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Old 24th December 2002, 06:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
Brian G. Turner
 
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End of the world


Anyone else here got a doomsayer survival mentality?

Got something of it here - had it in my head for ages that if I had the money I'd take the family to some fairly remote place and grow our own food and learn self-sufficency. Keep modern trappings, of course - simply not reliant on them for survival.

Thing is - what is this mentality, and why do so many people have it?

My pet theory is that my own comes from growing under the bomb - during the "Cold War". Who couldn't take an interest in the fact that entire cities could be wiped out with the relevant magatonnage?

Local paper once published an item that showed the radius of damage if an "average" bomb were dropped on the middle of our town. Not encouraging reading.

But now, although the threat of global nuclear destruction appears over, we now have mutiple local nuclear destruction threats - seems that MAD no longer has teeth - especially when countries such as India and Pakistan cannot annihilate each other with nuclear weapons - merely cause extreme but localised destruction.

Maybe also there's the notion of the human biological drive to adapt to threats - nowadays we are aware of a whole range of threats of various magnitude - from local bioterrorism to global information/ power shutdown through reversal of the earth's magnetic field. And our drive tells us to find ways of facing, addressing, and conquering those threats in a way that keeps us safe. So far as possible, anyhow.

So the question is - anyone else here feel affected by the same mentality? If so, to what degree? Not doing much (simply worrying), looking to address in future (like myself), or already there (nuclear bunker already fully kitted out)?

If anyone does, what's your own reasoning, if any, for your own drive? Do you really expect something?

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Old 30th December 2002, 01:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re:End of the world

The world has always existed in a state of change. The modern world exists in an ever greater state of change. The human reaction to change is adaptation. You perceive threats in the modern world and are prepared to adapt to survive those threats. Whether those threats ever occur is immaterial.
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Old 5th January 2003, 06:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re:End of the world

Although I do not subscribe the notion of a sudden apocalypse, I see a very troubled 21st century ahead.

Global warming is an issue we're aware of, but I don't see much in the way of long-term thinking being applied. Anyone here living on a flood plain? I am - Hull is reclaimed marsh and very prone to flooding. A long term goal would therefore be to establish a relatively permanent home on higher ground elsewhere (even Yorkshire, in general, is pretty flat).

Another issue related to global warming - but little discussed - is the comprehension of the political tensions that are going to result from all the issues related to global warming.

If we're facing changes rain patterns, we're facing changes in local fresh water supplies. And perhaps worse than that, rainfall changes will inevitably cause changes in agricultural use. If we get those we're talking serious political tensions arising.

All in all, in terms of the issues that will continue through my lifespan, I'm thinking in terms of finding a suitably safe home base from which to raise and maintain a secure and safe family.

Is that such a bizarre survival instinct?


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Old 7th January 2003, 09:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re:End of the world

Every scientifically valid model of global warming indicates that it will not cause significant increases in sea levels for a few centuries, at least (the nature of the Antartic ice cap, which is the crux of the matter, may be such that even a 50 degree increase in global temperature would take millenia to have an effect).

Precipitation patterns are more difficult to predict, but the development of new technologies are making irregular rainfall more a matter of monetary costs than of catastrophe (at least in developed nations...).

And yet, there is a looming crisis point. Even today, conflict in the Islamic world is threatening a series of limited nuclear/biological/chemical wars. Within twenty years, indications are that China will make a play for dominance, and America will either fight them or sink into a secondary role (which has it's own implications). In fifty years we will have "solved" the human genome, a crisis point that we cannot fully imagine. In a century...but we'll never make it that far.

How sudden do you want your apocalypse? I give humanity another thirty years at the outside.
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Old 8th January 2003, 12:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re:End of the world

The problem with precipation patterns is that adaption is dependent upon local geography and resources. One perception I developed a few years back was the possibility of detrimental changes of rainfall hitting the Great Plains of the USA.

Granted, it's a huge geography, but I'm talking long-term. There are already drought issues in certain areas, and with the US agricultural sector already heavily subsidised the possibility of it becoming increasingly vulnerable would set a very regretable set of circumstances.

Of course, rainfall isn't the only issue - worse and more frequent east coast hurricanes, stronger and more frequent mid-state tornadoes. Then there are the temperature differences and how that affects soil fertility, not to mention the spread of tropical disease into temperate zones - not simply dramatic human disease, but dramatic plant disease and even those that would attack cattle etc.

Sounds a little alarmist, but over the coming decades the US agricultual sector (not to mention others) is going to face serious issues related to Global Warming - a very issue it practically denies even exists.

As for China, though - it wants to play the power game, sure. But they're playing a global game. It's not a case of military domination, as much as economic, that they appear to want to play at. And doing so would certainly be a challenge to any agressive ideaology.



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Old 8th January 2003, 03:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re:End of the world

all empire fall--the american empire is sat on top of the largest debt ever seen in the world--it is a precarious throne--substantial and prolonged problems will destabilise--then there will be the worst crash on wall street--the global effects would be terrible--the us dollar is the world currency
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Old 9th January 2003, 03:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re:End of the world

Anyway, the point is that Global Warming is a long term problem that we don't understand all that well. Given that the Earth right now is colder than optimal for life, it may well be beneficial--if we're still around to enjoy it

Our problems are closer than next century or even next decade. And pretty soon one of them is going to get us. A global economic collapse is a real possibility, but it probably won't start in America. The problem is that it can start anywhere. The likelyhood of a significant nuclear exchange goes up with every state, whether or not a "rogue", that developes nuclear weapons, and we'll develop bioweapons capable of ending all human life well before we develop a reliable protocal for countering such weapons. A comet hitting the Earth might still be dismissed by some as science fiction, but it has happened in the past and will again. The only thing science fictional is that we would be able to do anything about it if one shows up in the next few years. On the other hand, our western love of technological progress may yet kill us all.

In any case, even a "minor" catastrophe could cause enough economic disruption that self-sufficiency is hardly an irrational idea. Americans had a brief craze for 72 hour kits after 9/11, and long term food storage has always been popular in the western states. Keep in mind that one of the supplies you'll need is ammunition
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Old 10th January 2003, 04:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re:End of the world

There are many threats but humanity is hugely adaptable. It is unlikely that we will face a global collapse except in the face of a global catastrophe. Even then storing food and selfsustainence would help little in the face of it. Humanity is an adaptable animal. Short of immediate extinction we would survive any event. The question is as to whether civilization as we know it would continue.
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Old 14th January 2003, 06:02 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re:End of the world

Well, obviously there's no point hiding in the woods from something that's going to wipe out the whole species. We were talking about disasters that could make hiding out in the woods a serious survival strategy.

A global economic collapse could caused by a very localized catastrophe, if the local were in the Middle East, or Europe, or East Asia or...well, you get the idea. Heck, this Venezualan strike has OPEC worrying about the price of oil (I'm betting that they're thinking of the European economy more than the US).

In any case, civilization as I know it would continue
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