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Solving nature loss: Child's play?

Richard Black | 12:16 UK time, Monday, 18 October 2010

From the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Nagoya, Japan:

"The children are the future," says Homer Simpson in a favourite quote from the TV series.

"We've got to stop them now..."

UN convention, Nagoya, Japan

 

At the opening ceremony here, there was lots of talk of children being the future.

The caveat was, though, that we are stopping them - not in the sense that Homer meant it, I suppose, but in the sense that our generation's unsustainable use of nature's resources is going to stop future generations from having the prosperity they're entitled to.

And the Nagoya meeting was positioned as this generation's chance to put things right.

Jochen Flasbarth, head of Germany's Federal Environment Agency, was first on the scene, describing a simple test that government negotiators could deploy in order to tell whether they've done something positive for the world during their two weeks here.

"Imagine you come back home. Your kids are waiting for Mum or Dad coming from this strange conference somewhere in the world.

"Can you explain what you have done here in Nagoya? Can you explain and can you justify what you have done?"

Next up was Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), who said in his speech that this two-week conference with its mountains of papers was actually about something very simple.

"When I speak to my two sons, seven- and nine-years-old, who sometimes get bored with their father talking about the environment, one thing that I see in them is an intuitive understanding that what we are trying to address here makes absolute sense as a child."
Novo river, Brazil

 

One of the childish things we put away as we become adults (and then government negotiators), he seemed to imply, is that intuitive understanding.

He was trumped, however, by CBD executive secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf.

"Let's have the courage to look in the eyes of our children and admit that we have failed, individually and collectively, to fulfil the Johannesburg promise made [in 2002] by 110 heads of state to substantially reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010.

"Let us look in the eyes of our children and admit that we continue to lose biodiversity at an unprecedented rate, thus mortgaging their future."

Invoking "the children" might seem a cheesey thing to do, although according to economists working with UNEP, Mr Djoghlaf is absolutely correct - the global economy will be worse off in the future because of the current generation's unsustainable habits.

It's like this, they say: nature has bequeathed us a world full of gold - but the gold comes in the form of trees and water and fish and clean air, insects that pollinate and worms that aerate soil, and myriad other things you can conjure up.

The more capital we draw from this bank, the less there is to produce interest for the next generation.

According to this picture, the real-world balance sheet is firmly in the red - and set to get redder, as the global population swells towards nine billion people and societies consume more, eating up ever more of nature's capital, meaning future generations will receive progressively less interest.

Do most delegates here accept the vision? I'm not sure - many come from countries that are getting richer, where lives are becoming easier, through conventionally-fuelled economic growth.

Even if they do, there are two problems.

One is that they cannot see their task here through childrens' eyes - they are diplomats, charged with promoting the national interest, however that might be defined by the governments they represent.

The other is that even the best intentioned parents don't always manage to do what's right by their children - as Homer Simpson would surely agree.

Comments

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  • 1. At 12:49pm on 18 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    4 questions richard

    1- how many species are there on the planet?

    2- how many species are beind discovered yearly?

    3- how many species are made extinct yearly?

    4- how many species are endangered ?

    Cheers.
    LM

    p.s. Homer Simpsons may be a legend, but he's no Pete Griffin...

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  • 2. At 1:24pm on 18 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Richard Black.

    "Invoking "the children" might seem a cheesey thing to do.."

    cynical more like, given that 'the children' tend to be the ones which die for 'our' causes.

    "Not yet dry behind the ears, just old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country."

    "When I left school in Bolton I wanted to be an electrician, but one day I went shopping and this guy was handing out leaflets for the Army, so I took one and went along to a recruiting office and decided to join."

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  • 3. At 1:24pm on 18 Oct 2010, Wolfiewoods wrote:

    Bio diversity loss is just one of many environment and humanitarian issues that require urgent and strong action if we are to hand to our children anything worth having, unfortunately nothing is going to happen while we have 200 plus warring and quarrelling governments. We need one world government that is strong enough and independent enough to make the hard and unpopular decisions that are necessary without the need for populist policies for sadly democracy is a big part of the problem.

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  • 4. At 2:22pm on 18 Oct 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    LabMunkey at #1.

    You could have a look at the following: http://www.iucnredlist.org/news/iucn-red-list-site-made-easy-guide

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  • 5. At 3:06pm on 18 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @ Lab Monkey

    Q - How many species are important and how do they effect the larger environmental picture?

    A - You have absolutely no idea whatsoever.


    'A sharp decline in big sharks along the Eastern Seaboard has prompted a boom in other marine species that is devastating valuable commercial fisheries, researchers are reporting today in the journal Science.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/29/AR2007032901963.html

    Cheers,

    Ln.



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  • 6. At 3:32pm on 18 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 4 simon, thanks for the link, but it wasn't quite what i was after.

    I'm just curious if anyone has approximate figures for all of the above.

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  • 7. At 3:57pm on 18 Oct 2010, ManmadeupGW wrote:

    "When I speak to my two sons, seven- and nine-years-old, who sometimes get bored with their father talking about the environment, one thing that I see in them is an intuitive understanding that what we are trying to address here makes absolute sense as a child."

    This is not cheesy it's quite sick on two levels:-

    1 The UN is a pathetic organisation at protecting children.

    2 The diversion of resources from the delivery of clean water and sanitary conditions into the global warming scam is an absoulute disgrace.

    Maybe he should look into the eyes of the children who are dying know?

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  • 8. At 4:09pm on 18 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 5

    You misunderstand my intentions. I am not trying to belittle the 'drive' or 'thrust' of Richards point, they are simple questions.

    For me to understand the significance of the biodiversity loss i need all the above information- that is all. There is no ulterior motive here and i am not suggesting anything by these questions: They are questions to fill gaps in my knowledge.

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  • 9. At 4:14pm on 18 Oct 2010, Kamboshigh wrote:

    Here we go, they have lost the CO2 battle now we go for the biodiversity scam, WWF, Greenpeace, Oxfam plus many others seeing how much they can make. However, the UN has put in place procedures to prevent fraud. Kettle meet pot welcome to the UN

    Wolfie is dead right global gov't, distributing the wealth unevenly to the grasping hands of the lazy. Now it seems we are to pay to stop people developing because it might effect the environment.

    Total nonsense of course nothing will be achieved apart from a mountain of red tape and tax.

    #4 Simon,

    With all due respect these people are part of the problem as they offer nothing by way of help or advice on what to do with endangered species and I have the proof.

    Several months ago Richard did a blog about them and the Red book. Living were I do, I identified potential 2 Red Book plants. I put it up on that blog and JR was kind enough to help out. I even emailed ICUN for assistance but never received anything. However, from JR's suggestions I came around to an organisation who's president is Dr.David Belamy. By not going into to much detail I got a response in 48 hours how to confirm the plants in question. Then a few days later answers and what to do.

    For JR

    Thanks for the leads in to solving the plant problem, 1 was not red book listed the other was. Got loads growing but they appear to be the favourite of the "longtailed Pasha Butterfly" so it's a bit of a toss up a rare butterfly, or endanger plant. Butterfly is my view it has about a 3-4" wing span.

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  • 10. At 4:17pm on 18 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    LabMunkey #1, #6.

    I wonder, approximate (or even exact) figures wouldn't make a difference, surely.

    fact is that we are not living 'in harmony' with nature (ie with respect to interdependence), and our focus on the rights of the individual to pursue their 'happiness', coupled with a growing body of legislation to make this paramount, is the cause of our troubles.

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  • 11. At 4:31pm on 18 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    ManmadeupGW #7.

    "2 The diversion of resources from the delivery of clean water and sanitary conditions into the global warming scam is an absoulute disgrace."

    while I agree that diverting resources away from "the delivery of clean water and sanitary conditions" is scandalous, the sums going into "the global warming scam" must be vanishingly small when compared to defense spending.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States#Comparison_with_other_countries

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditure#SIPRI_Yearbook_2010

    why not get 'outraged' over tangible issues and figures?

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  • 12. At 4:58pm on 18 Oct 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    I might have to reassess my erstwhile indifference to biodiversity loss as it may suit my population control/reduction agenda.

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  • 13. At 5:43pm on 18 Oct 2010, Chisa wrote:

    How was it that a biodiversity conference occurred in Japan..a whaling nation? I even heard that sessions took place in an aquarium that keeps an orca whale in captivity.

    I realize that the biodiversity issue is much bigger than just dolphins and whales...but doesn't the setting in Nagoya send the wrong message to the conferees?

    www.dolphin-dance.org

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  • 14. At 6:25pm on 18 Oct 2010, blunderbunny wrote:

    @jr4412

    Sorry mate, but without some details of the problem, how can one decide if you've successfully dealt with it?

    You need a yard stick by which to measure. I thought Labmunkey's questions were fair enough. Surely, they must be available somewhere? Even as estimates otherwise we wouldn't know that we had a problem.

    I'll do a little googling later.

    Personally, as I've said many times on this blog, I think we should be doing a hell of a lot more to preserve habitats and the bio-diveristy that springs from them. I think the green movement's obsession with CO2 is doing a great diservice to both our planet and those that inhabit it and consequently, I'm no longer what one might currently consider to be green or even light green - Shame really

    Regards,

    One of the Lobby

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  • 15. At 6:31pm on 18 Oct 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @smiffie #12

    "one world government" Wolfiewoods #3

    Come on smiffie, this is the smoking gun on Wolfie.

    Wolfie fails to grasp that sometimes the people he satirises actually aren't always the polar opposite of himself. (I am struggling to think of any grass roots group that wants "one world government", everyone, moderate and extremist, green and sceptic, is suspicious of others trying to exert too much authority.)

    And he is again using expressions and language from your side of the argument. The control freaks out there don't use that sort of terminology, and they go all Sir Humphrey on why we need to do as they say.

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  • 16. At 7:02pm on 18 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @8

    You misunderstand the ‘drive’ or thrust’ of my point.

    For me to understand the significance of your ‘skepticism’ over biodiversity loss, I need to know your skeptical sources – that is all.

    If the subject is not covered by WUWT or CD, perhaps you have a critique from another objective and unbiased resource.. Greenie Watch perhaps?

    There is no ulterior motive here and I am not suggesting anything by my question. It is a question to fill gaps in my knowledge.

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  • 17. At 7:44pm on 18 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    blunderbunny #14.

    I think we may be talking at cross purposes here. no doubt, we "need a yard stick by which to measure", also, without doubt, without we cannot know whether we actually have a problem. but that wasn't my argument.

    say we have ten species and investigation (head counts, habitat monitoring, etc) shows two in severe decline; now the have 'the measure' of our problem but because our policies and politicking do not allow us to take steps to correct our actions, that knowledge is of no practical value, other than to serve as an incentive to mend our ways. and, realistically speaking, what are the chances of that? not one of the large industrialised nations seems willing to implement the radically new policies necessary. (earlier on Channel4 News they discussed the UK defense spending review, and Mr Hague is still banging on about Britain being a 'global player' !! talk about 'priorities')

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  • 18. At 8:05pm on 18 Oct 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    LabMunkey at #6

    I thought that the guide to researching data in the Red List would help you find "approximate answers" you say you are lacking - as you can find them in the new edition of IUCN's Red List if you look. Quite a few countries also produce their own national versions too - dealing with the situation in their own territory.

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  • 19. At 8:44pm on 18 Oct 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke @#15

    I just don’t know, someone else talked on here some time ago about the folly of having many nations and how it prevented action. Wolfie's own goals are small compared to that of the 10:10 team and no one is saying that they are on the skeptic side. Don’t know what to think.

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  • 20. At 10:34pm on 18 Oct 2010, Wolfiewoods wrote:

    I think that Jane is someone having a laugh with us.

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  • 21. At 00:01am on 19 Oct 2010, blunderbunny wrote:

    @Labmunkey

    Question 1 - how many are there?

    There are currently between 1.5 to 2 million named species in the world, about half of which are insects. The largest group of insects is the beetles (the order Coleoptera), with 300,000 species. In contrast, there are only around 4,500 species of mammals. Some orders are better known and more completely identified than others; new mammal species are rarely found, but an seemingly endless stream of new insect species are found wherever one looks.

    So, where are you most likely to find a previously unknown species? I've been told that the answer's, apparently, in your back garden.

    These numbers are just for the known and named species. No one knows how many species are still to be discovered. Estimates for the total number of species on the planet range from 3 million to 100 million, though most generally accepted estimates are between 5 and 20 million. This range of estimates emphasizes how little we presently know about biodiversity.

    The total number of known species is continually in flux as new species are found, taxonomic categories adjusted, and redundancies recognized. Compounding the problem is the fact that diversity is not evenly distributed across species, regions, or the planet. Seventy percent of the world's species occur in just 12 countries: Australia, Brazil, China, Columbia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico, Peru, and Zaire.


    Some bits on some papers that attempted to answer the question

    http://animals.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=animals&cdn=education&tm=803&gps=599_604_1596_662&f=00&su=p284.9.336.ip_p897.9.336.ip_&tt=2&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//faculty.plattsburgh.edu/thomas.wolosz/howmanysp.htm


    Regards,

    One of the Lobby

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  • 22. At 00:15am on 19 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @9

    Was that Long-tailed Blue, Lampides boeticus or Two-tailed Pasha, Charaxes jasius?.. the 'long tailed Pascha' appears to be elusive as an identification.

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  • 23. At 00:37am on 19 Oct 2010, blunderbunny wrote:

    Question 2

    16,969 species were discovered in 2006 according to a report compiled by Arizona State University's International Institute for Species Exploration, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, the International Plant Names Index, and Thompson Scientific.

    Oddly, you think there would be more on this............

    Question 3

    Was going to be a post on its own, but can't find anything that's actually very useful. Estimates range between 5000 - 100,000 - sorry, there are some very special people about and apparently, not enough tin foil hats to go around. So, your guess is as good as mine.

    Lots of fastest mass extinction rubbish, mostly written in crayon, I'm afraid.

    Question 4

    The IUCN Red List contains over 49,000 assessments of species, subspecies, varieties and subpopulations covering a variety of taxa.

    Note: Not quite the same as just species, but it's the only number I can find. Still, at a 100,000 a year you've only got to wait a short while and there'll be a new list ;-)

    Seriously, though, this information should be much more freely available than it is. It looks to me as though the green movement has lost it's way, when this is something that something could actually be done about!

    But no, the green movement has to devote it's efforts almost exclusively towards a completely imagined problem instead

    Regards,

    One of the Lobby

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  • 24. At 01:56am on 19 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @ 23

    '..But no, the green movement has to devote it's efforts almost exclusively towards a completely imagined problem instead..'
    - blunderbunny


    That would appear to be a sweeping generalisation.. in what format (apart from virtual 'crayon') would you like the information delivered and by whom.. the specifics appeared to be a little unclear amongst the 'tin foil hat' and 'special people' ad homs.

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  • 25. At 02:13am on 19 Oct 2010, blunderbunny wrote:

    @Lamna_nasus

    Not a sweeping generalisation at all, it's completely heartfelt I'm afraid, which is sadly a shame.

    I was merely answering Labmunkeys biodiversity questions. Try a little trawl round the web yourself, you'll soon see what I was referring to.

    Regards,

    One of the Lobby

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  • 26. At 02:27am on 19 Oct 2010, blunderbunny wrote:

    @Lamna_nasus

    "in what format (apart from virtual 'crayon') would you like the information delivered and by whom.."

    If people (special or not) want other people to take more of an interest in bio-diversity, then it migth be an idea to publish a bit more stuff as there weren't a vast number of websites available from which to answer labmunkey's questions.

    Plus, some of the claims over yearly extinction numbers that are out there, are most definitely, out there (crayons, foil hats et al)

    Regards,

    One of the Lobby

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  • 27. At 03:32am on 19 Oct 2010, wdgLima wrote:

    @1 "Fragile Web: What Next for Nature?" edited by Jonathan Silvertown and published by the Natural History Museum and The Open University answers some if not all of these questions (sorry I don't have my copy to hand to provide quotes). This book addresses the questions of why biodiversity is important to all of us and provides insight into what 'biodiversity' means and how the current patterns came to be.

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  • 28. At 06:25am on 19 Oct 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    Excellent analysis of extinction myth at the heart of this project:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/04/where-are-the-corpses/

    And this is interesting, under-reported news. Just doesn't make it through the doomsday filter:

    "One third of ‘extinct’ animals turn up again

    The revelations come as the world’s leading conservationists prepare for a major United Nations summit on biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan, next month...

    Dr Diana Fisher, of the University of Queensland, Australia, compiled a list of all mammals declared extinct since the 16th century or which were flagged up as missing in scientific papers.

    ‘We identified 187 mammal species that have been missing since 1500,’ she wrote in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

    ‘In the complete data-set, 67 species that were once missing have been rediscovered. More than a third of mammal species that have been classified as extinct or possibly extinct, or flagged as missing, have been rediscovered.’

    Mammals that suffered from loss of habitat were the most likely to have been declared extinct and then rediscovered, she said…

    The mistakes cannot be blamed on primitive technology or old fashioned scientific methods.

    ‘Mammals missing in the 20th century were nearly three times as likely to be rediscovered as those that disappeared in the 19th century,’ Dr Fisher added."

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1315964/One-extinct-animals-turn-again.html

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  • 29. At 06:36am on 19 Oct 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    15. JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    "(I am struggling to think of any grass roots group that wants "one world government", everyone, moderate and extremist, green and sceptic, is suspicious of others trying to exert too much authority.)"

    That's why they use the softer term "global governance." Same effect over time. Its like the frog in the water as the heat progressively increases... its the way of the Progressives or Fabians. They find global green crises so useful that they invent them, and hold conferences to promote them. Its all for the children, apparently.

    Copenhagen was all about global governance, as is this biodiversity project.

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  • 30. At 07:43am on 19 Oct 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    CanadianRockies at #29


    Interesting you choose the frog in water with a gradually increasing temperature as your analogy. Illustrating one myth with another!

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  • 31. At 07:45am on 19 Oct 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    Blunderbunny at #26 and earlier,

    You must have a peculiar internet search technique if you reckon there isn't much information available to answer labmunkey's questions. There's masses of stuff available, and much of it the product of rigorous research.

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  • 32. At 07:46am on 19 Oct 2010, indianblue wrote:

    whether the green movement has lost its way or not is unimportant considering the fact that BD decline ought to be checked. There are limits to our present growth strategies and we need to revisit them for a much more stable future.

    I can understand it when the counter campaign blinds the unscientific general public with all the money available to the rich oil lobbies. If India and China were large consumers consuming at the same rate as US, even two planets wouldn't have sufficed to satisfy them. It is population which is the problem here, but the solution lies in sustainable development which will ensure stable populations. Whether people accept it or not, there is only one winner in man Vs nature and it is nature, and that might include elimination and collapse of humanity. It is totally up to us to decide between competing with nature or to survive in a harmonious exist coexistence.

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  • 33. At 08:16am on 19 Oct 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    I am sure that the significance of the shift in empathies away from climate change towards biodiversity is not lost upon those who still believe in man made climate change. I predicted that this would happen some months ago and was pooh-poohed at the time, never ignore a pooh-pooh.

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  • 34. At 08:17am on 19 Oct 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    Has anybody actually asked the children what they want? If my sulky teenager and his mates are anything to go by they want cars, affordable fuel & insurance and they want electrical gadgets, as for creepy crawlies, all they get is an indifferent shrug. Many here will say that such an attitude is wrong but who is to who is right and who is wrong.

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  • 35. At 09:10am on 19 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Folly!
    Smiffie I have to agree with you.
    Invoking the image of angelic children deprived of their natural inheritance bothers me because I have met very few of these paragons of virtue pining over the loss of nature's bounty. And why? Answer: media, advertising and society. Even out in the backwoods of beyond, most children yearn for excitement, adventure, glamour, new toys, new clothes, new media (if they have seen it) and unfortunately what they yearn for has an impact on finite resources.

    This is a problem, but not as big a problem as adults yearning for adult versions of the same thing. Come on we all do it every time we go shopping. We buy ourselves little treats and novelties in an attempt to fill that empty gap feeling. We change the furniture and decoration of our homes in an attempt to fill that empty gap feeling. And why do we do it? We are all brainwashed from birth to want more products. The prompt to buy STUFF is utterly invasive and everywhere we look. The giant plasma TV's give us a more encompassing view of the products that we MUST buy in order to achieve 'happiness.'

    If we step back from the woods and see the trees from a distance then we can see that this media induced need is insane. But we have caught the tiger by the tail and cannot let go. If we stopped buying STUFF the economy would grind to a standstill.

    So these meetings will go on and on continuing to preach to the converted. Spending and consuming will continue until the money or resources run out.
    jr4412
    I don't know if you have been there personally, or that you know friends who have and you sound bitter. Those of us who have not experienced war first hand do not understand the necessary and painful mind-shift of values those in the line of fire have to go through.

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  • 36. At 09:21am on 19 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @blunder- thanks, your efforts, as ever, are appreciated.

    @ Lamna-nasus.

    I'm very interested how you 'pegged' me as a biodiversity loss 'skeptic' off the back of my two posts- one of which specifically trying to outline that i had no definitive stance on the subject yet, hence the post #1.

    All i wanted was some information to base a personal assessment on, it would seem even asking questions now is enough to label you as a skeptic/denier.

    that is very troubling.

    back at blunderbunny to summarise your answers:
    1- ~ 2 million named, upto 100 unnamed.
    2- 16,969 in 2006
    3- 5000 - 100,000
    4- 49,000

    I too was curious about the difficulty in finding this information- though i did spend some time looking at the redlist- thank you guys for suggesting it.

    Again, being very careful here to state that i have no opinion on this as yet one way or another...

    If we a) don't know how many specifes there are and b) don't know how many become extinct, c) don't know how many become extinct by mans influence, d) don't know how many are found each year, then i'm very confused.

    How can we say that biodiversity is falling, if we don't even know the number, how much it's increasing and falling and the causes (natural/man)???

    You could get around this by doing numerous very targetted studies, however i'm not sure how you'd take migration into account.

    Again, note this is not me saying that we're fine to go on as normal or that we couldn't do more to live in harmony/reduce our impact because we can- i'm just suprised at the paucity of information on this.

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  • 37. At 09:44am on 19 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    sensiblegrannie #35 wrote:

    If we step back from the woods and see the trees from a distance then we can see that this media induced need is insane.

    I think you should step back even further and ask yourself: How does one implant a need or desire of any kind in another person's mind?

    I submit that the answer is: one cannot implant a wholly new need/desire, but only fine-tune needs/desires that are already there. For example, if a child sees a rich guy driving a flashy Swedish car, he might say, "I want one of those flashy Swedish cars!", but only because he already wanted the trappings and comforts of wealth. If he sees a poor guy working in the rain digging holes in the road, he doesn't say, "I want to dig holes in the road just like that guy!"

    The media don't really "induce" needs/desires in children, so much as harness needs/desires that are already in children by virtue of their being human. These days children want X-Boxes after seeing ads on TV, but a few decades ago they wanted Scalextric; a hundred years before that they wanted expensive weaponry or ponies. This goes all the way back to pre-human animals, and indeed it is found in non-human animals.

    Tragic though it is, animal life always involves competition and yearnings to display the trappings of success rather than failure. We cannot escape that, but we can try to make sure it manifests itself in more benign ways. For example, most boys nowadays do not expect weapons as toys, nor are they given weapons as toys. That is a great improvement on previous generations, not least for the animals they would have killed for sport.

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  • 38. At 09:56am on 19 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    LabMunkey #1: how many species are there on the planet?

    LabMunkey #36: ~ 2 million named, upto 100 unnamed.

    I'm sure there are far, far more unnamed species than that. I got the impression that there are parts of the world in which new species of beetle are discovered practically every time an entomologist makes an exhaustive "census" of a tree.

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  • 39. At 10:00am on 19 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 39
    "I'm sure there are far, far more unnamed species than that"
    As am i, but you have to work with the numbers you have mate.

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  • 40. At 10:01am on 19 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    oh, and i of course meant 100 million not, erm, 100 in that post !

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  • 41. At 10:20am on 19 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Thank you bowmanthebard at post 37

    'For example, most boys nowadays do not expect weapons as toys, nor are they given weapons as toys. That is a great improvement on previous generations, not least for the animals they would have killed for sport.'

    Na, violent kids use far more sophisticated weapons these days.

    Hmm, fine-tune becomes fin-tuna. Bowmanthebard you have opened a whole new can of tuna/worms here. I have briefly flicked through the Internet to find out about implanting new ideas into the brain and instantly discovered that the next generation of technology will indeed, do just that. Chip implants are being designed and tested to directly connect the brain with computer technology. Anyone for fish 'n' chips?

    So let me fine-tune a need/desire to eat fish:

    http://www.fishonline.org/advice/eat/?item=11

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  • 42. At 10:37am on 19 Oct 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @bowmanthebard #37
    (@sensiblegrannie)

    LOL

    How do you fit this into your worldview? Teenagers that want to be violently sick and then wake up the next morning with a hangover and a nasty disease, and in the case of teenage girls, need to get an abortion without their parents finding out.

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  • 43. At 11:03am on 19 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke #42 wrote:

    How do you fit this into your worldview? Teenagers that want to be violently sick and then wake up the next morning with a hangover and a nasty disease

    I invoke Zahavi's "handicap principle": to display one's strengths more convincingly, one deliberately takes risks, even self-harms. It's a form of "costly signaling": for example, if you see a cyclist going downhill at high speed with his right arm outstretched, you can be sure he's about to turn right. But if you see a car with its right indicator on, you can't be so sure the driver is about to turn right, because it costs him less to make that signal.

    Costly signals can be found throughout nature, wherever sexual selection is exercised (it is mostly exercised by females only, but in humans it is exercised by both sexes, pretty much equally). The peacock's tail was not properly understood until recently, when people began to understand that the tail is not very long despite being burdensome and dangerous to own, but because it's burdensome and dangerous to own.

    Teenagers do not drive fast, smoke cigarettes, drink till they throw up, drill holes through all available body parts despite the fact that those things are dangerous, painful, etc., but because they're dangerous, painful, etc.!

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  • 44. At 11:06am on 19 Oct 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @LabMunkey
    @blunderbunny
    @Lamna-nasus

    LabMunkey's questions in #1 are obviously relevant. But they are hardly easy to answer. I mean, various different species counts for the whole world? This would hardly be trivial even if we did have all of nature catalogued. And as it is we don't have all current species classified, and some species have been double counted, and for some types of organisms, such as bacteria, the dividing line between species is much harder to define, so species numbers have to be extrapolated. Find another swathe of double counted species or change the method of extrapolation and there's another article in New Scientist.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17123-birds-swell-the-ranks-of-critically-endangered-species.html
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14206-how-many-species-live-in-the-sea.html
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19487-half-the-worlds-plant-names-weeded-out.html
    http://www.newscientist.com/blog/shortsharpscience/2008/06/counting-in-bacterial-world.html

    However that doesn't stop some observations being made about biodiversity. Europe and North America have seen a dramatic decline in large mammals. Observations of the impact of many intensive farming techniques and industrial fishing show huge drop offs of some types of species, including birds, small mammals and beneficial insects. If the habitat goes, then so do many of the species attached to that habitat.

    There are of course exceptions to the decline in biodiversity. Various bird charities and now bee charities encourage gardeners to grow nature friendly plants. Similarly some management techniques used in nature reserves can locally bolster biodiversity.

    In the meantime some biodiversity measurement seems to be based on the situation with the more obvious species, similar to the way that inflation measurement is based on the most commonly purchased goods.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13915-global-biodiversity-slumps-27-in-35-years.html

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  • 45. At 11:08am on 19 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke at post 42

    'How do you fit this into your worldview? Teenagers that want to be violently sick and then wake up the next morning with a hangover and a nasty disease, and in the case of teenage girls, need to get an abortion without their parents finding out.'

    Some are expressing a desire for self-annihilation and others do it 'because they can.'

    Best not to ask too many questions because the answers might horrify you. Actually, maybe we as a society should be asking these questions and, hopefully, become horrified enough to make some changes.

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  • 46. At 11:09am on 19 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    sensiblegrannie #41 wrote:

    violent kids use far more sophisticated weapons these days

    Happily, fewer kids are literally violent these days than in the past. Computer games (etc.) seem to work as a form of catharsis. Violent imagery, violent fantasy etc. are not literally violent, and it is literal violence that counts.

    By the way, apart from the obvious aberrations, on the whole our world is much less violent than the world of the past:

    http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/pinker07/pinker07_index.html

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  • 47. At 11:11am on 19 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    sensiblegrannie #35.

    very much agree with your "fill that empty gap feeling" sentiment.

    "Those of us who have not experienced war first hand do not understand the necessary and painful mind-shift of values those in the line of fire have to go through."

    largely the fault of the media, I'd say, particularly the 'patriotic' nationals like the BBC. every day we're shown 'our' boys (and they are mostly boys and young men) standing behind some dusty wall in Afghanistan firing their automatic weapons. what we don't see is the scene at the end of the bullets' trajectory -- injured people writhing in the dirt, dead people torn apart by the explosives. our images of war are way too sanitised.

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  • 48. At 11:26am on 19 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    very profound bowmanthebard at post 43

    Perhaps the entire human population is exhibiting collective Zahavi's "handicap principle." Perhaps we are all doing more costly signaling because we fear that our power is on the decline?

    The Renaissance in Europe is a pretty good example of an entire culture cost-signaling to survive the influx of other cultures.

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  • 49. At 11:30am on 19 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    jr4412 #47 wrote:

    our images of war are way too sanitised

    But our images of war are far less sanitized than they were in the past. People read about the Battle of Trafalgar a few days later in The Times -- minus photographs, minus sounds, minus lurid first-hand accounts, which at best they got much later from the wounded who would have been cautious about how much they revealed "in mixed company".

    By contrast, today we have documentaries such as Restrepo, which win awards precisely because of their unblinkered, unsanitized approach.

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  • 50. At 11:39am on 19 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @36
    'I'm very interested how you 'pegged' me as a biodiversity loss 'skeptic' off the back of my two posts- one of which specifically trying to outline that i had no definitive stance on the subject yet, hence the post #1.'
    - LabMunkey


    I didn’t just read those two posts -

    10. At 08:34am on 18 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    re: biodiversity loss.

    '..I don't think we'll ever get a solution to this problem (if it exists to the extent touted, which is not to say i think there isn't an issue, just that i'm a bit more, ahem, skeptical over the figures) on a global, or at least governmental level...'
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/10/folding_the_hopes_of_thousands.html#P

    ..so, that was you describing yourself as ahem, 'skeptical' about biodiversity loss on another thread..

    Both you and blunderbunny appear to be comparing very large numbers of very small species, with the limited number of species found politically acceptable to include in documents like the Red List, which are often vigorously contested for commercial reasons.

    I am also intrigued by the fact a source was suggested for the information you requested -

    wdgLima (@27) "Fragile Web: What Next for Nature?" edited by Jonathan Silvertown and published by the Natural History Museum and The Open University

    ..however you appear to have ignored it, in favor of figures blunderbunny admitted to have gathered from sources of doubtful veracity (in some cases tin foil hat wearing, special people with virtual crayons according to BB)..it would seem inconceivable that someone who recognizes the importance of scientific rigor, would use such poorly referenced sources to form an opinion.

    Again being very careful here to state that I have no opinion on this as yet one way or another…

    Why do you need a definitive figure for the number of species overall, before taking action to conserve ones that are indisputably under pressure according to the Red List.. are you suggesting that the discovery of hundreds of new insects and microscopic organisms for example more than compensates in some way for critically endangered species like the Mountain gorilla, Clouded leopard or Spix macaw?

    Are you suggesting that numerous very targeted scientific studies do not exist on the subject, just because blunderbunny did not supply you with any?

    I have no definitive stance on biodiversity however I find the sources of skepticism supplied so far, to be so ill defined as to be meaningless and extremely poorly referenced.

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  • 51. At 11:52am on 19 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    bowmanthebard #49.

    "By contrast, today we have documentaries such as Restrepo, which win awards precisely because of their unblinkered, unsanitized approach."

    true, but, a small number of documentaries vs 24/7 coverage on all channels plus print media?

    wrt literal violence & computer games -- but that is exactly how much of our modern warfare is conducted, kids sitting in a control post remote-controlling drones over the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, pressing little buttons which results in real people dying; much of the killing done in warzones today does happen 'on screen', and the killers are very young.

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  • 52. At 12:05pm on 19 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @50 lol

    To be skeptical towards governmental figures does not suggest that i am skeptical towards the biodiverity 'problem' now does it. You are super imposing your 'image' of my beliefs onto my posts, coming to completely different conclusions to what they actually on their own, suggest.

    "to learn, you must first identify what you don't know"

    This is my starting point for all new areas of 'study'. I assumed, incorrectly it would seem, that those presenting this new threat would have the approximate figures to hand at a drop of a hat. Handily summarised and perhaps released in a government-sponsored organisational report.

    Or at the very least on a page on the green peace website...

    Again, lamna, i have been very specific wrt my position but i shall state it again for you, clearly and as unambiguously as i can, lest you get confused once more:

    I am of the firm opinion that man can do more to lessen his impact on the local environment and the species that inhabit it. I am also of the firm opinion that in specific cases, man is having a detremental effect on certain species. However, without knowing the figures associated with species lost/total numbers i am not in a position to say whether the current percieved biodiversity loss is:
    a) significantly greater than normal attrition rates via evolutionary pressures.
    b) damaging to biodiversity as a whole (due to overall impact and the vacant niche's that will 'help' other species).
    c) something we can measure at all anyway.

    At present, i have no skepticism over the new 'threat' as i do not have enough information on it, though at first pass it would seem that there ISN'T enough information available for it at present anyway, at least, nothing to tie the entire thing together into a useable picture(there have of course been individual targetted studies).

    I will attempt to track down the links that were provided (surely you can grant me more than half a morning to read up on a complex subject?), though i will say that the red list could REALLY do with a structural change on the web site to make navigation easier and a sumamry report would go a LONG way.

    At present, i still have no position on the subject- only questions- if you don't like the questions then i would suggest that says more about you than i.

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  • 53. At 12:37pm on 19 Oct 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    LabMunkey at #52

    Once again, I stress that there is a wealth of easily accessible material. Since it seems as if you want a short-cut, then perhaps these pages (Trends in abundance and distribution of selected species) will help you answer some of your questions:

    http://www.twentyten.net/indicators/hl_abundancedistributionofselectedspecies


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  • 54. At 12:49pm on 19 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 53.

    Excellent. that covers known species etc, now i just need information on numbers discovered yearly and how they seperate natural (evolutionary pressures) and man (pollution/habitat loss etc) pressures from this data.

    I'll see what i can find.

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  • 55. At 12:49pm on 19 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Lets do a bit of creative thinking.

    1) jr14412 at post 51

    'pressing little buttons which results in real people dying; much of the killing done in warzones today does happen 'on screen', and the killers are very young.'

    2) bowmanthebard at post 43

    'I invoke Zahavi's "handicap principle": to display one's strengths more convincingly, one deliberately takes risks, even self-harms. It's a form of "costly signaling":

    3) me at post 41
    So let me fine-tune a need/desire to eat fish:
    http://www.fishonline.org/advice/eat/?item=11

    4) Smiffie at post33
    I am sure that the significance of the shift in empathies away from climate change towards biodiversity is not lost upon those who still believe in man made climate change. I predicted that this would happen some months ago and was pooh-poohed at the time, never ignore a pooh-pooh.

    5) stock market
    If more of us changed our consuming habits, voting habits, investing habits etc. we could mitigate some of the negative effects of stock market decisions by forcing them to trade in more sustainable companies. 'Less is more' only makes us think smaller. MORE IS MORE and always has been.

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  • 56. At 12:52pm on 19 Oct 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    LabMunkey at #52 (again): You wrote that you "assumed, incorrectly it would seem, that those presenting this new threat would have the approximate figures to hand at a drop of a hat. Handily summarised and perhaps released in a government-sponsored organisational report."

    That's pretty much a description of the Global Biodiversity Outlook Report. But I'm guessing that this is one of the things that you haven't looked at or didn't manage to find. The most recent version (the third one) was published this year, and is available on the Convention on Biological Diversity website (see [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator])

    To help you further, note that there is a section entitled "Biodiversity in 2010" which includes "Species populations and extinction risks". In the introduction to that bit, you can even find this little summary, which I guess is short enough to be taken in with even a hasty glance:

    "The population of wild vertebrate species fell by an average of nearly one- third (31%) globally between 1970 and 2006, with the decline especially severe in the tropics (59%) and in freshwater ecosystems (41%)."

    Then there are all sorts of extra details, links to additional resources, and so on and so forth.



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  • 57. At 1:09pm on 19 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 56.

    more excellent. thanks.

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  • 58. At 1:10pm on 19 Oct 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    To find the missing link in my #56:

    Simply type the phrase "Global Biodiversity Outlook 3" into an internet search engine of your choice...



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  • 59. At 1:12pm on 19 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    jr4412 #52 wrote:

    wrt literal violence & computer games -- but that is exactly how much of our modern warfare is conducted, kids sitting in a control post remote-controlling drones over the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, pressing little buttons which results in real people dying; much of the killing done in warzones today does happen 'on screen', and the killers are very young.

    Unfortunately, that is just how wars have always been conducted -- young males put other people into as much danger as possible while keeping out of danger as much as possible themselves. During Napoleonic times, it was "barrage and blockade" of ports, before that the besieging of cities, mass death of non-combatants and soldiers alike through dysentery, typhoid, etc..

    It is nothing to be welcomed, but nothing to be surprised about, that modern computer technology now plays a central role in that terrible "game" whose object has always been and always will be to kill as many of the enemy at the smallest possible cost to one's own side.

    It is something to be welcomed, only very slightly mind you, that at least somewhat fewer non-combatants are getting killed with these weapons than with older technologies of "strategic bombing", city sieges, etc.. And at least the young people who are using these "computer game-like" weapons are themselves physically safe, unlike the young men who had to go "over the top" in earlier wars.

    I repudiate the expectation that war should instead be conducted like an even-handed game of cricket, with Israeli soldiers throwing stones back at children who throw stones at them, or blowing themselves up in Palestinian marketplaces in return for suicide bombings. That's ridiculous.

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  • 60. At 1:13pm on 19 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 59.

    still more excellent (getting a bit sychophantic this...).

    Cheers.

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  • 61. At 1:32pm on 19 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    bowmanthebard at post 59

    with Israeli soldiers throwing stones back at children who throw stones at them,

    Thats what I heard (all those years ago) from someone who was there who also said that the violence escalated proportionally to the number of reporters present with cameras. Perhaps a case of :
    'I invoke Zahavi's "handicap principle": to display one's strengths more convincingly, one deliberately takes risks, even self-harms. It's a form of "costly signaling":

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  • 62. At 1:35pm on 19 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    There was a funny old expression that I heard over and over again, 'paper never refuses ink.' Perhaps a newer expression could be, 'cameras never refuse action.'

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  • 63. At 2:37pm on 19 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @52 LabMunkey

    No, you asked why I 'pegged' you as a biodiversity loss 'skeptic'.. I responded by posting your quote, where you stated that you were ahem, 'skeptical' re bio diversity loss figures and I pointed out you had described yourself as ahem, 'skeptical'.. I made no further comment on that quote..
    So in actuality, you are the one super imposing your 'image' of my beliefs onto my posts, coming to completely different conclusions to what they actually on their own, suggest.

    If you didn't like the questions I posed afterwards,I would suggest that says more about you than I.

    Again, LabMunkey, I have been very specific wrt my position but I shall state it again for you, clearly and as unambiguously as I can, lest you get confused once more:

    I am of the firm opinion that man can do more to lessen his impact on the local environment and the species that inhabit it. I am also of the firm opinion that in specific cases, man is having a detrimental effect on certain species.
    At present, I still have no position on the subject, only questions and
    I welcome the assistance of the individuals who have suggested more detailed sources for information concerning biodiversity issues.

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  • 64. At 2:40pm on 19 Oct 2010, blunderbunny wrote:

    @simon-swede

    I was merely trying to answer the questions that were posed by labmunkey and I found very little that was actually quantitised anything other than the number of named species and estimates of the number of unnamed ones. There were a lot other sites, but they we're not terribly well laid out, something that can be said for the redlist site itself. So, my point was….

    If you are, for instance, mildly curious about this there are not very many decent sites/sources to choose from. If you are, on the other hand, interested in AGW then there are a myriad of sites to choose from, with all spectrums of opinion neatly catered for. Personally, I would argue that preserving habitats and bio-diversity is much more important than AGW and therefore I would humbly suggest that it is being under represented out there in the aether.

    If the green movement/lobby is really serious about protecting the environment then this is what they should be concentrating their efforts on. Indeed, this sort of thing was once the bread and butter of the movement.

    Regards

    One of the Lobby

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  • 65. At 2:43pm on 19 Oct 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Wolfiewoods
    (@Smiffie)

    "I think that Jane is someone having a laugh with us."

    I'm not. But these people are

    http://www.dhmo.org/
    http://omissioncontrol.blogspot.com/
    http://friendsofginandtonic.org/

    PS, déjà vu

    "Combating man made global warming is not just desirable in itself, it is also a catalyst for fixing so much else that is wrong with society and the world at large, it is almost as if we needed to have it, as if it were meant to be, almost too good to be true." Wolfiewoods
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/05/ipcc_review_friend_or_foe.html#P96205890
    "Wolfiewoods #128: too good to be true
    Carl Sagan thought so - as does Mark Maslin.
    Where did you get that name?" Manysummits
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/05/ipcc_review_friend_or_foe.html#P96209646
    " Manysummits, I have been following your comments for many weeks now, I may have got you completely wrong but I can’t help getting the impression that your comments are false flag attacks, are you really a part of the lobby?" Wolfiewoods
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/05/ipcc_review_friend_or_foe.html#P96228867
    "WoW - that's a new one! Last time I looked - No." Manysummits
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/05/ipcc_review_friend_or_foe.html#P96254700
    "I still think that Manysummits is somebody having a laugh with us." Wolfiewoods
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/05/ipcc_review_friend_or_foe.html#P96345321

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  • 66. At 2:54pm on 19 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 63 lamna

    Incorrect again i'm afraid.

    "No, you asked why I 'pegged' you as a biodiversity loss 'skeptic'.. I responded by posting your quote, where you stated that you were ahem, 'skeptical' re bio diversity loss figures and I pointed out you had described yourself as ahem, 'skeptical'..

    specifically

    "I made no further comment on that quote.. "

    you wrote this directly below that paragraph

    "..so, that was you describing yourself as ahem, 'skeptical' about biodiversity loss on another thread.."

    There you conflate skepticism on biodiversity loss with skepticism on official figures and directly infer that i am a biodiversity loss skeptic.

    Hence my post at #52.

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  • 67. At 3:06pm on 19 Oct 2010, JaneBasingstoke wrote:

    @Smiffie #19

    Treaties between nations have been around a long time and are the opposite of "one world government" as they allow for the continuing existence of nations with governments accountable to their citizens. (Tragically not all national governments are adequately accountable to their citizens.)

    CanadianRockies #29 has flagged up the preferred term "global governance". This term seems ambiguous, with academics and journalists sometimes using it as an umbrella for any power politics existing above the level of national politics. The term is sometimes applied to activists wanting to ensure that very big businesses don't use their global scale to escape the sort of regulation (safety, anti fraud, etc) that gets applied to smaller businesses. But I still can't find any grass roots organisations using this term to demand the sort of explicitly anti-democratic global centralisation of power referred to in Wolfiewoods #3.

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  • 68. At 3:49pm on 19 Oct 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    It will be interesting to watch old alliances broken and new ones formed as biodiversity loss replaces climate change. There must be many climate sceptics who will support measures to protect biodiversity because they see it as a real issue or because they support population reduction, equally there must be many who viewed warming as a threat to man kind but have no interest in creepy crawlies. Either way I am sure that the political elements who operate in the background will milk biodiversity the same way that they did climate change.

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  • 69. At 4:00pm on 19 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @66 - LabMunkey

    Lol

    No, you asked why I 'pegged' you as a biodiversity loss 'skeptic'.. I responded by posting your quote, where you described yourself as ahem, 'skeptical'.. you are the one making the inferences, I simply responded to your question.

    Hence my post at 63.

    Your attempt to now suggest official figures for bio diversity loss should be in some way dissociated from a debate on biodiversity loss is an interesting opinion, which in view of the subject matter, I look forward to you returning to at some length, after your research.

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  • 70. At 4:06pm on 19 Oct 2010, Kamboshigh wrote:

    Lamna-nasus 22

    Sorry my mistake it is the Charaxes Jasius

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  • 71. At 4:12pm on 19 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @64

    'If the green movement/lobby is really serious about protecting the environment then this is what they should be concentrating their efforts on. Indeed, this sort of thing was once the bread and butter of the movement.' - blunderbunny


    Still is apparently –

    http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/finder/tigers/year-of-tiger.html

    http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/biodiversity/saving_forests_18269.html

    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/Greenpeace-Statement-on-Opening-of-CBD-COP10/

    http://www.wdcs.org.uk/

    http://www.sharktrust.org/

    http://www.seashepherd.org/

    http://www.eia-international.org/

    http://www.sas.org.uk/


    ..and that’s just a small sample.. was there any particular reason you were unable to check the facts before making another sweeping and inaccurate generalisation?......

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  • 72. At 4:14pm on 19 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @70

    Thanks for the clarification Kamboshigh.

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  • 73. At 4:26pm on 19 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ 70. Lamna.

    Sigh. I'm sensing a pattern here.

    I did not describe myself as skeptical wrt biodiversity loss as you are suggesting and continuing to try to suggest.

    My quote- in full context from the post you were reffering to is:

    "I don't think we'll ever get a solution to this problem (if it exists to the extent touted, which is not to say i think there isn't an issue, just that i'm a bit more, ahem, skeptical over the figures) on a global, or at least governmental level."

    Here i clearly state that i am only skeptical of offical governmental figures. This is all and furthermore i go on to suggest ways of combating the issue at a local level- which i honestly see as the only real way forward.

    I am not sure what you are trying to achieve via this exchange but you really have got the wrong end of the stick.

    "Your attempt to now suggest official figures for bio diversity loss should be in some way dissociated from a debate on biodiversity loss is an interesting opinion, which in view of the subject matter, I look forward to you returning to at some length, after your research."

    This is again, not what i said and again you're distorting my position (the word 'govermental' is VERY important in this context). Unfortunatley given your responses to my previous attempt to correct your assumptions i have to question the merit of even arguing this point with you.

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  • 74. At 4:31pm on 19 Oct 2010, Kamboshigh wrote:

    72

    No problem.

    Are you sure you wish to associate with your seashephard link?

    Richard is working really hard yet another blog post is open PEW

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  • 75. At 4:35pm on 19 Oct 2010, Smiffie wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke

    Re Wolfiewoods, as I said before, I don’t know, I would love it if he is for real and I am sure that you would be relieved if he is not. I did have a little bit of doubt and I think that you have too.

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  • 76. At 4:39pm on 19 Oct 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    JaneBasingstoke wrote @ 44, re::LabMunkey, blunderbunny, Lamna-nasus, etc
    "There are of course exceptions to the decline in biodiversity. Various bird charities and now bee charities encourage gardeners to grow nature friendly plants. Similarly some management techniques used in nature reserves can locally bolster biodiversity.
    In the meantime some biodiversity measurement seems to be based on the situation with the more obvious species, similar to the way that inflation measurement is based on the most commonly purchased goods."
    ..............
    Hi, Jane, Munkey etc
    I've done this blog topic before so you know my take on the issue and also my use of Indices (esp. Shannon- Weiner), and the key difference between Diversity and Variety.
    I can make the species variety of the West End significantly larger than that of the East End simply by including Regents Park - but it says little about the stability of London's temperate, coastal ecosystem. In fact, I can make both Index values higher by introducing 'disturbance' or incorporating boundary zones between adjacent ecosystems (think of a Venn diagram).
    Most diversity Indices are Dominance Indices and therefore the more the world becomes dominated by Humans, rats and cockroaches, the lower the Diversity index becomes. But there may still be (eg) one (1) individual of very many species in the ecosystem. This still gives a high Variety index but indicated a highly degraded ecosystem, one where species diversity is 'on the way out'.

    One problem arises by incorporating life-forms of different scale in the same computation. If the analysis includes bacteria or insects in the same extinction analysis as the Red List large mammals - the analytical outcomes may not even register the loss of the world's mammals because the data is swamped by millions of tiny or microscopic species. This is one take on Munkey's initial question (which I liked), but which begged much larger and patently un-answerable questions inherent in the issue of scale.

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  • 77. At 6:26pm on 19 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    hello GeoffWard
    Perhaps biodiversity leaders should take notes from supermarket traders.
    The supermarket:
    Huge range of stock
    huge turnover
    quick rotation of weekly basics
    competition from other supermarkets
    different stock requirements in different localities
    resources coming in from all around the world
    different environmental conditions required for different products
    constantly changing prices
    constantly changing stock requirements
    seasons

    Supermarkets manage to keep their businesses on track and make a huge profit
    Supermarkets have a continuous stock take process as everything is bar coded
    Supermarkets introduced the loyalty cards and from them can identify their consumers needs, habitat, social status etc
    Supermarkets use the basic weekly basket to identify key products and price comparisons with other contenders.
    It would be quite difficult to bar code an amoeba but considering that each creature has DNA that job is already done.

    The equivalent of the weekly basic food basket as a starter.
    Species that are key indicators of environmental stress could be monitored each week.
    If there were a sudden unexpected decrease or increase in a population size, it would be a sure sign that something was happening and needed investigating urgently.

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  • 78. At 7:01pm on 19 Oct 2010, sensiblegrannie wrote:

    Where is my last comment? I thought it was a pretty good idea.

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  • 79. At 7:47pm on 19 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @73

    LabMonkey, there is no complexity.. you asked me why I thought of you as a skeptic.. I quoted you, calling yourself an ahem, 'skeptic' as the reason why.. end of story.

    Are you now wishing to clarify that your approach to this subject will be constructed from biodiversity, official figures for biodiversity and 'government' figures for biodiversity, all having to be debated separately and in isolation?.. so that you can be 'skeptical' of 'government' figures alone, while according other data greater legitimacy?
    If so, please give detailed parameters for what you intend to class as 'government' figures as opposed to 'official' figures, before we continue.. so that there is no ambiguity..

    Also please clarify how you have already come to the conclusion that you are ahem, 'skeptical' of government figures.. in a debate you claim to have taken no position on and for which you are still requesting data.. such an approach would appear to lack scientific rigor?

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  • 80. At 10:14pm on 19 Oct 2010, blunderbunny wrote:

    @Lamna_nasus

    "..and that’s just a small sample.. was there any particular reason you were unable to check the facts before making another sweeping and inaccurate generalisation?......
    "

    As previously, stated. It was difficult to come up with the numbers that Labmunkey was asking for. So, if you think it's so simple, then please be my guest, supply similar information. The details that I found for the number of new species discovered each year were a bit sketchy, so please tell us more?

    Oh, by the way, I think you need to study up on both the meaning and common usage of the word inaccurate - Just a thought.

    Regards,

    One of the Lobby

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  • 81. At 11:08pm on 19 Oct 2010, jr4412 wrote:

    Kamboshigh #9.

    sorry, meant to reply earlier but forgot. I see that you have an additional 'problem' now :-), maybe you could post (a link to) a photo or two of said butterflies on the plants?

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  • 82. At 11:43pm on 19 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @80 blunderbunny

    ..good thing simon-swede didn't encounter the same problem then.. and since simon-swede did provide a source, why are you asking me for the same information?

    Oh, by the way how many of the environmental organisations listed did you feel should also be replicating the same information?..

    Further why is there no skeptic source you can refer to, after all you would need to be able to check any government figures against a contrarian source.. frankly I think The Heartland Institute, The Institute of Public Affairs and The Scientific Alliance have really dropped the ball on this one, they should have had a free data pack mailed out.. just a thought...

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  • 83. At 00:45am on 20 Oct 2010, blunderbunny wrote:

    @Lamna_nasus

    I've not mentioned any sceptical resources and I'm afraid I've got no further time for you.

    Regards,

    One of the Lobby

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  • 84. At 04:34am on 20 Oct 2010, CanadianRockies wrote:

    #69. "a biodiversity loss 'skeptic'"

    Here we go again.

    When will we hear about "biodiversity loss deniers"?


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  • 85. At 04:55am on 20 Oct 2010, simon-swede wrote:

    LabMunkey,

    In case you want something a little closer to home, here are details for two more recent reports describing the status and trends for biodiversity at European level, produced by the European Environmental Agency (EEA).
    The first is “Assessing biodiversity in Europe – the 2010 report”. This report considers the status and trends of pan-European biodiversity, and the implications of these trends for biodiversity management policy and practice. It considers the key biodiversity policy instruments currently applied in Europe, the threats to biodiversity and their management implications across major habitat types.

    If the Moderators allow, the report can be accessed via this link:
    http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/assessing-biodiversity-in-europe-84
    or, if that doesn’t work, type in “Assessing biodiversity in Europe – the 2010 report – EEA” to an internet search engine.

    The second is “The EU 2010 Biodiversity Baseline”, which provides facts and figures on the state and trends of the different biodiversity and ecosystem components.

    Again, if the Moderators allow, the report can be accessed via this link: http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/eu-2010-biodiversity-baseline
    or, if that doesn’t work, type in “EU 2010 Biodiversity Baseline – EEA” to an internet search engine.

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  • 86. At 05:21am on 20 Oct 2010, HumanityRules wrote:

    It's a strange juxtaposition. A political movement that wants to reign in prosperity now and uses the argument of future prosperity to do it.

    Resourses and energy are prosperity and the enviromantalist want us to have less of them, now and in the future.

    You can see why it's happening. Let's not focus on what this will mean to you lets focus on how it'll affect our grandchildren. The fact that everybody loves grandchildren can't harm the cause. The problem I see is how can a political movement that has little interest in the needs of humanity today, always prioritising the environment, really be believed to have the needs of future humans high on it's agenda.

    A fanastic example of this is the present discussion in Australia of the Murray-Darling river basin. A quango set up to look at future allocation of water resourses has produced a report and is doing the rounds trying to sell their ideas to communities. Having worked on a review for a good 12 months they produced a 260 page document that recommended cuts to farmers to return the water to the environment. Only problem they forgot to do any work on how these cuts would impact people. Protests mean they've hurriedly commissioned this work to be done. The concern is obvious.

    Environmentalists projecting their concern onto future generations is a trick to blind us to the contempt they feel for the present one.

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  • 87. At 07:53am on 20 Oct 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    i wasn't going to chip in on this thread, as i have already stated my position in past threads on the same subject, but all this talk about if people are sceptical of AGW, then they must be biodiversity "deniers" is just BS

    I and many others who post here are very concerned about the important problems with our earth, such as lack of clean water, sanitation, loss of species, food production, deforestation etc etc etc. Being sceptical of CO2 driven climate change doesn't mean we don't care about the planet

    Environmentalism is different shades of green

    /Mango

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  • 88. At 08:33am on 20 Oct 2010, LabMunkey wrote:

    @ smiffie #68

    " Either way I am sure that the political elements who operate in the background will milk biodiversity the same way that they did climate change."

    It's inevitable i'm afraid. Hopefully it won't damn the whole issue as it did with climate change.

    @ simon-swede # 85

    Again thanks- i'm finding my feet a bit more now wrt finding informaiton on this- needed a slight re-think on my searching patterns as it were. I'll get there in the end mate, but thanks for all the links.

    @ the interminable Lamna @ #79

    Lamna, dear fellow (?), i barely know where to start.

    Lets start with your last paragrpahs, where you are clearly trying to pigeon-hole me again (though by this stage in our exchange, i am hardly suprised).

    I'll ask a general question, not specifically to you, but just to put it out there.
    Given the tendancy for governments to exaggerate claims, distort figures and use twisted statistics to support agenda's, would it not be eminently sensible to be 'skeptical' of all governmental releases? At least until you could check the ACTUAL sources and situation for yourself? Just a thought.

    As for the rest of your post on my position, i agree it IS quite simple- yet you get it wrong every time and REPEATEDLY misquote/paraphrase my statement to suit your own conclusion.

    I very plainly said i was only skeptical of governmental figures on the issue NOT the issue itself(which is not to say of course that they will turn out not to be accurate, just suggesting caution). Furthermore our subsequent exchanges should have left you in little doubt to where i stand. Should, but apparently not.
    You seem to think because i used the word 'skeptical' or that i am perhaps skeptical of other issues (which i think to be the real issue here) that it follows i must be skeptical of this one?

    I'm afraid i cannot express it any simpler than that- i've tried correcting you. Stated specifically that your assertion is false and re-posted the paragraph you used incorrectly to prove that you were wrong. There is literally nothing more that i can do and i'm afraid i'll have to take a leaf out of blunderbunny's book, i have no time to correct willful falsehoods.

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  • 89. At 08:55am on 20 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @87 MangoChutneyUKOK

    Hmm.. having been moderated for using the 'D' word, I wouldn't dream of using it with reference to paranoid, New World Order alarmism.. however sometimes 'skepticism' trumpeted in advance of possessing any actual data to justify it, is a little too transparent.. if someone asks for data, it is customary to wait until the data is received, before making comments darkly referring to 'government' figures..

    As you can see from #86 it appears any suggestion that there should be any restrictions placed on development, if it upsets anyone, is unacceptable.. apparently regardless of the consequences, just as long as those consequences appear to be far enough away not to directly impact on the 'skeptic'.. I am sure the same mindset used to be extremely popular on Rapa Nui.. there are certainly a large number of statues dedicated to it...

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  • 90. At 08:56am on 20 Oct 2010, MangoChutney wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 91. At 8:42pm on 20 Oct 2010, Lorax wrote:

    We've previously discussed the link between biodiversity conservation and climate change. Those of us who work in conservation see the impacts of climate change acting to amplify the familiar problems of habitat loss, fragmentation, eutrophication and so on. A nice example in the journal Science recently showing key corals in the Red Sea show a 5% reduction in growth for every 0.2C rise above average summer water temperature. A range of newly lethal pathogens, like Red Band Needle Blight in the UK killing our pines. The Mountain pine beetle - a favourite of Canadian Rockies, still expanding its range because of warmer temperatures. Strictly speaking,these demonstrate the effect of changes in temperature, whatever the mechanism - but there is abundant evidence of climate change impacts on biodiversity.

    Lorax

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  • 92. At 02:13am on 21 Oct 2010, HungeryWalleye wrote:

    21. At 10:02am on 16 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard doesn't seem to realize that chaotic is not the same as random. Chaotic systems are quite subject to scientific analysis. Benoît Mandelbrot and other mathematicians have show this for decades.

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  • 93. At 09:01am on 21 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    HungeryWalleye #92 wrote:

    bowmanthebard doesn't seem to realize that chaotic is not the same as random.

    No, you have misunderstood the difference between "random" and "unpredictable in practice". Chaotic systems are wholly deterministic but unpredictable because of critical dependence on initial conditions.

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  • 94. At 1:13pm on 21 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    Which raises the interesting question as to whether 'random' exists or is simply a convenient definition for systems of extreme complexity, for which, at the current time, we have been unable to create suitable measurement vehicles, to enable analysis.

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  • 95. At 1:48pm on 21 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Lamna_nasus #94 wrote:

    Which raises the interesting question as to whether 'random' exists or is simply a convenient definition for systems of extreme complexity, for which, at the current time, we have been unable to create suitable measurement vehicles, to enable analysis.

    Yes -- it's remarkably difficult to give rigorous definitions of either 'determinism' or 'indeterminism', especially at the microscopic level where the very idea of causation itself is problematic.

    As a rough first pass, we might say that a genuinely random event is one for which there are not prior "sufficient" conditions (i.e. conditions which, were they to have been met, would have been followed by the event in question).

    Many of the apparent paradoxes of quantum theory can be avoided if we assume an extreme sort of determinism.

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  • 96. At 5:03pm on 21 Oct 2010, Lamna nasus wrote:

    @95 bowmanthebard

    I take your point.. however are we not always going to be in the position where observation of an extremely complex system means that other events we are unaware of (since they preceded the moment of measurement and our current understanding of the system) may have influenced the events we are attempting to define and measure, not to mention the very act (and system) of measurement, may also be influencing what we are observing?.. please excuse me, if my grasp of quantum theory is rather tenuous, I have read the illustrated version of Hawking's 'A Brief History Of Time' and came to the conclusion I could probably benefit from a 'pop up' edition.


    It is the attempt to quantify 'sufficient conditions' where I often start to feel as though my brain is dribbling out through my nose, although I accept there has to be a level of quantum physics that forms a rough framework for analysis of the subject.. the complexity of some systems, like biospheres is genuinely mindboggling.. each time we answer one question, it raises ten more.. mind you that is also what makes these systems so fascinating.

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  • 97. At 7:18pm on 21 Oct 2010, bowmanthebard wrote:

    Lamna_nasus #96 wrote:

    are we not always going to be in the position where observation of an extremely complex system [...] may also be influencing what we are observing?

    You're probably right. One thing to bear in mind is that a chaotic system can actually be surprisingly simple, and wholly unaffected by being observed. For example, take a look at the (animated) motion of the compound pendulum here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_pendulum

    It does "crazy stuff" despite being (a) really simple, (b) wholly determined, and (c) unaffected by observation (because it's just an ideal model). No matter how perfectly determined a system is, if would take a computer twice the size of the universe ten times the age of the universe to work out what it's going to do next, I think we are obliged to call that system "unpredictable"!

    You probably won't agree, but for what it's worth I'd say the climate is extremely complicated in addition to being chaotic. That gives two powerful (and independent) reasons for saying that we will never be able to predict it, not with anything like the sort of reliability hoped for by climate science anyway.

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