Humans and the Environment

Should you squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle or from the end?
steveo73
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by steveo73 » Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:22 pm

https://judithcurry.com/2017/02/25/brus ... cy-making/

This is a gold standard read. Everyone should read this.
Scientists need to convey the best current evidence while acknowledging the limits of science and listening and responding seriously to criticism. Scientists must justify their recommendations and better engage when faced with such argument and criticism. “Trust me, I’m a scientist” does not, and should not convince. Scrutiny matters too and discounting ‘citizen science’ is erroneous. Where there are disagreements as to the interpretation of scientific data this should be acknowledged and addressed. Scientists need to recognise that they are advocates with vested interests too – in their case, in their own science.
The arrogance of the attitudes that seem to abound within the public and certain subsections of the scientific community really are not valid opinions especially when they don't align to reality or they bypass facts that clearly matter. When there are copious gaping holes in people's opinions and theories you cannot keep trying to state for instance that you are morally right.

The world is ending is not a valid comment at any point in time because clearly it isn't. The argument that humans are somehow environmental disasters is again crazy talk.

We need to discuss topics related to the environment and utilise some common sense.

Campitor
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by Campitor » Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:39 pm

Link to the actual Brussels Declaration below. I agree that it does have a lot of good things in it. I too have cherry-picked my favorite passages.

http://21ax0w3am0j23cz0qd1q1n3u.wpengin ... ration.pdf

12. Policy-makers should be willing to justify decisions, particularly where they deviate from independent scientific advice

Clarity and transparency are fundamentally important, particularly where policy deviates from independent scientific
advice.Whether there is scientific consensus or not, it has to be clear, through disclosure of all sources of input,
whenever non-scientific considerations or influencing factors are involved in decision-making.
Policy-makers should
also be brave and imaginative. A new spirit of innovation might have to out-weigh precaution. Opening up new
opportunities should be a core responsibility of policy-makers, who must also give due attention to the need for global
investment in education to provide the resources for our shared future.
13. Policy-makers should acknowledge the potential for bias and vested interests Contrary to the scientific consensus

Policy-makers should acknowledge all sources of input used in coming to decisions and be aware of the risks and
dangers of pressure from commercial agencies or special interest groups including media bias, which can frequently
lead public opinion.Where decisions are made that are contrary to the scientific consensus this should be made
explicit and the considerations driving that decision should be transparent.
Input from those with a vested interest in
the decision should be publicly acknowledged and, where possible, the nature of the advice should be made available.
In order to minimise bias and inappropriate influence, a clear, reliable and transparent methodology for the whole
life-cycle of policy-making should be defined.
14. The public plays a critical role in influencing policy and must be included in the decision-making process

The public plays a critical role in determining what positions policy-makers will take. Unless science understands their
‘nothing for us, without us’ rights, then all sides of the equation will never truly balance out. Policy-makers are, by
and large, elected and few will take a stance to support what the scientific evidence is telling us if this means going
against the views of their electorate
. The emergence of social media plays an important role here. For while new media
lends itself to the expression of strong emotion, it hardly facilitates the careful explanation of a research finding or a
policy platform by elected policy-makers. Traditional media’s capacity to explain the ins and outs of less tangible
science-policy-making is equally limited, especially when scientific consensus may not exist.
In this context, scientists must learn to find transparent ways and means to make their voices heard. The scientific
community must sharpen its message and engage the public. On their side, the public needs to better understand that
societal problems are not necessarily solvable through science. Increasing science literacy is relevant in this regard.
Democracy is best served when citizens are comfortable with science and, by extension, science policy. However it is
achieved, if the general public and their civil society actors are not included as fully as possible in decision-making by
the scientific-political establishment, the consequences will be extremely damaging.
15. Industry is an investor in knowledge generation and science and has every right to have its voice heard

Industry is not to be shunned when it comes to policy-making. As the largest investor in knowledge generation,
technology and science, it has every right to have its voice heard. Indeed, society and the policy-making process greatly
benefit from the participation of industry experts. This is especially true when it comes to newly emerging
technologies, where experts from industry and academia alike tend to have the deepest understanding and the most
thoughtful approach on how we should proceed. Nevertheless, industry is too often perceived as suffering from fatal
conflicts of interest and its views are therefore dismissed. In fact, commercial conflicts of interest are fairly easy to
deal with if they are properly declared
and the relationship between the science and the marketing made explicit.
Ideological, personal or academic conflicts of interest, on the other hand, are much harder to detect or deal with.
Industry, in turn, must be better at disclosing its research methods, findings and interests and speak out more when
its competitors or sector behave inappropriately.
Equally, industry should speak out more when denied access to
important policy-making or when its scientific research is poorly scrutinised or dismissed altogether. Yet, companies
are too often constrained by their own competitive, secretive and hierarchical natures. Spokespeople, not scientists,
are deployed to engage with society. If greater trust is to be built, industry should empower its scientists to speak up.
This will help industrial research to be seen to be underpinned by an inherent integrity and quality. Above all, industry
should avoid a ‘battle-ground’ mentality and the promotion of public disinformation intended to muddle the scientific
picture when competitors or policy-makers appear to be going in an unwelcome direction.

steveo73
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by steveo73 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:31 am

Campitor - I like all of those comments as well.

My take on science and especially environmental science is that we need to have people that are emotionally mature and principled working through issues. We cannot afford to have people that don't understand the implications of their proposed actions or understand the uncertainty in scientific predictions.

I also think that funding to science really needs to change. Science isn't something that someone just waves their hands and states this is how it is. Science evolves. You need proof. You need data. You need to have a degree of uncertainty and take actions cognizant of that uncertainty.

I really agree with that comment there on commercial conflicts of interest being fairly easy to deal with. I don't think the same is true for scientists that are funded via the public sector however this issue needs to be confronted. The point on media bias above is also a huge issue.

I think science has been politicised to a crazy level recently.

ducknalddon
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by ducknalddon » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:02 am

steveo73 wrote:I think science has been politicised to a crazy level recently.
When there is money involved it will be politicised, just take climate change for example, there are a lot of companies that stand to loose a lot of money if we do something about it, of course they will try and influence the politics. It's no different to what the tobacco companies tried to do when the link with cancer became apparent.

Campitor
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by Campitor » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:42 am

ducknalddon wrote: When there is money involved it will be politicised, just take climate change for example, there are a lot of companies that stand to loose a lot of money if we do something about it, of course they will try and influence the politics. It's no different to what the tobacco companies tried to do when the link with cancer became apparent.
The 5 largest Oil companies, which include Aramco and Exxon, publicly acknowledge that CO2 emissions need to be reduced - this information is posted on their official websites. Exxon has funded climate denial groups in the past but has publicly stated they are no longer doing so because they support the consensus regarding man-made contributions to global warming. Some groups allege that Exxon is still giving money to climate denial supporters.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExxonMobi ... te_change.

Exxon's corporate statement regarding climate change: http://corporate.exxonmobil.com/en/curr ... r-position
We have the same concerns as people everywhere – and that is how to provide the world with the energy it needs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action. Increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are having a warming effect. There is a broad scientific and policy consensus that action must be taken to further quantify and assess the risks.

ExxonMobil is taking action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in its operations, helping consumers reduce their emissions, supporting research that leads to technology breakthroughs and participating in constructive dialogue on policy options.

Addressing climate change, providing economic opportunity and lifting billions out of poverty are complex and interrelated issues requiring complex solutions. There is a consensus that comprehensive strategies are needed to respond to these risks.

IlliniDave
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by IlliniDave » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:53 am

Campitor wrote:
@IlliniDave

I agree with you in theory but the problem is that humans are extremely efficient at predation and environment modification - we do both at a scale unheard of in regards to speed, consistency and frequency. We can change the narrative so we don't cause the extinction to our origin. We need to let symbiosis and not consumption creep into our methodologies. If we kill ourselves off the universe won't care - it will keep going happily without us.
I don't disagree that we should be smarter about how we modify our environment. I'm speaking as someone whose ER plan is live with one foot in the wilderness. My only point is that humans are part of nature, not some separate outside actor. Albeit at times we display cataclysmic stupidity.

IlliniDave
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by IlliniDave » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:58 am

C40 wrote:"Simply part of the environment" eh? Of course you can say that, it's a literal truth.
Like I said to Campitor, I don't disagree we could be smarter about how we modify our environment. That things are universally good was not an assertion I made. They just are. They reflect nature taking its course.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:39 pm

Image


The instructor of the online Ecology 101 course I completed last year, was actually cautiously optimistic, and stated that it was his belief that humans would choose to top out population at around 10,000,000,000. Obviously, any simple objective ecological systems analysis would predict that we will likely otherwise hit catastrophic wall of resource depletion and/or waste dumping facilities in not too distant future. The reason why all the obvious improvements to average lifestyle that modern technologies have provided are actually likely to contribute to steep drop is analogous to why using sonar to fish temporarily increases yield, while simultaneously hastening irreversible depletion of stock in the pond. If you consider how very slow the replacement rate of petroleum or the process of species-creation is relative to the reproduction rate of fish in a pond, you can comprehend how much worse the problems may become. Good or bad is irrelevant. Human beings are an extremely influential keystone species.

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vexed87
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by vexed87 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:09 pm

Consumerism and industrial agriculture are arguably r-selected behaviours that have just put a US bumblebee on the endangered species list. When 99.9% of the human population are put to work hand pollinating our grain crops, can we call that progress and good environmental stewardship? :lol:

10 steps back, 1 step forward, but jobs is jobs, hurrah for progress! :roll:

Campitor
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by Campitor » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:20 pm

IlliniDave wrote: I don't disagree that we should be smarter about how we modify our environment. I'm speaking as someone whose ER plan is live with one foot in the wilderness. My only point is that humans are part of nature, not some separate outside actor. Albeit at times we display cataclysmic stupidity.

Hi IlliniDave - I love your ERE thread and I greatly respect your lifestyle and your affinity to live partly in/with nature. I'm a big outdoors guy myself, I hike, camp, fish on occasion, and I agree in sustainable hunting/fishing and land conservation that supports public access.

My main problem isn't with humanity per se or that I think humanity resides outside of nature. But I do believe that we are unique in respect to how fast our industrial practices impact nature. It's in this respect that I think we (humanity) underestimate how quickly things can get out of control as a result of our financial interest. Humans are good at accessing risks when the feedback loops are obvious and quick; we fail to see the negative outcomes when they are not so obvious.

When the industrial ships showed up in Somalia and denuded their oceans, did any of them care? Did they stop and consider that maybe Somali fishermen would become pirates and start chasing down commercial tankers and container ships because they couldn't earn a living as fishermen? How about when we almost hunted Bison to extinction or when we neglected the impact our dams had on freshwater fish that need to spawn upstream? Or when farmers let their runoff into our rivers which blooms algae that kill our fish?

Humans aren't evil on the whole but we can really screw things up fast when we aren't careful.

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jennypenny
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by jennypenny » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:09 pm

There is a problem, though, when humans see themselves as unique or so special as to be outside of the normal bounds of nature. Their belief in the specialness of humans encourages them to see themselves as less vulnerable to ecological problems and also more likely to solve or adapt to any problems that do arise.

I read Gregory Bateson's Steps to an Ecology of Mind today (@jacob -- the Levels of Learning guy) and one of his essays is somewhat related to this. It's in a later chapter called Pathologies of Epistemology ... http://edtechpost.ca/readings/Gregory%2 ... 20Mind.pdf

IlliniDave
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by IlliniDave » Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:42 pm

Campitor wrote:
IlliniDave wrote: I don't disagree that we should be smarter about how we modify our environment. I'm speaking as someone whose ER plan is live with one foot in the wilderness. My only point is that humans are part of nature, not some separate outside actor. Albeit at times we display cataclysmic stupidity.

Hi IlliniDave - I love your ERE thread and I greatly respect your lifestyle and your affinity to live partly in/with nature. I'm a big outdoors guy myself, I hike, camp, fish on occasion, and I agree in sustainable hunting/fishing and land conservation that supports public access.

My main problem isn't with humanity per se or that I think humanity resides outside of nature. But I do believe that we are unique in respect to how fast our industrial practices impact nature. It's in this respect that I think we (humanity) underestimate how quickly things can get out of control as a result of our financial interest. Humans are good at accessing risks when the feedback loops are obvious and quick; we fail to see the negative outcomes when they are not so obvious.

When the industrial ships showed up in Somalia and denuded their oceans, did any of them care? Did they stop and consider that maybe Somali fishermen would become pirates and start chasing down commercial tankers and container ships because they couldn't earn a living as fishermen? How about when we almost hunted Bison to extinction or when we neglected the impact our dams had on freshwater fish that need to spawn upstream? Or when farmers let their runoff into our rivers which blooms algae that kill our fish?

Humans aren't evil on the whole but we can really screw things up fast when we aren't careful.
See the part of the excerpt of mine you quoted that I added emphasis to. :) That stupidity often manifests itself in shortsightedness and unchecked greed.

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jennypenny
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by jennypenny » Mon Feb 27, 2017 5:38 pm

I feel like my post wasn't clear (I was rushing because the Liverpool game was about to start). I acknowledge the outsized effect humans can have on the environment, both positive and negative. My concern is that the belief that we're special leads to an overly optimistic assessment of our ability to right the ship in time. It also seems to remove much of the guilt humans (should) feel over our devouring of the planet.

I'm a big fan of projects like SpaceX, but I think that techno-optimism removes any sense of urgency in trying to solve current problems. I guess what I'm wondering is if you want people to stop pissing in the pool, maybe we shouldn't let them think they'll be able to climb out when it gets bad or that someone will invent a magic chlorine that will eliminate the problem.

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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:37 pm

@jennypenny: I basically agree with you, but since every human that is born has to piss somewhere on the planet, there is an end-game to "live simply, so others may simply live." The least worst solution I can come up with is teaching Asian girls math, but I don't know if anybody knows whether education of females and decline of birth rate is causative or correlative with third factor. I stopped at two because they interfered with my ability to read novels and drink coffee at my leisure with their constant demands for food, dry diapers and entertainment, not because I greatly preferred the option of spending my time in a cubicle tabulating actuarial data.

steveo73
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by steveo73 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:19 pm

ducknalddon wrote:
steveo73 wrote:I think science has been politicised to a crazy level recently.
When there is money involved it will be politicised, just take climate change for example, there are a lot of companies that stand to loose a lot of money if we do something about it, of course they will try and influence the politics. It's no different to what the tobacco companies tried to do when the link with cancer became apparent.
Climate change definitely hasn't been politicised via companies. The money is clearly on the side of the proponents of the theory. There is so much money being poured into the field and so much political pressure and support it's gone bonkers. That though is probably the most extreme example that any of us will ever see in our lives.

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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by steveo73 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:24 pm

IlliniDave wrote:
C40 wrote:"Simply part of the environment" eh? Of course you can say that, it's a literal truth.
Like I said to Campitor, I don't disagree we could be smarter about how we modify our environment. That things are universally good was not an assertion I made. They just are. They reflect nature taking its course.
This is the problem that I have with theories that humans are so bad. It's not really true at all. We clearly have improved our environment. We may have impacted some fauna and flora within our environment as well but this is a constant theme of how the Earth changes.

There needs to be clear reasonableness tests prior to stating categorically how bad humans are or that what we are doing is so bad. I like the CO2 example. CO2 is a natural part of our environment and yet it's being labelled a pollutant. You breath CO2 each and every day. I can understand calling Sulfur dioxide a pollutant. I can understand stating we need to stop putting lead into our petrol because it impacts our health.

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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by steveo73 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:33 pm

Campitor wrote:But I do believe that we are unique in respect to how fast our industrial practices impact nature. It's in this respect that I think we (humanity) underestimate how quickly things can get out of control as a result of our financial interest. Humans are good at accessing risks when the feedback loops are obvious and quick; we fail to see the negative outcomes when they are not so obvious. ...

Humans aren't evil on the whole but we can really screw things up fast when we aren't careful.
I agree with the second point but here is the thing I think we are more likely to do that via taking action. We need to be really really careful when it comes to taking action because we have a tendency to get it wrong.

As an example going to war in the middle east probably hasn't made things any better when it comes to Islamic extremism.

Another example is trying to stop industrial growth may actually lead to lots more environmental problems. I remember travelling in Indonesia and there was a little village where they had used bombs to kill the fish. They also kill the reef and it probably impacts the longer term feasibility of fishing in that area. This area wasn't industrialised however if they were would they have done what they did ? I don't think so. Typically as people advance technologically the environment is cared for more. It's easier to care about the environment when you have all these modern technological marvels and a roof over your head and food on the table.

Another issue I see is people jumping up and down over the wrong issue. If we spend a bunch of money on some cause that is probably not an issue instead of spending money on something else that may lead to a better future are we doing the right thing ? I think we definitely aren't.

We need rational thought to guide decisions that will impact our future.

steveo73
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by steveo73 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:43 pm

jennypenny wrote:I feel like my post wasn't clear (I was rushing because the Liverpool game was about to start). I acknowledge the outsized effect humans can have on the environment, both positive and negative. My concern is that the belief that we're special leads to an overly optimistic assessment of our ability to right the ship in time. It also seems to remove much of the guilt humans (should) feel over our devouring of the planet.

I'm a big fan of projects like SpaceX, but I think that techno-optimism removes any sense of urgency in trying to solve current problems. I guess what I'm wondering is if you want people to stop pissing in the pool, maybe we shouldn't let them think they'll be able to climb out when it gets bad or that someone will invent a magic chlorine that will eliminate the problem.
I see this as a somewhat simplistic argument. I doubt too many people would be thinking "if we stuff the world we will just fly elsewhere". I also don't like the idea that we are devouring our planet. I don't see that as true at all.

Massive extinctions happen. I don't think that we are doing that and there definitely is no proof that we are doing that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event

We also save animals from extinction.

http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/te ... the_brink/

I keep coming back to thinking things through calmly and rationally and if there is to be some moral bias then let's declare it. I for instance would be happy to state "let's try and ensure that we keep the Earth in as good a state as we can keep it in for all animals and plants in existence including humans".

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Dragline
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by Dragline » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:50 pm

steveo73 wrote:
Climate change definitely hasn't been politicised via companies. The money is clearly on the side of the proponents of the theory.
This statement is false. And you can easily look up where the politicians get their money, because it is public information for the most part. This is a representative sample:

http://maplight.org/us-congress/legisla ... s-lankford

I thought you believed in using actual data. Show us the data of how much money climate scientists have donated to politicians and compare it to to the corporate donations on the other side of the issue.

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C40
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by C40 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:59 pm

steveo73 wrote:
Massive extinctions happen. I don't think that we are doing that and there definitely is no proof that we are doing that.
Tell us why you think this is happening: https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3886/3305 ... 5ae4_c.jpg

Purely coincidence????


How do you explain the huge amount of large mammal extinctions that happened as soon as humans (I mean Native Americans) came to the Americas? (There used to be a whole bunch of large mammals in North America that suddenly all died out as soon as humans came. The theory competing with humans having hunted them to extinction is climate change, but it couldn't possibly be that right because nothing bad happens from climate change ;) ) What do you think caused all those extinctions? What proof do you have?

How do you explain the same happening in Australia as soon as humans went there? What do you think caused all those extinctions? What proof do you have?

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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by steveo73 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:25 pm

C40 - honestly your comment is basically ridiculous. Give me proof that humans are so bad and we are destroying the world. If you can't provide that it ends the whole debate.

I'll be waiting.

I'll add some points to try and make this a more reasonable discussion.

1. The world today is looking pretty darn good. The environment doesn't appear bad.
2. There have been plenty of mass extinctions in the past and I don't believe that these were the faults of humans. They were a lot worse than anything that we have done.
3. We have saved animals from extinction.
4. Killing animals for food or furs or whatever happens. I assume we've made some animals extinct. If you believe though that humans will always hunt animals to extinction state that. I don't agree with you but at least own that opinion and try and back it up with some facts. If you are just saying sometimes we hunt animals to extinction the answer is yes we do. Other animals would do this as well.
5. If more humans are leading to less animals then what is your solution - kill off humans ?

The problem from my perspective is that yourself and others don't really have the ability to see complex issues in their totality as well as acknowledge the holes in your opinions.
Last edited by steveo73 on Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

George the original one
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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by George the original one » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:51 pm

Back to the trolling so quickly when faced with facts.

Ah, but then posted updated with a list of misdirection away from the humans causing species extinction at an accelerating pace.

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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by steveo73 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:54 pm

George the original one wrote:Back to the trolling so quickly when faced with facts.
Dude - your comment is trolling. Where are your facts. I would love to see them. When it came to climate warming there was no response to the one clear fact that can be verified and that is that the models aren't working.

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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by steveo73 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:56 pm

[quote="Dragline

Nice try but this is what I would call twisting the truth. There is a tonne of money in climate change science and it is predominantly pro-global warming. I have never said that climate scientists pay money to politicians.

I accept politicians get their money from interest groups but I bet it palls into significance compared to the amount of money spend on global warming science. I also bet the media support pales into insignificance between pro climate change beliefs and a more rational approach.

I can't find the data that I consider reliable to prove this but if you go back to the previous climate change thread I posted a YouTube video that everyone should watch. I know that the counter argument is that it is a stupid YouTube video. It is actually a talk by an extremely well respected climate scientist on the politicising of climate change and how he was vilified for producing a paper that something as uneventful as the temperature has changed a lot over I think it was the last 1000 years or so.
Last edited by steveo73 on Tue Feb 28, 2017 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Humans and the Environment

Post by C40 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:57 pm

@Stevo: I'm the only one presenting any argument here. You have shared nothing but an opinion.

1 - When humans first came to North America, a LOT of mammal species went extinct quite quickly. Many of these were large and slow moving animals that were easily hunted, and were hunted to extinction
2 - When humans first went to Australia, a LOT of mammal species went extinct quite quickly. Many of these were large and slow moving animals that were easily hunted, and were hunted to extinction.
3 - As human population has ballooned exponentially in the last 200 years, they have caused the rate of extinctions to increase exponentially. (I'd guess these are mostly caused by converting practically all the land in some areas monocrop style agriculture and growing only 3 or 4 different plants for millions of square miles)

Yes, large amounts of extinctions have occurred before humans were even around. In the past, they've occurred during huge and at times immediate climate changes.

Do you have any basis at all for your opinion that humans haven't caused this? Do you have any ideas for what did cause it? (Try to actually share your ideas this time instead of just saying "science" and "facts" a bunch. That doesn't convince anyone here)

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