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Perfect storm of ecological and social problems

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posted on Feb, 22 2012 @ 09:21 AM
I was not sure where to put this thread because the subject matter is pretty all-encompassing, so the Mods may need to move it to a more appropriate forum.

Civilization faces ‘perfect storm of ecological and social problems’


Celebrated scientists and development thinkers today warn that civilization is faced with a perfect storm of ecological and social problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption, and environmentally malign technologies.

In the face of an “absolutely unprecedented emergency,” say the 18 past winners of the Blue Planet prize — the unofficial Nobel for the environment — society has “no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilisation. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us.”

The stark assessment of the current global outlook was published Feb. 21, on the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the UN environment program (Unep). The paper, which was commissioned by Unep, will feed into the Rio +20 earth summit conference in June.

The group warns against over-reliance on markets but instead urges politicians to listen and learn from how poor communities all over the world see the problems of energy, water, food and livelihoods as interdependent and integrated as part of a living ecosystem.

“The long-term answer is not a centralized system but a demystified and decentralized system where the management, control and ownership of the technology lie in the hands of the communities themselves and not dependent on paper-qualified professionals from outside the villages,” they say.

What are the chances of anyone taking this seriously? And should they?

The paper urges governments to:

- Replace GDP as a measure of wealth with metrics for natural, built, human and social capital and how they intersect.

- Eliminate subsidies in sectors such as energy, transport and agriculture that create environmental and social costs, which currently go unpaid.

- Tackle overconsumption in the rich world, and address population pressure by empowering women, improving education and making contraception accessible to all.

- Transform decision-making processes to empower marginalized groups, and integrate economic, social and environmental policies instead of having them compete.

- Conserve and value biodiversity and ecosystem services, and create markets for them that can form the basis of green economies.

- Invest in knowledge through research and training.

edit on 2/22/2012 by RedParrotHead because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 22 2012 @ 09:45 AM
reply to post by RedParrotHead


Take money and resource from the rich and hand to the poor. Give subsidies to the corporations we work for. Capitalism sucks, Communism rocks. We need new taxes to save the world.

This is why I never listen to "ecologist" .. They are the worst kind of politician, they spout their political garbage with a sense of arrogant self righteousness I cannot even comprehend it. In the end I know they want a mixture of two things.. some form of Socialism and my money.

posted on Feb, 22 2012 @ 10:10 AM
reply to post by Rockpuck

Would the fact that authors of the paper believe that their observations are reality and that their recommendations are necessary to avoid global disaster give you any pause? I mean consider for a moment that they don't have any ulterior motives ... would you agree with them if it meant "saving the world?"

Not saying you're opinions are fact I agree with you, I'm just wondering if these "experts" do have the facts. And if so, is giving up some of our beliefs (and even some rights) worth it if we avoid a global catastrophe?

posted on Feb, 22 2012 @ 10:28 AM
There are actually some ecological issues that are creeping bigger and bigger such as our ludicrous consumption of fresh water and the depletion of our aquifers. Our water policy is actually causing the desertification of a lot of places. But I feel anthropomorphic global warming is somewhere between bunk and overhyped and certainly not something we need to be taxed for.

I do agree with the perfect storm idea, just not in the way that he takes it. With the global economic collapse, as well as the heavy hits that food production has taken as of late, compounded by the war on Iran it seems pretty dire. If it blossoms into WW3 then it'll get pretty hairy

posted on Feb, 22 2012 @ 10:44 AM
reply to post by Rockpuck

In the end I know they want a mixture of two things.. some form of Socialism and my money.

Haha! I couldn't have said it better myself.

So I am not even going to try.

I admit that we ARE facing real issues on our planet, such as GMO crops, etc. But I also get repulsed by the attitudes of the "green" movement, and the holier-than-thou feeling.

It's like when I watched a House Hunters where this couple wanted a "green" they purchased a home, ripped out all of the cabinets and flooring, and replaced them with "green" materials. They didn't even SEE their own hypocracy. Yet they are going to tell ME how to live.
edit on 22-2-2012 by GeorgiaGirl because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 22 2012 @ 11:03 AM
reply to post by RedParrotHead

Okay, I'll bite.

“The long-term answer is not a centralized system but a demystified and decentralized system where the management, control and ownership of the technology lie in the hands of the communities themselves and not dependent on paper-qualified professionals from outside the villages,” they say.

What are the chances of anyone taking this seriously? And should they?

The chances are very, very good. And yes, they (we) should. The current system is in FAIL mode, we are watching it come unglued every day. How can anyone not take the stance that it is broken?

I don't think it's all about RockPuck or Georgia's "taking my money", either. It's about smaller, self-sustaining communities managed by the members who actually live there, and minding their own business.

Imo, this country is just too big. 300 million people can't all agree on anything, least of all who "should" have how many, or how few, portions of what there is to go around (and, um, numbers on a spreadsheet are not counted in that, as it is all just "ink on paper"), or who should be in charge, or who has to follow the rules and who does not. It's a runaway, impossible system, and absolutely bound to collapse.

posted on Feb, 22 2012 @ 05:26 PM
reply to post by RedParrotHead

There are some serious ecological problems.. the biggest comes from population. If left alone the Industrial World's population eventually flatlines.. they rely on heavy immigration to fill the void (to generate growth in consumption)

So the issue is.... the "3rd World" .. but I'm yet to see a serious "ecologist" have any hard, severe ideas about how to deal with the "3rd World" .. it's all about how evil Western countries are and how we need to pay more taxes to fund more agencies to "solve the problem"...


posted on Feb, 22 2012 @ 08:53 PM
reply to post by Rockpuck

the biggest comes from population. If left alone the Industrial World's population eventually flatlines.

Can you please elaborate on this point? Very interesting.

posted on Feb, 22 2012 @ 09:47 PM
reply to post by wildtimes

In the USA the generation after the Boomers stopped having big families. They were also the wealthiest generation ... ever .. in Human history. White people in the USA and Europe are the best figures for this study because they dominated the economic landscape during the last great prosperity. However it's not race exclusive: Japan is going to see the largest population decline by birth/death model in Human History in the next few decades. Tokyo alone could expect to lose 10-30% of it's entire population.

But for many industrial economies, the opposite might be true as those economies often thrive on mortgaging the future by way of debt and retirement transfer payments that originally assumed rising tax revenues from a continually expanding population base (i.e. there would be fewer taxpayers in a declining population). However, standard of living does not necessarily correlate with quality of life, which may increase as the population declines due to presumably reduced pollution and consumption of natural resources, and the decline of social pressures and overutilization of resources that can be linked to overpopulation. There may also be reduced pressure on infrastructure, education, and other services as well.

The period immediately after the Black Death, for instance, was one of great prosperity, as people had inheritances from many different family members. However, that situation was not comparable, as it did not have a continually declining population, but rather a sudden shock, followed by population increase. Predictions of the net economic (and other) effects from a slow and continuous population decline (e.g. due to low fertility rates) are mainly theoretical since such a phenomenon is a relatively new and unprecedented one.

A declining population due to low fertility rates will also be accompanied by population ageing which can contribute problems for a society. This can adversely affect the quality of life for the young as an increased social and economic pressure in the sense that they have to increase per-capita output in order to support an infrastructure with costly, intensive care for the oldest among their population. The focus shifts away from the planning of future families and therefore further degrades the rate of procreation. The decade-long economic malaise of Japan and Germany in the 1990s and early 2000s is often linked to these demographic problems, though there were also several other causes. The worst case scenario is a situation where the population falls too low a level to support a current social welfare economic system, which is more likely to occur with a rapid decline than with a more gradual one.

The economies of both Japan and Germany both went into recovery around the time their populations just began to decline (2003–2006). In other words, both the total and per capita GDP in both countries grew more rapidly after 2005 than before. Russia's economy also began to grow rapidly from 1999 onward, even though its population has been shrinking since 1992-93 (the decline is now decelerating).[31] In addition, many Eastern European countries have been experiencing similar effects to Russia. Such renewed growth calls into question the conventional wisdom that economic growth requires population growth, or that economic growth is impossible during a population decline. However, it may be argued that this renewed growth is in spite of population decline rather than because of it, and economic growth in these countries would potentially be greater if they were not undergoing such demographic decline. For example, Russia has become quite wealthy selling fossil fuels such as oil, which are now high-priced, and in addition, its economy has expanded from a very low nadir due to the economic crisis of the late 1990s. And although Japan and Germany have recovered somewhat from having been in a deflationary recession and stagnation, respectively, for the past decade, their recoveries seem to have been quite tepid. Both countries fell into the global recession of 2008-2009, but are now recovering once again, being among the first countries to recover.[32][33]

Populations of certain ethnic groups worldwide has slowed down considerably while others have marched on. In particular, 5 groups: North American Whites (~230 million), Europeans in Europe (~700 million), Japanese (~128 million), Chinese (~1380 million), and Koreans (~73 million) population growth rates have declined sharply to very modest growth, and all these groups are expected to see population declines in the next 20–30 years, if they aren't seeing them already. Ethnic Thais (~65 million) are also expected to follow not far b

posted on Feb, 22 2012 @ 09:53 PM
reply to post by wildtimes

Sorry... stupid char. limits.. so stupid.

Anyways, the data points out that in prosperous nations, regardless of race, be it British, American, Korean or Japanese .. wealthy nations with wealthy people have very small families. This lower fertility leads to stagnate populations, and eventually population declines (such as Japan which has an exceptionally high population decline)

So in the periods 1990-2012 Western economies who operate under a Keynesian ideology of perpetual growth, they began importing minorities from poor nations enmass. In Europe they also pull from impoverished Eastern Europe (which ontop of emigration is also seeing a population decline), and in the USA we pull tens of millions of Latino and Asian immigrants. According to the 2010 census an equal number of Asians immigrated to the US as Latinos. However if you subtract the massive amount of legal and illegal immigration into the USA ... we would have seen our population stagnating. Which is terrible for a consumer economy who's economy is 70% service consumption.

So if the evidence is rich nations are cleaner, healthier, and our populations balance out.... why don't these supposed scientist focus on the issues of the 3rd world? Such as artificially keeping populations high by importing food, water and medicine, all while our economic policy is essentially to keep them as poor as possible while importing them for cheap labor? Or why not focus their rage at nations like China who have almost no industrial regulations ontop of their horrific human rights violations? It has nothing to do with type of government, location, population size or wealthy to these "scientist" .. it's clearly an agenda (they want our money)

More on the fascinating study of Japanese population decline:
edit on 2/22/2012 by Rockpuck because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 22 2012 @ 10:57 PM
reply to post by Rockpuck

Wow. I'll have to check back and reread this tomorrow. But thanks very much for the resources. Interesting, very.

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