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The World's growing population and Our Eventual Demise

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Take a look at the gigantic population of China. It is so large that authorities have had to implement one-child regulations where couples can only have at most one child. Now look at the population of, say, Singapore(my country!). The government here has implemnted incentives such as Baby Bonus, where a parents get paid off-days and paid maternity leave in an effort to encourage population growth to drive the economy.

As populations go up and up, a startling thought comes to mind - the spread of diesease, overcrowding, and all of the bad things that come with it. Just take a look at the first graph on this page : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpopulation (yes I know its wikipedia). We could go high up and build our buildings taller. We could go underground to find space. But we will reach a limit, and the effects of overpopulation will start to take its toll on the world's population.

First, let's get to the root of this issue. Here is the first problem - our position in the food chain. Look at our far-off age old ancestors-apes, primates and the like. They had predators to keep their population in check. There were not at the very top of the foodchain. Now look at us, and ask yourself this very question: Are we not at the top of the food chain? Sure, occassionally you find yourself staring at the headlines:"Young boy eaten by shark", but are we actually prey of such animals? We are not even part of their normal diet. In fact, the reverse is quite true for some of us. Some of us eat sharks' fin, some eat crocodile meat on a regular basis. It was the prodigal devlopment of our cognitive skills that lead to this.

This brings us to our second point - technological advancements. The invention of weapons allowed for more efficient hunting. The invention of medicine lowered chances of one getting killed by disease. Improvement of living conditions led to a longer life span. And we have what most of us now rely on for food - agriculture. Efficiency of crop growing has been rising, even more so with tools, tractors etc. Humans now have a lower mortality rate as we do not have to risk going out to hunt for food. In fact, we can stand by, doing little manual work and watching machines harvest the rice.

Now, this may sound very controversial, but all our developments have completely upset the food chian and means of keeping our population in check. Everything is now irreversible. No country, no one, would be willing to give up the length and comforts of life. And we have to let our population grow in order to counter the growing population. Furthermore, population growth is exponential. It only gets worse and worse. And then, like I said earlier, overcrowding will happen. Our population will drop to, say, 1 billion. Then the cycle will repeat itself. Now, to finish this post with the least intelligent sentence. I couldn't think of any other place to post this, so is posting it here right? If not, please kindly advise.

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Just FYI, there are already a bunch of threads that are ongoing about human populations.

 

Also, see the last comment on this post; birth rates are declining, therefore human population growth is not not exponential.. This trend can also be shown here.

 

Yes, other threads have addressed the subject and at least one of them was ruined so badly, it is necessary to start a new thread.

 

This appears to be a good link explaining the problem.

http://www.populatio...CFSE8gwod034X7A

 

The median projection of population size by the U.N. Population Division suggests that population growth rates will decline over the coming several decades, with a possible stabilization around the year 2050. But achieving this will take an enormous amount of hard work, creativity and financing – it is by no means a fiat accompli. And, even if population is stabilized between 8 and 9 billion, a scenario which becomes less likely with each passing day, the increase to human population will still be between 20% and 30%.

 

That magnitude of this increase, coming on top of the unprecedented growth that has occurred in the last half-century, will be felt in all aspects of life. It will further stress already strained ecological systems and worsen poverty in much of the developing world, thus aggravating threats to international security.

 

 

So although there is evidence of a decline in population growth, there is still an unsustainable increase of humanity. I believe when we add other facts to this, such as, the exhaustion of phosphorus mines, our dependency on fossil fuels, and what will happen to the oceans by 2100 because of CO2 and the increasing acidity of the oceans, the future looks very bleak. Some people seem to be arguing there will not be that much difference over the next 40 years.

 

 

 

Edited by Athena

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The technilogical singularity will hit, slap us up the side of the head, and restore our direction to sanity and sensibility. Computers will save us from our superstition and ignorance, and the next model will laugh at how easy it was.

 

http://en.wikipedia....cal_singularity

 

I went to the link and did not find any evidence to support your argument.

 

Around the world the fishing industry is hurting. In Oregon we are loosing the fight to preserve our salmon supply and the reason for this could be CO2 which is already out there and increasing the acidity of the ocean. Even if we stopped sending more industrial CO2 into the air today, it could be too late, and there is no way we are going to stop increasing the problem any time soon, because as the world continues to industrialize, the problem is going to get worse. The world must continue to industrialize, because this is the only way to meet the needs of the growing populations. This is not a laughing easy problem to fix.

 

http://www.sciencent...nd-acid-oceans/

 

Over a billion people today, depend on sea food as their main source of protein, and over fishing could cause a collapse of the fishing industry by 2048, before we have added another 2 billion people to the problem, and this figured without figuring in the CO2 and acid problem. The US denial of a problem, in this link, clearly indicates a problem with grasping reality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seafood

 

They (the US) claim that currently observed declines in fish population are due to natural fluctuations and that enhanced technologies will eventually alleviate whatever impact humanity is having on oceanic life.
A claim made before the study on CO2 and not updated to reflect the newer information. Edited by Athena

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I devoted an entire thread to fish shortage recently. I did world food shortages and arable land shortages a few years ago. I think they (this site) like solutions more than fear-mongering. I think it has a defeatist, almost biblical sound to it, so I keep that to a minimum. Besides, who needs a computer to tell us that we're short on fish. The world will still be here with the exact same amount of chemicals it started out with ... somewhere.

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So when--in another generation or so--a computer can tell us the proper way to run our planet sustainably and prosperously, will enough remain of our resources and ecosystem services and even complete ecosystem components in order to reorganize the system as recommended?

 

If the remaining components, services, and resources are too limited, then the only viable option will be some sort of police state.

 

If we want to have any sort of happy prosperity, instead of an enforced and regulated prosperity, then we should hope enough latitude remains (in the environmental parameters) upon which the computer can perform its singular processing.

 

In other words, if some computer can eventually "restore our direction," then we should hope our "spaceship earth" is ready for a fantastic voyage. We need to work hard avoiding a future ferried forward by the tattered remnants of a once robust planet, incapable of launching on any but the most limited of voyages.

 

We slowly begin learning what are the "limits of complexity" for our biogeochemo-based socioeconomic system.

We thus reform our future, clumsily, each day anew... because already:

 

The singularity is here!

 

~ :huh:

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OK, so things won't be optimal. I think it's pretty obvious that recycled phosphorus won't be as abundant and cheap as mined. The world is STILL there.

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As I pointed out in a previous thread a 1999 paper by Esswaran Etc All. found that it is possible to feed 19.82 billion people. So while this doesn't mean that an increase in population won't cause other problems, but it certainly suggests one thing that many Malthusians point to, food shortages, may not be that big of an issue.

http://soils.usda.gov/use/worldsoils/papers/pop-support-paper.html

 

 

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I devoted an entire thread to fish shortage recently. I did world food shortages and arable land shortages a few years ago. I think they (this site) like solutions more than fear-mongering. I think it has a defeatist, almost biblical sound to it, so I keep that to a minimum. Besides, who needs a computer to tell us that we're short on fish. The world will still be here with the exact same amount of chemicals it started out with ... somewhere.

 

:lol: And I was thinking the repeated statement that technology would resolve the problems, without stating what that technology is, sounds just like a Christian's faith that God will take care of things. It is just faith in different God.

 

Threads that are old or long will not get the attention of a new thread, so new comers can't have the fun of discussing topics. If people just wanted information, they are better off with books. These discussions allow us to interact, and explore and develop our own thinking. We all hope that interaction will be welcoming and pleasant. If you don't want to discuss this subject anew, why are you reading this thread?

 

Now hopefully Essay has something to say that is on topic.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Yes, Essay brought up a good point, the need for increased control. This is a huge contrast from our move west, and maybe this is why some of us are so upset. We are acknowledging the loss of liberty that we valued so much. Pioneers got to come to land that was never farmed and where trees had not been cut, and rivers not polluted, and they were free to do as they pleased. That is lost to us forever. DJBruce has provided a link explaining the need for tighter controls of human activity and land.

 

I think it is more helpful to discuss what concerned people are discussing, than to criticize the posters. This for the people who want to discuss the subject.

 

http://www.europarl....ce=A6-0086/2009

 

The European Parliament,

 

– having regard to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity,

 

– having regard to its legislative resolution of 14 November 2007 on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a framework for the protection of soil and amending Directive 2004/35/EC(1),

 

– having regard to its resolution of 9 October 2008 on addressing the challenge of water scarcity and droughts in the European Union(2),

 

– having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

 

– having regard to the report of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development and the opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (A6-0086/2009),

 

A. whereas farming is an economic sector that is heavily dependent on natural phenomena and, at the same time, offers extensive scope for intervention,

 

B. whereas agriculture is the best means of preventing soil deterioration, and whereas this calls for a reasoned strategy that will help maintain this activity,

 

C. having regard to the role of farmers in Europe in fighting desertification, to the key role of European producers in preserving surface vegetation in areas affected by persistent drought, and to the particular benefits afforded by permanent crops, meadows and woodlands for the capturing of water,

 

D. whereas, in particular, agricultural soils in southern Europe and other regions of the Union’s Member States are at the centre of a process of environmental degradation brought about by negative interactions between human activity and climate events,

 

E. whereas over-intensive farming can contribute to soil erosion, rendering it non-productive,

 

F. whereas desertification is now considered to be one of the most significant threats in terms of land deterioration in the Mediterranean countries,

 

G. whereas soil is the basis for the production of human foodstuffs, fodder, textiles and fuels, and whereas it plays an important role in CO2 capture; whereas, however, soil is now more than ever at risk of irreversible damage caused by wind and laminar erosion, pollution, salinisation, sealing, depletion of organic substances and the loss of soil biodiversity,

 

H. whereas the adverse effects identified to date are disruption of the hydrogeological balance, the infiltration of seawater into coastal aquifers, soil salinisation, agricultural land loss, a reduction in biodiversity and greater vulnerability to fire, plant disease and animal disease,

 

I. whereas the above changes in the interaction between the natural/human environment and agricultural production are having a major impact on arable and livestock farming systems, agricultural land use and the supply of foodstuffs, with obvious repercussions for food security, and the social, cultural and economic structures of the areas concerned as a result of population exodus, as well as hydro-geological repercussions,

 

J. whereas irrigation also serves to maintain soil humidity and to recharge aquifers, and whereas these factors should be taken into account when shaping the common agricultural policy (CAP),

 

K. recalling that water shortages and drought result in even higher prices for agricultural raw materials, and aware of the need to ensure secure food supplies for the population,

 

L. whereas farming and forestry management provides opportunities for action to affect the overall carbon balance that can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,

 

M. recalling the existence of the United Nations Convention to combat desertification in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa, adopted in 1994, whose objective is to combat the deterioration of arable land and drought, and recalls Parliament’s support for this convention,

 

N. recognising the role of the Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) as a regulatory framework and a basic instrument for soil protection, promoting interregional cooperation, the sustainable use of water and the protection of available water resources whilst at the same time helping to mitigate the effects of floods and drought,

 

O. whereas an integrated, multidisciplinary approach is required in order to avoid being forced to look for emergency solutions, which can generate further adverse impacts and damaging chain reactions,

 

P. whereas the situation needs to be monitored to identify changes in existing phenomena and the emergence of new risk situations, making specialised use of satellite readings and geological and biochemical models (mapping),

 

Q. whereas extreme weather conditions have become more common, with an alternation between periods of drought and extreme rainfall events, which speed up lithosphere degradation processes, in particular in areas where soils are structurally more vulnerable in both northern and southern Europe,

 

R. whereas there has been a worldwide increase in food demand and prices,

 

1. Considers that CAP guidelines and management methods should explicitly include principles and instruments for climate protection in general and reduction of damage resulting from soil degradation in particular;

 

2. Considers it necessary to strengthen the parameters for eco-conditionality and their application throughout the European Union, above all as regards biodiversity and organic matter in soils, and to extend them to cover water protection;

 

 

 

 

 

China has 22% of the world's population and only 10% of the farm land. I think if it could reclaim the land to the desert , that would be a good thing, and China is not the only place loosing land to a desert. One solution for China is farming land in other countries, but the government is on record as saying this is not a good solution.

 

 

 

In the US as we gain awareness of our limits, the states are taking steps to protect what remains of their farm land and forest. Many years ago, Oregon protected a lot of land by making law that some land could not be divided in parcels less than 20 acres. Many years later enough pressure built to erode this law. We have major cities covering the best farm land, and slowly consuming more and more of it, because this just happens to be where the weather is the most pleasant, and of course that is where people want to live.

 

 

Edited by Athena

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All I've ever said is that problems are solvable and I guarantee you technology is going to make solutions easier. Why are we even having this conversation? Is it ignorant to have faith in the world to solve its problems? Somebody's working on it.

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All I've ever said is that problems are solvable and I guarantee you technology is going to make solutions easier. Why are we even having this conversation? Is it ignorant to have faith in the world to solve its problems? Somebody's working on it.

 

Ignorant were all the people who voted for Ronald Reagan when he said it is not necessary to conserve. How old are you? Do you remember President Carter who told us conservation is necessary and who invested as much possible into developing alternative energy, and then Reagan who said it was not necessary to conserve and brought an end to every alternative energy program he could end. Reagan slashed domestic budgets and took money out of the Social Security fund, and raised the debt ceiling several times and raised taxes to pay for the military spending that was necessary to secure our "economic interest" in the mid east. As our economy soared, so did our use of oil. Within ten years of Reagan, we consumed as much oil as in the previous 100 years. We remain committed to military goals in the mid east and our national debt has spun out of control, as our military spending has gone off the charts. Our trade deficit, which is caused mostly by importing oil, and exporting our money, is also pulling us down. While those responsible for this are still hoping pay for it by cutting domestic spending, including Social Security.

 

AN IGNORANT MASS RESULTS IN IGNORANT POLITICAL DECISIONS AND I WILL DO ALL MORE IN POWER TO BRING AN END TO SUCH IGNORANCE. I WILL NOT BE SILENCED BY SOMEONE WHO APPEARS TO BE TOO YOUNG TO KNOW BETTER.

Edited by Athena

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Makes you wonder if the Arsenic substituting Phosphorus experiment was just a big joke. You are free to believe that the world absolutely will end, despite every innovation mankind can ever devise. Just remember that no matter what happens, the total amount of phosphorus on this planet will always be the same, and if they recently discovered greater reserves and new sources, you still have no idea what other potential sources remain to be found. It all just contributes to the total reclaimable amount throughout the world, of which hardly any is reclaimed. I wholeheartedly agree with you that is a limiting factor on the sustainable population of the world, but so was total arable land and total fish stocks and whatever, but we will innovate, restrict, manage, you name it.

 

LOL

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As the recently deceased Jack Layton said, "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world."

 

Athena: I'm going to be honest. I'm not really sure what you are arguing right now. Do you believe that forcing people in developing countries to limit their number of children will improve humanity's outlook within the next 50 years? Do you believe that we also need to work to improve our efficiency in using renewable and non-renewable materials such as phosphorus, water, etc.? Do you think that the future is hopeless?

 

I agree that the future looks bleak. I think that a lot of people are probably going to needlessly die over the next century. But I think this because it's already happening, and it already has happened. I just disagree with the notion that the people in the developed world should sit back and force people in the developing world to "limit their population" when, let's face it, most of the environmental damage is cause by people and policies in developed countries. It's also an inefficient and ineffective way of dealing with the human tragedy of mass deaths. For example, this researcher writes about how reducing population sizes will not stop famines.

 

From the Al Jazeera article linked to above:

While making modern contraception available to those families who desire it in the Horn of Africa is a laudable goal, we must be careful not to assume that this is an easy fix to a hunger problem framed as driven by overpopulation. If overpopulation is defined as too many people for a landscape to support, then Oklahoma is clearly more overpopulated than Somalia.

 

Yet Oklahoma is not perceived as overpopulated because, in spite of a horrendous drought, it is not facing famine. Famine in Oklahoma is inconceivable because it receives a fair price for its exports, it has not leased its land to foreign countries, the poorest of the poor receive a helping hand from the government, and farmers and ranchers receive federal assistance in times of droughts. It is a lack of these factors in Horn of Africa, plus political insecurity in Somalia, which explain the famine - not overpopulation.

 

Seed Magazine did an interesting overview of the population vs. consumption debate that is fairly nuanced. Jonathan Foley argued,

To start, though, let’s be clear about one thing: global environmental problems are not solely caused by population growth. The number of people on the planet per se, doesn’t affect our climate, our ecosystems or our natural resources. It’s how we collectively consume and pollute that impacts the environment.

 

Plus, a relatively small number of us are responsible for the vast majority of the globe’s consumption, pollution, land and water degradation, and biodiversity loss. In the United States alone, a country of 300 million, or about 4 percent of the global population, we burn roughly 25 percent of the world fossil fuels – or about 6 times our share of the planetary pie.

 

I agree that technology will not solve all our problems. However, technology, along with behavioural and policy changes, have the potential to have a stronger impact on environmental sustainability than simply policies that limit population size. This is partially because there are so many possible changes we can make from a technological standpoint (technology that's 'low-tech' probably has a greater probability of improving sustainability in developing countries). See also an article about retrofitting cities.

 

 

 

 

I also think that instead of tackling overpopulation, a more effective tactic is to tackle poverty, economic sustainability and social inequity. As Donella Meadows wrote,

The people of Manupur politely accepted the contraceptive foams and jellies. At the beginning of the Harvard study their birth rate was about 40 babies per 1000 people per year. Six years later the birth rate had gone down a little, to 37.7. But the birth rate had also gone down all over the Punjab, even where there were no family planning programs.

 

The Harvard researchers concluded that the villagers were not so ignorant after all. Family size had always been controlled with crude methods such as abstinence and self-induced abortion. Increasing prosperity caused people to want smaller families, because there was less need for children to work in the fields or support parents in their old age. Once that happened, birth rates went down. Modern contraceptives helped them go down more easily and quickly.

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As the recently deceased Jack Layton said, "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world."

 

Athena: I'm going to be honest. I'm not really sure what you are arguing right now. Do you believe that forcing people in developing countries to limit their number of children will improve humanity's outlook within the next 50 years? Do you believe that we also need to work to improve our efficiency in using renewable and non-renewable materials such as phosphorus, water, etc.? Do you think that the future is hopeless?

 

I agree that the future looks bleak. I think that a lot of people are probably going to needlessly die over the next century. But I think this because it's already happening, and it already has happened. I just disagree with the notion that the people in the developed world should sit back and force people in the developing world to "limit their population" when, let's face it, most of the environmental damage is cause by people and policies in developed countries. It's also an inefficient and ineffective way of dealing with the human tragedy of mass deaths. For example, this researcher writes about how reducing population sizes will not stop famines.

 

From the Al Jazeera article linked to above:

 

 

Seed Magazine did an interesting overview of the population vs. consumption debate that is fairly nuanced. Jonathan Foley argued,

 

 

I agree that technology will not solve all our problems. However, technology, along with behavioural and policy changes, have the potential to have a stronger impact on environmental sustainability than simply policies that limit population size. This is partially because there are so many possible changes we can make from a technological standpoint (technology that's 'low-tech' probably has a greater probability of improving sustainability in developing countries). See also an article about retrofitting cities.

 

 

 

 

I also think that instead of tackling overpopulation, a more effective tactic is to tackle poverty, economic sustainability and social inequity. As Donella Meadows wrote,

 

 

 

I am rather busy right now in other forums and will have to come back to give you the thoughtful answer you deserve. Regarding this thread, my biggest concern at the moment is that the public be well informed and take responsibility for their own decisions, instead of choosing to ignore information, and choosing to rely on a God or some other authority to fix everything. Trusting in the unknown, instead of in education and the individual, drives me a bit nuts. I think these threads need to be about educating people.

 

At this moment in time, we can insist that all farmers under our legal jurisdiction use manure. This would reduce a few farm problems, but it would cost more and when food cost more people go hungry. However, things are not going to get better by maintaining the status quo and counting on some "unknown" to pull our asses out of the fire. That did not work with oil and our economy, and it is not going to work with food. There are political and economic ramifications to all this. Instead of us managing to feed everyone, under the rules of capitalism, the rich will eat and the poor will not. This might not bother you as long as believe you and family will remain among the rich, and your government will remain strong enough to protect you at the expense of others. But if we think about more than ourselves, if we think in terms of governing for the well being of all, then we might want to talk about the problems we can identify today, and what we might do about them.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_phosphorus

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity

 

The above links would seem to quantify the extremes of what is being debated here.

 

One is that there are limits on humanity we will never be able to surpass

 

The other is that humanity using science will be able to surpass all limits

 

I do not think either idea is totally supportable by available data.

 

The limits on resources as we see them today are real, there is no doubt at some point we will run out of something we cannot find a replacement for, it might be phosphorus or it might be hydrocarbons or some rare metal but the limits are real as is the march of technology that allows us to go past those limits. Every time we seem to approach a barrier that would seem impenetrable we find a way to penetrate it but the very technology that allows this might be the ultimate barrier to our progress. There is no way to know for sure but the technological singularity my very well be the "thing" we will not be able to get past, there is no reason to think that AI will want humans around once it becomes real, humans might be seen as a determent to it's own progress instead of finding ways for humans to continue to exist. As for resource barriers phosphorus is a good example of something we need that is in short supply and might very well disappear in reasonable amounts quite soon but there are lots of "assumes" in this line of reasoning as well. It assumes there will be no new deposits of reasonably high quality phosphates found and that no new technologies that would allow us to use deposits of lesser quality will be found or that no new ways of recycling phosphorus will be found as well. While lowering the impact of humans on the environment is always a good thing and the best way to do that is by having fewer humans I really don't think either extreme is likely to happen quite the way that is being assumed here.

 

The best way to look at it is that by doing things like recycling available phosphorus and developing new technologies to do so while at the same time doing our best to make the lives of every one better through education will do more to solve our problems than by assuming doom before it happens, 100 years is a long time to assume there will be no better way to do this and some sources seem to indicate it will be several hundred instead of 100 years.

 

Vernor Vinge, one of the first advocates of the technological singularity describes humanity near the singularity as one individual requiring the resources that during our time would support entire countries but such data curves are suspect in that they show nonsensical end points. The limited resource data would seem to show humanity dies out or at the very least becoming nothing more than a mass of staving people covering the land hip to hip as the end point of the resource limited school of thought this also seems to be nonsensical as well.

 

I think that both technology and conservation hold the key to the survival of humanity as an intelligent species. We will have to use our intelligence to over come hurdles we come up against, not necessarily technological or non technological but a combination of both but assuming either curve's end point as inevitable is a huge assumption i do not think we have the data for.

Edited by Moontanman

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Hi, Jeskill, this is from your link,

 

"Why is it that we often isolate population growth as the key environmental problem in the poorest regions of the world?"

 

I would not do this! I believe we need to be much more realistic about how many people we can fit in a square mile. Of course this depends in part on the resources in this square mile. Some square miles are full of resources and others are not. Some nations were blessed with resources and others were not. It is sooooo wrong for us to waste oil as we have wasted it ever since Reagan took office, and then arm ourselves to fight for what is left, consuming so much so fast, we forcing prices up, and preventing all the poorer countries from having the benefits of cheap oil that we took for granted. This is a global, economic and social justice issue, that is directly tied to our military spending and talk of cutting Social Security. Excuse me, but the oil problem was known in 1920, and there is no excuse for the way things are today. Now you want to argue we do the same head in the sand thing, when it comes to food and water?

 

Personally, I live in Oregon and remember the water wars of a couple years ago. We had to choose between water for fish or water for farmers, and had to wonder how much of our water is California consuming? Just how much should we have to give up, so the people in California can fill their swimming pools? Or say in Israel, surrounded by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, and with the needs of Palestinians to consider, how many more Jews should be brought into Israel, to suck up the water everyone needs to share? At some point, people have to say, "no, you are taking what we need". Now if we all are going on the idea, that before it is too late, technology will come up with an answer, or we will discover a new source of a supply, what do you think is going happen? Everyone is spending money they need for education and hospitals, etc. on weapons, for that day when our failure to be realistic and plan for anything but war, is here.

 

My point is, today, we better get a good grip on reality. What are our existing resources today? Where do they come from? What is our immediate population and expected exponential growth? Given what can know today, with no pie in the sky- may be something good will happen, what can we expect five, ten, twenty years from now? Now, what agreements might we need to make with our neighbors? This might be something like, this year we can send you wheat, but by 2050, unless something expected happens, we will not be able to share wheat with you, and I want you to know that today. Or the resource could be water, or electricity, or whatever you want it to be. We have to get real! Stop it with the gee, I hope something good will happen, so we don't have to face a reality we do not want to face. That is what leads to wars. Time and time again, people fight over limited resources. In the past this might have been excusable, because ignorance was hard to avoid, but it is no longer excusable today.

 

Moontanman, can't we be more accurate than the two extremes? We are already using a better technique for mining phosphorus and have extended the expected exhaustion of the resource. I am sure using manure would increase the time we have left, but increase the cost of food as well, and this would increase the hunger. The information I provided said a slight decrease in population growth would give us something like another 30 years. I am not arguing extremes, I am arguing in favor of being realistic, and against "I don't want to think about that because it scares me, and besides maybe before then, something good will happen that makes the problem go away". That is not a scientific opinion.

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The nonsensical nature of the two extremes is exactly what i was getting at, the reality must lie somewhere between the two. Population growth will have to be addressed even if technology allows us an infinite supply of what ever resource is limited. If there was an infinite supply of oil we would still have to find other ways of producing energy. Most of the doomsayers are referring to cheap supplies of the resource, prices go up and there will be more of the resource, technology will allow us to exploit ever less concentrated sources of resources but the bottom line is people, we cannot grow at the rate we always have, some sort of balance needs to be made, I'd like to see it happen before every one is living under third world conditions. Personally i think we will eventually have to make the leap to off planet to continue growth, once there we can continue to grow at extreme rates but that won't help the people left on the earth. People need to stop having huge families, factors that cause people to want huge families need to be addressed. This need to rein in reproduction will have to apply to all peoples, not just third world peoples, but i have my doubts this will ever happen, humans are too short sighted to allow this to happen so nature will make the adjustment for us eventually. i just hope we have made it to off world colonies way before that happens.

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The nonsensical nature of the two extremes is exactly what i was getting at, the reality must lie somewhere between the two. Population growth will have to be addressed even if technology allows us an infinite supply of what ever resource is limited. If there was an infinite supply of oil we would still have to find other ways of producing energy. Most of the doomsayers are referring to cheap supplies of the resource, prices go up and there will be more of the resource, technology will allow us to exploit ever less concentrated sources of resources but the bottom line is people, we cannot grow at the rate we always have, some sort of balance needs to be made, I'd like to see it happen before every one is living under third world conditions. Personally i think we will eventually have to make the leap to off planet to continue growth, once there we can continue to grow at extreme rates but that won't help the people left on the earth. People need to stop having huge families, factors that cause people to want huge families need to be addressed. This need to rein in reproduction will have to apply to all peoples, not just third world peoples, but i have my doubts this will ever happen, humans are too short sighted to allow this to happen so nature will make the adjustment for us eventually. i just hope we have made it to off world colonies way before that happens.

 

 

Thank you for the sanity, Moontanman.

 

Now Oregon had a law preventing people from breaking up large parcels of land, in less that 20 areas. This would have protected our farm land, and made a system of small, local farms possible. But it seems most people are ignorant of the difference between farm land and soil that isn't much good for crops, and the people who wanted to build subdivisions were able to weaken laws protecting farm land. So I would say, ignorance in this day of information is one of our worst problems. Maybe because the majority believes it is God rather than science that saves humanity?

 

How possible do you think it might be to intentionally turn our cities into a gardens of Eden? Is there a forum better than this one for discussing this? The subject is where science and planning come together, but people of science must get actively involved. Today, we do not have a problem providing enough food, but if we don't plan now, the future could have many serious problems.

 

Eugene, has a mayor who is rehabilitating the natural habitat of our city and this year we have more wild flowers, butterflies and birds. The ability to do this could have been lost to development, and may not last because of pressures to use land for profit. Right now, we have several community gardens where people can rent plots and grow their own food, and we could use more of them, but as you know, cities don't have the money for these good ideas now. But thinking of the future, perhaps we need to increase these efforts, and commit ourselves to a future food program?

 

Someone planted plum trees on the strip of land between the curb and sidewalk. You know in 5 years, whoever lives in that house is going to be praying passers-by pick plums, because they will have far too many for even a huge family. What city could not have fruit trees spread throughout the city? We could have gleaners who pick the fruit for the food bank, and who get to keep a share for the fruit for themselves, or a room in a shelter? We are spending money to feed the poor and provide shelter, but may be we could do this more efficiently, and with the future in mind?

 

We stupidly removed our canning factory, causing hundreds of people to loose their jobs, and have not planned on replacing it, because at the moment it is not cost effective to do so, but what of the future? Should we maybe considering the future and the problems we are having today, such as tracing down where a food product got contaminated, because it is so hard to know where it all comes from and what happened in transportation. Surely, the increased likelihood of bad weather destroying a crop should go into our future planning shouldn't it?

 

This thread is in politics, and maybe there are some political, city and state planning, things that we should be doing today, for a better tomorrow? How about if for nothing else than being able to look at something and say, things are getting better?

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Phosphorus content in peat moss is around 1%. Phosphorus content in ash is 1 to 3%. Just two examples after a brief examination.

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Phosphorus content in peat moss is around 1%. Phosphorus content in ash is 1 to 3%. Just two examples after a brief examination.

...speaking of a newly recognized commodity... with value:

 

 

Waste Biomass...

...could be a valuable commodity....

 

http://www.ars.usda....q_no_115=254817

 

Research Project: INNOVATIVE ANIMAL MANURE TREATMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR ENHANCED ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Location: Coastal Plains Soil, Water, and Plant Research Center

 

"blended animal manures" ...yummmmm; phosphorus!

Title: High-temperature pyrolysis of blended animal manures for producing renewable energy and value-added biochar.

 

A commercial pilot-scale pyrolysis reactor system was operated for production of combustible gases and biochar from swine solids, chicken litter, and swine solids blended with rye grass. The energy content of combustible gases produced from swine solids and the swine-rye blend were slightly below that of natural gas. The biochars contained greater concentrations of phosphorous and potassium than original manure suggesting usefulness as an alternative fertilizer.

[http://www.ars.usda....cid=21126#List]

===

 

http://www.ars.usda....yrogasification

 

A Skid-Mounted Pyrogasification System Produced High-Quality Combustible Gases and Biochars from Animal Manures: ....

The calorific values of combustible gases and biochar produced from swine solids and the blended solids were slightly below that of natural gas. This technology also produced biochar which can be used as a green coal with energy content compatible[sic] to fossil coal.

 

googled: "phosphorous content" biochar

 

http://content.alter...Rapport2158.pdf

 

see googled: biochar "Ehlert et al."

 

http://ec.europa.eu/..._phosphorus.pdf

 

http://www.courage20..._Balans_def.pdf

 

http://www.courage20...oedselketen.pdf

 

...pdf presentations!

===

 

http://lib.bioinfo.p...20Sci%20Technol

 

Environmental Science & Technology 2010, Jan 15; v.44 (#2): p.827-833

Life cycle assessment of biochar systems: estimating the energetic, economic, and climate change potential.

 

"Biochar may at present only deliver climate change mitigation benefits and be financially viable as a distributed system using waste biomass.

Keywords: switchgrass; feedstock; climate change; waste; ghg; climate; yard waste; cycle assessment; soil; stover; economic; pyrolysy; biomass; yard; waste management;"

 

"...a distributed system using waste biomass."

...sounds like "Jobs!" to me.

~ :)

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Pig feed lots, cattle feed lots, chicken and turkey farms, automated processes. Some"thing" will do it.

 

Soylent Green?

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Is it ignorant to have faith in the world to solve its problems? Somebody's working on it.

 

Yes it is some what ignorant to assume that technology will always solve all problems caused by growing population.

 

For example peak phosphorous.......

 

There is a fixed amount of phosphorous on planet Earth and technology cannot create more through nuclear fusion.

 

As the human population increases the amount of phosphorous in peoples bones etc increases while the amount available in the environment for other organisms decreases. And the amount of phosphorous being taken from the environment and the rate at which it is being taken all increase.

 

Sooner or later humanity will hit the wall with phosphorous and there is not a great deal that technology can do about it, other than extracting it from the bones of human bodies.

 

Are you prepared to have compulsory donation of your body to phosphorous extraction plants for example so that your technology can solve the phosphorous shortage?

 

Sooner or later and one way or another the human population will crash, if we don't take active measures to reduce it in an ordered manor.

 

...speaking of a newly recognized commodity... with value:

 

 

Waste Biomass...

...could be a valuable commodity....

 

http://www.ars.usda....q_no_115=254817

 

Research Project: INNOVATIVE ANIMAL MANURE TREATMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR ENHANCED ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Location: Coastal Plains Soil, Water, and Plant Research Center

 

"blended animal manures" ...yummmmm; phosphorus!

 

googled: "phosphorous content" biochar

 

http://content.alter...Rapport2158.pdf

 

see googled: biochar "Ehlert et al."

 

http://ec.europa.eu/..._phosphorus.pdf

 

http://www.courage20..._Balans_def.pdf

 

http://www.courage20...oedselketen.pdf

 

...pdf presentations!

===

 

http://lib.bioinfo.p...20Sci%20Technol

 

Environmental Science & Technology 2010, Jan 15; v.44 (#2): p.827-833

Life cycle assessment of biochar systems: estimating the energetic, economic, and climate change potential.

 

"Biochar may at present only deliver climate change mitigation benefits and be financially viable as a distributed system using waste biomass.

Keywords: switchgrass; feedstock; climate change; waste; ghg; climate; yard waste; cycle assessment; soil; stover; economic; pyrolysy; biomass; yard; waste management;"

 

"...a distributed system using waste biomass."

...sounds like "Jobs!" to me.

~ :)

 

Human bones are about 11% phosphorus. It would be more economically viable to extract it from the bones of our dead than it would be to extract it from waste biomass.

 

The nonsensical nature of the two extremes is exactly what i was getting at, the reality must lie somewhere between the two.

 

I'd like to see it happen before every one is living under third world conditions.

 

Two some what contradictory statements.

 

Your belief that we will all be living in third world conditions if over population is not addressed is a little 'doomsday' in itself.

 

I actually agree with you rather than any notion that humans will become totally extinct in the forseeable future.

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I have no problem with harvesting human bones for phosphorus, you can have mine, it make no difference after i am dead, bury me head down with my butt up and park bicycles....

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