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Edward  Boyle

Eat, Drink and be merry...


@Edward Boyle
You got that right.

Yeah, We Earthlings are surely f.u.c.k.e.d. Mostly I think it may be the next two or three generations after Dave's that are the most fucked, but time will tell. The trend doesn't really need to continue for this to be true. Wondering why we haven't felt the effects of the missing 40% of our oxygen producers? Well that 40% hasn't been missing since 1950, it's been gradually building up to that rate over the last 60 years. Rest assured we'll feel it soon enough. It takes about 30-40 years before the effects of carbon emissions are "felt", there's probably some slop like that in the oxygen depletion rate too. Someday oxygen starvation may be apparent at 6,000 feet instead of 14,000.

Richard Warren

How long until we begin seeing a decrease in oxygen levels in the atmosphere? What level must the oxygen producers have for long term oxygen levels in the atmosphere to remain stable?


Last year an geo-engineering experiment by adding iron into the sea caused a major growth in algae. Probably at that scale dismissable.

I think nature does find a way, every time major upheaval happened, nature has found a way: some died, others thrived. It's a dynamic that kept things going.

It's also here where I worry: with all the human need for control, we are losing the dynamics, we lost our adaptation and every living thing under it's control. Think domesticated dogs, plants, dams, all depending on our interference, our control.

It is backfiring because history proved that being under total control of a freak dictator is asking for a rebellion.
Backfiring because we can't be always that attentive and precise. Backfiring because whatever progress we think we made, we still can't cure a cold...we don't know everything to take care of the things we decided to control.
Humans are now the freak dictator with no respect for boundaries, balance/justice and temperance.

The best we can do for our world is stop to control it, keep it small, simple and close by and become good stewards along the way rather than dominators and dominatrices.

Mike O'Brien

Hi, Dave--

A place to start is by clarifying our thinking. Since we think in English that means using appropriate words to describe what we are trying to communicate. That's especially important in an emotional context where the wrong words can make a bad situation worse. Bad situations, like the phytoplankton drop, demand clear thinking.

When you say "we're fucked" to me that makes me happy because I enjoy nothing better than a good fuck with my partner. It's confusing that you use it as a negative meaning "we're ruined".

Using a word like fucked, a code word for anger, is a displacement that avoids or masks the actual cause of distress, just as anger is a mask for fear. Anger feels righteous and spares us from directly facing our fears. I encourage you to find a more accurate way to express your deep emotions, because then we can take the next step of responding to them.

Lest you think I'm joking, I believe the collapse of the phytoplankton is directly linked to human denial, expressed in the language of lies, coverup, avoidance and distortion, that allows us to justify our destruction of the planet.


@Edward Boyle
Gah, that being the response to, well, everything is what got us here in the first place.

Adam Schuetzler

I find this to be somewhat unlikely - it seems very strange to me that we could lose 40% of phytoplankton without there being disastrous effects fairly soon in terms of oxygen, sea life, etc. Conditionally, I'm calling this one sketchy and assuming something is not well understood here.

That's not to say I don't think we've hashed it; just to say that I'm not sure we would be alive right now if we'd hashed it that bad.

One thing I am certain of is that the Earth and life will outlast humans. There are a lot of things on this planet much more resilient than us naked apes. That's not much comfort, but I think it must be kept in mind when thinking about ecological disaster. Ultimately, we have to think in terms of our survival being dependent on maintaining an earth much like what has existed for the past 10,000 years. Sadly we're still stuck in the extraction mentality for the most part.


The problem with complex adaptive systems is we don't understand the tipping points. Has there been a 40% drop? Maybe. At what point does it get critical, i.e., are we drawing down a savings pot, what are the critical interactions.
The worrying thing would then be a rapid non-linear change in the system.
Just speculating but maybe the decline is not showing up ecosystems dependent on this food source such as fisheries because their so badly depleted.
Some studies suggest that oceans ability to absorb CO2 is decreasing.

terry mcneely

i heard this report and appropriately alarmed. So i got to wondering if the oxygen content has decreased in the last decades, and it has, but not much, about 1/2 of 1/10th of 1percent, as measured by the Keeling curves, onefor oxygen, the other measures CO2 concentrations. The more immediate effect may be on ocean food systems. But that is just a guess. But we as humans are causing effects on these complex systems we are all part of.

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