No need to recycle

... sit down, kick back and relax, and talk about anything that doesn't belong on one of the other forums.
aish
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:18 am

No need to recycle

Postby aish » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:07 am

One of the best articles on climate change I have ever read.

https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/ ... n-new-deal

I have long felt that the way we talk about addressing environmental problems is incredibly inadequate or else violently inconsiderate of the human lives that are the most vulnerable and cannot afford to just opt out of fossil fuel systems. I don't think the article per se focuses enough on collective action models because clearly those methods have been failing us - large scale protests didn't particularly improve sluggish climate change accords. But it really picks up on what's wrong with this personal responsibility model.

Brione Furcas
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:48 pm

Re: No need to recycle

Postby Brione Furcas » Mon Jun 10, 2019 3:06 am

aish wrote:One of the best articles on climate change I have ever read.

https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/ ... n-new-deal

I have long felt that the way we talk about addressing environmental problems is incredibly inadequate or else violently inconsiderate of the human lives that are the most vulnerable and cannot afford to just opt out of fossil fuel systems. I don't think the article per se focuses enough on collective action models because clearly those methods have been failing us - large scale protests didn't particularly improve sluggish climate change accords. But it really picks up on what's wrong with this personal responsibility model.


I'm happy to recycle my plastic cups and walk to places where I can, but this climate change nonsense is just a scam.

Enok
Posts: 214
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:44 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: No need to recycle

Postby Enok » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:16 am

Brione Furcas wrote:I'm happy to recycle my plastic cups and walk to places where I can, but this climate change nonsense is just a scam.


Wait, what? Like do you read at all?

https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/

aish wrote:I have long felt that the way we talk about addressing environmental problems is incredibly inadequate or else violently inconsiderate of the human lives that are the most vulnerable and cannot afford to just opt out of fossil fuel systems. I don't think the article per se focuses enough on collective action models because clearly those methods have been failing us - large scale protests didn't particularly improve sluggish climate change accords. But it really picks up on what's wrong with this personal responsibility model.


Climate change is indeed caused by a select few really big corporations/nations. Whose products we gladly buy... Life as we know it is going to have to change in some way. Consumerism is going to have to change. The article even states so:

So what can we actually do about climate change? Well, to be crystal clear: I’m not advocating for any throwing in of towels. The worst thing you can do about climate change is nothing. Climate change is a huge problem, and to face it, we have to be willing to make personal sacrifices we can feel. It’s our responsibility not only to future generations but also to each other — right here, right now.

Furthermore, given the United States’ outsize contribution to global warming, we have an ethical obligation to shrink our carbon footprints. The United States is the world’s second largest emitter, only recently having fallen from first place. And our historical contribution is even more appalling. The United States is responsible for more than a third of the carbon pollution that has warmed our planet today — more than any other single nation.

Given our enormous footprints, Americans’ personal consumption choices are some of the most powerful in the world. So for us as Americans to say that our personal actions are too frivolous to matter when people died in Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, a country whose carbon footprint is barely visible next to ours, is moral bankruptcy of the highest order.

At the same time, though, the more we focus on individual action and neglect systemic change, the more we’re just sweeping leaves on a windy day. So while personal actions can be meaningful starting points, they can also be dangerous stopping points
.


Also, climate change isn't the only environmental problem we have currently. Recycling and keeping plastics, fertilizers etc away from nature is always a net positive for eco systems.

The article seeks to shift the focus from blaming individuals to corporations and governments, which isn't wrong, but you do have a responsibility as an individual. If 1 billion people can avoid adding a pound of plastics into nature over the course of a year, that's a whole lot less we need to clean up from oceans and forests. If we drive 100 miles less each year due to better planning, that's a lot of CO2 that won't add to the greenhouse effect.

I'm all for getting on the blame train aimed at companies and governments, but it'd be hypocritical to not change your own carbon footprint.

Petra
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:02 pm

Re: No need to recycle

Postby Petra » Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:46 am

What Enok said is spot on. Climate change denial at this point is a particularly strange sort of madness. It's a fairly challenging one to understand too, because even in the most cynical scenario the acts we're encouraged to undertake to mitigate this 'fake climate change' will invariable lead to a better environment in which we live. Even if you ignore the stark warnings of extreme weather/ecosystem collapse etc..., an estimated 7 million people die prematurely from air pollution each year. Hard not to see the benefits of reducing that pollution.

A few things missed in that article also. While the USA's total emissions are indeed currently lower than China, the CO2 emissions per capita are more than double that of China. Equally important - China is actually currently on a trajectory of introducing positive environmental controls, is the world leader in installed renewable energy capacity, and is also a world leader in electric vehicle use. Obviously there's still a long way to go to accelerate that necessary change. Conversely, the current US administration is relaxing auto emissions standards, has vowed to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and has dropped climate change from its National Security risks. It genuinely boggles the mind.

It's certainly frustrating to see the onus of responsibility pushed onto individuals for tackling the problem, but the recognition that companies need to do far (far) more doesn't excuse that personal responsibility. If we don't improve energy efficiency, reduce fossil fuel use, eat less meat/consume less carbon intensive products etc... it's going to be a hell of a lot harder to convince the additional 1.5+ billion middle class citizens around the world projected to emerge over the decade to make those same necessary steps.

Reyne
Posts: 577
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:46 am

Re: No need to recycle

Postby Reyne » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:32 pm

I do what I can but yeah I feel like most of it is more performative to make myself feel like I have any control because as was said it really is systemic issues.

Like yeah we should try to recycle but actually most of what you're sending off for recycling doesn't even end up recycled.

Brione Furcas wrote:I'm happy to recycle my plastic cups and walk to places where I can, but this climate change nonsense is just a scam.


What's grimly fantastic about this is the same people who push the narrative that the climate change stuff is all just nonsense (which is madness) tend to be the same people who are up in arms about immigration.

Well, okay - there was just a massive drought in Syria caused by extreme weather patterns due to the changing climate which caused civil unrest which caused millions of refugees to come to Europe. Which a lot of those people think is an existential threat to Western civilization. What happens when 100 million people in India lose access to water?

Climate change is already pushing people out of Central and South America -

Meanwhile, incidences of storms, floods and droughts on are the rise in the region. In coming years, according to the US Agency for International Development, countries in the northern triangle will see decreased rainfall and prolonged drought, writ large. In Honduras, rainfall will be sparse in areas where it is needed, yet in other areas, floods will increase by 60%. In Guatemala, the arid regions will creep further and further into current agricultural areas, leaving farmers out to dry. And El Salvador is projected to lose 10-28% of its coastline before the end of the century. How will all those people survive, and where will they go?


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... -migration

So they don't want immigrants but they're perfectly happy pushing policies that will cause tons of forced migration worldwide. So what, just machine guns at the border I guess? These are supposed to be the Christians?

Meanwhile, in the domestic USA:

Across the Midwest, torrential rains have soaked the fields, leaving the sodden soil unsuitable for planting millions of acres with corn, soybeans, and other crops, presaging a terrible harvest. Seeds are usually in the ground this time of year. But thanks to floods, unrelenting rains, hail, and scores of tornadoes—nearly 200 more than average by this point in the year—the season is off to one of the worst starts in history.

In Oklahoma, every county is in a state of emergency. The Midwest is having its wettest 12 months ever. These extremes follow on a blistering 2018, the fourth hottest year on Earth, just behind “2016 (warmest), 2015 (second warmest), and 2017 (third warmest),” according to the 139-year climate record of the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

On May 28, the USDA announced that US farmers have just 58% of their corn crop in the ground (versus a five-year average of 90% by this time) and 29% of the soybean crop (compared to 66%). Those are among the lowest rates in history. Other farmers may end up planting nothing and have declared a total crop loss.


https://qz.com/1631469/midwest-floods-l ... -us-farms/

Nice country, good job. Can't wait for Dustbowl 2.0

Aira
Posts: 309
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:57 pm

Re: No need to recycle

Postby Aira » Mon Jun 10, 2019 12:58 pm

I don't think anyone can be perfect when it comes to the environment.

Some people think organic is the way forward, but the yield per acre is lower even in highly capable agricultural countries. Organic animals tend to grow more slowly, meaning they consume more water. Even if they consume the same amount of food as non-organic animals, the amount of land needed to feed organic animals will be greater because of the lower yield. E.g. this option isn't perfect.

Going all vegetarian isn't a solution, because huge chunks of the world can currently be put to use through grazing. Huge swathes of land in the Netherlands are not suitable for farming because of the high watertable. E.g. where I live there's a number of pastures where the grass is less than a foot above the water. Good luck growing potatoes, wheat or corn there. However, that land can be grazed. So becoming vegetarian or vegan isn't a full solution either.

I do think people have more power than they think, just by being more choosy of whose products they consume. Then again, if you take clothing, it's often impossible to tell if any given item of clothing was made in safe/ healthy conditions for the workers and for a proper pay, so there are many areas where improvement is still possible.

One thing that will not really affect climate change, but does a world of good when it comes to microplastics is to take a look at whether your toothpaste, scrubcream and so on contains microplastics. Some of these products do, which is mindboggling.

At any rate, if you want to do something, pick something and realize it likely won't be perfect, as much as some green extremists will claim they are in fact perfect.
Last edited by Aira on Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

fiddler
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2015 12:17 am

Re: No need to recycle

Postby fiddler » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:07 pm

Brione Furcas wrote:
aish wrote:One of the best articles on climate change I have ever read.

https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/2019/ ... n-new-deal

I have long felt that the way we talk about addressing environmental problems is incredibly inadequate or else violently inconsiderate of the human lives that are the most vulnerable and cannot afford to just opt out of fossil fuel systems. I don't think the article per se focuses enough on collective action models because clearly those methods have been failing us - large scale protests didn't particularly improve sluggish climate change accords. But it really picks up on what's wrong with this personal responsibility model.


I'm happy to recycle my plastic cups and walk to places where I can, but this climate change nonsense is just a scam.




Have to agree with Brione here

Arkan
Posts: 274
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 3:32 pm

Re: No need to recycle

Postby Arkan » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:34 pm

I think the title is problematic in a society that increasing doesn't go beyond the title. I would emphasize the problems of personal accountability, yet try not to diminish its progress. After all, it is personal accountability that allows for innovative startups to access consumers and helps local governments enact policy that might only apply to a few thousand or few million, but still matters. As with everything, we can strive to be good, but don't strive to be perfect.

People who think climate change is a scam and flat earthers are basically the same people.

Petra
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:02 pm

Re: No need to recycle

Postby Petra » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:09 pm

Aira wrote:Going all vegetarian isn't a solution, because huge chunks of the world can currently be put to use through grazing. Huge swathes of land in the Netherlands are not suitable for farming because of the high watertable. E.g. where I live there's a number of pastures where the grass is less than a foot above the water. Good luck growing potatoes, wheat or corn there. However, that land can be grazed. So becoming vegetarian or vegan isn't a full solution either.


I agree totally that the idea of shaming everyone into the 'best possible action' at every turn is a completely flawed tactic, but informing and improving decision making is an important step to turn individual choice into a global benefit.

As for the situation regarding going vegan or vegetarian (neither of which I am I add to frame my argument), your statement isn't quite accurate Aira. Although certain areas currently used for grazing are potentially unsuitable for standard forms of arable farming (although someone who knows more feel free to point out types of crops that might challenge that), on a global scale a switch away from meat has a huge impact.

Here's a far better study on it than I could summarise - https://www.ft.com/content/3b210ddc-bba ... b72926558f and the takeout summary:

"According to scientist Joseph Poore of Oxford University, worldwide conversion to veganism would shrink the amount of farmland needed by 3.1 billion hectares, the size of the African continent. That land could store carbon instead, in trees for example. Poore estimates worldwide veganism could also help cut greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter."

Simply put, reducing out meat consumption is almost certainly the single biggest sustainable and practicable step we can take as individuals to reduce our carbon emissions.

Aira
Posts: 309
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:57 pm

Re: No need to recycle

Postby Aira » Mon Jun 10, 2019 5:36 pm

Sure, cutting down on meat is important. However, everyone going vegan and then sitting land that can produce meat and dairy that can feed people and let it sit unused is pretty silly. Especially if the climate is going to get worse, depending on harvests not failing is going to be increasingly risky. Having a surplus food by keeping plains or areas like the Alps in use for grazing and subsequent meat production will be a good thing. Not to mention keeping animals is going to be necessary anyway, for making pet food and baby formula, and probably a bunch of other products I haven't thought of. Like chocolate. :P

There's a word here for being a parttime vegetarian: flexitarian. That seems infinitely better than vegan, especially.


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