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(NPR)   Research just released by the University of Well-Duh reveals that humans have always wrecked their environments   (npr.org ) divider line
    More: Obvious  
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600 clicks; posted to Geek » on 24 Aug 2009 at 9:01 PM (7 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



37 Comments     (+0 »)
 
 
2009-08-24 05:32:15 PM  
"The problem is that your successes lead to population growth, which then leads to more pressure on the system to produce more resources," he says. "Your successes can set you up for even greater failures."

Yeah, yeah; tell it to the CivIII addicts.
 
2009-08-24 05:38:26 PM  
i.treehugger.com

I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure
 
2009-08-24 07:16:57 PM  
That's what happened to the Mayans and the folks on Easter Island.

You have to wonder what was going through the mind of that guy that cut down the last tree on Easter Island.

Not only has this happened before, but unless otherwise conquered, it's happened to every civilization to date. Why would we think we're somehow different?

We have the resources, intelligence, and information that would permit us to live in our environment like an old-growth forest, which isn't going anywhere and therefore consumes frugally and recycles everything. I like to think that this might look a little like the Amish with laptops, with the bonus being an increased sense of community. It's not like this is some sort of pipe dream- many jurisdictions are making this happen right now.

The only question is whether we have the will and the foresight to commit to the solution. If we don't, it's not reasonable to expect the end of the story to be any different for us than it was for the Mayans.
 
2009-08-24 07:23:55 PM  
Only the takers.
 
2009-08-24 07:30:34 PM  

unyon: The only question is whether we have the will and the foresight to commit to the solution. If we don't, it's not reasonable to expect the end of the story to be any different for us than it was for the Mayans.


If you're lucky, maybe the swine flu epidemic this year will kill off enough people to bring balance back to the Force.
 
2009-08-24 08:01:50 PM  
To expound on my statement, for those of you who don't get the reference, consider what it truly means to live in harmony with nature.

First of all, in my view, it means massive population reduction. My off the cuff guess would be a 50% decrease at a minimum. The land just can not support the massive population we currently have. Here's a good example (new window, slightly disturbing) of what happens when populations grow out of control. In the end nature took it's course and they died out. We think we're so different from mice, but in the end, nature made us, and it will destroy us.

Living in harmony with nature is also against the religion of the vast majority of the population. The major world religions, with some notable but not statistically relevent exceptions, teach us to look to the heavens not only for creation but also destruction. God, except in the most vague way, had nothing to do with our creation and will have little to do with our ultimate fall. I'm not saying you're beliefs are wrong; they're beliefs. The inescapable fact is that religion makes us rulers of the earth, when in fact we are always at the whim of nature. In it own way, religion makes us gods. God rules heaven and we rule earth. Nice set-up there. The earth was made for people, therefore, we rule it and everything on it belongs to us.

We will have our time, just like the dinosaurs had theirs. Our stay will probably be briefer than theirs, but we've had a pretty decent run.

A wise man once said, humans are "evolutionary betrayers . . . ecosystem destroyers. . . a pathetic example of earth's organic heritage." And he's not far from the truth.
 
2009-08-24 08:05:02 PM  

benlonghair: First of all, in my view, it means massive population reduction. My off the cuff guess would be a 50% decrease at a minimum.


you go first, show us how its done. we'll follow afterward.

pinky swear!
 
2009-08-24 09:06:23 PM  
Quick! somebody propose a Public option!
 
2009-08-24 09:13:04 PM  
Came here for the Agent Smith reference...leaving satisfied.
 
2009-08-24 09:16:28 PM  

Weaver95: you go first, show us how its done. we'll follow afterward.


Meh, no reason to speed along the inevitable. Speaking in terms of long term species survival, history tells us we have a very slim chance of lasting.

Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong, but the paradigm shift needed to sustain us in the long term is unprecedented in human history.
 
2009-08-24 09:17:38 PM  
www.movieprop.com
"Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death."
 
2009-08-24 09:19:49 PM  

Weaver95: [i.treehugger.com image 250x322]

I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure


In this speech, virus is just WRONG. Cancer fits the description.
 
2009-08-24 09:53:31 PM  
Except for that the Australian wildfires will happen naturally without human contribution, mastodons died out of tubercolosis, and dodos were killed by pigs and monkeys. And if you believe that a few thousand men could alter a whole continent's coastline... well then you'll end up on FARK.
 
2009-08-24 10:46:38 PM  
And.... done in two
 
2009-08-24 10:53:04 PM  

benlonghair: To expound on my statement, for those of you who don't get the reference, consider what it truly means to live in harmony with nature.

First of all, in my view, it means massive population reduction. My off the cuff guess would be a 50% decrease at a minimum. The land just can not support the massive population we currently have. Here's a good example (new window, slightly disturbing) of what happens when populations grow out of control. In the end nature took it's course and they died out. We think we're so different from mice, but in the end, nature made us, and it will destroy us.

Living in harmony with nature is also against the religion of the vast majority of the population. The major world religions, with some notable but not statistically relevent exceptions, teach us to look to the heavens not only for creation but also destruction. God, except in the most vague way, had nothing to do with our creation and will have little to do with our ultimate fall. I'm not saying you're beliefs are wrong; they're beliefs. The inescapable fact is that religion makes us rulers of the earth, when in fact we are always at the whim of nature. In it own way, religion makes us gods. God rules heaven and we rule earth. Nice set-up there. The earth was made for people, therefore, we rule it and everything on it belongs to us.

We will have our time, just like the dinosaurs had theirs. Our stay will probably be briefer than theirs, but we've had a pretty decent run.

A wise man once said, humans are "evolutionary betrayers . . . ecosystem destroyers. . . a pathetic example of earth's organic heritage." And he's not far from the truth.


Thanks a lot, Deidre (new window)

Make peace with Planet (new window)
 
2009-08-24 10:56:46 PM  
7 billion people nod in agreement.
 
2009-08-24 11:30:18 PM  

Weaver95: I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure


I hate this farking monologue so much.

No creature finds natural equilibrium with their environments. It's imposed upon species by the environment itself. Lemmings don't instinctively jump over a cliff when faced with overpopulation, ants will strip an entire area of jungle and move along to the next strip, large packs of predators will decimate the prey in an area.

The resulting famines caused by animal overpopulation that lead to the great big circle of life are not instinct. It's nature.

I refuse to feel guilty for being part of a species that has in almost all senses triumphed over nature. We've removed ourselves from the food chain, our infants survive and for all the horrors of mankind we care for our own.

Our strength is that we evolve through our own tools and strength of communication with each other. Our planet isn't in good shape because of so many of us but we can and will be able to fix it, the only problem is that many people will be unhappy with the fix. Not because of people dieing off but because when we fix it we will make it better for US and it will not be the same planet we had before.

/Change happens
//Embrace it and try not to screw up too badly
 
2009-08-24 11:30:48 PM  

Weaver95: I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure


I was always a little disappointed in this speech. Yes, it really works in the context of the movie, but it just isn't true. You put any animal specious into a situation where they aren't kept in check by predators or other strong survival pressures and they will eat and eat and breed and breed until the habitat can't sustain them, then they will starve. Their numbers will fall until they reach a point where they are either all dead or at a small enough number to be sustained and they will start again. I think the concept has something to do with the K-line...

/haven't taken bio since I was freshman in high school.
//still really liked the first Matrix movie.
 
2009-08-24 11:37:16 PM  

benlonghair: First of all, in my view, it means massive population reduction. My off the cuff guess would be a 50% decrease at a minimum. The land just can not support the massive population we currently have.


Actually, If the land was used efficiently it could support a hell of a lot more. We waste far more resources than we consume.

Like it or not, humans are here to stay. Other animals adapt to their environment, we adapt the environment to us.
 
2009-08-24 11:37:41 PM  

TheMissedCallofCthulhu: Weaver95: I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure

I was always a little disappointed in this speech. Yes, it really works in the context of the movie, but it just isn't true. You put any animal specious into a situation where they aren't kept in check by predators or other strong survival pressures and they will eat and eat and breed and breed until the habitat can't sustain them, then they will starve. Their numbers will fall until they reach a point where they are either all dead or at a small enough number to be sustained and they will start again. I think the concept has something to do with the K-line...

/haven't taken bio since I was freshman in high school.
//still really liked the first Matrix movie.


I'm glad that people seem to understand this. Nature isn't wise. EVERYTHING ALIVE grows as much as it can, until population pressures kick in. Humans are just so goddamn good at survival.
 
2009-08-24 11:44:55 PM  
Who was it that said the evolutionary value of higher intelligence has yet to be proved?
 
2009-08-24 11:51:10 PM  
Well, humans are part of the environment. Saying we wreck it is kind of wrong. We are part of nature, we cannot destroy nature. We can, however, make it uninhabitable for ourselves, or at least ourselves in our current number. This should be the focus of environmentalist arguments. Not save the Earth or save nature or save the endangered species' habitat, but save OUR habitat. Save OUR species. Claiming that humans and nature represent some sort of dichotomy is greatly misstating the issue. It's not like if we destroy our habitat it just means trees and bald eagles and dolphins die, WE die.
 
2009-08-24 11:52:25 PM  

wejash: Who was it that said the evolutionary value of higher intelligence has yet to be proved?


I dunno, but I'll bet they were on a school board somewhere.
 
2009-08-24 11:53:39 PM  

7Mary3and4: "Beware the beast Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone among God's primates, he kills for sport or lust or greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him; drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of death."


Oddly enough, chimps make us look rather nice by comparison. They are MEAN SOBs. Gorillas are not as violent with each other as chimps, so Planet of the Apes got it backwards.
 
2009-08-24 11:58:28 PM  

RemyDuron: We are part of nature, we cannot destroy nature.


A handy little concept used by conservatives everywhere, but unfortunately, untrue.
 
2009-08-25 12:02:31 AM  

Weaver95: wejash: Who was it that said the evolutionary value of higher intelligence has yet to be proved?

I dunno, but I'll bet they were on a school board somewhere.


i335.photobucket.com
 
2009-08-25 01:27:11 AM  
I love pointing out reality to the kumbaya folks who go on about being at one with nature "like the Native Americans". They don't want to know the truth. They can't handle the truth.
 
2009-08-25 02:49:15 AM  
As I sometimes like to say to hippies, nuclear reactors are made out of all-natural materials from Mother Earth...where do you think we got the stuff from? Magic?

I do, however, subscribe to the notion that the carrying capacity for Humans is actually much bigger than 7 billion...it's just the method and distribution of resources we use will never be able to break into any of the double digits. Remember of course that we humans also support and require thousands of other animals and plants on our way up - from the moldiest cheese bacteria to the domestic chicken to the ebony rainforest tree. We've got to get smarter, because we'll not have a good time trying to turn back the clock.

/Thought Agent Smith was full of shiat too
//The Robots didn't have anything but Humans to deal with, no Sun means no anything else
 
2009-08-25 04:17:51 AM  
FTA: Archaeologists who study early hunter-gatherer societies are discovering that even the simplest cultures altered their environments, whether they meant to or not.

People should take note of how some cultures (very few, but still) have maintained a sustainable lifestyle for thousands of years. Alteration is not inherently negative.

/techno-optimist and resource conservationist w00t
 
2009-08-25 04:27:25 AM  

unyon: That's what happened to the Mayans and the folks on Easter Island.

You have to wonder what was going through the mind of that guy that cut down the last tree on Easter Island.

Not only has this happened before, but unless otherwise conquered, it's happened to every civilization to date. Why would we think we're somehow different?


Hey, some of us are looking forward to the time when the cannibalistic insult 'Your Grandmother's flesh sticks between my teeth' is en vogue once more.
 
2009-08-25 04:29:13 AM  
"Archaeologists who study early hunter-gatherer societies are discovering that even the simplest cultures altered their environments, whether they meant to or not."

/slamsheadintowall

Every living creature alters its environment. Put something in, things go out of balance; take something out, things go out of balance; change something, leave it the hell alone, a new balance is achieved.

Beetles do it, ants do it, ardvarks do it, fish do it, salamanders do it, even rotten little bacteria do it.

And yet here come the "scientists" demonizing humans as if we're somehow "less than natural"... I mean, I'd be happy to buy the argument that what we do isn't 'natural' if they'd stop saying "but we evolved from this-or-that animal" which, presumably, they'd say was natural. Is it some kind of self-hate complex or something?

Living creatures alter their environment. *gasp*
 
2009-08-25 04:34:32 AM  

johnwarfen: Living creatures alter their environment. *gasp*


Of course we alter the environment, but there is still the difference between enhancement:

i214.photobucket.com

and detriment:

i214.photobucket.com

We don't need to trash the damn place. We know better than that.
 
2009-08-25 07:25:52 AM  
I think it comes down to intelligence and wealth.... Intelligent people with a decent income like tidiness around them, where as poor people, that tend to be thick as pig shiat, are happy to live in litter, graffiti and shiat.... this is why Knightsbridge is spotless and Lambeth is a farking state!

I can't abide the poor
 
2009-08-25 08:41:40 AM  

TheMissedCallofCthulhu: Weaver95: I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure

I was always a little disappointed in this speech. Yes, it really works in the context of the movie, but it just isn't true. You put any animal specious into a situation where they aren't kept in check by predators or other strong survival pressures and they will eat and eat and breed and breed until the habitat can't sustain them, then they will starve. Their numbers will fall until they reach a point where they are either all dead or at a small enough number to be sustained and they will start again. I think the concept has something to do with the K-line...

/haven't taken bio since I was freshman in high school.
//still really liked the first Matrix movie.


What?
You are disappointed that the character didn't make a true statement? The point is he believes it is true.
 
2009-08-25 08:54:10 AM  

BlippityBleep: FTA: Archaeologists who study early hunter-gatherer societies are discovering that even the simplest cultures altered their environments, whether they meant to or not.

People should take note of how some cultures (very few, but still) have maintained a sustainable lifestyle for thousands of years. Alteration is not inherently negative.

/techno-optimist and resource conservationist w00t


These "sustainable cultures" that you speak of usually have a 40% death toll from inter-tribal warfare. And drastically reduced lifespans.

It's easy to stay sustainable when you artifically reduce (i.e. massacre each other) your population to what the land can support.

And for the armchair anthropologists out there (including me), many of Jared Diamond's concepts (mostly in Guns, Germs, and Steel) have been absolutely shredded in subsequent scholarly analyses.
 
2009-08-25 08:58:59 AM  

manimal2878: TheMissedCallofCthulhu: Weaver95: I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure

I was always a little disappointed in this speech. Yes, it really works in the context of the movie, but it just isn't true. You put any animal specious into a situation where they aren't kept in check by predators or other strong survival pressures and they will eat and eat and breed and breed until the habitat can't sustain them, then they will starve. Their numbers will fall until they reach a point where they are either all dead or at a small enough number to be sustained and they will start again. I think the concept has something to do with the K-line...

/haven't taken bio since I was freshman in high school.
//still really liked the first Matrix movie.

What?
You are disappointed that the character didn't make a true statement? The point is he believes it is true.


But it's coming from a computer. Who wouldn't've existed if mankind hadn't wrecked the environment. And wouldn't keep existing if the machines didn't do the same.

But that's far from the biggest plot hole in the movie.
 
2009-08-25 04:14:38 PM  
This explains the sorry state of my apartment!

/And car.
//And life.
///Sob...
 
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