Re: NANFA-- biological bombs detonating everywhere

Jeffrey Fullerton (
Fri, 04 Aug 2000 03:28:29 -0400

Bruce Stallsmith wrote:

> The
> biological bombs is us, to paraphrase the old Pogo cartoons. We have
> increasing population in much of the world, including the US, and everyone
> wants to drive a BMW and go to Harvard.

I have no desire for either. There is more to life than big cars and going to Ivy
League schools. Alot of people aspire for extravagantly foolish things and even
attain them ,yet happiness eludes them. A free society gurantees the right to
pursue happiness but it cannot gurantee happiness.

> This won't happen, but as people
> strive in this (exagerrated) direction something has to give and that's the
> original ecosystem. Libertarian ideals fall short under such pressures, and
> putting the iron heel to people to make them stop acting so crazy is not a
> desirable outsome (or esp. efficient).

You can't save everything or undo every evil in the world. The best that can be
hoped for is to save remaining "natural ecosystems" and try to restore habitats
in areas that have been altered by long term human occupation. That would be in
the way of artificial wetlands and creation of forest nuclei on abandoned parcels
within urban areas - reclaimed strip mines and such. Also the use of native
plants in home landscapes - especially substituting for exotics that have
notorious reputations as troublemakers.
Also there is the bourgeoning potential for alternative technologies - passive
solar and earth sheltering for new dwellings - ecovilliage designs like the
Prairie Crossing development that incorporated prairie and woodland habitats plus
a series of lakes which are serving as refugia of rare and endangered fishes! If
environmentalists were really serious about saving the planet they would
aggressivly push for green technologies - even put their money where their mouth
is and start entreprenurial ventures. Some of them indeed have. Unfortunately
there are alot of people out there who are waving protest signs that say they're
out to save the planet who are totally clueless as to what they would do if they
ever did get the chance. Like what would the dog who chases cars ever do if he
actually caught one?

> I would vote for human water use practices as the numero uno biological
> bomb, whether it's Las Vegas sucking dry the intermountain West, or Turkey,
> Syria and Iraq scuffling over the rights to destroy the Tigris River, or
> China building huge dams/reservoirs, or... any of many other such
> insanities.

These people will either find a way to make due or else their cities will fail.
Of course God help us if these population centers ever do collapse- those of us
fortunate enough to live in more hospitable climes would probably be in serious
trouble as well as the ecologies of other regions. When large numbers of people
are forced to move somewhere else they don't have much sympathy for niceities
like conservation or respect for other people already living there. There are
many environmentalists who look forward to the collapse of technological
civilization the same as many a religious groups have often looked forward to
political turmoil and ominous world events as a sign of prophetic fulfillment.
I think Jerry Pournelle sums it up very well in "A Step Farther Out" - a book
about utilizing resources from space to help alleviate resource problems on Earth
- he says for the most part that if civilization does collapse we can pretty much
kiss most of our ecosystem goodbye - because we will end up eating everything
else. Birds, fish and animals- native and exotic alike will be among the first to
go after we get done cleaning out the shelves in the supermarkets. Then we'll eat
one another.

> But gasoline is back around $1.42/gal. in the US, so we must after all be
> living in paradise. YMMV, of course!

Provided we don't get caught up in some insane downward spiral, we will move
beyond fossil fuels. Electric vehicles are still not quite feasable yet but
getting closer. And there are fuel cells and the possibility of hydrogen fueled
vehicles. OPEC knows this and probably won't raise prices too much more or else
they will accellarate the process even farther - plus encourage more conservation
of energy.

With solar power satellites in orbit plus ocean thermal power we could run the
whole planet on clean hydrogen fuel or electricity. Plus there is a whole bunch
of other smaller techs that can provide a healthy and diverse energy economy
along with increasing effiecency of devices that need less power to operate. Plus
information technologies that make it possible to do things without having to
move people and material around as much as in the past.

> --Bruce "Negative Population Growth" Stallsmith
> Huntsville, AL "The Lawnmower City" (a new nickname)

Within a few more generations when most developing nations reach a more affluent
state we may find ourselves faced with a dillema of negative growth as opposed to
the "Population Bomb" that folks like Paul Erlich used to worry about back in the
70s. As people become more affluent they tend to have fewer babies. The only
thing keeping the US population from falling is immigration from countries that
aare still growing. There is now concern that eventually we could end up with a
nation, perhaps even a planet full of elderly folks and hardly anyone to support
them in their old age. Of course it is also very likely that this trend will be
offset by the increasing proliferation of automation and life extending
technologies - the latter of which will also help alliviate the more closer
looming crisis of what happens when all the Baby Boomers retire?

But enough speculations. Predicting the future is a very risky business. Like our
friend Paul Erlich and others who once told us that there would be famine in the
USA by 1980 or those who once declared that atomic power would be so cheep they
wouldn't even bother to meter it!
Yet whoever thought internet service providers would offer unlimited world-wide
access for a flat monthly fee?

Jeff (who wants to live long enough to be on the first starship to Alpha
Centauri) Fullerton
And who knows maybe most of us on this list tonite may very well be there when it
I'll have to come up with a good nickname for my hometown.

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