[ExI] Unsustainable was Re: Solar power makes UK people poorer

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Sat Jun 11 08:32:52 UTC 2011

On Sat, Jun 11, 2011 at 3:37 AM, Rafal Smigrodzki wrote:
> ### This is not what sustainability is about, except in the most
> trivial meaning. Eutrophication is a present day harm to specific
> persons. Sustainability pertains to being able to continue a behavior
> indefinitely. By this token, eutrophication is actually sustainable -
> you could go on harming bathers and anglers with green slime forever,
> and there is no clear accumulation of harm that would force you to
> stop - until you run out of phosphate to put in waters.

Well. it is obviously not sustainable if you can't breathe the air
because of pollution, or drink the water because the wells are
poisoned, or eat fish from the ocean because most have been fished to
extinction and what is left is poisoned, etc, etc.....
Or buy the necessities of life as the prices increase due to resource depletion.

I doubt if Spike (or anyone who has children) would say that air,
water or food pollution today doesn't matter because their kids can
sort out the mess by becoming solar powered robots in 30 years time.
Humans still have to breathe, eat and drink for those 30 years - and
it might be a LOT longer than 30 years. Ignoring industrial pollution
(sustainability) will drive humans into a fight for survival causing
the death of millions in the very near future.   There might not be
very many left by the time of the Singularity.
(Assuming that the Singularity is still a viable expectation when
humanity descends into anarchy, fighting for survival).


> I guess we are splitting hairs here. What matters to me is that
> harming innocent people is bad, and the notion of sustainability is at
> best useless, and at worst harmful since it may divert resources from
> benefitting existing humans to mitigation of theoretical problems
> affecting hypothetical descendants.
> Rafal
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