Short-termism - Ooops

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simonineaston
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Short-termism - Ooops

Postby simonineaston » 13 Jan 2021, 1:28pm

I know I've whinged on about this before, but I remain puzzled... is our apparent obsession with short-term interests such as politics and germs, going to be the death of us all? Are we, as a species, simply incapable of switching our attention from issues that seem so important but are actually trivial compared with the jeopardy that's becoming increasingly obvious? (link to report)
The planet is facing a “ghastly future of mass extinction, declining health and climate-disruption upheavals” that threaten human survival because of ignorance and inaction, according to an international group of scientists, who warn people still haven’t grasped the urgency of the biodiversity and climate crises.
As a cyclist, modestly doing my best not to mess up local air, having decided long ago, that a bicycle was the best way to get about, mostly, I feel that I've done a tiny tiny little bit towards safeguarding our long-term survival, so I'm annoyed that most of us appear not to give a [rude word that rhymes with FitBit].
My perennial Q. - how bothered are we & what can we do??
(rides: Brompton nano & ever-changing Moultons)

reohn2
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby reohn2 » 13 Jan 2021, 2:27pm

You're absolutely right and in our present numbers we are incabable of stopping the whole s***show from happening,there are simply too many of us and until now nothing has been able to put the brakes on population growth,even a world wide pandemic such as we're presently facing,upto now it won't put a dent in world population.
Add to that the existence of 99% of humanity is based on a particularly short term system namely capitalist consumerism,that has got completely out of hand and you have a recipe for disaster.
We're simply too greedy and to clever and lacking wisdom for our own good.
Other posters may counter that claim by saying technology will get us out of our forthcoming predicament,my answer is,that it's precisely that same technology that got us where we are today.

I'm no prophet but IMHumbleO there'll be a steady but increasingly accelerating decline in living and health standards over a period of time that could be as little as a century though could be sooner,which ultimately will result in a huge reduction in population,after which there'll be remnants left.
Mother earth will recover because She has the ability to do so when left to Her own devices and the human cycle will begin again.
In our current state we're a parasitic and increasingly overwhelming blight on the body of the Mother that feeds and nurtures us,she can't sustain the kind of giving we demand of Her in our present numbers.
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kwackers
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby kwackers » 13 Jan 2021, 2:29pm

The problem imo is "our bit" isn't anywhere near enough, for a start only a small percentage of us actually make any effort.

That's where politics comes in.
The problem is you don't have to look to hard to find folk who think there's no problem / we can't do anything anyway / it would cripple the economy / it's god's will etc etc.
Those folk vote.

So we end up with governments voted in on single issues like our current "brexit" government who whilst they sometimes make the right noises when you get down to the nitty gritty it's never what they claim and often doesn't get done anyway - but people remember the sound bites and once they've heard them sleep soundly again.

To turn the world around requires money and determination. It requires governments to do things the voters won't like. It requires international pressure on some countries and international help for others.
It is political.

reohn2
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby reohn2 » 13 Jan 2021, 2:35pm

....It is political....


And unfortunately the politicians for the most part are in the pockets of the makers of the biggest problems.
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grufty
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby grufty » 13 Jan 2021, 3:37pm

Sadly, I agree with all the previous comments. Trying to put forward the long term view is like banging your head against a brick wall, and the reaction to these views is either incomprehension or outright hostility. I learnt this over four decades ago, so we personally have just quietly gone our own way. At least I feel as though I can look my grandchildren in the eye, and tell them that in my own small way I tried.
Perhaps we need just one country to break the mould and others might follow? I'm not optimistic though....

Stevek76
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby Stevek76 » 13 Jan 2021, 4:31pm

FPTP voting system is a major hindrance for UK/US and other countries with this, it actively encourages short term policy offerings aimed at marginal seats and discourages any sort of consensus building.

That FPTP allows a more decisive government to do more stuff is a bit of a myth in my view. It's only true in an absolute sense of the amount of 'things' done, it's rather exposed when you look at the net progress made and realise that half of the 'things' that were done were just undoing what predecessors had done (who will inevitably seek to redo them when they return to power). The inefficiency and wasted public money from this is quite astounding.

reohn2
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby reohn2 » 13 Jan 2021, 4:38pm

Stevek76 wrote:FPTP voting system is a major hindrance for UK/US and other countries with this, it actively encourages short term policy offerings aimed at marginal seats and discourages any sort of consensus building.

That FPTP allows a more decisive government to do more stuff is a bit of a myth in my view. It's only true in an absolute sense of the amount of 'things' done, it's rather exposed when you look at the net progress made and realise that half of the 'things' that were done were just undoing what predecessors had done (who will inevitably seek to redo them when they return to power). The inefficiency and wasted public money from this is quite astounding.

Agreed,it really is apalling when you think about it.
But there's no escaping the fact that there's just too many people on the planet and that manunkind is inherently selfish :?
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kwackers
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby kwackers » 13 Jan 2021, 4:51pm

On a more positive note though, the world is slowly moving in the right direction.
Not everything is a failure and there's a general waking up to what's happening and a desire to fix it.

Will it be enough? Who knows.
Personally I think it's going to get fairly hairy but we'll pull through it.
However once we're out the other side I doubt any of us will recognise the 'new world'.

If we don't make it I suspect we'll go out with a bang, squabbling over resources, mass migrations - a quick look at how badly the world and its people have coped with trivial issues doesn't bode well.
How would we handle a potentially civilisation ending crisis?

Ben@Forest
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby Ben@Forest » 13 Jan 2021, 6:02pm

reohn2 wrote:
Stevek76 wrote:FPTP voting system is a major hindrance for UK/US and other countries with this, it actively encourages short term policy offerings aimed at marginal seats and discourages any sort of consensus building.

That FPTP allows a more decisive government to do more stuff is a bit of a myth in my view. It's only true in an absolute sense of the amount of 'things' done, it's rather exposed when you look at the net progress made and realise that half of the 'things' that were done were just undoing what predecessors had done (who will inevitably seek to redo them when they return to power). The inefficiency and wasted public money from this is quite astounding.

Agreed,it really is apalling when you think about it.
But there's no escaping the fact that there's just too many people on the planet and that manunkind is inherently selfish :?


FPTP has very little to do with it. Germany has a PR system, but mines and burns lignite (brown coal) and does not intend to phase it out completely until 2038. Norway has a PR system and after Russia is Europe's largest oil and gas producer (whenever anyone reflects on the fabulousness of Norway's sovereign wealth fund they neglect to mention it's 5 million people funded by fossil fuels). Poland has a PR system and in the last 20 years has lost 1.07 million hectares of tree cover, a 10% decrease.

The UK, which I'm not holding up as an amazing example of ecological probity, didn't burn coal for electricity production for two months in 2020 (though Covid and the very warm weather we had in April/May played a part in that). Our oil production is less than half of what it was in the 1990s, and our use (almost all for transport) is in decline despite a rising population. Oddly the country that is the greatest user of oil per capita in Europe is Luxembourg. And from a low point of 5% woodland cover after WW1 we now have 13% woodland cover. Those last figures are pretty poor in European woodland cover terms but we've had no net woodland loss since WW1 and an almost tripling in size isn't bad. The odd thing is the average British punter seems to believe we're losing woodland cover when the reverse is true.

CliveyT
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby CliveyT » 13 Jan 2021, 6:16pm

Ben@Forest wrote: And from a low point of 5% woodland cover after WW1 we now have 13% woodland cover. Those last figures are pretty poor in European woodland cover terms but we've had no net woodland loss since WW1 and an almost tripling in size isn't bad. .


But how much of that growth is in non-native pine woods, which may absorb CO2 but have a large ecological downside (limited food/ habitat, increased soil/runoff acidification)?

Ben@Forest
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby Ben@Forest » 13 Jan 2021, 6:51pm

CliveyT wrote:
Ben@Forest wrote: And from a low point of 5% woodland cover after WW1 we now have 13% woodland cover. Those last figures are pretty poor in European woodland cover terms but we've had no net woodland loss since WW1 and an almost tripling in size isn't bad. .


But how much of that growth is in non-native pine woods, which may absorb CO2 but have a large ecological downside (limited food/ habitat, increased soil/runoff acidification)?


Spruce more than pine if we're being accurate - Sitka spruce is the most planted tree in the UK. I'm not sure it's their ecological impact so much as plantation forestry occupies land that could be used for a more native habitat, whether that be lowland broadleaves or upland moorland with occasional scrubby trees. Conifer habitat favours red squirrel over grey - important where there are red squirrel populations. I've never heard of a difference between conifer/ mixed/ broadleaf woodland in soil erosion - trees on slopes helps prevent this, whatever type. Conifer woodlands are better at intercepting rainfall than broadleaves and therefore holding up water run off simply because they have leaves (needles) year-round.

Conifers are not planted close to watercourses, reservoirs etc because needle litter is acidic, but generally 10m away or so will be enough. Plantation conifer forestry does need careful consideration, but we always seem quite content with large fields of monoculture wheat, rape or sugar beet which present similar issues in land management and wildlife, soil health and water run off.

reohn2
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby reohn2 » 13 Jan 2021, 6:57pm

Ben@Forest wrote:
reohn2 wrote:
Stevek76 wrote:FPTP voting system is a major hindrance for UK/US and other countries with this, it actively encourages short term policy offerings aimed at marginal seats and discourages any sort of consensus building.

That FPTP allows a more decisive government to do more stuff is a bit of a myth in my view. It's only true in an absolute sense of the amount of 'things' done, it's rather exposed when you look at the net progress made and realise that half of the 'things' that were done were just undoing what predecessors had done (who will inevitably seek to redo them when they return to power). The inefficiency and wasted public money from this is quite astounding.

Agreed,it really is apalling when you think about it.
But there's no escaping the fact that there's just too many people on the planet and that manunkind is inherently selfish :?


FPTP has very little to do with it. Germany has a PR system, but mines and burns lignite (brown coal) and does not intend to phase it out completely until 2038. Norway has a PR system and after Russia is Europe's largest oil and gas producer (whenever anyone reflects on the fabulousness of Norway's sovereign wealth fund they neglect to mention it's 5 million people funded by fossil fuels). Poland has a PR system and in the last 20 years has lost 1.07 million hectares of tree cover, a 10% decrease.

The UK, which I'm not holding up as an amazing example of ecological probity, didn't burn coal for electricity production for two months in 2020 (though Covid and the very warm weather we had in April/May played a part in that). Our oil production is less than half of what it was in the 1990s, and our use (almost all for transport) is in decline despite a rising population. Oddly the country that is the greatest user of oil per capita in Europe is Luxembourg. And from a low point of 5% woodland cover after WW1 we now have 13% woodland cover. Those last figures are pretty poor in European woodland cover terms but we've had no net woodland loss since WW1 and an almost tripling in size isn't bad. The odd thing is the average British punter seems to believe we're losing woodland cover when the reverse is true.

I don't know but I'm betting the UK increase in trees is mainly monoculture fast growing spruce for paper we no longer need.
As for the oil/gas situation,we have upto 50% more people dying from Asthma than in Europe.
But as I said above none of it solves the problem of overpopulation,and before you ask I'm not volunteering for euthanasia :wink:
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Ben@Forest
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby Ben@Forest » 13 Jan 2021, 7:17pm

reohn2 wrote:I don't know but I'm betting the UK increase in trees is mainly monoculture fast growing spruce for paper we no longer need.


Fast growing conifer is large part of it. Recently you'll have to blame Nicola and the SNP for that, forestry is a far more important part of the Scottish economy than forestry in England is to the English and the Scottish government has been investing in its growth (no pun intended). They've planted thousands of hectares.

https://www.confor.org.uk/news/latest-n ... d-by-2030/

But you're wrong, the wood pulp for paper industry in this country is tiny. Poorer quality timber goes far more into chip products, flooring, worktops. Better quality goes into construction, roof trusses, framing and so on.

Of course they grew conifer originally because a huge amount of it went into pit props and other mining uses. There are still specifications for it in timber mensuration guides. So blame the miners..... :wink:

reohn2
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby reohn2 » 13 Jan 2021, 10:56pm

Ben@Forest wrote:
reohn2 wrote:I don't know but I'm betting the UK increase in trees is mainly monoculture fast growing spruce for paper we no longer need.


Fast growing conifer is large part of it. Recently you'll have to blame Nicola and the SNP for that, forestry is a far more important part of the Scottish economy than forestry in England is to the English and the Scottish government has been investing in its growth (no pun intended). They've planted thousands of hectares.

https://www.confor.org.uk/news/latest-n ... d-by-2030/

But you're wrong, the wood pulp for paper industry in this country is tiny. Poorer quality timber goes far more into chip products, flooring, worktops. Better quality goes into construction, roof trusses, framing and so on.

Of course they grew conifer originally because a huge amount of it went into pit props and other mining uses. There are still specifications for it in timber mensuration guides. So blame the miners..... :wink:


I take your point on wood pulp for paper an error on my part.
I'm not blaming anyone,just trying to show that the reforestation of the UK is low quality monoculture fast growing Spruce that's part of the short termism,which is the title of the thread.
BTW most timber for framing and roof trusses comes from Scandinavia which,due to colder higher latitude and shorter growing season is far better quality than UK stock I spent nearly 30 years working with it after I left mining management :wink: .
There may well still be specs for pit props but that's all there is as there's none being used in UK mines coz there aren't any left and in any case not many were used in modern automated longwall mining anyway.
That said it doesn't mean the UK stopped using poor quality poor coal though from as far away as Brazil,mined by children as young as 10 and also including orimulsion in our coal fired plants in the UK when the pits were shut back in the 80's and 90's,it was simply cheaper though far,far dirtier than quality deep mined UK coal.
All part of the grand neoliberal capitalist trickle down theory Mrs Thatcher so kindly introduced us to :)
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Ben@Forest
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Re: Short-termism - Ooops

Postby Ben@Forest » 13 Jan 2021, 11:26pm

reohn2 wrote:I take your point on wood pulp for paper an error on my part.
I'm not blaming anyone,just trying to show that the reforestation of the UK is low quality monoculture fast growing Spruce that's part of the short termism,which is the title of the thread.
BTW most timber for framing and roof trusses comes from Scandinavia which,due to colder higher latitude and shorter growing season is far better quality than UK stock I spent nearly 30 years working with it after I left mining management


Scandanavia produces slower growing and superior softwood, it's a fact. Our telegraph and wooden electrical poles are sourced from there (as do other European countries) because of their longevity.

But we do grow timber which meets all the grades for construction. In 2016 l commissioned a barn, the framing and roof trusses were Sitka spruce grown in England. Its quality was sufficient to have built a house. The cladding was Welsh grown Western red cedar. The UK can, and does, grow good timber. We simply don't grow anything like enough.We don't import from Finland because it is better, we import because we don't have a choice.

England has a good spread of broadleaved woodland with much less conifer. Scotland is the opposite, a much more commercial focus with fewer woodlands that can be described as anything like native. But overall if we want to be anything like our continental neighbours we need 30% woodland cover, and just reaching 20% will be a struggle.