Monday, October 31, 2011

Peter Ward's Under a Green Sky Elegantly Traces the Real Cause of Dinosaur Extinction

....And the UW professor is hitting the headlines with some comments concerning this bizarre back-slapping self-congratulatory crap that the world is all rosy and sustainable now that "we hit only 7 billion humans" only Halloween, 2011, no less.

We seem to have one movement now that is relevant -- how the 1 percent of the globe is pushing its consumer cart and energy-sucking ways and capital-grubbing mentality over the cliff, with the 99 percenters attempting to wrest back community, democracy, control of the village that it is to raise a village. Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Towns/Occupy Colleges, et al, will persist unfortunately on one hand because more are joining the ranks of the 17 percent unemployed, and, fortunately, there is no other option than to camp out, dialogue and build the movement to tar and feather corporations and CEO devils.

National Geographic, in all its mainstream and sometimes reactionary glory, has a year-long series on the 7 billion person gambit -- check it out:

There's even an app at National Geographic for population countdown to load on those unnecessary "dumb-down" phones.

In the meantime, in the Evergreen State, the incompetent administrators and bureaucrats have gone forward with another 15 percent cut to the future of this generation and others: these overpaid bloated administrative class are finding more faculty to cut from colleges, finding more programs to diminish, finding more affective education to put on the chopping block and on the posts for the whipping boy mentality those who ascribe to the propaganda-laden Waiting for Superman (a pro-for-profit in PK-12 education movie made by the idiot who gave us Gore and Inconvenient Truth) to whip up fury from the one-percenters and their ignorant minions in the Republican, Democratic and Tea Bag cults to attack independent science and independent education.

Funny thing is that Peter Ward, at UW, now a 150-year old, a lumpy state land grant college looking to attract Asian students for the 3 times the tuition they garner while pushing out domestic students, would be on the chopping block if he was a young whipper snapper, barely starting his shaky tenure process (tenure is on the chopping block too).

So, Ward's green sky is all about the agnotology in paleontology whereby the meteor impact theory tied to extinction on earth of 90 percent of all species has been propped up by a gullible media, disarrayed academic collection of disciplines. Read the book and see how we now are pushing back that media hype of a giant ball of ice killing everything. Think climate change -- bubbling up basalt fields, oceans switching off and flushing into a current and deep water fury, and microorganisms hissing up methane and hydrogen sulfide from Davey Jones locker. It's a great piece of writing, the book. 

National Geographic preface:

Population is a complicated topic. With the worldwide population slated to top 7 billion in 2011, we decided it was one we needed to tackle. But we wanted to do it in a way that gives readers room to think. We spread out our coverage over a year, with articles that take deep dives into specific issues—demographics, food security, climate change, fertility trends, managing biodiversity—
that relate to global population. Our reporting is collected here

From Alternet, Scott Thill's piece TODAY --

10 billion or more expected to stress the planet's already overweight system by 2100.

"Let's assume the average weight, or mass, of a human is 50 kilograms, or 120 pounds," University of Washington paleontologist and The Flooded Earth author Peter Ward told AlterNet. "That takes into account all the fat men, and all the kids, so it's a ballpark figure. That means 350 billion kilograms, or 770 billion pounds, of humanity on the planet. I wonder if this is the highest mass of any chordate on Earth. Only rats might weigh more of all natural populations."

But even rats have the good sense to abandon a sinking ship. Not so for humanity, whose resource wars have created a hyperreal dragnet that has caught up everything from mass-media distractions like Herman Cain and Mommar Gaddafi to worthy insurgencies like Occupy Wall Street. As those stories, for better or worse, dominated the news cycle, British Petroleum was quietly freed to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after turning it into a marine nightmare since 2010. Exxon Mobil posted a $31 billion profit on the year thanks to billions in groundless government subsidies. American rivers and streams have become hypersaturated with carbon dioxide, and Arctic sea ice has become as thin as the United States is fat in the gut and head. Environmentalists and other concerned parties can be forgiven for not breaking out the bubbly because the planet has managed to spawn seven billion souls with increased life expectancy, thanks to miracles of science and industry. Because in the scariest scenario, that same science and industry could doom most, and perhaps even all, of us.

"Seven billion is not a time for unbridled celebration," cautioned Bill Ryerson, fellow at the Post-Carbon Institute and president of Population Media Center and The Population Institute. "It must be a catalyst for people, leaders and advocates regarding the steps we need to take to achieve sustainability."

NOTE -- Anything tied to discussing population planning -- think about maintaining birth control on the one-percenters

From Alternet --

"Slowing population growth would not only help to avert these challenges, but also aligns with women's own wishes," explained UC Berkeley School of Public Health lecturer Martha Campbell, "Globally, there are about 80 million unintended pregnancies each year, and 40 million induced abortions, most conducted in unsafe, painful and dangerous ways. Surveys have shown that over 200 million women do not want to become pregnant, but are not using modern contraception."

"Emission of carbon dioxide per year is equal to the product of four quantities: population, wealth per person, amount of energy required per year to generate this wealth and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of energy generated," Michael Schlesinger, atmospheric sciences professor and director of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Climate Research Group, told AlterNet. "Although the latter two quantities are projected to decrease during this century, the carbon dioxide emission per year is projected to increase. The cause of this increase is the projected increase in human population from seven billion now, to nine billion in 2050 and perhaps 12 billion in 2100. Reducing this carbon dioxide emission would be greatly enabled by reducing population growth, help safeguard Earth's climate and reduce the level of poverty in the world. A win-win solution."

Schlesinger and colleagues Michael Ring, Daniela Linder and Emily Cross have submitted a plan to the journal Climatic Change to mitigate, reduce and zero out greenhouse-gas emissions by 2065. They are hoping that COP 17, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban this November, takes notice. But their plan, and all of those from similarly concerned scientists around the world, simply cannot be efficiently executed if population growth continues to exponentially replicate. Solutions are everything this late in the game, and there are no solutions if increasing billions whittle the planet's natural bounty and biodiversity down to the bone.

"If we don't reduce our collective resource use, move concretely towards environmentally sustainable practices both in our households and countries, and pay serious attention to global population stabilization, we will have an imbalance," said Ryerson. "We've already crossed the threshold."

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