February 19, 2015

Has human harm to our planet guaranteed social collapse?

No.  I think extinctions create serious risks for ecological networks.  I'm particularly worried about Climate Change, in all it's manifestations.  But, there's a big difference between large, unknown risks and Certain Collapse.

"These are the megafauna, the big predators of the sea, and the species we most value. Their depletion not only threatens the future of these fish and the fishers that depend on them, it could also bring about a complete re-organization of ocean ecosystems, with unknown global consequences." http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/05/0515_030515_fishdecline.html

That's bad.  That's something that's very important to avoid.  On the other hand, it's not Certain Collapse of Human Society.

"“We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science.

But there is still time to avert catastrophe, Dr. McCauley and his colleagues also found. Compared with the continents, the oceans are mostly intact, still wild enough to bounce back to ecological health.

“We’re lucky in many ways,” said Malin L. Pinsky, a marine biologist at Rutgers University and another author of the new report. “The impacts are accelerating, but they’re not so bad we can’t reverse them.”  http://www.desdemonadespair.net/2015/01/ocean-life-faces-mass-extinction-broad.html

So, the article is talking about possible catastrophe for ocean systems.  But, that's not exactly the same as catastrophe for human societies, and it's avoidable.  Again, there's a big difference between large, unknown risks and Certain Collapse.

So, rather than saying things are hopeless and nothing can be done, it's better to say:

Fossil fuels are risky, dirty and expensive.  We should phase them out as fast as possible.

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