I've got land. Do you?

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Les Kern, Jul 15, 2005.

  1. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

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    #1
    I'm not a doomsayer, but I have learned over the years to at least keep one eye open when I read stories from those that are. Read THIS aticle, which references a stunning, gut-wrenching article HERE and ask yourself if you're comfortable with just waving off the theory.
     
  2. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #2
    Sure i have land, i dont know what that has to do with this article? The fact that us humans are using up everything on this planet isnt no surprise. Its why Space travel will be so important in the future. Natural resources are not infinite at least on this planet.
     
  3. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

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    #3
    uh... also confused... what does you having land have to do with either of these articles?
     
  4. mpw Guest

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    #4
    Also confused by the I've got land comment, but to comment on the articles.

    Is this really news? I've been hearing for more the 15years that we're screwing over the planet and nobody seems to care.

    Very few in government anywhere in the world will be around to take responsibility in 20-30years time so what do they care. I'll wager the next generation of politicians will blame the preceding politicians for not doing anything and billions will die needlessly as a result.

    Why do we chip away at pollution when we could take be chunks out by simply saying no to the next Ford GT or Aston Martin DB9 etc.etc.

    The British stand-up Eddie Izzard makes a great point when he talks about buying an apple from Marks & Spencer (UK retailer). You get a single apple sitting on a tissue on a polystyrene tray wrapped in plastic with a barcode label stuck to the outside. On the shelf is a plastic sign that says ‘apples’.

    Surely if someone wanted an apple, an apple on a shelf would be just as easy to find and carry to the checkout. The checkout operator, does he really need a barcode to identify the object before as an apple. Once you’ve paid your 50p for the apple, do you need 18” of thermally printed receipt?

    Common sense is the only thing that could save this way of life. But this way of life is all about not needing common sense, the State will look after us and Wal-mart etc. will provide for our needs. Maybe this way of life isn’t worth saving and the those that can fend for themselves once the ***** hits the fan and society breaks down á la Mad Max / Postman / Waterworld are going to the only ones left standing, if there’s enough left to sustain any life that is.
     
  5. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #5
    Actually Walmart and Aldi are moving down the road towards helping very quickly, both are all about shaving the costs down. Costs are an indicator of the resources required to make something. The price of the 50p apple includes the plastic to wrap it in, the 18" receipt and the tissue paper. As well as the lights in the store and the clerk that checks it out and the cost of flying the thing in from half way around the planet, washing it and dipping it in food grade paraffin.
     
  6. Les Kern thread starter macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

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    #6
    My point about having land is somewhat obscure, but the gist was that we are not immune to these facts while living in a box (earth) with limited resources. Unless we address the issue, the breakdown would be most severely felt in urban areas initially. But what of the RS article?
     
  7. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #7
    This is nothing new - people have always known its going to happen - but like the article says, no one wants to deal with the issue right now, keep going like it won't change.

    The natural gas issue might hurt more than anything else - I'll have to look into alternatives eventually. The nice thing is that our A/C is geothermal, so that's one thing less to worry about. Just paying the electricity might become a problem in the next decade....

    D
     
  8. SpaceMagic macrumors 68000

    SpaceMagic

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    #8
    I hate articles like this which pass themselves off as fact, yet give hardly any or no evidence. You can't base an article on common assumptions, when assumptions may be wrong. Statements like:

    are perfectly formulated to capture people's imagination and make them think that they, the writer, is absolutely right. Formula goes: Give the other point of view in a round about way, make an assertive comment (the facts speak differently) then rubbish the comment. Without ANY evidence either way. Now I don't know anything about this abiotic oil so as a reader I'd like a link to evidence for that, then i'd like a link showing evidence against. I don't want to be told what to believe.

    I could go on and on about these articles, the fact one is from Rolling Stones speaks for itself. Now, I'm probably going to get flamed for not agreeing with most left-wingers who, i'm sorry, more or less believe anything. I'm so glad the Bush administration held tough at the G8 summit.. at least someone has some sense.
     
  9. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

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    #9
    and just like that- destined for the political forum :D
     
  10. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #10
    The abiotic oil is based on the concept that since petrochemicals are fairly simple molecules that they can just sorta occur. Surveys of the outer planets show oceans of hydrocarbons. Mostly methane but some longer chain ones.

    In theory there should be more carbon on earth than can be accounted for in the biosphere. Some of this is locked up in carbonates, carbides or otherwise bound to rock. Under heat and pressure the preferred energy states change and the carbon becomes unbound from calcium silicon and oxygen and winds up binding with itself and hydrogen, forming long hydrocarbon chains that get squeezed out of the rock by said pressure. I know it happens I don't know to what extent and how precarious the reactions are (for instance does it only work between 1200 and 1300 degrees at 10.2 to 10.3GPa?)

    Some people think there are oceans of this oil buried deep in the planet (deeper than 5 miles!) Its possible but I have issues with the plausibility.

    As for replenishment of the oil fields, there has been some. In places where the oil fields have been abandoned for not producing 20 years later when people came back with new technology to extract deeper oil they were able to get more with the old technology. Is this oil bubbling up from the mantle or just oil pushed up from deeper in the rock by rising water tables, or simply diffusing back in?

    Its not impossible but does have some strong elements of wishful thinking.
     
  11. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #11
    I think the reality of what's going to happen will be somewhere between the apocalyptic vision of the articles and what we have now. There's no doubt on the limits of the natural resources, but one very important thing to remember is that as fuel becomes more expensive, other technologies become more viable.

    Its going to get rough for a while, there is no doubt, especially if the US sees $3/gal gas prices next year (as some predict).

    D
     
  12. cslewis macrumors 6502a

    cslewis

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    #12
    I think that the future will resemble the 1820's and 1830's in terms of daily life and technology. You'll still have factories, but they'll be using human or water power. You'll have transit systems (horses, carrages, coal-fired trains) that are relatively simple to operate and maintain. You'll see our cities condense as suburbs fade away because of difficulties and expense of travelling miles back and forth every day. You'll see family farms replace companies that run farms. You'll see a re-emergence of local economies that have a new advantage over companies that ship products over thousands of miles. I think the future will be interesting, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens.
     
  13. SpaceMagic macrumors 68000

    SpaceMagic

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    #13
    You are right, of course, fields are depleting and you are right, we will find alternative methods. And you are right, the articles are "apocalyptic". The thing is, it's good we recognise this, just many many people don't. Believe me, I live in the UK where global warming due to CO2 emissions is taught as a fact to all 15 year olds. I used to argue about it with people, saying it was scientific fact. Until I got to 18 I believed everything, now I'm far more cynical and look everything up.

    On a funny side, some predict $3/gal hehe in the UK diesel/gas at the moment is $6.2 a gallon.
     
  14. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

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    #14
    why is that funny?
     
  15. SpaceMagic macrumors 68000

    SpaceMagic

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    #15
    It's called irony. You're worrying about $3/gal when we pay $6.2.. there's nothing funny about it.
     
  16. meta-ghost macrumors regular

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    #16
    kunster's long emergency

    i've read kunstler's book "the long emergency" and can generally recommend it. you will NOT be able to sleep at night. he is proposing two questions for our time:
    1)can alternative energies replace the role of oil, and
    2) can a transition occur in time.
    he thinks it's no on both accounts. he thinks we're in for tough time as we've past the window of opportunity for an easy transition. our last chance was essentially with jimmy carter and many of the forward looking policies he was trying to implement but was prevented by the republlican oil industry.

    i did however, have the same problem as the book does not make enough references. the bigger issue,it turns out, is that nobody knows the important numbers. we are relying on the saudis, the kuwaitis (sp?) and a few others to tell us how much oil they have. i can give you a whole list of reasons why those numbers may be inaccurate.

    actually, you've got it entirely wrong here. the political left is concentrated on reducing carbon emissions for reasons that are obvious to anyone with a brain. they are also some of kunster's biggest critics as he thinks we are in such a bind that nuclear energy (in a big way) right now is the only hope.
    the political right is the one coming around to the idea that we are relying on others - not just for resources but even basic numbers on how much is remaining. here is a link to a wall street journal editorial that discusses just this topic:
    http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110006880
    some may say that the wsj article is like the vatican saying "hey, maybe that luther guy was onto something" but i think it gives you a better idea of the political forces involved.
     
  17. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #17
    Nope. Costs are an indicator of the costs required to make something.

    Environmental impact and resource usage are not causally linked to cost.

    Examples:
    100% recycled photocopier paper costs twice as much as paper made from virgin fibre.

    We ship anvils and nails and all manner of bulky, heavy and low value stuff from the Far East on large container ships, even though we have cleaner and closer factories in NAmerica for the same goods, because the 90% lower labour costs overseas outweighs all the the wasted resources in shipping.

    Not to mention that if a country maintains lower standards of living, industrial pollution and waste than another country, that waste and pollution is reflected in a LOWER cost of goods, not higher.

    Same with food. We take a head of lettuce, which has been irrigated with the last remaining water from the western US aquifer (or brought in from 500 miles away, draining the Colorado river), liberally fertilized and pesticized, ship it 3,000 miles in a refrigerated truck, consuming diesel, riding on an ever-expanding wasteland of ashphalt and concrete. Why? Because it is still cheaper to grow that lettuce in volume in California than it is to grow locally in a greenhouse.

    A manufacturing plant dumps toxic waste on their site rather than treating it. They are able to charge less for their goods. They go out of business at some point. The land is now poisoned and will cost $10's or $100's of millions to become useable and safe. The costs have simply been deferred, not saved. But the goods were less expensive.

    Disposable packaging (styrofoam, blow-moulded plastic, shrink wrap) generally costs less than reusable or recyclable packaging. Partially because the costs of landfilling the result never shows up in the accounts.

    Last example: Dude wants money. Smashes my car window to get $5 in parking change. His cost of goods is zero, therefore it is an infinitely good use of resources?

    Costs are virtually useless as an indication of resource usage unless all costs from source to end of life are tallied.
     
  18. meta-ghost macrumors regular

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    #18
    thank you for writing this. i wanted to respond in a similar vein but didn't have the time.
     
  19. jayscheuerle macrumors 68020

    jayscheuerle

    #19
    What's the big deal?

    We'll screw things up and make living ugly.

    We'll adapt one way or another.

    People will die and people will live. It will all happen slowly.

    The only thing we can count on is not learning from this and future generations making similar mistakes on their own. We're about the now, seeing ourselves as smarter than our past and immune to our actions, while youthful naivite sees technology as a savior with limitless ability.

    We'll face the mess we've created centuries before we're mining or colonizing other planets and cleaning up will eat up every bit of funding for such pipe dreams.

    House cleaning lies ahead, whether we want to do it or not, whether we start now or wait until there's no other choice. Our grandchildren's lives will not be like our own, so much as ours are removed from our grandparent's, yet the optimism of youth will have the children of the future thinking they live in the best of times, such as every generation of children has done before them. Even in the most dire of conditions, fun will be had, babies will be made, hope will prosper.

    It's what we do... - j
     
  20. wdlove macrumors P6

    wdlove

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    #20
    I think that the energy prices are run on a speculation basis, psychology and not necessarily reality. The bottom motive is for greed and profit. They are seeing just how high they can go with the current amount of driving. In our business section it was mentioned that prices were lowered due to lower demand. They see that after Memorial Day driving was at an all time high. It may hit $2.50 this summer. Then after Labor Day go down to $2.35 which will be higher than last year. They are working on the ignorance on the American public.
     
  21. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #21
    Didn't say environmental impact, said resource usage.

    Paper that starts as wood, shredded, pulped, pressed, dried, distributed, printed on, collected, sorted, shredded, pulped, pressed, dried and distributed. There is actually a lot more work going into the recycled paper, even if you take out the first round of making paper the collecting and sorting are not cheap operations.

    Labor is a resource too. Someone in China making 15 cents an hour isn't going to be eating beef 3 meals a day, driving a Suburban to the mall to get a 10th pair of shoes that they will only wear twice. Container shipping is easy and efficient.

    And the resources dedicated to preventing the pollution are included in the prices of the goods.

    That is mostly because Mexicans are cheap in California and agriculture is still very labor intensive. I am not denigrating anyone here, Mexicans come into the US to work and are willing to work for less than Americans. California is convenient and has a large hispanic population already which eases homesickness and culture shock.

    The fertilizing and use of pesticides are attempts to increase yields from a fixed amount of land and water. More lettuce per acre and per gallon.

    It does show up in the accounts of consumption though and yes there is some of the "tragedy of the commons" going on here but there are areas where people pay for their trash by the bag. If you are paying to dump you will start to look at how much you are throwing out.

    :confused:
     
  22. meta-ghost macrumors regular

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    #22
     
  23. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #23
    Sorry Mongo, I don't understand your rebuttals.

    If you want to redefine the terms resources, that's fine. If you want to discount the effect of environmental degradation, you can but I don't agree with you.

    Your original contention was that resource usage is less in items that cost less.

    My contention is that there is no such direct-line relationship.

    If you want to say items that cost less consume less directly spent money on resources, then I can go along with that to a certain extent. But not that fewer resources are consumed. I did not say that recycled paper was EASIER to produce than virgin paper (and that is indicated in the price) but that fewer resources overall are consumed by putting waste paper back into new paper, rather than landfilling the waste paper and cutting new trees. The fact that virgin fibre is less expensive is more due to the fact that stumpage rates are far lower than the real cost of forestry, that the transportation and tax structures subsidize forestry, that the recycling production stream has not hit its economies of scale yet.

    The fallacy of your argument is that it assumes that all costs are accounted for in the retail price. They are not. Society bears huge costs associated with resource extraction, infrastructure, pollution, waste disposal, depletion of natural resources and destruction of ecosystems. Consumer goods are massively subsidized by society. These costs NEVER show up in the cost of goods that you buy.

    The fact that it's our children and grandchildren who have to pay for the loss of a forest or the destruction of freshwater supply makes the costs hard to calculate but they cannot be ignored.

    For present day examples of past "production efficiencies", see Love Canal, PG&E (Erin Brockovich), Minimata disease, Bhopal, Chernobyl, and a thousand others. The entities that benefited from the sales of goods never accounted for the eventual costs - and most got away scot-free.

    My point in the smash-and-grab example was: if you choose not to account cost the $300 I had to pay for the broken window, then break and enter is very resource efficient for the thief. They get all the benefit at no cost of goods. According to their accounting, the resource consumption is minimal.

    Another analogy: cut down a coconut tree to pick the nuts, it's faster and cheaper than climbing the tree. As long as it's someone else's tree, you have reduced the cost of resources considerably. Your profit in this fiscal year is better. It's all in what you leave on or off the balance sheet.

    And to refute the argument in the opposite direction:

    A bottle of Giorgio with 1/4 oz. of water, alchohol and fragrant oils is about $85. A similar no-name perfume with the same ingredients is $20. Your model concludes that the Giorgio consumes more resources and the no-name less. Nike brand shorts on the shelf next to EXACTLY the same shorts without the swoosh - $25 vs $12.

    Market pricing is market pricing, it bears little relationship to the true cost of the resources consumed.

    PS If you start defining gross profit as a resource, I'm a-goin' to upchuck.... :p
     
  24. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #24
    You make my point, thank you

    Responsible use of air, water and land resources results in the goods costing more.

    Pollution and waste, absent penalties or regulation, allow the social and environmental costs to be deferred to someone, somewhere, somewhen else, therefore the cost of goods goes down.

    Waste and pollution result in lower sales costs.
     
  25. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #25
    I am not discounting the per se. I just said that my original statement which you objected to didn't cover environmental degradation. The costs of environmental degradation are actually paid up front in the start up costs of land etc. and in the depreciation of fixed assets.

    Yes.

    If you count labor as a resource than yes fewer resources are consumed. If I were to replace a diesel generator with a horse on a treadmill and claim resource savings because I don't count the grain to feed the horse I would be disingenuous and I am sure you would call me on it. Likewise if it were pushed by slaves and I didn't count what it took to feed them it would be much the same. I am merely trading oil for wheat.

    And until it does the only savings are in trees. Where I live there are a number of large wooded plots that get cleared every few years for paper mills. Not sure what people get paid but it looks awfully sustainable. I am not against recycling I am just saying that it doesn't pay off yet.


    Our parents and grandparents planted the forest. We pay for the land that we despoil.

    Most of these are examples of destroying someone else's property. Love Canal is different because that was a case of fraud. Essentially though it is theft of resources from another person.

    Though of course there is also to be taken into consideration what happens if you catch said thief in the act, or the police do. Jail time, fines, massive physical trauma all have values associated with them.

    Right but by buying the Nike shorts I pay for my free TV. And when the women buy the Giorgio they pay part of the cost of their Vogue magazine with the pictures of the beautiful women.

    Well thats not entirely true. I am a leech at heart. I gorge on free tv and buy the cheap shorts from Walmart and then patch them until there is nothing left to patch onto. :D

    Net profit isn't a resource. A large cut of the gross is though. :) (anyone have a vomiting smiley?)
     

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