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Old August 13th, 2017, 05:28 PM
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Default Is a sixth global extinction event a viable political topic?

What do you think?
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Old November 9th, 2017, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: Is a sixth global extinction event a viable political topic?

Huh, I just noticed this post.

I know that accelerated global warning brought on by unfettered human activity is already killing off hundreds of species of little known plants, reptiles, birds, etc, annually.

Since agreements to control emissions, protect environmentally key ecosystems, reduce pollution and waste, etc., *are* political, this should warrant some discussion.

Then again, too many people either agree with the orange buffoon that climate change is a hoax/an exaggeration/unrelated to human activity, or just don't give a fig, since they themselves will be dead before the consequences can directly affect them.

The Marshall Islands, and a number of small island nations, face obliteration within this century (if not a couple of decades) due to rising sea levels, and the rest of the world shrugs its shoulders and goes on, uncaring.
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Old November 10th, 2017, 02:04 AM
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Default Re: Is a sixth global extinction event a viable political topic?

The sixth major global extinction event is being caused partially by climate change, but there are a number of other factors involved too. Many if not most of those factors are also directly related to humans, though. Irresponsible hunting and fishing/poaching practices, shrinking habitats, massive oil spills, and invasive species in fragile ecosystems are all solid examples, though i'm sure that's hardly an exhaustive list.

Species also go extinct naturally all the time, sometimes because of evolution, or because their predators overpopulate, or because their species was too "niche" to survive a perfectly natural challenge.

The more natural extinctions don't generally constitute a major threat to the critical biodiversity of Earth, though, at least not on their own. But with all these causes acting simultaneously, diversity of species on our planet over roughly the last century has been decreasing at a rate unheard of since the Chicxulub event (the dinosaur-killer a.k.a, Global Extinction Event #5), the rate continues to increase at a nearly exponential rate.

The dangers are far more serious than a lack of cool different creatures to look at in a museum, or even a chance to understand the process of evolution at its most basic levels. The true danger is to the survival of all, or certainly the vast majority, of complex life forms on Earth. We still don't fully understand the interconnectedness of all the different species on our planet - shit, new species are still being discovered fairly regularly, at least a dozen or so every year, and there are vast stretches of the planet yet to be plumbed, including some of the most hostile (to humans, anyway) parts of the planet, where as-yet-undiscovered species may unlock biological secrets that could have unimaginable benefits for humanity as a whole. The extremophiles can teach us SO much, and we've barely scratched the surface of discovering them.

As for rising sea levels, AZ, that's a guaranteed catastrophe on so so many levels. The Marshalls is a great example, but there are so many more. Thousands if not tens of thousands of islands that will be islands no more. Some of them unique habitats teeming with unique species and unique ecosystems that will be gone decades before we have a chance to learn how they developed, much less how they would develop further! If sea levels rise 13 feet in the next 50 years, which is a VERY conservative picture, 90% of the humans on the planet will be displaced or dead. That will trigger further ecological catastrophes (not to mention humanitarian crises that will beggar the imagination and might make the term "Biblical" seem tame).

But probably the most serious danger posed by rising sea levels is the changes that will bring in overall ocean salinity and temperature. The oceans's phytoplankton, iirc, produces something like 40% of the breathable oxygen in our planet's atmosphere, and it's the bottom of the food chain for an estimated 80-85% of all animals on Earth. Ocean phytoplankton is also extraordinarily sensitive to salinity levels and temperatures.

Thanks for bumping this thread. As much as i enjoy getting into domestic politics, i feel like this is an issue that goes so much farther than that.

I saw recently that Syria has signed on for the Paris Climate Accord. That leaves the USA as the only hold-out. I can't even express how humiliated i feel as a citizen of the US to say that, and really the Paris Accord wasn't nearly a solution, it was more sort of a commitment to realizing that a solution is needed, and to try to do what we know we can now. Furthermore there's absolutely no compelling domestic reason for the US not to be part of it. What the heck is wrong with us?
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Old November 10th, 2017, 11:49 AM
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Default Re: Is a sixth global extinction event a viable political topic?

I could answer the 'what the heck is wrong with us?' bit with one pithy comment, but to expand on that thought: Car Sagan predicted what's happening now, on many levels, in The Demon Haunted World (see relevant passages here)

In a society where people who deny the most basic principles of science because they themselves don't understand them are nominated to head government scientific institutions, their own short term economic gain because the overriding goal of those institutions, and to hell with long term consequences for the planet. (See every Trump appointee to a science position, from EPA to NASA)
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Old November 10th, 2017, 06:10 PM
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Default Re: Is a sixth global extinction event a viable political topic?

I'd say that the people who refuse to acknowledge the irrefutable facts of climate change do so regardless of whether they understand it or not, and in the case of those who genuinely don't understand it, it's willful ignorance.

No, they deny climate change and create conspiracy theories convoluted enough to make Chris Carter (X-Files creator) blush because doing so benefits their quarterly bottom line. Their personal beliefs are utterly unimportant - they have a product to sell and they'll do anything to do so.
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Old November 10th, 2017, 07:19 PM
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Default Re: Is a sixth global extinction event a viable political topic?

Precisely; they know it's not likely they'll live long enough to face any significant consequences, as their wealth will insulate them from the fate the poorest among us (a growing number, to boot) will face within a couple of decades.

And despite all their 'family values!' battle cries, they don't care at all about what happens to their children once they are gone.
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Old November 13th, 2017, 03:30 AM
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Default Re: Is a sixth global extinction event a viable political topic?

It often seems to me like "family values" is a particularly Orwellian form of insidious double-speak when utilized by the so-called conservative political side of the spectrum in the US. The Republican Party in particular seems escepially fond of proclaiming themselves the political voice of family values in the US, which considering their overall agenda, leaves one wondering about what kind of families they claim to be representing. Certainly not the great majority of families with whom i'm familiar.

The discussion of that hypocrisy if not outright deliberate misrepresentation could take weeks if not months. As it relates to the issue at hand, one would think that an individual or group of individuals making a good-faith effort to represent families would consider the long-term survival, growth, and prosperity of those families as being of paramount importance to the families in question - in other words, core values. Or if those things are unachievable for any given reason, i think most families with whom i am familiar would trade those things only for the dearest cost of greater good for many other families if not the human race as a whole or an even greater cause which encompasses those listed above.

In stark contrast to such nobility, politicians in the USA today who like to cloak themselves in their hollow self-serving rhetoric of "standing up for family values" often wouldn't recognize the virtue of self-sacrifice if someone threw their very body in front of a speeding locomotive to save the life of a young child right in front of the politician in question. Many of these career politicians married for political gain, divorced for political gain, and shamelessly trot their own children into the harsh and unforgiving limelight in an attempt to make themselves seem "family-oriented."

It's shameless, degrading, embarrassing, and despicable. As the Commander-in-Cheat would say, "Sad!"
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