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How Humankind Is Shaping the Earth Options
Hope123
Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 3:12:43 PM

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https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/how-people-have-been-shaping-earth

I hope you click on and read the material on the above link first.

I saw a series of nature shows about the marvel of humankind learning how to adapt, migrate, and thus be able to envelop every part of the earth with humans. I think they said no other animal has been that successful.

But our taking over the planet has come at a cost to other animals and to the earth itself.

As for climate change, it makes sense to acknowledge that there are uncertainties in scientific predictions. But it is dangerous to overstate uncertainty and use it to justify inaction. After an exhaustive review of the best science, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declared in 2014 that the buildup of these gases in the atmosphere, caused by humans, is "extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” (See link at end .) More CO2 in the atmosphere is dangerous to the planet.

According to the natural cycles, we should now be heading into an ice age. Instead the earth is beginning to heat up with even Antarctica becoming more green.

Many scientists are saying this epoch should be called the Anthropocene as there are enough effects noticeable as to what humankind has done to the earth. One scientist mentions that we didn’t have a Plantocene epoch so why formally call this Anthropocene, although he admits the term is useful.

Human activities, especially fossil fuel burning, have put huge amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere and oceans in just two hundred years. 56 million years ago when that happened before, it took thousands of years, not just two hundred, for those kinds of levels to be reached. It is happening so fast that the oceans can’t absorb it fast enough to move it to deeper waters so now even animals nearer the surface and not just the deep dwellers are affected by the acidic waters.

We also know that we are in the earth's sixth mass animal extinction, but this is the first one not caused naturally but by humans. One third of the 27,600 forms of land animals studied are in severe population declines, and that does not include ocean animals. People are contributing to the extinction of many animals in other ways besides burning fossil fuels, and contributing to climate change. They are chopping down and burning forests and other habitat for agriculture, the global human population continues to rise exponentially so that people are aggressively competing for land and resources, and poachers are reducing the populations of elephants, pangolins, rhinos, giraffes and other creatures with body parts valuable on the black market. Songbirds are disappearing, a lot of it because of the domesticated cat, bees are disappearing because of nicotinic pesticides humans use, the polar bears are losing their habitat because the ice is shrinking in the north, fish have been overfished, sea animals die caught in plastic or are killed by water vehicles, whales are disoriented by boat sounds confusing their sonar, and acidified oceans kill living coral and other sea creatures disappear. Etc.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of_biodiversity/extinction_crisis/

I hate to watch nearly every nature show these days about animals, because they are all lamenting the reduction of animal life on our planet because of humans. In fact I deleted without watching some that were recorded when I saw the titles.

Maybe each time we add a little more pollution and increase the odds of a climate catastrophe, we should remember that we are only animals too!

https://www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/docs/ar5/ar5_syr_headlines_en.pdf


The G19 and parts of the 20th are still committed to doing what we can practically do and still maintain standards of living.

I was hoping that at the same time we should thus be able to help the animals too so I was wondering if any countries are actively targeting the assistance of animals - laws against poaching and keeping areas green, logging rules, pesticide reduction etc.

Anybody with ideas or knowledge about your country?


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Hope123
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 12:01:46 PM

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It’s not all bad news. There’s a video of an elephant being rescued off the coast of Sri Lanka on these links. It took them twelve hours to do so. It was quite the operation. Some reports said 8-10 miles off. It was taken out by currents but elephants can swim and float and breathe with their trunks.

http://metro.co.uk/2017/07/13/elephant-rescued-after-being-washed-five-miles-out-to-sea-6776829/


https://www.rt.com/viral/396201-elephant-naval-rescue-sri-lanka/



Equality is when you see a person - not a label.
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 12:12:31 PM

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You’re right. There is good news. I did click and read the article. And if you read it without questioning anything you read, you might have your Armageddon fear level raised. I, however, do question things I read.

And if you are a rational thinker, you will find much to take comfort in as you read the article and at the end of it, will find you really have nothing to worry about, unless, of course, you would be happy with a new Ice Age that covers your country in a glacier. If you are one of the folks who look forward to that situation, the article may leave you disappointed.



A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 1:13:00 PM

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Think Don't know - might be OK




Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Y111
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 1:24:54 PM
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Also, this all will be over and forgotten in a million years, which is like one day in the history of Earth. If humankind survives, it will find some balance with the planet, and if it dies out, the planet will heal the wounds and replace the extinct species with new and maybe better ones, who knows? It will still have a few billions of years ahead. Enough for multiple humankinds to rise and fall.
progpen
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 2:16:37 PM

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Thank you Hope. Some great information here. I hope we in the US will soon be able to grow out of the "scientific theory is just an educated guess" phase.

The student site is great and the article lays everything out clearly and concisely. I do see the use of Anthropocene as being very useful in discussions, and I think it will stick as the long term name for our current epoch.

It is also very important that sites like the Center for Biological Diversity continue to publish consolidated information on all the different types of animals. I usually see reports that are specific to either fish or mammals and even more concentrated on a region.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ― Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Hope123
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 4:37:19 PM

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I was thinking about my great grans (assuming I get some and the odds are in favor), that it really would be a shame if there were certain animals that we have enjoyed that had become extinct. No matter how critically one reads, the statistics about the decline in the animal kingdom except for humankind are there. And that is not even considering how we have altered the eco systems wherever we go. These statistics are not predictions for the future - this has already happened.


https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/directory http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2016/12/specials/vanishing/

Sorry Drago, but the Ice Age may be a long way off yet. Whistle

There is a huge difference between being worried or even panicking and being concerned enough to actually do as much as possible to help - and not just throw up one’s hands while sticking one's head in the sand. For instance it would be very inconvenient to not have honeybees to pollinate the crops. I meant to check the accurate name of the insecticide but forgot before my last post - It is neonicotinoids that are adding to the reasons for the dramatic decline in honeybees. California’s honey production fell by nearly half in just six years. “Meanwhile, unlike the US, in Europe and Australia where the health of insects and humans is deemed more important than corporate profit, laws banning insecticide use have been passed, which in large part has largely saved the bee populations from being so decimated there.” Canada finally banned it in January of this year. Quote is from Global Research Canada

The rest is just a List of Statistics - Before Europeans came to North America, it is estimated there were around 10,000,000 bison on Canadian plains - number is down to 250,000 on Canadian farms and public lands today.

Caribou used to be found in over 80% of Canada. Today their numbers are dropping dramatically—for many herds by more than 90%.

The total number of North American landbirds stands at about 10 billion, down from about 11.5 billion in 1970. One and a half billion is a lot of birds lost.

“Based on 275 estimates from across the continent, the report by the IUCN conservation group put Africa’s total elephant population at around 415,000, a decline of around 111,000 over the past decade.” Sources - National Geographic and The Guardian. Mostly from poaching for tusks. It is believed the numbers were between 3 and 5 million in the thirties and forties.

In 2013 already it was estimated that 100 million or more sharks are being lost every year, according to a study published in Marine Policy. Some as bycatch by fishermen and some from the desire for shark fins.

https://www.sharks.org/blogs/science-blog/sharks-in-decline

I could go on getting statistics about the polar bear, the Monarch butterfly, and many other species on land and water, because they are in decline too.

And since it is human behavior that caused most of this decline, I see the name of Anthropocene for this epoch to be quite appropriate.

I’m pretty sure that every poster on TFD would be able to add to this list with the decline in populations of animals indigenous to their country.



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Hope123
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 5:27:44 PM

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Y111 wrote:
Also, this all will be over and forgotten in a million years, which is like one day in the history of Earth. If humankind survives, it will find some balance with the planet, and if it dies out, the planet will heal the wounds and replace the extinct species with new and maybe better ones, who knows? It will still have a few billions of years ahead. Enough for multiple humankinds to rise and fall.


True.
:::

Yes, Progpen, an overall idea is good.

As for Canada "doing something constructive" I don't know if the CDN govt might consider it, but it has been suggested that it impose a carbon tax on every import from the USA into Canada and the money be used to further innovation for green energy for the future. Sounds like a plan to me. ;)

After all, if Canada has a carbon tax, then the USA is getting a subsidy Canada isn't and they are dumping goods unfairly. That's always the USA argument against us.

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leonAzul
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2017 7:40:08 PM

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The problem, as I see it, is two-fold:
A) Humans think they are exceptional and have mistaken the natural struggle to survive with some sort of manifest destiny to subdue and conquer;
B) Because we have alienated ourselves from the rest of the biosphere, some of us have forgotten the most fundamental rule of survival, which is to bury your scat.

There is no solution to the first problem if we don't make it part of our education to impress that self-esteem is not an entitlement, but rather something that is earned by contributing to the well-being of one's society. The alternative is a false superiority at the expense of "others", whether they be different tribes, different colors, different ethnicities, or different species. Positive thinking might not always succeed, but negativity always results in suicide. The optimum, of course, would be to think critically, to accept the good and learn from the bad, to expect opportunity according to one's preparation.

The second problem is what more acutely is causing trouble. In the literal sense, most societies that have survived to the present have learned to manage their biological effluvia — they don't shit where they eat. Yet in the more extended sense, we, collectively, continue to have some serious denial issues with regards to waste management. When we were thin on the ground, merely digging a hole far enough away from our drinking water was enough for nature to take its course and recycle the matter. With ever denser populations, and more complicated waste, the holes we can dump it in are becoming fewer and fewer. It is a technological, economical, and societal problem that needs to be addressed at each level on a cooperative basis. The interesting thing is that it actually is more profitable to go forward and adapt, than it is to stubbornly hold on to methods that were best of class in their time, but are no longer applicable to the current conditions.

Case in point: lead additives in gasoline were originally introduced to improve efficiency and reduce pollution. With the invention of catalytic converters for automobiles, not only was air quality improved, and refining technology simplified, but also an entirely new sector of the economy created to design, manufacture, and recycle the platinum in catalytic converters, making more opportunity for more people to profit. There is an immense opportunity for industrial recycling, if only someone were willing to take the initiative.


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Hope123
Posted: Friday, July 14, 2017 12:10:35 AM

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Very perspicacious, Leon. Yes, we have forgotten that we are only animals. And we have also lost respect for the earth - respect such as the First Nations people in North America and the Hawaiian people have.

Edited - Talking about waste clean up - just saw this on Twitter from the Detroit news -

$300 million for Great Lakes protected in funding bill, thwarting Trump.

Ontario is obviously glad.

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/07/13/republicans-reject-trumps-plan-to-cut-300-million-for-great-lakes-cleanup.html

:::::

I got this link in a Science email today. Do they even have replacements for HFCs?

One Idea for Mitigation

Equality is when you see a person - not a label.
Hope123
Posted: Friday, July 14, 2017 12:39:45 AM

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I also got this in that science email tonight -
Scientists see 'biological annihilation' in loss of animal populations

Set aside total extinctions for a moment, local extinctions are on the rise, and they're perhaps more worrying. A survey of 27,600 land animals has revealed that a third of them are in decline -- and many have been wiped out in specific locations, like the loss of the mountain lion in the eastern US. In fact, historical data for 177 of these animals shows that each one has a shrinking range, and some no longer roam in more than 80 percent of the places these animals once lived. Elephants, lions, giraffes, orangutans, even barn swallows all continue to decline, though populations are capable of rebounding if people take the pressure off. In the words of the researchers, it’s a "biological annihilation"  -- and one we might want to stop, to have a shot at a better Anthropocene.


A couple of quotes from links on it there were viable to me - In a new study by ecologist Gerardo Ceballos he says that it’s important to recognize that we’re in the early stages of a mass extinction, precisely because we still have a small window in which to avert it.

He also says that even if an animal does not become extinct in the world, if it is missing in any eco system where it belonged, that will play havoc with that system.

::::

“The real trouble with mass extinctions, from a modern perspective, is that it's really hard to know you're in one before it’s too late,” says Jacquelyn Gill from the University of Maine. “By the time you compile the casualty list, the damage is done. What's really powerful about [Ceballos’s new] study is that it focuses not on the losses, but on the early warning signals. Population declines are a common precursor to extinction, and it's a process we can actually do something about.

“At the end of the day, protecting biodiversity is the goal,” she adds. “Even if this isn't a mass extinction, we're clearly still losing species that we care about. The loss of the white rhino hurts even if wasn't geologically superlative.”


Equality is when you see a person - not a label.
FounDit
Posted: Friday, July 14, 2017 11:26:55 AM

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Leon,

Your last point about recycling is a good one. We have over the years improved how we deal with our waste. We no longer empty our chamber pots out the window onto the streets below, but send our waste to Wastewater treatment plants. There it is cleaned to the point that the water can be safely dumped and the solids can either safely be put into a landfill or used as fertilizer. Perhaps even that which can be purchased at most big-box stores.

As our technology improves and increases into the future, I’ve no doubt we’ll find ever better ways to solve current problems. And calm, rational approaches will do more to accomplish that than will draconian measures that slow the economy and only prolong the problem.



A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Hope123
Posted: Friday, July 14, 2017 2:05:10 PM

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Agree FD that Leon made good points and it is good that there are no draconian measures being proposed in most countries - except in the US where regulations for health and the environment that have been working are being rescinded. Mercury and other pollutants as waste products are now being allowed back into the air. To drift north on the winds - it has been so good to have zero smog days in Ontario after having 53 days of smog advisories in 2005. In 2014 Ontario was the first province or state in North America to successfully phase out the burning of coal, and legislation in the US and Canada also helped to get those smog free summers again.

I just started this thread about an article from “The Lancet" a well respected world medical news outlet to give people info about how there are new mercury pollution threats in the world.

http://forum.thefreedictionary.com/postsm978737_FYI----The-Lancet----New-mercury-pollution-threats--a-global-health-caution.aspx#978737

::::
However, Canada has a very poor record when it comes to waste management of refuse so a report was done for Canada’s Environment Agency. It explains what needs to happen in the world as well as Canada by 2050 with ideas of how to do it. The following quote is an example:

http://www.ccme.ca/files/Resources/waste/wst_mgmt/State_Waste_Mgmt_in_Canada%20April%202015%20revised.pdf

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported on studies that indicate that EPR is not as successful in driving design change upstream as are performance-based regulations. For example, limiting the mercury content in a product might be more effective in reducing emissions of mercury than establishing an EPR program to collect the product to recover the mercury.”

::::

Canada's economy is actually improving with the measures, including carbon pricing, taken by our Liberal government since November 2015. So much so that we got the first raise in interest rates in seven years. Various programs in the provinces re carbon pricing are now being amalgamated with federal policies.

http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/why-canadas-carbon-pricing-plan-should-give-money-directly-to-canadians/

As you say, FD, the economy does not need to be affected negatively if the proposals are done correctly. In fact with new green businesses and innovations it can actually improve.


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