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 The Slow Life

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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   22.09.08 10:17

Here's the link again:

http://www.slowplanet.com/index.cfm
(check out the blog and the four subcategories)

The point I was trying to make is that perhaps we need to consider, when planning our city, to incorporate some of these principles to create the quality of life that our residents deserve.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   22.09.08 13:44

The "stop the world, I want to get off" movement.
I think I should copyright that, it sounds like it could have legs.
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   22.09.08 21:31

I like that idea, lkm!

In researching this topic further, I found an economist who shares the same view, in this case specifically the average working day.

From Wikipedia:

In 2001, the government of the Australian state of Queensland highlighted Chapman's theory of the hours of labour in their submission to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission on the "Reasonable Hours" test case. They presented the following summary of Chapman's argument:

The main points of this argument can be summarised as follows:

* a mass of evidence indicating that reductions in hours of work had not led to proportionate declines in output;
* modern industry fatigue was less physical in nature and more a combination of psychological and physiological as a result of specialisation and increased need for mental concentration;
* the reduction of hours allowed better-rested workers to produce as much or more in the shorter hours;
* the total value of the output would initially rise as the working day increased but eventually the total output as well as the output per hour would decline as the working day became so long that it prevented adequate recovery from fatigue for workers;
* this is the case because, beyond a certain point, each additional hour of work would be contributing to the output of the current day's total output but at the expense of the following day's output capacity; and
* the intensity of the work involved would dictate the point at which total output begins to fall and thus the length of the 'optimal' working day.


Looks like your 35 hour work week might be best choice!
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   23.09.08 1:16

With longer, more stressful hours, there is an increase in on-the-job accidents and injuries. There are increases in mistakes and decreases in quality control that lead to industrial disasters as well as poor quality goods and services for the customer.
Long term problems include stress-related illnesses, that get very expensive, poor customer satisfaction and loss of customer loyalty, both of which lead to loss of profit, loss of stock prices and company failures.
The 35 hour work week has been shown to work reasonably well in France, so it's not just theoretical. The other aspect that should be taken into consideration is regarding employees as valuable assets that need to be theated as such as well as an investment of the company. Good working conditions, treating employees with respect increases morale and although this is intangible it has been shown to increase productivity and quality. Another aspect is share-profit programs where the employees have an incentive to be more productive and increase quality.

Again, two countries Australia and France have shown this theory to have merit, so it should be an eye opener to all these profit-at-all-cost companies.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   23.09.08 2:48

The 35 hour week has been shown to be economically damaging in France and they're trying to get rid of it.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   23.09.08 4:36

It worked reasonably well, but needed some modifications. It isn't just the work week, but as I pointed out it is also the treatment of the workers that needs to be addressed. At the same time the responsibility of the workers needs to be clarified. I don't for one second consider an all take and no give scenario in this. There's that word again, balance.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   23.09.08 5:44

And they've decided 35 hours is the wrong balance.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   23.09.08 5:53

OK. Well, perhaps find out what worked and what didn't work both in Australia and France and see if a workable program can be developed. It may still have to be a 40 hour work week, but the other factors could need to be taken into consideraton.
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Commodore

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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   23.09.08 15:02

It depends greatly on the sector of the economy that your talking about.
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   23.09.08 18:48

Why would a certain sector matter?
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   24.09.08 6:10

Because in the agricultural sector the amount of work is governed by nature not industry.
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   24.09.08 17:50

Farming is a profession where hours worked is completely irrelevant. Unless you're talking harvesters, milkers, etc. In that case, an individual could still work a 35 hour week, there would just need to be more employees.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   25.09.08 0:34

Locksley wrote:
Farming is a profession where hours worked is completely irrelevant. Unless you're talking harvesters, milkers, etc. In that case, an individual could still work a 35 hour week, there would just need to be more employees.
This is the point. You could start with a nice 35 hour week, but all it takes is a flood or a drought or some other severe natural event to through the system into chaos. The extra employees would be at best temporary and given the remote location of many farms this is not very practical. I completely agree that certain aspects can be implemented, just not all of them. But then again farming is a different kind of "slow life."
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   25.09.08 11:47

A flood, drought, natural disaster will throw any system into chaos. Just because someone works 35 hours a week doesn't mean he isn't available for more in times of emergency.

Quote :
But then again farming is a different kind of "slow life."

That was the other point I was going to get at. Farming is already a "slow profession" when not done on a huge, factory farm scale.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   26.09.08 2:49

Because you're bankrupt and no longer have a real farm, only an imaginary one with toy animals?
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   26.09.08 17:14

What post are you responding to lkm? I'm confused at that remark.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   27.09.08 3:09

The farming not conducted on a factory scale remark, it seems in most of the developed world that farming is either industrialised or it is 24/7 hours and daily fending off creditors or it is a hobby.
I just don't recognise these small scale farmers who have a cushy time of it.
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   27.09.08 9:16

Ahh, now I understand.

There's a growing movement of "slow farmers" if you will here in the states, there's many in Britain and elsewhere, that produce either specialty products or niche-market type goods. Grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, etc. They have a wonderful time doing it and they make a great income. I completely support these farmers that do things the way they should be done.

Let me mention something that a lot of people seem to think is the holy grail of farming: organic produce. Most of the time it's either untrue or a gimmick. There's evidence that the majority of current organic farming practices are environmentally unsound and even worse for the environment than conventional farming methods. We all hate the word sustainability, and while the organic farmers will preach it, often times the land is even more depleted when they're done with it.

What needs to be done is to educate the public about proper farming methods. End the current organic movement, and teach the farmers looking for a quick buck that they're doing it the wrong way. There's nothing wrong with fertilizer when done properly.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   27.09.08 12:26

Sure there's a lot of potential value-added farming ideas around that have just about kept a lot of farmers from the poor house but I don't think they're making vast sums doing it, the Wal-mart and Tesco's of this world have them by the balls just as much as everyone else. Plus their market is about to hit the wall in the face of global belt tightening. Who's going to spend extra on some PR guff when the financial markets are going to helll in a hillman imp.
There's nothing wrong with feeding the world. Full stop.
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   27.09.08 18:29

Quote :
There's nothing wrong with feeding the world. Full stop.

I agree, I was just giving examples of farmers that aren't in the poor house. The reason I support them is because they are using sound agricultural techniques, which should be carrying over more to large-scale farms.

The bad rep that industrialized farming gets is not completely deserved though. We've learned a lot from it, and have since changed the way we do things for the most part. The dust bowl of the 30s, and the land-sapping of the 50s and 60s were painful but valuable lessons.

We're moving towards the day where everyone can have both: vast amounts and quality food. We don't have to pick and choose anymore.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   28.09.08 3:14

I was implying that it is the industrial post green revolution farmers who are in fact feeding the world and that we should think more than twice before bullying them into doing something less productive.
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   28.09.08 9:59

And I agreed with you. The ones doing the bullying are groups like Greenpeace, who really don't have a clue about how to do anything right. The organic movement has also pigeonholed farmers into changing their ways.

But if we want to feed the world, we can't expect the land to do more than it's capable. There's nothing higher than maximum efficiency.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   28.09.08 11:50

And if only we knew how to put a value to that.
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Commodore

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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   28.09.08 17:23

Certain sectors are more taxing than others. The retail and service sectors tend to be a little slower paced, because you more or less stand at the ready, and are subject to the flow of customers. Manufacturing is intense and continuous. Agriculture, particularly with livestock, is 24/7.

I don't think its a question of the number of hours, but the concentration. For slower paced industries, longer days and shorter weeks are better. For manufacturing, shorter days and longer weeks.
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Commodore

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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   28.09.08 17:39

Industrial farming is only needed if people are unwilling to allow agriculture in their communities. Distributed is always going to better for all parties.

The factory farm need not be so concentrated with more factories. Cities can use old warehouses. With everything indoors its no longer a season issue.

On the other end, the "family" farm just turns into a hobby farm, since they no longer need to export to the cites.
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Locksley



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   28.09.08 18:47

Hard work does not necessarily equal stress.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   29.09.08 3:39

Industrial farming is only needed if we really wish to feed all 9 billion people on the planet, if we can live with just a billion or two we can go back to something easier and more 'natural'.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   29.09.08 10:01

lkm wrote:
Industrial farming is only needed if we really wish to feed all 9 billion people on the planet, if we can live with just a billion or two we can go back to something easier and more 'natural'.

Very good point. We don't need 7 billion people on this planet. In fact, the vast majority of the problems that we face in the world today would be mitigated with a smaller human population.
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Commodore

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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   29.09.08 10:14

Better look out davamanra.

I think that red gem in your hand is blinking.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   29.09.08 10:44

Commodore wrote:
Better look out davamanra.

I think that red gem in your hand is blinking.

I'm not sure of the exact reference you're making, but I assure you I wasn't talking about any kind of mass extermination. Just implementing something along the lines of what China is using to control their population.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   29.09.08 13:04

Erm, I was joking. The ONLY way to reduce the human population is to kill an awful lot of people over a short time. Throughout all of human history the world population has dipped only once, briefly, due to the black death when a third of the population of europe was wiped out in fifty years, and even then it was more of a plateau than a sharp downturn.
If you're serious about lowering the plateau point of the world population from 9 billion to 2 or 3 billion, the only way is to kill people a lot of people, a hell of a lot of people, the number of people you personally know cubed times ten. Global thermonuclear war would be ideal, because the other thing you have to do is detroy a large part of the planetary carrying capacity, ie. technology and land, and GTW woould do both those things as well.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   29.09.08 14:10

I was thinking about birth limitations. One child per woman. The population would not drop overnight of course, but it would gradually decrease over time. It's been a while since I did calculus, but I'm guessing that the population would decrease by about one third in a hundred years. The good thing about this is the quality of life for everyone would increase. Fewer people dying of poverty related causes and civil unrest, and there wouldn't be a great sociological shock to the world.
Nobody would have to be killed, just less people would be created. Sadly the way things are going GTW is now a less remote possibility.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   29.09.08 16:10

China's had a one child policy since 1979. In 1979 the population was 1 billion. today it is 1.3 billion. Clearly one child policies do not work.
The birth rate in China, despite this horrendous violation of human rights, is still higher than what good family planning, health care, education and economic development acheives on its own, being higher than most developed nations.
The only way you will ever reduce the world population is to kill a lot of it off.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   29.09.08 16:45

I can't say I agree. Only about half the population can produce children, women, and if they are only allowed to produce one child, then within one generation the population will plateau, then the next generation will only produce a quarter as many children, and so on. There will be the same number of people both male and female dying of natural causes so the numbers will drop at a faster rate than are being born. China's system is far from being flawless and of course there are people out in remote villages who aren't being properly monitored, so they might be having five or so kids per family causing the numbers to rise.
Granted, this would be a violation of human rights but less of a violation than arbitrary extermination, although extermination would be easier, faster, and cheaper!! (Just being cold-bloodedly pragmatic!) Hey, if there's a better way to reduce population, I'm all ears!
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   29.09.08 17:31

The only thing the chinese state doesn't do is kill babies. They leave that to the parents. The people in China who have multiple children are actually the wealthy city dwellers because the penalty is a fine of only a few thousand dollars, something easily affordable by the wealthy elite, but far beyond the means of the rural farmers.
I really think you should consider that if a thirty year experiment in the policy produces dire results, then there is in fact the slim chance that the policy just does not work. As the man said, "when the facts change, I change my opinion, why what do you do?"
There is no better way to reduce the world population than extermination, for the simple reason that there is no other way. Thus either you read up on Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, and Hitler or you accept that the world population is going to stabalize at 9 billion because that is how many people the world can support at our current level of technology and that this is not somehow intrinsically a bad thing.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   29.09.08 19:03

I guess we're at an impasse here. I still contend that limiting births can work. The Chinese method might be flawed, but I don't believe that some form of extermination is the answer.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   30.09.08 3:15

Well obviously neither do I, I'm not a psycho. I'm just arguing from the data. What are you arguing from?
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   30.09.08 7:13

I was just trying to find some kind of civilized way to reduce population. Simple as that.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   30.09.08 12:48

The most civilised way is to hurry up and get to Mars, then ship people there by the million.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   30.09.08 13:19

Now you're talkin'!!!
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   30.09.08 14:57

Ok then. Given the population is currently growing at 80 million per year, to start a decline you're going to need to ship off world say 100 million a year, around 2 million a week, or 100 000 a day, say a launch every 2 hours from fifty space ports, and that's 500 per ship.
Almost doable.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   30.09.08 16:35

I forgot to point out that according to the mars thread to do so will cost 700 000 trillion dollars a year, or 14 000 times the gdp of the world. It may require a bit of saving up.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   30.09.08 16:46

Hold on a second. You came up with idea of shipping people off to Mars and now you're finding fault with it?
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NoMoreLies



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   11.10.08 7:09

Well, Earths population will, with current population growth, hit a max of 9 billion, although I think it's more like 7 billion (the population growth curve is negative in developed countries and just slightly in the positive in developing countries). So anyone emigrating off world will make a difference to the population, no matter how many. With launch costs of $1 (or whatever the main currency will be) per Kilo, it should be doable.

Although most of the resources will be heading back to Earth to support it. Small scale sustenence farming should help as well.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   11.10.08 8:05

I think UN forcasts suggest a plateau of 9 billion or so by around 2050, but I can't think of any rational for thinking launch costs could shrink to anywhere close to the equivalent of a dime a kilo today, in just forty years. That would need a paradym shift in the industry, beyond even some sort of polywell scramjet SSTO RLV dream machine. And if you could build that then earth has absolutely no wories, population wise, anyway.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   21.10.08 11:20

There is a necessity to colonize other planets and moons simply because of the possibility that Earth could become uninhabitable, wiping out the human race. We need self sustaining colonies that could live on even if Earth were destroyed.
As for the Earth right now, we could easily improve the way humans live as well as live more in harmony with nature if we reduced the human population. If we get to 9 billion there will still be efforts to improve living conditions for everyone, and that will create too much of a strain on the eco-system. With a world wide cooperation the problems could be stopped and in some areas even reversed with ten years. Sadly trying to arrange this world wide cooperation is the difficult part.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   22.10.08 9:13

To reiterate, the only feasable method of lowering the population is to kill alot of people. That is not acceptable so I see no reason to even think about pointing out that such and such would be either with fewer people, everything is easier with fewer people, except the human race.
Harrmony with nature. Please explain what that even means, because, speaking personally, I'm a mammal, I'm an organism, I'm part of nature, as far as I know so is everybody else, thus whatever we do is nature, we are the eco-system.
Fundamentally, today we're an oil/car based society, a hundred years ago we were a coal/steam based society, a hundred years before that we were a horse/canal based society. Give or task some years.
So given that we've successfully pased through three paradym shifts in the last three century's, I find it hard to believe that in a hundred years we won't just be a fusion/electric society of 9.5 billion people being confused and paranoid about a a whole new bunch of rationally surmountable fears.
After all, the best predictor of the future is the past.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   23.10.08 7:57

We are never going to agree on this, but I still believe as strict policy on one child per woman/family can reduce population over reasonable length of time.
Living in harmony with nature is quite simple really. While you use nature, nurture it. For every tree that is cut down plant ten - wisely. Do not over-work farmland. Allow it to rejuvenate itself. It's better to have farmland operating at 80% capacity year after year than having it operate at 100% capacity and have it become progressively less productive year after year. Do not overfish the fishing regions. Fish need time to reproduce and if an area is overfished it might take years to replenish. As we have become more knowledgeable about nature we can take measures to enrich areas and reverse the damage done by humans.
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lkm



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   23.10.08 9:06

WE are nature. Everything we do is de facto natural. There is very little in the world that is exactly as it would be were we never to have existed. Farmland is farmland because we made it so, forests are forests because we deemed them so. We are a sentient tool bearing species whose unique evolutionary advantage over the last million years has been an ability to adapt our enviroment to best suit our needs as opposed to adapting ourselves to suit the enviroment. It is the natural order of things, it is who we are.
If we need more trees, we plant them, if we need more fish we grow them, if we need more nutritious soil we add nutrients. This is the nature of the world, and the more control we take the more people we can support.
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davamanra



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PostSubject: Re: The Slow Life   23.10.08 11:08

The idea of planting more trees or growing more fish etc. was never an issue until recently. Our population wasn't anywhere near as much as it is today as well as the amount of burden a human puts upon the Earth. Several hundred years ago, there were natural population controls in place in the form of disease, blight, drought, pestilence and natural disasters. Population increased but at a slow rate. It took about 2000 years for the population to get from about 200 million to 1 billion, but it only took 100 years to get from 1 billion to 7 billion. That's an increase by a factor of about 20 and the Earth still has finite resources. Now we do have to worry about how many fish there are and how many trees there are and how much farm land there is because we're using more than nature can furnish naturally. We can optimise the way we use the Earth but the more we use the less there will be to maintain the ecosystem. Are we close to this tipping point yet? No, but unless we start thinking about twenty years in the future we may not see the warning signs until it's too late. Then we might have to give serious consideration to mass extermination in order to "thin the herd" so that some can survive.
We also have to remember that although we are at the top of the food chain if there is no food chain we die. We need the plants and the animals to live, they don't need us. We are the parasites, not them. If Mankind were to die off, this planet would get by just fine without us. If the bottom of the food chain were to die off it would only be a matter of time before we would die off.
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