Kim Stanley Robinson: Empty Half the Earth to Save the Planet

Author Kim Stanley Robinson

Author Kim Stanley Robinson. By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Nick Shaw – US Author Kim Stanley Robinson wants half the Earth to be depopulated, by somehow inducing rural people to move into cities.

Empty half the Earth of its humans. It’s the only way to save the planet

Kim Stanley Robinson

There are now twice as many people as 50 years ago. But, as EO Wilson has argued, they can all survive – in cities

Right now we are not succeeding. The Global Footprint Network estimates that we use up our annual supply of renewable resources by August every year, after which we are cutting into non-renewable supplies – in effect stealing from future generations. Eating the seed corn, they used to call it. At the same time we’re pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate that is changing the climate in dangerous ways and will certainly damage agriculture.

The tendency of people to move to cities, either out of desire or perceived necessity, creates a great opportunity. If we managed urbanisation properly, we could nearly remove ourselves from a considerable percentage of the the planet’s surface. That would be good for many of the threatened species we share this planet with, which in turn would be good for us, because we are completely enmeshed in Earth’s web of life.

So emptying half the Earth of its humans wouldn’t have to be imposed: it’s happening anyway. It would be more a matter of managing how we made the move, and what kind of arrangement we left behind. One important factor here would be to avoid extremes and absolutes of definition and practice, and any sense of idealistic purity. We are mongrel creatures on a mongrel planet, and we have to be flexible to survive. So these emptied landscapes should not be called wilderness. Wilderness is a good idea in certain contexts, but these emptied lands would be working landscapes, commons perhaps, where pasturage and agriculture might still have a place. All those people in cities still need to eat, and food production requires land. Even if we start growing food in vats, the feedstocks for those vats will come from the land. These mostly depopulated landscapes would be given over to new kinds of agriculture and pasturage, kinds that include habitat corridors where our fellow creatures can get around without being stopped by fences or killed by trains.

Meanwhile, cities will always rely on landscapes much vaster than their own footprints. Agriculture will have to be made carbon neutral; indeed, it will be important to create some carbon-negative flows, drawing carbon out of the atmosphere and fixing it into the land, either permanently or temporarily; we can’t afford to be too picky about that now, because we will be safest if we can get the CO2 level in the atmosphere back down to 350 parts per million. All these working landscapes should exist alongside that so-called empty land (though really it’s only almost empty – empty of people – most of the time). Those areas will be working for us in their own way, as part of the health-giving context of any sustainable civilisation. And all the land has to be surrounded by oceans that, similarly, are left partly unfished

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/mar/20/save-the-planet-half-earth-kim-stanley-robinson

A few thoughts.

One of the main reasons farming is far from carbon neutral is producing nitrate fertiliser is very energy intensive. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to break nitrogen gas molecules apart, and convert the shattered gas molecules into biologically available forms of nitrogen like ammonia and nitric acid. To give a sense of the scale of energy required, natural nitrate is largely produced inside lightning bolts. But there is nowhere near enough natural nitrate produced this way to feed the world.

Finding a viable artificial method to produce nitrate fertiliser was one of the great innovations which made modern agriculture possible. Reducing the land available for agriculture would require even more intensive nitrate fertilisation and enhancement of whatever land was left.

I appreciate Robinson’s desire for non-violence, but I doubt a purposeful policy of rural depopulation would remain peaceful for long. In Guatemala and Africa, creation of carbon credit forest projects has allegedly resulted in native people being forcefully removed from their homes.

Even if the violence was avoided, I don’t think natural demographic trends will achieve anything like the result Robinson seems to want. In the near future I suspect the social pressures which created the need for cities will diminish. Better transport and communications technology is making it easier to live outside cities. Growing numbers of people no longer have to commute to work; my office is wherever I open my laptop. There will always be people who love the bustle of high density city life, but plenty of city people yearn for a quieter life, with more affordable housing and with neighbours who aren’t always in their face. Modern technology and social change is making this choice increasingly available.

I like some of Kim Stanley Robinson’s work, the Red Mars / Green Mars / Blue Mars trilogy is an excellent read. I want to believe Robinson’s intentions are good. But sometimes the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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Unless there is no evidence to relate human activity to climate change
https://ssrn.com/abstract=3144908

rocketscientist

“At the same time we’re pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a rate that is changing the climate in dangerous ways and will certainly damage agriculture.”
Well, he certainly got this backwards.

oeman50

Good one, rocket. When I saw “and will certainly damage agriculture” I had to blink in disbelief..

Pop Piasa

Does he even realize that way more than half of this planet is practially devoid of humans?

Maybe just get rid of all the half-assed people?
How about the members of The American Academy of Sciences – aka AAS – both the Half-AASes and the AAS-wholes?

DMH

@rocketscientist
He got it ass-backwards.

Chris Wright

He got it completely backwards.
The planet is getting greener and more productive, primarily due to increased CO2 and also due to global warming. Farmers routinely add extra CO2 to their greenhouses to increase productivity.
Sadly, alarmists seem to live on a different planet to the rest of us.
Chris

Bill Powers

It cannot be stressed enough, to those who just don’t understand what is going on with this climate alarm-ism,that the World Elites’ real fear, sparked in the 70’s by Paul Ehrlich’s “Population Bomb”, is overpopulation in the face limited resources. What good is all their money if they can’t spend it on extravagant lifestyles. This spark ignited their fear of overpopulation and resulted in the creation of the IPCC in 1988 to send forth a message They needed the “dumbed down” public school masses in free countries to voluntarily give over control of their lifestyles to the government, bought and paid for by the money interests. They developed a plan. The best way to do that is for the Propaganda Ministry Media to broadcasts daily messages from the IPCC to stimulate their uninformed amygdala with a steady drumbeat of fear and guilt. “The world is coming to an end and it is all your fault. Turn to your government to save you. Trust us it won’t hurt a bit and we will save the children”

Pop Piasa

Yes, they claim they will save future generations from being visited by our sins of emission.

wws

I have an aging relative who’s been on the Overpopulation Bandwagon ever since the 60’s. Whenever he brings it up, I make a point to ask him “well, since government statistics show that white populations aren’t the problem for you, how do you plan on getting rid of all of the surplus black and brown babies worldwide? Since that’s what you’re going to have to do if you’re serious.”
He won’t talk to me about it anymore.

Bill Powers

wws why do you think the The US government and UN supports a worldwide ban on DDT. Rachel Carson came out of the same school of thought as Ehrlich. Here is one of numerous one world government solutions to overpopulation. Malaria kills far more people than DDT could if you coated all African villages with it Holy crap the elites go around raising millions for mosquito nets so they can pat them selves on the back while millions of those black/brown babies are dying from a disease that could be controlled with DDT. Malaria is western world elitist convenient black population controller. But you won’t read about it in the NYTimes.

Bulldust

The population increases that will occur over the next generation or two are already “baked in” due to decreased infant mortality rates from vaccine programs etc. On the flipside fertility rates (births per female, assuming we are still allowed to use sex labels) are also dropping and will be below replacement levels in a generation or two. As Hans Rosling puts it… we are already at “peak baby.”
Anywho … could ramble at length, but clearly humans are adapting and quickly. Misanthropes such as Robinson who think peoplekind (hat tip Trudeau) are a cancer on the planet and think there should be less of us (something he is too cowardly to admit), should do us all a favour (in his opinion) and lead by example. I have always struggled to understand how these people can maintain a straight face while burdened with the cognitive dissonance of their neo-Malthusian thinking and their own “carbon footprints.” I could not live a life of such stupendous hypocrisy.

DMH

@Bill Powers
In Canada, at least, it’s a steady stream of climate alarmism, especially via the CBC, our faithful public broadcaster (faithful, per Orwell).
Rachel Carson was the patron saint of all life when I studied biology in the 70s but was DDT really so villainous? Was DDT applied at levels and in ways that made it far more dangerous than it needed to be in order to control insects? Was the DDT concern exaggerated?
In biology classes, we were presented with images of birds with malformed beaks and thin egg shells. Perhaps DDT was applied at levels far exceeding the need like it might have been for birth control pills or the treatment of Addison’s disease at the time. Does anyone know whether this was the case?

DMH asked: (ANSWERS IN CAPS BELOW, FROM MALARIA AND THE DDT STORY, The Institute of Economic Affairs, London, 2000)
“Rachel Carson was the patron saint of all life when I studied biology in the 70s but was DDT really so villainous?”
NO IT WAS NOT.
“Was DDT applied at levels and in ways that made it far more dangerous than it needed to be in order to control insects?”
POSSIBLY, IN AGRICULTURE, BUT NOT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST MALARIA
“Was the DDT concern exaggerated?”
YES, HUGELY SO.
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/02/16/draft-un-climate-report-poor-people-will-be-hit-worst/comment-page-1/#comment-2746222
Below is a graph that quantifies the number of DEATHS EACH YEAR FROM MALARIA – between one and two million.
Note how malaria deaths increased steadily since 1980 (or earlier), after the banning of DDT in 1972, and how malaria deaths declined after DDT was re-introduced.
See the red area of the graph – that is CHILDREN UNDER 5 YEARS OF AGE – FOUR AND UNDER – JUST BABIES FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! Yes I am upset. This holocaust was preventable, and easily so.
I want to personally recognize the radical environmental movement for the key role it played in the banning of DDT and the resulting deaths of millions of people from malaria, especially children under five years of age. After this holocaust became fully apparent, many enviros continued to oppose DDT, based on flimsy evidence and unsupported allegations.
DDT was only re-introduced circa year 2002. Malaria deaths declined after that. The battle against malaria continues.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1566107003466856&set=a.1012901982120697.1073741826.100002027142240&type=3&theater
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/02/07/remember-when-global-warming-was-going-to-increase-malaria-never-mind/comment-page-1/#comment-2737825
MALARIA AND THE DDT STORY
The Institute of Economic Affairs, London, 2000
SUMMARY
• Malaria imposes colossal costs on mankind, in terms of lives
lost, ill health and impaired economic development. Over 1
million people, mostly children, die from the disease each
year and over 300 million fall sick.
• Malaria is primarily a developing country disease, but it was
not always so. Much of Europe and North America were
malarial up to the early 1950s, but spraying the pesticide DDT
eradicated the disease from these areas.
• Vector control (killing the anopheles mosquito) using DDT
was pursued as a one-weapon policy after World War II in
most malarial areas. While DDT was remarkably successful in
many areas, it was not always appropriate.
• Despite a lack of scientific evidence, DDT was banned in
many countries in the early 1970s following concerns about
its environmental and human health impacts. However, the
negative impacts from DDT use in agriculture, which led to
the concerns, are vastly different from the impacts of DDT
used in health control.
• The environmental impacts of DDT use in disease control are
negligible and indeed its use could be beneficial to the
environment. In addition, no scientific peer-reviewed study
has ever replicated any case of negative human health impacts
from DDT. Nevertheless, environmental pressure groups and
donor agencies disapprove of the use of DDT and actively
campaign for its withdrawal.

• Although malaria is a developing country problem, much of
the malaria control policy is formulated by developed country
agencies. As a result, developing countries are frequently
required to follow malaria control programmes that are not
necessarily ideal or even applicable to local circumstances.
• Following a more politically correct and purportedly
environmentally friendly policy, many health agencies, donor
agencies and governments withdrew their support for DDT,
and pesticide use in general, in disease control. The higher
costs of the alternatives and the development of mosquito
resistance to many alternatives increase the importance of
DDT use.
• Many countries have been encouraged to control malaria
with drug programmes and bed nets alone, repeating the
mistakes of following one-track control programmes of the
past.
• In December 2000, country delegates to the UNEP Persistent
Organic Pollutants (POPs) Convention Negotiating
Conference showed their support for the use of DDT in
disease control, by granting exemption and allowing
continued use of the chemical.

co2islife

Isolating the Contribution of CO2 on Atmospheric Temperature
In any serious scientific experiment, efforts are made to “control” for as many exogenous factors as possible. The whole purpose is to isolate the impact of the independent variable on the dependent variable. ΔWeightloss = ΔCaloric Intake + ΔExercise + ΔBase Metabolism + error. To minimize the error of the model (maximize explanatory power), variables outside … Continue reading
https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/isolating-the-contribution-of-co2-on-atmospheric-co2/

DMH

@co2islife
What works for thermodynamics does not work for the human endocrine system. You, unfortunately, give nearly the worst example possible to make your case.

co2islife

??? Please explain.

DMH

Insulin, released when blood sugar rises due to the ingestion of carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates, and sugary beverages, but also bread, pasta, and rice – to name but a few – is the primary driver of fat deposition. See Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories, or his Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It for details, or Lustig’s Sugar: The Bitter Truth:



In short, more or less, consuming calories from fat and oils will not make you fat; consuming calories from carbohydrates will.
Exercise is great for muscle, bone, and cardiovascular strength, among other benefits, but it is generally regarded as useless for weight loss, despite what your local gym might suggest.
The second law of thermodynamics does not apply to the human metabolism in the way you suggest. Food calories are not equal to one another. Our metabolisms and our bodies, in general, are a little bit more like our climate – very complex and insufficiently understood by legions of experts, including, perhaps your own physician.

co2islife

Oh, I get it. That was simply an example model. Weight loss = exercise + caloric intake. I never thought that would be the controversial part of the post.

Russ R.

For most of us, our bodies are adapted for seasonal periods of plenty, and seasonal periods of caloric rationing. It is an adaptation past down to us by thousands of ancestors surviving harsh seasonal and climatic variations, that hindered year-round access to consistent food supplies.
For only the last 70 years or so, most of us have removed the periods of hunger from our lives. That is the source of chronic fat stores. Aerobic exercise will burn fat. Anaerobic exercise will not, but the recovery process for either will also consume available calories.
The idea that exercise does not produce weight loss is refuted by every study ever done on the subject. The only times it does not, is when you don’t have excess body fat to lose, or if you replace the weight of lost fat, with the weight of increased muscle mass.
Your choice is simple: reduce your caloric intake, or increase your caloric burn. Best results are obtained from doing both.
Body fat is “calories in the bank”. It is true that carbs are more efficient at producing body fat, because they are more associated with “harvest seasons” that our ancestors used to prepare for winter. But if you burn them before they are placed in storage, they are not turned to fat stores. They are a good source of calories. But you have to limit your consumption, to what you are willing to currently utilize through movement.

Todd

So I take it he’s volunteering to go first?

Mark Hansford

Precisely Todd. Anyway cities are all very well but are very vulnerable to logistical breakdown. In the past here in the UK we have nearly run out of fuel – one of them caused by union action blockading the refineries. The shelves of all the supermarkets quickly emptied. There is no way for a population the size of London – or any other mega city to feed itself – how quickly would order breakdown once the inhabitants got hungry?
Or just perhaps thats what ‘greenies’ are hoping – that populations will ‘adjust’ themselves. I’m sure his theorising means well, but the suffering is seldom considered as it is a necessary process to reduce the worlds population by half. Rich or safely cocooned advocates like this do not perceive themselves or their family and friends having to suffer

Folks, this is another piece of the agenda 21/2030, and it is employed through predictive programming. Incremental, ridiculous, anti-human ideas of massive depopulation are injected into the discussion and it eventually becomes palatable. These people are classic satanists (ego centric, me-first-at-all-costs types). Plain and simple. They despise humanity because they are insecure, selfish, disgusting people who want to be comfortable and have all the resources. They hate competition which is why they love government, because they can use violence to achieve their goals while sitting in their Ivory towers, virtue signaling and trucking the well meaning masses.
To conclude this is anything but social engineering and eugenics based is a misplaced and ignorant interpretation.
Psychopathic parasites. That is exactly what these types are.

Tricking. Android phone has terrible auto correct

Carbon Bigfoot

Robinson is from the Fatal Cult of Anti-Humanists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists & Radical Environmentalists described by Bob Zubrin in his “Merchants of Despair”. A thorough dismantling of all the inane theories described in the “Population Bomb” by high priest Paul Ehrlich and his acolyte John Holdren– Disciples of Malthus.

damian

Kim Stanley Robinson is a Science Fiction writer ( a brilliant one ) and can say whatever he likes.
It doesn’t make him or his novels correct.
Science Fiction is the perfect place for AGW to be discussed as it is fiction. I can read War of the Worlds without believing in Martians.

You said it for me Todd. The answer is not likely. Just like those who fly around the world, live in big opulent houses with 5 plus garages and use lots of electricity and fossil fuel but feel they have the right to lecture US on what we shouldn’t be doing.

Bryan A

Realistically speaking, the Earth is already around 90% empty. In fact, just the Land Masses themselves are around 90% empty. The World is so empty in fact that you could take every person alive today, all 7.6bn, and fit them ALL on the Islands of Hawaii. Of course each person would have a 6×6 personal space but they would all fit and the remainder of the Earth would be empty (if all on one level). But if you went to 8 stories tall, everyone would enjoy a vast 12 x 24 – 288sq. ft. personal space.
The Earth is really nearly empty

J Hope

Yeah, Bryan, let’s build some apartment blocks on the top of Mount Everest. Lot of space there just for us. In fact we can cover every square inch of available space which won’t be a problem as long as we can live without water, and float our rubbish and human waste into space. Problem solved. 🙂 We shouldn’t let our opposition to the nonsense of AGW blind us from awareness of the very real population problem facing this planet.

Earthling2

Why would you want another 700 million refugees that can’t read or write all clamouring to move to the USA or other civilized nations? And then blame it on climate change or global warming? This kind of messed up critical thinking by Bryan A is worse than the useful idiots promoting the CAGW bandwagon.

Bryan A

You both obviously are slow on the uptake…(and far too literal)
The entire world populace CAN fit on the islands of Hawaii (not should)
That is how few people there are in the world

Sara

I will happily support Mr. Robinson’s view if he DOES volunteer to be the first in line to get off my planet. Otherwise, he can just get his mouth sewn shut. And stop breathing my air.
Rural people? Where does he think his food comes from? The Moon?
Does any sane person take this guy seriously, beyond his despicable attitude toward his own species? He most definitely ain’t one of MY species!!!

The cities cause most for the global warming, and are the ones demanding remediation due to their folly of building in unsuitable locations (New Orleans) or to close to the oceans. Leave us country folk alone.

Alan Robertson

Rural populations in the US are primarily employed in agriculture and mining/ energy production.
What better way to reduce the populations of urban areas than to cut off their food, energy and raw materials?.

so what is the difference between these new cities and concentration camps? all that is left is to fire up the gas chambers.

Bio gas presumably.

J Mac

Seattle doesn’t need gas chambers. ‘Progressive’ Seattle wants to implement ‘safe injection sites’.

Weather-Geek

The inmates are running the asylum here in the Peoples Republic of Seattle…but what is happening in Seattle is starting to affect the whole state of Washington thru our moronic state governor.

Sara

Please define ‘safe injection sites’.

drednicolson

I surmise it’s one of two things: either places where dopers can get sterile needles to shoot up with, or places where the suicidal can get a lethal injection, no questions asked.

Jimmy Haigh

OK – liberals and lefties first. That would sort the world’s problems out.

rbabcock

Stalin and Mao both went after the academics. These people better watch out. They think they are superior and are untouchable, but history has shown otherwise.

Weather-Geek

But the academics are the ones pushing this agenda on the rest of us. Kids in school today, all the way from elementary to university are being indoctrinated with this ‘sky is falling’ non-sense. The left wants all these kids to become activists…whether its about climate, social rights or guns. (Stalin, Mao, Polpot and Castro were for ‘social rights’…we can see where that got the human race.)

John from Europe

Why don’t these people lead by example?
If they hate humans so much..

Latitude

because they get up in the morning…look in the mirror…and make themselves look that way
…and approve it

drednicolson

They like to imagine themselves as something more than human.
In reality, they act in a way that’s less than human.

JimG1

I could go along with this if we emptied the northeastern US and most of California, Oregon and Washington and sent those folks to cities in China and Mexico. But first we need to strengthen our borders or they’d just come back. I’d also have them take at least one person from each of our other big cities like Chicago, Cleveland, etc., with them. Just saying.

Weather-Geek

I live in Washington state, and I’d like to get my state back…back to what it was like when I grew up. I’d like to sent the libbies to Havana, or Pyongyang…so that they can enjoy their stay.

MarkW

Since most of them are wax poetic about the way the Chinese are able to get things done, maybe Beijing would be more to their tastes.

Sara

No. These crazypants people need their own planet. Don’t send them to China or Mexico, because they’ll just come back here and we don’t want them, either.
There’s such a drive on right now to find a “twin Earth” that the first to go to one should be these pseudo-intellectuals who despise the rest of us. After they’re gone to their own planet, the rest of us can just get on with our lives.

Steve Keppel-Jones

We’ll send them in the B Ark. We’ll tell them that the rest of us will be coming along right behind them in the A and C Arks. 🙂

ResourceGuy

Yes, and call it the Frank Church Wilderness.

Tom Halla

Much of the purported “wilderness” greens admire was formerly managed by someone for their own purposes. In the Americas or Australia, the natives managed the “wildlands” with fire, largely, for the purpose of improving hunting.
For an entertaining rant, Michael Crighton’s commentary on Yellowstone in “State of Fear” is illustrative.

drednicolson

Most early colonial settlements in the Americas were built on the sites of what had once been native villages. Plymouth of first-Thanksgiving fame was founded on the same cleared land where Squanto’s own tribe had lived, before disease all but wiped them out.

Tom in Florida

He is being a trickster. Most murders take place in cities, so if everyone moved to cities more would be killed thus lowering the population overall. Those that aren’t murdered could be convinced to participate in Renewal at age 30. Perhaps a light could be implanted in everyone’s hand which would begin to flash indicating when it is time.

James Beaver

Logan was armed for his run … and lived. 🙂

John Endicott

Logan, like most elites, didn’t want for himself what he was willing to let the masses endure.

rocketscientist

Worse than murders is the concurrent increase in transmission of communicable diseases that comes from increased population densities.
Need observational evidence? Look at China.

willy

How this idea looks like in the real world:
https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11107

Bruce Cobb

Oh my. So much wrong with this thesis, so little time. He begins with the absurd notion that the “planet needs to be saved”, and that we can only get there by bringing CO2 levels down to 350ppm (wonder where he got the McKidiotic idea?), and goes downhill from there. His “solution” of everybody moving to cities is stupid on steroids, and typical of reality-challenged, ivory tower fantasies. He claims it will happen anyway. That’s Greenthink for “we will make it happen, like it or not”.

Weather-Geek

Climate today is about feelings, not logic or data. These ‘academics’ are a bunch of navel gazers. They have no real world experience. They’ve been living off of the public for all of their working lives. (Academics from private schools are also arrogant, so it’s not just the public sector.) I just recently went back to school, and ended getting some less than stellar grades in one class due to not adopting the narrative. I refuse to be brainwashed. (Multicultural studies is the worst…no real world education, just feelings.)

These people are savage, ruthless and serious.If it sounds like 1984, Agenda 21 and Brussels, Paris and Kyoto all rolled into one…it’s because it is. The time has come for stern measures.

There is absolutely nothing new here. This is, simply, the “sustainability” doctrine that most universities and elites have bought into for the future. They have no idea how this would turn out for them or others. The guy is a mental lightweight and should stick to “fiction”. He also should read up on the French Revolution.

Sweet Old Bob

Another morosoph .
If we could reduce their population by half ….

Bill Yarber

Since the homicide rate in cities is 5+x that of the suburban and country areas, he is essentially advocating genocide by criminals!

Sounds like it. Not a nice person I am afraid.

Weather-Geek

Why do you think the left defends criminals and illegal aliens? They want others to do the dirty work for them. Most lawyers are on the left, and make it easy for the criminal, but hard on the victim…unless victim-hood somehow helps them out politically.

Mark from the Midwest

A science fiction writer with a degree in English, that’s who the Guardian turns to for scientific opinion pieces

Weather-Geek

It’s getting to the point that a real scientist is no better…they’re all blinded by $money$ and politics.

ResourceGuy

“The final solution to the AGW question” has arrived. Paraphrased from a dictator’s walk in the garden.

From my file of tag lines and smart remarks:

Committed Communist will kill a few million – on the way to their goal.
Committed Environmentalists will kill a few billion – which is their goal.

I knew someone would identify the mole.

dodgy geezer

If you want to minimise the impact of people on the planet (which I take it is the meaning of ‘save the Earth’), you should do the opposite.
Cities can only exist if agriculture overproduces, and if the people in the cities are producing sophisticated specialist products like aircraft, banking, insurance and telecoms. If you close down all the cities and their sophisticated technologies, and force people to live in unsupported groups close to nature, you will lower the human footprint (and numbers) very rapidly. There must still be a few Khmer Rouge people around to show us how…..

beng135

Yup, that’s what I was going to say. He, like most greenies, can’t have it both ways.

Weather-Geek

Greenies (and lefties in general) can’t see beyond their own nose.

Sara

Correction, Weather-Geek: they do not WANT to see beyond their own noses.
Fixed it for you.

Stevan Reddish

Yes, they don’t want to see beyond their own nose because then they would have to consider others’ noses.

Stevan Reddish

Yes, I know – misplaced an apostrophe.
SR

2hotel9

So, all the circular, lying word salad removed his plan is to force people into concentrated centers for their control. My, my, just where have we seen this before? Funny thing, his hero Pol Pot did the exact opposite, forcing people out of cities to control them, while Mao did a rope-a-dope by forcing people in cities out and rural people into cities, all in order to “re-educate” them.
Just exactly how does he plan to feed 7 billion people with no farms? Can’t farm on concrete and asphalt! And growing vegetables in buckets on your 4 foot by 8 foot allotted space in a “city” ain’t gonna get it done. And who, precisely, is he planning to hire to round up people and drag them into his “cities”?
I don’t think this clown has thought through his nazi-istic little fantasy very thoroughly.

Jon Jewett

(,,how does he plan to feed….) Soylent Green? Or was your question purely rhetorical.

Sara

Soylent Green is people!

thomasjk

What kind of fabric is woven from ignorance as the warp and delusions as the weft?

rocketscientist

The cloak of “Erised”. Put it on and it will confound you and lead you off the nearest cliff.
Heck, I didn’t say it was a good thing….

Sparky

Herd the Sheeple into the Pens.

David Charlton

The most serious error in this argument is that, for the most part, large cities don’t work. They provide inferior education, on average, the infrastructure decays everywhere, stress is higher, crime is worse, cost of living is higher and wages are not, at least for the lower strata, transportation is slower. Why is that? I don’t know but until something changes, it seems like doubling down on a failed model for living seems like a poor choice.

Thomas Homer

David Charlton: “large cities don’t work” – so true … where does their garbage go?

Jon Jewett

Well, they CAN work. Chicago stumbled along while old man Daily was in charge. He knew that it was possible to kill the goose. Lee Kuan Yew did a pretty good job in Singapore. Modern day Democrats just aren’t that smart.

Sara

Oh, so you’ve been to Detroit and Baltimore? Those aren’t the only cities like that.

TA

Large Cities breed dependence/socialism/Democrat voters.

beng135

He’s been living in a make-believe-world too long.

Weather-Geek

Don’t most academic types?

BallBounces

My brain is already half empty — does that count?

fxk

Skull is too large for the amount of brains in evidence.

DonM

Neither half full or half empty … no assumed negative, no assumed positive.
Appropriate engineering response is 50% capacity.

That puts you ahead of most of the population.

drednicolson

Mr. Zombie sees it as halfway to another brain!

kokoda - AZEK (Deck Boards) doesn't stand behind its product

As if they even cared about the environment; No governments joining hands via the UN to halt the destruction of rain forests in Borneo, Papua New Guinea, and Brazil.
Why does anyone believe they actually care? It is just a ruse to achieve an agenda.

Greg Cavanagh

Interesting.
Gathering everybody in the US and Europe up into cities, saves the Amazon rainforest how?

MarkW

The movement of people to the cities has slowed tremendously in recent years.
It used to be that technology demanded that people cluster together.
Newer technologies have removed that requirement.

2hotel9

Human advancement is the reality pinheads like Kim Stanley Robinson refuse to accept.

There was another science fiction writer, a committed Leftist like Robinson, and a name that he should recognize – Dr. Isaac Asimov. A city boy, who rarely ventured outside of New York City.
He, too, wrote of the “ultimate urbanization of mankind.” Except that, despite his own background, he realized he was writing about a dystopian culture, carrying the seeds of its own destruction. See The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, or the fate of Trantor in the Foundation series.
Cities have been, at least for the last few millennia, essential to civilization – but when allowed to become too dominant, they become cancers to that civilization.

Patrick B

Another liberal fraud. No science degree or training. He wants everyone else to live in cities. He’s living in “Village Homes” in Davis – 225 homes and 20 apartments on 70 acres – not atypical for California suburbs but certainly not city density. http://www.villagehomesdavis.org/
And a brief search indicates he did numerous talks and books signings from Maine to NY to Phoenix to San Diego to Santa Cruz. I suspect a bit more searching will turn up many more. I’m wondering how he traveled to each of these distant locations? Surely not burning up jet fuel and destroying our world.

2hotel9

His idea for the lowly masses would be akin to the megalopolis seen in such things as Judge Dredd, whilst the “enlightened” such as himself will live in palatial estates with high walls and armed guards.

Weather-Geek

Just like Bill Nye, the unscientific actor guy who studied mechanical engineering.

Where do these nutters come from?

Carbon Bigfoot

Aftermath of a Mongolian Gang Bang.

F. Leghorn

I have no idea what that means but I laughed anyway.

John

Let’s see – 71% of the earth’s surface is water, leaving 29% of the surface that is not water. Of that, some is occupied by people (about 0.03%), arable (crop and pasture, about 10%) and the rest of it is neither occupied nor usable (about 90%). So, moving people from the 10% to the 0.03% is a solution to something? Huh? How can people not see the bigger picture? Oh, and by the way, there is nothing humans can do to change the climate at all. Period. And we are not changing it. The vast majority of the surface being water, it dominates climate. And it is virtually ALL subject to the sun, shaded only by clouds at times.

Bruce Cobb

And soylent green (the green wafers made from “plankton”) would be the food source, of course. Oh, the possibilities are endless.

Smart Rock

Science fiction writer proclaims himself as having a plan for a “sustainable” future. Lives in a world of his own imagination, convinced that his own in vacuo musing has value in the real world, and is worth our time in reading it. Sorry, not worth bothering to compose a response.

Gamecock

‘It’s the only way to save the planet’
Wut? From what?
This big ol’ dirt ball will keep flying around the sun NO MATTER WHAT WE DO.

Rob

Where would the cities get their food? The fact is they wouldn’t, and the idea that you can grow food without feeding it is left wing loon craziness. If cut civilization off form the energy it takes to produce, transport and store food, which is what they’re trying to do, then the result will be genocide and the end of the human race as we know it.

David S

Well remember he’s a science fiction writer. ‘Nuff said.

F. Leghorn

Obviously not “hard science” fiction.

Yawrate

I’ve got an idea for KSR. How about a future that includes the next ice age? Fertile ground, as I’ve yet to find an apocalyptic novel that doesn’t start with inundated cities.

gunsmithkat

He should move to Mars. Which makes as much sense as his idea of depopulating the countryside.

Tom in Florida

You know what, all greenies should move to Mars where they can begin anew and mold the planet the what they want.

MarkW

Why waste a perfectly good planet on these nut cases.
Give them Ceres.

Sara

Naw, Ceres is covered in hydrazine or something like it. Send them to Titan. It has a permanent methane atmosphere that they can use for fuel to keep themselves warm. That infers that they’ll introduce O2 into the mix to make methane flammable, but what the heck – it’ll warm up that big moon in a heartbeat!

MarkW

Reminds me of the ending of “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” from the original series of movies.

Tom in Florida, suggesting the green fanatics all move to Mars and transform it doesn’t make sense! They would have to use– gasp– CO2!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rah

I only have one thought. I’m not listening to some guy that obviously has a half empty head

observa

Makes a change from wanting to frogmarch everyone off to the countryside to wallow around in paddy fields and dig ditches I suppose. They’re certainly a restless, schizophrenic bunch these lefties with their Utopian visions. Can’t seem to make up their minds about anything, a lot like their bizarre weather prognostications..

Science fiction writers are often very bright, and creative thinkers. Unfortunately, they are seldom also practical thinkers — for every 100 wild ideas, one has a chance of being pragmatic and useful
I have read SciFi since 1960 (including every SciFi book in the main LA County Public library at the time, so caught up on all the books I had missed earlier), so am well-versed in the field.
SciFi writers have intentionally started religions (Hubbard) and accidentally started religions (Robert A. Heinlein).
Some have been highly trained practicing scientists and some have been drug-addled hippies.
Some write what will be known in 100 years as literature, some write pulp-fiction.
Having “science” in one’s occupation title (“Science Fiction Writer”) does not make anyone an expert on science and certainly doesn’t bless their opinions with any cache of value for society.
Robinson has missed nearly everything with this idea.

Ed Zuiderwijk

Dr Goebbels would have loved Kim’s ideas.
Anybody can see that, except Guardianistas.

fretslider

Kim Stanley Robinson
Who?

Kim Jong Robinson, the next North Korean dictator 🙂

ResourceGuy

A number of former camp guards slipped into the U.S. after the war.

Left the big city for country life 15 years ago. People can keep their cities, hate even going near them now. I wont be forced back either.

F. Leghorn

“Left the big city for country life”
You really didn’t need the qualifier.

MarkW

I grew in LA, I now live in a city of 50,000.
Not going back.

Sara

I spent 30 years living in Chicago. Nothing could persuade me to move back there now.

Jacob Frank

Where do I sign up to whore for agenda 21? Really good work if you can get it

John Bell

I always get a kick out of these idiot control freaks who think they can solve a “problem” with some simple “solution” which would only create real problem.

FARMS have lots of GUNS. Me mates grew up target practicing. Can split a greenie pea at 300 m.

Tom Schaefer

And that is the kind of people that are currently deterring, and will eventually win a civil was if liberty is directly attacked. These are the people I want as my neighbors.

Sara

Ditto. Plenty of deer in my county alone. No one would go hungry.

Myron Mesecke

This guy has some serious lack of knowledge when it comes to economic geography if he thinks everyone can move out of rural areas and go live in cities with everyone else. What are we going to do, bus and fly all the workers out to the mines, farms, forests, etc every day?

RicDre

“I like some of Kim Stanley Robinson’s work, the Red Mars / Green Mars / Blue Mars trilogy is an excellent read.”
I too enjoyed reading this trilogy, but if I remember correctly, this trilogy had a very anti-capitalist, pro-socialist bias with the character representing capitalism being murdered and the rest of the characters accepting this murder as necessary. Given that story arc, his current ideas do not surprise me.

markl

Agenda 21 to the core.