End of the World? ABC wants your ideas
June 13, 2008 8:14 AM   Subscribe

Earth2100.tv is a project by ABC (video preview) to solicit ideas from the public and experts about the dangers facing world in the next 100 years. "The world’s brightest minds agree that the “perfect storm” of population growth, resource depletion and climate change could converge with catastrophic results. We need you to bring this story to life."
posted by stbalbach (25 comments total)
My fear is that the world will look like China, everywhere.
posted by anthill at 8:37 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

By no stretch of the imagination may I be considered an optimist, but this is nothing more than a sensationalized version of doom, gloom and end of world thinking that sells ads for ABC and makes them millions while delivering scare tactics to the lemmings. With the reality programs of today our entertainment media seeks to honor the lowest common denominator amongst us and that individual….sadly…will take this crap to heart.
posted by malter51 at 8:37 AM on June 13, 2008 [3 favorites]

What malter51 said. Stick to science fiction.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:44 AM on June 13, 2008

I'm as cynical about the so-called Green movement as anyone (well, maybe not quite), but isn't it a good thing that the mass media are starting to embrace the idea that humanity needs to change drastically? Just because it's ABC and it's making money doesn't make it inherently evil. How else are you supposed to communicate with a population of people who do little besides watch television?

I really hope someone has an answer, because I want to hate this too. "Hooow do I reeeeach these keeeeds????"
posted by nosila at 9:27 AM on June 13, 2008

ABC as in John Stossel?
posted by Brian B. at 9:37 AM on June 13, 2008

Ah, conservation.
posted by cashman at 9:48 AM on June 13, 2008

My fear is that the world will look like China, everywhere.

C'mon anthill. The Netherlands is, by some measure, much more densely populated than China. With rising sea levels, my guess is that the world will look like the Low Countries everywhere. Which would not be so bad. Holland is lovely.
posted by three blind mice at 9:49 AM on June 13, 2008

Can we please retire the term "perfect storm"?

ABC as in John Stossel?
If this were a Stossel project, it would be about convincing you that there's nothing to worry about. That it's all a bunch of dubious "science" and that the free market will save the day.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:53 AM on June 13, 2008

Earth as in Hitler?
posted by DU at 9:53 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

ABC lineup -

America's Funniest Home Videos
The Bachelorette
Dancing With The Stars
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
The future of human civilization

posted by Ragma at 9:55 AM on June 13, 2008

Shooting the messenger (ABC) when faced with bad news is an appealing coping mechanism. I give ABC credit for dealing with issues that are difficult. If they have to make it more palatable by dressing it up with some drama, who cares, there are plenty of non-dramatic sources also but if this exposes more people to it, that is a good thing.
posted by stbalbach at 9:58 AM on June 13, 2008

stbalbach, I'd give ABC credit for actually reporting scientific facts instead of this continued attempt to scare the shit out of all of us. The difficult issue is that science is being overrun by hysteria and marketing. Some hate the oil companies for making profits (4% per gallon as opposed to 15% to our good old government machine), yet they seem to have no problem with a giant lie being propogated to the masses for - you guessed it - profit.

Yes, let's make a lie more palatable by adding some random data, cool visual aids and reporters with stern, judgmental tones (oh wait, this happens nightly).

Exactly how many years do we need to wait on this global warming farce until the ones that never bought into it can safely say - "told you so"? Given the earth has cooled for almost 10 years now and research facilities are still getting huge government grants to continue the 'research', I'm guessing never.
posted by j.p. Hung at 10:10 AM on June 13, 2008

Shooting the messenger in this case may not be that bad a strategy. Climate change has the potential to be very bad and requires action, howeve, there are many who oppose taking this action. Overegging some affects gives ammunition to sceptics who can demonstrate overdramatised impacts don't reflect the likely reality based on the models as we currently understand them and in doing so create doubt about the real impacts.
posted by biffa at 10:10 AM on June 13, 2008

We need you to bring this story to life.

That's hilarious. "We were going to ask scientists to work on this problem, but we've seen how well you've done at blogging about your cat and creating Youtube videos where you dance to that 'Superman that ho' song, and we think you're ready..."

I guess this is "citizen journalism" and "YOU are the person of the year" carried to it's logical extreme of heartbreaking dumbness.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:14 AM on June 13, 2008

Given the earth has cooled for almost 10 years now ....

Whilst there is good reason to be skeptical of the goals and methods of the global warming lobby, let's not ignore the facts: 11 hottest years globally occurred in past 13 years.
posted by three blind mice at 10:15 AM on June 13, 2008

global warming farce

Operation: Credibility Destruction complete!
posted by DU at 10:19 AM on June 13, 2008

three blind mice, c'mon already. We've been taking global temperature reading for maybe a few hundred years? The earth has undergone cooling and heating cycles for billions of years. What scientist would dare to suggest that kind of data would be at all reasonable to draw a conclusion from? Speaking of facts, this is a long article but very well presented and I have yet to see a scientific paper refuting a single finding contained within.
posted by j.p. Hung at 10:38 AM on June 13, 2008

Wait wait wait--there are no methods for determining temperatures in other eras? Now this I did not know! And I bet climate scientists are uninformed on this vital news as well. You better publish a paper in a peer-reviewed journal setting them straight.
posted by DU at 10:46 AM on June 13, 2008 [3 favorites]

j.p. hung that link of "facts" is an editorial published on the website of The Middlebury Community Network.

There is again good reason to be skeptical of the global warming lobby and the looney lefties that populate it, but it does not change the fact that there is a clear scientific concensus that global warming is occurring and it is due to man made activity. The "greenhouse effect" is not a political creation. The Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius predicted it more than 100 years ago as a straightforward result of statistical mechanics.
posted by three blind mice at 10:58 AM on June 13, 2008

Debating whether global warming is real or not is like debating what caused the giant hole in the sinking ship we're on-either way the ship is undeniably SINKING!
We have to move beyond that lame debate.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:02 PM on June 13, 2008

why isn't there a way to flag a comment as "impenetrably stupid" or "willfully obtuse"? the release of psychological pressure might free me up from the need to be so snarky sometimes.

the looney lefties that populate it

All right--now I'm just sick and tired of this. Let's get this straight once and for all and leave it there: The term "the Left" has, since its origins, always just been the ruling class term for the masses of common people. You can quibble and reject that assertion and argue about the evolution of language all you want: I say it's time to reclaim the original meaning of the word. It's an insult to the people of democratic nations to dismiss their concerns as the formulations of "left loonies." It's only because the terms of political discussion have been so perversely redefined to suit the interests of the social/political right that it's now considered acceptable even among relatively liberal circles to use the term "leftie" pejoratively, and it should stop. If you aren't a politician or a wealthy energy executive or a hedge-fund manager or a land-owner or a real estate mogul or anyone else who can make a couple of phone calls and get a bill introduced on the floor of the senate or a district judge removed from the bench or some parking tickets cleared up or a short-term six-figure loan on the same day from your bank with no need for paper-work then you are the political left, whether you like it or not.


While I'm skeptical of their motives, I think this is overall a good thing from ABC (although the site design leaves a little to be desired, IMO). And you don't need good motives to do the right thing.

a scientific paper refuting a single finding contained within.

No one's going to stoop to publishing a scientific paper refuting the "findings contained within" the unaccountable-to-any-objective-truth-standard editorial piece you cite until someone actually publishes a scientific paper containing those findings first. It's not a demand of scientific rigor to respond to any random op/ed on the internet or to acknowledge the irresponsible gesticulations of blog-powered axe-grinders.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:46 PM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

j.p. Hung - at this point your opinion on global warming no longer matters, politically. It's almost a foregone conclusion that Obama will win, and even if he doesn't, McCain is strongly on board as well. Change in America will happen in the next few years and decades. It used to be folks like yourself had a voice that was important because in the Bush elections it really did matter where you stood on the issue. It no longer matters, with the 4th IPCC report the science was settled (for policy purposes), even Bush is on board - I suppose you can invest your time and energy into denying it for personal reasons, but politically, it's a dead end and waste of time. It's like a Flat Earther, at one time it really did matter and was important where one stood, today it's a curious relic of a time gone by. As Liquidwolf says above "We have to move beyond that lame debate," and the world for the most part has.

j.p. hung that link of "facts" is an editorial published on the website of The Middlebury Community Network.

Also here is a rebuttal to that so-called link of "facts".
posted by stbalbach at 2:54 PM on June 13, 2008

Earth, 2015: every major television network has grown too lazy to create its own content and has punted the task to the general public.
posted by staggernation at 5:41 PM on June 13, 2008

This is a good thing. The planet is currently in the middle of a massive N-person Prisoner's Dilemma game, which The Tragedy of the Commons is an example of. Because it's in most peoples individual self-interest to continue "sleep-walking to the future", we'll walk off the cliff unless:

A) Social Norms. If we get to the point that social worth and utility depends on how well a person conserves or how few resources they consume, we might have a shot... ("You don't recycle? Get out of my face you worthless piece of shit." "I'm sorry, but I discriminate against people who haven't bought carbon offsets for their Hummer. Please eat/rent/find a job elsewhere.")

B) Big Brother Government Regulation. Carbon trading and taxes are a good start. If manufacturers had to pay the externalized cost of pollution and consumption of non-renewable resources, and this trickled down to the cost of consumer goods, that might work. Better than trying to monitor individuals directly. But good luck getting the rest of the world on board.

C) Totalitarian Population Control. Unleash a plague that kills off 4 or 5 billion people. Maybe forced sterilization of anyone who's had a child, and mandatory UN economic sanctions to any country not participating. Maybe AIDS 2.0.

D) Screw It. Who cares if CO2 get's up to 1000ppm and blooms of anaerobic bacteria flip the climate to hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Besides, the tipping point for runaway global warming is 450ppm (pdf), maybe less, and we're already at 385ppm and rising.

I like option A the best. Go ABC!
posted by Nquire at 7:42 PM on June 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

And, it is not just about global warming. Throw in the end of cheap energy, clean water shortages, soil depletion, land contamination, dead zones in the seas, food shortages......good times.
posted by tarantula at 4:24 AM on June 15, 2008

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