Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rose Bowl vs Syncaris pasadenae

Reply to reply: The Demand For Defense?


1. Global warming is the consequence of a shortage of conservation (broadly speaking). True/False - Xero
Just to stop you right here: False. At least in any meaningful way. Conservation doesn't even enter into the issue until relatively recently, only once the impact of industrial byproducts was better understood. Before that, conservationism didn't mean, "reducing industrial outputs," and (broadly speaking) it still doesn't. Conservationism is mostly about preserving wilderness in some shape or form. No amount of Teddy Roosevelt style conservationism could have stopped global climate change, short of virtually the entire world being made a park. - Quokkastan

A friend in Australia was telling me how he saw some freshwater shrimps in one of his local streams. Out of curiosity I checked to see if there happened to be any freshwater shrimps here in Southern California. It turned out that there is a local species of freshwater shrimp... Syncaris pasadenae. Well... at least there used to be one here. Now it's gone. Because of the Rose Bowl. Fucking Rose Bowl killed my little freshwater shrimp. Fucking Rose Bowl!!!!

The Rose Bowl is only a few minutes away from where I live. You know how many events that I've attended there? ZERO. I could care less about sports. I shit on sports. Fuck sports. Sports killed my freshwater shrimp. Sports forever robbed me, and everybody else who will ever exist, of the chance to ever see Syncaris pasadenae.

What if, back in the day, taxpayers in Southern California had been given the chance to allocate their taxes? Would the shrimp's habitat been conserved or developed? I'm guessing that it still would have been developed. I'm pretty sure that it still would have been developed. But what if everybody in California had been given the chance to allocate their taxes? I'm thinking that it would have been slightly less likely that the land would have been developed. But what if everybody in the US had been given the chance to allocate their taxes? Then it would have been even less likely that the land would have been developed. But what if everybody in the US and Canada had been given the chance to allocate their taxes? Again, it would have been even less likely. What if everybody in the US and Canada and England had been given the chance to allocate their taxes? Again, even less likely. What if everybody in the US, Canada, England and France had been given the chance to allocate their taxes? Again, even less likely. So what if everybody in the entire WORLD had been given the chance to allocate their taxes? It would have been far less likely. In fact, it would have been so less likely... that I think there might have been a good chance that the shrimp's habitat would have been conserved rather than developed.

Does this mean that the Rose Bowl wouldn't have been built? No... it just means that the Rose Bowl would have been built on land that nature lovers around the world would have spent the least amount of money to protect. Again, with emphasis... the Rose Bowl would have been built on land that nature lovers around the world would have spent the least amount of money to protect.

What would happen if we finally learned from our mistakes and gave taxpayers the freedom to shop in any country's public sector? Then nature lovers would want the most conservation for their tax dollars. They would want the most biodiversity for their buck. Anytime land was being sold anywhere... nature lovers around the world would be able to decide whether it was worth it to try and use their tax dollars to buy the land. Nature lovers around the world would debate the conservation value of every piece of land for sale in the world. And it would be heaven. Pure fucking heaven.

Why can't you clearly see that it would be heaven? Why don't you clearly see that the current system is hell?

The chance that [CITES] listing would even help in their rescue from extinction is uncertain and the lists become difficult to regulate if they become too cumbersome. Many of the species referred to here are not threatened by trade but by land conversion and deforestation. In addition, other species will become extinct without our ever being aware that they were threatened, while others will become extinct without us even being aware of their existence. One can predict that, as the ineffectiveness of CITES to save species becomes ever more widely appreciated, the reluctance to support the convention will become more evident. - Harold Koopowitz, Orchids and their Conservation

Consider another scenario. You are a professor at a major university and one of your doctoral students calls from Costa Rica. He has picked up some orchid plants from broken branches on the forest floor. The usual fate of orchids that fall is premature death. This is a young man who is intensely committed to conservation and hates to see anything die. You have to tell him to abandon the plants because it would be too difficult for him to get CITES papers. - Harold Koopowitz, Orchids and their Conservation

The usual pattern, however, is more like that of Zambia where it is legal to turn a branch bearing live orchids into charcoal but it is illegal to take the orchids off the branch to export before burning the wood. - Harold Koopowitz, Orchids and their Conservation

From the last section of the chapter... which is titled, "Could the money have been better spent?"

The amount of money spent annually to enforce CITES must be enormous. To this must be added the cost of travelling to the various meetings of committees and conventions. If only part of the money spent on CITES over the last 25 years had been made available to actual and real conservation activities, such as buying up forested lands or policing preserves, the world would now be a better place and conservation would have been far better served. - Harold Koopowitz, Orchids and their Conservation

Check out this passage by George Monbiot...

On Friday, a few days after scientists announced that the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is now inevitable(4), the Ecuadorean government decided that oil drilling would go ahead in the heart of the Yasuni national park(5). It had made an offer to other governments: if they gave it half the value of the oil in that part of the park, it would leave the stuff in the ground. You could see this as blackmail or you could see it as fair trade. Ecuador is poor, its oil deposits are rich: why, the government argued, should it leave them untouched without compensation when everyone else is drilling down to the inner circle of hell? It asked for $3.6bn and received $13m. The result is that Petroamazonas, a company with a colourful record of destruction and spills(6), will now enter one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, in which a hectare of rainforest is said to contain more species than exist in the entire continent of North America(7). - George Monbiot, The Impossibility of Growth

... and compare it to this passage by David Pearce, Dominic Moran and Dan Biller...

The economic approach stresses the fact that any expenditure always has an opportunity cost, i.e. a benefit that is sacrificed because money is used in a particular way. For example, since biodiversity is threatened by many factors, but chiefly by changes in land use, measures of value denominated in monetary terms can be used to demonstrate the importance of biodiversity conservation relative to alternative uses of land. In this way, a better balance between 'developmental' needs and conservation can be illustrated. To date, that balance has tended to favour the conversion of land to industrial, residential and infrastructure use because biodiversity is not seen as having a significant market value. Economic approaches to valuation can help to identify that potential market value, whilst a further stage in the process of conservation is to 'create markets' where currently none exist. Market creation is the subject of a separate OECD initiative (OECD, forthcoming). - David Pearce, Dominic Moran, Dan Biller, Handbook of Biodiversity Valuation A Guide for Policy Makers

We roughly know the private sector's valuation of Ecuador's extremely biodiverse rainforest... $3.5 billion... and we know the public sector's valuation... $13 million. $13 million? That's how much the world's public sector values Ecuador's incredible biodiversity? Seriously? Are you fucking kidding me? Why the hell would you look at that number and think, "Oh yeah, that sounds about right"?

Did the government ever ask you how much of your tax dollars you'd be willing to spend to protect Ecuador's biodiversity? Because the government sure didn't ask me. Did the government ask any member of this forum? How many people in the world did the government ask?

There are more than 7 billion people on this planet. How many of them did the government ask? Absolutely none of them. Because that's not how governments work. But that's exactly how they could and should work. If we allowed taxpayers to shop in any country's public sector... then each and every taxpayer would decide for themselves exactly how many of their hard-earned tax dollars they'd be willing to spend to try and protect Ecuador's incredible biodiversity. And I'm pretty sure that nature lovers around the world would be willing to spend a lot more than $13 million to try and protect Ecuador's biodiversity.

Let's try and simplify things as much as possible.

Maybe nature lovers are in the minority. But what if nature lovers are rich? Then they're screwed by the current system... and so is nature. The government takes the money from the wealthy nature lovers and hands it over it over to the military industrial complex. But if we allowed taxpayers to shop in any country's public sector... then neither nature lovers nor nature would be screwed. A lot more tax dollars would be spent on conservation.

What if nature lovers are poor? Then, with the current system, nature would be still screwed. But what if taxpayers could shop in any country's public sector? Nature lovers wouldn't be able to spend very many tax dollars on nature... but they are still going to want the most biodiversity for their buck. So they'll shop around. And I really want nature lovers to be free to shop around. Why? Because I love nature.

What do you love? If you love music... then you immensely benefit from other music lovers being free to shop around for the best music. If you love books... then you immensely benefit from other book lovers being free to shop around for the best books. If you love clothes... then you immensely benefit from other clothes lovers being free to shop around for the best clothes.

I want to see and know what other nature lovers would spend their taxes on. I want to compare notes with them and debate with them. I want to be very happy when they bring a very great deal to my attention. I want to cry when some developers manage to outbid us. I want to be ecstatic when we manage to outbid some developers.

Right now I'm not out there fighting developers because I recognize that it's not even close to a fair fight. It's not a fair fight because the government takes a big chunk of our money to spend on conservation. But it doesn't spend it on conservation... it wastes it on the drug war and other stupid things. So rather than being out there fighting developers... here I am instead... trying to fight for the chance to fight on far more fair ground. I want all of us nature lovers to be free to use our own tax dollars to fight for conservation. Who am I fighting against right now? The developers? Nope. You. You stand between me and the developers. You're hugging the developers with your words like I want to hug the trees with my taxes.

Maybe you don't truly love the developers? Great... so please stop protecting them from me. Allow me to spend my taxes to fight the developers. I'd love it if you also wanted to spend your taxes to fight the developers... but I'll completely respect that you might have other priorities. I might not agree with them... but I'll be damned if I don't respect your freedom to fight a different fight. Because... it's entirely possible that your fight is more important than my fight.

That was a very long-winded way to not admit you were wrong. -  Quokkastan

You wrote...

No amount of Teddy Roosevelt style conservationism could have stopped global climate change, short of virtually the entire world being made a park. - Quokkastan

I hoped that you were simply being facetious when you said that it would have been necessary to turn virtually the entire world into a park in order to effectively combat global warming. 

So I endeavored to explain why developers are far more likely to outbid conservationists. Unfortunately, it didn't do the trick. Let me try again.

A shopping mall is a private good. A rainforest is a public good. If taxpayers were allowed to choose where their taxes go... would taxpayers be free to spend their taxes on private goods? Nope. So developers wouldn't be able to spend their taxes to buy rainforest land in order to convert it into a mall. Why not? Because again, a shopping mall isn't a public good. Conservationists, on the other hand, would be able to spend their taxes to buy the rainforest land in order to conserve it. Why? Because again, a rainforest is a public good. 

With the current system... taxpayers haven't been free to choose where their taxes go... so lots of land was developed that should have been conserved. How much land? Well... we'd find out if taxpayers could choose where their taxes go. Conservationists would be able to buy developed land in order to undevelop it. They would plant trees on the land and the trees would help combat global warming.

Help to combat global warming in much that same way that a band aid helps to heal a slit throat. 
I seem to be depending on the assumption that you have preexisting knowledge of the topic that you clearly do not. So, for clarity's sake:
Global warming is not primarily caused by deforestation. Nor can it be effectively combated merely by reducing deforestation. Even if all of the damage to the world's forests were miraculously undone, it would have little effect on global climate change.
As conservation has historically focused on combating the destruction of wild habitat, and not the reduction of CO2 emissions produced from the combustion of previously locked carbon deposits (the true driving force of climate change), no amount of additional conservation throughout history could have stopped global warming. - Quokkastan

 Oh... so you want to school me eh? Ok. Around how many acres of forested land would it take to completely absorb the CO2 emissions from one average factory? Honestly I don't know the answer. But it seems pretty straightforward that factories produce CO2 and trees consume CO2. So by improving the tree/factory ratio... we could reduce emissions.

Now, let me take the opportunity to try and school you. See my username? It's "Xerographica". I stole it from Tillandsia xerographica. Tillandsia xerographica is an epiphyte. Epiphytes are plants that grow on trees. Unlike parasites, epiphytes don't steal any nutrients from the tree. They just use the tree for support. It's estimated that where epiphytes are dense enough... they absorb just as much CO2 as the trees themselves do. This means that a forest filled with epiphytes can absorb twice as much CO2 as a forest without any epiphytes.

The very common moth orchid... aka Phalaenopsis... is also an epiphyte. Millions and millions of this epiphyte are produced each year. Unfortunately, most people simply toss them in the trash when they are done blooming. But imagine if after the moth orchid was done blooming... everybody attached them to trees. Then an incredibly massive amount of CO2 would be absorbed. The "minor" detail is that the reason that most people don't attach their moth orchids to the trees is that... even if they wanted to... most people live in places that are too cold for the moth orchid to survive the winter. Moth orchids are pretty close to being the least cold tolerant orchid. Their cold tolerance could be greatly increased if they were crossed with far more cold tolerant species.

Epiphytes don't have to be attached to trees in order to grow. They can pretty much grow on any suitable substrate as long as they are given enough light and water. For example, here's an orchid that I attached to a tire...

Cattleya Orchid Mounted On Tire

Because epiphytes can grow on pretty much any solid surface... this means that if we really wanted to we could cover houses, skyscrapers, factories, cars and even ourselves with epiphytes. Cities covered in epiphytes wouldn't just absorb a ridiculous amount of CO2.... they would also help conserve and even increase biodiversity.

Were you aware of any of this? I'm guessing not. And it's really doubtful that congress is aware of any of this either.

Markets work because they tackle problems from many different angles. And by doing so, they increase the chances that the problems will be solved.

There's more than one way to tackle global warming. Centralization, by definition, doesn't simultaneously tackle problems from different angles. Therefore... the reason that global warming is still a problem is entirely because of centralization. Once we create a market in the public sector... then the collective intelligence, energy and enthusiasm of the entire planet would be free to tackle our most pressing public problems from a variety of different angles. Of course I can't guarantee that the best solution will be discovered overnight... but I can guarantee that progress depends on difference.

It wouldn't help much. The rainforest processes up to 20% of the oxygen in the world. 
Ocean algae and other ocean plants produce 70-80%.  - Galloism

You and I return from the grocery store with 20 bags of groceries in the car. I grab 10 bags while you grab 2 bags.

Me: You should grab the remaining 8 bags
You: It wouldn't help much because you're carrying most of the bags

Just because the ocean absorbs more CO2 than the land does... really doesn't mean that the land isn't capable of absorbing a lot more CO2. Planting a gazillion trees and planting a gazillion epiphytes on each tree could potentially result in the land absorbing just as much CO2 as the ocean.

Now you're trying to tell me that, by conservation, you meant "planting very specific shrubs everywhere." Something it clearly doesn't mean. - Quokkastan

Ex-situ conservation doesn't mean conservation?

Best yet, you don't even know what effect that would have, you're just guessing it would solve the problem. - Quokkastan

I'm pretty sure that the effect of planting more trees and epiphytes on those trees would be to absorb more CO2. Pretty sure.

And you don't seem to know much about the world's carbon cycle, including the fact that it's the world's oceans which absorb the vast majority of atmospheric CO2. - Quokkastan

The ocean does the heavy lifting... therefore the land shouldn't shoulder more of the burden?

You're embarrassing yourself now. It may not be easy to admit when you're wrong, but it's good for you, and we all would have respected you more. Now everybody knows you're wrong, and also knows you're dishonest. - Quokkastan

When you argue that ex-situ conservation isn't conservation... then I'm pretty sure that you're the one who's shouldering most of the embarrassment in this thread.

One time, in the Army, I did an atomic situp in front of a bunch of people.

See what I did? It was obvious that you were struggling under the weight of considerable embarrassment. So I told a really embarrassing story about myself in order to help lighten your load of embarrassment. As the saying goes... many hands make light work.

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