future prospects for the environment

To: "Jeremy O'Wheel" <>
Subject: future prospects for the environment
From: Dave Torr <>
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2012 13:43:51 +1000
Whilst the growth rate may be declining, it is still positive so absolute
population is growing - and in many economies (China and India) the
consumption rate is rising rapidly.
I agree that estimates of reserves are not very accurate, and that with
improving technology more marginal reserves can be tapped, but again none
of them are infinite. I guess it can be argued that it does not matter too
much if coal, oil etc are depleted as we can access solar and other energy
forms to replace them, but even they have their limits eventually

On 23 August 2012 13:25, Jeremy O'Wheel <> wrote:

> I think it's worth noting that global population growth peaked in 1969 and
> has been declining since then.
> I also think it's worth noting that our estimates of the remaining
> resources of nearly every raw resource have been increasing over time
> (rather than decreasing).  So for example if you look at estimates of how
> much gold is is left to be dug up, the estimates for 2012 are significantly
> higher than the estimates in 2002, which are higher than 1992 etc.  So
> although, in some sense we must be depleting resources, the evidence
> suggests that the problem is far less serious than popular thought
> presents.  People have been predicting economic collapse within a few
> decades due to depleted resources since the 19th century, and so far have
> been wrong.
> Of course that doesn't mean that they're wrong now, but it's worth keeping
> in mind the 150 years of these predictions being wrong, and wondering why
> they would be right now.
> It's 80 years since an Australian bird went extinct (not counting our
> island territories), and although if it were up to me, I'd massively
> increase national parks, ban the recreational use of beaches and wetlands,
> as well as dogs and cats, and presumably never get elected, I think we have
> to recognise that the state of both the Australian environment and the
> global environment is actually not too bad, and doom and gloom is not based
> on facts.
> Jeremy O'Wheel
> On Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 11:15 AM, Richard King <
> >wrote:
> > Hi All,
> >
> >
> >
> > I know I'm probably opening a huge can of worms and may get my arse
> kicked,
> > but here we go.
> >
> >
> >
> > We often seem to get upset with governments (or other groups) who don't
> > protect the environment and rightly so, and I do agree that most of the
> > time
> > much, much more can be done! I also see that all governments in Australia
> > and worldwide are under huge pressures from citizens and other countries
> to
> > provide resources and facilities (I in no way support hunting in parks or
> > other areas). The real issue, especially now, is our ever increasing
> human
> > population in Australia and again worldwide. A recent article I read,
> said
> > that now the world population is increasing by about 200 new humans born
> > each second (that's after human deaths per second are taken into
> account).
> > We have already passed needing 1.6 planets to survive, totally
> > unsustainable!
> >
> > Resources (mineral, water, food) are dwindling and any areas, including
> > national parks, will have to be destroyed if it is necessary to get them.
> > Every one of those new 6000+ humans (by the time you read this email)
> will
> > need more new resources and facilities. Perth, I've heard last week is
> > going
> > to increase by at least 500 000 in the next ten years, a city that is
> > already severely short of water, bad transport and the list goes on. We
> > live
> > in a desert continent, so for us in Australia, water, food and resources,
> > not to mention providing all the facilities people want, is going to be a
> > nightmarish problem!
> >
> > Sorry to sound so dark, but there does not seem to be any quick solution
> to
> > these problems, the wonderful natural areas we love will have to be
> > destroyed or at least modified and degraded. Our protected and loved
> > natural
> > areas can only exist if we have a 'comfortable' modern life, think of it,
> > if
> > Coles or Woolworths ran out of food, wouldn't you go hunt as much native
> > wildlife as you can find, even in national parks, to provide food for
> > yourself and family? I believe this is already happening on a subtle
> > worldwide scale, resources are running out and the world is hungry, time
> to
> > plunder what's left, unfortunately it's often in our 'protected' areas.
> It
> > will only get worse and faster.
> >
> > Generally most people only care about the environment (if at all), when
> > there bellies are full and other needs met. We are only able to spend
> time
> > birding and enjoying the natural environment, because we don't have to
> > spend
> > all our time growing food and trying just to use the environment (eg.
> > hunting birds) to survive.
> >
> > Over population is the real problem (look at the extinct civilization of
> > Easter Island) for many of our environmental and other problems, but I'm
> > not
> > sure if we will deal with it or are even able to. How do you tell members
> > of
> > your own family to stop having more than 2 kids, or other families
> wanting
> > to? How do you stop immigration or genuine refugees? The answer is you
> > really can't (for moral, freedom of choice or other reasons), so the
> > environment and our lifestyles will have to change and probably degrade.
> > Sadly, I think the 'big crunch' for humanity will come (fairly soon and
> > very
> > rapidly) and the last remaining natural environments will be the first to
> > go.
> >
> >
> >
> > Regards (I won't say cheers),
> >
> >
> >
> > Richard King
> >
> > ===============================
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