Ice cores reveal climate over last 740k years.

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Ice cores reveal climate over last 740k years.

Post by Brian the Snail » Thu Jun 10, 2004 1:05 pm

Pretty nifty stuff:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3792209.stm
Global climate patterns stretching back 740,000 years have been confirmed by a three-kilometre-long ice core drilled from the Antarctic, Nature reports.

Analysis of the ice proves our planet has had eight ice ages during that period, punctuated by rather brief warm spells - one of which we enjoy today.
Good news is that we shouldn't expect a new ice age any time soon:
If past patterns are followed in the future, we can expect our "mild snap" to last another 15,000 years.
There's also some cool photos here.

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Post by Quester_X » Thu Jun 10, 2004 6:59 pm

You mean... the Day After Tomorrow WASN'T real?!

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Re: Ice cores reveal climate over last 740k years.

Post by exarch » Thu Jun 17, 2004 3:20 pm

Brian the Snail wrote:Pretty nifty stuff:
If past patterns are followed in the future, we can expect our "mild snap" to last another 15,000 years.
There's always a catch, isn't there? (Or does anyone believe high CO2 emmisions and the hole in the ozone layer were also part of the past pattern?)
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Re: Ice cores reveal climate over last 740k years.

Post by Cloverlief » Thu Jun 17, 2004 3:38 pm

exarch wrote:
Brian the Snail wrote:Pretty nifty stuff:
If past patterns are followed in the future, we can expect our "mild snap" to last another 15,000 years.
There's always a catch, isn't there? (Or does anyone believe high CO2 emmisions and the hole in the ozone layer were also part of the past pattern?)
Actually, I have seen it hypothesized that the hole in the ozone layer has always been. It comes and goes at times. I wish I could remember where I read that. Also, high CO2 concentrations in the environment, some believe that during the reign of the dinosaur that the CO2 content was much higher than we have today, which would explain the lush plant life.

Not that I am saying that humans have not caused problems with our environment, we have. Heck every animal does to some extent, but we more than most because we actually adapt our environments to suite us rather than adapting to suite the environment. But in the long run, then only thing we are doing is killing our environment and thereby killing ourselves, but I think most humans are very aware of this and things will be making a change, but like the damage we have done to our environment which took centuries if not millenia, the problem will not be rectified overnight.
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Post by Cloverlief » Thu Jun 17, 2004 3:39 pm

Quester_X wrote:You mean... the Day After Tomorrow WASN'T real?!

NNNNOOOOOO! MY LIFE IS A LIE!!!
Yes, sadly, your life is a lie. You are actually Herman Jones and you live in the basement of your mother's house where you collect rats and bottle caps. :P
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Re: Ice cores reveal climate over last 740k years.

Post by Badger » Thu Jun 17, 2004 5:09 pm

Chanileslie wrote:
Not that I am saying that humans have not caused problems with our environment, we have. Heck every animal does to some extent, but we more than most because we actually adapt our environments to suite us rather than adapting to suite the environment. But in the long run, then only thing we are doing is killing our environment and thereby killing ourselves, but I think most humans are very aware of this and things will be making a change, but like the damage we have done to our environment which took centuries if not millenia, the problem will not be rectified overnight.
I often take issue with the statement "We are killing our environment/mother earth/the planet". We are not. We are adversely affecting it and may be committing suicide and taking numerous other species with us, but in a million years it won't matter. There will be things roaming the earth, and pure streams, and clean air, if we off ourselves. All niches will again be filled, though with things that maybe look different than the animals we have around now adays.

If, in fact, global temperatures ARE rising, it will cause some areas of the world discomfort, and will ease the discomfort in other areas. Imagine the frozen north not being so frozen? Siberia full of pastures and crops.

All the gloom and doom overlooks the possible upsides. I would like to see them given the same airtime.
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Re: Ice cores reveal climate over last 740k years.

Post by Cloverlief » Thu Jun 17, 2004 7:38 pm

Badger wrote:
Chanileslie wrote:
Not that I am saying that humans have not caused problems with our environment, we have. Heck every animal does to some extent, but we more than most because we actually adapt our environments to suite us rather than adapting to suite the environment. But in the long run, then only thing we are doing is killing our environment and thereby killing ourselves, but I think most humans are very aware of this and things will be making a change, but like the damage we have done to our environment which took centuries if not millenia, the problem will not be rectified overnight.
I often take issue with the statement "We are killing our environment/mother earth/the planet". We are not. We are adversely affecting it and may be committing suicide and taking numerous other species with us, but in a million years it won't matter. There will be things roaming the earth, and pure streams, and clean air, if we off ourselves. All niches will again be filled, though with things that maybe look different than the animals we have around now adays.

...snip...
Oh, I agree. It is why I specifically stated 'our environment' as in what we as humans need to survive, not the planet or mother earth.
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Re: Ice cores reveal climate over last 740k years.

Post by Rat » Fri Jun 18, 2004 1:09 am

Badger wrote: ...blah...
If, in fact, global temperatures ARE rising, it will cause some areas of the world discomfort, and will ease the discomfort in other areas. Imagine the frozen north not being so frozen? Siberia full of pastures and crops.

All the gloom and doom overlooks the possible upsides. I would like to see them given the same airtime.
Looking at that avatar, I really thought for a moment there that that was Pillory posting. Please don't do that to me again. We're all drunks (except for those who aren't), no need to advertise it.

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Re: Ice cores reveal climate over last 740k years.

Post by Brian the Snail » Fri Jun 18, 2004 7:33 am

Badger wrote:If, in fact, global temperatures ARE rising, it will cause some areas of the world discomfort, and will ease the discomfort in other areas. Imagine the frozen north not being so frozen? Siberia full of pastures and crops.
I agree that global warming would have both winners and losers. Then again, you could say exactly the same thing about a new Ice Age. I think the concern is that the current research on climate change suggests that losers will outweigh the winners, and that many of the losers will be those countries that are the least able to deal with the problems (i.e. developing nations).

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Re: Ice cores reveal climate over last 740k years.

Post by exarch » Fri Jun 18, 2004 11:29 am

Badger wrote:If, in fact, global temperatures ARE rising, it will cause some areas of the world discomfort, and will ease the discomfort in other areas. Imagine the frozen north not being so frozen? Siberia full of pastures and crops.

All the gloom and doom overlooks the possible upsides. I would like to see them given the same airtime.
This may be rather optimistic. First of all, imagine the water level of the worlds oceans rising considerably because of melting ice caps, and the effect that will have on coastlines and the people living on them. Then imagine huge mudslides as glaciers all over the world start melting as well, then imagine Africa getting even dryer and hotter than it already is. Also, many plants and animals that are unable to adapt will start disappearing. We also don't know what will happen to the global weather systems when things heat up (like how big could hurricanes be in a much warmer climate)?

I think the spot of nice weather in Alaska pales in comparison to the millions of people who will die as a result of natural disasters.
Frankly, the gloom and doom scenarios are simply much more serious than a possible unexpected silver lining.

In my opinion, the essence of the movie "The day after tomorrow" was true, and that is that we know nothing. We see global temperatures rise, and it may just as well start a new ice age instead of global warming. We just don't know. There's a couple of delicate equilibria out there that are being pushed by our actions, but we're not aware of it (yet), and the time scale is so big that maybe by the time we realise what's going to happen, there may not be enough time left to prevent it.

Like with a big ship, you have to start the turn well in advance, but we're not turning yet because we don't know if there's an iceberg ahead, or we do know, but think it's not going to do much damage :roll:
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Post by Denise » Fri Jun 18, 2004 3:28 pm

As a Young Earth Creationist, I refuse to look at this "ice core" data as it is in opposition to my belief that the Earth is only 6000 years old. Heathens! You will all burn in hell for eternity! :P

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Re: Ice cores reveal climate over last 740k years.

Post by Cloverlief » Fri Jun 18, 2004 3:52 pm

exarch wrote:
Badger wrote:If, in fact, global temperatures ARE rising, it will cause some areas of the world discomfort, and will ease the discomfort in other areas. Imagine the frozen north not being so frozen? Siberia full of pastures and crops.

All the gloom and doom overlooks the possible upsides. I would like to see them given the same airtime.
This may be rather optimistic. First of all, imagine the water level of the worlds oceans rising considerably because of melting ice caps, and the effect that will have on coastlines and the people living on them. Then imagine huge mudslides as glaciers all over the world start melting as well, then imagine Africa getting even dryer and hotter than it already is. Also, many plants and animals that are unable to adapt will start disappearing. We also don't know what will happen to the global weather systems when things heat up (like how big could hurricanes be in a much warmer climate)?

I think the spot of nice weather in Alaska pales in comparison to the millions of people who will die as a result of natural disasters.
Frankly, the gloom and doom scenarios are simply much more serious than a possible unexpected silver lining.

In my opinion, the essence of the movie "The day after tomorrow" was true, and that is that we know nothing. We see global temperatures rise, and it may just as well start a new ice age instead of global warming. We just don't know. There's a couple of delicate equilibria out there that are being pushed by our actions, but we're not aware of it (yet), and the time scale is so big that maybe by the time we realise what's going to happen, there may not be enough time left to prevent it.

Like with a big ship, you have to start the turn well in advance, but we're not turning yet because we don't know if there's an iceberg ahead, or we do know, but think it's not going to do much damage :roll:
Actually, your analogy of the ship is apropriate except for the fact that the ship has been on its collision course for a very long time, and you have only just now been notified of the possibilty of this collision just as you see the iceberg inches from the bow. Now what do you do? Scramble and blame the people down in the engine room who also didn't know about the collision course they were on for using too much fuel and making the ship go too fast?

The problems with the environment have been many hundreds of years in the making, and it is only in the last 50 to a 100 or so years that we even began to realize what was happening. Now we are attempting to turn this big boat in another direction, but it will take time. Just as it took time to bring our environmental conditions to this pass. We will either move ahead and start making plans to ensure the maximum amount of survivors in the best of conditions or we can run around blaming those who had no control.

We don't know what results will come of the many years of abuse, but one thing I think we all can be assured of is that although we may destroy our living environment and we may kill off many species, the earth will go on and develope as it always has and perhaps some other species will rise to the top of the food chain to destroy their environment.

But the one thing we humans have over many animals is the ability to be innovative on a relatively small scale.
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Re: Ice cores reveal climate over last 740k years.

Post by exarch » Fri Jun 18, 2004 4:29 pm

Chanileslie wrote:Actually, your analogy of the ship is apropriate except for the fact that the ship has been on its collision course for a very long time, and you have only just now been notified of the possibilty of this collision just as you see the iceberg inches from the bow. Now what do you do? Scramble and blame the people down in the engine room who also didn't know about the collision course they were on for using too much fuel and making the ship go too fast?

The problems with the environment have been many hundreds of years in the making, and it is only in the last 50 to a 100 or so years that we even began to realize what was happening. Now we are attempting to turn this big boat in another direction, but it will take time. Just as it took time to bring our environmental conditions to this pass. We will either move ahead and start making plans to ensure the maximum amount of survivors in the best of conditions or we can run around blaming those who had no control.
Well, I don't think anyone wants to blame people for mistakes of the past, however, they are right to blame people for mistakes in the present. Apparently, we still have time to try and turn the tide, but it's not going to happen when the people who are currently responsible for the speed and heading aren't even listening to the fact that someone saw an iceberg looming just ahead and we need to turn the ship NOW.

If nothing changes for another decade, disaster might no longer be avertable, even if it takes another 30 years for that disaster to fully materialize, and even if we all went back to living in wooden shacks and stopped using any technology 2 years past the deadline.

The problem isn't change taking time to occur, it's change not even being considered by some of the people in charge as being important at all (and yes, I am talking about Dubya here).
We don't know what results will come of the many years of abuse, but one thing I think we all can be assured of is that although we may destroy our living environment and we may kill off many species, the earth will go on and develope as it always has and perhaps some other species will rise to the top of the food chain to destroy their environment.

But the one thing we humans have over many animals is the ability to be innovative on a relatively small scale.
I think it's rather selfish to not care too much because hey, we will probably survive anyway. I'm not saying you don't care, but I think that defeatist point of view has no merit. Sure, maybe it would be nice to have warm weather in Alaska, maybe people will find a way to survive harsh conditions, but to use that as a way to put your mind at ease is just lame. It's not going to be a pretty sight, a lot of irreplaceable fauna and flora could be lost, and I think we should feel pretty darned ashamed of ourselves for how far we've let it come already. To let it get even worse would be a disgrace in my opinion.
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Re: Ice cores reveal climate over last 740k years.

Post by Cloverlief » Fri Jun 18, 2004 7:47 pm

exarch wrote: Well, I don't think anyone wants to blame people for mistakes of the past, however, they are right to blame people for mistakes in the present. Apparently, we still have time to try and turn the tide, but it's not going to happen when the people who are currently responsible for the speed and heading aren't even listening to the fact that someone saw an iceberg looming just ahead and we need to turn the ship NOW.
Ah, but the point is that many of the mistakes of the present are direct response of mistakes of the past, and that will take time to correct.
exarch wrote:If nothing changes for another decade, disaster might no longer be avertable, even if it takes another 30 years for that disaster to fully materialize, and even if we all went back to living in wooden shacks and stopped using any technology 2 years past the deadline.
I actually don't think things are quite that drastic yet. But if things don't change in our lifetime our great grandchildren will definitely have the challenge of figuring out how to survive in an inhospitable world.

Also, going back to wood shacks and lack of technology will only make the problems we see worse, not better. Heck wood shacks and our reliance on fossil and polluting fuels are one of the many reasons we are where we are with the environment. Through technology and innovation, we can decrease the amount of land it requires to support a human being and improve our use of resources and find renewable, less destructive methods.
exarch wrote:The problem isn't change taking time to occur, it's change not even being considered by some of the people in charge as being important at all (and yes, I am talking about Dubya here).
I disagree with you. Change comes in not only our practices but in our attitudes. And that takes time to change people's attitudes including Dubya's. We do need to change our ideas, we need to move away from fossil fuels and deforestation and find better solutions, and there are people working on these very issues, but the attitudes are hard to change and convincing someone like Dubya who appears to think, "Well it was good enough for Grandpappy, so it's good enough for me!" is the hard part, but because one behaves in that manner does not automatically mean everyone is blind and doing nothing to make change.



exarch wrote: I think it's rather selfish to not care too much because hey, we will probably survive anyway. I'm not saying you don't care, but I think that defeatist point of view has no merit. Sure, maybe it would be nice to have warm weather in Alaska, maybe people will find a way to survive harsh conditions, but to use that as a way to put your mind at ease is just lame. It's not going to be a pretty sight, a lot of irreplaceable fauna and flora could be lost, and I think we should feel pretty darned ashamed of ourselves for how far we've let it come already. To let it get even worse would be a disgrace in my opinion.
I actually don't think it is either selfish or defeatist to accept that human behavior is a natural behavior and that we have the ability to make a change to how we behave.

It is sad to me to think of loosing so much, but unfortunately that is how the world, evolution and everything else works. We must accept that we are just as much a part of the worlds processes as the male lion who kills off a competitor's cubs despite the fact that they are an endangered species.

Quite frankly, I don't see the situation as bleak as you do, and I think we as a whole are working to rectify our mistakes, but that doesn't mean that every individual will be at the same phase at the same time, but as long as there is work to improve the situation, that is what will save us and our living environment in the long run.

BTW, although I know you weren't directing the comment directly at me, I would like to clarify that I do care. I care very much. I want for myself and my children to see the wonders of the world and I would hate for them to never have seen some of the amazing creatures and plants that live in this world.
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Post by Huntsman » Fri Jun 18, 2004 8:32 pm

Frankly, the ship analogy is pretty good, but needs to be clarified.

We think we see something ahead of us, it might be an iceberg, it might not...there's too much fog to tell. Likewise, we aren't sure what's on either side of us, and nobody's been paying attention to where we came from, either.

There's just not enough data to be sure, one way or another. Should something be done? Yes, probably, but what? In the ship analogy, we might slow down, but is the iceberg moving towards us? We could turn, but there might be icebergs on either side. We just can't tell yet.

Slowing down would seem to be a good idea, but even then we have to be careful. Back to real world, we have to be careful even trying to do the right thing. Laws to protect the environemnt can backfire because we don't understand enough, and if laws get too restricitve, they could cut funds from research that might have produced the technolgoy we need to find the answers and/or solutions. Of course, not restriciting things might make the problem even worse.

I'm not advocating any side of this. I think it would be a good idea to pay more attention to emissions, to try and curb them to a degree, but I have no idea how much. And we don't even know a time frame; it may already be too late, it may be too late in 10 years, or it may not matter at all. We just don't know enough yet. There's too many variables to isolate anything as a single factors, and as someone mentioned earlier too many feedback mechanisms and regulatory mechanisms in nature to determine effect. However, we might actually cause more damage by reducing things drastically because some feedbacks may already be gearing up, and an abrupt change, even in a "good" direction, may cause them to overcorrect.

I just don't know, either way. There's too much that is going on, too many variables. It's like trying to solve a set of matehematical equations with variables from A through ZZZ, and at least a few thousand equations. I don't think any individual has the ability to know all the data at this point.

I would like to see research similar to the human genome project done. Multiple centers, each investigating some aspect of climate/environement, with a central location that just collates and relates the data. I doubt such a large collaboration is possible, but I think that's what we need before taking any extreme actions in any direction. We need to get everyone with binoculars, flashlights, spotlights, and telescopes onto the bow, see if we can find out exactly where the icebergs are and what path we can take.

Just by bit to toss in :)

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Post by Badger » Sat Jun 19, 2004 3:09 am

First, I'd like to apologize to Rat, but I was here first. If anyone should change, it's Pillory! (Just the avatar, I mean, not the scintillating nature of his personality!) And if you can't tell the difference between a long neck and a stubby, could you pour me a glass of whatever you're having?

Second, Exarch and Chani, why is change bad? Yes, some things will cease to be, but other niches/opportunities will present themselves.

The people displaced from Africa, and coastal areas will suffer pressure, however if governments are really concerned, they will make efforts to relocate them to the new, warmer siberia and arctic.

Third, how much of the current warming is man made, and how much is natural? We don't know yet. The glaciers were retreating when there were only several tens of thousands of us living in caves, and there were tropical temperatures at the poles when the dinosaurs were around. How much of a difference do we/can we hope to make? We don't know yet. How do our emissions compare to vulcanism, natural forest fires, methane from swamps, etc? There are no clear answers yet. I would love to know the answers!

Yes, things will change. They always have, and always will. Our ability to adapt, as a species, is our strength. We'll probably survive.
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Post by WildCat » Sat Jun 19, 2004 1:12 pm

Badger wrote: Yes, things will change. They always have, and always will. Our ability to adapt, as a species, is our strength. We'll probably survive.
Of course, now there's political boundaries keeping people from migrating. Think of the poor Dutch, Badger! What about the Dutch!? I hope they can swim! :wink:

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Post by Cloverlief » Sat Jun 19, 2004 7:19 pm

Badger wrote:First, I'd like to apologize to Rat, but I was here first. If anyone should change, it's Pillory! (Just the avatar, I mean, not the scintillating nature of his personality!) And if you can't tell the difference between a long neck and a stubby, could you pour me a glass of whatever you're having?

Second, Exarch and Chani, why is change bad? Yes, some things will cease to be, but other niches/opportunities will present themselves.

The people displaced from Africa, and coastal areas will suffer pressure, however if governments are really concerned, they will make efforts to relocate them to the new, warmer siberia and arctic.

Third, how much of the current warming is man made, and how much is natural? We don't know yet. The glaciers were retreating when there were only several tens of thousands of us living in caves, and there were tropical temperatures at the poles when the dinosaurs were around. How much of a difference do we/can we hope to make? We don't know yet. How do our emissions compare to vulcanism, natural forest fires, methane from swamps, etc? There are no clear answers yet. I would love to know the answers!

Yes, things will change. They always have, and always will. Our ability to adapt, as a species, is our strength. We'll probably survive.
I agree with you. We don't currently know what exactly the impact we have had on our environment is outside of the rivers that have been 'killed' due to pollution, but even those rivers are making a come back with efforts to stop the polution.

I don't think change is necessarily bad, but it can definitely be scary. I don't really like to see other species die off, but alas it is the natural mechanism, and we and our effects on the environment are very much a part of the natural order of things.

I guess I have not made my point as clear as I had hoped. My point is that: Yes things are changing, but we will either learn to adapt to those changes or die.

We aren't sure if a lot of those changes are due to human's abuse/use of our resources although some of them can definitely be attributed to us, such as high polution content of many rivers and oceans that for 100's years were used to dump human and industrial waste.

Is the ozone layer depleteing due to the output of methane and chlorofluoro carbons (as was the contention of many people in the 80's and 90's)? I'm not sure that is true - I have seen studies that indicate that the ozone layer is not static, but goes through periods of flux and change and in places the opening of 'holes'.

Are we going through a global warming? Well yes, currently we are experiencing a small global warming trend, but is that negative? I am not so sure it is. Is it permanent? Most likely not. Will it be castrophic to us and other species? Possibly to some. Is it the cause of humans? The jury is still out on that. It maybe a natural manifestation; the earth and the current enviornment are not static and change will happen.

Species will die; we have not reached the level of extinction that was present at the end of the last ice-age yet. Other species will move into vacant niches and develope and differentiate into new species.

Lets face it: we humans as a species is quite large and we are very successful so we are going to displace other species and we are going to make changes to our environment - it is how we adapt.

I feel that we should use our mode of evolution - our big brains, our innovations in the form of technology to lessen much of our negative impact that we see such as smog (ya know, I have not heard the term acid rain thrown around since I was a child), depletion of forests and pollution of our water supply. And despite the protests of some, we are doing exactly that, and quite frankly I actually think things are more positive than negative. Of course I do love science and I admit that I am a science and technology groupie, so to speak. :)
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Re: Ice cores reveal climate over last 740k years.

Post by exarch » Mon Jun 21, 2004 2:49 pm

Chanileslie wrote:BTW, although I know you weren't directing the comment directly at me, I would like to clarify that I do care. I care very much. I want for myself and my children to see the wonders of the world and I would hate for them to never have seen some of the amazing creatures and plants that live in this world.
Well, I'm usually an optimistic person, but the reason you just mentioned is part of the reason I'm a bit of a pessimist when it comes to the state of the environment. Granted, I may be overreacting, but in this instance I'd rather be wrong as a pessimist seeing disaster looming, than as an optimist thinking everything will pan out. See, deep down, I'm hoping I'm wrong :)
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Post by exarch » Mon Jun 21, 2004 3:40 pm

Chanileslie wrote:I agree with you. We don't currently know what exactly the impact we have had on our environment is outside of the rivers that have been 'killed' due to pollution, but even those rivers are making a come back with efforts to stop the polution.
I'm not sure how many species are going or already went extinct in the past 200 years because of human influence, but I think that at the moment, the majority of them are. On the other hand, we humans are now also using our influence (i.e. our knowledge) to try and save them from that fate.
I don't think change is necessarily bad, but it can definitely be scary. I don't really like to see other species die off, but alas it is the natural mechanism, and we and our effects on the environment are very much a part of the natural order of things.
I think this is a semantic mixup here.
To say that what we do to the environment is the natural order of things because we are part of nature doesn't seem right. What we do to nature is artificial, our pollution is man-made. There's nothing natural about radioactive waste for instance. And if it is in our nature to pollute our own nest, then perhaps it is our own nature that we should change.

But that's quite a different change than watching our environment go to waste of course ...
[size=75]Lord high emperor Skinny-god's first heir to the throne[/size]