While a large part of this damage has been caused by rising sea temperatures, another large component is due to the run-off from agriculture, refineries and mining. The latter being a directly contributed by the local population.
The region is currently in a economic recession and many of the mines and refineries have either slowed or ceased operation. Anecdotally, the sentiment of the population affected by (un)employment by these industries are either unaware or ignorant towards the damage that the industries are having on this sensitive ecosystem. Instead they are consumed by how they are going to make ends meet.
In this environment, it is unthinkable to allow Adani expand their Carmichael mine to further exacerbate the situation. Add to this, that a former Adani board member is appointed to evaluate the environmental impacts of the expansion. Adani is the biggest direct threat to Australia, both environmentally and economically and they are in talks with the government to be provided with a $1 billion tax-payer funded railway line. Adani and the Carmichael mine expansion are rifled with corruption.
The issue of the reef and climate-change in general is a fairly untouched issue in Australian politics. I'm not sure that we are going to get anywhere without foreign intervention.
If you are interested, I do urge you to read some material on Adani and the Carmichael coal mine expansion and perhaps donate to a "StopAdani" cause.
Wish us luck.
I'm surprised by you saying this.
I was in australia last year and saw TV news a couple of times. And multiple times climate change was mentioned as one of the election issues. Of course mentioning the issue doesn't mean it's being taken seriously or that politicians will do something about it. But I felt this seems to be at least a topic that is talked about.
Just to give you some contrast: Hillary Clinton completely stopped talking about Climate Change at all once Bernie Sanders was out of her way . In Germany, there was a statistics about the topics of TV talk shows recently, which was picked up by a number of media outlets, because it had an overwhelming bias towards having the refugee crisis as the major topic. Talk shows about climate change? Zero.
Australia chose to elect a party with policies that target greenhouse gas emissions the least, 26-28% 2005 levels by 2030, where the next most popular party has target of 45% 2005 levels by 2030.
The former Labor government introduced a tax on carbon emissions and a mining resource rent tax in 2012. These taxes were later repealed in 2014 by our current Liberal/National government. Since the repeal, our emissions have been steadily increasing.
Talk is cheap and when push comes to shove on climate change, the majority of Australian's give into the scaremongering of conservative politics.
I thoroughly urge anyone in the world with the means to do so, to visit and experience it.
Whilst amazing, the bleaching had clearly started although not fully set in. It was as such a bitter sweet experience. I regret not going earlier, having been in Australia for over a decade - yet grateful to have seen it in some semblance of its glory before it's gone. And very sad - and angry - that it is going.
I am angry because we have direct control over the mining that contributes directly to this calamity. However the going rule is that politicians must bend over backwards to accommodate them; or I guess that's just what they pay for? It certainly feels as corrupt as.
Blew my mind so much I got off the boat, handed over my credit card and said I'd be back the next day to do it again.
The federal government has ignored these issues for decades while we've been burning coal for power and digging it up and exporting it to the biggest polluters.
It's disgusting, really.
Its not the same now. If by the time I have kids and they don't get to have the experience of lush underwater life, I will definitely believe we humans are cancer for the planet.
Australia is a rich and educated country. If they can't fix the mess they created I don't have much hopes for the other parts of the world.
If so, then I am so very sorry for Aussies...
Much of the current trouble in Australian politics though is because we have the senate which is proportionally elected. I'd argue this is a good thing overall, but our two major parties (particularly the current one) don't seem to have realised that they have to negotiate policy to make it pass.
Parties learned to "negotiate" so well they became meaningless, frequently absurd laws pass that all parties allowed, you see multiparty tickets that include extreme left and right at same time, and when a big corruption scandal shows uo we find out almost all parties were involved...
I personally believe Brazil need to copy UK and put at least our monarch back in power, we had less political problems during monarchy (and much more infrastructure investment) and the royal family all live good noncorrupt lives (many run successful law abiding business, some are seen as example of ethics, for example having business that repair environmental damage instead of causing it)
At least in the current system, the politicians hold responsibility and can get exposed, prosecuted, and convicted for corruption (eg. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Car_Wash ), after which you can try to get somebody else elected; how would it be better if you put an arbitrary family in power?
This shouldn't be a conversation. It's been conversation and compromise for far, far too long. Governments should be being firm with farmers, they're incredibly damaging to the environment and it's not even a lucrative industry.
Conversely, and unfortunately, the Great Barrier Reef is managed by Australian governments basically as a tourist attraction, rather than a unique and fragile national treasure.
There is a (locally) famous quote from the Australian writer Donald Horne: "Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck." (1964). A great many idiot politicians, jingoistic fools, and tourist offices are fond of repeating the first clause of this statement whilst omitting the latter, oblivious to the sharp irony of the full statement.
Yup. It's our very own version of "Born in the USA".
>> “Scientists had written off that entire northern section as a complete white-out,’’ Mr Eade said. “We expected the worst. But it is tremendous condition, most of it is pristine, the rest is in full recovery."
>> “It wasn’t until we got underwater that we could get a true picture of what percentage of reef was bleached,’’ Mr Stephen said. “The discrepancy is phenomenal. It is so wrong. Everywhere we have been we have found healthy reefs."
Also: "Great Barrier Reef: scientists ‘exaggerated’ coral bleaching" http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/great-barrier-re...
>> A full survey of the reef released yesterday by the authority and the Australian Institute of Marine Science said 75 per cent of the reef would escape unscathed.
>> Dr Reichelt said the vast bulk of bleaching damage was confined to the far northern section off Cape York, which had the best prospect of recovery due to the lack of onshore development and high water quality.
What do people think the carrying capacity of the planet means? Sustaining more humans means sacrificing other life that competes for our resources. It means pollution rising until it doesn't quite kill us but is well above the levels of a pristine, clean environment.
Nobody wants to live near the carrying capacity because approaching it means sacrificing anything that doesn't keep us alive.
Every round trip flight across the country you take contributes almost one year's allotment from the Paris agreement for one person -- https://co2.myclimate.org/en/portfolios?calculation_id=71970.... Flying first class and you're well over it. Eating meat contributes a lot too. Having more kids in western cultures contributes significantly.
Who among us, reading this, hasn't gone over their annual limit in just a few hours of flying, not to mention their regular life otherwise? How many have blown past their Paris limits already this year?
Some would say the damage was done by past generations. Okay, well what beautiful part of nature will our behavior destroy years from now? People keep posting to HN that since we can't change that a lot will happen, it doesn't matter any more, we should just enjoy ourselves, but there are different degrees of destruction.
Alternatively, we can fly less, drive less, eat much less meat, and have fewer kids. We don't need to wait for legislation. In fact, it's the fastest way to get legislation, since politicians follow voters.
In my experience, acting on all those things improved my life tremendously (including not flying for a year+ http://www.inc.com/joshua-spodek/365-days-without-flying.htm...), more than almost anything else. I'm more fit, enjoy my neighborhood and neighbors, and spend less money and there's nothing special about me.
It seems like the software conference industry is one that could be a leader in creating "virtual tracks" for conferences. This would have the effect of reducing unnecessary airplane trips while also opening conferences up to larger audiences.
There is a group within academia that is promoting this approach: https://academicflyingblog.wordpress.com/
Their FAQ has a lot of really solid information, and some of the answers really resonated with me in terms of "Do I really need to physically be at this conference?"
I wonder how much longer before the idea of limiting people's reproduction is on the table.
Someone who never has kids can probably drive a Hummer and spend every weekend jetting off somewhere, and their lifetime carbon footprint will still be many times lower than someone who has several children.
I understand that developed country carbon footprints are vastly higher than developing countries, but there are countries that are developing rapidly yet still have fertility rates of 4 or 5 children per woman. We can be pretty sure that those people aspire to having a western-style carbon footprint (and to be fair, why shouldn't they) either through migrating to a developed country or their own country developing.
When do we start saying that we need to limit the number of people who can exist? I don't see how it could ever be practically possible (outside of a regime like China, and even then it backfired horribly) but it if it could somehow be enforced it would probably be the best (and fairest) thing we could do.
Side note: for those of us who worry about this stuff, it can be hard to comprehend how little the average person cares about it. We have these TV shows in the UK which show people going through the process of buying a holiday home (British people are obsessed with houses/real estate to the point where watching other people buy a house is a recreational activity). The other day there was a family with 4 kids buying a holiday home in Florida. So they're planning to spend the rest of their lives jetting their whole (large) family across the Atlantic a few times a year. As someone who feels kinda guilty every time I fly, it just left me thinking that I'm wasting my mental energy on caring about this stuff when other people care so little.
As "native" developed country populations decline, I can see increasing tension as developing country populations continue to grow rapidly.
There's also the small problem that our accepted economic models seem to rely on perpetual growth.
What you're talking about is a global consensus to shrink the world population and economy. That isn't something I can personally take hold of. Despite the fact that I do live rather minimally - I don't kid myself that it's changing anything. I just like it that way.
I am often quite sceptical of the "science will save us" approach, but actually it seems more credible than the "change one person at a time" approach.
The system will change. It's already changing. The question is whether we design and follow the change or nature does it for us. The demise of the world's largest living structure is just the latest in decades of evidence. How much more do we need?
This community is so enthusiastic about going to Mars, universal basic income, and other challenges to current systems. Why so resistant to this change? So enthusiastic about entrepreneurship solving problems except this fundamental belief that economies must grow. Are we so tied to bacon, big houses, and regular trips to Paris? Humans lived for hundreds of thousands of years with cities of millions of people without planes, cars, and so on. We don't need them for happiness. Nor do we need to get rid of them. We can live a modern life with modern medicine, modern toys, the internet and so on, we just have to curb it a bit. Well, more than a bit.
> I am often quite sceptical of the "science will save us" approach, but actually it seems more credible than the "change one person at a time" approach.
Hence my point that changing my behavior improved my life and that I'm not special. Simplifying and reducing consumption from our culture's wastefulness isn't sacrifice. You don't have to keep believing it is.
Simplifying and reducing consumption can materially improve your life. Even if it didn't, why not take responsibility for how your actions affect others like you wish past generations did instead of killing the Great Barrier Reef? Why not decouple your happiness from burning fossil fuels and owning more stuff? You don't have to keep waiting for everyone else.
Frankly, the "challenge" of how to convince people to live as if most of the fruits of the industrial and technological revolutions never arrived is deeply unappealing. It's also nonsense on stilts: We don't get iPhones or specialized cancer cures without the consumer economy big enough to support demand for them.
Perpetual growth and protection of natural resources are inherently at odds with each other. Until the global economy fundamentally changes, things are only going to keep getting worse.
Utter nonsense (other than you not having kids, that's your choice).
Market forces will in fact solve the "problem" (to the extent it is one) of excess CO2 output. If it is finally determined that CO2 based warming is problematic, the solution will be advanced technology, including high-intensity energy sources like nuclear power. In the absolute worst case, orbital sunshades or other mitigations will be used to decrease insolation.
The laughable thing about this article is the idea that any amount of spending by the Australian government to "take decisive action on climate change" would help. If Australia completely stopped producing CO2, it would have no measurable effect on water temperatures around the Great Barrier Reef, especially since the argument is that current CO2 levels are causing the problem. Then there's the fact that Australia is a minor contributor to global CO2 emissions...
What's needed on "climate change" is a lot more rational thought, and a lot less hysteria.
1.) Believe a solution still exists
2.) Believe that Australia of all the small populations on Earth would somehow matter if such a solution existed (no offense Australia, you matter in general)
3.) Believe that "thought" matters at this point. You might as well be telling people marching to the gallows to cheer up, nothing good can come of being all depressed. You might be right, but at least stop pretending that it's going to change the actual outcome.
2) My comments about Australia addressed the generally fuzzy thinking on this topic.
3) Again, there is no reason to think that the outcome is definite at this point. Clearly, in the worst case, technology should provide a solution. If the gloomiest projections turn out to be incorrect, for which there is mounting evidence, no mitigation may be needed at all.
I gave the concrete example of orbital sunshades, which are absolutely feasible given current engineering techniques. Another possible CO2 mitigation are iron-induced ocean algae blooms. Many other approaches have been suggested including nuclear powered CO2 sequestration in the Antarctic. I'm sure that many other innovative, technology based mitigations will be proposed over time.
I hope that clears things up for you.
I did state that market forces are the solution, and the reason for that is cleaner and ultimately cheaper technologies are displacing combustible fuels - primarily solar, nuclear and wind. Coal is already being displaced by cheaper natural gas, and advances in CO2 free technologies will make them the least expensive of all in the end. Proponents of new modular nuclear reactor designs believe they'll generate electricity for 3 to 5 cents per KWH, for instance.
I continue to fly across the country for work because refusing only hurts my career and gives me a slight sense of smug superiority. Someone else on standby would just take my seat anyway and my refusal would have had no impact (other than a negligible reduction in revenue for the airline).
Instead I actually do something that might have an impact and I donate to organizations researching alternative energy or just straight up planting trees.
I would rather just have the price of carbon emissions priced into the airline tickets than stupidly trying to shame anyone who travels.
Don't be so quick to judge the members of your community, maybe consider a less accusing tone, I dunno. But you're pointing your finger at everyone and no one.
A lifetime of living on/underneath the poverty line and having guardians that couldn't keep a job or car or house of their own has helped shape my perspective on what constitutes as a "comfortable" life. I would like to travel more later in life but I will try to be as conservative as reasonably possible in my transportation methods.
I knew that a career in software/tech would allow me to live this way, but it's much more difficult to maintain this lifestyle in non-technical career paths. Couple that with forced societal and parental expectations to "get the car, get the job, get the house, get the girl" and incentivising propaganda, and it can be pretty tough to see any other option.
Poverty in America continues to rise and we may find the next generation to be much more environmentally conservative than us, not only because they weren't riding on a financial investment bubble like their grandparents but because they will expect to see the results of our environmental selfishness in their lifetimes.
But as for what we can do to educate Joe Schmoe, who is knee-deep in his mortgage and car and child support payments, who has a daughter in private school because the local school is terrible, who has no time in their work schedule to prepare their own meals, who takes an ocean liner cruise every two years because it's the only thing keeping them from killing themselves... well, I have no fucking clue. And that isn't good, because this is the average middle-class American. And we need the middle-class involved in environmental change because they have resources others do not and have greater capacity to adjust their consumption habits.
Telling Joe Schmoe about how we live conservative lives, and how he should be more like us is only going to make them more resilient to changing their minds.
It's got nothing, at all, to do with cars or flying. They're tiny pollutors compared to industry, specifically the dairy industry, transportation by truck and manufacturing things in China.
Sure we could fly less and drive less but that would do fuck all, and certainly having fewer kids isn't going to solve any problems. Having fewer kids in the west actually just means white people having fewer kids in the west, we're well below replacement rate and are being rapidly replaced by people coming from high birthrate countries like India.
The only thing that will actually solve the problem is sustained government intervention in trucking, dairy and industry, worldwide.
Most of us westerners have a pretty decent standard of living. Yet we blame industry for the environmental costs of our standard of living while simultaneously paying industry for their services. So I think we are just as much to blame. And by "we" I am completely blaming myself too.
You can't solve these problems by peer pressuring people into not supporting exploitative systems. Your argument is akin to people saying 'so much for being socialist, you own an iphone, capitalism made your iphone!'.
Now I don't use amazon prime to get things that I could just as easily get from local shops, except for things that already come from overseas anyway. I live in NZ, I don't have much choice. What little carbon budget the world does have should be used to ensure that people living in places like NZ can still have access to global commerce.
I don't buy fruits out of season. And I certainly don't buy 'pre-packaged foods'. What does that even mean? Do people actually buy plastic-wrapped boxes of lettuce from the supermarket? Really? Do people really buy bottled water? Why would they do that?
But I shouldn't have to say that. That I do those things is irrelevant. I do them for many reasons, but you are passing the buck when you act like it's my personal responsibility to fix the ills of the world. It isn't. It's society's responsibility as a whole. It should be a global push.
Otherwise we're just taxing conscience.
I have started growing my own tomatoes, so hopefully that helps, but it's only one item out of many.
We are societally unable to do that currently. It's our modern religion. Otherwise incredibly smart people (I include everyone on this website) are unable to see that only government intervention (pushed for by us) can solve this problem.
Sadly that happens a lot in the UK :(
> you are passing the buck when you act like it's my personal responsibility to fix the ills of the world
Where did I say it was your responsibility _alone_ to "fix the ills of the world"? What I said was we are all, collectively, responsible. Myself included. I also said industry exists to serve our consumption. This is me accepting my responsibility not me passing the buck.
That's not a fallacy. There's a direct and causal relationship between that "something as a whole" and you doing it personally. No one is saying that you alone are responsible for this systemic issue, but at least cop to your role in it.
Here's a better analogy still. Candidate X won a recent election, and you voted for them. If we agree that we knew that candidate was bad before the election, then you, individually, did a bad thing! No one person's vote decides an election, but the fact that millions of other people voted for the same candidate doesn't absolve you of your role in electing them.
Wanting to raise taxes and wanting higher tax revenue is the same thing. And that does not mean I should pay more in tax voluntarily. I want tax rates to be higher across the board in a way that is fair to everyone.
Of course it's not reasonable to 'just pay more tax voluntarily'. That's ridiculous. That's just taxing the people that want tax rates on everyone to be higher. By that logic we should all just pay however much we want. That's stupid.
>Here's a better analogy still. Candidate X won a recent election, and you voted for them. If we agree that we knew that candidate was bad before the election, then you, individually, did a bad thing! No one person's vote decides an election, but the fact that millions of other people voted for the same candidate doesn't absolve you of your role in electing them.
No, that's a terrible analogy, that's not at all the same thing. I want fair government policy affecting all carbon producers to fight global warming. I don't want to never eat meat, I want meat to be priced taking into account the negative externalities of meat production. If a steak costs $20 because that's how much all the water costs and repairing the environmental damage costs, then that's fair.
I don't want just the people that care about the environment to volunteer to do tiny, irrelevant amounts to help. I want the people that are actually causing significant environmental damage to be held responsible. I'm sick of hearing about how to fight climate change. Climate change isn't a person, the people we should be fighting are the people CAUSING climate change, and that isn't me or you.
Yes, it is.
This isn't really controversial or even an arguable position; the tragedy of the commons is a well known and accepted economic theory. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons
Big businesses cause almost all environmental damage, worldwide.
I think the point is that there is an opportunity to take personal responsibility here. Why wait for government? Using a couple of your examples, buying less stuff made in China would go a long way.
While changing the agreement and raising awareness is good, its basically rearranging the deck chairs on the titantic.
Do you know how many "upright citizens" I know who dont shop at wallmart? All my friends, family, and people I work with.
And how's wallmart doing economically right now?
Even a decently large group of citizens taking action has minimal impact on the global scale.
Either convince the governments of the world or expect the slide to continue at an ever increasing pace.
Transportation accounts for about 14% of emissions, compared to 24% for agriculture and 21% for industry. https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emiss...
And then the greet barrier reef will be a memory.
Unfortunately these are badly underfunded, not coordinated at a national level as they should be, and do not address the biggest threat - climate change. The reef is doomed unless something is done about CO2 emissions. It's probably already too late.
The loss of the GBR will see a collapse of tourism industries, and entire ecosystems will die off. There are going to be huge impacts in the next 15-20 years to come out of this.
A lot of low lying countries in the pacific will get the triple whammy of increased cyclone activity, rising sea levels and a loss of reefs and the fish populations that they subsist on. There are huge humanitarian disasters ahead.
How so? How are they different from any other natural ecosystem?
In a tropical rainforest, you can ramble uncomfortably through dense undergrowth for hours, hearing many animals but glimpsing few, usually from a limited range of phyla, and seeing mostly plants. On a healthy reef, drift but a few minutes through the clear, warm seawater, and the sheer abundance and variety of algae, corals, anenomes, molluscs, echinoderms, sponges and many other invertebrate phyla, as well as algae and of course fish, will be immediately apparent.
The reason CO2 is going up, at an increasing rate, is largely because the biosphere's ability to absorb CO2 is diminished.
> the world drastically cutting carbon emissions
I believe the grim truth is this: the world's transformation would continue for a long time even if humans stopped producing CO2 tomorrow.
Preparations for the inevitable should be our focus.
Of course if you ask anyone on the street if they are in favor of protecting the reef they'd say yes, but when they see the price tag they would probably lose interest.
Unfortunately, this is what old, rich, often religious men believe, which is a terrible representation of the actual country.
This is said generally, as I have no specific experience of the situation in Australia
The left would now allow an open vote for it but when they were last in government the tide of public opinion probably hadn't turned far enough yet.
The thought that I've probably managed to miss my only opportunity in my life to see it is heartbreaking to me, and I'm a Kiwi, not an Australian. It's a national treasure. It's like, to me, the total destruction of the Pink And White Terraces in NZ. I will never, ever see them. Nobody will. And my future kids will never see the Great Barrier Reef.
The whole situation is depressing :(
Full disclosure: GetUp is a politically partisan organisation with strong left leanings. But I think the work they're doing around these issues is rooted more in common sense than politics.
Is anyone else involved in any grassroots-level efforts to save the reef? I'd be interested to hear about them.
That being said, they are equally critical of the QLD government and the corporate entities that are supporting Adani. Have a read of Sam's timeline.
We could live in bubbles of air under the ocean huddled around nuclear reactors if we needed to. Roaches couldn't do that (without our help).
Are we? We've been around for a fraction of the time and nearly gone extinct at least once (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory). We also have a tendency to build absurdly interconnected systems so a single failure has ripple effects, we see this in things like the late bronze age collapse where most civilizations in the Mediterranean disapeared (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Bronze_Age_collapse).
For more examples look at our closest relatives which survived on earth longer than we did but ultimately went extinct.
Regarding your first example, Toba: we have no record of what may or may not have happened to a small population of Neanderthals 75.000 years ago, and your source itself states "Both the link and global winter theories are highly controversial".
Your second example marks the decline of a civilization, but does not even come close to what could be described as an "extinction".
It's the only example that I know of because humans have only been around for the blink of an eye, Toba maybe be the worst that nature has thrown at us, which is a fraction of what it's capable of.
There are some other more documented examples the merely bought down civilizations (or helped anyway), like the Justinian Famine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_weather_events_of_535%...) thought to be caused by a volcanic eruption.
> Your second example marks the decline of a civilization, but does not even come close to what could be described as an "extinction".
I didn't mean to imply otherwise, though I would say they are one and the same thing in the long term. For humanity to survive and spread beyond our planet we need civilization and we've used up so many natural resources that I'm not sure we could rebuild one to match what we have today without them.
There's no point in spreading beyond our planet if we cannot create a fully sustainable planetary civilization first. The energy expenditures of GOING to another STAR and terraforming a planet in its orbit are many magnitudes more than it takes to create a paradise here, on Earth, at least from the perspective of energy requirements of modern countries.
I suppose governments probably have that fairly well doomsday planned.
Probably not but I doubt we'd regress very much. The world's population of less than 2 billion in the early 20th century was able to produce automobiles, airplanes, radios, etc. With the benefit of all the inventions and knowledge left behind I bet just a billion people could pretty easily maintain at least an early to mid 20th century level of technology. It would be a step backwards for sure but in the context of human progress it would be a minor blip.
Don't bet on governments having anything planned. That sounds like fantasy; just look at how governments actually behave in the real world: they're inept too.
This apocalyptic thinking is something you only do if you're so removed from violence that you have to imagine the whole world ending to conceive of it getting to you. People who actually deal with violence know they never get all of us. People are lost. It sucks. But we are resilient too. In a million people, there are always a few who are both smart and lucky and are able to reorganize reality ahead of the wave. That's why there are 6 billion of us. We survive.
Want a historical example? Look at the fall of the Roman Empire (and also older empires before them). They knew how to make concrete, huge buildings, aquaducts, plumbing, etc. It was all lost when the society collapsed, and that didn't involve killing off most of them, only having them give up on it and move away, and give up on the idea of specialization of labor. It took 1000 years or more to regain the level of technology they had, and really they never did figure out how to make concrete that good until modern times.
People absolutely survive, but survival is far more work, and far less population is supported per acre. Not necessarily bad, but very different. And hard everyday.
An extinction event is not the same thing as a man made holocaust, it can be far more thorough. None the less, it seems more prudent to ameliorate the issue rather than just accept it as if it's inevitable.
Try to come up with a realistic scenario that kills the last 100m humans. I've never seen one. You'd become at least internet famous if you could do it.
But also as the world collapses a thousand motivated people could and would relocate a basic computer fab to a safe location. Guaranteed.
Our technology stack is like a house of cards. Smartphones are at the top. There's no way they will be of any use in the event that the foundation and the walls collapse.
I strongly doubt that. Electronics are not designed to last that long; components age. Also, planned obsolescence is king these days.
To preserve knowledge you need it to be usable and accessible as the high edifice of our technological society crumbles. That would mean quality paper, vellum or some other durable material. We know it can last for hundreds to thousands of years if properly cared for. And I suspect that with the essentials of our knowledge base preserved and disseminated in such a way, we could quickly re-master the missing advanced stuff in a handful of decades. But if we relied on smartphones to save us, we'd quickly become savage and starving cavemen!
One of the more dangerous tendencies of modern times is that precision manufacturing techniques are often undocumented and are learned skills which require passing on from masters to trainees. There's plenty of technology from WW2 and earlier which we already can't recreate even though we know exactly what they look like. The people who knew retired and died. The drawings and documentation are useless without full training--we'd have to rediscover and refine the processes from scratch. Just last week I was reading about the restoration of a German WW2 fighter plane. They had to replace the entire engine because they couldn't manufacture a replacement part for the (repairable) original, because the machines to make the parts no longer exist and the expertise was lost. We'd have to make the machines to make the machines that make the part. Our technology base is built upon a house of cards. It's not a new phenomenon, but what is new is our utter reliance upon technology we have little control over to feed us and run our lives, making its loss quite disastrous.
You make it sound like this wasn't a huge deal.
I spent a week or so on Lady Elliot Island more than a decade ago, snorkelling every day. Because it is a protected area, the fauna are unafraid of people. I would dive down into these cavernous bowls of coral and be surrounded by schools of fish, rays, turtles. It was amazing.
I live in Europe now, but I always hoped to take my children there to see it one day. Seems there won't be much to see.
It seems like that ship has sailed, and now more technological advances are required.
Speaking from zero expertise or experience in marine biology, is it not possible to manufacture massive quantities of synthetic coral that somehow corrects for the changing water quality to enable coral life to flourish?
Identify areas that are become more hospitable, and work on establishing reefs there.
Expand artificial reef building, to help make up for lost area.
Cut carbon emissions, and work on finding ways to sequester what has already been released.
No one thing will be the fix, but they all have a role to play.
Can the worlds aquariums store a fraction of the biodiversity of the reef?
> Expand artificial reef building, to help make up for lost area.
It would take a massive engineering effort to make a dent in the area the Reef covers.
2. You don't need to replicate the entire area. You only need to make refugia. There is a lot of ocean shelf that is relatively barren, but could support a thriving reef, if only there was structure to build on. It's a subject that is being actively worked on. http://www.reefdesignlab.com/about/ for one example.
It doesn't have to be money spent just for reef creation, either. Changing how we construct jetties, piers, and other near-shore structures to be more welcoming to reef life would make a genuine impact.
You've got to keep in mind that we're not 'fixing' the problem, here. We're punting, and trying to keep the ball in play as long as possible while we work out the truly long-term solutions our carbon problem presents.
1) Climatic feedback systems such as arctic ice melting, or permafrost methane have already been triggered. This means their effect will continue for centuries if not millenia.
2) Climate lag. There are a few decades between emissions and consequences in the climate. 40 years on averge from what I've read. This means we are now only seeing the effects from the 70s emissions, and we have emitted more CO2 in the past decades than in the previous 150 years before that.
3) Cooling from sulfate aerosols produced by industrial activity. It's unclear how much these are cooling the atmosphere but even a small number such 0.2ºC would be considerable.
Our only chance are very strong negative emissions.
Are you referring to this guy?
We can do a LOT better in terms of pollution.
But the metric of "does putting in all this money and effort to fix the problem we created give us something back in return?" is absolutely poisonous. It's that selfish "is preserving this environmental habitat that has been around for millions of years worth my time or money?" that allowed us to dig this grave in the first place.
What grave? Things are better than ever!
But I'll bite. What metric are you using to say things are better than ever?
We are using more renewable energy, less coal. Every year we add more solar/wind capacity than the past decade (just a guess). Soon, driverless electric cars will transport people autonomously, without creating any pollution, and road accidents will dwindle down to ~0.
More people have access to clean water, modern medicine, and we have treatments/preventions for the deadliest of diseases.
I mean, what's not to love?
Yes, we live with countless blessings. But this is in spite of continued industrial negligence and increasing international economic pressure.
In spite of the fact that our wages increasingly do not match our economic contributions, while the costs of living continues to rise just about everywhere in modern countries. In spite of increasingly militarized police states engaging in targeted socioeconomic suppression across the globe.
In spite of many, many things.
I want to have optimism for the future, too. But I'm not going to ignore the multitudes of problems we face today, and will face tomorrow.
>Coral reefs play a critical role in the carbon cycle of our planet, by taking calcium ions and dissolved carbon dioxide from the water and turning it into calcium carbonate forming their hard skeleton. http://www.reefrecovery.org/coral-reefs/
Then again, I guess it is not really about the jobs per se, but rather the $$$ kickback in royalties and 'spotters fees' that are paid into political campaign funds for passing the wrong bills through parliament.
If only they could tow the reef outside of the environment... (Hat tip to John Clarke - RIP)
Edit: Spoiler alert below... ;-)
Somebody apparently enjoyed the posting. The rest of us shall never know why, for it is gone now.
And there is a glut of sarcasm on the internet already, so one can afford to be a bit fussy about quality.
Why don't people care that something as amazing, beautiful, and awesome as the reef is under serious threat? Because we're all aresholes who love Trump/Tony/Maggie, obviously or just sheeple. There is no problem at all with alarmist catastrophism in the conservation movement and obviously no problem with alienating anyone who isn't wildly socialist. Pretend it's not an issue by all means but it won't be terribly helpful to achieve, you know, actual conservation.
I'm not saying this is the sole reason we get non-conservative estimates of environmental impact over a period of time, but it definitely applies. Most of us, due to various factors both in and out of our control, are too self-centered to understand that just because something will not disappear in our lifetime doesn't mean it isn't their immediate responsibility. It's best to assume the earth will shake and sky will split tomorrow and act accordingly. Sure, this alarmist approach can lead to burnout with a large, ignorant portion of the population but we can supplement this with proper education instead of trying to find a single golden bullet.
On top of that, we can only be so accurate when speaking about time-spans of climate-related events we have never had a chance to study as thoroughly as today. But the overwhelming majority of scientists who have found themselves studying the climate feel a great sense of urgency about making changes while we can. They know more than anyone how out of our control this will soon be and how it affects our interconnected ecosystems. So there is a tendency to lean on conclusions that make waves and turn heads.
And it's not just reefs. For example, the alarmist prophecies of our fuel supplies drying up within a matter of decades has probably contributed very positively to extreme efforts by international parties to greenify our energy production and transportation systems. I doubt people would be trying as hard to make the switch right now if we still had half a millennium of reserves left. It's kind of like how many of us tend to procrastinate on our own work and increasingly put in more effort as the deadline approaches.
I don't make that justification. I believe that misinformation, propaganda and lies undermine the efficient allocation of resources to most effectively deal with the problems at hand (of which on this planet there are many, starting with 700m people without adequate access to clean drinking water). Whether such lies are told by oil companies, communists, facists, environmentalists, people calling themselves scientists bug engaging in politics or by some drunk, whether well-meaning or nefarious. Lies lead muddying of the decision making waters and to sub-optimal outcomes in the short term about specific decisions and then in the longer term, they destroy the process of the attempt at honest allocation leading to ridiculous populism of obvious lies and liars. Such people are provided with more ammunition than they need and can rightly claim themselves to be liars of the same kind. We've seen it before, we're seeing some more of it again and it may get worse before it gets better. It sure won't help the reef. "We're facing disaster but we can lie our way out of it?" Not much of a rallying cry. "Our lies are better than theirs!" Again...
This one continues to resonate with me, if you haven't read it I highly recommend you do and work out what you disagree with and why.
I do not think these are lies. Most of these scientific articles we read are highly sensationalized. The problem lies within the state of journalism. That isn't to say there aren't scientists who skew results to get more grant money, but that isn't really the case here. If you want a more accurate depiction of how the scientific community feels, stick to reading papers and not popular science news articles.
That being said... 2/3 of the country's reefs being bleached is not something you would consider a disaster?
You're conflating budgetary issues here. We can try to save the coral reef AND allot more money towards humanitarian efforts. That's the point of this article. They are forsaking their politicians for not making the right choices with their tax money. They are seeking international help. They aren't asking Doctors Without Borders to make a donation or bugging local food banks for money. They would probably rather the money come back from whatever scandalous Australian political/financial scams are going on. I don't know much about the state of affairs of the Australian government but don't you think this pretty much captures the issue?
2/3 of the reef bleached is a disaster? I don't know. I don't even know what that means anymore? It sounds like it? Is it supposed to sound like it? Is it manipulative because I (and most australians) really do like the reef. Is it accurate science this time when in the past it has been propaganda?
I have no idea. If it's the latter wolf has been cried too often and I'm reacting to it as if it's yet another piece of manipulation. This is not a good state of affairs for those in the environmental movement pointing at it and the response "Should I believe this more than I believe what Trump says?" The credibility should so wildly different as to be incomparable, but it isn't.