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Thread: What shall we do with ecological debt?

  1. #1
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    What shall we do with ecological debt?

    This is increasingly an alarming issue, and this means we probably should change our lifestyles considerably.
    Changing electrical devices every now and than? Why don't we use them until they are broken and unusable?
    Should we stop our habit of collecting unnecessary items?
    I'm talking about what we can do at personal level, since this forum is apolitical.

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    By 'ecological debt' it sounds like you're saying how to reduce the amount of discarded electrical devices that end up in landfills? Not sure what you're getting at here.

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    I kept my first cell phone for 6 years until it broke, and my second for 11 years. I recently turned down a new phone when I switched networks, just changed my SIM card. Does that count?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    The number one thing I think humans can do for the environment is to stop reproducing like rabbits. There's too many of us as it is.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The number one thing I think humans can do for the environment is to stop reproducing like rabbits. There's too many of us as it is.
    This is the number one priority for ecological debt,
    By the way, our consumption habit is just a tip of the iceberg; we have bigger fishes to steam, yet it is what we can do at the personal level.
    Last edited by Inclusa; 2015-Oct-26 at 06:59 AM.

  6. #6
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    So what does "Ecological debt" actually mean? I have not encountered that phrase before.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The number one thing I think humans can do for the environment is to stop reproducing like rabbits. There's too many of us as it is.
    It seems it is the people and countries that can least afford it who are reproducing like rabbits. People who are well off have fewer offspring and industrialized nations seem to lose population.

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    Lets see:
    Famine: Least ever
    Poverty: Least ever
    Pollution: Decreasing in the developed countries, increasing in developing countries. Needs work

    Looks like we are on the right track.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Superluminal View Post
    It seems it is the people and countries that can least afford it who are reproducing like rabbits. People who are well off have fewer offspring and industrialized nations seem to lose population.
    It's not a simple problem. There are all sorts of cultural, medical, economic, and political factors involved. And it'll take a long time to resolve them; time in which the population will continue to swell.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    It's not a simple problem. There are all sorts of cultural, medical, economic, and political factors involved. And it'll take a long time to resolve them; time in which the population will continue to swell.
    Two methods of reducing population growth are old-age pensions, so people, especially rural people, don't have children to support them in their old age, and female education, as this delays their first pregnancy from about 15 to about 18.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    The number one thing I think humans can do for the environment is to stop reproducing like rabbits. There's too many of us as it is.
    What demographic projections are you using? Most of the ones I'm familiar with show global population peaking within the next 100 years, with some disagreement about how high the peak will be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Inclusa View Post
    I'm talking about what we can do at personal level, since this forum is apolitical.
    For as long as I can remember, people have been making shrill wailing noises about the need to do something about the environment. The main result that I can see is people taking a few highly visible actions that don't have much environmental impact (and sometimes have negative environmental impact, like driving an SUV across town to drop a few cans off at the recycling centre), and that also don't have too much of an adverse effect on their lifestyle. So if you want to rely on voluntary action at the personal level, I'd recommend going out and taking some pictures of the environment that exists now, so you can remember it after it's gone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    Two methods of reducing population growth are old-age pensions, so people, especially rural people, don't have children to support them in their old age, and female education, as this delays their first pregnancy from about 15 to about 18.
    Population is a major cause of the ecological debt, but it is NOT the only one.
    For example, the lifestyle in the developed world can be highly unsustainable for the environment:
    1) Unnecessary upgrades/changes of electronic devices (OK, a few people are quite conscious about this and refuse to change just for the sake of the latest.)
    2) General overeating that causes obesity and other diseases.
    3) (North America only): Urban sprawl and excessive uses of personal vehicles (and remember: many people aren't suitable to drive.)
    4) General consumption habit: Do we use way more than we need?

  13. #13
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    Inclusa, I ask again: What does the phrase "ecological debt" specifically mean?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    Is urban sprawl really only limited to North America? What about 'excessive use' of personal vehicles? And I'm sure there are areas outside of N. America that have people who 'aren't suitable to drive'. I'm not sure what a person who isn't suitable to drive has to do with 'ecological debt', though you haven't defined what 'ecological debt' is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inclusa View Post
    2) General overeating that causes obesity and other diseases.
    How does that relate to ecological "debt"?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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    http://www.overshootday.org/


    Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. We maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international think tank that coordinates research, develops methodological standards and provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by redshifter View Post
    By 'ecological debt' it sounds like you're saying how to reduce the amount of discarded electrical devices that end up in landfills? Not sure what you're getting at here.
    I never bought a cell phone so I'm ahead of the curve there. Then too--I look at dematerialization similarly. Like Simon--I look at human impact AS a resource itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    I never bought a cell phone so I'm ahead of the curve there. Then too--I look at dematerialization similarly. Like Simon--I look at human impact AS a resource itself.
    Our consumption habit (at least in the "First World") has had major tolls on the ecosystem; overconsumption, throw-away culture, unnecessary upgrades, suburban living, excessive usage of personal vehicles are good examples of wasteful "First World" habits.
    Although I have always thought of cutting back on meat (or any animal products), I don't really have a choice here.
    Ecological debt happens when our consumption of renewable resources is above the regeneration of these resources.

    A few proposals for people in the First World:
    1) Live in smaller dwellings. (I know Hong Kongers already cram in very tight dwellings, though.)
    2) Cautious rather than impulsive consumption
    3) Live closer from home to work (which isn't always practical.)
    4) Use the public transit rather than the personal vehicle as much as possible.

    I have noticed that a few members here are more ecologically and economically conscious than many people, though.
    Last edited by Inclusa; 2015-Nov-01 at 03:04 AM. Reason: Want to add more points

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    I think the "danger" to the public and environment is incorrectly used data.

    I live a block from work and the grocery store. I have a free bus pass to college. It would make sense that taking the bus to school would be better... but for two little facts. Our public transit is not well run and gas would have to be $25 a gallon* before bus travel became economically and environmentally friendly. The free bus pass is the problem, because it encourages me to do something that is not environmentally friendly. The school is trying to make travel easier for students not make an economical or environmental impact. Most students live within a couple of miles of school, so it does make sense.

    My last college did the same thing, but with a worse implementation. There was a $70 fee for the bus pass and a $70 fee for a parking pass. In my first semester, each was optional. In my second semester, both were required purchases. Eventually, the bus route was reduced to twice a day because of a lack of ridership, so the bus pass was useless.

    *The place I got that tid-bit of data was the NFTA website, the operator of the bussing system so I am inclined to believe it.
    Solfe

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inclusa View Post
    Live closer from home to work (which isn't always practical.)
    And that's a biggie. A lot of folks work at odd job site--out of doors.

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    Reduction of unnecessary possession seems to be the right step, but by how much?
    Eyewears are considered a necessity, and without other conditions, most near-sighted people are considered "able-bodied".
    (Just an example here.)
    Is it necessary for everyone to cram in small apartments, though? (The extreme example is Hong Kong during the 1960s, in which a family crammed in a bed.)
    Some may talk about the aging population, but having a large, young population to support the "seniors" can be unsustainable (if the population base is already humongous).
    Should we let the population shrinks? Many people blindly believe in economic and population growth, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inclusa View Post
    Reduction of unnecessary possession seems to be the right step, but by how much?
    ...
    Should we let the population shrinks?
    "Unnecessary" by whose definition?

    And who is the "we" that you think is currently not "letting" the population shrink?
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    This warning is not triggered by any particular post, nor is it aimed at any particular person, but is a general warning...

    This thread is a borderline topic to begin with. Discussions about "what shall we do about" some particular global problem runs the risk of getting into politics. As long as the discussion remains on information about the issue, or discussions of personal choices, it is probably fine. But as soon as we start telling other people what to do, we get into laws and politics. Don't go there, or this thread will be promptly closed.
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    Sorry, but the thread title might not be what I intend to be.
    My original discussion would be what bring us into the "earth overshoot day" situation; rather than suggesting what to do, I'm trying to raise awareness;
    with such awareness, people often start changing their habits.

  25. #25
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    Inclusa, I ask again: What does the phrase "ecological debt" specifically mean?
    Inclusa, I ask again AGAIN, What does the phrase "ecological debt" specifically mean?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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