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Overpopulation is the least of our worries...

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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 04:45 AM
Original message
Overpopulation is the least of our worries...
I noticed some threads about overpopulation and what to do about the problem. Now first, I'm NOT saying that we DON'T have a problem, however, in the long term, the problem will most likely be moot anyways.

The population explosion that has happened, mostly in the latter half of the 20th century is related to food production, or a revolution in said production. The Green Revolution, as it was called, greatly expanded food production, mostly in the third world, by using specifically bred varieties of Maize, Wheat, Rice and other grains, staples of our diet, that take in a lot more nitrogen than base varieties of these plants.

As of right now, most of this "revolution" is falling apart, desertification, water shortages, etc. are all ravaging these crops, and yields are still decreasing. This is only a small part of the concern, because, as of right now, most first world nations produce more than enough food for the rest of the planet, however, delivery is still a problem.

There are 5 basic factors that determine crops grow on schedule, and in amounts needed to feed our growing population. These five are:

1. Uninterrupted fertilizer supply, mostly artificial nitrate enrichment, source, oil and natural gas.

2. Consistent topsoil that can "fix" the nitrates.

3. Uninterrupted supply of fresh water, unpolluted.

4. Uninterrupted supply of fuel for mechanized agriculture and transportation of food.

5. Stable climate.

Does anyone see a problem here? Let's see, our fertilizer and fuel is predicated on the idea that we have unlimited Supplies of oil and natural gas, both of which either peaked already or are peaking soon. Also, our topsoil is not only eroding away at an astonishing rate, but the topsoil left, that's used for agriculture, can't properly fix the nitrates that it gets from artificial fertilizers. Not to mention that fresh water is quickly being poisoned, and due to global climate change, many agricultural areas face drought, severe storms, and other destructive forces that can drastically cut crop yields.

I hate to sound like a cold hearted bastard, but sometimes reality needs to be faced, I strongly doubt that the amount of people who live on this planet by 2050 will number 1 billion. Hell, it may be even worse than that, depending on the severity of Global Climate change, extinction. Overpopulation will be a self correcting problem.

I would say that at the present time, the best we can hope for now is to alleviate and reduce these effects, but we won't, not in the time left, be able to reverse this course. I would say that in the decades to come, we will have to concentrate on survival, at best.

It seems almost unreal to most of us, sitting in heated or air-conditioned homes, sitting in front of a high tech computer, in a confined environment that we control, absolutely, that we are STILL totally at the mercy of the elements. The Earth is a great place to live, right now, for humans, but we still require a stable climate, stable weather, and stable ecosystems, to survive on this planet. We are no different than any other species in this respect, we are like the Neanderthals, or the Dinosaurs, or like the 95% of other species that have ever lived that are extinct now, on this planet. The only difference, and this is key, is that we may actually bring about our OWN extinction, that's a first on this planet.

Living on Earth is a zero sum game, no more, no less. The only question is how long before resources we need run out, some will last decades if we are lucky, like oil, gas, and coal, some centuries like fission power, some even a million years or more, like fusion if we can ever get a self-sustaining reaction, along with wind, geo-thermal, and solar. Some resources cannot be substituted for others, solar isn't useful to create the fertilizers we need, for example, and nuclear powered airplanes are out.

Depressed yet?
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rodeodance Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 04:59 AM
Response to Original message
1. yup--real cheery memo to start the day with!
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jus_the_facts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 05:15 AM
Response to Original message
2. Soylent Green...it's made outta PEOPLE....
....couldnt' resist! :hide:


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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 05:32 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Actually, that wouldn't be far from the truth...
Look up what happened to the inhabitants of Easter Island, then just scale that up to planetary scale, it wouldn't be pretty.
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Le Taz Hot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 05:39 AM
Response to Original message
4. Please see sig line.
N/T
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-22-06 08:00 AM
Response to Original message
5. facts not in evidence
i don't see how you can argue that this means "overpopulation is the least of our problems," if not for the over-population, none of these other problems would even BE problems

if, year of our lord 2006, there were only 500,000 people on the planet, then we would have all of the other five things you mentioned, plus time to develop alternate tech as needed to eventually replace the oil and coal and uranium, plus wide areas of forest remaining

there is almost no real virgin forest left in the united states, a huge part of north america, now south america is going to go the same way -- soy farms are one of the few human structures visible from the MOOM, africa is dying, asia...fewer people could have made all the difference in buying time not just for ourselves but for other species

forests are NOT renewable resources with a world population of 6 billion, they are dying, the fisheries are NOT renewable, they are dying and apparently there is no real chance of saving them at this point

if you don't acknowledge that over-population is the central issue of our time, well, you're in good company, because there is no political will to acknowledge this, but it is killing us, because then only the educated and decent people of good conscience restrain their breeding and the hysterics, the losers with no impulse control, and the right wing fundamentalist religious extremists keep breeding away and eventually they drown us out

over-population is THE problem, the center piece of what is wrong w. the world today

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