There is a surprising number of these strange people that have fallen from the nut tree, maybe it is something in the water?
Or a CIA mind control experiment gone wrong?
Extremist green campaigning group WWF - endorsed by no less a body than the European Space Agency - has stated that economic growth should be abandoned, that citizens of the world's wealthy nations should prepare for poverty and that all the human race's energy should be produced as renewable electricity within 38 years from now …
I don't think so, Lars. But it seems that every single one of them landed head-first...
Wouldn't the WWFians waste energy and resources by writing and publishing this rubbish? They should go to Ethiopia or Somalia as a good example and spread their fertiliser there; it might do the fields some good.
It is not as though the very existence of an organization like WWF is a low-cost matter: it requires lots of money to run it. The question is, who is paying for it? Who is providing the necessary funds to pay for the fraudulent "reports" that they release, and to pay the salaries of the executives who run the organization, and so on? Irrespective of any fund which the WWF raises from the general public, I would expect them to have a number of very significant corporate bodies as donors; such corporate bodies being not only businesses, but "charitable foundations" and similar - and who doesn't know that many "charitable foundations" are created only to serve the business and financial interests of their creators at one remove?
Who are their largest donors, and what specifically is on their agendas? What is the payoff they are angling for?
(I am not saying that everyone aligned with the WWF is a bought-and-paid-for hireling: I am sure that many of them are sincere partisans of people such as the virulent racist Paul Ehrlich and his ilk.)
I haven't read through all the comments as yet, so apologies if this has already been mentioned. Some of the answers to your questions can be found at: http://www.undueinfluence.com/wwf.htm
They are a very big corporation with very healthy salaries for CEOs. I'm assuming the report which wants us to all live in poverty, will exclude WWF high earners, so they can continue to enjoy their lavish lifestyles at the expense of others.
Definitely. I've been saying for years that these eco-fascist bastards (WWF, Greenpeace, PETA etc) won't be happy until they've got us all living in caves. And a lot of people around me told me (with varying degrees of politeness) that I might be exaggerating just a bit.
Well, this is the ultimate vindication!
I'll be showing this report around the office to all the green-loving idiots who actually gave money to these wankers on their last donation drive. Hopefully the total donation from our company next time will be a big fat ZERO.
... close to the land and living off what nature provides without tampering with her.
OK, but that requires something like a 90% reduction in the population of most developed countries.
I'm not volunteering.
What they should be pushing for is more technological advancement, focused on finding better ways to provide energy, food etc. - not dragging us back to before the Industrial Revolution, to feudal times.
Problem there is most of the flock have no idea how to look after a pot plant, let alone a field full of plants that would keep them alive.
Let me guess did the tree huggers publish this on hemp using no steel or concrete or glass, little hard to distribute it by hand around the globe because they obviously don't use any fossil fuels and solar powered wooden planes are everywhere. Hypocrites!!
"Problem there is most of the flock have no idea how to look after a pot plant, let alone a field full of plants that would keep them alive."
Population problem solved in short order!"
But that would only get rid of 10% of the population tops (in Aus anyway) - that would still leave the other 90% of us environmental heathens living comfortable, happy lives!
Oh wait... ;-)
It does not require 90% reduction. Just for those 90% to be working. ;)
There are big changes that small actions can cause. It's getting people to make those small actions though. One example was putting "green walls" on buildings. Letting plants grow up them (but managed) and growing roof gardens and window boxes. But being more practical, growing food in the back garden does not need to be don to conflict with keeping above the poverty line. It should be possible to do both!
While there are measurable benefits to these techniques, they have to be weighed against the costs (both material and time). As was pointed out during an environmental sciences course relating to my major, the economic and ecological costs for such gardens are often deceptively *very* high and can, in some cases, approach orders of magnitude higher than doing what we currently do.
In any case, I'm not opposed to these techniques. We just have to make sure that we are really doing good when we do apply them.
I've just cancelled my annual sub to the RSPB because, like WWF, they've been captured by the ecoloons and ceased to be interested in protecting birds, preferring to focus on preventing the development of CCS systems. Anyone in Britain who wants to support birds would be better joining the BTO.
I suggest you push your way to the front of the long queue of people willing to take themselves out of the equation...
You missed one very good option - lots and lots of Nuclear power. Fusion would be awesome but with some decent breeder reactors we should be alright for quite some time. Also fusion would require quite a lot of energy in research alone to get to a usable stage, so reducing energy usage to a Neanderthal level would probably ensure it never happens.
The way I see it is this: some people have a real complex about themselves and their species, a loathing of all human achievement and endeavour. You would discard the many advances we have made that have allowed us to live longer and healthier. You would prevent any further gains of knowledge and understanding of the reality we inhabit.
To me you are a dead end. You'd never have left your cave. When your neighbour discovered fire and found his food easier to digest you'd have told him it was only for the gods. When your fellow man begun developing tools you'd have told him it was unnecessary. You'd have laughed at the first farmer and carried on hunting and gathering. Your bloodline should have died out when your ancestors decided that having children was a waste of resources, but the odds of them holding true to that are about the same as your sodding off back to the cave you claim we should never have left.
We are what we are because of people who hoped to do more, not less. Because of people who would try and find better ways and better places to live. Because of people who would study and discover how to get more from the world around us. We have many flaws but I still believe that spirit exists and that we should seek to fix our problems and make the world a better place for everyone, not give up on them and make the world equally as bad for all. To give up all we have achieved because we haven't got it perfect yet would be the most heinous waste of resources I can imagine.
Fire because it's pretty, and I know how to make it...
@Squizzar. Breeder reactors probably are 'renewable' energy by any reasonable definition.
"Physicist Bernard Cohen claims that fast breeder reactors, fueled by uranium extracted from seawater, could supply energy at least as long as the sun's expected remaining lifespan of five billion years."
You think tides come from outside the solar system?
LOL. Yeah, I accidentally posted half way through an edit.
The intent was to cause the OP to think of the tides providing energy from the moon/ sun, so the earth is certainly not a closed system in that regard, as well as taking a large amount of energy directly from the sun.
Yeah, we have a closed system. Not really, as you yourself note, but let's pretend it's closed. So what? We can happily grow until we get close to the limit of the system. And neither you nor anyone else have done anything to prove that the time to stop growing is near. You only get to those conclusions by making irrational assumptions, such as that nuclear power and genetic engineering are morally wrong. If you don't artificially cripple yourself, surprise! it turns out the limit is so far away that it can't even be seen from here.
"We have a closed system, (well, one input- solar radiation, maybe two- asteroids) "
CO2, heat, methane, radio waves, water vapour, light, ozone, radiation, and all kinds of atmospheric trace elements constantly escape from the earth - this must be some strange usage of the term "closed system" that I wasn't previously aware of.
Thanks for demonstrating just how divorced from fact and reality environmentalists can be - with zero grasp of facts like that you'd make a great WWF researcher!
What dire poorly written drivel. The basic idea of the WWF is that things can't go on as they have done up to this point. What's wrong with that? Just because it's a message you don't want to hear doesn't make it wrong. This article has to be one of the worst examples of reactionary clap trap I have ever read.
"all the human race's energy should be produced as renewable electricity within 38 years from now."
The unspeakable horror of forward planning! Energy that lasts forever, instead of energy guaranteed to run out within a few decades!
What kind of fuckwits would be thinking that's a good thing?
The unspeakable horror of forward planning! Energy that lasts forever, instead of energy guaranteed to run out within a few decades!
Planning to throw the human race back into the same ditch they spent generations crawling out of is the same as not planning at all in my book.
Have you seen subsistence farming? Its not a nice life, and that appears to be what the WWF want us to reduce down to.
I thought this article was written by Lewis Page?
Certain people have serious issues with thinking outside of the little cultural box that they have grown accustomed to. While it should be obvious that humanity needs to sort out a "zero sum" energy and resource use system (before nature sorts it out for us) many people will absolutely refuse to admit to that physical reality.
Lewis has undoubtedly -- as per his usual practice -- mis-read and failed to comprehend what he is ostensibly writing about. Ignore such "journalists" (and the profoundly unqualified pundits that clog up TV "news") and instead look at the solid science and entirely reasonable conclusions in the source material that such people never fail to misrepresent.
"What kind of fuckwits would be thinking that's a good thing?"
What kind of fuckwits think that is actually possible?
The reality is there isn't enough rare earth metals on the planet to convert the existing car stock to electricity, in fact if we solely used every last scrap for that purpose we could convert about 1/3rd and that would mean no windmills to charge them in the first place!
Theotherhobbes, let me introduce you to reality - the two of you obviously haven't met...
byrresheim: by any rational definition of "triumph", Fukushima is one. No deaths, no releases of seriously harmful amounts of seriously harmful substances. Lewis was right, and has been proved so. Let's hope scaredy-cats (like you?) don't make it such that the lessons learned cannot be implemented. Nuclear is the only sensible way forward now, unless the eco-religionists get their way.
By the way, who is going to go to the developing nations and say "I've got some bad news and some good news. The bad news you will always be at the shitty level of subsistence you are now at. The good news is that everyone else will be at the same level!"
And another point: humans will always keep pushing for better lifestyles. Will there have to be taboos and ritual killings of anyone that innovates? "Old Bill down the road has changed the shape of his plough so it does a better job - get the hanging-rope".
"Let's hope scaredy-cats (like you?) don't make it such that the lessons learned cannot be implemented. Nuclear is the only sensible way forward now, unless the eco-religionists get their way."
Too late, at least in Japan. Yesterday's news brought the revelation that, having switched off 30% of their electricity generating capacity, Japan's government is now asking the people to reduce consumption by 15% in the next few months to avoid rolling blackouts.
The G8 should forget about Greece and start worrying about Japan.
Don't shoot the messenger, don't shoot the journalist, shoot the reader!
(you might go even further)
More seriously, it's easy to bash idiots. It would be much more interesting to do some calculations. Intuitively, it seems that if you try to limit the use of fossil fuels without decimating the population, you will do much more harm to the environment than you are doing now. Such as, trying to grow food locally and/or without industrially produced fertilizer will turn the land into desert rather quickly. But having this properly modelled, with figures, would help to make the case. At least, would help it more than just calling idiots idiots.
"The basic idea of the WWF is that things can't go on as they have done up to this point"
..."because of these completely made-up reasons which don't stand up to even the most cursory examination", it seems to me.
I'm certainly going to think twice before adopting any dolphins, more's the pity (as I suspect some of the money does actually go towards helping dolphins).
The WWF, alas, have joined that band of organisations whose utterances follow this pattern:
- The World is going to hell in a handbasket and we are all going to die.
- The cause of this is $THING_THAT_HUMANKIND_DEPENDS_ON
- To fix it, YOU must do $THING_THAT_VIOLATES_CAUSALITY
- If you don't, well, WE have Raised Awareness, so it won't be OUR fault
Whereupon they bask in a sickeningly sanctimonious Holy Light of righteous disgust. For extra points, they'll install tiny little windmills on the roof of their houses that produce just enough energy for the laptop they use for blogging about it. Other symptoms include an inability to use SI-standard units, preferring instead such units as "Enough for X Households".
Ye gods, if we didn't have WWF, and there were no light, how dark it would be.
What's wrong with it is that it doesn't provide any reasonable solutions acceptable to a normal person motivated by materialistic pursuits rather than the desire to grab a club and head for the nearest cave to spend the rest of their life.
Surely you didn't need me to tell you that.
"What's wrong with it is that it doesn't provide any reasonable solutions acceptable to a normal person motivated by materialistic pursuits rather than the desire to grab a club and head for the nearest cave to spend the rest of their life."
Yes it does. Have you even read the report? Or did you just swallow this article, which of course can't be biased at all.
Find in the report where it suggests anything remotely like living in a cave.
Its quite a new development for WWF I think, but I haven't been paying attention. But it happens to a lot of these sorts of organisations. The really keen people tend to be the ones on the end of the bell curve, and they end up running things because they're the ones who put most commitment in.
Provided you share their world view the logic that "its more important to campaign to stop things going wrong than to act to fix things that have gone wrong" is impeccable. However by and large they still get the money in from people who think they are still shelling out to fix things, and don't share the world view, and that to my mind is somewhat dishonest.
- National trust (less far along)
add others to taste and personal bias....
I'll add Save the Children to that list. I once got threatened with the courts by their legal team. I was running a charity event where 50% was to go to STC, and 50% to someone else. They said if their name was being mentioned then all the money had to go to them.
Yes, thats right, the money people give to STC feeds a team of lawyers. Needless to say none of the money went to them, and none of mine ever will.
Anonymous because, well, they have lawyers.
They would immediately suicide (in a carbon-neutral way) and leave the rest of us in peace.
My ancestors spent many millennia moving on from living in caves and I have no desire to return to them - there's a definite shortage of caves in Hertfordshire, and what there are are cold and draughty.
Man is the animal that changes his environment to suit himself. The greens of any flavour might not like that - though they seem quite happy to use the latest technology and infrastructure to live themselves and to try and shout about their point of view - but the simple fact is that *every* animal, plant, microbe, or whatever, uses as much of its local resources as it can. Always and without exception.
Assuming that 'equalising' things by reducing the haves to the level of the have-nots makes any kind of sense at all is idiocy of the finest order.
You misunderstand righteousness.
If they can persuade a group of people to reduce their carbon emissions to the point where the total savings exceed the carbon footprint of the evangelist, then he has done net good in the world! Thus, he is driven to further his goals at all costs. It is for your own good, you know.
For the righteous man, failing to further his goals either by simple inaction or by the more effective means of offing himself makes the world a worse place in his view, and he doesn't want to be part of the problem. Evangelising ensues.
You'll note that most of the terms associated with this have a heavy religious leaning. I expect it comes from the same strange attractors in the human psyche that encourage self flagellation in the name of a god, only that's not quite so fashionable these days.
The cement industry *on its own* is responsible for 5% of global CO2 emissions. You *can* make steel using an electric furnace, but you'll need rather a lot of windmills out the back to drive it. (It would be a lot easier if you had a nice nuclear reactor out the back instead.)
But maybe you're right. Maybe the report doesn't say anything about that.
I promise that I will go along with these bizarre notions spouted by WWF, Geenpeace, IPCC et al when all of the people advocating it have gone away and done what they preach for a suitable length of time - say 20 years - and shown that it is possible and desirable (i.e. no-one that starts the project gives up on it). Until this proof of concept has been done by those with most to gain from its success, then I'm just going to carry on with the fruits of civilisation - individual transport, heat on demand, clean water, a mature health-care system, etc - thank you very much.
Damnit I just insulated the house so according to this article I am poorer as I will use less heating in the winter.
At the same time we installed a window at the top of the roof that we can open in the summer to let the heat out of the house without using air-con so I will now be poorer all year round.
When the local "commune" installs regional-heating in 2 years time then I guess I will just have to accept that I am going to be on the bread-line, aa I will kinda feel obliged to use the cheaper (to me) heat source.
Like it or not we have problems living on what the planet can supply us with. So we either reduce our population or take less per head of what is sustainable. The arithmetic is quite simple. Unfortunately many people stick their heads in the sand and think that we can have both, it is rather like the Greeks thinking that they can continue to avoid austerity while also not paying taxes and staying in the Euro.
Spend 5 minutes here:
Nope - according to the original Malthusian nonsense we all died years ago. This is just more of the same. The all assume fixed resources and no human ingenuity. If you look at anything around you, from your shoes to the computer you read this on the amount of resources needed to produce it has dropped radically over the last few years. Compared with the amount of energy Victorians needed to live we're doing really well on a fraction of the resources per person.
I remember people talking about the appalling starvation in Biafra and other places when I was a kid - subtext being "too many (black) people" - it was racist bollocks. In fact, when the economies pick up in those places a lot of the time the problem was not *enough* people, at least with a decent education. It was nasty politics and wars that killed those poor Africans. The Malthusian agenda of population matters is just a gentler version of allowing the disparities that caused these wars to continue for cynical political reasons.
As an example of this kind of double standard I remember the debate about sanctions against Iraq around the time of the first Gulf War. The right wing just wanted to go to go bomb Saddam and the left wanted to starve the Iraqis - I think the right wing position was more honest.
Population matters is this kind of softer approach - be more honest to just shoot people, but then the reality would be too hard to stomach.
Maybe I'm wrong.
"according to the original Malthusian nonsense we all died years ago. This is just more of the same. The all assume fixed resources and no human ingenuity."
I think it's getting more serious. Use of fossil fuels is now at far higher levels than it was. In effect there are now two looming problems: emissions (climate) and fossil fuel peak.
The anti-malthusian argument is nothing more than "it didn't happen before so it can't ever happen!"
If you had a good reason. Sorry but "human ingenuity" doesn't cut it for me. It has limits. There's no guarantee it will provide solutions *in time*. Over a century of this ingenuity and we don't have fusion nor a decent replacement for fossil fuels.
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"Over a century of this ingenuity and we don't have fusion nor a decent replacement for fossil fuels."
Where did you read this bollocks? Or did you just make it up? We have plenty of options for replacing fossil fuels (thorium reactors etc.) they're just not economically viable or politically appealing yet. As soon as the oil becomes uneconomic that will change.
Ah yes, but, ... a great chunk of what we use now wasn't regarded as resources years ago because we couldn't do anything with it. The overuse of oil is becoming worrying, but I do think that economics will sort it out eventually. The danger is some kind of oil is mandatory cabal will get together with the too many people thinking, strangle innovation, make us all eat kelp products and call it progress. This can only lead to poverty and suffering for the large number of people in the world who are still trying to get a decent standard of living for themselves and their kids. They need better technology than we have now.
Personally don't want to turn my back on these people, whatever Attenborough may say.
There is not a cat's chance in hell that such measures would get any form of serious political support at all. Not in the "developed world" or, for that matter, in the "underdeveloped world" because they have no plans to continue living in the kind of poverty they are still experiencing. The overwhelming majority of our fellow earthlings have absolutely no intention of living the kind of hair-shirt existence on a permanent basis that the extremist end of the sustainability movement are howling for. My question then is why are you devoting so many column inches to attacking these groups? One might almost get the impression that you have political problems with the basic concept of sustainability - and by that I do not mean the kind of stuff those loony-tunes are calling for.
I'd hazard a guess that it's because:
1 - People listen to them
2 - They're not helping
Like celebrities their ill thought out plans and questionable numbers get given far too much credence and influence. If they were offering a reasonable and practical solution then I'd agree with you, but the whole point of the article is that the very solution they are proposing is prevented by their own requirements. Highlighting the preposterous nature of their proposals means that they might actually get ignored as they should, and maybe make them come up with something useful and factual.
Stupid stuff like this influences public opinion (see Greenpeace vs. Nuclear Power), causes faulty policies to be implemented (see feed in tariffs, excessive constraint payments, the whole wind can power everything idea), and does nothing to humanity.
My father when he was younger used to cultivate a moderately large vegetable garden. He enjoyed doing it and it kept him fit. However, despite his hard work it only provided about 20% of what we as a family needed in the course of a year. As he said himself, "bugger doing this on the large scale"!
Actually, Arctic Fox, it wasn't all that difficult. Barter for pig parts & the like helped ... and fishing tended to keep the stress levels down. Humans lived like this for hundreds of thousands of years. Might not be the easiest way to make a living, but it was simple & honest.
Twenty years on, the wife & I still keep the gardens operational. And we have fresh eggs, homemade bacon, miscellaneous fermented beverages, bread, cheese, etc ...
There's massive differences between:
a. what one person can grow on a quarter acre large back garden digging the soil by spadework,
b. what someone with a horse ploughing five acres can grow,
c. someone with a medium sized rotavator cultivating 10 acres,
d. and what someone with a biodiesel driven small and simple tractor cultivating 30 acres can grow.
My weekly organic box come from mostly local smallholdings and farms doing c. or d. System c. isn't such a bad match for wind or solar charged battery power, or flexible mains leads on such a small cultivated area. System d. probably needs biodiesel to be fully sustainable - the area is too great for battery recharge or trailing mains cables to be practical. Biodiesel is easy to make in small quantities from old chip oil and methanol, but there's only so much used chip oil.
If you use system a. the energy output is less than the energy input (i.e. food calories less than what the man doing the digging needs to eat). With system b, the horses traditionally used to eat 25% of the land area cultivated for grazing. With option d. once you're out of chip oil, 10% of the land acreage is needed for growing the biofuel.
Sure, I didn't mention option e. where the minimum arable farm size is about 5000 acres and you need a highly developed technology infrastructure to service the machinery and produce the pesticides and fertilisers and breed the seeds. Option e. is the only system which requires massive external fossil energy inputs. The point is, we don't need to depend on it.
You produce about twice as much vegetable food energy per acre that way as option d. But it's tasteless, vitamin and mineral deficient crap food tasting of chemicals, so you'll probably end up throwing nearly all of it through hormone and antibiotic pumped factory pigs and cows to make crap burgers. If crap factory burgers are considered fit for human consumption, the meat cycle will then cost you about 80% of this vegetable food energy. Using option d. and making better use of resulting farm biodiversity and wastes to produce less meat and eggs but at top quality, and some manure digested methane to drive small farm machinery or grain dryers will result in everyone eating better and being healthier, because the corporate capital and technology-driven food produced by option e. is such crap that people overeat and get seriously obese on that diet.
The idea that options a. and e. are the only alternative ways food can be produced is so ignorant it's breathtaking.
With the world's population as it is we should be using our arable land in the most efficient way possible. You say yourself option E is more efficient than option D. So why aren't you advocating it? Your argument seems to come down to taste (the bit about more vitamins and minerals is nonsense*,) something which has no bearing on the nutritional value of food.
To me this is the same bizarre middle class snobbery that motivated Jamie Oliver's most recent campaign. I was quite happy to see him get some of the fat filled burgers and sausages taken off school dinner menus as children shouldn't be eating these things every day. What makes less sense is his campaign against 'pink slime'. Essentially this is just mechanically recovered meat treated with ammonia gas to kill off any bacteria.
Meat is expensive to produce in terms of energy so we should be stripping as much of it as we can from every carcass. Yet Jamie Oliver and his middle class following want it banned in the US (as it already is in the EU), not because it poses any health risks, but because "it's a bit disgusting".
"With the world's population as it is we should be using our arable land in the most efficient way possible. You say yourself option E is more efficient than option D. So why aren't you advocating it?"
Because we don't need it and can't sustain it.
The world population is probably less than 10% of what it would have to become for us to need to use system E to feed everyone using a vegetarian diet, and it will almost certainly max out at less than 25% of that. Much of Africa is still subsistence farming, with outputs per hectare close to what was being produced in Europe 200 years ago: no use of field boundaries, no electricity, they've only just started using basic machinery, with barely no water management and no use of groundwater. But enough Africans are getting basic schooling and have mobile phones now and there's just no reason for many of them to stay where they are, given efforts being made in literacy and education.
It might transform your thinking for you to spend 6 minutes learning from the experience of William Kamkwamba from Malawi
So I expect agricultural output of Africa (measured as vegetable calories) to more than quadruple when the population doubles there over the next 30 years as they industrialise. Population growth everywhere else is close to topping out, as people are getting educated and rich enough in Asia, Eastern Europe and South and Central America now to have smaller families as in North America and Europe. I expect Africa to follow suit 20 - 30 years behind Asia and South America, where few now go hungry compared to 30 years ago.
If you don't believe me visit Brazil sometime and compare what you experience with reports from 30 years ago. One of my best mates has just come back from visiting a training project there where his son is working.
Those are nice anecdotes and all but your point relies upon this:
"The world population is probably less than 10% of what it would have to become for us to need to use system E to feed everyone using a vegetarian diet"
It's complete fantasy to suggest we're all going to move to vegetarian diets, even with price increases there will always be a market for meat. Since cattle are inevitably going to be using up some of our arable land we have to use the remainder as efficiently as possible.
Organic farming usually does no more than subsidise farmers for using less efficient farming methods. The only upside of this is a warm fuzzy feeling for the middle class as they go down to their local farmers market and supposedly do there bit towards saving the planet.
Interesting point there re: pink slime, whats the difference between pink slime / "lips n arseholes" ground up in cheap sausages and nose to tail eating, as advocated by the right-on middle class foodies like HFW??
Surely both respect the animal by using it as much as possible?? Yet one instigates gasps of horror and scenes of revulsion by said foodies and the other is lapped up!
Be a human being, eh? That's a tall order. What of the doctors and engineers and designers and scientists and politicians and economists and soldiers and the army of labourers that built the nation and culture that let you choose to subsistence farm and yet still be able to use fantastically complex luxuries like internet forums? Do you think they've learned to be human beings, despite doing jobs, day in, day out, that don't involve directly prodcing their next meal?
Seems like you lead a fairly smug, privileged middle class lifestyle that is simply not available to much of the world. Don't lecture us on how much better you are because you can choose to farm as a hobby.
Reality is, I can do the farming thing without iFads ...and without all the other miscellaneous "civilization" stuff you mention.
A large portion of humanity gets along just fine without it. Can you say the same? Can you live without electricity and town water for a couple months? I can.
Farming's not a hobby, it's a lifestyle. I'm not better than you ... but my eyes are open a trifle wider than yours, methinks.
Ever had a vaccination? Has your wife? Have your children? What happens if you injure yourself whilst indulging in your hobby? What are the odds of your developing cancer in the future, and what will you do if it happens?
"A large portion of humanity gets along just fine without it"
Three words for you: nasty, brutish, short.
"Farming's not a hobby, it's a lifestyle"
I know people who claim being a dominatrix is a lifestyle too. That's lovely, but it is a choice. A large portion of humanity would love to have the luxuries you think so little of, but they can't, and so they are forced into living a certain way.
"but my eyes are open a trifle wider than yours, methinks."
Your bucolic little subsistence environment is a middle class luxury regardless of quite how rugged and hardcore you may feel. We could all live like that, sure. But it would involve a massive population decrease (where's all that arable land to come from? we can't all have our 53 acres), and a corresponding drop in life's little luxuries like a low infant mortality rate and long lifespans. Me, I like knowing that the chances of my kids being crippled by polio is pretty miniscule these days. How about you?
The total arable land in the world is 3411327598 acres.
Divided among 7Billion people is just under half an acre each.
You are very fortunate to have access to 56 acres.
The reality is there is not enough land to go round, leaving 2 options:
1. Kill off a load of people.
2. Advance technology to support those people.
I think you are the one needing a dose of reality.
Been there. Done that. My mother keeps some hens for eggs, and she even raised a couple of pigs for their meat a few years ago. (Bloody hard work and, to be brutally frank, not worth the energy and resources. There's a reason why phrases like "economies of scale" exist.)
Mechanised farming is a damned sight easier and more efficient than doing it all the hard way, with oxen, carts, and wooden ploughs.
Also, the population densities around here are much, much higher than in the US; there are parts of the US where you won't see a soul for 300 miles. Ditto in Australia. In the UK, 300 miles is the distance from London to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, so good luck trying to find enough acreage for every single human being in England to become self-sufficient, 'cos it's just not going to happen. The last time the developed nations in the Old World were all completely self-sufficient, the global population was well under a billion.
Most communities, even in the medieval period, would trade with others in order to improve their local staple diets. Livestock would be driven as much as 20 miles in a single day to reach a good market. Money wouldn't have been invented if trade didn't happen.
If you have to barter or trade with others, you are not fully self-sufficient. That requires doing it all yourself. If you have to trust in others to help you meet your lifestyle needs, that's not self-sufficiency. That's just "farming".
Why would a measly 73 acres need a combine, if we are sharing our land, and subsistence level farming same?
Honestly, the mind boggles ... are we really that far removed from reality when it comes to where our nutrition comes from?
Yes, I grok where the quote comes from ... "I drove moi tractor thru' yer 'aystack larst noit" ... wasn't funny then, isn't funny now.
Jake also knocks over people at the local shopping center while they are texting in the presence of his policeman friend -- and then they have a good laugh about it. I would wager he is one of the more interesting denizens here at The Register since amanfrommars has been replaced by the less outrageous amanfrommars2. For an interesting view into Jake's personality, click on his name and look at his previous rants...er...um...I mean posts.
0) Clearly, none of you lot can read for content. I did a 3+ year experiment on subsistence level farming. To prove to myself that I could do it. That was nearly 25 years ago. I no longer live like that.
1) I said "subsistence level" not "self sufficient", and clearly I listed barter as one of my tools.
2) The entire 53 acres wasn't under cultivation, only about three acres. I also have 15 acres of 135 year old apple orchard up there, planted by my Great Grandfather. The rest is Redwood & Fir forest and about an acre and a half of horse lay-up facility.
3) I don't knock people over. They obliviously run into me. Usually I catch them before they hit the deck. There is a time and place to be fiddling about with your iFad; walking about in a busy plaza at a major tourist destination isn't one of them. To date, I have always been apologized to for their self-admitted rudeness. I have never done this with a kid or elderly/infirm person.
4) I farm more veggies here in Sonoma than I do in Mendocino ... and I give away my excess to people who need it. http://forums.theregister.co.uk/post/1226592
5) If you think you can judge my personality based on my
postsrants here on ElReg, given the obvious lack of ability to read for content ... well, more power to you. Enjoy your delusion.
6) Yes, I own and fly light aircraft. It's both a hobby and a useful skill. Ever try it?
7) I'm not advocating returning to "living in caves", far from it. I worked hard to purchase and build chez jake, and I work my butt off to ensure I'll never have to going back to crappy apartments in the rat-race.
8) Yes, I could get rich from the lumber alone on the Mendocino property ... but I'd rather keep it as a private retreat and work the Sonoma property for income.
9) Ted Sturgeon said "90% of everything is crap". Personally, I feel that 99% of everything you see and/or read on TehIntraWebTubes[tm] is crap. So statistically, according to my own commentardary, I am full of it. Do with that what you will; no skin off my teeth :-)
To quote you Jake 'I've personally subsistence-level farmed my 53-ish acres in Mendocino County, for over three years. Just to prove to myself that I could do it'
Reading your second comment you seemed to be changing your tune. If I had to guess you'll be a part of these guys http://www.capacity.org.uk/index.html along with NomNomNom who have a mandate to lurck around the Interweb and flood forums and comments with your eco-babble using twitter to call in the trolls when an article like this appears.
The area of the property does not equal the area of cultivated land ... although I must admit we've been more into "forest management" at our place in Mendocino than "logging" since about 1970. In my mind that is farming ... farming trees. We've sold PG&E about 600 telephone poles every year for the last thirty years or so. Without spoiling the landscape. Fir is a wonderful, sustainable, commercial product. Our Redwoods are about twenty years from commercial selective harvest ...
Likewise, "subsistence level" means "enough to get by", as opposed to "self sufficient", which means "doing it all myself". Subtle, I know ... especially if you've never lived in a semi-isolated location ... and never actually worked the land. Us rural types have our own lingo, which is what I missed. The author of the original ElReg article has probably never actually done any farming.
I'm not an eco-twit. I find the entire "green" movement hilarious.
Nor do I use twitter (or any other anti-social networking system). In my mind, they all distract from actually getting useful work done. My neighbors help clear fields (and I help them), your neighbors probably invite you to join "farmville". Sad, that.
Troll? Maybe ... but I don't call anyone in to "support" me online. Folks who make that kind of noise really, really, need to take a couple steps away from the keybR0ad and reflect on what makes life important ...
I'm an independent, mostly here for my own amusement ... but underlying that, I'm trying to help people learn to think for themselves. Sarah Bee used to accuse me of tilting at windmills.
I honestly don't give a rat's ass about AC thumbs up or down ... they are really rather meaningless, when you think about it.
The problem with the WWF (and just about every other green organisation) is the people running them, while trying to be noble and protecting nature, have no clue on how to make a realistic difference.
All this crap about living at a stoneage level is so unrealistic that I don't take the authors seriously in ANY respect. They need to realise that the changes they are advocating will never happen and instead of wasting time, money, and resources spewing it out anyway, they shoud instead focus on coming up with a realistic alternative that has even a slight possibility of being considered.
It has brain-cell explodingly controversial headers like:
How you can make changes without making sacrifices
Measure your own individual impact on your planet
What you eat can have some of the biggest impacts
Be energy efficient at home
So yeah - that's real evidence of the global depopulation back-to-the-Stone-Age eco-masterplan right there in your face.
Page is just making up random derpy shit and ranting incoherently about it, as usual.
Honestly I think within 38 years we very well could be getting all our electricity from renewable sources. At least in certain countries / states. The yields they're gettingo n solar panesls are constantly going up, they're finding new crops they can convert to biomass fuels etc.
Converting all vehicles to electric not so much, but its quite possible they might be converted to biodiesel etc by the time 38 years have passed.
I agree to an extent that economic growth is a bad thing. Thanks to economic growth its now impossible for the average joe to afford a house. For the area I live in, the lowest value I would find a house which is possible to live in, in an okay neighbourhood would be around 250k I could find a house for as little as 100k but that'd be delapidated and in an area I'm likely to get shanked.
No. are you an engineer who has spent three years determining if this is remotely possible? No?
I am. If we are generating all our energy from renewables that will be the 100 million of us hunter gatherers left globally scouring the crumbling landscape of a collapsed civilization looking for a tin of beans that someone else missed.
I am sure it will be great for biodiversity, but the main species at risk will be homo sapiens.
That's odd. Because I know a number of engineers who have spent a lot more than three years determining if it's remotely possible.
And they all agree it is.
Considering we're talking half a life time here, with the potential for improved distribution and smart grid efficiencies - never mind economies of scale as exotic goes mainstream - I'd suggest you check your maths.
If we set out to replace all fossile and nuclear fuels by solar-, wind- and hydropower we would realize that just the food supply is highly dependent on cheap, always-available energy to create fertilizer, to power tractors, wheat mills, trucks and many more parts of food processing.
We cannot even rely on "renewable" energy to power electric lights. On a cloudy, windless day good-old coal, gas and nuclear plants have to step in.
Besides, "renewable" energy from solar and wind is at least a factor of 10 more expensive than power from fossile or nuclear fuels. The world economy would simply go to a grinding halt if fossile and nuclear fuels would be outlawed in the next few decades.
The CO2 taxation in the western countries has already had the "positive" effect of driving energy-intensive industries such as metal and glas production to China. They got the jobs, we got the good feeling and the cheap, highly CO2-intensive products for few pennies. The net effect was negative, though, as Chinese factories are more wasteful and wares must be shipped to us by emiiting CO2.
So no, currently renewables do not cut it. Insulation and Public Transport do, though.
Look at this:
And THEN, add all the costs due to the fact that solar energy is there when you typically don't need it and not there when you need it. So for each kW of solar generation capacity you need a kW of Gas-powered electricity available to be powered up in a matter of minutes.
Coal and nuclear will cost you 8 cent/kWh or less. It will produce energy according to the quite predicatable demand patterns (if no solar and wind interferes).
If you look at the daily and weekly demand, you can see that usage starts to go up by ~6:00, and stays high until ~22:00, after which it tapers down. This suggests that lighting isn't the biggest drain on the grid. Industry and trains, probably...
In Germany network operators are reporting big problems with maintaining 50Hz frequency stability, as solar and wind are fluctuating wildly. A solar panel can easily change output by a factor of ten in a few minutes on a mixed cloudy/sunny day.
As a matter of fact, solar+wind generation is only half-way to "regenerative energy". The other half is A) batteries as a short-term buffer and B) fossile- or nuclear-powered "backup" generation capacity for long-term cloudy and windless days. Don't even think you can do that with hydro storage. Just too few J/kg*m in the water on the hill.
"we would realize that just the food supply is highly dependent on cheap, always-available energy to create fertilizer, to power tractors, wheat mills, trucks and many more parts of food processing."
If we weren't burning so much of the fossil fuels for electricity wouldn't there be more for fertilizer, could that reduce the cost of food? Also given fossil fuels are finite if they are so important for fertilizer surely it's reckless to be burning them for electricity.
Itzman, how can you have worked on this for 3 years and still have wrong numbers?
Ignoring hydro, wind & biofuels for the moment, we have more than enough solar potential in desert areas to power our current electrical needs.
Then look at biofuels. For instance, burning wood, if it's grown sustainably, is fine, using up all the available wood is not. Hence why Page's nonsense about stopping using wood as a fuel is just that - nonsense. But you can't burn up all your forests twice, they need to be managed properly so they can provide a perpetual supply.
Then there is hydro, in all it's various forms. Massive oceans with wave and tidal, big rivers, small rivers. Lots of power available there.
Then there is wind. Not for every country, but for many it can provide a huge amount of electricity.
But somehow your numbers say 100 million across the planet. Methinks you are an incompetent engineer if the highest you can perceive is 100 million supported by Renewables.
WWF clearly is writing extremist and irrational stuff, so Lewis is right about that. But certainly the world cannot go on with the Western Model Of Resource Consumption.
Especially Automotive Mobility in the West is at a crazy level. America consumes about 25% of the world crude oil supply just that they can move their often obese bodies comfortably from home to work and back every day. With them, they often move a 1.8 ton "SUV" vehicle. That kind of activity clearly cannot be perpetuated, as oil production cannot be increased to fuel the same activity in China and India.
There are many possibilities of reducing that activity drastically without the dystopic visions of Mr Page being implemented. Buses and trains do not have to be smelly and cramped. British incompetence does not mean it is generally impossible to have decent train and bus services. Also, novel approaches such as dynamically scheduling buses, taxis trains requested by mobile phone could greatly improve service quality and reduce waste.
Also, Western Meat Consumption Habits are both unhealthy and impossible to scale to China, India and Africa. One Joule of energy from meat requires at least six Joules of energy from grain, maize etc to feed the livestock which is used for the meat. We can already see that food prices appreciate sharply in the western world, because the Chinese have increased meat consumption. Also, eating so much meat is definitely not healthy. So if they would put it more moderately, the WWF would have a point.
In general, I do think there can be further "growth", but probably not in energy and meat consumption or the number of human beings. China's population control measures should be applied to Africa and Asia in general, if we want to avoid very serious problems. Development aid should be Distributing Condoms, not distributing wheat sacks.
"Growth" can indeed be realized in many, many fields such as software, mobile phones, internet services, teleworking, telepresence, eco-friendly technologies such as water treatment plants, home insulation. "Growth" is not necessarily related to buring more fuel or driving more miles.
Humanity is already living in a quite crowded planet and constantly building more roads, parking lots, airports and houses does not make me happy. But that does not mean I am advocating the return to stone age. There are so many ways to reduce resource consumption without selecting the extremist visions. For example, we could travel by train to Spain from Northern Europe, which could be done by using CO2-friendly train travel powered by nuclear power, thereby saving on fuel-hungry plane travel.
I sometimes think Mr Page is a British Petroleum $hill. After all, selling pertroleum is one of Britains biggest industries...
38 years ? for goodness sake, does anyone imagine that our politicians will not have destroyed our world and its so-called economy in that timespan ? and even if they haven't, uncontrolled human procreation will probably do the trick very nicely. Get real, everyone ; this culture is doomed.
The good news ?? - well, actually, I think there is some. Our species is the first and so far only one capable of interfering measurably in planet-scale management. The fact that we've been very flipping bad at it so far doesn't mean that some future, slightly cleverer, humans may not be able to salvage something from the wreckage and influence the outcome more robustly. But our act ?? - it's going DOWN, brothers.
"38 years ? for goodness sake, does anyone imagine that our politicians will not have destroyed our world and its so-called economy in that timespan ? and even if they haven't, uncontrolled human procreation will probably do the trick very nicely. Get real, everyone ; this culture is doomed."
The problems are one and the same, the politicians subsidizing procreation is ruining the economy and the environment all at once. I see people daily who have 5+ kids just to get the government checks. Stop paying for it, and it will stop happening... at least on this side of the pond.
"I see people daily who have 5+ kids just to get the government checks. Stop paying for it, and it will stop happening... at least on this side of the pond."
Stop paying for it and you will produce a generation of kids who grew up in poverty knowing that you chose to punish *them* for their *parents* over-indulgence in unprotected sex.
Yes, I know it is annoying to think that honest, decent taxpayers are paying these idiots to have sex, but once the child is born society has an innocent child that it can either chuck on the scrap-heap (as, allegedly, was the practice in late Roman times) or pick up and look after, in the hope that it might be less useless than its idiot parents. Most civilised people don't reckon the former is an option. So we have to pay. So the next question is whether you give the money to the idiot parent or whether you introduce a new rule saying "There will be no child welfare payments. Any child that you can no longer support financially will be taken into care.".
OMG. I hope the government isn't reading this...
From today's reg article on Nvidia:
"A cloud allows a kilowatt gaming experience on a 20-watt handheld device."
So let's cover the planet with wind turbines and nuclear reactors so that every ned can play stupid games on their iphone whilst doing fuck all else.
This won't affect the rich, they'll just be doing the usual bathing in asses' milk aboard their mega-yachts. Oh!, and playing stupid games on their iphones.
And *everyone* please remember to declare any
backhanders payments from the nuke industry to the Inland Revenue. Allegedly.
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There is only on real way to save mankind in the long run. We must colonise other planets. Other solar systems. Other galaxies.
Nevermind all this renewable/nuclear/fluffy panda stuff - we need to find a way out of here.
We will, at some point, get hit by some massive piece of cosmic debris. We will all get frazzled as the oceans boil off when the sun expands - admittedly not for a long time, but not that far off in terms of earth-having-existed timescales.
Most people I say this to take it as some sort of strange Trekky nutjob fantasy, and probably drug induced. But it's true (the world eventually ending bit).
Mmm, we need to solve the energy issue here first, otherwise were does all the energy come from to go elsewhere?
My current favourite is liquid Thorium fission reactors, given there is several generations worth of Thorium and meltdown don't happen in Thorium reactors, they fail safe. This will give us time to get Fusion working and safe, so we have the serious power needed for space travel.
nuclear. biuld lots of reactors. solves energy issues overnight. and gives cheap, safe energy to all.
with regards food? stop any and all trade restrictions with 3rd world countries. whats the point growing crops if they cant sell them, and its cheaper (due to western subsidies) to buy in food?
and also a massive redistrobtion of wealth. downwards. amke the rich pay more tax. make companies pay tax. use this money to fund the above 2 plans.
and bosh. world fixed. no caves needed.
How about making the people at the lower end of the spectrum more effective, so that perhaps they can do more than convert O2 into CO2 and pop out sprogs to further drain the economy and the environment?
Every time I see some halfwit "TAX THE RICH" basher like yourself it amazes me that you won't hold everyone else to the same standards of accountability. At least the rich and corporations are producing something other than more unmotivated uneducated consumers of global resources.
With regards to food, the USA currently pays farmers not to farm. Seems rather silly when there is a food shortage, no?
At least the assertion about nuke plants is spot on.
figgus your missing the point. the reason this halfwit believes taxing the rich would work is that i believe most of the sprog popping co2 expelers, are only in that situation due to poverty. And by poverty i mean lack of education, jobs, hope, and any sense of self worth. taxing the rich works by giving these people proper lives. give a man a fish.......
but do you really think its ok that major companies get away with not paying tax? llok at Vodafone. or that American presidential candidate (romney?) who mentioned he only pays something silly like 13% tax on the billions he has. im not talking about 100k earning bmw drivers. im talking about the rich.
Trouble with your last plan is that the richest also have the most flexibility. Take for the example of the ultra-rich who aren't citizens of any western country. They can set down roots anywhere they want, so unless you have a global tax system (impossible in the current political climate), people and companies who don't want to play ball with you can simply pack up and leave, taking all their riches with them. When it takes money to redistribute money, how do you redistribute money when someone has all of it?
Why do you have to make enemies of your friends? You want to argue that AGW is dubious - that's fine. Many of us who consider ourselves environmentalists agree with you. You want to argue that a reduction in living standards is a bad thing (almost by definition) and is unnecessary - again, that's a position many of us support. You want to say wind farms are in the vast majority of cases a bad solution - huge numbers of envrionmentally minded types will agree with you! And yet you have to cast your net wide and start poking fun at, e.g. animal species being wiped out.
You're like a person who hates some positions of a group and therefore reflexively argues against them on all their positions, even when they have a valid point. Pick and choose your battles. Otherwise you become just like your opponents - irrationally lashing out at anything you see "the other side" say. Rated your article in the middle. Positive for the valid points against wind farms etc., negative for your dislike of tigers and mockery of people who try to preserve biodiversity.
Err, you do realise that WWF turns over £500m a year? I would suspect that their budget just for this little escapade is more than the entire annual income of El Reg.
WWF members won't be committing suicide. Just like the fans of eugenics who thought they were the chosen ones, they would prefer the plebs to do the suicide bit. The only difference is that WWF want the plebs to do it themselves whilst eugenicsts would do the actual killing.
A famous report a few years ago had the solution, the world population has to be reduced by a few billion.
Wars, famine, drought, disease. The first item being behind their interest. Look at the UK naval capability, twin aircraft carriers, new nuclear subs, powerful frigates. The plan is to wipe out those hungry mouths, screw sustainability.
Lewis will love this of course, probably advocate using a fee nukes, radiation is safe after all.
Well, of course. After they seize, confiscate and capture most of the oil on the planet, they will roll around in their armored personnel carriers until everyone else is dead. They will breed with female soldiers who have been accepted into the US Army because of their enticing bods and live in pleasant bases which have been purged of radioactivity. I forget the rest. See the end of "Dr. Strangelove."
Assume for a moment that the basic premise that there are not enough resources on the planet for everyone to live the life style of the typical Westerner, the proposed solution of having us all live in poverty, is only one possible logical outcome. The other is to reduce the global population until the numbers balance again, simples. ;-)
just one little fallacy here, assuming that the only other existing life style than " the life style of the typical Westerner" is "poverty".
As an example, just because you don't get to shop new clothes every week, does not necessarily mean you're poor. It's all in your mind and what you define as "rich".
Money in the bank is not the same as quality of life. Sure, a bit of dough helps, but its not the same thing.
"... limited hot water: so dirtier clothes ..."
Actually most modern clothes washing detergents actually work perfectly well in cold water. And in any case, the bulk of the actual cleaning of your clothes comes from the physical agitation, with the detergent aiding by dislodging the more stubborn dirt and stains and then sequestering it in the rinse water.
You have to wonder if WWF, like Greanpeace, blackmail companies in to donating to a cause that, frankly, wants to put them out of business.
If we all boycott the companies that donate money and land to these eco-terrorists (or put them on their board of directors like some of the oil companies) maybe we can break the power of these groups.
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Here's the report summary:
Go to slide 21 and 22, which is the part about "doing something"
Now try to find me anything on slide 21 which justifies the "they want us to go back to living in caves", "they want to ban steel and concrete", "they are extremists" interpretations (and I use that word loosely) of the report.
The report might be pie-in-the-sky optimistic thinking, much like a report advocating the "end of all wars" would be wishful thinking, but it isn't extremist. If you disagree find me one quote from the summary that is extreme.
It doesn't help one's case in arguing against the extreme position taken by the WWF to take an equally extreme position in the other direction. Then, neither side can really marshal the facts in its defense.
Yes, what they're aiming at is to impose global poverty. But they're quite right if we instead go on with business as usual, more species will go extinct as people intrude more into the few remaining untouched wildlife habitats.
There are basically two alternatives we have to the choice between a decent, prosperous life for all of humanity on the one hand, and the survival of the glories of wild Nature on the other. Two ways we could have both.
One is population control. If we decided not to have very many children, and our children decided not to have very many grandchildren, eventually, barring major advances in gerontology, there would be few enough of us that we could live comfortably without destroying the planet.
The other is nuclear power. That lets us produce the abundant energy our lifestyle depends on without impinging on the biosphere to any significant extent. We still probably would have to ration airplane travel, but that would not be a big deal if people could travel from London to New York in hours on high-speed electric trains.
You know, through the Channel Tunnel, and then on to the bridge across the Bering Strait...
No, I'm not kidding. We have options. We can build a meaningful future for humanity that doesn't mean ruin and destruction for the natural world.
"Yes, what they're aiming at is to impose global poverty."
where in the report does it say that?
Seriously, the report pretty much says eat less meat, switch from fossil fuels to renewables and use 15% less energy (energy efficiency)
Yet many commenters throwing around North Korea, Pol Pot and "Livin in a Cave" memes. THAT is extremist. The report is far from that.
Wonder where they got the idea the report is extremist. Here's a game: Try to find actual "extremist" words from the report in Lewis's article. Should be easy, he must have quoted the worst stuff right? See if you can find a quote that is clearly extreme. Then wonder if many peopel are thinking the report is extreme because the quotes are really extreme or whether it's Lewis's provided interpretation of them that is extreme.
And I look forward to my future as a subsistence farmer and taking time from the backbreaking ongoing struggle to rest a tenous living from my smallholding so that I can enjoy my leisure time watching the fire burn in the hearth and watching my half-feral children chase chickens around in the farm yard. Maybe there will even be enough time to go down to the weekly jousting tournament to watch my neighbors who are still wealthy enough to afford a horse and shield!
These are Communists, people hatters and quite possibly psychopaths, and probably eventually want a Communist dictatorship with them on top, and the boot on you 1984 style. These rabid predators need to be revealed and ruined, and if still persistent, given the traditional tribal solution for psychopathy e.g. pushed off a cliff.
The real cause of all the real damage to nature is the lack of will and vision to make nature valuable enough to protect; however world-wide state collectivism together with slaver Bankster Fractional Reserve Debt and usury actively prevent the correct valuation of all resources, thus nature is undervalued and over exploited!
The real irony is a more primitive society would likely do more damage and become unable to maintain a lot of what they say is nature, but is actually centuries old man-shaped, improved and maintained ecosystems!
After reading that, I'm either going to go out and buy a Mjölnir pendant and join a Germanic neopagan group in advance of the collapse of western civilization or do everything in my power to promote the rapid R&D of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR) to end the Neo-Luddite nightmare that stalks us from under a panda skin. (Either way, Thor is awesome.)
Mad props to Baroness Worthington for starting an APPG to look at the idea and Kirk Sorensen for pretty much single-handedly getting the meme (and extensive documentation from ORNL) out there for anyone willing to listen to his message of safe nuclear even before Fukushima started freaking people out.
If you're reading this and have no idea what I'm talking about, find "Thorium Remix 2011" on Youtube and watch the first five min (a summary). Then when you're like 'OMGWTF4REALZ?!?' watch the rest of the two hour vid. You'll learn about crazy shit like nuclear powered aircraft and a genius named Alvin Weinberg who basically solved our problems back in the 60's with a nuclear reactor that's meltdown-proof by using molten salt as both coolant and fuel, thermally self-regulating due to hot salt expansion decreasing fission (and cool salt contraction increasing fission, e.g. as power demand ramps up) and which breeds its own fuel from highly stable Thorium that's just sitting on the ground all over the world (lookup Kerala, India; entire beaches of Thorium (Monazite) sands). Depending on who you ask there might be enough around to power civilization until the sun runs out of hydrogen and destroys the earth! Why don't we have this wonder? Goddamn Richard-fucking-Milhous Nixon, that's why.
OK, enough ranting; learn about LFTR! Learn about the one the Chinese are building, or the Czechs, or Sorensen's; they're all supposed to have prototypes up and running ~2015.
We promote poverty alleviation via Green solutions.
As Business Intelligence specialists we have processed massive amounts of municipal data in South Africa that indicate Green as a way forward not only for the environmental health of the planet but also for poverty alleviation.
South Africa is a microcosm of the world, with extremes of wealth and poverty, racial and cultural differences, and vast amounts of wilderness (natural environment).
Politically it showed the world how to resolve conflict, and its Constitution is arguably one of the most advanced ever in terms of human rights.
So as a real-world laboratory that can be extrapolated from, the evidence from the South African data that we process is significant.
The vested global interests in "dirty energy" however are threatened by a shift to clean energy.
A future Green world will not only be safer but also far less poorer.
It is however probable that those economic interests based on unsustainabe resources such as fossil fuels will eventually lose - if they do not shift their core business as well.
For more information see: www.greenit.org.za
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This reminds me of the New Black Panther Party story Fox News carried and carried and carried...despite the fact that membership in the Party numbered in the single digits.
Fear mongering under the guise of news. Pretty much sums up El Reg's editorial stance on Climate Change, eh? You'd think an educated readership would be able to distinguish between the science of climate change and the politics of the solutions...but no.
I work for WWF and to suggest, as Lewis Page does, that we are arguing that "Only global poverty can save the planet" is utter nonsense. Lewis Page says that we have "stated that economic growth should be abandoned" - this is absolutely untrue. He says that we "present demands" - we do no such thing.
We do not argue that "human beings shouldn't want to get richer" , or that "economic growth... is a Bad Thing". Lewis also questions the figures used in the figures used in the Living Planet report yet, instead of picking up the phone to ask us about them, he prefers to dismiss them as "indices invented either by themselves or by other international non- or quasi-governmental organisations".
I respect Lewis Page for his service in the Royal Navy and for his book (Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs) and his candid criticisms of the UK military establishment. This article is however a piece is ill-informed polemic, nothing more. Lewis Page is a better journalist than this.
What a sad, delusional article. You must be about the only person on the planet who does not see that we are depleting our natural resources, that loss of habitat is leading to massive losses in biodiversity, that water scarcity will impact every person on the planet within 30 years, and that irrefutable warming will totally transform life as we know it over the next 50-60 years. I hope you have understanding grandchildren.
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