Friday, December 30, 2011

Population and our eminent demise

The clock is ticking

People like to think of this world as infinite. Hike to a mountain top or take a boating trip beyond the horizon to observe the vastness of this world yet fail to see how small things have become. There is only so much in this world no matter how we would like to perceive it. The amount of air and water that existed thousands of years ago is still here. There won't be a mother ship sending in an emergency supply. But the one thing that will increase is the supply of people. You can morbidly cheerlead for the thinning of the herds but our obsession with self replication keeps our numbers bounding forward. And like it or not we are moving ever so closer to a breaking point. We have two choices. We can either stem the tide of overpopulation peacefully or wait for the inevitable conflicts to ensue. Even with our present day wars the population clock ticks upward with no end in sight. And no sneaking off to some far off galaxy because our technology won't get us there yet. It's reported that the population will "level off" sometime around just before 2050 at just over 9.5 billion people. I'm glad I won't be around to endure those conditions. Governments will have no choice but to issue mandates about our very existence and it won't be some politically correct BS either. Do it or not survive will become apparent. Yes things could get ugly but we're not quite there just yet.

Pop over and have a look at the ticking population clock and consider how much in resources each one of those little mouths consumes. We have an artist here who makes an interesting representation of what we throw away on a daily basis. It would be wonderful if all that trash were to land up in recycle but that is not the case. A lot of it ends up in our oceans and rivers to come back and haunt at a later date. "But I only threw away a paper cup or candy wrapper" you say. Well multiply that by a million or a billion or two billion and see what it looks like.

The amazing thing is all that has happened in terms of population growth and our polluting the planet has occurred in just the last 200 years with the start of the industrial revolution. We sure learned to produce and reproduce too. And now we face the consequences of our success. People never stop to think that they are part of the planet. Maybe it's our short sighted nature and it seems to be getting shorter still with the advances of technology. We have done everything in our power to separate ourselves from nature thinking somehow that it makes life better only to realize that in the process we destroy nature. What we fail to realize is that nature will always win. It was here before us and it will be here long after we're done.


BBC said...

Your link don't work THIS ONE WILL.

Holy shit, they're making them much faster than they're killing them.

Try to get over for a beer before things get too bad.

BBC said...

Me thinks that most of the population explosion is in other countries, this leads me to believe that we should seal our borders off to keep them from coming here.

They won't be able to create jobs fast enough where they are and won't be able to grow food fast enough, and maybe a lot of them will die off. That would help, if our government wasn't busy trying to save everyone.

S.W. Anderson said...

U.S. population growth not counting immigration (legal and otherwise) isn't that great anymore. Prolonged economic stagnation and uncertainty tend to have that affect on advanced societies.

The rest of the world is another matter. The Chinese have mandated one-child families for decades. I'm not aware of that being done elsewhere.

I don't worry so much about living space, provided weather changes don't make excessive crowding a necessity. I think we can produce sufficient food, although water is a worry in many parts of the world. What I do worry about is energy, and the lengths countries might have to go to in order to have enough.

Don't panic yet, though. I remember there was a 1960's book forecasting really bad things by (I think) 1984 because of overpopulation. Somehow, we managed to get by that year without the calamities due to overpopulation that the author had predicted.

Tom Harper said...

We MUST keep reproducing to the max so there can be as many Christians as possible. Don't worry about overpopulation. God has a plan. It's all in His hands.

BBC said...

Tom Harper fucking cracks me up, hehehehe

BBC said...

Mr. Anderson, 1984 wasn't all that long ago in the big picture of things, just a speck of dust in time. Stick around, shit is happening and going to hit the fan.

Got grand kids? Better warn them.

BBC said...

Or not, I don't give a fuck if you tell them everything is going to be rosy.

Ole Phat Stu said...

My new address?
No. 1 Soylent Green,

The Blog Fodder said...

The planet can sustainably feed 10 billion people but it will take a lot of science (and fewer Luddites) and even more cooperation.
Lack of food in the world is not the cause of starvation but gross inefficiencies in storage and distribution are.
The same people who bitch about too many people also bitch about China's draconian one-child policy. Go figure.
That said, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; war, famine, pestilence and disease, will certainly thin the herd. And most likely well before we reach 10 billion.
And Happy New Year to you too.

BBC said...

So far I don't see any improvement in this new year. Other than the fact that I can now use wood heat some to help lower my electric bill.

BBC said...

If you could set up a food distribution network (and you can't)to feed 10 billion people it still wouldn't work.

Because they would up the figure to 12 billion, then to 14 billion. And it's about more than just food, it's also about all the other things these monkeys are doing to destroy the planet.

The more of them there are the faster the planet will be destroyed. The monkeys are just fucking stupid.

But hey, don't worry, god has a plan, hehehehe

S.W. Anderson said...

BBC, worry and caution are necessary parts of life. Doomsaying, not so much. I don't claim to be an expert, but I think I've read a bit more history than the average citizen. One thing that has impressed me is how spectacularly and regularly people screw up — individuals, groups, nations and groups of nations. Screwing up is clearly a human failure.

At the same time, and maybe because of all the screwing up that has gone on, we humans have been pretty adept at dealing with our own and others' screw-ups well enough and consistently enough to avoid extinction. There have been times past when, if I had been there, I wouldn't have placed any big bets on mankind not doing itself in once and for all.

Just a speck-of-dust time ago, we, the Soviets and Chinese, all armed with nukes, managed to get through decades of intense suspicion, alienation, competition and conflict without destroying the planet. We passed a big test with that, and came through alive to tell about it. That's no small thing, although it's taken for granted in the aftermath. I remember how close we came a few times.

Yes, we face some very serious problems, population growth not the least of them. I'm no Pollyanna, but I think we'll avert the worst and deal with the rest, however clumsily and uncertainly.

Now, put another log on the fire, pour yourself a hot toddy and think a mellow thought or two. While you can. ;)

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