Re: Crazy Winter weather on the East Coast
Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:32 am
PietFrancke wrote: ↑Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:55 pmChuck, I think you are right about this all being an issue of morality. Whether individually, but also it must especially be there in our leadership. Technology can solve all our problems, but we have to figure out what we want. For example, do we double our world population again? Ultimately it is a matter of income redistribution, who gets what for doing what... One tiny bit of technology called bitcoin produced perhaps 200 Billionaires. Who has What and Why they have that What is changing...
Duck wrote: ↑Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:11 pmI see the problems we face as collective. Individually we can not make any kind of significant dent in our situation. It's a bandaid on a severed limb. For example, what's a better solution; recycling those cheap grocery plastic bags that are polluting our oceans or just don't manufacture them any more? After all, there are so many better solutions already available, from compostable paper to reusable cloth bags. Common sense says one thing but corporate and economic politics and greed say another. My decision to "Go Green" does not change the fact that millions of plastic bags are still polluting our waters.
I went looking for the below because I knew I'd read it someplace:Piet wrote:...exactly right.. We (humans) are an eating machine that knows no bounds. Our number one goal individually or collectively is to collect and consume. We compete to gather it all up. If our goal does not change, then we will simply be parasites that eat the host until there is no host left to eat. We can be whatever we wish - I am fearful that we only wish to eat, eat, eat.
We have to figure out a way to reward a more proper behavior...
Joan M. Herbers (1981), Time Resources and Laziness in Animals, 49 (2), Oecologia, pp. 252–262It is common for animals (even those like hummingbirds that have high energy needs) to forage for food until satiated, and then spend most of their time doing nothing, or at least nothing in particular. They seek to "satisfice" their needs rather than obtaining an optimal diet or habitat. Even diurnal animals, which have a limited amount of daylight in which to accomplish their tasks, follow this pattern. Social activity comes in a distant third to eating and resting for foraging animals. When more time must be spent foraging, animals are more likely to sacrifice time spent on aggressive behavior than time spent resting. Extremely efficient predators have more free time and thus often appear more lazy than relatively inept predators that have little free time. Beetles likewise seem to forage lazily due to a lack of foraging competitors.
All living things grow and reproduce. To grow they must obtain nutrients. That's pretty much it. Joan Herbers study suggests that animals are lazy unless hungry. Humans are animals, therefore humans are lazy. We don't wanna work hard. If our bellies are full and we are comfy we are content to lie in the shade watching the prey at the watering hole. The prey are content as long as we are. When we get hungry we will chase something down and kill it. Maybe the problem is that we aren't "hungry" enough yet. We are happy with the lifestyle we have, that we are accustomed to, and we don't want change. When the rare leader tries to tell us we must deal with challenges now to head off worse in the future s/he is shouted down, especially by leaders who tell us what we prefer to hear: All is well, nothing to see here, keep calm and carry on. These green goofies are just trying to scare you. Fear not! We have the solution! Do nothing! IT IS ALL FAKE NEWS!! (See what I did there?)
The point I'm trying to make is that most of us, given a choice between paper and plastic, choose plastic. Easy! Convenient! Disposable cup? Easier than carrying a thermal cup everywhere. For most of 200,000 years we have been most interested in what made life easier and more convenient. I studied anthropology. We talked about wasteful hunting practices of early humans. They'd run a whole herd over a cliff, go down and butcher what they needed and let the rest rot. There is evidence that such waste may ultimately have led to mass local extinctions. We don't know for sure why, for example, there are no native North American camels or rhinos anymore, but there were, and one suspicion is that us silly, lazy humans ran enough of them over cliffs to reduce their populations to unsustainable levels so they went extinct. Nobody has ever seen any other apex predator adopting hunting practices that utterly extinct their own prey. I mean, why would they? That'd be dumb! There were no North American horses until the Spanish explorers brought them in, but there had been, as recently as ~12,000 years ago, well within the range of the Clovis people. But by the time the conquistadores arrived the natives had zero idea what a horse was, but also (curiously?) the natives proved to be literally born, natural riders. Hunh. Did the Clovis hunters systematically extinct the horse population? We don't know, but we have incontrovertible physical evidence that they successfully hunted horses, and about 12,000-ish years ago, whoops, no more horses. hmmm.
But racing up to modern times (last 500 years or so) Native American, native cultures in general seem to develop a kind of circular thinking, often called medicine wheel thinking, as opposed to western linear thinking. The fundamental principle is that all life is connected, the "circle of life" like the Lion King. The field of anthro has changed a lot since my day, but I've been hearing that some modern thinkers wonder if, for example, the natives of Contact had over great swaths of time changed their own thinking as a result of ruminating on the screwups in their own pasts. Go to any museum and listen when the docent discusses Indians and bison: what is the first, last, and always thing that is emphasized? "The natives used absolutely every single part of a buffalo; nothing [nothing!] was ever wasted!"
Are we talking about the same people that would stampede a whole herd over a cliff and waste what they couldn't butcher?
Maybe when the ancestors sat around the fires and lamented the loss of the horses and the camels and the rhinos, even the mastodons (although the evidence for a human element in mastodon extinction is sketchy), maybe they woke up and said to themselves, jeepers, we better be careful or we won't have anything to eat. Maybe we should consider a more frugal approach? Maybe we should regard the animal that dies to give us life as sacred and therefore too valuable to waste even, say, the hooves that make good glue and stuff?
It's just a thought, not well formed or well informed (too many years away from the classroom), but I am always struck by, "They used every part of the animal. Nothing was wasted."
We, especially in the West, are all about waste. We are appallingly wasteful of everything, especially resources, especially non-renewables. We stampede the herd over the cliff, butcher some, and leave the rest to rot. Got oil? Drill baby drill. Are we over Hubbert's Peak yet? Oh, there's more where that came from; the bleeding-heart snowflakes are just trying to scare ya. Pollution? Science will save us! (And THERE's a supreme irony for ya!) We will listen to the leader who assures us that we are just fine, we don't need to do anything, we can continue as we are, as we are, as we are, as w ....
I think what it may take to get Duck's collective going will be to have to deal with the challenges that will come when "there are no more buffalo." Humans do our best work during wartime. When Florida is totally flooded, when the Midwest cannot grow grain, when the Kalahari and Sahara turn green (they both once were, you know), when all the great ports are underwater and we have to roll our sleeves up and come out from under the shade trees, we will. I also strongly suspect there may be a lot fewer of us, and for those who lose loved ones it will be beyond painful, but unless we get smacked with an asteroid or the sun blows or the crazy fat kid and the dotard decide to really find out whose button is bigger I think we will survive and adapt. Current thinking is that there was a very near extinction of humanity some ~150,000 years ago, driving the survivors into small bands, but the operative word is survivors. Y'all know I am a card-carrying curmudgeon not especially given to optimism, but I think that so long as there is a breeding population humanity will survive, adapt, and eventually thrive. But the best hope is that those gathering around the fires will remember how close we came and never do that particular dumb thing again.
(He gets very philosophical when he's sick.) (I know.) (And wordy.) (I know.)