[extropy-chat] Extinctions

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sun Jun 11 01:58:39 UTC 2006

On 6/10/06, Damien Sullivan <phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:

> In the short term, donations to the Nature Conservacy, good zoos, and
> other conservation organizations; push for human population
> stabilization (there's probably more growth potential for intellectual
> capital and problem solvers in educating the exiting population than in
> growing it) and contracted land use.  Don't eat beef you know came from
> ex-rainforest land.  Don't eat fish species you know are being harvested
> unsustainably (http://seafood.audubon.org/)
> Better water use: if we withdrew less, there'd be more for the
> ecosystem.  In theoty a city could be a closed loop, cut off from the
> ecosystem.  Politically, repealing perverse incentives, like US West
> water rights, should help.  I've read Israel uses half as much water as
> we do, probably due to more efficient irrigation.  Desalination has
> costs in brine disposal, but might still be a net positive if nuke- or
> solar- powered.
> Grain-fed livestock probably accounts for a lot of our agricultural land
> use.  Going vegetarian, or in my case going for grass-fed beef, probably
> helps.  (Though if everyone did the price would go up, I know.)

### It's nice to see that you are not advocating any clearly immoral
methods of saving species. I appreciate that you suggest benign
methods, like building zoos, and voluntary ones, like contracted land
use, and I hope my blunt questions about the trade-offs involved in
species-saving didn't insult you: still, I am afraid that the nice
methods you advocate will be nearly totally ineffective.

That Aussie guy on TV fearlessly impregnating another toothy reptilian
thing in a zoo may make for a diverting show, but this is not serious
species-saving. If you are serious, you do have to deny beef and neat
suburban living to billions of brown people - and even voluntary
methods, like buying up land to convert it into conservancies, will
deny them the standard of living they desire. Of course, once you
allow yourself the indulgence of using violence to save the planet
(and the serious planet-savers are usually quite indulgent when it
comes to realizing their visions), there is more at stake than steaks.


> Long term, I don't know.  Hope that ultratech saves the day, yeah.
> Hydroponics, or vat-grown meat with the same trophic level as plants,
> uploading or roboticization.  Rearrangement of land use, condensing
> humans and leaving larger more contiguous areas for non-humans.

### I doubt you can convince everybody to live in apartment blocks,
listening to their neighbors farts and watching the uspoiled nature on
TV. And using brute force to forbid citizens from building a house
wherever they can buy land is sickeningly immoral. They do it in
Germany - unless you have a lot of political power to circumvent state
zoning regulations, you can't have a nice house in the forest, which
is one of the reasons why I live in a nice forest house in the US.

Once again, serious species-saving means making almost all humans worse off.


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