Forums > Social Discussion > human small minded-ness vs global issues

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PyrolificBRONZE Member
Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
3,289 posts
Location: Adelaide, South Australia


Posted:
So recently, I thought our federal govt was going to FINALLY do something about our largest river system, which is dying due to too much water being allocated to farmers along its length. The big problem is that the river flows through several states, and none of the state governments can agree (because by definition they are all out to benefit the states ahead of the other states). So it looked like the federal govt was going to do somethign about it and released a report outlining how much water allocation would need to be bought back to restore a minimum level of health to the whole system. Of course, in some of the communities that will be effected, the townspeople have protested, and now it looks like nothing substantial is going to get done.

The farmers are still suggesting that climate change isnt to blame, just 10 years of drought even though allocations are higher than they have ever been, and rainfall has been dropping (apart from crazy weather events...that have caused recent flooding).

This just makes me think that the human brain is (on average) unable to really think through big issues to a conclusion that might have a negative local concequence (eg the farmers selling up their farms and water, and moving to the city to start over).

what do you think?

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Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!


FearpigSILVER Member
member - tee hee "member"
279 posts
Location: Bethnal Green, London, England (UK)


Posted:
"Humans have sufficient mental facility to work together to solve global issues, even when the outcome locally can be negative"

- yes, they have sufficient mental facilities, however no-one said they were going to engage said facilities!

"Whats wrong with the cat?" - Mrs Schrdinger


MynciBRONZE Member
Macaque of all trades
8,738 posts
Location: wombling free..., United Kingdom


Posted:
I just think there are too many people and as such too many farms, everybody wants their basic human right to water but lets face it what about everything elses basic rights to that same water?
We will never understand the full impact of global issues we impact into, we all want to propogate our genes and so look to securing the local area not caring wehat happens elsewhere.

if you look at this on different slant, you'r talking of reining in farmers in Australia with their water usage to save the local environment whilst at the same time everybody is trying to help people in africa build farms and dig wells, so they can use all the water there to feed their families, increase population sizes and repeat. Essentially what this results in is where the Australia is now, and Australia doesn't have a massive population density like the UK.

We need to look at global issues but still no-one wants to look at the local issues which are that local environments cannot naturally support the volume of human life spreading across them. Yes we all want to have kids and want something to be left for them, but the more of them we have the less they are going to enjoy.

I eventually see a conflict of interests between feeding / watering the world and saving the planet and the scary thing is I can imagine it occurring within the next generation or so.

I don't think the UK could support itself on food grown within it's borders, when you have to ship in so much food from abroad then something is definitely wrong. It's a scenario I see equality and human rights becoming the most ironic statements in history, we understand what is happening around us but no progressive government will ever put in restrictions on population size due to the backlash against our "human rights to have children". We understand evolution, we champion it as a wonder and then pointedly forget that it's core tennet is survival of the fittest, the ongoing process of speciation via the struggle against environmental pressures. when a food source expires, a predator dies and we still breed apace until eventually we will collapse under our own food pressures. fighting to keep each individual human alive as we struggle to feed the rest.

wow that was a longer rant than anticipated, sorry redface

A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.


MynciBRONZE Member
Macaque of all trades
8,738 posts
Location: wombling free..., United Kingdom


Posted:
ooh Added to the above, I was watching a documentary how the market for Cherry tomatoes in the UK and spain (the small perfectly round ones) was diminishing the water table in turkey / algeria (can't remember the country but is was north africa) because the fruit is so water intensive, it's dropping the water table and causing local problems all because of a market in a different country. all because the UK wants out of season cherry tomatoes, it's very sad frown

A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.


astonSILVER Member
Unofficial Chairperson of Squirrel Defense League
4,061 posts
Location: South Africa


Posted:
I went on the non-happy side.

Humans just do not think beyond the horizon, except to wonder what is there. Same issue with big numbers (geological time is mindblowingly long for example but people do not get it, I have been dealing with it for 5 years now and it still blows my mind).

As Terry Pratchett put it, these are the problems involved in using minds and languages that were developed to tell someone else where the best fruit was. Or something like that....

'We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." [said the Cat.]
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "Or you wouldn't have come here."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland


Rouge DragonBRONZE Member
Insert Champagne Here
13,215 posts
Location: without class distinction, Australia


Posted:
I am torn between the two answers because I don't feel that it's that clear cut.

I think that the first statement is true but just isn't done because we're inherently selfish beings (which is a natural side effect of evolution where it's all about survival). And I'm sure someone is going to turn around and say that survival of the planet is the big picture but if you bring it down to the basic concept of a hand-to-mouth existence then to the individual they then focus on that.

To take a culture example (only cos I had this debate at uni), you have people who are selling out their culture so that they can made a quick and easy few US Dollars. They have two choices; continue to starve and preserve their culture or not starve and have their culture die. I can't say I blame them that they let their culture get sold out. It's sad, don't get me wrong, but I can understand it. Frequently it's not even about starving, it's just about maintaining a more comfortable lifestyle and again, I can understand that desire.

So to use Josh's example, while I know that the farmers aren't going to starve but it's the same sort of mindset.

As for the second one, yes I do also think that there's an element of not trusting the issues - especially when we are fed this information by people who have their own motives. We have been living in a world of mass media and politicians for so long we just don't believe what we hear anymore to the point where I think there's an element of just "switching off" to it. Switching off and turning to our "survival" instinct. So to the farmers again - one interest group says this, another interest group says this, too many conflicting interest groups so they turn to the only interest they full understand: their own.

And with understanding, I think there's also a bit of that too. The way that small-scale relates to a big scale can be obvious but can also be much more subtle. Especially when you then turn around and look at the "but what can I do?" question. I think that it's hard to convince people that there's something they can do when they're one in a few billion people.

i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...


LurchBRONZE Member
old hand
929 posts
Location: Oregon, USA


Posted:
You can't expect people who are living *in* the problem to have a clear and open mind about the resolution. You're basically asking someone to strip away their basic human needs and a way of life that has been with them for what I would assume to be generations. That can't be done easily, or expected to be swallowed easily either. As an American, asking a farmer / rural person to just "start over in the city" would not go over well... ever...


The Aussies already have some of the largest scale water diversion programs on the planet, nothing new in the works?

#homeofpoi -- irc.newnet.net Come talk to us we're bored frown

Warning: Please Do Not Jump On The Seals


PyrolificBRONZE Member
Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
3,289 posts
Location: Adelaide, South Australia


Posted:
yes - this is the point Lurch, I dont think people are *able* to strip away their personal experience of a problem and see it from the system level. OUr systems of government therefore are totally inadequate to deal with the consequences of large scale issues.

Desalination is the next big thing...comes at a high price tho.

I think your farmers are similar to ours tho - they are supported by govt subsidy to continue producing crops in economically unsustainable ways.

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Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!


MynciBRONZE Member
Macaque of all trades
8,738 posts
Location: wombling free..., United Kingdom


Posted:
The problem I see is if wew need to desalinate we are still using too much water. We drain the rivers so move on the the sea?

to me that just doesn't sound like a solution, yes the seas are big but the are essentially the reason for life on this planet. they provide us with oxygen they fix carbon from the atmosphere they contain the majority of our biodiversity. Desalination is just trading one problem for a bigger one dowwn the line.

A couple of balls short of a full cascade... or maybe a few cards short of a deck... we'll see how this all fans out.


PyrolificBRONZE Member
Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
3,289 posts
Location: Adelaide, South Australia


Posted:
^^^ exactamundo. The problem is not the water, its the unsustainable practices we have been depending on for generations to build up our society...

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Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!


SeyeSILVER Member
Geek
1,261 posts
Location: Manchester, UK


Posted:
In the last couple of years it has been becomming more apparent to me how poorly the general public understand the mechanisms by which the world works.

As an example - people can only really understand sequential number systems but, we know that much of nature works on logarithmic scales. Similarly everyone learns euclidiean geometry at school but you would be hard pushed to find anyone that hasn't studied maths or physics at university who understands fractal geometry, yet we know for a fact that much of nature works in this way.

Without knowledge of these things I'm not sure it is possible to have any real understanding of complex dynamical systems.

I think that the tools that we are given as children in schools are partly to blame for the fact that the average person often cannot see the bigger picture.

JoshDGnewbie
49 posts
Location: Pontypridd


Posted:
I agree humans have the capacity to work togethor to help eachother, however, as a race we are stupid and greedy and choose to help ourselves. I'm not saying I'm holier than thou, I've made and continue to make greedy decisions constantly, but as a race we are destructively wastefull. I'm amazed as a race we have lasted this long through evolution (sorry if this is offensive to those who are religious just my view and no harmful intentions meant) but just goes to prove that the most destructive species comes out on top and yet we celebrate it. As a species we aren't intelligent just the most aggressive.

Sorry folks but it just has to be said, I would normally hold my tongue but after a few pints I verbalise my opinions alot and like to debate things like this.

FireTomStargazer
6,650 posts

Posted:
Humans do have the capacity, only they lack incentive.

Got trouble listening to this "humans are so BAD BAD BAD"-argument over and over again. It sickens me, not because I can't face the truth but because humans truly are children of this planet and if you bother to take a close look at this planet and how one form of existence scavenges on the other - it greatly outnumbers symbiosis.

Humans - as every other being on this planet - will try to continue the same pattern until they hit a dead end. OR until someone of the "higher authority" is willing to make unpopular decisions.

At the end of the day I would even guess that humans are amongst the very very few species on this planet who CAN change anything - even their own predatory nature.

The problem with Australia in particular might be the innate perception that resources are plentiful (or even abundant), population is scarce and that as long as there is beer in the pint, everything is well. But that's not a Aussie specific issue.

hug but frustration is imminent looking at the state of affairs.

hug thanks for preparing me for my 2012 OzTrail wink

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink


Rouge DragonBRONZE Member
Insert Champagne Here
13,215 posts
Location: without class distinction, Australia


Posted:
Originally Posted By: FireTomas long as there is beer in the pint, everything is well

Never truer words spoken! Unless it was "as long as there is shiraz in the bottle..."

i would have changed ***** to phallus, and claire to petey Petey

Rougie: but that's what I'm doing here
Arnwyn: what letting me adjust myself in your room?..don't you dare quote that on HoP...


PyrolificBRONZE Member
Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
3,289 posts
Location: Adelaide, South Australia


Posted:
Even if the pints cost double what they did a few years ago eek

--
Help! My personality got stuck in this signature machine and I cant get it out!


DentrassiGOLD Member
ZORT!
3,044 posts
Location: Brisbane, Australia


Posted:
its all balance between 3 points.

- Social
- Environmental
- Economic.

For the farmers with family, they're concerned about the social impact on their local families and communities, and the economical impact by water allowance reduction. Howver bias towards these 2 means environmental side is neglected.

A purely environmental approach to any number of issues mean some social and economic luxuries must be sacrificed.

The ecomonically focussed approach in turn, will sacrifice social and environmental matters for a profit.

Its all one big 3 way balancing beam.

From the environmental perspective, people will happily contribute to recycling, because its easy. However reducing carbon footprint by not flying home to see ones family for xmas is a huge social sacrifice for an envirnomental gain...

I can be young and idealistic because my family is all quite indepedant, and i have no wife/husbane/kids to speak of, and so tipping the scales towards an environmental bias in my opinions is achievable. I can be idealistic about the bigger picture for long term payoff.

If i was a struggling farmer with hungry young mouths, the immediate social and community issues are much more important, and bugger the big picture. its a tough compromise.

D.

"Here kitty kitty...." - Schroedinger.


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