Forum OpenACS Q&A: Re: Greenpeace.org nominated for Webby-Awards
You want to make most of the earth beautiful and pristine? It's easy, all you have to do, is make everybody on Earth, everybody, at least as wealthy as Americans are today. And that's going to take energy, lots and lots of cheap energy. Therefore, see also technology R&D, and especially space access and development.
(Note that I strongly suspect that world-wide wealth is the only way a pristine earth is going to happen. That is, other than mass murder, human species die off, and/or crushingly repressive Stalinesque regimes - all of which I presume are out of bounds for rational consideration by all participating here. One more way might be some bizarro new world-wide "green" religion, but barring mind control drugs that seems astonishingly unlikely - perhaps less likely than us all being killed by an asteroid.)
Overpopulation? On the large scale, the only proven method of birth control is wealth. (Sorry no reference. But there are historical studies looking back centuries, and good economic arguments for why the observed results, that as societies get wealthier they have fewer children, make sense.) See above.
And heh, I've never tried crunching all the numbers myself (although for what it's worth I was trained as a chemical engineer, so I probably could if I really had to, and had the time), but my understanding is it's usually possible to make just about any manufacturing process clean and non-polluting - it's just a question of how much energy it's going to take. Often the answer is, "a very large amount". See cheap energy above.
Btw, Todd, Malte, in particular, I salute you.
Recent reasons for possible optimism:
- Fully-built privately funded manned space plane unveiled.
- Turn waste into oil - cleanly and at a profit.
- Extremely efficient Brayton cycle IC engine, developed by Dr. Holtzapple of Texas A&M (which I saw reported here), which, coincidentally, should happily and efficiently burn the oil produced from turkey entrails above.