How are we doing on the environment. Is it better or worse?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by macintologist, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. macintologist macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    #1
    How would you say our attitude about the environment has come in the past 60 years or so? Do you think people care more about the environment now than they did back in the 1940s? Also, how about things like smog taxes, and other laws that make it attractive to use renewable energy. None of those laws existed back in the day. Doesn't that mean that progress is being made on improving the environment and how we treat it?

    Also, I don't think factories pollute the water as much as it used to. Yet another sign of progress.
     
  2. macEfan macrumors 65816

    macEfan

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Forbidden, you do not have access to that server
    #2
    I think we are * slightly* better than we used to be. I mean we recycle a lot more, but I still see tons of people throwing things out their car windows onto the freeway, and people dumping stuff when it could have been recycled. Computers haven't helped the landfills either. I have seen many computers ending up in dumpsters, rather than getting recycled. I think we have made some progress over the years, but we have a lot further to go.

    oh and BTW- someone needs to invent gasoline free cars ASAP!
     
  3. CoMpX macrumors 65816

    CoMpX

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #3
    We definitely care more than we did, but the damage is already done and that's why the environment is terrible compared to what it used to be. Sure hybrid cars and all of that are coming out, but will it really do anything? It will help reduce the output of smog, but it won't undo the irreparable damage that has already happened over the years.
     
  4. flyfish29 macrumors 68020

    flyfish29

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2003
    Location:
    New HAMpshire
    #4
    I would say on the surface we care more, but in reality we don't as a society. Yes, we recycle, a few buy hybrid, etc. but I would be some of those same people, and millions more are the ones that consume so much more junk than we used to.

    for example...How many people would rather buy three TV's at $110 a pop instead of buying a one that will last more than three times as long but costs $250? Three Tv's in the landfill. (Look at the PC world as well- cheap PC's that have mother boards contanstantly failing putting heavy metals into our landfills. Most technology doesn't get recycled! How many people support Walmart who does't give us just inexpensive stuff, but cheaply made stuff which just puts more into landfills! How many of the billions of McDonald's happy meal toys actually get played with for more than 30 minutes?

    I could go on but won't- our society needs to step up to the plate and stop supporting these crappy retailers, manufacturers, etc and buy quality stuff- but I am afraid the Walmart mentality has begun a consumer freefall that will not end.

    I mean, the gift card with the Shuffle on it at Circuit City was cool, but it is then an electronic device tossed out after one use.
     
  5. CoMpX macrumors 65816

    CoMpX

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #5
    These have already been invented. However, they have not been "allowed" to come into production to the public. My dad and I always talk about this. They could make a gasoline free car, but think of the oil companies. They would go out of business. Millions of people would lose their jobs, and our oil-addicted economy would surely crash, leading us into a depression. Unfortunately, we have reached a balance for everything. If we change something like that, the economy suffers. We are pretty much stuck in this world we have created for ourselves, and its not getting any better. It depresses me to think about. :(
     
  6. macEfan macrumors 65816

    macEfan

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Forbidden, you do not have access to that server
    #6

    ah, I guess those are definenty good reasons.... It sucks, we dug ouselves into a deep hole, and now we cant get out... Maybe some day, we will just have to see what happens.
     
  7. CoMpX macrumors 65816

    CoMpX

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #7
    I think this is exactly what will happen. One day, something is going to have to change, even if it means some sacrifices.
     
  8. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #8
    We, the West, are finally (and collectively) acknowledging our (everyones) impact on the environment. Sadly, we are moving too late to stop the changes. Even if we take all the recommended steps that we can... developing nations are increasing the amount of damage that they are doing at the same time.

    So even if we cut the damage we do in half, over the same period places like China are going to more than double what they are doing to the environment.

    So, while we may be taking steps and are aware of what is happening, I don't believe that anyone has the political will to truly slow or stop what is happening at this time.

    The next couple generations are in for a rough ride, and they have us and our parents to thank for it. More than what the environment is going to end up doing because of all this, I have to wonder what future generations are going to be thinking of us. We have no excuses. We turned the other way in the face of evidence. For some of us, it wasn't real until after it was too late... and now it is too late.


    The real issue that should be on peoples minds today is supplying future generations with the tools to repair the damage. In 50 years or so, when everyone is on the same page... they'll need technology to help reverse what we have done.

    That needs to start now. But, like saving the environment, their is no political will or financial reward for undertaking such a task. So our response will again be predictably slow.




    That most likely wasn't what you wanted to hear. :(
     
  9. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    South of the border
    #9
    we'll get out. The mid-western US will be a desert, Siberia will be a swamp, Bangladesh, the south-eastern US and the Pacific islands will be under water and the Amazon will be toast, but don't you worry, humanity will survive, somewhere, somehow.
    And we'll almost certainly be more environmentally aware.
     
  10. joepunk macrumors 68030

    joepunk

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Location:
    a profane existence
    #10
    At my University there is hardly any recycle bins for cans and bottles except for the few in the Student Union building and in Red Square. Boy, talk about a wanabe "Green School" as they call themselves as. :rolleyes:

    Heck, in the art building we had several larg bins for cans and bottles last year. Now this school year they are gone except for the one in the G5 Computer lab where they still have the sign "No food or beverage in room" hanging. :rolleyes:
     
  11. w_parietti22 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2005
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #11
    Hydrogen powered cars also have a chance of exploding when turned on! :eek:
     
  12. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    South of the border
    #12
    I thought all American cars exploded at the drop of a hat - maybe i've watched too many episodes of The A-Team
     
  13. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #13
    While we may be more aware and have more laws in place, our environmental impact has increased at a much greater pace. Simply put, there are over 6 billion people in the world today consuming resources compared to just over 2 billion 60 years ago, and those 6 billion are consuming at a higher per-capita rate. The environment isn't just about recycling and poluting (which overall we do less and more of respectively now as compared to 60 years ago, despite our best intentions), it's also about endless other complex systems that we are damaging. Depleting fishing stocks, eroding soils, and exterminating species come to mind.
     
  14. beatzfreak macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Location:
    NYC
    #14
    If we don't start regulating the way we dispose of our electronic devices and batteries, eating fish will soon become a thing of the past. The mercury levels in our water is increasing at an alarming rate. Both my husband and I have just been diaognosed with mercury poisoning from eating sushi just once a week, far less that I ate just ten years ago. The doctor said that the amount of cases he has seen has increased ten fold in the past few years.
     
  15. SamIchi macrumors 68030

    SamIchi

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    #15
  16. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2002
    Location:
    Denver
    #16
    We know more now than we did sixty years ago. This has changed *some* behaviors and opened new opportunities for different ways of doing things, but essentially we use the same equation we did then.

    It's all based on the free-market capitalist system. Sixty years ago Dow Chemicals could just pump their waste into the river out back. Then we realized there was a cost associated with having tetrachlorocyadeathamide in the river. We upped regulation and created new costs (taxes and penalties) for this behavior. Dow changed the way it does things.

    Today we still think of "evironmental issues" as separate from "tax policy" or "macroeconomics". "Oh, well we can't afford to deal with environmental issues right now..." The truth is it's all interconnected and we're using up resources without paying the true cost. This can only go on so long. We're nearing the edge of the cliff and some solid leadership is required to change course to a more sustainable culture. If this leadership fails (or better yet, actively ignores and minimizes *cough* BUSH *cough*) then the system will rebalance itself in a much more painful way when we finally push it over the edge.

    Is the environment better? No. Are we treating it better? Somewhat. Is there a long way to go? You bet.
     
  17. Pittsax macrumors 6502

    Pittsax

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #17
    I needed that laugh. Thanks :D

    Just out of curiosity, has anyone here read the book State of Fear by Michael Crichton? It certainly made me think about a few of these environmental issues -- I actually looked up some of the references he cites to double check them too.
     
  18. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #18
    I dunno -- the question was in relationship to 50 or 60 years ago - and it seemed to be "Are we more aware.."

    Sure we're more aware, and pay lip service, but our environmental footprint is way bigger than it was in our grandparents generation. Consumption of consumer goods, disposable goods, convenience and takout foods, non-local foods and out of season foods that have been trucked or flown 1000's of miles, miles/hours travelled by car, consumption of electricity in the home... are WAY up compared to our grandparents.

    We enjoy a much plusher and enormously more wasteful lifestyle.. and we think thay by tossing today's newspaper in the recycling that we are more aware than previous generations? Gimme a break.

    More aware than someone who regularly did their own wash, preserved their own foods, never ate out, had one family car that was used sparingly, one radio and MAYBE one TV, and for whom oranges at Christmas time was a luxury that was saved up for?

    Even to ask the question "are we doing better" displays a stunning disconnect from the realitiy of the resources needed to sustain the things we take for granted as givens in our lifestyle.
     
  19. SamIchi macrumors 68030

    SamIchi

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    #19
    Touche, I never thought about it like that.

    Dear Reader,
    Civilization as we know it is coming to an end soon.

    http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/
    Interesting article, after reading that I'm kinda scared of the future, the not so far off, future.
     
  20. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #20

    Who is "our"? You referring to the West? A particular country or the globe? The answer will be different from each location because of economic and industrialization reasons.
     
  21. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #21
    Sorry, but that's patent nonsense. There is no magic bullet technology that's already been invented that could take the place of gasoline or fuel oil today or in the next 20 years. The 100mpg carburetor is an urban legend.

    I challenge you to find me a fuel source that is both liquid and stable at room temperature and contains anything near 45 MJ/kg. And it must be either naturally abundant or easily produced in quantity.
     
  22. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #22
    another big part of the problem is deploying the technology to consumers. when Edison General Electric came about, he not only invented the light bulb, but made a power station, plug, voltage, wiring, and socket standard. There are cars that can be made with alternative fuels however, making it as cheap and obtainable as gas is a big part of the problem. there are hydrogen engines out there but right now, hydrogen production isn't scaled or efficient enough to provide to the American consumer market or a deployable model of sale of hydrogen to consumers. It is a misconception that gas engine is obsolete because info structure around the gas engine hasn't been beat yet.
     
  23. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #23
    Exactly.
     

Share This Page