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A post about my pessimism regarding humanity’s future, more interesting for the French, but not only for them

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I told you so !

Impossible to fap to this post, you can move on if you’re after a quickie ;)

Do you remember my pessimist post about the future of civilization, in its consumerist drive, on a planet full with billions of humans, based on the principle humanity would soon face several simultaneous shortages of both energy and minerals ?

That post (and its small addition) met several reactions that I definitely think to be actual “state of denial”, by the book state of denial.

Well, I’m glad to see the mainstream press is starting to talk more openly of that problem. This is a French newspaper called Science Et Vie, selling 330k copies last year to give you an idea.

This magazine’s issue of May 2012 made its cover on the shortages looming in, and spent several pages explaining quite clearly the problem, element after element, giving the expected remaining resources at the speed they were extracted, consumed and recycled. This was highly distressing, and the problem is that this was simply stating facts, not expressing opinions.

– If you’re French, please, read it – serieusement, merde, lisez-le ça en vaut mille fois plus la peine que toute autre publication du mois de mai !!

– If you’re not French, maybe that will convince you to take what I wrote more seriously into consideration ? Look, this isn’t internet geeks not seeing enough the light of day who are flipping out, this is going mainstream.
You can’t brush that problem off with a simple act of faith in the potential rise of technologies not existing yet (this is called suicide and irresponsability) or with an ideologist criticism of malthusianism (yep, the world IS a finite sphere, sorry to disappoint.)


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34 Comments on "A post about my pessimism regarding humanity’s future, more interesting for the French, but not only for them"

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Denamic
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Impossible, you say?

Challenge accepted.

Oliver AKA The Admin
Admin

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The Angel
Guest

THere are only three possibilities that will occur. 1. That we DO NOTHING and slowly eat the planet dry like the human parasites that we are and doom our future children (most likely) 2. We actually get smart and do something about this collectively which is the hardest route to take (Most likely will NEVER happen) 3. Mother Nature's disasters and/or plague or a man made Holocaust will somehow cull our population to a manageable number (pretty much a stopgap measure, This MIGHT Happen). In the End I used to rack my brain over this but since I don't plan on having children anymore I'm all like C'est La Vie! (see I used french!). My Carbon Footprint is pretty amazing so when I die I won't be in polluter's hell so my conscience is clean in that aspect but I learned it's too nerve racking to think about all this "hurtling towards entropy" so as a coping mechanism I've basically just said "fuck it!" everyone is raping the earth Might as well take out my penis and give her some. I'm only asking for 40 more years of life living comfortably with my penis in the earth's vagina then It's smoking weed and a shotgun for me. Sorry Earth!

Oliver AKA The Admin
Admin

(your comment was in the spam box, just retrieved it)

Guest from Germany
Guest

To your 2nd statement I only want to say: 1 human alone is inteligent – a group of humans are sheep waiting to be lead to the slaughterhouse.

Davrus
Guest

Personally I think it's prisoner's dilemma. We all know that we'll be up shit creek once we fish the last fish, cut down the last tree, burn the last bit of carbon which sends us over the global warming tipping point, it's just that we don't trust anyone else to pull back from the brink when we do. I think that if this problem is ever going to be solved that we'll have to move from competitive system which punishes those who choose not to gobble up as much resources as possible, with a cooperative system where those who pull back are rewarded, either that or the competitive system has to turn in to war, which is problematic when the major powers have nukes.

Nonohon
Guest

Arf, dire que j'ai arrêté mon abonnement le mois dernier XD
Vais me le prendre en kiosque ;)

Downdesc
Guest

Hello Oliver!!! It's my first time posting but (obviously) it isn't my first time here… I want to accept your challenge too… (just kidding). I came (literally) to see the amount of comments, I'm disapointed… I think is difficult to people talk about apocalypse been in a glorius Hentai Site… so I want to thank you for all the GigaBytes of "material" you shared that I have, without furter delay:
THANK YOU EVERY FAP!!!… I mean… THANK YOU VERY MUNCH!!!
I'm curious… Are you French?

Jlav
Guest

Hey! So I'm not alone as a hentai-lover who is deeply concerned about our society's future! Nice ^^

Pavlov's Dog
Guest

Via Jared Diamond, a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, is the author of “Collapse” and “Guns, Germs and Steel” :

"Per capita consumption rates in China are still about 11 times below ours, but let’s suppose they rise to our level. Let’s also make things easy by imagining that nothing else happens to increase world consumption — that is, no other country increases its consumption, all national populations (including China’s) remain unchanged and immigration ceases. China’s catching up alone would roughly double world consumption rates. Oil consumption would increase by 106 percent, for instance, and world metal consumption by 94 percent.

If India as well as China were to catch up, world consumption rates would triple. If the whole developing world were suddenly to catch up, world rates would increase elevenfold. It would be as if the world population ballooned to 72 billion people (retaining present consumption rates).

Some optimists claim that we could support a world with nine billion people. But I haven’t met anyone crazy enough to claim that we could support 72 billion. Yet we often promise developing countries that if they will only adopt good policies — for example, institute honest government and a free-market economy — they, too, will be able to enjoy a first-world lifestyle. This promise is impossible, a cruel hoax: we are having difficulty supporting a first-world lifestyle even now for only one billion people.

We Americans may think of China’s growing consumption as a problem. But the Chinese are only reaching for the consumption rate we already have. To tell them not to try would be futile."
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/02/opinion/02diamo

The US uses what, 25% or the worlds resources with only 5% of its population? And everyone's in a mad dash to match those consumption rates? We definitely need more than hugs, hopes, and happy thoughts to tackle the issue; more than the useless and paralyzing salvationism, religious or otherwise.

Rikko
Guest

If we are doomed, there’s one logical thing to do: FAP FAP FAP. xD

Now, seriously. If the energy needs of the world population aren’t going to be satisfied in a 30/40 years timespan, then there’s almost nothing we could do about it now.

But at least, and correct me if I’m wrong, you didn’t say we’d come back to the stoneage, right?? I assume that the most inmediate effect we’ll see it’s reaching an economic cap, and financial crisis, and lots of shut downs (Just like Japan after the Earthquake).

Sure, sure, civil war might happen (specially if the birth rate keeps growing and growing, and honestly, you can’t force people NOT to have children). But, I don’t know, I hope we find a way out of it :(

At its best, we’ll abandon a capitalist economy in favor of more realistic and reasonable means of life, and that, my friend it’s not a bad thing per se :P

We’ll see. In the meantime, I have enough current real-life problems to care about…

pflernak
Guest

So you are hoping for something like the Venus Project? Money becoming obselete ect. http://www.thevenusproject.com/
While It might be nice, I have little faith that it will become reality. Especially in such a peacful manner as they see being inevitable.

Call me a pessimist, but Im waiting for the wars to break out in the coming decades. Now the question is, is it going to be 99% against the 1% who hold most of the worlds wealth (civil wars/rebellions) or will the 99% be fed some other target to live out their anger.

Rikandur
Guest

Venus Project ? Very cute from what I read but … seriously, peaceful human family of the whole world ? Humans ? Peaceful ? I do not wish to sound sarcastic but that would require serious brainwashing of people to alter their normal behaviors towards desired outlet.

Olivier, You do not have to show me science articles, asides from fact that I can't read French for the love of Porn, since Your worry about the future of mankind is similar to my own thoughts on future of manking deducted from simple observation of my fellow countrymen.

The people who believe that humans aren't acting wasteful with Earth's finite resources should make picture of their own trash-can and then multiply it by the population of their city. That is amount of energy wasted on things that are one-use-and-throw-out. Then check in the Google how these things are produced.

We have problems with wood, and this is renewable resource !

Khan
Guest

Un petit tour sur ton site et c’est l’un de tes meilleur poste ;) ça fait longtemps que je n’ai pas lu S&V surtout en ces temps de matraque politique, sociale et économique.

Laharl
Guest

Ca fait peur. Il ne nous reste plus qu'à partir à l'assaut d'une nouvelle planète dont on pourra piller les ressources.
Peut être que la fin du monde pour 2012 n'est pas si loin que ça de la vérité ;)

Milius
Guest

Well, maybe I'm just negating the evidence, maybe I have too faith in mankind, maybe I'm just a fucking irresponsable egoist.

But hell, I'm just another fuking jobless spanish, who can't find a fucking job unless I leave my country, I just had to move to my parent's house because I couldn't pay the bills and lost about 20 kg in 3 fucking months because I could barelly buy enough food to eat properly. I've gone through a fucking depression due to that, and now I'm a fucking bargain to my family who barelly can… how can I translate the phrase "llegar a fin de mes"? maybe just a literal translation: arrive to the end of the month.

How do you expect Spain worries about this matter when there are more of 5,6 millions of unemployeds (26% of unemployment… or is a 30%) and 1 millions can eat thanks to Caritas Internationalis? We are just trying to survive!!! And our politics are a fucking bunch of thiefs who will do nothing to give a proper solution to this situation.

Well, I can just give up, take my father's shotgun kill my whole family and then blow up my fucking head!!! Is that what you want? Well NO THANKS!

Maybe it's just thanks to the fact I want to see the glass half empty I haven't done that already.

Signed: a fucking unemployed spanish trying to survive and watching porn just to make his miserable life a little easier to suffer.

Edit: If you are french maybe you will understand me… Sarkozy used us as an example of what will happen to France if Hollande wins…

Edit 2: Oh fuck, just after this depressing post this just cheered me up and made my day. vimeo.com/41314639

Essaim
Guest

Not enough minerals.

We require more Vespene gas.

catdrag0n
Guest

Pour ceux qui comme moi, ne sont pas abonnés à S&V et qui veulent sauver des arbres *siffle* :

PDF: http://filepost.com/files/6f63e653

Anonymous
Guest

"You can’t brush that problem off with a simple act of faith in the potential rise technologies not existing yet (this is called suicide and irresponsability) or with an ideologist criticism of malthusianism (yep, the world IS a finite sphere, sorry to disappoint.)"

Space mining and orbital solar generation. The technology to do these things is here, today. They're just not economical yet. But that's besides the point, because apparently it's just "a simple act of faith" to believe that the pursuit of knowledge we've been engaged in, and benefiting from, for millenia will continue to help us.

But let's look at the numbers. They say we might be able to support 9bn people on the planet, but never 72bn. The thing is, though, we'll never reach 72bn. (At least not while we're limited to this planet.) We might not even reach 9bn. It's true that the world population is growing (positive first derivative), but that growth rate is slowing (negative second derivative). Eventually, we'll level out and our population will start shrinking. It's been well established that as a country's economic prosperity goes up, its birthrate goes down (because you need fewer kids to subsistence farm for you). There are tens of countries which now have birthrates below the replacement rate (~2.1 live births per female). These countries may be (and in fact are) facing major demographic problems (and economic; not enough younger [below retirement age] workers to support the old retirees), but they're certainly not contributing to global overpopulation.

A commonly cited example of our supposed inevitable downfall is the yeast in a petri dish. It eats the nutrients and multiplies, eats and multiples, eats and multiples… Until it all dies, because the nutrients are all gone. The problem with this example is simple: we're not yeast. Yeast are equipped with neither the ability to gauge how much food they have left, nor the ability to say, "maybe we should hold off on the multiplying till we find more food." We as humans, are. We can (and do) hold off on reproduction when we feel that the costs of having children outweigh the benefits. This is one of the main reasons why the birthrate goes down as countries develop; the costs of having children go up (school, housing, insurance, etc.) and the benefits go down (retirement savings and government "guaranteed" pensions take the place of needing kids to take care of you in your old age).

And if we do run into resource issues, we will adjust… Or we would, if we knew about them. There's the real problem, you see: often times we really don't know what our actual resource situation really is. We think there's more of one thing than there is, or less of another. There's actually a brilliantly simple yet sophisticated mechanism in human interaction that's used to determine how much of something we actually have, versus how much we need or want: price. As the amount of a good that we have increases over the amount we need or want, price goes down, and consuming it becomes more attractive. As the amount of that good goes down compared to the amount we wish to consume, price goes up, and we start looking for alternative sources for that good, or alternative goods to take its place.

The problem is that some people get it in their heads that they can control this; that price is just some number that someone pulled out of their ass one day and stuck onto whatever it is they're selling. So you get price controls, subsidies, taxes, and all manner of distorting influences to keep prices up or down, whichever happens to be in the interest of whoever it is that's mucking about with the system at that moment. Is oil hard to find? Don't let the price rise, signaling people that they need to use less; just create a new program to give money to people to help pay for their oil needs! Is wheat too cheap? Don't let farmers realize that they perhaps should be planting other crops instead, just use taxpayer funds to buy a billion bushels and let it rot!

Anonymous
Guest

Okay….I’m starting to get fucking sick of these posts.

What the fuck do you expect us to do about this? None of us can make a real difference. ANYONE on this site has NO political power, meaning that nothing will change. Therefore, it is unproductive to actually tell us this. I can only conclude that you are trying to spread panic.

RapidCynic
Guest

Raise individual awareness.

If everyone was educated and acted responsibly, then the problem might just be solved… but if everyone takes antagonistic / actively destructive stances the problem grows worse.

Sing si lip yan
Guest

What Oliver seems to be selectively blind to with these postings is that academics have been writing about the so called Malthusian catastrophe scenario for 200 years. There is a long paper trail of research on the books if you really want to find it and evaluate it in an intellectual manner.
http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=mal

The reason why these ideas don't get public attention today is because almost none of Malthus' predictions from his foundational 1798 research paper have ever come to pass. The model he advanced predicted the world would end by 1850, and it didn't, for all the reasons I and others pointed out in response to the older posts Oliver linked at the top. The world has changed incredibly since Malthus lived. Humanity no longer depends on beaver pelts for clothing manufacture, coal for steam engine power, or wood for shipbuilding that were our most precious resources of life 200 years ago. Life has changed dramatically, and so it will be 200 years in the future as well. Read any history book you like and consider the implications of the passage of time.

Of course, when science proves certain ideas false, there are some people who choose to pretend the science doesn't exist and spread sensational unscientific doubt in their willful ignorance. Consider the global warming deniers, the ones that believe the US government was responsible for 9/11, or any number of conspiracy theories…

When you meet a person who is that committed to spreading discredited ideas, the best thing to do is be armed with the facts and give other people who are more rational a chance to not be swayed by unscientific ignorance…

RapidCynic
Guest

Coal still provides a good chunk of the electrical power in the USA. Colorado alone has a massive coal lobby as does Pennsylvania. The concerns of coal depletion and the massive amount of pollutants it spews forth have not been eliminated in modern civilization…

somerandomgeologist
Guest

Oh hi Oliver. MS Stratigraphy and petroleum geologist here, just wanted to maybe brighten your day. Here is a patsebin so I don't clutter up your board. http://pastebin.com/dY4iTsU5

Now I looked at the thing you posted and the citations in the original article, and I just have to say that these are not peer reviewed geology or engineering publications but publications from economists and a geographer who frankly is kinda dismissed as a popularizer rather than a very good scientist. They are really not understanding what proved, known, and potential reserves are and how they are calculated. I based my estimations off the AAPG bulletin because frankly they are the most respected publication about hydrocarbons out there. The pastebin is based on a small research paper I once did for a petroleum engineering course. And notice that I used the lowest possible estimations of reserves given currently available data, I intentionally excluded all resources on the continental shelf or unconventional gas shales(though those have actually become conventional in the last 3 years).

Similar things can be said about their estimations on the supply of metals. They really don't understand the geology and the engineering involved in the resource extraction. Economists have made this mistake for decades now, proven reserves are always 15-20 supplies because you don't prove reserves you are not planning to exploit right now.

Now if you wanted prospects for out past 2200 you have to get into scifi: albeit way harder scifi than anything every written in a fictional book. http://pastebin.com/dY4iTsU5

That said the the type of society that would do things like are described in the pastebin might be a dystopia by your standards anyway. I have no doubt that humanities future will be riddled with war, strife, and slaughter. But I wouldn't have it any other way, because deep down I am kinda evil and want to exterminate all non-human life.

Dadhame
Guest

Stoooooop, on parle de science et vie là. J'dit pas que ça n'raconte que des conn… erhm bêtises, mais…
Disons que comme n'importe quelle presse, il y a objectif de vente, ce qui biaise l'information, et ce de manière à la rendre plus 'sensationnel'. Le même problème s'applique a la plupart des livres…

Attention, j'dit pas que l'humanité n'est pas en train de lentement mais surement s'suicidé, mais je pense que le jour ou l'on sera vraiment a cours de pétrole, les lobby pétroliers investirons dans d'autres énergies : quitte a contrôler une niche, autant la garder hum? (cf les lobby de l'aspartame et leur revirement à 180° au sujet du stévia).
Ce qui implique que quand les énergie renouvelable (quand le pétrole sera à sec) serons rentable financièrement, la technologie sera développé et commercialisé, montré comme 'une révolution' quand bien même l'humanité a largement le niveau technologique pour développer de tel outils.

C'est moche à dire, mais la 'fuite en avant' technologique qui nous permet de vivre dans notre mode de vie actuel, est en fait soigneusement contrôlé afin d'en tiré le plus d'argent possible (pourquoi sortir une nouvelle technologie alors que les frais d'investissement des modèles précédent ne sont pas encore amortie?)

Capitalisme ultra liberal > humanité(pour l'instant seulement j'espère (nope, j'ne suis pas communiste ni même de gauche, mais seulement réaliste.))

No One of Note
Guest

Dude.
Easy there.
There are definite problems with resource consumption;the West consume WAY too much of our available resources.I grew up in Africa, am now in the US,and I can see the disparities.Trying to talk China into consuming less energy or Brazil into leaving the Amazon alone is frankly hypocritical.And immoral.And of course Western companies have been and still are complicitt in the looting and degradation of the forests and economy of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ironically,I think energy is the least of our worries;fossil fuels may run out in the next 50-100 years, but we've been making great strides with renewable energy.And we have enough thorium to run reactors for at least another thousand years.Population growth is slowing;we probably won't break 9 billion, and food production techniques and seeds are much improved and still getting better.

I worry more about water shortages and climate change to be honest.And corporations;the legal framework the US has pioneered and promoted has created a class of legal citizens who are basically REQUIRED to be psychopaths. If we fight a 3rd World War, look to the corporations for the underlying causes; after all, they are some of the greatest beneficiaries of the 2nd Iraq War.

Then again,I'm an optimist.After all,most people expected the world to end in nuclear fire in the 80s.Didn't happen.
We'll get through this.It'll require change, and probably more than a few sacrifices(hopefully we'll break corporate power before it really burns us),but we will.

So cheer up.Watch some hentai.Think happy thoughts.Pessimism never helped anyone.
And thanks for the manga:)

anon
Guest

I wouldn't worry to much. We'll end up nuking each other or otherwise wiping each other out long before we have to worry about this.

Tired
Guest

When I see the general ignorance of most people I just give up… The only thing that will make humanity stop… is when we start dieing in droves. Unfortunately tt might be too late by then for humanity to make any difference. It’s sad… it’s a beautiful planet capable of supporting so much. Humanity has the intelligence to deal with this but it’s petty differences will kill it.

My outlook is bleak obviously. If you look at human history there is little to no reason to assume we will make any sort of significant change. I plan to live my life out reasonably (no point making the problem worse) and take solace in the fact I wont live to see humanities end. At least as we know it I should say.

I’ve got no plans to have children. At this point I feel it’s actually a little selfish to… I believe you should have to have some form of license and be approved before you can have a child. It’d go a long way… Why not adopt if children are so important to you? Don’t give me the money reasons… raising a kid alone is a small fortune.

I could go on and on… but it only gets more dire. After all I’m just some alarmist who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. We’re all going to be fine… just fine.

Oliver AKA The Admin
Admin

(your comment was rescued from the spam folder)

Nathan Wang
Guest

The last hope the United States had was a man named "Ron Paul"; unfortunately, voters were either too ignorant and apathetic. There is zero difference between the voting history of Obama and Romney. The United States is drumming for war with Iran.

We are heading to our downfall – not through invasion, but through ignorance, apathy, and self-harm.

anonymous
Guest

I wouldn't worry about the resources to much.

We still have, as a civilization, an incoming total social collapse, heralded by critical failure of pseudo-soviet European Union and decline of federal government of the United States to survive.

If we get through that, we still have ongoing encroachment of Islamic immigrants and impending encroachment of Chinese to worry about.

Flipping out about resource consumption is like worrying about drought when your house is on fire.

Barrim
Guest

I belive that technology will become more and more "energy friendily".
Yesterday we had incandescent light lub, now we have LEDs.
As energy prices rises, less consumption becomes more appealing to consumers (and producers).
In Brazil, in 2001, we had a energy crisis. We HAD to reduce or consumption in 20% by decree.
It happened somehow. (The governament would fine people that didn't achieved the reduction)
I also belive that the rise of prices will force people use less and less energy.

qz89
Guest

relax! if we out run of source, we can conquer another planet, after all that what we are…
or
we already wipe out our self from this earth with war and the destruction was beyond to imagine…like zombie war..

oldbrokenhands
Guest

I've got a weird feeling that the planet and the rest of life will be okay, it's us that are doomed. Right now there are dangerous pathogens that have laid long dormant and isolated from the world of man, but because of climate change and the expansion of civilizations, these pathogens are being released. That and a combination of other possible disasters paint a bleak outcome for humanity, but other species will survive and those other species will evolve. I just hope the future species' civilization can learn from our mistakes and failures and get it right the next time around.

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