Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren?

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by burritos, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. burritos

    burritos Senior Member

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    Play along if you wish, but then you must suspend your disbelief and assume that hypothetically, everything I say in this scenario is true.

    We don't modify our energy and consumption behavior and it goes unchecked. Thus the worst case scenarios of both peak oil and global warming happen in punctuated fashion. The following occurs.

    1. Mass anarchy everywhere due to the loss of cheap oil and uninhabitable lands(we lose inhabited coasts and arid/desert regions become too hot to live in).
    2. We get mass starvation, disease, war, and we lose all democratic institutions world wide.
    3. Through the above envision a reduction of the population of 90%. 10 billion to 1 billion.

    Now. All of this occurs approximately 220 years from now. So you'll be dead. You're grandchildren will be dead. It will be your grandchildren's great grandchildren who will suffer this fate, and yes, they WILL suffer it, cause our current lifestyle will be maintainable till we drive off the cliff.

    So the people who will suffer won't be any loved ones, nor will your loved ones know any of the future victims.

    Now here's the good news. This can be prevented, but at great cost. Basically, by implementing drastic conservation measures and massive carbon taxes, this horrific future can be avoided. Life as we enjoy now will be sacrificed. Only the ultra ultra rich will able to fly and drive(think $100 gallon gas in today's dollar). Food/clothing/shelter will consume 95% of most people's incomes. Only a small percentage of people will be able to afford cars. No more hybrids, no more vacations to Alaska, no more driving to a bed and breakfast and paying with a visa. Basically, we are reduced to living like the bottom 90 percent of the rest of the world. Think living in New Delhi in the 60's but cleaned up a little. Not nice, but not fatal.

    I know that many are going to argue that if Americans are reduced to living like this, then riots and anarchy will occur anyways. Since this is my game, by my decree, I assure you it will not. So the question is, would you give up your currently lifestyle for this "crappy but sustainable" lifestyle for a viable future of people who share 1/32 of your genes? There's no in between choices, it's one or the other.
     
  2. Godiva

    Godiva AmeriKan Citizen

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    Sorry, I don't do black and white.

    And we all know it IS going to be some sort of middle, in between gray compromise.
     
  3. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    Of course I would reduce my standard of living to accomplish this goal for it is not just humans who would benefit in the long run. My altruism is not limited to those of my own ethnicity or species.

    I've been slowly making changes over the last 3yrs to further this goal but ultimately I am VERY far from truely living in the scenario you describe. I have, however, changed my mind such that if I were to reduce my standard of living to your described levels I could remain happy.
     
  4. PriuStorm

    PriuStorm Senior Member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    I think you're being optimistic (that there will be planes left for rich people to fly). If your options 1, 2 and 3 come true, I think you can pretty much guarantee a nuclear war and annihilation of all 'priviledged' and otherwise societies. Someday, hundreds of thousands of years in the future (maybe longer), evidence of our societies will be unearthed, and future intelligent beings will wonder what happened to us.
     
  5. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren


    Bah! This is a game, not reality. lol
     
  6. SparrowHawk60

    SparrowHawk60 Happy to be green!

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    Naa, screw them like our grandparents did us!
    We didn't heed the message when it was given to us in the late 60's early 70's. Conserve, SOAR= Save or American Resources, Recycle....
    A lot of us now in 2008 still haven't heard the message...
    Gas Crisis, ring a bell? Did we listen, only for a few years, then right back to wasting gas with the reintroduction of the six cylinder, today the Cross over's and SUV's...
    We're going right down the crapper filled with our own waste......
     
  7. nerfer

    nerfer A young senior member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    Going the opposite direction, my grandmother's grandfather (in the Civil War) was the great-grandson of a major in the Revolutionary War (that's one more generation than you listed). I kinda think what he and others like him did was important to my way of life, not to mention our country's example of democracy and freedoms to other governments that have come along since then.

    Because of his actions, I remember his name (Major Joseph Lindsley) and know at least a part of his life. So I think you're artificially distancing yourself from your descendents, as a way of rationalizing this. You would help a stranger you just met (as long as they are not a bum or dangerous), why not do the same for your progeny?

    I'm not sure your statement is necessarily valid. I'm living on 25% of the gasoline I did 4 years ago (for personal transportation) with no change in lifestyle - more saved money is only effect, actually. Many of the changes will not cost more in the long run. That doesn't apply to all of the changes needed however. Housing will be the biggest problem - many outlying suburbs will likely become blighted. Any new houses will need to be built with the square footage that houses in the 1950's had, but with today's windows and insulation standards, and passive solar, etc. We'll still have electricity and computers and TVs (just not updated every 3 years). Most people will have a vehicle (electric) of some kind and a couple bicycles, rent a hybrid for big trips. B&B's won't go away, but ocean cruises would, and a lot of hotels on tropical beaches would close. (Saves the trouble of moving them inland as oceans rise).
     
  8. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    It's not just our own loved ones we need to be concerned about. Ultimately, it's the fabric of life. Habitat and biodiversity sustain and strengthen us all. Everything exists within narrow parameters, and we're screwing with those delicate balances without having any idea what we're doing.

    Well, yes. But it doesn't have to be that way.

    Ocean liners could evolve, maybe sprouting sails...and...exercise bicycles wired to generators...and... crappers hooked into a biomass energy generation system. ;)
     
  9. burritos

    burritos Senior Member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    Yes we are better off because of the actions of forefathers like yours.

    However, the problem we're facing MIGHT not be solvable with human ingenuity. With the power of exponential human growth facing the wall of limited resources, there might not be enough energy to maintain >10 billion people(who are a product of cheap fossil fuel energies). Yes there are renewable energies, but that might come too late in the game before the population starts to shrink because of lack of cheap energy.
     
  10. burritos

    burritos Senior Member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    Some human activity is altruistic. Much of it intentionally/unintentionally is not. And that's in regards to people who already exist. So how high of a priority should we direct our altruistic behavior that our grandchildren won't even know if we aren't even taking care of the people who are alive today?
     
  11. VaPrius

    VaPrius New Member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    What hole did you pull that number out of?

    Did you mean to say fantasy? This is nonsense.
     
  12. PriuStorm

    PriuStorm Senior Member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    I was wondering the same thing.

    I think the game would be more interesting if you changed the timeframe to 40 years instead of 220 years.
     
  13. jjksutton

    jjksutton New Member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    don't we have some kind of responsibility? I don't know generations of people who suffered long before my great great grandparents were a glint in their parents eyes. Their sacrifices gave us the ability to live excessively, as many have chosen to do. How selfish can we be that we don't understand there are consequences of our actions we'll never see or even understand?
     
  14. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    On most games I would adhere to the rules. On this one I am going to cheat with a vengance. I am going to reduce my consumption dramatically while maintaining a high standard of living. I will then educate my children and anyone else paying attention how to do this. Sooner or later, the rest of those watching will catch on and start cheating as well.
     
  15. VaPrius

    VaPrius New Member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    This is were they American way will help us.

    Now that's just crazy talk! :eek::D
     
  16. MarinJohn

    MarinJohn Senior Member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    Ours won't be the first human civilization to vanish. Consider the Anasazi, the Myans, Easter Island, Atlantis. Perhaps we should start burying plaques now explaining why we were on the verge of extinction so those 'future intelligent beings' aren't as confused as we are about what happened to other vanished civilizations. Perhaps we should rewrite the bible with more modern parables about how we came to a fork in the road and chose the 'road more traveled' to our long term detriment.
     
  17. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    Atlantis?
     
  18. PriuStorm

    PriuStorm Senior Member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    Interesting you say this, because that's one thing I've been thinking about, too. The 'ancient' civilizations we have found, we've been able to learn about them because they have memorialized themselves in physical ways that have stood the test of time (pyramids, engravings, tablets, etc.). That just isn't the way we do things anymore.

    Pretty much anything we create today, including records of our intelligence and current events, is not something that can stand the test of time. Centuries old farm houses (built out of brick, stone and mortar) in Europe stand a better chance of surviving a calamity than stick houses put up today. More and more, communication is moved online instead of into libraries. Imagine a future being unearthing a DVD and wondering what function it might have had... if it even survives intact.
     
  19. PriuStorm

    PriuStorm Senior Member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    Seriously, I would like to know if you would give up your lifestyle if you knew for certain that in 40 years the calamities mentioned by the OP would come true.

    Or would you be like the 25 year old smoker who thinks that he's not going to be the one who gets lung cancer, or the 20 year old sun queen who is sure that skin cancer will affect someone else, not her.
     
  20. burritos

    burritos Senior Member

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    Re: Is saving the environment worth it if it only if helps our great great great great grandchildren

    I figure very few people get past 100 years. So a threw 2 100 year generations plus 20 years for good measure.
     
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