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Old 04-09-2012, 11:26 PM
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Is suicide the best thing a human can do for the environment?

I often hear about carbon footprint, carrying capacity, and other similar things, essentially saying that we use a heckuva lot of resources. Cecil et al suggest that it takes 200x more energy to sustain a pound of human than a pound of blue whale.

So are Priuses, bicycles, organic food, solar power, recycling, etc., etc., really just greenwashing? Should environmentalists commit mass suicide to save the Earth?
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:15 AM
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You could argue that any given person would do more good for the environment by devoting their life to convincing their fellow humans to convert their standard of living to a sustainable bare-bones existence. If the person who cares about the environment commits suicide while everyone you might have influenced goes on with their parasitic First World existence for the rest of their lives, then that doesn't help much.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:20 AM
Namkcalb Namkcalb is offline
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Please can you close this thread. It is an extremely sensitive topic for me.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:34 AM
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Please can you close this thread. It is an extremely sensitive topic for me.
Then don't read it

It's a sensitive topic for me too, but it's also a legitimate question. There's plenty of other threads you can go read if you don't like this one. Sorry, the Internet wasn't made just for you.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:42 AM
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You could argue that any given person would do more good for the environment by devoting their life to convincing their fellow humans to convert their standard of living to a sustainable bare-bones existence. If the person who cares about the environment commits suicide while everyone you might have influenced goes on with their parasitic First World existence for the rest of their lives, then that doesn't help much.
I'd like to believe that as well, but I wonder if it's statistically valid -- can a normal person (meaning non-politician, non-environmental-superstar) make enough of a dent in anyone else's behavior to offset his or her own consumption through a life?

For example, if 5000 environmentalists convinced 5000 other people to use 25% less, wouldn't that still be more ecologically detrimental than 5000 fewer people altogether?
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:44 AM
florez florez is offline
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What about efforts to achieve a lower population growth on the planet (family planning, contraceptive policy, and abortion for example)?
Would efforts in this direction make our continuing to live, as opposed to committing suicide to help the earth, any more valid?
Population stabilization, and reproductive choice are worth advocating for, since our numbers are driving the disruption of the environment, and creating the giant bloodsuck of resources from the planet.
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:07 AM
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I'd like to believe that as well, but I wonder if it's statistically valid -- can a normal person (meaning non-politician, non-environmental-superstar) make enough of a dent in anyone else's behavior to offset his or her own consumption through a life?

For example, if 5000 environmentalists convinced 5000 other people to use 25% less, wouldn't that still be more ecologically detrimental than 5000 fewer people altogether?
It wouldn't be 5000 other people; it would be millions upon millions of people over decades and centuries - its not like the non-environmentalists are going to stop having children. And mass suicide wouldn't mean their influence goes to zero, it would mean that their influence goes sharply negative; environmentalism acquires the reputation of a loony suicide cult.

It would be as if the entire Republican or Democratic Party committed mass suicide - not only would they be unable to influence anything anymore, but their political platform would instantly be marked as poisonous. It would be regarded as something only demonstrably suicidal loonies believe in.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:03 AM
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I often hear about carbon footprint, carrying capacity, and other similar things, essentially saying that we use a heckuva lot of resources. Cecil et al suggest that it takes 200x more energy to sustain a pound of human than a pound of blue whale.

So are Priuses, bicycles, organic food, solar power, recycling, etc., etc., really just greenwashing? Should environmentalists commit mass suicide to save the Earth?
Is it your basic premise that whatever organism is using the most resources should self-terminate?

If whales are the next most energy-intensive creature, then maybe we should exterminate them before we off ourselves.

Is there some threshold of per-capita resource usage above which an organism shouldn't be allowed to exist? If so, what's the cutoff, and why?

What does it mean to do something "good" for the environment? Are you bothered because animals suffer and die to serve our interests (climate change, deforestation, overfishing, etc.)? I have news for you: animals suffer and die to serve each other's interests every day; see for example predation and parasitism. We're not that unique.

If you're concerned that we're going to change the environment into something that makes life difficult for the human race, well, now I'm listening.

Suppose, for the sake of discussion, that mass suicide were indeed the "best" thing we could do for the environment. That's an awful high price to pay, unless you don't think much of environmentalists as worthwhile human beings.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:06 AM
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The Earth is just a big dirty wet rock. It happens to be the big dirty wet rock we all live on, so we should make sure that we don't cause it to become unlivable. If we spent the next 100 years doing our damnedest to "destroy" the Earth, wiping ourselves out in the process, it would be nothing but a hiccup in the Earth's life cycle.

The Earth is going to be here after we're all dead and gone, our focus needs to be on keeping the Earth a safe and healthy place for us to all live.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:13 AM
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If we assume that the theory of evolution is correct, and that evolution is a natural process for life on this planet, and that humans are a natural life form on this planet, then human evolution is natural as well. Therefore, modern society is completely natural as well.

Per Cheesesteak, the planet will survive whatever the result of human evolution. Over geologic time, Earth's seen much worse than human evolutionary impacts.

Stop worrying. Find a way to live a happy and successful life. If that includes hybrids and recycling and organic everything for you, great.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:20 AM
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its not like the non-environmentalists are going to stop having children.
David Suzuki - well known Canadian environmentalist: 5 children.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:01 PM
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Should environmentalists commit mass suicide to save the Earth?
But isn't this suggestion exactly the opposite of what's needed? It's non-environmentalists who are the problem, not environmentalists.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:13 PM
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David Suzuki - well known Canadian environmentalist: 5 children.
So, take him and his brood out before offing yourself?
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Reply View Post
I often hear about carbon footprint, carrying capacity, and other similar things, essentially saying that we use a heckuva lot of resources. Cecil et al suggest that it takes 200x more energy to sustain a pound of human than a pound of blue whale.

So are Priuses, bicycles, organic food, solar power, recycling, etc., etc., really just greenwashing? Should environmentalists commit mass suicide to save the Earth?
Considering the terms of the argument, the logical answer is every environmentalist should go on a shooting spree first and then commit suicide.

Personally, I'm not seeing it. It's all based on subjective value judgments. You can argue that a person is worth more than a whale or that a whale is worth more than a person. Or that a tree or a rock is worth more than either. But how do you define worth?

I think the environmental ideal should be diversity - the existence of as many different organisms as possible, living together. And removing organisms from the equation, even via voluntary suicide, works against that ideal. Environmentalists should stick around and try to achieve a system that works for whales and humans, rather than trying to decide between whales or humans.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:36 PM
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Even if you accept the premise behind this sentiment, simply not having children would have the same result in the long run. Whether you kill yourself now or wait for nature to take it's course, the end result is that in 100 years you aren't here anymore. Now, offing yourself early may prevent you from reproducing, which would result in fewer people around 100 years from now, but you could achieve the same result with contraception. So, suicide or a lifetime of boning women on the pill or with a condom? I know which one I'd pick. Might as well just not have kids and enjoy life. Also, if you and a spouse had one child, it would be the equivalent of killing yourself "half-way," something that is otherwise notoriously difficult to achieve.

All this is assuming that population is the main driver of environmental degradation, which isn't necessarily so. Also, if you're such a hard-core environmentalist that you'd even consider sacrificing yourself for the environment, you could probably do more good actively while alive (education, volunteering, cleanup, writing letters to Congress, etc.)
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:57 PM
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I know of a small island, in Southeast Alaska, where the term "environmentalist" is used as an insult.
This small, mainly inbred community, has pride in their great hatred for environmentalists.
Many of them brag, among themselves, at how good they are at scaring "greenies" away from their island, with threats, insults, and scorn.

They posted a photo (on Main St.) of community members lined up and mooning the greenpeace ship, as it passed by their island.
As you hear it from these islanders- environmentalists are what is wrong with the nation. Most of the economic ills, and poverty, are the direct result of evil environmentalists in government policy.
They talk of a better time, back when no one could stop their clear cutting of trees, or put a quota on their fishing plunder.
If environmentalists would all just off themselves, it would be to the delight of the people on this island.
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:04 PM
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So are Priuses, bicycles, organic food, solar power, recycling, etc., etc., really just greenwashing? Should environmentalists commit mass suicide to save the Earth?
By this equation if suicide is the best thing one can do for the Earth to reduce one's carbon footprint, then isn't Murdering multiple others prior to one's suicide better? What about genocide? Is Hitler and all the other dictators of the world simply the greatest environmentalists of the world?

I think not.

Being alive to pass on the message of environmentalism seems to be a key component in trying to keep alive the message of worrying about one's carbon footprint, recycling, and trying to slow down the decline of the Earth's resources.
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:20 PM
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Considering the terms of the argument, the logical answer is every environmentalist should go on a shooting spree first and then commit suicide.
Knifing spree. The carbon footprint of firearms is huge.
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Old 04-10-2012, 03:40 PM
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Can you imagine what sort of condition the planet would be in without Roe vs. Wade?
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:48 PM
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I think it's interesting how different people define "waste." I used to work with a dippy hippie who wanted us to share a community bike when we had to commute to our other work site. He always wrote on the backside of paper. He slept over in the work office to avoid commuting home.

Yet, he carried his lunch in a plastic grocery bag and used plasticware. He refused to use any type of music except original CD's or records. He still used film for photos. Rationale for these: plastic is reusable and electricity is wasted when you use a computer for music and photos.

I guess my point is, I agree with Nemo. It's highly subjective.

ETA: except my neighbor. He can go.

Last edited by living_in_hell; 04-10-2012 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:53 PM
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Considering the terms of the argument, the logical answer is every environmentalist should go on a shooting spree first and then commit suicide
I have a feeling that the suicide would be unnecessary - somebody's going to get the environmentalist before he gets everyone else. They do outnumber him a bit.

But yeah, this line of thought does sort of call for mass murder.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:33 PM
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Should environmentalists commit mass suicide to save the Earth?
The earth certainly doesn't need saving, it's been going on its merry way for over 4 billions years, and what we do is quite irrelevant to whether or not it continues to orbit around the earth.

Now perhaps mankind needs to mitigate its own collective behavior a bit, in order to preserve an environment that mankind can live in.

But if mankind fails at that, and wipes itself out, the earth will do just hunky-dory, and most evidence we were ever here will be gone in 20 million years, or even less. New and interesting species will evolve to take the place of those no longer present.
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Old 04-10-2012, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by florez View Post
I know of a small island, in Southeast Alaska, where the term "environmentalist" is used as an insult.
This small, mainly inbred community, has pride in their great hatred for environmentalists.
Many of them brag, among themselves, at how good they are at scaring "greenies" away from their island, with threats, insults, and scorn.

They posted a photo (on Main St.) of community members lined up and mooning the greenpeace ship, as it passed by their island.
As you hear it from these islanders- environmentalists are what is wrong with the nation. Most of the economic ills, and poverty, are the direct result of evil environmentalists in government policy.
They talk of a better time, back when no one could stop their clear cutting of trees, or put a quota on their fishing plunder.
If environmentalists would all just off themselves, it would be to the delight of the people on this island.
I know that island, smart folks, who continually get pissed on by lawyers from DC and courts in California.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:36 PM
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I know that island, smart folks, who continually get pissed on by lawyers from DC and courts in California.
So, are you saying that you would agree with the island's "smart folks", that environmentalists should off themselves?
How are they being "pissed on by lawyers from DC, and courts in California"?
So far the people from this island benefit from big oil revenues; they pay no state income tax, and they support mining and logging in the state.
Also, they support drilling for oil on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWAR).
The "smart folks", by and large, tend to believe that the earth's resources are endless, and they get upset when anyone disagrees with their perception, hence the reason for their hatred of environmentalists.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:47 PM
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Walking into the soylent green factory would be more sustainable than committing suicide at home.

As far as our resource depletion, I don't really value nature in and of itself. I don't think we should contribute to animal suffering but as far as resource depletion, meh. The nature of earth is change. Oxygen wasn't always part of our atmosphere, it took a billion years for that to happen. So if we use up resource XYZ that doesn't mean we should kill ourselves.

Besides we mostly worry about resource depletion because of how it will affect our lifestyle and ability to survive. Suicide would be counterproductive.

A much better solution would be for all the people who are thinking thoughts like 'mass suicide would solve overpopulation' to instead get together and support massive subsidies for R&D and mass production for sustainable living.

We could live on a much smaller % of our natural resources with a few changes. We'd have to become vegans who live in multi-generational houses and use public transit. But it is possible.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:56 PM
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We'd have to become vegans who live in multi-generational houses and use public transit. But it is possible.
Heh, given THAT option, I daresay most would choose suicide.
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Old 04-20-2012, 06:13 PM
MrBlahBIahBIah MrBlahBIahBIah is offline
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I think this post is a joke that no one got.

That is the impression that I get. I say that because if it's true that environmentalist truly care about the planet and truly believed that humans are what's wrong with the environment, like they say they do, they would commit suicide. If they were extremely militant/psycho about it, they would commit mass murder than commit suicide.

I say this post is a joke that no one understood because a so called environmentalist came out a couple of weeks ago that made the very statement that we need to off the current population in order to protect the planet. That environmentalist, i assume, is Colorado state university professor Philip Cafaro.
He wrote the following:

“Ending human population growth is almost certainly a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for preventing catastrophic global climate change. Indeed, significantly reducing current human numbers may be necessary in order to do so.”

Last time I checked, there was only 2 ways to reduce the current population: murder and suicide. So yes now we have environmentalist proposing mass murder, but unfortunately not suicide. Por Qua? Perhaps some environmentalist believe other people are the problem and not themselves.

I think its also interesting that a lot of people quote Africa, Latin America and Asia as "the overpopulation problem", when Africans and L.Americans produce less CO2 emission than then the US or Europe. China, Russia and India produce the same or less than the US. But both China and India have about 3 times as many people as the US each. Also, the US is the greatest consumer of any resources. So how do they figure that overpopulation is the problem and not the United States?
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Old 04-21-2012, 12:01 AM
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It wasn't a joke, just a thought experiment.
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Old 04-21-2012, 12:41 AM
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Last time I checked, there was only 2 ways to reduce the current population: murder and suicide.
There is a third way.
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Old 04-21-2012, 03:40 AM
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There is a third way.
Another way is natural attrition through birth control.
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:52 AM
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Another way is natural attrition through birth control.
I was thinking that guns with bullets are so 20th century. What about something that disrupted brain waves?

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But yeah, this line of thought does sort of call for mass murder.
And this line of thought
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:50 AM
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Hmm I was thinking whether not having children was the best you could do for Earth. I don't think it can sustainably support 6 billion people.
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