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Old 2007-01-29, 08:18 PM   #1
phlegm
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Humans have such a large impact on the environment...

From the Global Warming thread:

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Humans have such a large impact on the environment, that there is no simple way to reverse what we're doing to the earth.
Why have I most often seen statements like this used negatively? Is it always bad to irreversibly affect the environment?

For instance, I hear about people sitting in trees to save them, but people are a living part of the environment too. Why shouldn't I cut down trees (in careful moderation, of course) in order to serve humanity?

Personally, I think the root of our environmental problems is greed.

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Old 2007-01-29, 08:21 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by phlegm
Personally, I think the root of our environmental problems is greed.
I think it's common stupidity and misinterpretation/misunderstanding of what the few clever ones have to say.
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Old 2007-01-29, 08:25 PM   #3
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greed really?


big rich men want the dollars and they do this by cutting down more and more forests, making faster dirtier cars and the list goes on.

Did you know that the electric car was invented something like 15 years ago and the design was bought out by one of the major car manufactures and we have not seen it since. everytime a new 'clean' car design comes out some fat cat with a car company buys it out and never uses it, because they are also the same people who own the oil companies and petrol stations and we wouldn't want them to loose money now would we. They are only going to be dead in 30 or so years what does the planets well being have to do with them?
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Old 2007-01-29, 08:29 PM   #4
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ooohhh...good point, phlegm. I didn't think about that as I was writing that. Certainly the earth is meant to support human life, and certainly we can modify our habitat (as do many many animals) to help us survive. However, there comes a point at which we're just greedy, you're right.

No, it's not always bad to irreversibly affect the environment, but the reason statements like that are often used negatively is because in many respects, we have gone too far (that is, our effects on the earth have been too far-reaching and caused too much damage to the ecosystem(s)) to fix...if/when we try to.
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Old 2007-01-29, 08:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tobbogonist
big rich men want the dollars and they do this by cutting down more and more forests, making faster dirtier cars and the list goes on.
I think what he means is that *we* are the greedy ones, for wanting bigger, taller cars, not recycling most of what we use, and otherwise taking the easy path. Big business, for the most part, is trying to give us what we seem to want. I don't want an SUV for instance, but it seems everyone else does. They hate it when I point out that my minivan has more room in it and generally more "utility" than any SUV unless you actually take it offroad...

Quote:
Did you know that the electric car was invented something like 15 years ago and the design was bought out by one of the major car manufactures and we have not seen it since. everytime a new 'clean' car design comes out some fat cat with a car company buys it out and never uses it, because they are also the same people who own the oil companies and petrol stations and we wouldn't want them to loose money now would we.
The electric car was actually invented closer to 115 years ago. Today's electric cars still have the same basic problems as those older ones, though they're getting better.

There are electric cars on the market. Know why I don't have one? Because sometimes I need to drive more than the car's range in a day. Often enough that it isn't worth it to own one and have to find alternate transportation on a regular basis. They work better for city-dwellers and people in multiple-car families, but still not well enough to be cheaper than driving a gas-powered car (or hybrid, which costs about the same).

Side note: Hey, I *do* live in a multiple-car family. Between my wife & I we could easily use one electric and one "something else" car. Except for much less frequent instances like this week, where she's 200 miles away and I have at least one long drive to do. But we could work around most of that... We're ready!

The car companies know how to make electric cars. But they can't seem to sell very many.

What's missing is more emphasis on R&D for alternate fuels. To develop battery science and other ways to power vehicles renewably. The (American) car companies drag their feet because they know research is expensive, and it's impossible to predict results. It costs them a lot less to make continued variations on the technology they have now. Also there's a definite oil lobby in the mix, yes.

Non-gas cars are getting better, and the pace is quickening in recent years. Hybrids are very popular because they combine having an electric car with not having to be stuck while it charges up. People are finally taking non-gas cars seriously, which is creating a market for them that didn't really exist before (at least in the US). Higher gas prices only help to accelerate this process!
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Old 2007-01-29, 08:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phlegm
For instance, I hear about people sitting in trees to save them, but people are a living part of the environment too. Why shouldn't I cut down trees (in careful moderation, of course) in order to serve humanity?
In moderation it is fine...but that's not how most people are. Haven't you read The Lorax, by Dr Seuss? The Onceler did not moderate his cutting down of the Truffula trees to make Thneeds, despite the constant warnings of the Lorax...eventually, there were no Truffula trees left, and the Thneed factories polluted the sky so much it was constantly dark, and all the animals and the Lorax had to leave to find somewhere else to live. But then the Onceler planted a Truffula seed in hopes that maybe a new Truffula forest would grow and all the animals and the Lorax could maybe come back home.
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Old 2007-01-29, 08:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James_Potter
In moderation it is fine...but that's not how most people are. Haven't you read The Lorax, by Dr Seuss? The Onceler did not moderate his cutting down of the Truffula trees to make Thneeds, despite the constant warnings of the Lorax...eventually, there were no Truffula trees left, and the Thneed factories polluted the sky so much it was constantly dark, and all the animals and the Lorax had to leave to find somewhere else to live. But then the Onceler planted a Truffula seed in hopes that maybe a new Truffula forest would grow and all the animals and the Lorax could maybe come back home.
Oh, the suspense is killing me!

Tell me, what happened next?!
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Old 2007-01-29, 08:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnfoss
I think what he means is that *we* are the greedy ones, for wanting bigger, taller cars, not recycling most of what we use, and otherwise taking the easy path. Big business, for the most part, is trying to give us what we seem to want. I don't want an SUV for instance, but it seems everyone else does. They hate it when I point out that my minivan has more room in it and generally more "utility" than any SUV unless you actually take it offroad...


The electric car was actually invented closer to 115 years ago. Today's electric cars still have the same basic problems as those older ones, though they're getting better.
We as in us, or we as in you? I recycle all recyclable rubbish and the rest goes in the bin, not the ground. As for cars, well i drive a little 4 cylinder and out about 10 dollars of petrol in it a week in order to get to work and back. As for SUV i have not seen one in Australia yet but apparently they are on there way. Please do not bring my generation into this. We cannot afford the SUV's, our generation did not begin using the plastics, we did not invent the petrol engine. I do realise that if you guys didn't do it, we probably would have, yet we did not get a chance.

As for the cars, i new it was years ago, but did not want to put down heaps and heaps because it could be wrong and to say 100 and it be 20 looks worse than saying 20 and it be 100
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Old 2007-01-29, 09:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tobbogonist
We as in us, or we as in you?
I meant "we" as in all of us. We all want more stuff that we don't really need, don't we?
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Old 2007-01-29, 09:16 PM   #10
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This is what i dont get, everyone wants all this stuff, all this material stuff. I have friends that have loans for $20,000 + cars. friends that spend over $100 a week on there nobiles and get phones bills up around $1000. Friends that can justify one hundred bucks for a T-shirt, yet i do not know how they do it. my mobile was $20 from a friend and i have not put credit on it since the 8th of september my car gets used about twice a week and that is to drive to work. My clothes come from vinnies (op-shop) or i make them (but they fall apart ). I know this sounds like i am trying to talk myself up and get out of the 'ruining world group' but i am only telling it how it is.

I admit that everyone does their part in 'destroying' world yet "greedy" i am not, the most expensive thing i have bought by far is a unicycle.

not that i am out there trying to make a difference... :s
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Old 2007-01-29, 11:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tobbogonist
As for SUV i have not seen one in Australia yet but apparently they are on there way.
I've tried to tell people this before. There's actually a simple reason why the U.S. has so many SUV's.

It's because the SUV drivers are the ones who in days past would have been sold a station wagon.

In the US there are laws about efficiency of cars. These laws have two important features.

One, they are based on the mean vehicle efficiency marketted by the auto company.
Two, they seperate cars from trucks.

What this means is that while a car company can sell a few gas guzzler cars, they have to be made up for by selling more super-efficient cars.
The laws don't pay in mind the weight, etc. of the car, all they count is whether the vehicle has fuel efficiency of X.

It can be hard to get the market to absorb more subcompacts; there's a lot out there and a lot of people don't find them to have the capacity and such that they want. Plus, the people who buy subcompacts are often happy to buy used.
This cuts into the car companies' ability to sell larger cars, such as station wagons, without breaking the law.
There is a definate market for station wagon type vehicles, however, common in families. So what do you as a car manufacturer do?

You take your station wagon and put it on a truck chassis and re-image it as an SUV. Now, instead of crimping your fuel efficiency averages as a heavy car, it is a benefit to you as a high-efficiency truck. You win twice! Now you just have to sell people who want a seven seat etc. vehicle on the virtues of an SUV.

I don't really recall seeing many advertizements for station wagon type vehicles in the US. It's all "The rugged new Terrain-verb! Seats seven, lots of space in the back, etc. to fit your family while we show pictures of it driving over implausible landscapes."

Also, I don't remember seeing very many station wagon type cars on the road.

Hmmm.. Maybe the hatred toward SUV's is a bit misplaced.
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Old 2007-01-29, 11:44 PM   #12
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I'm not disagreeing, but where'd you hear this?
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Old 2007-01-29, 11:51 PM   #13
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I'm a transportation planner, it's my job to know all these laws and trends and such.
I'd have to look back to see if it's ISTEA or TEA-21 that has the relevant limiting laws, since i'm in Australia right now and those are American federal laws, as well as the fact that my current research is on comparisons of LRT and BRT on seperated ROW's and so auto efficiency laws don't really come into play, so that information is in one of the books I left in storage because it wasn't relevant.
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Old 2007-01-29, 11:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JusticeZero
I'm a transportation planner, it's my job to know all these laws and trends and such.
I stopped understanding you after here.
Thanks.
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Old 2007-01-30, 12:22 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JusticeZero

Hmmm.. Maybe the hatred toward SUV's is a bit misplaced.
Your arguement is pointless because the auto-manufacturers are just circumventing the law rather than working to make more more efficient vehicles.

The technology exists for cars to be more fuel efficient. Look at the vehicles that come from every other corner of the globe. Yeah it loses some horsepower and has slower acceleration, but for 90% of the vehicle use in this country that would make zero difference.

People drive SUVs because they've been programed as consumers to think SUV = cool/better/what I need. In reality it's not what they need it's what they think they want.
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