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Author Topic: The Problem with Democracy
Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 15:58      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree with your post, except for the thing about Marillion and Fish.....what ever that means.

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Serenak

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Icon 7 posted September 14, 2004 16:08      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As an adjunct to my previous post:

This planet (and life on it) has survived numerous "ELE" (Extinction Level Events) and I have no doubt that it will do so again... Whether we (Homo Sapiens) can withstand such events is a moot point. If we mangage to do the Charlton Heston Planet of the Apes ending or the On the Beach (sorry forget the author) ending isn't really relvant to me. Check out "After Man - a Zoology of the Future" (Dougal Dixon ISBN 0 246 11577 7) for a lighthearted but scientifically based view of Earth wildlife 50Million years from now...

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"So if you want my address - it's No. 1 at the end of the bar, where I sit with the broken angels, clutching at straws and nursing my scars..."

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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 16:29      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So there is life in this thread yet...

(Sorry but I have habit of joining discussions as they die - perhaps I'm using the wrong deodorant - or perhaps I just kill conversation in its tracks...)

Marillion "were" a mid 80's prog rock band (UK) fronted by a Scotsman known as "Fish" - checkout "Script for a Jester's Tear", "Fugazi", "Misplaced Childhood" & "Clutching at Straws" after that Fish split, Marillion are apparently still going but to me without Fish - who wrote all the songs on the albums mentioned they aren't "Marillion" (Whole new thread I fear)...

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"So if you want my address - it's No. 1 at the end of the bar, where I sit with the broken angels, clutching at straws and nursing my scars..."

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Serenak

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Icon 4 posted September 14, 2004 16:49      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hoy! Have you all gone to sleep, or has Mommy made you all log out....

[Razz]

Serenak

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"So if you want my address - it's No. 1 at the end of the bar, where I sit with the broken angels, clutching at straws and nursing my scars..."

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 17:20      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This is not IRC. This is a bulletin board, and not exactly a huge one, so replies are not instantaneous. Lurk and learn.

Back to the bench with me. My mommy doesn't make me do anything. My experiments, however, do.

Edited to add some thoughts: People speak of the Earth "healing". It won't so much heal as re-equilibrate. All the carbon that we've burned and released into the atmospehere will eventually (and we're talking millions on million os years here) make it back underground. All the CFCs will eventually decay away through whatever degradation process there is for them. HOWEVER, we're humans with a human life span, and we may not survive (or want to survive) the re-equilibration process. We've burned an incredible amount of carbon, and we're continuiing to burn it. We've farmed an incredible amount of land. We've spit out enough crap to knock a whole in the ozone layer. Puny as we may be, we've perturbed the equilibrium of the Earth, and while the Earth will recover, we're running the very real risk of bottle-necking our population and the population of other species in the process. Can we wipe out all life on Earth? Hell no. Can we wipe ourselves out? Hell yes.

Now, about democracy. Democracy is currently one of the most widely accepted answers to the question of what makes a government legitimate. It's by no means a perfect form of government, BUT it is a legitimate form of government. The whole idea is people have agreed to be ruled by persons X, Y, and Z and agreed that porpositions U, V, and W should be laws of the land, etc. In essence, rulers rule by the will of the ruled. In the past it was believed that rulers ruled by divine right, but then people began to question the existence of the divine, and so monarchies lost their legitimacy. Others had the might makes right thing going on, and I'll let you figure out the problem with that one. Socrates and Plato presented the idea of a philosopher-king/benevolent dictator, but the problems with this idea are numerous (namely, how do you get around the imperfections and the mortality that are hallmarks of humanity) and I'm too weary to dig out my PHL223 notes and explore all of this right now. So I'll let the political philosophy rest awhile.

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Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted September 14, 2004 19:46      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Serenak, while you are waiting for a reply to your post, possibly you could search the archives for Marillion.....so you get the inside joke.

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littlefish
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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 08:45      Profile for littlefish   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
OK I was comtemplating this more deeply today, and I was wondering what people are willing to give up to 'save the earth' for our children. Are you willing to get rid of your car, take no flights, stop using plastics, and use no electricity?

I know I am taking this to extremes, but people have an impact on the environment no matter how they live- even fruitarians are stopping new fruit trees from growing.

In the UK, people say they want greener legislation. But when fuel gets taxed, everyone screams blue murder. How can a government legislate to reduce pollution when people are not willing to give up their creature comforts?

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Stibbons
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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 09:04      Profile for Stibbons   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by littlefish:
OK I was comtemplating this more deeply today, and I was wondering what people are willing to give up to 'save the earth' for our children. Are you willing to get rid of your car, take no flights, stop using plastics, and use no electricity?

I know I am taking this to extremes, but people have an impact on the environment no matter how they live- even fruitarians are stopping new fruit trees from growing.

In the UK, people say they want greener legislation. But when fuel gets taxed, everyone screams blue murder. How can a government legislate to reduce pollution when people are not willing to give up their creature comforts?

Everything that lives has an impact on their environment. However, in "natural" cases, the environment has evolved alongside it to counter its effects - there are just enough plants to use up the carbon dioxide given off by respiration, and enough respiring organisms to use the oxygen from plants photosynthesising (or however it's spelt) so the level of both gases in the atmosphere sticks at an ideal level for each lifeform to live. Humans have moved faster than evolution "naturally" can - by burning fossil fuels, and using all manner of other nasty non-naturally occuring chemicals, we have put stuff into the water and atmosphere faster than the natural systems designed to get rid of them can cope. Destroying some of these natural systems, like forests and coral reefs, doesn't help either.

To counter these effects, I don't feel that anything has to be "given up". We just have to do things differently to how we operate currently. Flights are essential to the way our world works. As are motor vehicles (although they could be used less - I walk wherever possible, would cycle but I have a tendency to crash the thing [blush] ). But like electricity, the energy to power these things can be generated in a variety of different ways. We don't have to burn fossil fuels to have a plenty full supply of energy.

So why not use alternative energy sources? Because they're currently more expensive than fossil fuels. And no government wishes to commit to a more an expensive, long term stratergy that will put them in a bad light with the voters, returning to the original point Spungo made. The same goes for recycling - nearly all of our need for plastic, glass and iron can be got through recycling, but that is too expensive to set up in the short term even though it will be cheaper in the long run. People will not want to have an extra bit of tax added to cover the set-up costs of recycling plants and research into alternative energy, so no government is going to legislate in favour of them.

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Stereo

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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 10:08      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, some things can be done, and some governments are willing to walk the walk, along with their citizens.

Just one example. Aluminium cans and plastic pop containers have a 5 cents refundable tax. Buy a pop, pay 5 cents more, bring back the can, get your 5 cents back. Recycling is paid for with those 5 cents from people who don't bring back their cans. It's 10 cents for beer bottles, $50 (I think) for tires. The only problem comes from people who buy from a place where there's no refund, and bring back to a place where there's one. But other than that, it works, there's less garbage, more recycling, and everyone is happy.

And some times, it's the tax payer who ask for cleaner energy and governement don't. Like that new natural gaz power station Quebec wants to build, people don't, asking instead for new hydro- or wind-electricity.

I believe it's really about a society's mentality. The more left one leans, the more one is willing to pay for long-term solutions; one cares for every one, present and future. Instead, the right-leaning mentality of "each one for oneself, and God for all" (? - no idea if it's the way to say it in English) asks for the immediate effect on the wallet. That's pretty much why the gaz price is so high in Europe, so low in the US, and in-between in Canada. But the day the fuel will skyrocket, those very efficient motors from Europe will reign in North America.

I can't help but think: let's take the hard path now, build expertise, and sell that expertise when those who tried to avoid the unavoidable costly decision finally jump in. The greatest progress (technological or other) seems to always happen when there is the greatest hardship. And the reward (usually) goes the same way. So bring on those restrictive green laws; we'll manage, and be better off at the end.

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Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 10:32      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Our (and the US, IIRC) gov't is forcing auto makers to have a certian percentage of alternative fuel source vehicles.

Just like all new technology...it is always expensive until the demand increases.

'member when DVD plays were like $800, now they almost give 'em away with a tank of gas.

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CommanderShroom
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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 11:46      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The unfortunate part about that, in the states at least, no one buys the alternative vehicles. O.K. I am exagerrating but you see my point. We have more SUV's on the road than smaller cars. And those SUV's are averaging 8-12 MPG.

The alt. fuels route is the best option by far. Unfortunately it will be many years before they will be a truly viable source. Gas is an easier product to procure and is still the best bang, pun intended, for the buck. It is also highly adaptable. Can better handle extremes than other options.

Take for example propane. Remember the 70's push for propane vehicles. The mileage is similar. But in either extremes it begins to show its weakness. The fuel vaporizes at a rather low temp and if you try to run a propane vehicle below 50F it burns very poorly.

And batteries are just useless. Heavy, short life span and hard to dispose of.

I hope that hydrogen fuel does get off the ground [Big Grin] Though it has issues too.

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drunkennewfiemidget
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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 11:54      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I remember reading somewhere Nissan was starting mass-production of their x-terra(I think) using hydrogen fuel cells for power.

I also remember them starting at $99k USD each.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 12:22      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hybrids are a viable option, and, for the average person, more affordable than hydrogen fuel.

I, however, am a poor student, so I just went with a car that had good mileage and a price that I could pay in full. Making car payments on top of bills and rent would destroy me.

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And it's one, two, three / On the wrong side of the lee / What were you meant for? / What were you meant for?
- The Decemberists

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Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 12:24      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ironically, if the US had funneled the billions they pissed away in Iraq trying to steal their oil and had spent that money perfecting HFC technology they would be ahead of the game

Incidentally, we have a few Toyota Hybrids in our fleet and I was surprised how much power they have.

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Stibbons
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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 12:36      Profile for Stibbons   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Xanthine:
I, however, am a poor student, so I just went with a car that had good mileage and a price that I could pay in full.

It does seem kind of strange that the people who are most willing to make a difference are the ones who can least afford it, while those with enough money to change the way they live both for themselves and others are reluctant to [Confused]
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Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 12:44      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It is like that old saying:

If you are not a Liberal in your 20's you have no heart. If you are not a Conservative in your 40's you have no brain. [ohwell]

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GMx

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Icon 9 posted September 15, 2004 13:05      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Cap'n Vic:
It is like that old saying:

If you are not a Liberal in your 20's you have no heart. If you are not a Conservative in your 40's you have no brain. [ohwell]

"If I only had a brain..." [ohwell] It's seems that people would have got it during the fuel crisis of the '70's, but when more oil was found and the Arabs let up, they went back to their gas guzzling ways. I'm afraid it's going to take the total depletion of oil reserves before people get it. Then everyone will be mad at the government saying, "Why didn't you tell us this was going to happen?" And the answer will be (oh, it won't really be told, but this is what the answer is), "Because the government was in the pocket of big business that only sees the short term profit margin." Not to mention the fact that the current President of the US and his Vice (emphasis on that) President have a close relationship to the petroleum industry.
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Serenak

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Icon 11 posted September 15, 2004 14:12      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, for my twopennoth (akc 2c if you live outside UK)

We all wish we could live "greener" lives (at least I hope so) but until the general "gestalt" reaches critical mass on any particular issue it isn't always easy...

Recently "my" local council implemented what they call "twinbin refuse". Basically metal, plastic, cardboard and paper go in the recycle bin and only food waste, "disposable" nappies (diapers) and expanded polystyrene(!?) go in the landfill/incinerator bin...

My household's "landfill" went from 4 big black sackfulls a week to >1 and my "recycle" bin is constantly overflowing - I say recycle 'cos I have no idea how much of what I put in it *really* gets recycled and how much ends up down at landfill anyhow [Frown]

But the real point is I know we should have been doing this 20+ years ago... but until now there were no facilities here to recycle *most* of this stuff. Paper, metal, glass - yes over the last 10 years I've gradually been able (to go out of my way to) recycle but cruddo card packaging and particularly plastics had little/no facilities no matter how much it bugged you.

BUT (da da da daaaaa....) we all burn electricity like it aint ever gonna end, we "all" have cars, televisions, fridges, COMPUTERS, etc., the list is unending. What do we do? Me I want to see serious investment in big time wind power but here in the UK the response to any scheme is "I'm not against wind farms - as long as they are sited responsibly" (READ *not in my back yard*) AAARRRRRGGGGHH.....

Here is a question for you - How many gazillion *useless* 3.5" floppy discs has this world created, and how many quazillion tons of petrochemicals did they consume? I know my company has had to dispose of crates and crates of the useless things (can't give them away without secure wiping every single one due to "data protection issues")

CD-R can't be much better. How many times have you been given a 650Mb+ CD with >2Mb data on it and the "damn fool" done used *Burn Disc* instead of *Create Session* so you can't even use it a couple more times to shift data from A to B before you bin it? And they all come in them lovely crystal cases too!

Can't we make some sort of *short life* biodegradable medium out of cellulose/cornstarch/soya waste/something? (Yeah OK it's called paper and pencil... Like I never heard that one before :/)

Serenak

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"So if you want my address - it's No. 1 at the end of the bar, where I sit with the broken angels, clutching at straws and nursing my scars..."

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 14:22      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
CD-Rs, yes - they're useless, esp. the millions of ISP ones that fill every geek mag, but floppies? Floppies can be re-used - I never throw'em out, not until they fail, at any rate.

CD-Rs bad, floppies good!

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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 14:24      Profile for Livebytheboard   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
>>>>I think the fear mongering done by 'tree huggers' has a lot of merit. They talk about mass species extinctions, flooding of low lying/coastal areas as the polar caps melt, plagues etc. I think spungo is right; we are aware enough to know we are a part of the problem but no one wants to make the move to slow the global warming process. Why? Why do we deny the facts? Do we expect our kids to fix the mess we made, or will they repeat the mistakes made by the generations before them? >>>>>>

This is definatly a valid argument. BUT. Here's the way i see it. Its takes so many years for the earth to warm up, or cool down(read millions of years) assuming that there is still a human race in existance at that time. We most likely won't even be living on this planet. All these tree huggers are takeing themselves way to seriously, thinking way to short term. However I think that environment is important, and should not be taken lightly.

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Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 14:33      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by spungo:
.....floppies good!

I'll bet the missus doesn't agree with that [Wink]

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Serenak

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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 14:42      Profile for Serenak     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
*This is definatly a valid argument. BUT. Here's the way i see it. Its takes so many years for the earth to warm up, or cool down (read millions of years) assuming that there is still a human race in existance at that time. We most likely won't even be living on this planet. All these tree huggers are takeing themselves way to seriously, thinking way to short term. However I think that environment is important, and should not be taken lightly.*

Unfortunately global warming is already here - repeated "once in a hundred years" like Hurricane Ivan, El Nino, etc. "prove" that...

How much humans have to do with that and how much is just natural interglacial period shift is yet to be determined - hopefully the recent drilling of the seabed ridge off the Antarctic (UK news networks 14th Sept) may help establish some of that...

Floppies are good? I stopped using them many years ago - even before my Mac environment wouldn't support them any more. Yes we still have PCs on the network for the few that still emerge but *they're so unreliable* and anything bigger than a basic Word or Excel file won't fit on one anyhow. (I work in printing so "big" files are commonplace - YMMV [Smile] )

NB: trivial point of interest, my neighbour says when he was in Africa they fed all the cardboard waste to the goats - makes sense to me, can't be any less digestible than the thorn bushes they seem to have to live off... and remember cardboard is just a pre-chewed form of cellulose...

Serenak

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"So if you want my address - it's No. 1 at the end of the bar, where I sit with the broken angels, clutching at straws and nursing my scars..."

Posts: 1936 | From: Suffolk England | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cap'n Vic

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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 14:50      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Livebytheboard:
>>>>I think the fear mongering done by 'tree huggers' has a lot of merit. They talk about mass species extinctions, flooding of low lying/coastal areas as the polar caps melt, plagues etc. I think spungo is right; we are aware enough to know we are a part of the problem but no one wants to make the move to slow the global warming process. Why? Why do we deny the facts? Do we expect our kids to fix the mess we made, or will they repeat the mistakes made by the generations before them? >>>>>>

This is definatly a valid argument. BUT. Here's the way i see it. Its takes so many years for the earth to warm up, or cool down(read millions of years) assuming that there is still a human race in existance at that time. We most likely won't even be living on this planet. All these tree huggers are takeing themselves way to seriously, thinking way to short term. However I think that environment is important, and should not be taken lightly.

Wot?

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 14:57      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Beats the shit out of me.

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Xanthine

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Icon 1 posted September 15, 2004 15:15      Profile for Xanthine     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Livebytheboard:

This is definatly a valid argument. BUT. Here's the way i see it. Its takes so many years for the earth to warm up, or cool down(read millions of years) assuming that there is still a human race in existance at that time. We most likely won't even be living on this planet. All these tree huggers are takeing themselves way to seriously, thinking way to short term. However I think that environment is important, and should not be taken lightly.

Yeah, having a habitable world for youerself as an adult and your children and grandchildren is real short term. Not wanting to see your gneration die in a series of oil wars is also short term. This isn't just about the future. This is about the now. We can't just wave our hands and say "Well, it'll be fine in the end" because whether we like it or not, we're going to have to live through all of the shit that hits the fan before the land recovers.

It's not the dying that scares me. It's the surviving.

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