Jump to content
RememberSchiff

Naturalist-Environmentalist divide

Recommended Posts

Skeptic,

Seton is a bit of a mixed bag.  Yes, he found the bones of the wolves involved in the incident reported by the trapper (who actually made it to his cabin before the wolves could get to him) which proved the trapper's story to be true.  But, his writing about wolves and other animals were highly anthropomorphic which led people to question the factual items in his stories.  William Burroughs named Seton as one of the "sham naturalists", a nature faker that confused the American public by publishing fictional animal stories and embellished true tales from the viewpoint of the animals.  On the other hand, his drawings of a series of ducks on one of his books inspired Roger Tory Peterson to draw and write his first field book on birds.

Tahawk,

I certainly can't argue with the facts presented in that reason article - but I can take exception to how utterly human-centric the article is.  I come away with the distinct impression that nothing matters to this author unless something is proven harmful to humans.  The conclusion seems to me to be as long as DDT doesn't harm humans (and it is true that there has been no studies have proved that DDT harms humans), then that is all that matters so we should just freely use it how we see fit.  My takeaway is that the author is suggesting that sure, we know its harmful to animals and birds but so what - people will die of malaria if we don't use a substance that is safe for us - and to heck with the birds.  I find that thinking just really sad - who cares if Bald Eagles or Peregrine Falcons have to go extinct as long as we can kill all of those malaria spreading mosquitoes!

My response is that we do know that DDT is harmful in the environment, even if it isn't harmful to us (at least as far as we know), and that should be enough to make us pause and ask "is there something else we can do to have the same life-saving effect?  Something like maybe a vaccine?"  Here's the thing, Malaria is eminently curable these days.  Even more to the point, there has been ongoing research in to creating a vaccine - which would be even more effective than trying to kill every living thing except humans within a 5 mile range of a small village - that is proving promising.  If even just half the research money used to try to solve "erectile dysfunction" had been spent on something far more important than whether some old white guy could get it up, like say malaria vaccine research, maybe we wouldn't have to make this Faustian bargain about the use of DDT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Typically, I try to stay far, far away from this particular I&P sub-forum but the words" Naturalist" and "Environmentalist" caught my nature-loving eye.  :D

What we call ourselves (or others) is of little concern to me anymore with regards to environmental issues.  When it comes down to it, we all rely on clean water and clean air.  We all need nutritious food, which is grown in (hopefully) healthy soil.  And we need to have a clean living space free from hazardous wastes, such as garbage and biological byproducts, mucking up the works.  

I don't see how a naturalist couldn't be an environmentalist.  And I don't see how anyone couldn't be an environmentalist, based on the paragraph above.  In our society, unless you live in a cabin off the grid foraging for food and hunting your own game, we rely on energy to power our homes (heating/cooling), energy to power our laptops so we can pay our bills, register for the winter Klondike, feverishly check Scouter.com, etc., and farms to provide us with our sustenance.  So we drive SUVs, Teslas, Priuses, or ride bikes.  We all consume stuff and things.  

Finger pointing doesn't do us much good.  Denying climate change doesn't help anyone.  Actually, screaming about climate change from the top of the Empire State arguably won't do much either.  We are well past the point of no return when it comes to going back to any sort of previous level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  

I think it comes down to a philosophy of how to live your life in such a way that you are leaving the Earth better than when you got here and, on a day-to-day basis, making sure that your neighbors have the same clean water, air, soil and junk-free living space you enjoy.  

 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎12‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 8:26 PM, CalicoPenn said:

If I'm wrong about climate change, the actions I take won't do any harm.  If the deniers in the political majority are wrong, their refusal to take action will do harm.

The collective actions of the climate change hoaxers do harm people. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bet that Al Gore could make another few million this week if he could actually produce some of the predictions made by 'An Inconvenient Truth'.  

"Snow will cease to exist.”

Uh huh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am old enough to recall the late 70s when the prediction was that air pollution would bring on another Ice Age.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/21/2017 at 10:31 AM, RememberSchiff said:

We seem to have a surplus of deer and turkey  in New England where the top predator may be a car bumper but the coyotes are coming back.

How large a human population can the world's environment and economy sustain?

In regard to the question about the human population, there is an interesting essay on this. You just need to search on the following: Eating Fossil Fuel

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/6/2018 at 8:08 PM, TAHAWK said:

I am old enough to recall the late 70s when the prediction was that air pollution would bring on another Ice Age.

That prediction was held by a very small minority of scientists who were basically attempting to play the 'devils advocate'. They were obviously wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, packsaddle said:

That prediction was held by a very small minority of scientists who were basically attempting to play the 'devils advocate'. They were obviously wrong.

Actually there is something called global dimming.  It is the impact of aerosols in the air reflecting our the sun’s energy back into space.  It actually can help offset global warming impacts but the trend is reversing as countries get more strict about particulate pollution.  There is is even some belief that contrails actually help lower earth temp.  Some limited studies of this occurred during the days post 911 when commercial aircraft were grounded.  

I’m not sure if that is what the 70’s scientists were talking about.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Global dimming: True. I don't know the basis for the speculations of the 70s but I suspect they were aware of the effect that this has on albedo. It's just really difficult to make predictions about their dynamics. I guess a good supervolcano could be just the thing we need, lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎12‎/‎31‎/‎2017 at 4:29 PM, LeCastor said:

  

I think it comes down to a philosophy of how to live your life in such a way that you are leaving the Earth better than when you got here

 

Yes, leave things better than they were when you got there. That's a good philosophy.

The problem with the climate change hoaxers is that they don't want the climate to change, however slightly, even if that change is for the better. They claim that any change is bad. Some of them claim that any change will be catastrophic. 

My college Ecology professor was absolutely certain that the world today would be a dystopic wind-swept wilderness, like the Mad Max movies.  His class was more Science Fiction than Science. He was entertaining, though, if you didn't take him seriously.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks David. I guess I've become somewhat of an accidental participant this time. I got a message out of the blue and I was curious. But then I discovered this thread. Interesting. 

I actually teach ecology courses, among others. While I agree that there are what I term, 'true believers' who call  themselves 'ecologists' and probably quite a few who claim to teach (preach) it, the ones I know and with whom I interact are probably more skeptical about their own field of study than most of the forum members here. The 'true believers' can claim to be whatever they want to but I will suggest that as long as they do not carefully cast a critical eye at their own field of study, they are not 'scientists', at least not very good ones. 

This is a source of frustration to me because I do interact with good scientists who are climate change skeptics. They are mostly skeptical about proposed 'solutions' and about those persons who think they know what the consequences will be. But what I find so disappointing is that objective discourse about this and so many other issues that strongly depend on scientific evidence seems to be totally absent from public forums. I do not find our public discussions to be a source of abundant optimism. 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×