date: Jan. 31st, 2004 03:02 am (UTC)
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I'm usually with you on your environmentally conscious posts, but I'm going to play the other side on this one.

It sounds like a spot of sophistry. A nice doomsday scenario, preceeding some instruction from the pulpit without any actually link of causality. Futhermore you've actually managed to anthropomorphise weather patterns.

The large scale atmospheric phenomenon are not based on the equillibrium that homo sapiens sapiens attain with the planet. Earth's magnetic field could flip tomorrow (as it has in the past), and we'd be pretty screwed (and blameless). The point is, we aren't the masters you are making us out to be. That next ice age is going to come whether we are living in skyrises or caves.

And the point with the cows??? Sounds like a great reason to eat a lot more beef! Unless you're advocating bovine genocide. I can make the argument that by replacing consumption of animal proteins, you're disrupting the established nutrient cycle. Hell I can make the argument that you chosing to live beyond the age of 45 is not ecologically tennable.

At one point you're going to have to decide whether you want the species to survive, or to become extinct. There is no right or wrong choice, but they help clarify the basis of your arguments.

As someone who has read your posts, and followed the links, and is very interested in the subject of the environment, I think you're a nihilist.

-n

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Jan. 31st, 2004 09:24 am (UTC)
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The essay didn't cover what the proposed mechanism for humans disrupting the ocean currents. The problem is that as the average temperature warms, the glaciers on greenland are melting and emptying into the ocean. This source of freshwater is equilibrating the salt concentration between the northern and southern portions of the atlantic ocean. As currently understood, without the differential there's no reason for the water in the north to fall to the bottom of the ocean and then be drawn back to the southern ocean.

Though the article was rather filled with rhetoric. Mostly I focused on that quote because I feel rather alone in sensing we only have a short time to get our act together to stop the experiment testing how much damage our environment can take before it breaks in some fundamental way.

The cow thing is easier, lowering market demand for cows will decrease production and thus there will be fewer cows in the world to make methane.

As for the charge of nihilism. The most common definition is believing that nothing can be known. Which I don't believe. However m-w.com had a secondary defintion of believing that social conditions are so bad as to be deserving of destruction even without the existence of a positive alternative.

I'm much closer to that definition, but I think that arguing that the current social conditions are bad because they are self-destructive and that we need to create a positive alternative doesn't fit that secondary definition.

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Nafees

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from: nogbogfrog
date: Jan. 31st, 2004 12:24 pm (UTC)
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All your responses are very well put. We need to create a positive alternative for sure. But unfortunately the path to those solutions is not a direct one. Even your proposed paths may pose equal dangers. But I'm in favor of making what seem to be better decisions. But I'm also willing to allow that human kind will need to make mistakes, and do goofy things to become better.

-n

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