Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Harrassing emails from people who don't know jack shit.

Yeah, this is West Michigan, the conservative center of the universe. Sometimes I forget that I do indeed live in a bubble surrounded by a cohort of friends who are actually not brain-dead, who are capable of conceiving of a world that began before they were born and is not ruled by fantasy football or fantasy messiahs or endless streams of pornography.

Yes, I'm a little angry at the email I just read from a guy in Ottawa County who seems to think his is the correct view of the universe and mine is narrow and unrealistic. First of all, thank you for sending me the copy of the ten commandments, I hope you follow them. Personally I was baptized a Roman Catholic (the one true religion) and had those memorized when I was four years old.

So, what I want you to know is, you chose to chew out the wrong ecofreak. I'm no treehugger pansy activist, I'm the real deal. I've got years of research and study under my belt. What I'm going to do is turn your apparent animosity for folks like me into a lesson on the Laws of Ecology. These are not theories, mind you, these are laws... as in the Laws of Physics, the Laws of Thermodynamics, etc. Right? I do this, hopefully, to inform you. I also do it to piss you off a little more, cuz I think you're a dickwad.

Garrett Hardin's Three Laws of Human Ecology:

First: We can never do merely one thing.
This is a profound and eloquent observation of the interconnectedness of nature.

Second: There's no away to throw to.
This is a compact statement of one of the major problems of the affluent society.

Third: The impact (I) of any group or nation on the environment is represented qualitatively by the relation
I = P x A x T , where P is the size of the population, A is the per capita affluence, measured by per capita rate of consumption, and T is a measure of the damage done by the technologies that are used in supplying the consumption. Hardin attributes this law to Ehrlich and Holdren (Ehrlich and Holdren, 1971). (The suggestion may be made that the Third Law is too conservative. The Third Law suggests that I varies as pn where n = 1. There are situations where the impact of humans increases more rapidly than linearly with the size of the population P so that n > 1.)

There are 17 (currently), I will give you the first 3 to think about now and follow with the rest in later posts (because dickwad, your limited mental capacity cannot process all this information at once.)

First Law: Population growth and/or growth in the rates of consumption of resources cannot be sustained.

  • A population growth rate less than or equal to zero and declining rates of consumption of resources are necessary conditions for a sustainable society.
  • Unsustainability will be the certain result of any program of "development," whether or not it is said to be "sustainable," that ignores the problem of population growth and that does not plan the achievement of zero or a period of negative growth of populations and of rates of consumption of resources.
  • The research and regulation programs of governmental agencies that are charged with protecting the environment and promoting sustainability are, in the long run, irrelevant unless these programs address vigorously and quantitatively the determination of optimal population sizes that can be carried indefinitely and unless the programs study in depth the demographic causes and consequences of environmental problems.
  • Societies, or sectors of a society, that depend on population growth or growth in their rates of consumption of resources, are unsustainable.
  • Persons who advocate population growth and/or growth in the rates of consumption of resources are advocating unsustainability.
  • Persons whose actions directly or indirectly cause increases in population or in the rates of consumption of resources are moving society away from sustainability. (Advertising your city or state as an ideal site in which to locate new factories indicates a desire to increase the population of your city or state.)
  • The term sustainable growth is an oxymoron.
  • The term sustainable development in the presence of either constant or increasing human numbers is an oxymoron. Sustainability is directly dependent upon human impact. Development is the product of affluence and technology, AT, in the expression for impact,
    I = PAT.
    The product of AT continues to increase for humans whether P is constant or increasing. Sustainability is conditional upon impact, I, being either zero or constant.

    Second Law: The larger the population of a society, and/or the larger its rates of consumption of resources, the more difficult it will be to transform the society to the condition of sustainability.

    Third Law : The response time of populations to changes in the total fertility rate is the length of time people live, or approximately fifty to seventy years. The consequence of this is termed population momentum.

  • If we want the population sizes to be reduced or at least stabilized by the mid-twenty-first century, we must make the necessary changes in the total fertility rates before the end of the twentieth century.
  • We live in a time of short time horizons.
  • It will be difficult to convince people to act now to change course, when the full results of the change may not be apparent until later in those people's lifetimes.

    Did you get that, jackass? Focus on these until tomorrow when I post another 3 laws of Human Ecology Relating to Sustainablility... 14 more to go.
  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    I would have liked to have seen the letter that jackass sent