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Letter: Unsustainable business

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  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 6, 2014 4:17 a.m.

    As long as the living tell us that they will not be inconvenienced by having to share the bounties and blessings of this world with others, their message will amount to nothing but selfishness. Our Creator told us that there is enough, and to spare, but they know more than our Creator, or at least they think they do.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 6, 2014 5:44 a.m.

    "The business model requiring continued population growth is fatally flawed."

    Actually, as a "business model" it is probably spot on. However, logic and common sense
    should tell us that an ever increasing population will ultimately stretch our resources to the breaking point. With clean water being the future bottleneck.

    The point will fall on deaf ears, especially when religion comes into play.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 7:22 a.m.

    Malthusians will always be among us, as evidenced by this letter. They, like communists and other central planners, believe that we should turn all economic decisions over to a few elite and oh-so-wise intellectuals who know better than the rest of us how our time, effort and money should be spent in order to "save the planet" as well as save us from ourselves. And they've been wrong every time they predict that the sky is falling.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    Right Joe Blow: let's not have any diversity of opinions by including religious ones.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Feb. 6, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    "And they've been wrong every time they predict that the sky is falling."

    Unless you come to Salt Lake in the winter, and then the sky is literally falling. In fact you can taste it.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 6, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    "Right Joe Blow: let's not have any diversity of opinions by including religious ones."

    Religion tells you that God will provide and that we have enough resources to support whatever population we can produce.

    OK,

    Now, what does common sense tell you? Not even talking about science. Just good old common sense.

    I am OK with a diversity of opinion. But, not the opinion of a small group of people whose best justification was "cause God told me"

  • Thinkin\' Man Rexburg, ID
    Feb. 6, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    Yes, building wealth is indeed a necessary and morally worthwhile goal. We don't live in a utopian fantasy world, we live in the real world where people have to make a living and a prosperous economy is essential. A wealthier society is a cleaner society, per capita. Look at the improvements in air and water quality in the U.S. over the past 50 years! They are a direct result of prosperity and technological innovation. Poor countries (and companies and people) cannot afford pollution control measures. Kill prosperity, and you kill the environment.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    Richard,
    You complained, but what SOLUTION do you propose to control population growth?

    One child limit (like China)? Forced sterilization? Mass executions? What is your proposed solution? The ones fascists and central-government extremists have employed in the past have been very unsavory.

    And what does this have to do with moving the prison?

    Do you think keeping the prison where it is will limit population growth? I don't.

    ===

    IMO the problem is not the population itself. It's the location of the population (when it gets crowded into one area that can't sustain that size population, like LA, NYC, Chicago, etc, even SLC). When these big cities don't have enough resources to sustain their population... they take resources (re-channel water, fuel, air, etc) from the surrounding areas, even the surrounding States.

    Maybe we should spread out a bit. Leave the cities and make other parts of the country bloom (instead of sucking their resources dry to serve the people in the megatropolises).

    If more Americans lived like rural mid-America (instead of living on top of each other like the megatropolises on the coasts)... it would be more sustainable.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    Mike R, I appreciate your reference to LDS scripture that there is enough and to spare. I wish you had included the rest of the passage:

    "Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment." (D&C 104:18)

    So there is enough and to spare only if the wealthy share with the poor and needy, which the growing income gap between rich and poor suggests is not happening.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    When it comes to sustainability I'll trust a scientist more than religon. The evidence is all around us. What has always happened to a species when it overextends the carrying capacity of it's environment? To continue to exploit our resources, with no regards to science, just because a religon tells us God wants us to is foolish! That makes about as much sense as the Mayans performing human sacrifices for centuries just because their religous leaders told them it keeps God satisfied.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 9:59 a.m.

    Excellent letter. The endless growth model based on turning earth's limited resources into waste is certainly unsustainable. But the bigger question is this: Which wall will we hit first — the resource/global warming wall or the internal wall built by a system of funneling most of the wealth to the top, thus creating increasingly stressed middle and lower classes, consequently putting too much burden on government to make up the difference and resulting in eventually overwhelming levels of debt? It might be a neck-and-neck race right to the finish line, but do we really have to hold this race at all?

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Feb. 6, 2014 10:35 a.m.

    When our conservative friends come up with a way to create more water, please let us know. In the meantime, we really ought to think twice about twice the population in this thirsty little valley.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    @SEY – “And they've been wrong every time they predict that the sky is falling.”

    So let me make sure I understand – Malthus makes a prediction that, so far, has not come to pass so his ideas have no merit whatsoever (even though many economists think he just did not adequately account for technology)?

    Can we assume you apply this some logic in all areas of your life… like religion? If so then please google “religious predictions that have not come true” and then explain why you (or any logical person) would take any of it seriously.

    And just so we’re clear – I’m not saying you’re wrong… just following the implications of your logic.

    @JoeBlow

    Spot on as usual…

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:27 a.m.

    Richard, you sound dangerously like the new Pope. And he's been branded a socialist.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:40 a.m.

    Again DeForrest, if the "growth model" is unsustainable... what alternative model do YOU propose?

    Any model requires growth. A stagnant system is not a healthy system. And when it gets sick... it eventually crashes. Is THAT what you want??

    ===

    Without growth (growth in population, growth in the economy) the system regardless of it's politics will collapse. What model are you talking about that doesn't use the Earth's limited resources?

    We can use them slower. But all systems use them.

    ===

    Get on the Space Station, or watch some video from orbit, you usually you can't even see any signs of human infestation.

    There is plenty of space on this earth for humans to live. And plenty of resources if we use them wisely and develop new more advanced alternatives as technology advances. We no longer use whale blubber... we don't use coal in our homes like we use to... right? We change and adapt (switching to cleaner options).

    I've heard the overpopulation scare tactics since I was a child in the 60's... and all the things they predicted back then never happened. And they hadn't even thought of Global Warming yet!

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    @Curmudgeon
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Mike R, I appreciate your reference to LDS scripture that there is enough and to spare. I wish you had included the rest of the passage:

    "Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment." (D&C 104:18)

    =========

    My seniments exactly --
    Guys like this like to take scriptures completely out of context simply to fit their agenda.

    The blessing of "enough and to spare" only applies IF we are good stewards, use our resourse wisely, do the very best that we can with what we have, not be selfish and greedy, share and share alike, --- otherwise, it will be our own cursing -- just as the Lord promised in the very next line of scripture!

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    Irony Guy,
    Again... what solution do you propose?

    Just complaining doesn't help. What's your solution?

    I see no reason why all the growth needs to be in this tiny valley. Why can't it be in other parts of the State that are less overpopulated?

    ===

    Have you talked to Mayor Becker about your solution?

    The last two DEMOCRAT Mayors we have had in SLC have both proposed more low-income high-density housing developments for SLC. Does high-density housing make the problem of more people living in one area than it can sustain WORSE? Or BETTER?

    I think it makes it worse. Have you said anything to the Mayor or his people planning a more sustainable future for SLC?

    Maybe we need to encourage people and businesses to move to other areas... instead of trying to attract them to move to Utah (mostly SLC is the problem). There are plenty of areas in Utah that could sustain more growth. SLC is the main problem (in our area).

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    Curmudgeon makes a good point that a good editor can prove anything.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    "Get on the Space Station, or watch some video from orbit, you usually you can't even see any signs of human infestation"...Actually, you can. The smoke and declining amazon forests are visible, as is the smoke from their burning. As is the bathtub ring around lake mead. Intensive agriculture is clearly visible. I imagine our inversion is clearly visible from space, as is pollution downstream from most large urban areas. As for there being enough space and resources for us...space maybe. Resources, no. And any premise that touts there being enough if we would only share is nothing short of socialism on these pages. Wealth Redistribution of the worst kind. We will never let that happen. The problem is not just that populations are increasing, and they are, but that billions already here are gaining spending and consumer power. We're not adding people, we're adding consumers. A billion cars in China and India are pulling up to the same gas pump you are. Guess what's going to happen to supply, and price?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    Repubs pleading for diversity of opinion? Huh? This coming from the same group who shut down SB 100 behind closed doors? I thought repubs hated closed door meetings where the other political party isn't even allowed to come in? Apparently not!

    I would love to see more diversity of opinion. But the folks claiming that religion is being quieted are the first to quiet other points of view with their religion.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Feb. 6, 2014 12:53 p.m.

    @2 bits, I'm with you. Let's encourage people to move somewhere else.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    Feb. 6, 2014 1:08 p.m.

    To "Richard Fox" that is the great thing about capitalism. As resources become limited, they also become more expensive. As the price goes up, consumption and use go down. At the same time as availability goes down, people come up with new ways of either producing that item or else come up with a substitution that can be made cheaper. If they do a good job, then they begin to prosper and move forward.

    For example, it used to be that piano keys were made out of ivory. As the availability of ivory diminished, the people that made piano keys found that they could make really nice looking keys out of plastic.

    The same with virtually every other product that has been replaced. When a viable option comes along, people adapt. When food begins to be in short supply, the cost will go up, and people will self regulate and population will not grow at the same rate.

    If you let capitalism work, solutions will be found.

  • Grover Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 1:35 p.m.

    RedCal: And when fresh water becomes in short supply?? How will people "self regulate" then? The mayor might be on the right track if the new housing he proposes in SLC is high density without lawns and water consuming plants and built to current more stringent energy standards. Whoops. Utah wouldn't adopt those standards since we don't listen to anyone outside our borders. Yes sir, just more liberal calptrap telling us what to do!

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 1:43 p.m.

    RedShirtCalTech
    Pasedena, CA
    To "Richard Fox" that is the great thing about capitalism. As resources become limited, they also become more expensive. As the price goes up, consumption and use go down.

    ========

    That's not always the case Red....

    Petroleum oil was black, dirty, and completely and utterly useless --
    and only became economicially viable when whales were hunted into near extinction.

    It was evolve, adapt or die.

    Man and greed of the market destoyred the Do-Do, Quadda, Passenger Pidgeon, Carolina Parakeet, and dozens of other species.

    Captitalism is like fire,
    kept contoled and regulated it provides warmth and safety.

    Left unchecked and to itself,
    it detroys everything in its path.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 1:59 p.m.

    Hutterite
    I didn't say you can't see ANY signs of humans from orbit, or from a plane. Obviously there are many places we do exist and you can see our impact.

    But what I said is... there are a lot of places on the planet where humans don't even exist (yet). The space that is currently actually inhabited by homo-sapiens is probably around 1% (of the total land mass). We are just clumped into such tight spaces (in our big cities).

    We need to spread out. Not pile up in mega-cities that are unsustainable on their own. Try to have LA sustain it's own needs for a year... there would be mass starvation.

    ===

    But that's what we keep building... mega-cities, with more high-density housing, so we can fit more people into a smaller space. But those people still drive their own cars, heat their own homes, use water, fuel, etc....

    High-density housing of humans is counter-productive if you are going for sustainability. We don't get oxygen from more asphalt or more skyscrapers... we get it from more plant life. So doing away with lawns/vegetation is not the goal.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    Feb. 6, 2014 2:15 p.m.

    To "Grover" that is simple. As the supply of fresh water decreases from its current sources, then the price goes up until new sources become available. As price increase, use goes down. A good example of this is gasoline. When it was around $1.50/gallon we were using more gas than we have been since the price has been up over $3.00/gallon. Plus, as the cost to deliver fresh water from our current sources goes up, the viability of desalinization for coastal areas becomes a reality.

    To "LDS Liberal" and liberalism/Progressivism is like water to capitalism's fire. The more liberalism you pour on the fire, the more usless it becomes until it is put out and everybody is left in the dark, cold, and hungry.

  • SEY Sandy, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 3:21 p.m.

    Tyler D: no, you can't make that assumption. Those economists you're referring to are probably Malthusians (aka Keynesians) themselves. Central planning has never succeeded and never will. I don't think it's a good idea to give them enough rope to hang themselves because we'll all go down with them.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 3:35 p.m.

    Irony guy
    Burn hydrogen. That is how to produce more water.

    LDS lib,
    Only applies IF we are good stewards? You mean God did not know when He created the earth and placed us on it some of you would NOT be good stewards and He therefore did not create enough? Sorry, I do not accept that argument.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 6, 2014 4:49 p.m.

    Those who lack faith will tell us that unless God listens to them, that we're doomed. Wow! What arrogance. They would limit God. They would tell God who He can bless and exactly how much He can bless them. In other words they have already judged everyone and found everyone but themselves to be lacking.

    Fortunately, God will do His work whether they participate or not. He will still send the sunshine, even on us sinners. He'll give us moisture. He'll bless our crops, our flocks, our herds, and our families. The covenant that he has made with His children does not need their approval.

    God has enough and to spare whether some people believe it or not. Those of us who are under covenant understand our full responsibility and most of us are actively engaged in fulfilling those responsibilities. The sky is not falling.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 5:20 p.m.

    @mike richards. Why hasn't god given California an abundance of rain or the Colorado basin an abundance of snow. You know there is a difference between blind faith and being good stewards of the environment.

    Will god reward people with abundance if they are bent on destroying his gifts or being wasteful.

  • lcg Bluffdale, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 5:24 p.m.

    The population explosions is a left over from the last century myth. Now the opposite is true - Europe, Asia, and the US are facing a major loss of population that will have disastrous results for our planet.

    2012/11/28/'united states faces demographic bomb coming under population problems' by Arland Nichols. 'There is no baby-boom - there is a birth-dearth. And, yes, there is economic stagnation and looming long-term economic decline, but this is exacerbated (or perhaps caused by) the decline in birth rates....We have witnessed this in the disastrous economic situation throughout Europe, which is due in part to extremely low birth rates. Europe's fate appears increasingly likely for the United States. We are not having enough babies to replace our current population levels .
    From a documentary by Peter J Smith entitled."Demographic Bomb: demography is destiny,"...The phrase "demographic winter" refers to the contemporary phenomenon of a worldwide rapid decline in birthrates. The new documentary makes a forceful case that the loss of millions due to population control efforts has meant an irreplaceable loss of millions of producers and consumers who otherwise would be participating and supporting today's global economy.'

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 6, 2014 5:27 p.m.

    "A good example of this is gasoline. When it was around $1.50/gallon we were using more gas than we have been since the price has been up over $3.00/gallon."

    And that is fine like a country like America. But, think about it. Oil is a commodity, just like gold and silver.

    The price does not fluctuate based on location or economy.

    The value of a bbl of oil is based on the world value. So, if you look at the cost throughout the world of barrel of oil is fairly constant.

    Factor in taxes and cost to refine and one can reasonably predict the cost of gasoline.

    So, if you go to Nicaragua, for instance, where the average wage in US dollars is just over $2 per hour, the price of gasoline is still over $4 per gallon (closer to $5).

    That is where the argument falls apart.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 7:00 p.m.

    Re: RedShirtCalTech " When food begins to be in short supply, the cost will go up, and people will self regulate and population will not grow at the same rate."

    Robert Malthus lives!

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 6, 2014 7:25 p.m.

    Shaun,

    I'm sure that you know the answer to your questions, but, if you really want to know, why not ask Him who sends moisture. While you're in that religious mode, why not do a study of all the times during earth's history when the heavens were sealed?

    There are many reasons God chooses to withhold blessings, just like there are many times when a righteous father and mother take away privileges when their children show contempt and disrespect. Just because God chooses to withhold blessings does not mean that He has nothing to give. Giving "spoiled brats" blessings that are neither acknowledged nor appreciated is something that the Creator off all things will not always do, any more than a righteous father and mother would would continue to shower "blessings" and "kindness" on mocking children.

    If you had millions of dollars to bestow, would you pay attention to the attitudes of the receivers? God gave us much more than money. He gave us life and instructions on how to best use that life. Too many squander life as if it were as worthless as money.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Feb. 7, 2014 6:39 a.m.

    @MikeRichards

    Those who lack faith will tell us that unless God listens to them, that we're doomed. Wow! What arrogance. They would limit God. They would tell God who He can bless and exactly how much He can bless them.

    4:49p.m.Feb.6,2014

    =========

    Mike,

    What part of "Man can NOT be save in ignorance" -- slips past you?

    God is NOT going to save those who pretend to be "ignorant".
    He expects us to do all we can, THEN act in faith.

    He gives Man skills, intellect, ingenuity, a spark of his divine glory to imagine, create and problem solve--

    I don't believe He will float down and say "SpitSpot" Mary Poppin's style and clean the Earth for us so we can go outside and fly kites!

    FYI -- I do not "mock" God.
    I see his Love and Wisdom to trust us with some of HIS knowledge so we can make due for ourselves.
    It's part of Growing up.

    He also commanded us to tend, dress and beautify this world.
    I intend to keep his Commandments.

    BTW -- since you claim so much faith - don't see a Doctor.
    By your account, that would also be limiting God.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 9:35 a.m.

    Some hide under the cloak of "LDS" or "Mormon", thinking perhaps that doing that gives them "gavitas". One poster mocking said to use faith instead of seeing a doctor.

    Recently Elder Oaks said: "Brigham Young would ask, “Have you used any remedies?” To those who said no because “we wish the Elders to lay hands upon us, and we have faith that we shall be healed,” President Young replied: “That is very inconsistent according to my faith. If we are sick, and ask the Lord to heal us, and to do all for us that is necessary to be done, according to my understanding of the Gospel of salvation, I might as well ask the Lord to cause my wheat and corn to grow, without my plowing the ground and casting in the seed. It appears consistent to me to apply every remedy that comes within the range of my knowledge, and [then] to ask my Father in Heaven … to sanctify that application to the healing of my body.”

    Everything belongs to the Lord. We are simply caretakers. He gave us sufficient instructions on how to do our duties.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Feb. 7, 2014 1:33 p.m.

    @Mike Richards – “There are many reasons God chooses to withhold blessings…”

    I’m always baffled by responses like this especially when they are put forward as coherent explanations about the natural world.

    There’s a flood – it’s God. There’s no flood – it’s God. There’s an earthquake – it’s God. There’s no earthquake – it’s God. We could continue this indefinitely…

    But this demonstrates quite effectively why so many scientists fall into the agnostic/atheist camp – if God is the explanation for everything then he is effectively an explanation for nothing – i.e., if you remove God as an explanation and no facts are changed, then from a scientific perspective there is simply no reason to posit God.

    Your case is much stronger when you stick to personal experience – how has God changed your life.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 7, 2014 7:08 p.m.

    "One child limit (like China)?"

    Must not be such as bad economic plan, as China has enough excess money to loan to the US in the amount of several trillion.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 7:33 a.m.

    Business models need to mimic biological models to better "fit" how the world works and allow the earth to continue replenishing itself to support life. Nothing in nature is wasted -- the "waste" of one living entity is the "nutrients" for another (e.g., falling leaves from a tree nurture the soil for animals and other plants, that in turn, emit nutrients to benefit the tree -- a circular system).

    Business people see the forests, however, and say, "Ah, tomorrow's toilet paper!" when they should be saying, "Ah, the lungs of the earth that produce our air and captures carbon!" Sadly, business models say that a tree has no value unless it is converted to toilet paper to be flushed away rather than having it valued as critical for life to exist. The question then is: How do we price that tree to reflect its true value of creating oxygen and capturing carbon? A carbon tax to pay people NOT to cut down trees?

    Prices and business models are short-sighted human inventions. But the earth's biological models, designed by God himself, require systems to rejuvenate themselves -- and humans need to adapt to that eternal biological design.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Feb. 10, 2014 10:02 a.m.

    To "Baron Scarpia" since you are a liberal, you probably don't fully understand how businessmen look at a tree.

    A businessman who wants to be in business a year from now will look at that tree and see the potential products. He will also look at the land and figure out how to new replacement trees as soon as possible. You see, a businessman that uses up all of his resources won't be around beyond next week. The businessman that looks for ways to keep a constant flow of resources will stay in business as long as there is a demand for his product.

  • joeandrade Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 11, 2014 12:48 p.m.

    Thanks for a sensitive and realistic letter. The planet is indeed finite - and at least half of us do not believe in personal planets out in hyperspace. Earth is our home planet, Utah is our state - and we really should take care of both. That means a sustainable population, a sustainable economy, a sustainable lifestyle - that's what Stewardship is really about.