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Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

Do you think development and technology are ruining the earth?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7892points) September 22nd, 2010

Do you think creating new green technology will help?

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39 Answers

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Absolutely not. Overpopulation is ruining the earth, and development and technology are deadening the effect of what would otherwise be disastrous consequences. Green technology is just the next phase of human advancement, and it will allow us to survive despite even greater errors in the future.

marinelife's avatar

I am not sure that the Earth is being irretrievably ruined. I think that development and technology are very bad for the Earth, but I am hoping that green technology is the wave of the future and will hold promise for making things right again.

josie's avatar

It will take something a lot bigger than a single transient species to ruin the earth. It is safe to assume that the earth will be here long after homo sapiens is gone.

Arp's avatar

By that, do you mean human development? It isn’t our development that is the problem, it’s our species. The earth would be much better without us, honestly.

EDIT: Technology is just us finding more ways to live here even longer and more happily. We don’t deserve that at all. Eventually this problem will solve itself, but by that point even more destruction will have gone by than necessary. So, to people who want to have kids one day: Adopt. We don’t need any more humans on this earth, thank you very much.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Arp Why is that? Do you not see beauty and value in the contributions of humanity to the Earth?

Arp's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Nope, not at all. All the “Beauty” humans have ever created have been made up of harnessing nature and forcing it to do our bidding. Human contribute absolutely nothing to the earth or environment, and they are one of the few species that, if they were to die out, would effect almost nothing for the worse.

And all those “save the animals” groups and the “green movement” that we think are benefiting the environment and give humans purpose on earth? Those are just a sad attempt to make up for the damage we are causing right now.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Arp Why do you separate humans from nature? We are part of nature, and we evolved just like every other species. If we were to die out as a species, all the skills that are overdeveloped in humans compared to other species would be lost, and a great deal of diversity would be lost. All but the most basic of memes would be destroyed as well.
Humanity is far from perfect, but that does not make us bad. Many people choose to live irresponsibly, or are unaware of the impact of their lifestyle, but that is no reason to write off the whole species in my opinion. Without overpopulation, I think we could quite easily live in harmony with nature. The problem is that most people still have the instinctual urge to reproduce, and we have become too good at surviving.

Arp's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Yes, humans are part of nature. But, in the same sense, cancer is part of the brain.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Arp So then which species are good? Every species competes for resources, and lives or dies by their abilities. It is the way of nature. We are the only species capable of feeling guilt when others are disadvantaged by our overwhelming ability. Nature always finds a balance, and the only reason it hasn’t found a balance with humans in the picture is because we change more rapidly than nature’s ability to adapt.

josie's avatar

The earth would be much better without us, honestly.
So can I assume that @Arp is going to lead by example, do the right thing and get rid of himself? Or is that just talk?

poisonedantidote's avatar

No, I would even go as far as to say that there is not enough technology. the problem is us, and what we do with technology.

Look at the star trek prime directive, at the moment it is almost like some alien species has violated it by giving us the technology. and we are now using some of it to destroy our selves. the main problem as I see it is greed.

I am not a religious man by any means, but when I look around me I often see things that remind me of the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

A wise man once said, that if you ask people to tell you what they think the future will be like, that they will actually tell you an exaggerated version of how they see the present. personally when I envision the future, I see a world with technology that surpasses anything we can currently imagine, but it is no utopia. I see publicity written on to the face of the moon, hospitals where those with the best insurance get the best treatment, and those with none are dumped outside to die. I see oceans devoid of life, contaminated with all kinds of things, I see an authoritarian and oppressive government smashing in the skulls of the overpopulated masses to keep them in line. and i see thousands of news programs with pretty presenters with nice white teeth, standing in front of family friendly backdrops, telling us that everything is going well and that everything will be ok. but worse of all, i see my self living long enough to witness it.

We have the technology to fix all our problems, and if not, we do have the potential to invent such technologies, but if we do, they wont be used for their designed purpose, instead greedy people will try to figure out a way of using it to make money.

In the end, there probably wont be anything left but greedy people and piles of money. and they will all sit round a big furnace, shovelling the useless bits of green paper in to a furnace to power their air purification systems to try and keep them selves alive.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@poisonedantidote People may envisage the future as an exaggerated form of the present, but wouldn’t an accurate picture of the future compare the present to the past? When I look at history, I find that we are better off now than ever before, and personally I expect that trend to continue. People are increasingly socially conscious and aware of circumstances greater than their own. Greed and abuse of power are prevalent, but they always have been. The greatest social changes of the past few centuries have been altruistic, and with an eye to the greater good. I am excited about the future I will live to see, and I have faith in the ability of humans to continually improve.

Arp's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Not any species I know of cover every continent with their hives, causing countless other species to become extinct. Now that we have this ability to feel guilt and analyse situations, like you said, we can see the damage we are doing and try and stop it. Humans are much too stubborn and resistant to go without a fight, and I fear that, if we let “nature take its course” with the human race, it will have either made the earth inhabitable or at least thrown it too far off balance to regain control over it’s environment. We have a chance now to save countless living beings and yet we ignore it because of the simple biological urge make more people. Tumors also create more of themselves, and it eventually kills their host.

@josie I am a member of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

This movement does not believe in suicide, once a life has been created it has a right to be lived out. We merely abstain from creating more humans. We aren’t against humans or children. Just the thought of even more.

There are, however, more extreme movements similar to what you are saying, namely the Church Of Euthanasia, though I must warn you that they can be quite offensive and crude. Keep in mind that I do not necessarily support this group because of their extreme views. I just wanted it to be known because of your response.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh when i said that people envisage the future as on exaggerated version of how they see the present, i did not actually mean that they are accurate. its just what people seem to do. as in they see trends and assume they will go on forever.

Here, you have seen positive trends, I have seen negative ones. but its all subjective. and if I have learned anything from old movies that predicted what the year 2000 would be like, its that we are nearly always wrong.

In reality, it will probably end up a mix of the star trek world and fox news.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Arp Rabbits never showed any restraint when they overpopulated and caused the Bilby to become a threatened species. The same goes for Cane Toads and native Australian frogs. I’m sure there are similar international examples.

@poisonedantidote Point taken. I have always preferred to imagine more likely possibilities though, so I tend to assume any vision of the future is intended to be either accurate or a warning. I agree that our estimates are purely subjective, but I think there is good reason to approach the future with hope rather than trepidation.

josie's avatar

@Arp I got it.
So your position really does not apply to you personally. It applies to the future after YOU dance and sing in the sunshine. Isn’t that sort a chicken shit way of approaching what you think is a serious problem? Why not just make your point and get it over with? I promise I will carry your message for you after you are gone, in case that is what you are worried about.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

Overpopulation? By that do you mean that there are too many people to feed and house?

Arp's avatar

@josie I have no plan to commit suicide any time soon. I am only 15 and have a life ahead of me. Living beings have a right to live, but I am just saying the earth is better off without any more humans. If you had read carefully you would have noticed that VHEMT so does not support committing suicide. Church Of Euthanasia does, but I am not part of that group. Oddly, I never even said anything about me commuting suicide (I actually said the opposite), I guess that is just a popular subject when it comes to overpopulation?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Aesthetic_Mess I’ll assume you were asking me. By overpopulation, I mean that the human population is at unsustainable levels even with ideal wealth and technology distribution. In an ideal ecosystem, humans would settle into a somewhat static role as far as consumption and waste go, so that nature has a chance to evolve to cope with our demands on it. The human population is growing exponentially though, and the rest of nature cannot adjust quickly enough to adapt to our consumption and waste.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh What beauty has humanity created on the earth? I’m not on Arp’s side, but I just want to know what humanity contributed.

Janka's avatar

Indiscriminate use of resources is the problem. It is technology and development, obviously, partly what enable this on a large scale (though people have been over-farming and -hunting locally millenia before electricity was harnessed).

At this point, I think the question is moot whether technology is the cause or not. We will not be able to go back to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, or even a pre-electricity type farming on a large scale. Individuals might be able to, but humanity as a whole, no. Hope must come from adjusting the use of technology to a sustainable level.

(If you do not see beauty in anything humans create, I am sorry for you, but I doubt that listing examples of human-made beautiful things will be able to change your mind.)

chocolatechip's avatar


How would the Earth be better without us? Define “better”. The concept of doing good or harm towards the planet is purely a human construct. Nature does not distinguish between good and bad. It simply does what it does. If you take humans out of the equation, how can you say whether or not the result is good or bad? If there are no more humans, then it is irrelevant.

josie's avatar

Without human beings, there would not be such a thing as esthetics, or an appreciation of beauty. These things are only values when a valuer is present. And that is us.
I also do not understand the basis for the hubris that allows somebody to say that the earth is better off, or worse off with humanity present. Once we were not here, and the earth was still the earth. Someday we will be gone, and the earth will still be the earth. It is neither better nor worse for the brief experience of one of countless species. I suspect that if the earth could worry, it would worry more about a stray comet or the sun going nova, than it would worry about our curious tinkering with a few of it’s elements.
Humanity is as much a part of the natural scheme of things as are birds and hydrogen. What is behind the enormous leap logic that allows the conclusion that human beings direct natural events, rather than react or adapt to them.
The ancients used to dream that they could emulate the Gods. It appears from the question, and some comments and answers, that a few delusional folks imagine that we have replaced them.

Arp's avatar

@josie As it says on my profile, “And what good would the beauty and majesty of the earth be if no humans were around to ignore it?”.

@chocolatechip Not better in the moral or ethics sense, but in the sense that innocent beings were not mindlessly being killed and this ball of soil we live won’t be destroyed along with everything on it by a group of self dignified monkeys with big guns. I just wan’t life to happen, is it that bad that I am caring for something other than myself, my race, or my species? Life won’t be able to happen much longer with humans around, and I personally think that the human race should be gone sooner rather than later, or else billions, both human and animal, will be killed or live terrible lives as a result.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

@chris6137 You’ve been crafting a response for about two hours…. is something wrong with the question?

Arp's avatar

@Aesthetic_Mess Exactly what I was thinking ;)

Trillian's avatar

This earth can shake us all off like a bad habit.

Arp's avatar

@Trillian But we are so darn stubborn! :P

john65pennington's avatar

Only one country converting to GREEN will not work. unless each country and the whole earth participates in GREEN, then we are just spinning our wheels. its like a football team. if all the players are not present, a team effort is not possible.

Trillian's avatar

@Arp True, but I feel that were I to get into an argument with an earth quake, or a landslide, or a flood, I’m pretty sure that my chances of winning are smaller than losing. I’m not talking about the small quakes like we had on Guam, or the ones that San Francisco people ignore in the movies. I’m talking about if Gaea were to make a serious effort at causing our extinction because she’s simply had enough…

Arp's avatar

@Trillian Some people contest that Chuck Norris would survive. 0_o

Trillian's avatar

I contest that Chuck Norris is part cockroach. ‘Nuff said. ;-)

lilikoi's avatar

What specifically do you mean by “green technology”?

Technological advancement and development in general are going to happen regardless of what I think. It is the way of things.

Are they ruining the earth? Yes and no. Progress is an iterative process. If we are using less-than-ideal technology or developing in a less-than-ideal way, we haven’t figured out how to do it better yet. Hopefully we will.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Aesthetic_Mess You may be interested in this thread. I think the greatest beauty humans have created is beauty of thoughts though. We feel guilt, we have altruistic tendencies, we feel sick when even small animals are killed, and we strive to live in harmony with nature. We are the only species that regularly cares for other species for reasons other than personal benefit.

toaster's avatar

Overpopulation and overexploitation of world resources will reach past maximum occupancy and the sufficiency of the worlds mineral/fuel reserves. Now this is tracking a linear plot graph with conventional means of utilizing the earth’s resources, mostly derived from fossil fuels and bituminous swamp/peat bog matter buildup (coal). Through these means of powering our planet we would be doomed within the next 100+ years. But this hardly presents a doomday scenario as alternate means are already available, its just cost-effective benefits that govern the use of such. Nuclear power being the exception as it presents a cost-effective solution, but is cursed with the blemish of media misconstruing the few episodes of nuclear meltdown and altering public opinion. Biofuels, solar, hydrogen also present viable alternatives.
In terms of unparalleled food consumption are we doomed? The question has been for sometime whetether we can adequately feed the world based on essential nutritional and colorific needs. Some will argue that rich soil farm/pasture land is growing increasingly scarce under burgeoning demand of the planet. While this is relatively true, proper government-mandated management of available farmland and genetically engineered protein-laden crops could reverse the trend. Also implementing agriculturally benefitial practices inherited to use since the settling of hunter-gatherers will help too.
To summarize I’d say despite plotted graph projections predicting the apocalyptic collapse of the planet are true, but in the sense that they DONT compensate for the exponential curve of technology expansion. Therefore technology and development may actually be our salvation.

toaster's avatar

We are intrinsically human as is our need to expand as a race. Technology, over history, refines its processes. A good example Silicon Valley vs. Industrial Revolution oriented, now “rust belt” states.

mattbrowne's avatar

Technology has the potential to save the earth if used wisely. And yes, green technology is key so our planet can accommodate 9 billion people in the future.

NathanProphet's avatar

Such naivety to think that science and technology will “save us” through “Green Technology.” Population growth IS a huge factor in the coming extinction of our species. Climate change caused by humans in many ways (ex: carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) is the big cause – but, population growth is pushing climate change to an ever-increasing rate. It is too late to save our species. The Earth will save itself as it is now in the process of doing via global warming, sea level rise, and overall climate change. If a rate event happens, like a meteor slamming into the Earth to cool it down for some years (but not kill us all), then we may have a chance at surviving. Billions of people will die out prematurely from our unbridled thirst for the “good life.” Geoengineering may come up with something that will buy us some more time, but the handwriting is already on the wall; we are toast by the year 2100.

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