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Paul Ehrlich: Population surge leaves only a 10% chance of avoiding a collapse of world civilization

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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 05:54 AM
Original message
Paul Ehrlich: Population surge leaves only a 10% chance of avoiding a collapse of world civilization
Paul Ehrlich, a prophet of global population doom who is gloomier than ever

"Among the knowledgeable people there is no more conversation about whether the danger is real," Ehrlich told the Guardian. "Civilisations have collapsed before: the question is whether we can avoid the first time entire global civilisation has given us the opportunity of having the whole mess collapse."

The idea sounds melodramatic, but Ehrlich insists his vision only builds on famine, drought, poverty and conflict, which are already prevalent around the world, and would unfold over the "next few decades". "Of course a new emerging disease or toxic problem could alone (also) trigger a collapse. My pessimism is deeply tied to the human failure to do anything about these problems, or even recognise or talk about them."

Central to the argument of the book ("The Population Bomb")was the idea that Earth has a finite capacity to provide the resources needed to feed and protect a global population which was growing exponentially in numbers and its demands to consume. The book succeeded, slowly, in getting the issue of overpopulation into political and public consciousness, an idea now acknowledged by calculations of the "ecological footprint" of anything from nappies to nations.

Ehrlich accepts his prediction of widespread famine in the 1970s underestimated the "green revolution" which industrialised farming. But he still dismisses hope that technology will allow mankind to stretch resources ever further.

"Can we solve this technologically? Theoretically, since we can't know anything for certain, so we could come up with a magic way of producing food and that could save us. But my answer, always, to that is: we have all sorts of people in despair today. Don't tell me how easy it's going to be to feed nine billion people; let's feed seven billion first, then I'll be willing to talk to you about whether technology will take care of all those people. We could support a lot more people on the planet if humans were willing to share equally, but they don't: we want to design a world where everybody can lead a decent life without everybody being fair."

I've always been on Ehrlich's wavelength. Unlike him, though, I don't see the looming situation as being a "bad" thing. It just is what it is.

Each in our own way, we need to continue working for the higher good of humanity without tying ourselves to expectations of any particular outcome - whether that outcome seems "good" or "bad".
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GSanon Donating Member (69 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 05:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. yet celibates are still second-class-citizens. nt
.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 05:59 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. And the child-free are pitied...
:shrug:
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #2
16. let me get you guys a tiny violin
if you think most parents genuinely give a shit that you don't have kids, or the sexually active really care about your sex life- or lack thereof- you have WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY more time on your hands than we do.
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Marrah_G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 08:50 AM
Response to Reply #2
31. There are days I would LOVE to be child-free!!!!!!
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 06:07 AM
Response to Original message
3. We could do a lot of things if we didn't have to
not only share the planet with each other, but also the rest of life on it. In those terms, the rest of life is sort of like the 99%. We're that top 1% that wants everything. We're pretty much practicing trickle down economics. Privatizing the planet for humans, socializing the costs to the rest of life.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 06:15 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Exactly! In planetary terms, humans are the capitalists.
Our behavior towards the rest of life is indistinguishable from the behavior of the CEO class towards "the little people".

We are the planetary Power Elite.
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 08:15 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. In those same terms, the Green Revolution was essentially a bailout
Written by us, for us, like with Paulson and Goldman Sachs. We're too big to fail.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. That's a very nice analogy, with Norman Borlaug playing the part of Hank Paulson.
Edited on Thu Oct-27-11 08:44 AM by GliderGuider
Both men supervised a drawdown of the the resources of the 99% to benefit the 1%.

In Paulson's case it was the clever trick of making the taxpayers cough up money to cover the shortfalls of the banksters and plutocrats.
In Borlaug's case it was the clever trick of making the ecosystem cough up biodiversity and non-renewable natural resources to cover the shortfalls of the human race.

It's a truly wonderful, insightful parallel. But you do realize it's going to be quite a leap for most people to shift from seeing Borlaug as the "savior of humanity" to viewing him as an unintentional, well-meaning villain from the perspective of life in general. It requires a shift from an anthropocentric to an ecocentric perspective. That transition is hard for most people to make, though more and more people are getting it all the time.

That shift is one of the fundamental insights of awakening in our current predicament.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 08:36 AM
Response to Reply #3
30. +1
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 06:12 AM
Response to Original message
4. To tie it back to the "cause du jour", Occupy Wall Street:
The perception of looming collapse is permeating the global zeitgeist on many levels today. Whether it's overpopulation and food insecurity , Peak Oil and climate change, chemical pollution of the land and water, the over-extended, hyper-brittle and crumbling global financial and banking system, or the threat of world economies collapsing into a long-term depression with job losses for everyone, the portents of decline are everywhere.

IMO this sense of impending catastrophe is the undercurrent that has galvanized OWS into being. More than any specific problem (and God knows they're all serious enough to build a movement around) it is this sense of universal calamity that is suffusing their message: "Jesus Christ everybody! Wake the fuck up and look at what's been happening while we were all asleep!" The young have always been better at noticing this and "mentioning" it, because they have less to lose from letting it into their consciousness. Many of the oldsters need a good swift kink to interrupt their consumerist reverie. That's OWS.
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Abin Sur Donating Member (647 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 08:57 AM
Response to Original message
8. Paul Ehrlich reminds me of Harold Camping.
Both of them keep predicting doomsday, and it never quite seems to happen...
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Actually, I think Ehrlich is still candy-coating our true situation.
Edited on Thu Oct-27-11 09:02 AM by GliderGuider
All the data that's been piling up for the last 50 years supports his position and that of the Limits to Growth people pretty precisely. Ehrlich only missed one thing - Norman Borlaug. If old Norm hadn't figured out how to make the biosphere pay off our overdraft, we'd be in collapse already. Now the biosphere is tapping out, and it's coming on time to pay the piper.
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Abin Sur Donating Member (647 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:17 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. I like the episode of BS! by Penn & Teller in which they play the "greatest person in history" game.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIvNopv9Pa8 at the 2:20 mark.

Penn draws Norman Borlaug. He wins.
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #9
22. That isn't correct, other ways of feeding the world were being developed
You wrote, "Ehrlich only missed one thing - Norman Borlaug. If old Norm hadn't figured out how to make the biosphere pay off our overdraft, we'd be in collapse already."

That's not correct, a number of other ways of feeding humanity were being developed, two examples are vegetarianism and spirulina cultivation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirulina_%28dietary_suppl...

The United Nations World Food Conference in 1974 lauded spirulina as the 'best food for the future'. Recognizing the inherent potential of spirulina in the sustainable development agenda, several Member States of the United Nations came together to form an intergovernmental organization named the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition (IIMSAM).<36> IIMSAM aspires to build a consensus with the UN Member States, international community and other stakeholders to make spirulina a key driver to eradicate malnutrition, achieve food security and bridge the health divide throughout the world.

Both NASA (CELSS)<37> and the European Space Agency (MELISSA)<38> proposed Spirulina as one of the primary foods to be cultivated during long-term space missions.


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azul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. You work for Monsanto, right?
Mutually Agreed Destruction: population bomb. It's very difficult not to have kids, and even more difficult still to not join into hometown society, even if it is headed off a cliff.
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Abin Sur Donating Member (647 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. It's certainly not "very difficult" not to have kids...
I've managed quite to do so quite easily. As for not joining "hometown society", I'm not sure exactly what you mean by that...could you elaborate, please?
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azul Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. Oh, alright. You'd think my simple words would convey these notions.
People have a very strong biological drive to reproduce, ne?

People are social creatures, they need to fit into their society to not feel stressed and lost. The hidden brain makes subconscious judgments on what is right and wrong, and thus affects behavior, based on observations on the actions of the community. We mimic what other people do, even if it is irrational, to find our places in society.

http://www.hiddenbrain.org/
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Abin Sur Donating Member (647 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. And yet people in many countries *aren't* reproducing at replacement levels.


Given access to birth control, it is objectively not "very difficult" not to have kids.

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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. improved economic conditions + contraceptives + freedom = lower birth rates
it's simple, and proven.

If your 'hidden brain' is telling you to have kids, try lecturing the mirror.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 06:39 AM
Response to Reply #20
24. The difficulty with the demographic transition model is the need for improved economic conditions.
That is by no means guaranteed, as the current global crisis implies.

The problem the world is facing comes from an interwoven combination of economic, ecological and energy factors. Even mainstream economists are now admitting to the possibility of a major long-lasting destabilization of the world economy. Climate change has the potential to limit global food production as rainfall patterns change and now-fertile areas become dustbowls or experience unpredictable flooding. Then there are is the imponderable effect of increasing oil prices and constrained supply, as we appear to have hit Peak Oil. How it will all play out is anyone's guess, but the long-term signals are not good at the moment.

What does that mean for population? Well, unlike Ehrlich and the UN I don't foresee our numbers getting much past 8 billion before they begin to decline. I wrote a series of articles back at the beginning of the year that outline why that is. The following is quoted from one of them:

Responding to Peak Oil, Peak Food and Peak Population

In my previous article I described how I think the effects of Climate Change and Peak Oil will combine to limit the growth of the world's food supply. I believe that a limited global food supply implies a limited global population, and also that a decline in the food supply will result in an overall decline in our population. In this article I expand on how I think governments and individuals might respond if the oil/food/population situation unfolds as I think it will.

From the outset I want to emphasize that what I present here is not a monolithic global view. Each region, country, and even city has its own unique circumstances that will shape its particular responses. What I want to lay out is an idea of general trends that I think could spread to more and more regions over time. I would also like to be clear that I'm not presenting proposals or prescriptions for solutions. As I say below, I don't think we have the time or organization for effective top-down solutions. Instead, this is a look at what I see as a range of probable responses that will occur on national, regional, municipal and personal levels as the situation unfolds.

Responding to Food and Energy Limits

Because of the size and elasticity of the global food system we will not face immediate general shortages of food. This rules out a global famine or anything approaching it. Regional situations will be different of course, and there will be increasing instances of dire food shortages for reasons as varied as the regions affected. However, I can imagine some responses to perceived limits in the food supply that will be fairly common throughout the world.

On the supply side there will be attempts to keep food production up. These will probably include broader and deeper subsidies for the energy used within the food system. That includes fertilizer and oil subsidies for farmers, gasoline and oil subsidies for the food transportation industry and rate subsidies for the electricity used in food processing. On the demand side there will be an extension of the consumer food subsidy programs already in place in many nations.

Essentially these subsidies are redistribution measures that move money from other portions of the economy into the food system. This can only last for so long, because once the subsidies reach a certain level (perhaps 25% of GDP?) things will begin to come unglued. The rest of the economy will slow down due to financial starvation, resulting in less output to be redistributed into the food system, which in turn will require an even higher percentage of GDP to be redistributed. At some point it becomes a vicious spiral.

There will be a surge in personal food growing, and low-energy agriculture will come into its own. While these initiatives will help, they will not solve the overall problem, as most people have neither the training nor the opportunity to participate. As we have already seen, food prices can rise very fast - fast enough to easily out-pace any ability to bring local or personal food supplies to fruition.

Similar considerations apply to the use of energy outside the food system. Subsidies will be provided for both producers and consumers, but in the face of a declining oil supply with rising prices the subsidies will have nowhere to go but up. This rising price/subsidy spiral will happen even as the demand for energy declines due to recessions and conservation efforts, because energy prices can rise much faster than society can reorganize to reduce its demand.

There are some opportunities for individuals to help their own situations. We will switch to using more to local fuels like wood and dung, many will hyper-insulate their homes, and there will be a surge in human-powered transportation and mass transit. Because of the forms of energy we use in our lives, we can only address price rises in oil, natural gas and electricity with conservation rather than replacement.

There will not be enough time for alternative sources of electricity like wind and solar to provide more than isolated local benefits. As the world economy goes through successive recessionary shocks, the building of new, expensive electrical infrastructure of any sort will become increasingly unattractive due to declining capital availability and dropping demand.

What Might Happen to our Population?

As I said above, I don't foresee mass global famines. The size and elasticity of the food system will forestall that. In fact, food production will behave much like the oil supply. Its growth will stagger to a halt, but there won't be a sudden overall drop in output. Essentially our food supply will be capped.

The probable results of a capped food supply can be inferred from biological experiments on laboratory colonies of mice whose food supply has been limited. If the limited food is enough to feed a specific number of adult mice, the observed results have not included a die-off of the adults. Instead, there is a reduction in the fertility of females (fewer live births) as well as an increase in early infant mortality.

Over time the adult population continues along quite normally, with replacement mice entering the population only as the food supply allows. In other words, the number of newborns reaching maturity balances the number of deaths in the adult population resulting in a stable population.

It makes sense to me that if the overall food supply were to decline slowly, the same mechanisms would continue to play out - only with fewer newborns reaching maturity. There is no reason I can see that this dynamic should not apply equally to homo sapiens as to mus musculus. We are both species that remain subject to the laws of Mother Nature and ecology.

One other response to consider when it comes to limiting population growth is the role of family planning - deliberate fertility control. As local situations become more difficult, and especially if people see little hope for improvement in the short or medium term, more women will begin to think of controlling their fertility.

Such personal decisions were behind the drastic plunge in birth rates we saw as the former USSR fragmented. The birth rate there fell by almost one half in the six years from 1987 to 1993. In fact the case of Russia is instructive, because the eventual rise in the death rate came a full five years after the birth rate began to plummet. This time difference implies two things. One is that that Soviet and Russian women made deliberate choices not to have children, beginning when the situation got bad. The other thing it implies is that unlike the voluntary drop in birth rates, the rise in death rates was due to involuntary factors - primarily declining health due to longer term malnutrition, lack of health care and alcoholism.



In the global scenario we're considering, the ability of women to access family planning, whether contraception or abortion, is going to vary from region to region. It will depend largely on the local cultural, religious, economic and educational situation. As the economic and educational circumstances of women improve, more of them will have the opportunity to control their fertility, giving them the option of bringing fewer children into a situation that may already be desperate. If their circumstances do not improve or access to such services is limited for cultural reasons, there is a high probability that the world will see a rise in infanticide - regardless of the social taboos against it.

So as in the laboratory mouse colonies, we may see a situation in which limited world food supplies do not lead to massive deaths due to global famine, but rather to a sharp drop in birth rates across all nations. However...

Because of human nature things are unlikely to remain as peaceful in our civilization as they do in a mouse colony. There will be an enormous upsurge in global unrest as more poor countries find themselves threatened by food and energy shortages. Unreasoning hatreds will flare, predatory trade practices will grow, foreign aid will dry up and regional wars will become more common and more vicious. Poverty will spread due to successive global recessions of deepening severity. The life support systems of medical care and sanitation will eventually begin to disintegrate starting in the poorest nations (as they already have), and life expectancies will probably shrink as diseases increasingly penetrate the adult populations.

The Problems of Time and Markets

The biggest problems for the world in coping with this predicament revolve around the time line and the market pricing of commodities.

If my estimates are correct we have already reached the upper limit of our oil production, and we will reach an effective cap of our food supply within 5 years. This is far too fast for any global planning exercise to make a difference, especially as the problem is not even acknowledged yet at those levels. As in the past we will be limited mainly to local remediation efforts based on the unfolding local situation. Such efforts will always fall short of being a solution.

The other problem is with markets. Commodity prices can rise very fast, as we have already seen with both food and oil. Even more than frank shortages, these rises can put the affected commodities out of reach of consumers essentially overnight - with dramatic impacts on national economies and civil society. Unless we were to find some way to reform the market system the only systemic answers I know of are subsidies or rationing. At the grass roots there will be a strong growth in barter trade and underground economies, and regional currencies will become increasingly popular as people decouple from a dysfunctional market system and localize their activities.

We are about to enter very interesting times indeed.

I hope this makes my own position clear.
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #24
32. Then the problem, per se, isn't "population", it's other factors.
Population has been doing a fine job of managing itself in many areas. What we need is an aggressive campaign against global institutions that restrict freedom and argue against birth control (cough. the pope) while focusing on the people who ARE reproducing at excessively high rates.
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 03:17 PM
Response to Reply #32
38. I largely agree.
Both our population and consumption (the old I=PAT shibboleth) are already unsustainable and are still growing, even as we start to hit limits of various sorts. I don't think we'll bring down our population fast enough to stay ahead of those encroaching limits, which means that our population will be reduced as a consequence of hitting them.

Anything we can do over the next 20 years to encourage lower birth rates will help, but even if we brought population growth to a halt tomorrow, we're already at least 50% into overshoot (and by some estimates, we're in much deeper than that). Unless we enter a regime of outright population decline within the next decade or two, we and the rest of life on the planet are going to be in a world of hurt. I have concluded we won't do it voluntarily.

"That which must be done to avoid the crisis will be done only as its consequence.
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MH1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 08:25 PM
Response to Reply #12
40. Try being a woman raped in Mississippi. nt.
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MadrasT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #11
36. Huh?
It's extraordinarily easy to not have kids. I've had no trouble whatsoever either making that choice, or following through with that choice. Not sure what "joining into hometown society" has to do with reproduction. I also have no trouble finding "community" regardless of my choice to be child-free.
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Zoeisright Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #8
13. Yeah, right. A religious nutjob is exactly the same as a scientist.
Get back to me when you have something relevant to say.
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #8
19. Oh, come on! Aren't you going to cite Julian Simon? Please?!?!
:rofl:
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MFrohike Donating Member (210 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
15. Go away, Paul
You've been consistently wrong for 40 years now. Go play with your ants or whatever it was you did and leave us alone.
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BlueIris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 02:57 PM
Response to Reply #15
37. Heh. Nice screenname.
You'll fit in well here, I think.
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
17. the so-called population 'problem' is highly localized & dependent upon cultural & economic factors
there, I said it.
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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
21. His 1968 book predicted massive world-wide starvation in the 70's & 80's due to overpopulation
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. you need to realize, this isn't about 'facts'. If it were about facts
the focus would be on places like Guinea-Bissou, where birth rates are a problem, dependent upon assorted local factors.

You also would see some admiration or at least acknowledgement- which you NEVER do, in these threads- for the way 1st world reproduction rates have stabilized themselves in recent decades- like magic*, even!

*"magic" being the operative term for what happens when people do something in their personal lives or choices without being ordered to by The People That Know Better


No, this is yet another opportunity for sanctimonious finger-wagging, where people get to complain about SUV-drivin yuppie 'breeders' and how a screaming brat ruined their dinner last month at TGIFridays.
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 08:04 AM
Response to Reply #23
28. See the graph of the world's population growth for facts
Just because Paul may have been off by a few decades does not mean that he was wrong.

You also apparently do not recognize pollution as a problem. The more consumerism, the more pollution, etc. The more pollution, the more birth defects. The world Will become uninhabitable the way that that wealthiest 1% of the people are living. And worldwide - that 1% probably includes most of us. Especially the ones driving SUVs and flying around in airplanes.

http://www.worldometers.info/world-population /

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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 02:33 PM
Response to Reply #28
33. Right, but the 1st world people in the suvs have reduced their reproductive rates ON THEIR OWN
without screeching screeds and edicts from the self-righteous "childfree", even.

I'll say it again: The so-called population "Problem" is a LOCALIZED, ECONOMIC AND CULTURALLY DEPENDENT PHENOMENON.

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

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apocalypsehow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #23
39. +1. n/t.
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Sen. Walter Sobchak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 07:14 AM
Response to Original message
25. This all hinges of course on...
the degree to which western whites can make others suffer for their principles be it a belief in the preservation of neolithic agriculture or imposing abstinence education.
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bloom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 07:56 AM
Response to Original message
26. 3 days to the 7 billion mark
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 08:01 AM
Response to Original message
27. Because the rate of deforestation and resource depletion is not fast enough, we need 9 billion.
That way, we're sure to know the answer of what happens sooner rather than having to wait. :sarcasm:
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 08:06 AM
Response to Original message
29. I don't view the world that way.
It only means we need to be mindful of our effects on our environment. I see no cause and effect as to a civilization making it or not.
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Warren DeMontague Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #29
34. DOOMED! DOOOOOMED! WUR ALL DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!!!
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 02:42 PM
Response to Original message
35. Unlike a stopped clock, Paul Ehrlich is never right
In our universe, time runs forward only. Thus, things in the future are impossible to predict. Anyone who claims otherwise is a fool. Mr. Ehrlich makes a very handsome living convincing folks (who want to be convinced) that he can predict the future. The fact that Mr. Ehrlich is frequently wrong yet believed by many is living proof of the cognitive biases that make our brains such an interesting and dangerous thing.
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