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← What about the forests ?

What about the forests ? - Comments

Random Jerk's Avatar Comment 1 by Random Jerk

Well, without sounding stupid, should we start enforcing 'limited number of miles an year' policy, an higher charge on the unnecessary energy/water usage, limit number of air miles people travel ? I know folks would love to call me an asshole parading on personal freedom, but unless you enforce certain things on people,it is impossible to sutain our livestyle on this planet as a responsible society. I do want to see my children and their children live and enjoy this buzz of life I had, and I guess I can make some sacrifices for them.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 12:49:12 UTC | #888157

Lapithes's Avatar Comment 2 by Lapithes

Actually the unsustainable lifestyle according to wikipedia is to a large extent subsistence agriculture, alas it isn't the case that if only those farmers would think about what they're doing a bit more they could stop doing it because it feeds their children.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deforestation#Causes

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 12:51:17 UTC | #888159

Graxan's Avatar Comment 3 by Graxan

It seems somewhat like that same mental process that occurs in people who are asked to accept evolution by natural selection. Due to the neccessity for some legwork to be done in terms learning and accepting things on a macroscopic scale, people are just not bothered and many would rather accept quick-fire quack theories as they are easier. 'Oh, its just the cylces of the sun you say? Oh its nothing to worry about then.' Then you have the inherant childishness of the politicians. We aren't going to spend money on this environmental bill until that country does the same... Then you have the bureaucracy of local authorities getting in the way of proper recycling efforts. I know of a few people who take their garbage to the local tip themselves because of the bad organisation of the waste collection department, and others still who don't bother at all.

I'm afraid people need to be forced to act on these issues or face penalties, as anti-libertarian as that sounds. The fact is that we'll have no liberty if we destroy our home through inaction.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 12:58:04 UTC | #888167

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 4 by Zeuglodon

Comment 3 by Graxan

I'm afraid people need to be forced to act on these issues or face penalties, as anti-libertarian as that sounds. The fact is that we'll have no liberty if we destroy our home through inaction.

It makes more sense when you realise that the hands-off approach of being 'free' to make our own choices is just that - an approach. It's not a philosophy you should hold through thick and thin.

The minimum we can do is fund for renewable energy sources to make us less dependent on soon-to-be exhausted non-renewables, simply waste less electricity and gas whenever possible, and either shop for local produce as much as possible or grow or raise our own food. Many individuals are doing this, but if SC's account is indicative, then it seems those individuals are still not common enough at present.

Call me pessimistic, but I think a lot of the problem is due to overpopulation making heavy demands on resources, local conflicts causing people to refuse agreements, and people spreading misinformation, and within the next century or two centuries, our species is going to suffer a massive population crash. We're already pushing our environments to their limits, and it is mostly urbanisation that causes the excessive overconsumption, which doesn't sit well with the observation that more and more people are moving from the countryside to the cities. The Copenhagen talk, and many talks before then, did not produce much, and the increase in sustainable resources is too small on the global scale.

I'll do my bit, but I can't see how this is going to end well. I don't think it will wipe us out, but it will cause untold suffering and death for millions of people, and make the lives of nearly all of the rest miserable.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 13:20:34 UTC | #888178

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 5 by Schrodinger's Cat

The real problem is that the disaster isn't something that is 'going to' happen.......it is already happening. There isn't going to come one specific day when the sky will suddenly light up with the words 'disaster' and make it official.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 13:25:56 UTC | #888181

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 6 by Premiseless

Correct S.Cat. The unreasonably dominant are 'in control'.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 14:12:10 UTC | #888204

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 7 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 4 by Zeuglodon

The minimum we can do is fund for renewable energy sources to make us less dependent on soon-to-be exhausted non-renewables, simply waste less electricity and gas whenever possible, and either shop for local produce as much as possible or grow or raise our own food. Many individuals are doing this, but if SC's account is indicative, then it seems those individuals are still not common enough at present.

Well....a good reason to save electricity and gas is that they're not exactly cheap any more.

One solution I have, in that area, is to introduce bands where they are cheaper if less is used. This would actively enourage people to use less. What the companies lose on cheaper fuels for those use less, they would gain on more expensive for those who use more.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 17:25:31 UTC | #888274

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 8 by Alan4discussion

The sad thing is , that the job CAN be done properly!

Kielder Water & Forest Park forms part of the largest man made forest in Northern Europe. Each year the Forestry Commission harvests around half a million cubic metres of timber with the wood being used for many applications: - http://www.visitkielder.com/how-it-all-works

Every winter/spring the Forestry Commission plants three and a half million trees to replace the ones which have been cut down. The water surface area of Kielder Water is about 1000 ha - this represents the same size of area which is replanted with trees each and every year.

Kielder Forest is managed sustainably and is a valuable home and sanctuary for many species of flora and fauna, including deer, squirrels birds of prey, border mires with peat bog plant species.

The forest thrives as a truly outstanding example of modern forests.

Kielder Water is the largest man-made lake in northern Europe and is capable of holding 200 billion litres of water. It has a shoreline of 27 miles and is 170 feet at its deepest point (taller than Nelson’s Column). Following many years of planning it was built at a cost of £167million and was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 1982.

When completed, the Kielder Water Scheme was one of the largest and most forward looking projects of its time. The first example in the UK of a regional water grid, it was designed to meet the demands of the north east well into the future.

The scheme is a regional transfer system designed to allow water from Kielder Reservoir in the north west to be released into the Rivers Tyne, Derwent, Wear and Tees. This water is used to maintain minimum flow levels at times of low natural rainfall and allows additional flows to be released for both domestic and industrial abstraction.

Electricity generation is also a by-product of the release of water into the river. Two hydro-electric generators installed at Kielder dam convert latent energy into electricity for the nation grid.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 17:30:58 UTC | #888277

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 9 by Premiseless

The worrisome thing is when the forest recycling is way beyond a human lifetime. What humans, in power, want to invest in several lifetimes beyond their own? In this respect the humans who have invested all their resources into gaining control are very short sighted, or else the forces that keep them there are, or both - until forces emerge that exhibit a momentum that counters holistic human intervention. How to do this last bit is the hard problem. In my experience, the lifetime afforded each human has little reserve in there to divert to such an enterprise.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 17:39:51 UTC | #888281

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 10 by Zeuglodon

Comment 7 by Schrodinger's Cat

One solution I have, in that area, is to introduce bands where they are cheaper if less is used. This would actively enourage people to use less. What the companies lose on cheaper fuels for those use less, they would gain on more expensive for those who use more.

Why not just simply have a limit charge on anyone who uses more than a set amount of electricity or gas? It is the same principle, but I think it would be more likely to work because it is an addition and it has obvious advantages for the suppliers, compared with reducing the price per unit the lower your consumption.

There's a similar drive to manage water supplies in the UK to reduce the environmental damage, as too much water is being diverged from the rivers at places. It's a comparatively small-scale problem, but it's also fuelled by environmental concerns. Unfortunately, the companies are dragging their feet or investing in reservoirs that won't be completed for years.

Comment 8 by Alan4discussion

The sad thing is , that the job CAN be done properly!

I can't remember what TV documentary it was, but I once saw on one an interview with a guy who was running a project to plant new shoots to restore the rainforest in South America. I think he was planning on planting three million trees. There was even a project in a local school in which the kids could join in on their own designated patch, as part of their education about looking after the forest. If only there were more people with that kind of dedication.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 18:23:59 UTC | #888296

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 11 by Alan4discussion

Comment 10 by Zeuglodon

There was even a project in a local school in which the kids could join in on their own designated patch, as part of their education about looking after the forest. If only there were more people with that kind of dedication.

Back in the 1960s & 70s I participated in a UK scheme and organised kids planting trees around their school playing fields. Some of the trees are quite impressive now.

Beware of companies bragging about how many trees they replant to show they are "green". On ground prepared by deep ploughing machines, a single good forestry planter can put in 1000 small trees a day.
In the Keilder example I give the harvesting and replanting are kept in balance.

For the moment the UK government plan to sell off our public forests, has been blocked by the public outcry the proposal raised.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 19:17:40 UTC | #888313

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 12 by Zeuglodon

Comment 11 by Alan4discussion

Beware of companies bragging about how many trees they replant to show they are "green". On ground prepared by deep ploughing machines, a single good forestry planter can put in 1000 small trees a day.

I most certainly will. Though in reference to the example I gave, I think it was an environmentalist working on behalf of some organisation or other. The interviewer had explicitly asked him what his plans were for the reforestation, hence the figure.

For the moment the UK government plan to sell off our public forests, has been blocked by the public outcry the proposal raised.

I should think so, too. I was one of the members of the public who complained, and I sent off a cheque to the Woodland Trust just to make sure. We have so little forest left, I'd rather we kept it.

Mon, 07 Nov 2011 20:26:46 UTC | #888340

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 13 by Sjoerd Westenborg

Comment 5 by Schrodinger's Cat :

The real problem is that the disaster isn't something that is 'going to' happen.......it is already happening. There isn't going to come one specific day when the sky will suddenly light up with the words 'disaster' and make it official.

And there's the problem. All the people on this planet would rally together if an asteroid or meteorite would threaten to exterminate 80% of their population, or destroy a continent. But an equally devastating disaster, that happens slowly just doesn't pack the same psychological punch!

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 00:35:52 UTC | #888440

danconquer's Avatar Comment 14 by danconquer

Comment 1 by Srikar_NBK :

Well, without sounding stupid, should we start enforcing 'limited number of miles an year' policy, an higher charge on the unnecessary energy/water usage, limit number of air miles people travel ?

Yes, I think you are right. Thus far, the main 'strategies' for tackling this crisis consist of constant appeals to individuals to change their behaviours. However such appeals are always going to be doomed all the while people ultimately remain free to do as they please. It only needs one person to openly flout the appeal for self-restraint and suddenly it becomes a free-for-all as everyone, understandably, says "well he's doing it, so why shouldn't I". You might as well ask people to voluntarily select the level of income tax they want to pay from their wageslip. The result would be a collapse in payments, which collectively and rationally people accept the need for, so yes ultimately compulsion is required.

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 00:42:08 UTC | #888442

danconquer's Avatar Comment 15 by danconquer

The other related problem is the lack of binding international political and legal frameworks. Over the last few decades, business, trade and markets have become truly globalised and are becoming more so all the time... And yet our democratic and political structures remain firmly anchored and isolated within the national boundaries of early industrial capitalism. Which is exactly how some very rich, very powerful people like it of course, as they now play one government off against another.

Within this context, trying to tackle climate change is the equivalent of trying to govern the Ministry Of Defence via one hundred and fifty local town councils! It just won't work!

Whether it's a proposed tax on financial transactions, measures to tackle global warming or selling arms to repressive dictatorships, whenever modest proposals designed to safeguard some kind of sustainable future do emerge, they are quickly shot down by those who insist that we have to remain 'competitive' against other nations. That may well be true. But if it is, then it only goes to confirm the urgent need that exists to set about globalising and internationalising our political and governmental structures.

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 00:56:19 UTC | #888443

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 16 by Premiseless

Rainforests are of course an excellent metaphor for what happens when dominant humans maul well evolved pacifist areas of the globe. They just make a market out of it till it's gone! Market morality poisons everything. It creates co dependency upon devastation.

This is one of my serious doubts about so called use of reason as always superior to emotive logic. The markets would claim this their modus operandi would they not?

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 08:46:19 UTC | #888503

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 17 by Alan4discussion

Comment 16 by Premiseless

Market morality poisons everything. It creates co dependency upon devastation.

As I have pointed out in earlier discussions, it illustrates the "mentality" of a yeast culture in a barrel of fruit juice! Exploit until there is nothing left to exploit, and die pickled in its own waste, - or move on to a new pristine source ( if there are any left).

A study from the University of Oregon found that in certain zones, areas that were clear cut had nearly three times the amount of erosion due to slides. When the roads required by the clearcutting were factored in, the increase in slide activity appeared to be about 5 times greater compared to nearby forested areas.[7] Clearcutting can also lead to an increased possibility of rapid runoff, loss of economic sustainability in that no timber products are available for a long time after clearcutting, - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clearcutting

US timber companies have been noted for this, demanding political stooges (at home or abroad) arrange for them to take over other people's forests when they have destroyed their own and the land they controlled.

As I commented @11, the present UK government tried this on, as soon as they came to power, with plans to sell off the sustainable forests developed by public investment, like Kielder, to the private sector.

Other examples of profit before sustainability, often cause rapid silting up of reservoirs behind dams as a result of deforestation and land mismanagement. This often leaves third world countries with massive debts for construction projects, while the benefits rapidly diminish as a lack of planning & resource management takes its course.

In general, the coarser, heavier sediments, the gravel and sand, tend to settle out at the upper end of reservoir, forming a "backwater" delta which gradually advances toward the dam. The lighter sediments, the silt and clay, tend to be deposited nearer the dam. In 1983 the crest of Tarbela’s backwater delta had advanced to 19 kilometres from the dam: according to pre–construction predictions the delta should have been 48 kilometres behind the dam at this time. By 1991 the delta crest was just 14 kilometres from the dam.

"Watershed management" – including afforestation and the promotion of farming practices which reduce soil erosion – is frequently advocated as the best way of cutting sediment deposition in reservoirs. While these schemes may be recommended in project plans, they are rarely implemented: dam–building agencies are usually more interested in putting their funds toward building dams than planting trees and digging field terraces.

Overall, building a dam in a valley is much more likely to increase erosion than reduce it: dams open up remote areas to road–builders, developers, loggers, farmers and miners, accelerating deforestation and soil loss.

... Unless such activities are tightly regulated by honest effective government planning for the long term.

There are supposedly "green" plans for "carbon taxes/credits", to pay money to Amazonian cattle barons to put back some of the rainforest they have previously destroyed.
To my way of thinking this is paying and rewarding the wrong people, not to mention condoning further pollution. The support should be for the local tribes who kept it in balance in the first place, but they don't earn foreign currency for rich businessmen, sell illegally logged timber overseas, or to buy modern weapons to dominate their countrymen.

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 10:08:56 UTC | #888526

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 18 by Zeuglodon

Comment 16 by Premiseless

They just make a market out of it till it's gone! Market morality poisons everything. It creates co dependency upon devastation.

Market morality is not 100% bad - in some ways, it parallels natural selection, and we all know that can produce good results as well as bad ones. It's a bit sad to think that this market force deal is the best we humans have got to offer, though, considering the collateral damage it incurs.

This is one of my serious doubts about so called use of reason as always superior to emotive logic. The markets would claim this their modus operandi would they not?

The only thing I'll say in favour of emotive logic is that it's quicker and it's worked well in some situations. Reason is as good as its user. Besides, you're describing short-term reasoning, something closer to the tragedy of the commons, not long-term.

Comment 17 by Alan4discussion

The reason they're paying the polluters is not because they condone them, but because the polluters generally have the large resources that could reverse the process. Though I admit they're not the only ones, and it is a badly thought-out idea.

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 11:59:07 UTC | #888558

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 19 by Premiseless

Comment 17 by Alan4discussion :

The support should be for the local tribes who kept it in balance in the first place, but they don't earn foreign currency for rich businessmen, sell illegally logged timber overseas, or to buy modern weapons to dominate their countrymen.

Unreasonable dominance dictates how the world is run. How do you get top executives to return a profit measured in planet Earth bonds? Markets only respond, very short term, which kind of dictates the agenda for ALL governments. "Your currency is our quarry."

The whole world is tied to convergence on deluded gains for the storehouses of bullies. Try not being a bully and you risk getting bullied - is the next (and present) big thing!

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 12:47:28 UTC | #888572

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 20 by Alan4discussion

Comment 18 by Zeuglodon

The reason they're paying the polluters is not because they condone them, but because the polluters generally have the large resources that could reverse the process. Though I admit they're not the only ones, and it is a badly thought-out idea.

It was because of overseas (neocolonial?) support and technology, that these cattle barons & loggers were able to destroy rainforest and seize the resources in the first place. The token repair is hypocritical if deforestation continues. I would also cynically suggest that the policy may well be reversed once the trees have matured enough to make it profitable to harvest the timber. Investing the carbon tax in new power generating technologies and policing timber imports would be better.

I see the Australian Senate has now backed a carbon tax - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-15632160 - a move towards the principle of " the polluter must pay", which was more widely adopted (but with tax at a lower rate) in Europe.

But the government hopes that the legislation will force innovation in renewable energy supplies, and free Australia from its reliance on fossil fuels.

The country accounts for 1.5% of the world's emissions, but it is the developed world's highest emitter per head of population thanks to its relatively small population.

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 12:50:03 UTC | #888574

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 21 by Alan4discussion

Comment 19 by Premiseless

Unreasonable dominance dictates how the world is run.

Economic warfare and downright arming of puppet political organisations (one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter) or staightforward miltary intervention, supports the likes of the T-Party with their fundamentalist, "It is our god-given planet to do with as we choose", attitude - aided and abetted by apathetic masses who are happy with "bread & circuses" (otherwise known as consumerism, Murdock and soaps).

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 13:04:54 UTC | #888577

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 22 by Red Dog

Comment 13 by Sjoerd Westenborg :

Comment 5 by Schrodinger's Cat :

The real problem is that the disaster isn't something that is 'going to' happen.......it is already happening. There isn't going to come one specific day when the sky will suddenly light up with the words 'disaster' and make it official.

And there's the problem. All the people on this planet would rally together if an asteroid or meteorite would threaten to exterminate 80% of their population, or destroy a continent. But an equally devastating disaster, that happens slowly just doesn't pack the same psychological punch!

I don't agree. I mean the fact that its gradual may be an issue but the real problem is that there are many powerful people who are making lots of money off of the unsustainable way of life: petroleum, coal, fast food, factory farms,... and those people also control most of the main stream media. So they continue to put out FUD that obscures the simple fact that we need to move to alternative fuels and a more sustainable way of life.

Tue, 08 Nov 2011 23:54:29 UTC | #888796

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 23 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 22 by Red Dog

the fact that its gradual may be an issue but the real problem is that there are many powerful people who are making lots of money off of the unsustainable way of life: petroleum, coal, fast food, factory farms,... and those people also control most of the main stream media

Those people only have as much power as we give them by buying their goods and services. Corporate greed is merely the tip of the iceberg of consumer greed. One can't really blame the head of BMW for being stinking rich and powerful......when so many people just 'have' to have that nice shiny gleaming new car with its fuel guzzling V12 engine. And to cap it all off, we sit in our gleaming house with our gleaming car outside.....and our Greenpeace subscription to stop those naughty Brazilian farmers chopping down a few trees so that they can have a nice gleaming house with a gleaming car outside.

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 02:25:09 UTC | #888816

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 24 by Premiseless

I think there a momentum for degenerate global mathematical progression in flow, which from the point of humans potential for cooperation needn't have been the case, but in reality was unreasonably bullied into dominance due that possibility being easier to express by the few with the power to do so prompted by the in fighting amongst like minded others.

If you like, the old neanderthal physical bullies, effecting short term dominance, subjugated some of the best brains to help their own cause become the path that we see played out on a world stage.

Today, if brains winning power (which indeed is part of the short human lifespan problem motivating longer term change) ever emerge as cumulatively dominant for longer term sustainability and enhancement of planet Earth per se, equations will have to emerge that are far less akin to a Darwin being born in poverty where the only crop growing is weed and the only road to an education is via gas guzzling transport on a diet based on food aid, consumed by the worry about ones own biology being dominated by others puberty and whether you ever get awarded one. Being told it's time to make a stand hardly stacks up! These are the ranges of realities that render many 'ambivalent'.

In summary, too many lives are already hooked into the wrong progression for the right one to simply turn up and do its thing. We, the majority, are in remedial class and the guys at the helm too busy enjoying doing their thing, self persuaded the excesses of their own experiential, to outweigh time spent improving the plight of the unborn Earth they walk.

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 07:20:50 UTC | #888850

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 25 by susanlatimer

@Premiseless

Brevity is art.

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 07:34:20 UTC | #888853

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 26 by Premiseless

Comment 25 by susanlatimer :

@Premiseless

Brevity is art.

To me, it couldn't be more brief. I kid you not. It's how I think! I'm usually trying to say much in the shortest possible way!

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 07:54:33 UTC | #888855

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 27 by susanlatimer

Comment 26 by Premiseless

To me, it couldn't be more brief. I kid you not. It's how I think! I'm usually trying to say much in the shortest possible way!

It's not the shortest possible way. That's what editing is for.

Let's take this, for example:

I think there a momentum for degenerate global mathematical progression in flow, which from the point of humans potential for cooperation needn't have been the case, but in reality was unreasonably bullied into dominance due that possibility being easier to express by the few with the power to do so prompted by the in fighting amongst like

The shortest POSSIBLE way? No. We all think in nonsense. You didn't even bother to turn "there" into "there's" and then you followed it with a stream of unnecessary language that failed to communicate what you're "thinking". Big words mean nothing if there's no attention paid to the small ones.

In musical circles (and possibly other circles), it's referred to as "wanking".

It's up to you but I've learned to skip over your comments. As much as I'm interested in everyone's thoughts, I've learned that you're not putting any real effort into expressing yours. Maybe you have some great ideas. I'd love to hear them. If you have something to say, SAY it but give it an honest effort.

That's the last comment I'll make about it. My last one was better.

I'm off topic. And it's a very important topic.

And I'll understand if you tell me to go f*** myself but please don't use an incomprehensible string of 73 or so words to do it. :-)

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 08:18:35 UTC | #888860

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 28 by Premiseless

My point takes account of power and poverty and why the global trap is set (in casino terms) to not exit the problem the world has with global degeneration. It's a critical mass thing. Worrying about apostrophes ain't gonna change this - I'd call that self serving.

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 08:45:43 UTC | #888863

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 29 by Zeuglodon

Comment 28 by Premiseless

My point takes account of power and poverty and why the global trap is set (in casino terms) to not exit the problem the world has with global degeneration. It's a critical mass thing. Worrying about apostrophes ain't gonna change this - I'd call that self serving.

Why not just say that it's the tragedy of the commons, in which large-scale catastrophe is caused by the selfish actions of each one of us, and now it's gone on for so long that a critical threshold has been reached, and now we can't do anything about it, and many of us, being selfish, wouldn't do anything about it even if we could?

Premiseless, it's worth taking notice if someone complains about difficulties in reading your posts, whether you oft mean it as a satire or not (sound familiar?). I know I get headaches just trying to decipher some of them. Many people on here can make the same points you can, and they don't experience problems with getting the message across.

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 14:44:36 UTC | #888967

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 30 by Red Dog

Comment 27 by susanlatimer :

Comment 26 by Premiseless

It's up to you but I've learned to skip over your comments. As much as I'm interested in everyone's thoughts, I've learned that you're not putting any real effort into expressing yours.

X2

Wed, 09 Nov 2011 14:55:07 UTC | #888971