GetOffYourGas wrote:GRA wrote:The sheer number of humans on the planet, along with their high densities, is the underlying cause of all major human-based environmental impacts.
Disagree. It's a contributing factor, combined with our high-consumption way of life. But it is not the cause.[
Then what is? One person dumping their wastes in a river isn't a problem, but millions of them doing so is. A few hundred thousand scattered cooking fires has little effect, but billions of people in an industrial society burning huge amounts of energy is. Scale is crucial.
GetOffYourGas wrote:GRA wrote:It may be possible to eliminate the deleterious environmental effects of large numbers of humans at high density, but it will always be easier to do so if the numbers and densities are smaller. Since we don't yet have the ability to eliminate those effects, our only other option is to reduce the size of the problems by reducing the number of people contributing to them.
As to eliminating the human race entirely from the earth, there are more than a few scientists who've pointed out that our survival as a species isn't required; it's our egos that make us think our continuation is important. In short, it matters to us, but the earth would get along just fine without us, as it did for the several billion years before we arrived.
Let's just say that you and I have very different views on our purpose here. We don't exist to support the earth. The earth exists to support us.
Yes, we do have different views. To me, our and the earth's existence are independent; it's not aware of us, it doesn't exist to serve us, nor do we exist to support it. We have evolved in a particular period of the earth's existence, and are dependent for our continued survival on things continuing more or less as they have for the past couple of million years or so (i.e. long past the Great Oxygenation event that caused mass species extinction, but was essential to our eventual development), and more specifically for industrial society, as they've existed since the last major Ice age.
GetOffYourGas wrote:Of course the earth could and would go on without us. In fact, I said as much in my post. But that's not the point. We should care about the earth's ability to support us. That's the whole point - to allow the earth to continue to support human life.
Agreed that we should care, but that's only because it's important from our point of view, not because it's likely to be of cosmic importance.