recyclers

Discussion in 'Recycling' started by Fractual_, May 15, 2004.

  1. metro

    metro self-banned

    I suspected as much. That's a bunch of horsecrap, a pathetic attempt at an opposing view. I know his points may seem plausible to those who are not specialised in any natural science field, BUT, come on, he's only an associate professor of statistics. NOT a genuine environmental expert. He performed a lot of statistical conjuring, statistical expertise does not guarantee accuracy. I don't respect any scientist who crunches the numbers to induce a certain outcome. In his bit about forests not being under threat, he misread one of the figures he cited as a percentage rather than kilometers. In another claim, he cited figures derived using different methodologies as well as different definitions of forest.

    Loads of credible scientists have effectively debunked his "research". In science, there is a slow process of peer review that permits success to scientists who have earned the approval of other scientists through quality (credible) research.

    You know, the collection of data he presented could be used as a tribute to the effectiveness of the very environmental regulations he wishes to dismantle. If we stop protecting the environment then our worst fears will be realised. We are doing what we can to prevent problems. Why wait until the problems exist? That's not to say they don't, think of all the endangered species on earth. Sure, in some places air and water have improved, how do you think that happened? Magic? Environmental regulations! What do green people want? Just environmental improvements, there's no hidden agenda. I don't want you to live in a cave. You can have your toys like snowmobiles, but I just want companies to make them cleaner. Are these types of pleas too much to ask? I'm baffled.

    As far as landfill space, well I suppose we'll always have enough....but less is better, agreed? I'd rather see a park or a forest or just about anything. An exact figure I don't have, but can do an internet search, but I don't trust just any figure I come across. I am finished with school, so I no longer have access to any Scientific journals, which I do trust. I may find something in my book collection, I don't have time to check now unfortunately.

    Not as much as it costs to obtain the virgin materials from the earth.

    Really, no numbers are needed. If old growth is being cut down, then you know it is disappearing as it takes hundreds of years to attain "old growth' status again. Perhaps later I'll attempt some research into the numbers, I know that specific #'s help in forming an opinion, but if you don't know what the numbers mean, what good are they? *see below*



    A tree farm is a plantation of trees meant for harvest. The goal is not biodiversity. They plant certain trees, usually fast-growing species and use herbicide to discourage competition. Your statement is wrong. Old growth forests provide homes for unique species, endemic species.
    It's not really logic, just plain facts. Take for instance the spotted owl. This species is only found in old growth forests. Different species have different habitat requirements. Many species do well in certain niches.
    Different species are present in diff. types of forest- Taiga vegetation differs from a coniferous forest which differ from a redwood forest, etc.



    Tree farms are indeed on the verge of ecological collapse. They simply cannot withstand the stresses of fire and other sorts of disturbance. That's the beauty of an old-growth forest, it can. Old growth contains multiple canopies. These develop over time.
    Certain types of forest are ecologically unique. The animals they support are also unique. Tree plantations contain 90% fewer species than natural forests. (A. Hershkowitz, 2003).


    Old growth is disappearing though. Only 5% of old growth remain is the US southwest. Virtually no old-growth remains on private land. The patches that do remain on publicly owned land represent less than 10 percent of the original amount (Krohne, 2001).
    Tropical rainforests are being depleted by deforestation at rate of 17 million hectares per year. At that rate they will disappear in less than 50 years. (David Krohne, 2001). Habitat loss is causing the extinction of as many as 17,000 species each year!
    Ecologists require these habitats too in order to further our understanding of functioning natural systems.
    I appreciate your open mind as well as your skepticism. Coupled with your desire to know the facts, it is very commendable. I don't know if I'm doing a good job of providing you with facts to consider, but if I'm not I beg you to not judge all environmentalists based on my performance in these forums.
     
  2. Eurpancreas

    Eurpancreas Member

    metro:"That's a bunch of horsecrap, a pathetic attempt at an opposing view. I know his points may seem plausible to those who are not specialised in any natural science field,"

    Careful where you tread.

    metro:"BUT, come on, he's only an associate professor of statistics. NOT a genuine environmental expert. He performed a lot of statistical conjuring, statistical expertise does not guarantee accuracy."

    A rational mind does not need to rely on the opinions of "experts". The data is out there for making informed analysis, which is exactly what Dr. Lomborg does.

    metro:" I don't respect any scientist who crunches the numbers to induce a certain outcome."

    nor do I. I actually hold disdain for them.

    metro:" In his bit about forests not being under threat, he misread one of the figures he cited as a percentage rather than kilometers. In another claim, he cited figures derived using different methodologies as well as different definitions of forest."

    Those are perfect examples of the feeble attacks used against him. He cites dozens of data pieces to construct his conclusions. Then some mudslinger finds a flaw with one or two and thinks that the contrary must be true. I have run into people with this attitude before. People who have not even read the book but have read a couple of critiques. People who think that because his book was not 100% perfect that therefore everything coming out of his book is lies. These are the people who are close-minded, not skeptics such as I.
    I have double checked his bit about forests with the latest U.N. data. The U.N data is consistent with his main conclusion: forest cover is (generally speaking) not shrinking in developed countries. Furthermore, the main theat to forests is agriculture and not logging.
    If you believe either I, Dr. Lomborg or the U.N to be wrong, perhaps you could provide data that supports YOUR theory, instead of just poking at others.

    metro:"Loads of credible scientists have effectively debunked his "research". In science, there is a slow process of peer review that permits success to scientists who have earned the approval of other scientists through quality (credible) research."

    And loads support him. His data analysis isnt perfect, but I have yet to see one critique that proves any of his main conclusions to be wrong. Many of his critics prefer to mischaracterize his statements and then prove them wrong.

    metro:"You know, the collection of data he presented could be used as a tribute to the effectiveness of the very environmental regulations he wishes to dismantle. If we stop protecting the environment then our worst fears will be realised. We are doing what we can to prevent problems. Why wait until the problems exist? That's not to say they don't, think of all the endangered species on earth. Sure, in some places air and water have improved, how do you think that happened? Magic? Environmental regulations!"

    In some cases the worst fears will never be realized (running out of oil for example, or some of the hysteria over GE crops). Regulation may be responislbe for some of the improvement. I believe technology and research were even more responsible. Many of the improvements (improved agricultural efficiency as a clear example) still would have happened even in the absence of government regulations.

    metro:" What do green people want? Just environmental improvements, there's no hidden agenda. I don't want you to live in a cave. You can have your toys like snowmobiles, but I just want companies to make them cleaner. Are these types of pleas too much to ask? I'm baffled."

    But sometimes green people push for more regulation than is warranted by an honest cost-benefit analysis. Extensive regulations can waste human resources and even stifle future eco-friendly technology.

    metro:"As far as landfill space, well I suppose we'll always have enough....but less is better, agreed? I'd rather see a park or a forest or just about anything."

    Agreed less is better. The only question is how many billions of dollars is it worth to reduce landfill size.

    metro:"An exact figure I don't have, but can do an internet search, but I don't trust just any figure I come across. I am finished with school, so I no longer have access to any Scientific journals, which I do trust. I may find something in my book collection, I don't have time to check now unfortunately. "

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Eurpancreas
    Then why do cities fork over big bucks to create recycling programs? It takes alot of resources to collect goods as well as re-procesing.

    metro:"Not as much as it costs to obtain the virgin materials from the earth. "

    Let me get this straight, you think its cheaper to collect recyclyed paper (and pay for salaries, trucks to collect, buildings to house it), AND resprocess it compared to make virgin paper? If this is true, why do cities have to PAY recyclers dollars per ton to accept the stuff? And thats not even considering the collection costs.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Eurpancreas
    If you think I am wrong and that old-growth forests are being destroyed so rapidly, be specific about the numbers. If I used the "because I said so" defense, you wouldnt trust that either.

    metro:"Really, no numbers are needed. If old growth is being cut down, then you know it is disappearing as it takes hundreds of years to attain "old growth' status again. Perhaps later I'll attempt some research into the numbers, I know that specific #'s help in forming an opinion, but if you don't know what the numbers mean, what good are they? *see below*"

    I need more information for myself. Is it possible to cut down a few trees in an old-growth forest (perhaps 5%) and not have a substantial impact on the ecosystem at all? Is old-growth being harvested, and in what way? beats me. Thats why I have no opinion on this issue, yet. But I will wait until I see some numbers.
     
  3. metro

    metro self-banned

    The thing is, he is not informed. He has no idea how to interpret the numbers. I rely not on the opinions of experts, but on the careful calculations derived from credible research.


    They are hardly feeble. I will accept the projections of a reputable forest ecology expert before that of a statistician. Why would you accept his work as more reliable than so many respected scientists? Are you not skeptical of his work/motivations as well? I could never trust a carelessly written book to base my beliefs on. Even some of the scientists work he cited have spoken out against his conclusions. He was very selective when choosing the data he published. It takes a lot of homework to thoroughly understand the science he addressed with not even a preliminary understanding. E.O. Wilson is an undeniable authority in science and he effectively discredited Lomborg's analysis on extinction rates.


    Global forest cover is difficult to estimate, especially when you take into consideration forest composition. Very little original forest is left, most has been modified (by humans) so that it is not of previous quality. Why do you only consider developed countries? Developed countries may gain forest cover but, in developing countries, 130 million hectares of forest cover were lost (not just by logging) in the last decade. That is a mind-bogglingly large amount. That is where most of the forest cover is being reduced. It would be foolish to only consider one or the other. Naturally, the one I am concerned about is the area of loss. Especially when the majority (94%) of the loss occurs in the tropics, which easily house the majority of biodiversity. It would not trouble me if tree plantations were placed in areas that originally had no tree cover (unless it was an endangered/rare ecosystem), but they are being placed at the expense of old growth. The functioning of a monoculture plantation is a far cry from that of old-growth.


    You don't think we'll run out of oil? *confused*

    I agree there are limits. However, it depends on what you value, everyone is different. It's hard to reach a consensus.

    You are still convinced that recycling costs more than filling a landfill. Not in most cases.

    The cost of waste disposal is equally large. When landfills run out of room the waste must be trucked miles away, which wastes energy and pollutes. New York has 2,000 garbage trucks traveling millions of miles per year. Whereas recycling can be done in nearby facilities. Landfill space is not the most important reason to recycle, it's eliminating the need to bulldoze virgin materials and then refine them. Recycling may not be economical in all cities (however, it is in many), but if more people participated, then it would be.
    I suggest you look at this book Bronx Ecology: Blueprint for a New Environmentalism by Allen Hershkowitz.
     
  4. Eurpancreas

    Eurpancreas Member

    metro:"The thing is, he is not informed. He has no idea how to interpret the numbers. "

    You are making blanket statements about a book you havent even read.

    metro:"I rely not on the opinions of experts, but on the careful calculations derived from credible research."

    Then why do you persist in quoting experts but not quoting actual studies?

    metro:"They are hardly feeble. I will accept the projections of a reputable forest ecology expert before that of a statistician.

    Dont any single person's projections, I dont! Lomborg tries to present data from reputable sources. An intelligent person can derive their own conclusions.

    Metro:"Why would you accept his work as more reliable than so many respected scientists?"

    He quotes the data from respected scientists and organizations! I dont understand what you think his book is about. He doesnt present his own data. Do you assume that data which is presented in the book (from the FAO, or the world bank, the IPCC, etc) must therefore be wrong because he reprinted it in his pages?

    metro: "Are you not skeptical of his work/motivations as well?"

    I am skeptical of everything. Thats why I have read many critiques and double checked some of the more interesting data tidbits he re-printed. The critiques (that I have seen) have never totally disproved his arguments and the bits I've checked pan out. Why dont you provide some examples of what you consider to be good critiques and we can discuss them."

    metro:"I could never trust a carelessly written book to base my beliefs on."

    But you can apparently trust some critiques enough to accept them without reservation. You even appear to accept them enough to make a sweeping condemnation of any study which is reprinted in the book.

    metro:"Even some of the scientists work he cited have spoken out against his conclusions. He was very selective when choosing the data he published. It takes a lot of homework to thoroughly understand the science he addressed with not even a preliminary understanding. E.O. Wilson is an undeniable authority in science and he effectively discredited Lomborg's analysis on extinction rates. "

    E.O. Wilson overstates the state of the science involving extinction rates. The exact extinction rate is very much a matter of reasoned debate. Lomborg is the first to admit the data is inconclusive.
     
  5. metro

    metro self-banned

    I haven't read it, nor do I plan to. He is not an environmental scientist, why would I care what he has to say on any environmental matter?

    The experts have provided rebuttals based on how their research has been misconstrued in his book.

    I am of the understanding that he concluded that there are no serious problems with the environment.
    His book contained nearly 3,000 citations! Most of those are from secondary sources and he chose only ones that supported his overly optimistic view. He claims that scientist's findings have been distorted, but many of the scientists he cited have spoken out against him because he is doing the distorting.

    One would have to sift through thousands of citations to find his sources, but his interpretations of the data he cites are not valid. He is not informed in the various fields he discusses. I know you seem to believe that anyone can make sense of numbers, but it's not that simple. It's important to have a background knowledge of the subject. Am I supposed to take his uninformed word over that of numerous researchers who have dedicated their lives to the various subjects? I think it is very insulting and obnoxious of him to so mutilate their hard work. He rarely cites peer-reviewed literature, so I naturally have a hard time trusting his assertions. I require more than superficial research. Data from the Food and Agriculture Org. is known to be unreliable for statistic use in a time series due to the various diff. techniques they use to derive data.

    How about this for his selective quoting: In regards to the extinction rate he states: "Colinvaux admits in Scientific American that the rate is 'incalculable'"..... ,well, the text he derived this from states "as human beings lay waste to massive tracts of vegetation, an incalculable and unprecedented number of species are rapidly becoming extinct." -Paul Colinvaux (May 1989). Now, if I were Paul Colinvaux, I would be mighty upset that my words were so construed as to make it sound as though we have no idea how many species are going extinct. It's pretty obvious from the full quote that Paul thought the number to be quite large. I just have no respect for people who take things out of context. Just dispicable.




    Sorry, but I will side with one of the greatest living scientists before I side with an ignorant statistician. And I will not be the only one.
    You might consider reading Wilson's book The Future of Life, it is optimistic and hopeful as well, but his calculations of the future of the planet are much more reliable and trustworthy.
     
  6. Eurpancreas

    Eurpancreas Member

    metro:"The experts have provided rebuttals based on how their research has been misconstrued in his book."

    Yes, some people have taken issue with a small minority of the data in his book. What if I came out with an equal number of experts who hailed the book? Where would we be then?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Eurpancreas
    Dont any single person's projections, I dont! Lomborg tries to present data from reputable sources. An intelligent person can derive their own conclusions.

    metro:"I am of the understanding that he concluded that there are no serious problems with the environment."

    Then you would be wrong. The common theme throughout the book is that some environmental issues are more important than others and its important for society to figure out which ones those are.

    metro:"His book contained nearly 3,000 citations! Most of those are from secondary sources and he chose only ones that supported his overly optimistic view. He claims that scientist's findings have been distorted, but many of the scientists he cited have spoken out against him because he is doing the distorting."

    The book wasnt all good news. Although I imagine many would like to paint it that way for ease of dismissing its message. He documented the serious starvation in Africa, the decline of tropical rainforests, and he admitted that global warming is a serious problem, and those are just off the top of my head.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Eurpancreas
    He quotes the data from respected scientists and organizations! I dont understand what you think his book is about. He doesnt present his own data. Do you assume that data which is presented in the book (from the FAO, or the world bank, the IPCC, etc) must therefore be wrong because he reprinted it in his pages?

    metro:"One would have to sift through thousands of citations to find his sources, but his interpretations of the data he cites are not valid."

    His sources are fairly transparent. Each data piece has a reference number, that can be looked up in the back of the book. Some are available on the internet, some are not. I looked up dozens myself.


    metro:" He is not informed in the various fields he discusses. I know you seem to believe that anyone can make sense of numbers, but it's not that simple."

    Yes and no. You have very strong opinions on the environment, but are you an environmental expert? If the EPA provides data showing a particular pollution measure is declining, isnt that worth something? Why do I have to be a meteorological scientists to have an opinion on air pollution if I have read summaries as provided by the EPA? If I read a summary issued by the National Academy of Sciences, cant I have some measure of confidence that the summary is somewhat representative of the best science available? Its possible to acquire data and then communicate it meaningfully to the masses(without having an advanced degree), its sometimes called "journalism".

    metro:"It's important to have a background knowledge of the subject. Am I supposed to take his uninformed word over that of numerous researchers who have dedicated their lives to the various subjects?"

    Its possible to devote your life to something and still have it wrong. There are still scientists who still believe that HIV is not the cause of AIDS, to name a high profile example. Thats why its best to get data from scientific communities (not individual scientists) when possible.

    metro:"I think it is very insulting and obnoxious of him to so mutilate their hard work."

    Welcome to the world of peer-review. Ever submitted an article to a refereed journal?

    metro: He rarely cites peer-reviewed literature, so I naturally have a hard time trusting his assertions. "

    Actually, nearly all of the data he cites comes from either peer-reviewed sources or governmental and intergovernmental agencies.

    metro:"I require more than superficial research. Data from the Food and Agriculture Org. is known to be unreliable for statistic use in a time series due to the various diff. techniques they use to derive data."

    Yes, far too many people rely on flimsy research, I too feel this way. If you dont like the FAO, how about the National Academy of Science, the World Bank, the EPA, or the WHO, or the IPCC?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Eurpancreas
    I am skeptical of everything. Thats why I have read many critiques and double checked some of the more interesting data tidbits he re-printed. The critiques (that I have seen) have never totally disproved his arguments and the bits I've checked pan out. Why dont you provide some examples of what you consider to be good critiques and we can discuss them."

    metro:"How about this for his selective quoting: In regards to the extinction rate he states: "Colinvaux admits in Scientific American that the rate is 'incalculable'"..... ,well, the text he derived this from states "as human beings lay waste to massive tracts of vegetation, an incalculable and unprecedented number of species are rapidly becoming extinct." -Paul Colinvaux (May 1989). Now, if I were Paul Colinvaux, I would be mighty upset that my words were so construed as to make it sound as though we have no idea how many species are going extinct. It's pretty obvious from the full quote that Paul thought the number to be quite large. I just have no respect for people who take things out of context. Just dispicable."


    Wait a minute. I dont follow. How does Lomborg twist the words? Please explain more clearly.




    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Eurpancreas
    E.O. Wilson overstates the state of the science involving extinction rates. The exact extinction rate is very much a matter of reasoned debate. Lomborg is the first to admit the data is inconclusive.

    Sorry, but I will side with one of the greatest living scientists before I side with an ignorant statistician. And I will not be the only one.
     
  7. metro

    metro self-banned

    I actually would be interested in seeing those, provided they are from trusted experts. I honestly have yet to see those rave reviews from the scientific community.

    OK, I haven't read the book, so I'll trust you on that for now. The only reason I would ever read it is to better dispute it and understand where the other side is coming from.

    Interesting, the reviews I read suggested he dismissed global warming or at least feels it is not worth preventing or addressing.
    I still don't know what message he is giving, that because some aspects of the environment are improving, we should do less to continue improving the state of the environment?


    If a particular measure is increasing, then I would attribute it to the course of action taken to improve it. This just makes sense. You can not always assume cause and effect, but I would trust that the air is getting cleaner because we've done something about it. We should keep doing it too don't you think?

    Most certainly....and a great majority of the scientific community rejects and does not associate itself with his book.
    Most respected scientists build upon the many years of research their predecessors have done.

    This makes no sense. I'm saying he took already submitted and accepted research and misconstrued and selectively quoted it. I have no problem with aggressive and strict peer-review, I insist on it in fact.
    Lomborg has published only one work, and he has zero refereed publications on analysis of environmental issues.

    I've read that the majority of his sources are secondary literature and media articles. Early in any science schooling you learn that is not the proper modus operandi.


    The words were not twisted in this case, but selective quoting was used to cause one to interpret the statement differently than if one was to read the entire statement.
    Here's the original statement by Paul Colinvaux:

    "As human beings lay waste to massive tracts of vegetation, an incalculable and unprecedented number of species are rapidly becoming extinct."

    So the important message Lomborg got out of this statement was that the exact number is incalculable?! Give me a break. The author of the statement quite clearly conveys that the extinction rate is seriously high (the word unprecedented is a useful clue). So Lomborg takes out of context a couple of words in order to give the impression that we really have no idea what the extinction rate is, ergo "don't listen to environmentalists".
     
  8. Eurpancreas

    Eurpancreas Member

    metro:"Interesting, the reviews I read suggested he dismissed global warming or at least feels it is not worth preventing or addressing."


    These would therefore be examples of reviews you could not trust. He actually states Kyoto treaty could be a good thing if countries if it incorporated a proper system of CO2 credit trading.


    metro:"I still don't know what message he is giving, that because some aspects of the environment are improving, we should do less to continue improving the state of the environment?"

    His message as I remember is two-fold 1. there is both good news and bad news out there on the environmental front 2. Not all environmental issues are created equal, resources should be allocated where they do the most good.
    As you can see, many people are misrepresenting him. I think everyone agrees that its important to care for the environment. The only issue is which issues are the most important and how many dollars should be spent.

    metro:"Most certainly....and a great majority of the scientific community rejects and does not associate itself with his book."

    I suspect you would have a hard time backing that up. I'll provide a partial list of supporters when I have more time.

    metro:"I've read that the majority of his sources are secondary literature and media articles. Early in any science schooling you learn that is not the proper modus operandi."

    Thats not an honest criticism. Lomborg comments extensively on the perception on the state of the environment. In that sense it makes sense to quote media sources. He would never quote a magazine or newspaper as a valid scientific source.

    metro:"So Lomborg takes out of context a couple of words in order to give the impression that we really have no idea what the extinction rate is"

    We dont know what the extinction rate is. Experts make ballpark estimates, and even thats probably a generous description. We dont even know the number of species on the planet, let alone how many are dying off. Hell, we still dont even have a precise definition for the word "species".
     
  9. If we don't know what the extinction rate is, then how would you know that the figure is "generous"? I would say that the "experts" probably make conservative estimates, to be safe. If anything, the rate of extinction that we are facing is probably downplayed, and since it is virtually impossible to get an accurate picture of the situation, people like you will continue to downplay its seriousness.

     
  10. Lodui

    Lodui One Man Orgy

    God, I've already argued with enough enviormental misconceptions this week in the Norman Borlaug forum. The radical (crazy) part of the enviormental movement was saying in the 70's that 50% of the species on earth would be dead by 2010. We better get cracking, were going to have at least a couple nuclear wars to make up for lost time... :rolleyes: god, this is what happens when theres no war for people to be worrying about.

    I may post more later... I dunno, but theres always going to be gloom and doom predictions about us all being doomed, cause someones getting rich of it. Thats what a good 2/3 of todays enviormental movement is about. I'm getting a feeling that whoever is posting as Norman Borlaug might be a profound idiot.
     
  11. On the other hand, a lot of the predictions that they made have come to fruition. I mean, worsening air-quality, global climate change, melting polar icecaps. Geez, so sorry that it's not going exactly as you were led to believe.
     
  12. metro

    metro self-banned

    I don't think you are in any position to call someone a "profound idiot"... I have to get going, but I'll respond to this later. You're horribly ignorant on this subject and I'm compelled to clear it up for you.
     
  13. Lodui

    Lodui One Man Orgy

    Hey You have no idea of the grudge "norman" holds aginst me...

    Feel free to 'Educate' me, but don't patronise me just because you disagree.
    -later.
     
  14. metro

    metro self-banned

    1) No one is disagreeing with that. We can be pleased that some aspects of environmental damage are improving and being reversed. However, that is no reason to start slacking and reduce our efforts to continue the improvements. We should look at all feedback and if it's positive, then we know we are doing something right.
    2) It seemed to me that he found great news on all fronts, which surely is not the case.
    I'm sure I would advocate that more be done and you would advocate less, I doubt people will ever agree on the degree to which the environment should be protected.

    I'd be curious to see your list.
    The only one that I can think of off the top of my head is E.O. Wilson, who I stated earlier disagreed with Lomborg's conclusions. I'm sure you have some scientists that you fully trust and E.O. Wilson is one that I fully trust.


    I'd have to read the book to judge that I suppose.


    That's exactly why we must hasten to discover and describe as many species as we can before they do go extinct. Of course it's a ballpark figure, how could it be anything but? It's an extraordinary task to catalogue all the species of the world and determine which ones are in danger of extinction. I would err on side of caution myself.
     
  15. metro

    metro self-banned

    The human population is increasing exponentially and the earth is finite. This presents a problem don't you think? To start, let me state that my goal is that of a conservation biologist, the preservation of biodiversity. To feed the increasing human population we will need to increase productive land and this will wipe out much of the earth's flora and fauna. It already is. Anyone not in a euphoric delirium should see the earth's capacity to support our species is dwindling.

    I see it with my own eyes. I went for my run today on the campus arboretum and I noted that most ~80% of the flora present is non-native. Many were invasive. 976 tree species out of the 100,000 known to science worldwide are endangered. Most people who doubt that extinction is occuring on a grand scale are not biologists. They likely have economic interests that conflict with efforts to preserve biodiversity.

    We are the serial killers of the biosphere. Multiple approaches and trial-and-error measurements suggest that the extinction rate is anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 species/million/year. Many species are vanishing before they are even described. There are many species who are committed to extinction (they no longer have viable populations, etc.) so while they are not being counted as extinct, they may as well be. Also, when a species is rare, it is likely to be overlooked. Researchers generally agree that the extiction rate is catastrophically high. Humans are innately inclined to think in a short-sighted fashion, but I think we can summon the moral courage to do what's right.
     
  16. Eurpancreas

    Eurpancreas Member

    "Norman": If we don't know what the extinction rate is, then how would you know that the figure is "generous"? I would say that the "experts" probably make conservative estimates, to be safe. If anything, the rate of extinction that we are facing is probably downplayed, and since it is virtually impossible to get an accurate picture of the situation, people like you will continue to downplay its seriousness.


    Notice I used the word "probably" to describe the adjective generous. Also notice I didn't downplay its seriousness, but I merely demonstrated that the situation is not known.

    Norman:"I mean, worsening air-quality, global climate change, melting polar icecaps. Geez, so sorry that it's not going exactly as you were led to believe."

    Air quality is improving in the developed world. Some of the global climate change predictions have been terribly far off. Not sure about the melting polar ice caps.

    Off the topic:
    regarding metro 07-17-2004, 11:41 PM , It seems we have come to some sort of common ground.
     
  17. earthy44

    earthy44 Member

    'ahem' - back to recycling....

    Recycling is awesome, especially for resources that are NON-renewable such as aluminum, plastic (all comes from petroleum which is running out), and others.
    However, recycling still requires energy and resources which are also limited.
    The best thing to do is REDUCE your consumption and REUSE what you can.
    Just my two cents....
    Also, if you do not have recycling in your community, see if your workplace has it and if you can bring your recyclables there. You can also inquire to your town/city reps about bringing recycling to your area.
     
  18. Eurpancreas

    Eurpancreas Member

    Recycling can be awesome, but not always. Its possible to go overboard and actually waste resources with recycling. I asked a recycling question to a fella who's been a chemical engineer at a paper mill for 20 years. He acknowledged recycling paper is a murky issue. I walked away with the notion that recycling virgin paper is good, as it still has long fibers in it. Other types of paper, especially paper thats already been recycled, has shorter fibers, and therefore as much as half of the product still needs to be landfilled anyways.
    I've already stated my opinion that recycling glass is a bad idea, as the raw material is essentially infinite, and there is as much energy required to recycle it (maybe even more) as there is to make it anew. Therefore a reasoned cost-benefit analysis would likely say glass is not worth recycling.
     
  19. Shei

    Shei Member

    i've been reading these frayed threads for a while now. i am pleased to see so many intellectuals debating these issues. i would like to see people debating less aggressively and more dialectically. this means arguing not for the sole purpose of winning, but at the aim of creating a synthesis of thesis and antithesis. the synthesis itself is a thesis that has its own antithesis, so the process never stops. people using the dialectic have to sacrifice some of their pride in the true spirit of debate. remember that we are all oppressed optimists who crave positive change.

    i like to see that most of the regular posters are considering the issues surrounding recycling from a pragmatic standpoint, because although i am inclined to look at the issues more idealistically, they have to be rooted practically in our economy. it's overwhelmingly sad that the economy is so distorted that the costs of operating environmentally effective initiatives are so much greater than the environmentally detrimental practises, whose costs do not reflect the environmental impacts.

    i would appreciate it if people would cite all the statistics they post. i'm seeing a lot of figures, but i don't know what source they are coming from and if they are truly credible.
     
  20. madlizard

    madlizard Senior Member

    heh, reminds me of a SNL skit.


    "can't stop Debbie Downer . . ."

    good stuff. really, it is.

     

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