[Taxacom] Rant alert (Organism names in the news - plant name housekeeping)

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Tue Sep 21 22:52:41 CDT 2010

Hi Bob,
       It seems to me that they used a poor example of biodiversity (a
small population of brown bears in the Pyrenees).  Even if it is an
endangered subspecies, it is part of a widespread (Holarctic) species
that is not.  There so many full species that are endangered, many being
the only surviving species of higher taxa, as well as keystone species
of habitats that represent far more biodiversity.  I just don't think
picking this population as typical of biodiversity was wise or
particularly helpful from a wide perspective.         
      As for vertical farming helping to stabilise the human population,
I agree that it is silly, and the amount of land saved would be
miniscule compared to the amount of land being lost (devastated each
year by humans).  And mention vertical farming in overpopulated places
like Bangladesh (extremely flat), that they are likely to look at you
like you haven't a clue.  Controlling human birth rates would be a far
faster, cheaper, and a more permanent solution.  Unfortunately there
seems to be little will on the part of humans with the necessary
influence and power to solve the real problems.   Vertical farming would
only lull people into thinking they were anywhere close to solving the
real problem.  It's a minimalistic diversion, but doesn't really address
the real problem.             
      Malthus must have been rolling over in his grave the last couple
of centuries at such human folly.  The rich and influential are
generally more motivated by policies that promote profits (and thus in
population growth that generates more consumers and lots of cheap
labor).  Capitalism has always exploited such human population growth,
and although "Westernization" has expanded an intermediate middle class,
it still continues to exploit millions of the poor here and abroad.  It
just masks the problem of inequality and exploitation, thus making it
less obvious.     
      Ronald Reagan's trickle down theory seems to have been rather
naive.  Wealth trickles upward much more quickly, while any wealth
trickling down is offset by an even faster and more devastating
trickling down of debt and unhappiness in the long run.  The events of
2008 simply initiated a new wave of corrections that make it obvious
that this is the way the modern world works.        
      Anyway, as one who advocates "middle ground" approaches
(moderation in all things), I think there must be something intermediate
between the extremes of modern capitalism and failed communism that
would better spread out the wealth of the world that minimizes both
exploitation of the poor and also reduces human population at the same
time.  The current approach continues exactly the opposite, but
politicians unfortunately tend to profit from maintaining the status
quo.  The 2010 elections in the U.S. will generally just be a repeat of
the muddled patterns of the last few decades.  Promise change, but the
reality will be largely more of the same pattern of exploitation.  The
vast majority of humans are the losers and the upper few percent
continue to get most of the benefits.     
      Therefore,  is the information available on the Internet going to
change things, or just promote the status quo in new ways?  When I am in
my grave in the decade or two, I fear that I may be rolling over along
with Malthus.  Will the world get more egalitarian, or will it
deteriorate to something more like the old movie "Soylent Green"?  I
guess it depends on how the Internet is used in the future---to actually
promote more egalitarianism, or to perpetuate the old pattern of human
greed, stupidity, and ignorance of how they are exploiting other humans,
as well as the non-human species of our planet.
Bob Mesibov wrote:
     The article concludes: 
"We don't pretend that this campaign will solve the global biodiversity
crisis, and we don't want to create the impression that the problem is
under control. But we hope it will perform two useful tasks: protecting
a collection of species and habitats that might otherwise be lost, and
pressuring a collection of governments that might otherwise avoid public
Fair enough. And can we be confident that the species and habitats
protected will be the big, glamorous ones? 
On a related note, I see that vertical farming is getting some traction
in the campaigns to stabilise the human population, along with the
promise that it will remove the need for more 'nature' to be cleared for
food production, and will allow current marginal farmland to be retired.
This to me is just plain silly. I guess the proponents haven't heard of
Jevons Paradox. 

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