Author Topic: Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later  (Read 1777 times)

EscapeVelocity2020

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Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later
« on: November 21, 2020, 10:12:34 PM »
First off, The Lorax was a really great environmentalist message written by Dr. Seuss back in 1971.

Fast forward to there being a movie made in 2012 based on the book's premise, set in the aftermath.  And finally, we have this interesting discussion about all of this which kicks off my post - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-_GFcWr0lI

I'll leave it here to see if any other folks are as passionate about the history and message as I have been over the years...  Needless to say, I strongly believe that these are discussions that are worth having - as opposed to all of the 'oxygen' that is sucked out of the air by arguing about manufactured (and ultimately self-destructive) issues like politics :)  In other words, if all of the reasonable and smart people spend all their time shadow-boxing, we're definitely 100% doomed.  Although, of course, it is very tempting to argue politics all the time, since it is kinda' an insurmountable environmentally destructive force to counter, if it decides profit and industry is more favorable to human progression than sustainability...


use2betrix

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Re: Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2020, 08:45:03 AM »
For the last year and a half, 3-4 mornings before the sun comes up, I have been running the same route leaving from my apartment complex. It’s nearly all neighborhoods, however for a couple short “blocks” are a thick, dense forest between my sidewalk and the apartments.

They recently started clearing the entire thing and it’s certainly a bit heartbreaking. A couple months ago there was a HUGE alligator snapping turtle in the middle of the road, which i’m fairly confident was out there after being displaced by the clearing of this wooded area.

All they are doing is adding onto our existing apartment complex with several more buildings.

The more I learn about our destruction, the harder it becomes to be optimistic about the future. The overpopulation is going to put a huge strain on everything in the next 100 years.

If you haven’t read “Sapiens” I would suggest checking it out. It’s amazing to think that Homo erectus came to be approximately 1.5 million years ago, with our current specifies, Homo sapiens, showing up around 200,000 years ago.

That timeline for existence is unfathomable when looking at our current rate of destruction. Hard to picture 100 years, let alone 1,000..

It may just be another phase in Earth’s cycle. Eventually our actions cause billions die, or all of us die, and our planet likely goes through another similar cycle for the next million years, potentially rebuilding again.

mozar

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Re: Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2020, 02:12:04 PM »
Quote
It may just be another phase in Earth’s cycle. Eventually our actions cause billions die, or all of us die, and our planet likely goes through another similar cycle for the next million years, potentially rebuilding again.
That's one solution to Fermi's paradox. We haven't met any aliens because once lifeforms get to a certain point in civilization, they self destruct.

Responding to climate change takes a level of effort and coordination that is simply beyond most people's imagination. There's also no floor for human depravity. But instead of despairing, I would rather do my part.

Quote
They recently started clearing the entire thing and it’s certainly a bit heartbreaking.
Where I live all hell breaks loose if a developer tries to clear forest. Is there a facebook group in your area where you can bring this up? There may already be a coordinated campaign that's working with the developers that you can join.

maizefolk

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Re: Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2020, 02:58:58 PM »
Video opens with a complaint about a lot of fluff being put in to make a short story into a full length movie and then takes 17 minutes to make a point that could be made in 2-3.

That said I agree with the point the video makes about the importance of our actions as individuals rather than trying to put all the blame on big business for fulfilling the our demands and selling us stuff we want to buy. I would say that it is important not only to vote with our dollars but also vote with our votes. Environmental issues are full of various sorts of collective action problems (tragedy of the commons being a good example) where straightforward economic models become not so straightforward and government provides another mechanism for us to get the outcomes we want by letting us shift the incentives within a free market (tax subsidies that got us over the activation energy of getting to economically viable wind power and electric cars are good examples of shifting the incentive structure).

Quote
It may just be another phase in Earth’s cycle. Eventually our actions cause billions die, or all of us die, and our planet likely goes through another similar cycle for the next million years, potentially rebuilding again.
That's one solution to Fermi's paradox. We haven't met any aliens because once lifeforms get to a certain point in civilization, they self destruct.

Yeah, I worry more and more about the last variable in the Drake equation: "Lifetime of such a civilization wherein it communicates its signals into space." Maybe we don't hear anyone because it is really hard to evolve intelligent life ... or maybe intelligent lifeforms tend to wipe themselves out in extremely short lifespans before they wipe themselves out.

To try to put a bit more optimistic spin on it though, forty-odd years ago when my folks were in college, it seems most people were convinced human life was destined to end in nuclear war and nuclear winter, and it was a question of not if but when.* So there is at least chance this next doom that also seems near certain may prove to be not as certain as we think. I still wouldn't live in Miami or anywhere within a couple of meters of sea level though.

*Seriously, have you read any of the science fiction from that era? A lot of it is bleak. Level 7 is a great read, but I don't recommend doing it late at night or when you're alone in a pandemic lockdown.

the_fixer

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Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2020, 06:53:43 PM »
I think a prime example of humanity showing it hasn’t learned the lessons found in, The Lorax is the story of the owl that was “miraculously rescued” from the Rockefeller Xmas tree.  I just shake my head sadly at how twisted the logic is, where we celebrate a story around the world (I live in Australia and it was big news here) of humans being the saviour of something after wilfully destroying its home in order to have a decoration.
It cost 250k USD to cut down the tree here in Colorado and ship it across the country.

Silly to cut down a tree and kill it just to ship it across the country so you can put up lights on it. Such an old beautiful tree that took a long time to grow to that size.

Maybe they should put up a fake tree and put it away every year


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« Last Edit: November 22, 2020, 06:58:53 PM by the_fixer »

use2betrix

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Re: Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2020, 07:30:45 AM »
Quote
It may just be another phase in Earth’s cycle. Eventually our actions cause billions die, or all of us die, and our planet likely goes through another similar cycle for the next million years, potentially rebuilding again.
That's one solution to Fermi's paradox. We haven't met any aliens because once lifeforms get to a certain point in civilization, they self destruct.

Responding to climate change takes a level of effort and coordination that is simply beyond most people's imagination. There's also no floor for human depravity. But instead of despairing, I would rather do my part.

Quote
They recently started clearing the entire thing and it’s certainly a bit heartbreaking.
Where I live all hell breaks loose if a developer tries to clear forest. Is there a facebook group in your area where you can bring this up? There may already be a coordinated campaign that's working with the developers that you can join.

Do you live outside the U.S.? In the U.S. owners of private property can cut down any tree’s on their property they want, outside some very isolated circumstances.

I’m not “for” cutting down wooded areas by any means, but I also do not want our government placing further restrictions on what individuals can do with their private property..

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2020, 09:16:50 AM »
...
To try to put a bit more optimistic spin on it though, forty-odd years ago when my folks were in college, it seems most people were convinced human life was destined to end in nuclear war and nuclear winter, and it was a question of not if but when.* So there is at least chance this next doom that also seems near certain may prove to be not as certain as we think. I still wouldn't live in Miami or anywhere within a couple of meters of sea level though.
...

Reminds me of something I heard on EconTalk - "When I look to the future, I’m a pessimist. But when I look to the past, I’m an optimist." - paraphrasing JM Buchanan

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2020, 09:57:38 AM »
Quote
It may just be another phase in Earth’s cycle. Eventually our actions cause billions die, or all of us die, and our planet likely goes through another similar cycle for the next million years, potentially rebuilding again.
That's one solution to Fermi's paradox. We haven't met any aliens because once lifeforms get to a certain point in civilization, they self destruct.

Responding to climate change takes a level of effort and coordination that is simply beyond most people's imagination. There's also no floor for human depravity. But instead of despairing, I would rather do my part.

Quote
They recently started clearing the entire thing and it’s certainly a bit heartbreaking.
Where I live all hell breaks loose if a developer tries to clear forest. Is there a facebook group in your area where you can bring this up? There may already be a coordinated campaign that's working with the developers that you can join.

Do you live outside the U.S.? In the U.S. owners of private property can cut down any tree’s on their property they want, outside some very isolated circumstances.

I’m not “for” cutting down wooded areas by any means, but I also do not want our government placing further restrictions on what individuals can do with their private property..

Houston is a Seuss-like cautionary tale when it comes to letting developers do whatever they want.  As soon as a road goes in, subdivisions spring up like weeds until that road is choked with traffic.  So then they widen the road and developers add in high-density apartment complexes and start building more subdivisions even further out.  Not that the land is pristine and beautiful to begin with, other than in its own way, but folks in these subdivisions complain about coyotes and alligators, and ultimately those are all removed. 

This could be the ultimate 'consumer problem' - homes here are cheap because land is cheap and even commuting 50 miles on highways is relatively cheap.  There are no districting limits, zoning laws, or much incentive from those living here to fight the system.  Master planned communities manage to balance out the sprawl just enough to keep things nice...  so people just keep on moving out to the suburbs.  And now that folks are working from home and will likely work from home more going forward, it incentivizes buying larger homes (with a home office) and allows folks to live even further away from the city center.

I don't have an answer to counter the sprawl, I'm not sure how a city could incentivize or nudge Houstonians to slow down the expansion, just making an observation.   

draco44

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Re: Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2020, 10:01:32 AM »
Environmentalism is an important element of how I approach money. What is cheapest for you or brings you as an individual the most financial gain isn't always good for human society/the world as a whole.

And even thinking more narrowly in terms of the satisfaction you as an individual will get from a given purchase, many things that seem like needs turn out to be thneeds on further inspection.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2020, 10:07:58 AM »
My wife was just reading one of our kids the Lorax the other day. We have a big book of Dr. Seuss stories that we hadn't read in a while and that was the one she choose. Now our kids are interested in seeing the movie.

For the last year and a half, 3-4 mornings before the sun comes up, I have been running the same route leaving from my apartment complex. It’s nearly all neighborhoods, however for a couple short “blocks” are a thick, dense forest between my sidewalk and the apartments.

They recently started clearing the entire thing and it’s certainly a bit heartbreaking. A couple months ago there was a HUGE alligator snapping turtle in the middle of the road, which i’m fairly confident was out there after being displaced by the clearing of this wooded area.

All they are doing is adding onto our existing apartment complex with several more buildings.

The more I learn about our destruction, the harder it becomes to be optimistic about the future. The overpopulation is going to put a huge strain on everything in the next 100 years.

If you haven’t read “Sapiens” I would suggest checking it out. It’s amazing to think that Homo erectus came to be approximately 1.5 million years ago, with our current specifies, Homo sapiens, showing up around 200,000 years ago.

That timeline for existence is unfathomable when looking at our current rate of destruction. Hard to picture 100 years, let alone 1,000..

It may just be another phase in Earth’s cycle. Eventually our actions cause billions die, or all of us die, and our planet likely goes through another similar cycle for the next million years, potentially rebuilding again.

Most demographic estimates show population peaking in the next few decades, certainly by the end of the century. We have 6 kids are are way to the right of the bell curve now. A couple of generations ago families with 5-10 kids were typical in the US. Now anything over 3 kids is considered to be a large family.

Even in a lot of poorer countries that typically had large families the trend is changing rapidly. I think there's still a handful of countries left in the world where the average woman has five or more kids but I'll bet in just another decade or two there will be none. In a lot of rich countries the population growth rate is below the level of replacement (2.1 children per woman). Russia's population has already peaked and is starting to decline, Japan as well. There's a lot of empty space out in the world, especially with the trend towards urbanization.


If we look at the 1970s and 1980s pollution was a major concern. I remember reading and hearing about acid rain all the time growing up. Go look at Google Trends for it now. It's been on a steady decline since they started tracking it in 2004. Not that pollution is no longer a concern, but at least in the US we've made pretty big improvements from just dumping stuff in the water, ground, and air. I can't say the same for the rest of the world. Most of that plastic in the ocean is coming from rivers in south and east Asia. I just returned from nine months in Djibouti, Africa and the sides of the roads are filled with trash - much of it plastic. That's pretty common in a lot of poor countries that don't have the same investment in municipal garbage collection or pollution controls.

maizefolk

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Re: Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2020, 10:21:05 AM »
I'm always surprised we don't hear more people talking about how much US fertility rates dropped during the great recession and never came back. Long term it will be good for the planet, but we have a lot of adapting to do as a society. That dip happened about twelve years ago and its effects on school enrollment (for example) showed up in elementary schools and now middle schools, but I don't hear people in colleges planning for it.

Suspect we'll see another significant and sustained dip in US fertility after the experience families with two working adults plus children have had over the last year.

Just Joe

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Re: Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2020, 11:25:38 AM »
A smaller population might be a good thing as automation continues to increase or do I have that all wrong?

RetiredAt63

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Re: Discussion on 'The Lorax', 50 years Later
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2020, 11:42:39 AM »
I'm always surprised we don't hear more people talking about how much US fertility rates dropped during the great recession and never came back. Long term it will be good for the planet, but we have a lot of adapting to do as a society. That dip happened about twelve years ago and its effects on school enrollment (for example) showed up in elementary schools and now middle schools, but I don't hear people in colleges planning for it.

Suspect we'll see another significant and sustained dip in US fertility after the experience families with two working adults plus children have had over the last year.

It went up in the late 40s and 50s, as people had the families they had delayed because of the depression and WWII.  4 children were not uncommon, 5 occasionally.  That's why there are so many Boomers (including me).  Then things settled down.