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tsuomela : catastrophe   18

Human population reduction is not a quick fix for environmental problems
"The planet’s large, growing, and overconsuming human population, especially the increasing affluent component, is rapidly eroding many of the Earth’s natural ecosystems. However, society’s only real policy lever to reduce the human population humanely is to encourage lower per capita fertility. How long might fertility reduction take to make a meaningful impact? We examined various scenarios for global human population change to the year 2100 by adjusting fertility and mortality rates (both chronic and short-term interventions) to determine the plausible range of outcomes. Even one-child policies imposed worldwide and catastrophic mortality events would still likely result in 5–10 billion people by 2100. Because of this demographic momentum, there are no easy ways to change the broad trends of human population size this century."
population  world  growth  future  demography  disaster  catastrophe 
november 2014 by tsuomela
Perhaps we should be worried about the wildly divergent answers given to the question?
2013  future  risk  catastrophe  expertise  experts 
january 2013 by tsuomela
The Second Denial « how to save the world
"Only when a significant proportion of our species moves past the Second Denial can we start working on mitigating and resilience actions that will actually help those facing the crises of civilization’s collapse. Only when we give up our “we can control this” mentality, and our magical thinking dreams and schemes — belief in and wasted effort on global consciousness raising, spontaneous voluntary massive change, technological cures, gentle transition programs, wishful incremental-change-is-enough (if we all do it) thinking, individual preparedness plans, social/economic reinvention and “innovating our way forward” projects — will we be able to face the stark reality of what our children and grandchildren are going to face because of our stupidity, and get to work on actions to mitigate its worst effects and develop the capacities we and they will need to cope with cascading crises as they unfold."
environment  catastrophe  denial  tragedy  pessimism  global-warming 
july 2011 by tsuomela
Against catastrophism « LBO News from Doug Henwood
"since the historical evidence mostly shows that crises are good for the right, not the left. Crises make people want to retreat to the familiar, not strike out in new directions. So here and in many other places around the world, we’re seeing an upsurge in nativism and xenophobia, not solidarity. The 1930s were an exception, but that’s because things got really really awful then, with the unemployment rate maxing out at 25%. Times have been bad here lately, but nothing like that. Do we really want to see the unemployment rate more than double because it might be good for politics?"
politics  catastrophe  crisis  progressive  capitalism  critique  economics  ideology 
april 2011 by tsuomela
UnderstandingSociety: Thinking about disaster
"[Charles Perrow's] current book is truly scary. In The Next Catastrophe: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters he carefully surveys the conjunction of factors that make 21st-century America almost uniquely vulnerable to major disasters -- actual and possible. Hurricane Katrina is one place to start -- a concentration of habitation, dangerous infrastructure, vulnerable toxic storage, and wholly inadequate policies of water and land use led to a horrific loss of life and a permanent crippling of a great American city. The disaster was foreseeable and foreseen, and yet few effective steps were taken to protect the city and river system from catastrophic flooding. And even more alarming -- government and the private sector have taken almost none of the prudent steps after the disaster that would mitigate future flooding."
risk  catastrophe  disaster  regulation  government  centralization  concentration  failure  institutions  technology 
march 2011 by tsuomela
"Armageddon Science": Our coming apocalypse, explained - Our Picks: Books -
In "Armageddon Science: The Science of Mass Destruction," English science writer Brian Clegg, who has an advanced degree in physics from Cambridge University, considers the threats, both real and theoretical, that science and technology pose to the world. He searches beyond the obvious examples of nuclear warfare and global warming and introduces such strange concepts as antimatter bombs, nanorobots and cyberterrorist war. Despite the unnerving title and the alarming cover art of a post-apocalyptic city, Clegg's book presents a sober and rational analysis of the threats -- or lack thereof -- that we face. He dismisses several Armageddon scenarios, such as dark matter explosions or world-dominating robots, as unlikely
book  interview  author  disaster  catastrophe  armageddon  science  apocalypse 
december 2010 by tsuomela
Global Catastrophic Risks
Global catastrophic risks are risks that seriously threaten human well-being on a global scale. An immensely diverse collection of events could constitute global catastrophes: potential factors range from volcanic eruptions to pandemic infections, nuclear accidents to worldwide tyrannies, out-of-control scientific experiments to climatic changes, and cosmic hazards to economic collapse.
catastrophe  risk  future  global 
december 2010 by tsuomela
Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe - space - 23 March 2009 - New Scientist
The most serious space weather event in history happened in 1859. It is known as the Carrington event, after the British amateur astronomer Richard Carrington, who was the first to note its cause: "two patches of intensely bright and white light" emanating from a large group of sunspots. The Carrington event comprised eight days of severe space weather.
astronomy  solar  catastrophe  coronal-mass-ejection  black-swan  gloom-and-doom  electricity  electric-grid  risk  space-weather 
march 2009 by tsuomela

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