Re: Long-Term Sustainability Notes Online...
From: Oliveau (
Date: Sun, 8 Jul 2007 07:33:44 -0700 (PDT)
In a message dated 7/6/2007 2:01:57 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
bb [at] writes:

>  Eternal optimism is a great quality.....unless it serves to blind
>  people to hard facts and keeps them from facing very real challenges
>  in a clear headed and serious manner.  We seem to be in an era of
>  maximum 'fantasy indulgence' here in the U.S. where denial and
> magical  thinking are epidemic.

Hello Everyone,
    I wanted to add some comments of my own to this  very interesting 
    First,I agree that we need to take a clear headed  view of the challenges 
which face us.  I also agree that we  can challenge one another (argue) and 
still be polite :-)
    Second, the condition of humanity has been getting  steadily better over 
the last century, by almost any measure you care to look  at.  Wealth, 
education, calorie consumption, and life expectancy for the  whole planet have 
been going up, both as a percentage and in absolute  numbers.  The number of 
people living in poverty, or without healthcare, or  without enough food has 
going down, both as a percentage and in absolute  numbers.  Cancer deaths 
(after adjusting for longer life) are going  down.
    Of course, we should continue to try and help people who  are still 
living with starvation, poverty, and disease.  But our global  society, 
though it may be, is solving this problem.  We  are moving in the right 
    Third, increasing wealth causes decreasing  fertility.  Global population 
growth is already starting to taper  off.  We are adding fewer people each 
year.  Assuming continued  economic growth, we should see global population 
start to fall late in this  century.  Decreasing global population means 
decreasing environmental  stress on the planet.  
    Fourth, until global population starts to  fall, we need to carefully 
consider how to deal with global warming.   There are many relatively low-cost 
actions and researches we can  undertake.  I believe the latest IPCC report is 
advocating about 0.1% of  global GDP, which seems to be reasonable number to 
me.  But saying we have  to spend whatever it takes to minimize greenhouse 
gasses is like saying we  should spend whatever it takes to keep a dying person 
alive for another  week.  You have to consider economic costs, and make a clear 
headed  decision.
    I see bias behavior on both the Left and  the Right.  The Right pretends 
that we can't help the poor and so we  shouldn't even try, and ignores the 
impact we have having on the planet.   The Left focuses on the negative, and 
seems to think that all this consumption  is evil and people should feel guilty 
about it.
I welcome your comments telling me I have erred,
I always learn a lot from people who disagree with me,
-Kevin Oliveau

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