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  • An obsession with non-solutions. Either they'll pretend that token gestures (like changing lightbulbs to CFLs) are way more effective than they really are (heat pumps and motors are the big users of electricity) or they'll suggest things that simply don't work (e.g: Put solar panels on your roof. Never mind that a PV array must be kept meticulously clean in order to function). Or they'll pretend that a solution has no opportunity cost (e.g: Ride a bike to work, never mind that you will be fired for having body odour).
    • Are there any real solutions? This Troper has not heard of any possible solution that has not been criticized on the grounds that it "will not work". If that's the case, then what is the point of trying to protect the environment if we are just doomed to fail anyway? Don't get me wrong: there may very well be a way for us to keep living at our current technological level without harming the environment-- very much, at least-- but how come I've never heard of it?
    • Have you ever actually ever ridden a bike to work? Unless it is really hot out or you are really pushing yourself you won't have any BO. And there is always the amazing solution of a simple stick of deoderant.
      • Farseer Lolotea: I have ridden a bike to work, and I'll second this. Now, rain is another matter.
      • Eddie Van Helsing: I used to ride a bike to work all through high school and college, five miles each way. I used to push myself as well, in order to get to work in time to wash my hands and face, change my clothes, and use the BO stick. It didn't always help. And yes, rain is a bitch. Snow's even worse.
      • Or if you live in the South where virtually every city's layout is built around the assumption that everybody working has a car. It's not just that riding a car might be slow or make you have B.O., it's that a good majority of people simply don't have the ability to actually bike the vast distance to work. The climate works against you, too...biking halfway across Houston in the middle of the summer can easily hospitalize you from heatstroke if you're not prepared. And as mentioned before, the assumption that everyone has a car means the public transportation systems are underdeveloped, compounded with Southern cities' much larger area making them a lot more expensive and a lot less cost-effective to provide the same level of support.
    • I have been to a house with solar panels on the roof which was not on the grid and was rarely maintained by anyone, so I can attest that solar panels work with only occasional and feasible cleaning.
      • Please note the important words off-grid. Solar panels are good for niche applications. However, I bet you couldn't have continuous air conditioning, or much more than a refrigerator running. The problem is that they are a tiny fraction of unreliable electricity for extremely high prices.
  • This troper finds Green Aesops annoying because they always imply that selfish individuals are killing the planet because they don't want to waste time waiting for a bus or a train, don't want to be uncomfortable, and basically want their lives to be as pleasant as they can afford to make them.
    • So basically, sacrifices must never, ever be made in the name of a greater good.
    • No, but everybody shouldn't have to live like it's the Stone Age. One article I read suggested we get our cars repossessed to save the environment. Now, I'm no expert on economics, but won't that damage your credit score? Said article also highlighted everything we do that impacts the environment, including using cars, using a computer, having electronics and breathing. I don't want to sacrifice my life for the environment, thank you very much.
    • Historically, much wrong has been done in the name of attaining comfort. Slavery, for example. Stealing. The most unjust forms of extreme economic inequality.
  • Appearance of "greenness" over substance. Electric cars are frequently portrayed as being more environmentally friendly, because there's no tailpipe emissions. This ignores the environmental impact of building electric cars, which is frequently far worse than oil-burners. In terms of disposal, they're worse still. Then there's the additional weight, which increases energy required for movement and increases wear & tear (more environmental impact from construction of spare parts). The recent pimping of Hybrid cars is even stupider still, as they are less fuel efficient and have a greater environmental impact than another proven, efficient engine technology with excellent flexibility for alternative fuel sources and has been in widespread commercial use for nearly 100 years. But since that technology is Diesel, which people associate with nasty, black sooty smoke (even though that's been fixed in recent designs) it gets ignored in favour of things which appear greener, but are actually worse for the environment.
    • That is why it is often possible to get governments to subsidize cars that run on clean, low-sulfur diesel and why such cars are marketed as environmentally friendly.
    • Diesel (like gasoline) doesn't just waste energy when most of it flies out your tailpipe, but when it's manufactured. All fuels refined from oil consume more energy during the refinement phase than the finished product actually contains, as the only fossil fuels that are profitable to produce (positive ERoEI) are coal and natural gas. A better example of a “fake greenâ€\x9D technology is bioenergy. Fuels like alcohol and greasel are hilariously wasteful to produce, and the industry only survives due to massive subsidies (there's even a pretty good chance that the ethanol industry was created solely as a welfare scam by ADM!).
      Electric cars, bye the way, pre-date internal combustion by decades, and are about a zillion times simpler than fuel burners: No transmission, fuel system/tank, differential, axles, cooling, brakes, lubrication, etc… All that's left after throwing out hundreds of pounds of outdated parts is the electrical, suspension, and steering. Those exotic pieces that are so horrible for the environment and so hard to dispose of? Batteries (already present in current cars. Already built, serviced and recycled effortlessly) and motors (nearly identical to the alternator and dozens of other electric motors in cars already.)
      I'll admit that hybrids ARE a dumb idea (though they still outperform diesels, look at the hybrid diesels being sold by Europeans) because they pointlessly prolong engine cars, especially since all hybrids so far consist of all the parts of a standard car PLUS all the parts of an electric (instead of, say, a neatly designed electric with a tiny generator hooked up.)
      • I'll consider pure electric cars a viable option when they have the range and speed to be the only car of someone who drives primarily on the highways for five hours at a time. (Five hours at highway speed is about 375-400 miles. Refueling more than once is not acceptable.) Otherwise, they'd need to have two cars to drive electric at all and * that* is stupidly wasteful.
    • You also forget that electric cars are (unless you live in France or Japan) powered mostly by coal and have on-average WORSE emissions per mile than gasoline.
      • That is why there is an effort to get electric cars to have a measure equivalent to the measure of the distance that can be driven on a given volume of fuel for a gas-burning car. How you convert between liters of gas and kilowatt hours is the tricky part.
      • The vast majority of driving is done in short bursts, to run errands, commute, etc. If a driver is spending 5 hours a day on freeways, they are the exception, not the rule. Many people can get by just fine on an electric that can handle a day's worth of charging and rent a gas-powered vehicle for roadtrips if they really need one.
        • Just because you something is an exception in New England does not mean it isn't the rule in other places such as the South and Southwest where a person that drives hour and a half to work alone is not rare.
        • It's not even universal in New England. Here in Maine, a round trip two hours or so commute is by no means uncommon, and this troper's father used to have nearly a five hour round trip one (2 hours 25 minutes each way). So...yeah.
      • "fuels refined from oil consume more energy during the refinement phase than the finished product actually contains" What material balance equations have you been been reading? You Fail Thermodynamics Forever. They also burn some of the heavy stuff at the refinery to power the equipment, so isn't majority(87%) of the energy used in the refining process comes from the original crude anyway. The maximum Energy Returned on Energy Invested for gasoline refined from oil available without pumping is 125:1. Now with shipping/labor/extraction/ect modern gasoline's Energy Returned on Energy Invested is about 10:1. Or so says the AAPG.
  • Farseer Lolotea: Another fact that's conveniently ignored is the way that the prices of technologies like biodiesel are jacked sky-high. Do we have a trope about capitalizing on people's sense of morality? If not, we should. (I could start ranting about pretentious vegetarians, but I think that would fit better on another page.)
    • There' also the issue of "organic" crops being more expensive than conventional ones. We could YKTTW this, but it's some sort of Real Life trope... can we even trope it?
      • Well duh, of course it's more expensive. Drowning poorly managed crops in pesticides or bulking up normal cattle feed with their own dung and ground up compatriots will tend to save money, even if it decreases the quality of the final product and adds health risks. Shipping domestic jobs overseas to child slavers is also cheaper, so does that mean Fair Trade-labeled products are a rip-off too?
      • Further, Much green technology doesn't have the benefit of economies of scale or years of refinement to improve efficiency.
  • It's also extremely annoying to see various industries like mining, timber, oil drilling, manufacturing, and others, being painted as the Big Evil Nasty Polluters who are selfishly destroying the world. Except these industries are made up of normal people and communities just doing their jobs, which by the way creates crucial resources that everyone in society needs. This troper's mining engineer father has been given grief by greenies for 'destroying the earth', even though he's the one who's mined the steel for their 'eco-friendly' bicycles.
    • This troper blames a generation who grew up on Captain Planet
    • You know who else were just doing their job? That's right, I went there. But seriously, it's because we like to have nice, easy, black-and-white solutions. Why is the environment going in the crapper? Because big-bad scary evil people are messing it up. The fact that it's more like a comedy of errors where everybody and nobody is to blame is a lot more bleak and a lot harder to sell to the public. Of course, now that's it seem so simple, people start to wonder why it's not fixed yet, and then...
      • Wow, Nazis. How original. I find it ironic you bring them up, then discuss the fallacy of black-and-white solutions. You know when the majority of the German army found out about the holocaust? 1945. The Germany Armed Forces was just doing their job. Some, even, refused to kill Jews and Commandos when ordered (Erwin Rommel, for example). The National Socialists weren't "just doing their job"; they were the politicians; they were the ones who decided to invade Poland. That said, there were members of the German Armed Forces who hated Jews, but there was sort of a propaganda campaign going on blaming Jews for the financial crisis (despite the fact it was the British and French). More to the point: Those guys cutting down trees? They plant even more than they cut down. Why? For the environment, and for the fact that if there's no trees, there are no trees to chop down.
        • Different troper, but it looks like you missed the fact that the Nazis comment was in jest, and that the serious part of the comment was about how there isn't any black hats here, just shades of grey in a "comedy of errors".
  • The thing I hate about most green aesops is that they're usually preachy and make humans look like heartless bastards. This troper especially hates it when the green aesop involves some higher being of some sort punishing the human race bying threatening to destroy them or something. It usually comes off as hypocritical.
    • Especially when that higher being is the spirit of the earth itself. I find it very hard to believe that the earth really gives a damn, since humanity and the current ecosystem has lasted only a few seconds in regards to its own massive lifespan. If everything dies off, so what, it'll just chill as being a lifeless planet again for a little bit and then life will come back on its own. Not to mention that life on earth is infinitely more threatened by super-volcanoes than anything humanity can cook up.
      • I also hate when green aesops involves some villains who thinks the earth would be better off without humans. Without animals and humans, the earth would be lifeless and boring. I do think that man should take care of the earth, but only because its our home. Humans are more important than the earth. I know this sounds arrogant, but I would rather save mankind than the earth.
        • That's a false choice, though. Humanity can't survive without the Earth to support us, and we rely on many ecosystem services that we don't have the resources to adequately perform ourselves. Maybe in a thousand years we'll have the technology and resources to survive without the Earth, but until then, saving humanity at the cost of the rest of life on Earth dooms humanity to die within a matter of months.
    • Stories that teach morals by having a higher being threaten to punish people for the harm they do are Older Than Dirt. It is also worth noting that from the perspective of many animals, humans are in some sense a higher being inflicting destruction on them.
  • It bugs the hell out of this troper when people say the human race is 'killing' or 'destroying' the planet. I'm sorry, but do you have any idea how hard it is to destroy a planet? It's some real human arrogance to assume that our race, who has only been on this planet for a blink of an eye in relative terms to the earth's lifespan, can 'destroy' it somehow. This planet has been hit by meteors and kept on truckin'. Even if they're just referring to life on earth, again, it's survived a hell of a lot more than anything humanity has thrown at it. What they probably really mean is that 'humanity is destroying the current ecosystem as it stands now', but that isn't as snappy.
    • Yes, that's what they mean. You can append "as we know it" if it makes you feel better. If you remove all life from the Earth (not saying that we'll do that either, it's just a hypothetical) you won't have technically destroyed the planet, but you still wouldn't recognize it.
    • The power to destroy a planet is insignificant, next to the power of the Force... Sorry.
    • Well if we kept up the 1994 population growth rate for 2,000 years the mass of the entire human race would equal the mass of the planet, and if we kept it up for 10,000 years the human race would outmass the visible universe. This troper really doesn't have a problem with that. Zerg Rush, Zerg Rush, Zerg Rush, Om nom nom nom.
      • Stop the logical fallacies. All evidence is that the growth rate is slowing and that we will never have many more than 10 billion people here. Idiotic extrapolations are some of the worst problems with green Aesops.
  • It just bugs me that the dichotomy presented in green aesops basically boils down to Harmony or Progress, with no middle ground at all. Usuaully it's coupled with a side order of 'Progress' is Evil and Harmony is good! Is it so hard to for the aesop to be "unchecked progress without a mind to it's effects is potentially harmful"? Likewise, unchecked eco-friendliness has a cost, there are plenty of inefficient but green technologies and practices, and universally adopting all of them means we have money spent on unproductive things, get back less results, and the economy/society suffers as a result. Green is not always win-win.
  • What happened to the old days when advanced technology was portrayed as going hand-in-hand with being environmentally friendly? Like, Star Trek and... uh... seriously though, I'm not sure where I got it but I always believed that the closer we get to Crystal Spires and Togas, we should be able to run our flying cars and robots on environmentally friendly fuel sources. Instead, we have advanced societies being run by bleeding the planet dry and leaving the waste out of sight, out of mind. Dammit, I need to watch more Star Trek.
    • Because the closer you get to realizing that future, the more you realize how hard and how nigh-impossible it is. Kind of like when you dream of being an astronaut when you're a kid, until you realize in highschool how good at maths and physics you'd need to be to actually become one. Reality sucks that way.
    • Fast Breeder Reactors=silver bullet solution to future energy demands. I am dead serious.
      • Aren't breeder reactors the ones banned in the 1970s due to national defense concerns, since they pop out weapons-grade material? Yeah, I don't think we should be making that stuff any more plentiful or easy to steal anytime soon.
        • We already have enough nukes to kill everyone, more are a drop in the bucket at this point.
      • There is no such thing as a silver bullet- everything has a price. The sooner we understand that, and begin weighing what we value as a society, rather than looking for a free out, the sooner we can stop bouncing from crisis to crisis, each crisis caused by the mistakes made in trying to fix the last one for free
  • This troper has and MS in stratigraphy and petroleum geology and would like to point out that there is still a 78 year supply of cheap oil(cheap meaning able to produce gasoline for less then 4.10 2001USD/gallon assuming a 5% increase in demand compounded yearly) based on known recoverable reserves. Everytime someone on tv mentions peak oil occuring within 25 years I end up screaming, "The Hubbard Peak Decline Curve does not work that way! Good night!"
    • I assume that they are determining total oil reserves only from minimal proved reserves, but they never point this out.
  • Here's something that just bugs this troper about Green Aesops. They make it seem like humans destroy nature, and animals wouldn't. Every other animal would, to the point of using up all their resources, so that they would all die. We're just the most effective at it. Is it bad? Sure it is. But an assumption a lot of people have is that animals would not destroy the earth for their benefit. In fact, humans are the only animals that would regulate themselves because they understand that overtaxing the earth is bad.
  • I don't know if this belongs in trooper tales, but it bugs me when I see children on the bus I ride asking the mom if global warming was going to destroy us. Kids shouldn't have to be brutalized with this stuff.
    • Oh, yeah, definitely. The people who are going to live with the consequences of our environmental decisions most certainly shouldn't have to worry about that until its too late. Now, how well we're getting the message across is an entirely different story- if they see it as a black and white "destroy us all" evil, it means we haven't explained it right. If they're too young to understand anything but black and white, it means yes, it is too early for that (unless they're old enough to understand shades of grey, but don't, in which case it is a poor reflection upon the US educational system).
  • The assumption that nature is perfect. It seems most people don't realize the environment is often self-destructive, but instead assume that any extinctions, environmental damage, etc. within the past 10,000 years is completely our fault. Furthermore, the belief that our "natural state" is running around naked searching for fruits and vegetables to eat. Humans developed sentience for a reason.
    • Well, running around naked in hunter-gatherer-tribal style is our natural state. We are animals, we just happen to be very smart ones. Of course, there's nothing to say that our "natural" state is any good, since what alot of people like to omit is the fact that our natural state is designed to get us killed. Nature never intended (personification here, just go with it) for us to live even close to a century, going by nature, we should follow the pattern of most natural animals, where we go through life until we're eaten by carnivores, or we eat until all our teeth fall out and we starve to death. Nature is cynical, which is something a lot of people don't get.
    • While we may not be at fault for everything (we are innocent of ending the Ice Age, for example), we do have a lot inarguably our fault. Pollution and habitat destruction (bulldozing and deforestation, for example) are inarguably entirely human-driven, and are responsible for a very large number of extinctions (most of the ones in recent memory), as well as most environmental damage. Unless you want to claim that the rainforest isn't being burned or cut down by humans, and is instead being devoured by bears, or that toxic byproducts of industrial production would have formed anyway. We may not be guilty of everything, but we are guilty of most, given that most has happened not only in the past 10,000, but in the past few hundred. We weren't totally innocent and in a "natural state" even before that, though.
    • Humanity was far from at harmony with nature even in our so-called "noble savage" days. Ever notice a distinct lack of megatherium ground sloths, wooly mammoths, and other megafauna over 1 ton? We have no direct evidence, but they all went extinct sometime around when primitive man came into their areas. And primitive people today aren't "perfect" or "at harmony with nature" either, they just lack means; their first priority is betterment of their own lives, which is why they will always choose modern destructive-but-profitable ways over traditional ones when given the option. Even pre-columbian Native Americans, poster children of humanity in its natural state, were masters of controlling their environment, not a peaceful part of it- much of the forest of North America was maintained by controlled burnings to eliminate dense underbrush (and keep new trees from growing) and facilitate easier hunting of game. No
      • Of course, it truly depends on what you want to call a "natural" state. All animals hunt and kill, human beings were no exception. Some animals can't make it, and go extinct, that is how natural selection and evolution works. Human beings are just another animal, just a very smart and durable one. Then the definition of "natural state" argues what tools are we allowed to use before we stop being "unnatural". Chimpanzees use rocks to smash open walnuts, and sticks to fish for termites, yet they're not catching flak for being unnatural. This is why the "natural" argument should never be used, because it's too philosophical and subjective. Nature is all about survival of the fittest, and humans just happen to be nearly as fit as can be.
    • The number of extinctions occurring due to humans is far, far above the number that would be occurring in the absence of humans. According to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/03/2/l_032_04.html , "The background level of extinction known from the fossil record is about one species per million species per year, or between 10 and 100 species per year (counting all organisms such as insects, bacteria, and fungi, not just the large vertebrates we are most familiar with). In contrast, estimates based on the rate at which the area of tropical forests is being reduced, and their large numbers of specialized species, are that we may now be losing 27,000 species per year to extinction from those habitats alone." That means that 99.6% or more of the extinctions occurring today are the result of human activity.
  • The bad name this trope has gotten these days bugs the hell out of me. People get all bent out of shape if you so much as hint we need to change the way things are being done. As if ignoring the problem will make it go away.
    • The main issue is overexposure, combined with too much "we should do something" and not enough "here is what we should do". Plus, people really don't get most of the fundamental concepts, and misunderstandings ensue, and people view things as not being as much of a problem as they are- case in point, mistaking climate change for "I get to wear short sleeves more often". F Inally, people get defensive when asked or insinuated to need to change their habits, and get resentful of those high-and-mighty people who dare ask them to, in their eyes, reduce their standard of living (a misconception, by and large, but again, misunderstandings abound- and there is some basis) for the Great Good.
      • This troper pretty much agrees with that bit...The main reason I disliked the story of Avatar was that in all honesty...the aesop is no different than the preachy stuff I had seen a dozen and a half times already, the exact same preachy stuff that's always "Oh, these noble savages are good because they don't pollute, and the civilized outsiders are bad because they wanna strip it down to the ground for cash!". Yeah yeah...I saw it when it was called Fern Gully, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Pocahontas, and Dances with Wolves. And Pocahontas even had natives who were a little more gray. (Kocoum) Would it honestly kill people behind most Green Aesop stuff to at least try presenting a solution that's not a Deus Ex Machina? Or even showing that pollution of any sort is pretty much inevitable unless you want to live a very spartan life free of electronics, most food, houses, or even buildings? Or even showing that it's possible to clean up the damage inflicted by pollution? Ugh.
    • Also, the mass over-simplifying of the issue. Climate change, energy, pollution and human population are all very complex subjects with multiple needs to consider if you propose changes. Unfortunately many green aesops totally ignore this and just present a simple solution that blatantly ignores all of that complexity. (Like those 'No Jobs On A Dead Planet' bumper stickers.) This troper would appreciate green aesops a lot more if they actually treated it with a bit of respect.
    • It bugs me that any concern for the impact of human civilization on the environment has somehow become tantamount to declaring yourself a hippie. Or a "sissy." Or any number of other things that carry Unfortunate Implications. It's an equal and opposite overreaction. Irritating.
    • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped
  • What makes something natural instantly better than something artifical? Answer: Nothing. We could do without a biosphere if we absolutely had to, but it would not be easy or fun. Now to be sure, some things are currently much more efficient if left to the biosphere, but as technology advances there may come a time when it is more efficient to replace the biosphere in its entirety. Are we supposed to let things remain inefficient simply to support a Green Aesop. Opinions? Rebuttals?
    • What gives us the right? A big portion of environmentalism is the concept that things besides us have an inherent right to exist, that's the basis of the endangered species act. Sure, we have the right to do what we need to survive and propagate our own species, so eating meat and the like can be justified if its done right, but what gives us the right to go all Omnicidal Maniac on everything that we cannot control?
    • If you want to be completely objective and ammoral; nothing has a right to exist, not even us. But it is in each human's own interest that humanity continues to exist and does whatever it takes to maintain and increase our power as a species. If it's better to protect a species or ecosystem so it can service us, do it. If exterimating a species will lead to a physical improvment for us, do it. Of course, that's just me.
    • From a purely selfish standpoint, its probably in our best interest to leave things unmodified for the simple reason that we don't know for sure how everything works together. We have hundreds of examples of humans casually destroying something that turned out to be important to the survival of another species that did something else important. Even if we increase reseach, we still can't know for certain we've accounted for every service, and as such it is in our best interest not to gamble on it. We can, for instance, replicate (at incredibly high energy cost) the oxygen-producing services of trees, but if we're not careful, we'll remove what's cleaning the water and holding the soil together in the process. Or maybe we'll end up removing the trees that support the birds we enjoy listening to. Or maybe there's an omnivorous bird that eats both the fruit of that tree and a beneficial insect and killing the trees to make room for more buildings will lead to the population of the beneficial insects being devoured. We just don't know for certain, and as a result cannot afford to gamble like that.
      • In the environmental field, this is called the Precautionary Principle, the general idea that we're better off safe than sorry, because the benefit of the gamble is almost always significantly lower than the cost of losing the gamble, and we don't know the odds when we make the bet, so even if the odds seem in our favor, they might not actually be because we might be overlooking something.
      • All very good, the Precautionary Principle was sort of assumed in the first post, but was not specifically stated. I'd like to point out that simply sitting on our hands for eternity because we are too concerned with the Precautionary Priciple is not really an option either. At some point you just have to try something on a small scale and deal with the consequences. The whole "completely replace the biosphere thing" is a long term goal. It will probably take serval hundred years for us to destroy the biosphere and replace it at any rate so we have plenty of time to assess the value individual organisms. That said if enough people really want their flowers and birds then we'll probably keep them, efficiency be damned.
    • Agreed the one thing to really worry about is the loss of some plants in remote areas were they have not be cateloged yet, some of them produce valuable chemicals. Now, we'd eventually find out about those chemicals anyway, but it could be decades latter and getting them now is a priority. Of course if the plant's range is so restricted that it can be wiped out in a week by a logging operation then it wasn't really important to the biosphere as a whole so it's not going to cause some cascading collapse.
    • Change things? Sure, we do that every time we build a building. But replacing fundamental ecosystem services... that is not a good idea. Apart from anything else, its simply not economically effective to do so- air from trees is a lot cheaper than air from machines, and as such it is in our interest to keep oxygenating biomass for economic reasons. There's also the stability issue- plants can do their jobs without us, but machines often can't, meaning that a changeover to reliance on man could lead to a sudden ecological disaster in the case of a blackout or lack of manpower.
    • I think this dicussion is more about very long term replacements for the biosphere. Like developing solar panels that are more efficient at collecting energy from photons then the C4 photosynethic process and then deciding to pave over the entire planet with photoelectric cells and use the energy from that to make more glucose and molecular oxygen than the biosphere ever could. Or living in a dyson swarm around the sun long after the biosphere has been destroyed by the side effects of stellar evolution. I think the arguement here is not that it is economically viable to replace the biosphere at this time, but rather that we should not be bound by moral obligations to the biosphere when it becomes prefferable(from a material balance perspective) to replace it. I really don't have an opinion one way or another. The original poster can correct me if I am wrong, but I think that they are arguing against moralistic environmentalism not the preservation of ecosystem services.
      • Where do you draw the line on where utilitarianism becomes morally reprehensible? This is the same type of "well, it benefits everyone, so balls to morality" thinking that makes it seem okay to euthanize retarded people and/or orphans.
      • Don't you think that you may be strawmanning their arguement a little. Any human has a chance to make a intellectual contribution to our society that probably has greater material value than whatever we'd get by killing them. Children and invalid adults can't contribute to society, but children will mature and become able to contribute. Humans who are currently incapable of creating a contribution to society due to mental or physical deficiency are suffering from a medical condition. Like any medical condition, it is possible that the damage or intrinsic deficiency can be repaired or mitigated at some future date. Therefore individual humans which are incapable of creating a contribution are given rights to protect the utility they may have in the future when they are capable of making a product that other humans can use. What most humans almost universally consider moral is often what is most efficient. Which says something disturbing, in that our morallity(religious or secular) often correlates to brutal efficiency.
    • I think it would be more productive for us to argue over a specific example rather than hypotheticals. So for your assessment: Plan A is to cause the extinction of all widely distributed species of mosquito. Think about it they spread diseases that collectively kill more people than any other aliments. Now, killing them will reduce the populations of insectivorious bats and fish or macroinvertebrates that eat mosquito larva. But remember that we mostly care about those organisms because they eat mosquitoes. The only thing that mosquitos do to larger fauna is suck their blood and spread disease, so any increases in the populations of large mammals can be offset by increasing hunting of those animals. Since we are only destroying the widespread species we will not lose samples any unknown anticoagulants that less studied species many use. And since those other species of mosquito are not widespread already they probably have more specific habitat requirments that will keep them from spreading into the habitats where more common species have been eliminated, or at least they will not be able to reproduce enough to become pests. In summary: EX-TER-MIN-ATE! Did I miss anything?
      • Feasibility, for one. We don't have the ability to destroy something as narrowly specific as a single species of mosquito. We can keep them off of us with netting and such, but that won't kill them. We can introduce predators, but that only keeps numbers down, and is a type of natural control mechanism that uses nature rather than man, and is advocated by certain environmental groups. Use of lots of pesticides? Welcome to 1960, there's a lady named Rachel Carson who wishes to talk about side effects regarding human health and health of nonpest species, not to mention the insects we actually like. How would you propose we wipe out mosquitos without wiping out a lot of other things? A genetically engineered virus? How would we keep it from mutating and spreading to beneficial insect species?
        • This was more about the implications of the destruction of the species. But DDT could be used to wipe out specific mosquito species. If you are willing to accept a reduction in the number of large avians due to the egg shell thinning thing. The only insects that will suffer major population deduction would be aquatic macro-invertebrates(you can correlate a drop in thier populations with those of mosquitos quite well). That was why outdoor spraying with DDT was abandoned, it has very mild effects on mammals(humans specifically) which is why it was used in the first pace. But you argument regarding the cost effectivness of destroying mosquitos is of genuine concern. I suggest we focus on exterminating bedbugs instead, since they do nothing but suck human blood and were almost entirely eliminated by DDT mattress spraying years ago. It would be a small task to complete their extinction.
        • It is possible to make a very stabile virus, especially if you make sure it is a DNA virus not an RNA virus(the transcription process is what causes the majority of viral mutations.) But it seems likely that the virus would only infect species very closely related to mosquitoes, for the life of me I can't find one that is benificial. That said I'm a molecular biologist not a virologist so I can't say for sure.
        • Nanophages? Which is one of the few realistic appications of nanorobotics. But that's more than a hundred years off.
        • You could release sterilized male mosquitoes that produce invalid eggs in female mosquitos. This actually works pretty well and is used in the southern USA. But why use just one solution? Use everything to force the species to extinction and you will have a quicker and more complete extermination with overlapping coverage.
        • I read about a plan for exterminating mosquitos by genetically engineering male mosquitos to only have sons. Being twice as efficient at producing sons as unmodified male mosquitos, they would out compete them and drive them, the females, and shortly thereafter themselves, to extinction. There's a similar mutation in mice – the only reason that that species of mouse isn't extinct in the wild is that they tend to live in separate communities, and the "infected" populations die out from lack of females. Once we figure out how to produce a similar effect in mosquitos, we just need to spread it around enough.
  • It just bugs me how people act like humans are the only creatures that change the environment. How about beavers? Not only do they "cut" down trees, they actively create artificial lakes. As a species, the first thing humans think of is what would be best for humans. It is the same thing any other species would do in our position. Indeed, humans are only unique in the fact that we actually have the capacity to feel guilt for things as complex and abstract as "global warming". Another thing is the fact that organic food is no healthier than processed food, and the fact that modern farming techniques (including the usage of pesticides - yes, I went there) were invented BECAUSE organic farming is so damn inefficient. Let's face it: just as conservatives use the specter of terrorism to get their way, so to do liberals use global warming and pollution. Yes there is a real problem, and yes it needs to fixed, but it's hardly as bad as they make it out to be. Essentially, even with widespread secularization, the modern world continues to declare witch hunts over issues we can barely comprehend.

In a few hundred years, people will look back on these events and laugh at our ignorance, just as we laugh at the assumed ignorance of the dark age peasant.

    • Sure, the other species change the environment, its called "living". But what we are unique in is changing the environment both on an unprecedented scale and in an unsustainable manner, so that instead of just taking ourselves out if we screw up too much, like previous species that changed their environment too much for it to be comfortable anymore, we will drag pretty much every other macroscopic organism down with us. Plants may change the soil chemistry around them, but that doesn't prevent them from being able to live there for a hundred years, nor does it sicken things continent away. Furthermore, I don't understand why you say we don't understand these things; the greenhouse effect is very well understood, and there is little to no debate about it at this point. Will people a hundred years from now laugh at us for having believed in evolution? No? How about laughing at us for believing in gravity? No? How about the tendency of acids to react with alkalines to form a salt and a water? Didn't think so. Do your research- this isn't wild speculation, its hard science and if not for people like you pretending it isn't there, we wouldn't have gotten to a point where it started threatening lives (or at least livelihoods) in the first place.
      • "Unprecedented scale"? Ever heard of the oxygen catastrophe? The largest extinction event in Earth's history, which we probably couldn't exceed if we tried, was caused by photosynthesis. Think about that next time you're hugging a tree.
        • Perhaps. But there is a difference between humans and cyanobacteria, despite your arguements that we are the same. Unlike cyanobacteria, we have brains. We can see what we are doing, and we can change the way we live to minimize our effects while still living full and happy lives. The algae had no idea what they were doing, nor did they have any choice. We can see, and we do have a choice. That is why we are greater than cyanobacteria, and that is a Green Aesop.
        • Also, the important bit is speed. We may not be working as fast as the K-T impact, but we've raised the extinction rate so high, it'll pretty much look like we were from the fossil record. The Oxygenation Event took a long time- the period between start-of-production and extinction might have been as long as 900 million years, as opposed to our "less than 200 years between start-of-industrialization-and-population-explosion and extinction skyrocketing". And unlike the K-T impact, we aren't a one-time event that will die away when the dust clears and the brush regrows; we keep pumping out new stuff and cutting down the new brush, as well as more of the old.
  • A couple of things bug the hell out of me:
    • This trope appearing in science textbooks. Seen It a Million Times and it makes me wonder how dishonest people can be - science textbooks teach science, not morals.
    • The implication that having nice things, like a life expectancy beyond 40, the capacity to cure or prevent killer diseases, and a roof to live under is a bad thing because it uses fossil fuels and land.
    • The other implication that as soon as you start using renewable technology all those problems will go away.
    • The fact that problems like population control and vital things like gold running out are almost never addressed.
      • Gold running out? What? It's an element. As such, it will always exist. It's not unstable/radioactive, doesn't rust, and isn't usually converted into other things (other than being put into alloys).
    • The other other implication that Mother Nature is a balanced and benevolent system and then us humans mucked it up.
      • Most ecosystems are usually in a somewhat balanced state when there aren't humans around destroying habitats, introducing foreign species, polluting them, etc.
    • The implication that if you question anything - and I mean anything you are automatically in the oil companies' pay and want to cut down all the rainforests. It's a world-changing revelation, give us a breather and some space to ask questions. (Before anyone accuses me of being in the oil companies' pay and wanting to cut down all the rainforests, my main problem is the unsubtle moral message which raises my hackles because I like facts and interesting plots, not being told I'm a heartless bastard who likes killing cute animals in my selfish quest to have a decent life expectancy and a roof over my head. Other problems include stuff like population control not coming up when it quite logically should.)
      • Bringing up population control would make the work far more controversial and would lead to an increase in the number of complaints here. There is no obvious way to enforce population controls without unpleasant things like two-child limits that most people don't want to advocate. Even telling people that it would be a good idea to stop after a few children would offend some people from large families and some Catholics and would invite comparisons to Planned Parenthood, one of the most demonized organizations on the internet.
  • The No Pressure video made as a pro environmental argument. They seriously think this is a good way to convince you "Green is good". Do these people really not see just how horrifying this is? This is honestly one of the sickest things I have every seen.
    • ... Wow. They seriously can't think that will help their cause, right? I almost want to believe it was made by some people who want to give enviromentalism a bad name, but that's probably not the case.
    • Short summary for those who don't want to click: Protect the environment, or I'll FUCKIN' KILL YOU!
  • Am I the only one who thinks the people who preach Green Aesops by using a Strawman Political in either their works of fiction or "educational" videos usually paint themselves into a corner by giving said Strawman an actually good argument on why most environmental solutions just aren't practical, or their justifications for using supposedly harmful tactics?
    • While I'm not sure what you mean by "supposedly" harmful, I see your point. To most people, the Strawman probably looks like the sane one unless they make him ridiculously evil, Captain Planet style.
  • I'm fairly pro-environmental, but is it so hard to write a Green Aesop story without forcing it down the viewers/readers throats? The majority of Green Aesop stories I see or watch, I end up taking as a Don't Shoot the Message thing. Why is it Green Aesop stories are always the Aesop stories that end up the most annoying and poorly written? About half of them make it seem like humans are the devil and the world would be better off without us. Every year in middle school, whenever there was some Earth Day or another, the science teachers would have us watch Ferngully the Last Rainforest. Why couldn't they show us a GOOD pro-environmental film, like Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind? Or, now that we have it, WALL-E?
    • See above for why. More focusing on "We need to do something" than actually suggesting something, whitewashing ancient cultures as pure harmonious peace dwellers, black and white thinking, and serious cases of Did Not Do the Research.
    • On the other hand, a lot of stories that convey a Green Aesop actually are pretty decent, but because of the double standard regarding this particular sort of message, people are more likely to see them as heavy-handed or unnecessary. Or, as in WALL-E's case, to see a Green Aesop where it's really an aesop about something else entirely. You'll never see a Green Aesop under Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped, or if you do, it'll be with a suitable amount of eye-rolling. Part of it is due to a few particularly ham-fisted and confrontational commercials and cartoons, and the rest of it...hell, I don't even want to touch the implications there.
    • Shows like Captain Planet and Fern Gully come across as heavy handed now, but at the time the enivonmental message was quite new. Over the 80s, environmentalism went from being a fringe movement associated with a few crazies on the far left, to something that everyone at least pays lip service to.
  • While the Green Aesop does have good intentions, it's troubling how some people combined it with a Family-Unfriendly Aesop. There's an unfortunately large number of people who support conservation of wildlife even though they apparently think it's just going to fail anyway. Uh...what?
  • Sooo...does anyone here not have a problem with environmentalism anymore? Not advocating sacrificing all human comforts and living our lives in indentured servitude to our forests here, but the notion that we're part of the natural world and might benefit from being at least slightly mindful of it can't be that outlandish...right?
    • I have to agree with this guy. I understand that many of these aesops are done poorly, but a lot of people seem to think that a Green Aesop simply is a bad thing, no matter how well it's written or how well it makes it's point.
    • Agreed. Looking at this thread, it seems that poorly done Green Aesops are the problem. I do not feel that enviormentalism is a bad thing at all. I'm tired of wiping species off the map, or feeling bad (as one person here put it, a "tree hugger") for being a little mindful of the fact that we as humans have the biggest impact on the enviorment. And sure, other creatures makes their impact on Earth, but not on our scale (beavers? Really? Can they bore into the Earth and build massive cities?) However, I do not wish for us to immediately sacrifice everything we have. I don't expect us to stop drilling for oil, or to stop using fossil fuels as a whole - that's ridiculous. Just to be a little more mindful. Despite popular beliefs, we aren't amoral bastards who destroys everything.
    • Agreed. I really don't understand why Green Aesops always seem have the greatest backlash in any given work of fiction. Why was WALL-E the most controversial of Pixar's films? Because of the Green Aesop. Why is The Lorax one of the most criticized works of Dr. Seuss? Because of the Green Aesop. Now, I get that many Green Aesops seem to tell the same message over and over again, but is that a bad thing? It's an important message, after all.
    • Agreed. I don't understand why so many people get upset at the notion of a work having a Green Aesop. I think its something about the idea of suggesting that humans are a part of nature rather than outside of it. Environmentalism is not anti-people (at least in most cases), we need the planet to be intact to live here. I'm not saying we should abandon civilization and live in the woods - just that the other creatures that live in the forest are just as much a part of this planet as we are and we need to leave them some space too. Media will keep making works with Green Aesop until it's no longer really needed. As of now, it's still a message that the general society needs to hear.
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