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*** Chapter 2 *** Twilight at Easter

#19: Apr. - June 2005 (Non-Fiction)
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Chris OConnor

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*** Chapter 2 *** Twilight at Easter

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This thread is for discussing Ch. 2 - Twilight at Easter.You may post within this framework or create your own threads. Edited by: misterpessimistic  at: 4/13/05 1:09 pm
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Re: *** Chapter 2 ***

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Reading this chapter made me think of the Easter islanders as a vain, wasteful society. This is what I mean when I say that humans are prone to gluttonous behavior at the expense of the environment and to the detriment of our own existence.The race to build bigger statues makes me think about the American trend of bigger houses and bigger SUV's. It is all about pride and oneupmanship. It is wasteful. SUV's drink more gas, produce more pollution and cause more wear on the roads than smaller, more efficient cars. Even if Peak Oil is not an immediate concern, should we not at least heed the potential disaster and move toward conservation as opposed to throwing caution to the wind?And who needs an SUV in a city? Why? We see all the commercials with these vehicles climbing mountains and backroading, but how many city dwellers will ever do this? At least enough to HAVE to own one. Questions: What is the maximum population this planet can sustain? Will we be able to support exponential population growth indefinitely?Just throwing some thoughts out.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Re: *** Chapter 2 ***

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And who needs an SUV in a city? Why? We see all the commercials with these vehicles climbing mountains and backroading, but how many city dwellers will ever do this?Most SUVs, so far as I know, are not particularly well-designed for actual "sports utility" use. They're bought, I believe, as part of a general tendency towards defensive driving behavior. They're perceived to be more protective than other vehicles, more luxurious to some extent (because bigger, roomier), more useful (because they can carry more cargo than a compact) but not as stodgy as the mini-van or station wagon of yesteryear.Questions: What is the maximum population this planet can sustain?That would depend, I suppose, on the average seasonal consumption of each individual unit of the population. It seems intuitive to me that we could bring the average consumption down and find our current level of population far less worrisome than we do at the moment.
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Re: *** Chapter 2 ***

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Quote:Most SUVs, so far as I know, are not particularly well-designed for actual "sports utility" use.This I know, and they are NOT good for bad weather and can roll very easily. I think it is a case of marketing and the powerful feeling of being BIG on the road. SUV's also promote OFFENSIVE driving, from what I see on the road. Bottom line is they are more inefficient, fuel economy wise, and use more gas than other vehicles and really are NOT necessary. Now I am not against SUV's in general. I am against the excessive models...the Hummers and Denalis...those HUGE monsters.Quote:It seems intuitive to me that we could bring the average consumption down and find our current level of population far less worrisome than we do at the moment.Yes but, especially in this country, do you see consumption going down? Are Americans too spoiled to reduce now? Will it take a catastrophic event to bring about prudence?I know a few of us see the need for and can actually live a life of moderation, but is that enough to make the change?I read the excerpt from "Catastrophe" by Posner in Skeptic. He mentions that in 2050, the population will increase 50%. That is huge! Now I know with reduced consumption, we may manage for a while, but there has to be a point, with exponential growth, where it is too much for the planet to sustain. Just having room to build new houses will not do, because the land still has to produce food...unless we find a way to nourish through pills or some Star Trekkian food synthesizer. I dont know...perhaps my moniker is rearing it's ugly head, but I am not too confident my kids are going to be living in a great time period. I think much is going to get worse before anything gets better.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper
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Re: *** Chapter 2 ***

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Will it take a catastrophic event to bring about prudence?Probably, but I think a socially catastrophic event is just as likely to have the needed effect as an environmentally catastrophic event -- although, we sort of are an environmentally catastrophic eventI know a few of us see the need for and can actually live a life of moderation, but is that enough to make the change?On an individual level I think it's possible to live moderately, but I think any attempt to implement conservative resource use will likely be too contrary to our socio-economic context to take hold.I read the excerpt from "Catastrophe" by Posner in Skeptic. He mentions that in 2050, the population will increase 50%. That is huge! Now I know with reduced consumption, we may manage for a while, but there has to be a point, with exponential growth, where it is too much for the planet to sustain.A more immediate effect will likely be overcrowding in urban areas, which tends to bring the level of hygiene down, which in turn tends to trigger, spawn or promote infectious disease. So far, we've been fairly effective at treating and containing outbreaks like SARS and ebola, but diseases like that act as a sort of stopgab measure for population growth. IF we continue to add pressure, it seems likely that eventually one outbreak or another is likely to overwhelm us.But that may not be on the immediate horizon. There are other factors which inhibit population growth -- social change, war, etc. -- which may gve lie to Diamond's prediction.
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Re: *** Chapter 2 ***

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Quote:although, we sort of are an environmentally catastrophic eventMad, that's funny in a really awful way! I believe that we must make changes. I don't know the numbers, but people in Canada and the USA consume FAR more than our fair share of the world's resources. Quote: So far, we've been fairly effective at treating and containing outbreaks like SARS and ebola, but diseases like that act as a sort of stopgab measure for population growth. IF we continue to add pressure, it seems likely that eventually one outbreak or another is likely to overwhelm us.There's a voice at my mental committee table that wants one of these diseases to do what it's meant to do. A dispassionate part of me 'knows' that it's necessary. But the rest of me wants better solutions...and I've been finding them, in the festival I was working on based on The Better World Handbook, and my current project, working for the Green Party. I have to do my little part to make it all a better place to live. [Maybe this is part of the discussion for the final chapter of Collapse?]Lori "All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."
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Re: *** Chapter 2 *** Twilight at Easter

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I'm writing this without having read any of the other posts. My notes at the end of the chapter are exactly as follows:OK, right now I'm feeling that this book is not a good book club book because I can't see where there is room for 'discussion'. His conclusions seems self evident and I'm anticipating many more long chapters of the same. I do find the chapter to be interesting and well written/edited. It's just that its doesn't seem conducive to discussion.Hopefully I'm wrong!
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Re: *** Chapter 2 *** Twilight at Easter

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The good thing is that discussion does not have to be limited to tearing apart an author's ideas or methodology -- instead, as Diamond's writing style is so readable, his arguments so clearly laid out, what we can do is expand upon them. We've already been doing that, by making associations to our own realities and discussing options and solutions.Lori "All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."
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Re: *** Chapter 2 *** Twilight at Easter

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i have to comment on the SUV part of this thread: I live in the city (san Francisco). I have a neighbor who owns a Ford Excessive (the big one) The vehicle won't fit in their garage. Because driveways are so close together, they usually can't park it in the street unless they block their own driveway (i have no problem with them blocking their own driveway) But when this is not possible, the park it IN the driveway. The problem with this is that the Excessive is so damn big that they block the sidewalk, the parking lane and the damn thing sticks out into the street! What a freekin' hazard! I can't imagine the thing has a steering wheel. Tank track controls are in order. I hope the looser pays $120 each week to fill the gas tank.
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Re: *** Chapter 2 *** Twilight at Easter

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Hey Loricat,Good point! Glad you brougt it up!Thanks!
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