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Should destruction of the environment be considered a crime against humanity?
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Posted 4/22/14 , edited 4/23/14
Hi, it's Earth Day!

There is almost complete consensus that climate change is happening. It is also possible that it is too late to reverse the damage. This is the most major environmental issue facing us today.

Results of climate change will result in the displacement of millions of people, mostly the most impoverished and vulnerable. It will destroy resources and lead to more extreme weather phenomena like Typhoon Haiyan, which will kill many thousands.

My question is this: Is it reasonable, based on the likely effects on human civilization, to try major polluters and those who obstruct environmental legislation for crimes against humanity?

Secondary question: What are the possible benefits and downsides of using these kind of extreme measures?

Tertiary question: What other measures can you think of that could help to encourage conservation?

My answer is, Yes. In my view this is the greatest crisis in all of human history, and I cannot for the life of me understand why the entire human race is not consumed with panic about it. This kind of punishment could make the issue visible in a more serious way. The downside would be creating negative energy around a vital movement.

I think we should also be considering nuclear energy in a very serious way, taking as much responsibility as possible to be safe. We need to find efficient ways to create energy that have less impact upon the environment.


Bear in mind, the people I am talking about prosecuting would be politicians, world leaders, and execs of multinational corporations. People who throw trash on the street or drive gas guzzling suvs are just ordinary jerks. Please be good citizens, kids.
Posted 4/22/14 , edited 4/22/14
No, because we'd all hang. IT all takes gas to run. We are going down, enjoy the fucking ride.
Posted 4/23/14
I believe it is a crime already for certain pollutants (like radioactive wastes). Companies are not legally allowed to dispose them irresponsibly like in the past.


For pollutants like carbon dioxide, it's such a hard case to enact, because you can't really see the negative effects until it accumulate to the point where it's undeniable.
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Posted 4/23/14

GayAsianBoy wrote:

I believe it is a crime already for certain pollutants (like radioactive wastes). Companies are not legally allowed to dispose them irresponsibly like in the past.


For pollutants like carbon dioxide, it's such a hard case to enact, because you can't really see the negative effects until it accumulate to the point where it's undeniable.


This.
Posted 4/23/14
Just humanity's crime against nature. We think we're over it, but imagine an epidemic cooked up by nature designed to wipe us all out.

Would serve a species with such arrogance right.
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19 / M / Finland
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Posted 4/23/14
I know this sound kinda "selfish" but I really don't give a shit what happens here after I'm gone. I personally live in a area with almost no pollution and where climate change has almost zero affect. Other thing is, who would be trialing them as it's the money which makes the world go round?
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Posted 4/23/14

Nyashaa wrote:

I know this sound kinda "selfish" but I really don't give a shit what happens here after I'm gone.

This is basically what I think as well. But i also don't see any problems with being eco-friendly, so I atleast try to "go green" when I can.
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Posted 4/23/14 , edited 4/23/14
ofc, by common sense I try to use everything efficiently, but if it has a negative impact on my life, it's a no-go. In example are the ridiculously overpriced eco-products, and things like giving up driving which is a must here. If the value/quality ratio is not off by too much, then sure, why the hell not.
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Posted 4/23/14 , edited 4/23/14

anchore wrote:

My question is this: Is it reasonable, based on the likely effects on human civilization, to try major polluters and those who obstruct environmental legislation for crimes against humanity?

Secondary question: What are the possible benefits and downsides of using these kind of extreme measures?

Tertiary question: What other measures can you think of that could help to encourage conservation?

No. I accept the greenhouse effect, I accept that climate change occurs, and I still think no. There's an opportunity cost involved to everything and here the opportunity cost of drastically reducing our carbon footprints is slowing manufacturing and other drivers of economic growth. Also, the people who are going to drive it most these days, the Chinese, aren't going to care what you or I think and continue doing what they want and really need to do to grow their economy (and to hopefully finally lift their people out of poverty).

Also should note it's human nature not to try to change until a disaster really strikes. Think about all the people who drink and smoke heavily for decades only to realize they have heart conditions or cancer when they're in there 40-50s. The vast majority of us are like this (guys anyway). I think we're better off recognizing that people aren't going to change their behavior and the solutions we have to this shouldn't ask for vast quantities of people to change their behavior. Especially since again the people who will be driving this, Chinese manufacturers, really don't care what you or I think. They care about money. So whatever the solution is, we'll have to appeal to that.

Edit:
Should add after all that, if it's not clear, China is #1 followed by the US at #2 when it comes to emissions. It's been this way for seven years now. China will do something about it when people get pissed enough about the smog there.

Until then, I think the focus for us needs to be on taking the industries that rely on coal, natural gas, and oil and finding new technologies to drive that power need. If we burn coal to run our electricity plants and China does the same, can we replace with fuels that have less harmful impact? (As a first step, a lot of US coal plants have been replaced by nat gas plants that have slowed our emissions). As a next step, could we add more to the mix like nuclear, wind, and solar? Also can we find a way to do it cheaply?

Also note, some things like natural gas are used in home heating (everywhere) so it gets really tough to go without that even if we manage to replace electricity. Unless you're committed to not heating your house and ice cold showers that is.
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Posted 4/23/14
Recently saw an interesting doc on Canadian infrastructure in the '70's. My take? Responsible, environmentally sustainable city planning is not impossible, if only our governments WOULD JUST LISTEN!

In 1969, Sherritt Gordon Mines discovered a vast copper and zinc ore body at Ruttan Lake. As a result of this substantial discovery, there was an urgent demand for a community to provide support services for the mine and its workers. The first residents of Leaf Rapids arrived in 1971[2] and the community's infrastructure was completed in the fall of 1976. During this same year, the community's population exceeded 2,000 residents. Leaf Rapids is sometimes described ianas the "instant town" due to the fast construction time and the large population that gathered during the short time period.

Planning[edit]


Historical population


Year

Pop.

±%


1981
2,356 —

1986
1,950 −17.2%

1996
1,504 −22.9%

2001
1,309 −13.0%

2006
539 −58.8%

2011
453 −16.0%

The government of Manitoba decided that the past mistakes in the planning of northern resource communities should not be repeated and participated directly in the planning of the community. An entirely new approach to building was conceived. In July 1970, the Leaf Rapids Development Corporation Ltd. (a Manitoba provincial crown corporation) was charged with the responsibility of building the Town of Leaf Rapids – 25 kilometres away from Ruttan Lake. The town was constructed with a deep respect for the wilderness that is incorporated into every aspect of the community, from construction to infrastructure to recreation. In June 1971, the construction of Leaf Rapids began, ensuring that much of the natural vegetation would be saved. Even in present day Leaf Rapids, a permit must be obtained before cutting down any trees within the town limits. As a result it is a functional, appealing community that blends in well with its environment. From the outset, Leaf Rapids has been able to provide a solid inventory of social, cultural and educational facilities, programs and experiences – beautifully merged with the pristine environment of northern Manitoba.

The Town Centre Complex contains the following:
Leaf Rapids Education Centre
Leaf Rapids Town Offices
Leaf Rapids Consumer Cooperative
Library
Art Gallery
Restaurant - Currently closed. (Sept, 2009.)
Hotel
Gymnasium
Hockey arena - Currently closed. (Sept, 2009.)
Curling club (4 sheets of ice) - Currently closed. (Sept, 2009.)
Health Centre

Awards[edit]

Built in a semicircle of residential bays around the Town Centre Complex, Leaf Rapids won the coveted Vincent Massey Award for Urban Excellence in 1975. The Town Centre Complex was built of a material that was supposed to turn bright blue as it reacted over time to air pollution; however, in this remote part of the world, there is no air pollution, causing the Town Centre Complex to remain rust colored. During the first four years of its life, architects and town planners from across Canada and around the world – some as far away as Japan – visited Leaf Rapids to view its unique design and infrastructure. Over the years, other towns followed suit and today Leaf Rapids is not alone in offering modern urban convenience in the midst of a commanding wilderness – but Leaf Rapids was the first.

The Ruttan Mine was closed down in the summer of 2002 - ending one chapter in the town’s history. Leaf Rapids achieved another first in March 2007 when it became the first municipality in Canada to ban the use of plastic shopping bags.
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Posted 4/23/14

GayAsianBoy wrote:

I believe it is a crime already for certain pollutants (like radioactive wastes). Companies are not legally allowed to dispose them irresponsibly like in the past.


For pollutants like carbon dioxide, it's such a hard case to enact, because you can't really see the negative effects until it accumulate to the point where it's undeniable.


This is true, but the problem is, that is a solution based on a twentieth century model, or possibly even an earlier model. Right now, most of the major violators are large multinational corporations. To which country do they answer and who actually regulates what they do? For example, there is a massive amount of garbage in every ocean. Who is responsible for penalizing those who dump into the ocean?

Also... pff. Here in the US (which is a pretty crazy backwards country) we have this huge thing for deregulation. In dates back to the 1980s. The Reagan administration had a pretty big 'screw conservation' attitude. Basically, that means that we are not regulating pollution in a responsible way, and our government basically only works for large corporations like oil companies, etc... This is not unique to the US, and since polluting the environment, especially airborne pollutants, affects all parts of the world, there are negative effects of pollution that are not being regulated at all.

Also, while these types of activities are often considered illegal and are regulated, the penalties are usually fines that the corporations can pay easily, and do not act as a deterrent, more as the cost of doing business. While I came up with a pretty hyperbolic way to raise the stakes, I do think some better way to hold people accountable would be invaluable.
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Posted 4/23/14
no, it would be very delusional to think that the worlds climate changes souly because of us. last i checked the world was a giant ice ball and it warmed up without us, carbon monoxide is a natural gas produced by earth its self like volcanoes, forest fires and ex. so the world has encountered more climate changes (and might i add more severe than today) than we have since we came to the knowledge that we are an organized race. and charging someone for "crimes against humanity" for throwing some plastic forks and paper bags on the ground which would decompose over time, is very, very stupid. even if someone dumped a shit tone of radiation somewhere the earth will take care of its self, radiation is natural. as a matter of fact we experience it every day (the sun primarily).

yes the earth is getting warmer, but that proves nothing to the point that we our selves are doing it. we still have a long way to go kids...
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Posted 4/24/14

michaeldeska wrote:

no, it would be very delusional to think that the worlds climate changes souly because of us. last i checked the world was a giant ice ball and it warmed up without us, carbon monoxide is a natural gas produced by earth its self like volcanoes, forest fires and ex. so the world has encountered more climate changes (and might i add more severe than today) than we have since we came to the knowledge that we are an organized race. and charging someone for "crimes against humanity" for throwing some plastic forks and paper bags on the ground which would decompose over time, is very, very stupid. even if someone dumped a shit tone of radiation somewhere the earth will take care of its self, radiation is natural. as a matter of fact we experience it every day (the sun primarily).

yes the earth is getting warmer, but that proves nothing to the point that we our selves are doing it. we still have a long way to go kids...


Actually you're right, but only to a point. The Earth does go through periods of warming and cooling without any interference from humans. But when people refer to global warming, particularly anthropologic climate change (climate change due to human activity), they are referring to the increased rate that our Earth is warming. We were already "warming up," but now we are warming up at a faster rate. This faster rate is what everyone is, and should be, concerned about.

This is not simply what I believe, but is backed up by extensive research by the International Coalition on Climate Change (ICCC), the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and other individual researchers. I could give you some links to some research if you would like. I major in Political Science and Environmental Studies and climate change is indeed being sped up by human actions. The Earth is an incredible organism, but it is not immune to our actions.

As to the original post, I do not believe that making polluting a "crime against humanity" is appropriate. We already have stringent laws and regulations, at least in the United States, that address the issue of pollution. These laws could be stronger for sure, but fear tactics are not what are needed. I think it's more appropriate to make people understand that they should respect and care for the Earth because it's our home and the home to billions of other people and an infinite number of living organisms.

Also, when the Earth warms the sea level rises and the severity of storms increases. This means that places like Japan, that experience typhoons and other severe weather, will be subject to even worse events. Ultimately, this means that PRODUCTION OF OUR FAVORITE ANIME MIGHT BE PUSHED BACK WHEN THERE IS INCREASING SEVERITY OF STORMS.

I appreciate everyone's opinions on this thread and I hope you appreciate mine
Posted 4/24/14

michaeldeska wrote:

no, it would be very delusional to think that the worlds climate changes souly because of us. last i checked the world was a giant ice ball and it warmed up without us, carbon monoxide is a natural gas produced by earth its self like volcanoes, forest fires and ex. so the world has encountered more climate changes (and might i add more severe than today) than we have since we came to the knowledge that we are an organized race. and charging someone for "crimes against humanity" for throwing some plastic forks and paper bags on the ground which would decompose over time, is very, very stupid. even if someone dumped a shit tone of radiation somewhere the earth will take care of its self, radiation is natural. as a matter of fact we experience it every day (the sun primarily).

yes the earth is getting warmer, but that proves nothing to the point that we our selves are doing it. we still have a long way to go kids...


are you trolling or being serious?

there is a huge difference in radiation from the Sun vs. radiation from chemical wastes...
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Posted 4/25/14
Technically...we are part of nature...
... So basically...it is nature destroying itself...
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