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stuntcat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 09:30 AM
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Population bomb 'ticks louder than climate'
Population bomb 'ticks louder than climate'
Global population growth is looming as a bigger threat to the world's food production and water supplies than climate change, a leading scientist says.

(I haven't read the article yet, I just got it okay.
It sounds true but of course these things are too closely related to be argued over this way.. I think. Guess I better just read it.)
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Sal Minella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 09:32 AM
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1. Thanks for posting this. (thanking you before I've read it also)
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 09:37 AM
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2. About the only actions that have ever been shown to help limit population
is supplying the populace with a high quality education (and this includes women in countries that don't typically encourage the education of women). When the people truly understand what's happening to the planet they'll think twice before having any children at all-unless we make real strides in solving our environmental and energy problems. Why bring new life into the world if that new life doesn't have a future?
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ensho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 10:28 AM
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3. agree
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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 10:58 AM
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4. While I agree there's a population problem, I still think he's got it backwards.
Khan says, "Climate change is one of a number of stresses we're facing, but it's overshadowed by global population growth and the amount of water, land and energy needed to grow food to meet the projected increase in population. We are facing a world population crisis."

I agree with the last sentence -- there is indeed a crisis -- but I'm utterly convinced that this is the wrong way too look at the problem. The core of the problem is not simply that a rising population needs more food, but that producing more food results in a rising population. In a sense it's a feedback loop. More people need more food, more food permits more people, who then need more food, which then permits more people... This vicious cycle is hard to see because of our belief that population is an independent variable, when in fact it's dependent on the food supply.

Carrying capacity is the population that a given ecological niche (in the case of humans that's the whole planet) can support. In all species the population will rise until it meets the carrying capacity of the niche, then it will stabilize. By continually expanding the world's food production we are in effect raising the human carrying capacity of the planet. Given that, is it any wonder that our population keeps expanding?

I don't think there is any species-wide way out of this trap short of running into some limit on food production. Educating women will help, but only regionally. However, it may not work well enough to lower the total fertility of poor, high-growth regions below 2.1. Enriching everyone in those areas in addition to educating them would work, but there isn't enough energy or productive capacity available to lift the 3 billion people in them to a level of consumption where the demographic transition could take place.

Our population is destined to keep growing (slower and slower, but growing nonetheless) until we exhaust our means of feeding more people. At that point it will stabilize, but the world will be a very different place by then due to resource exhaustion, biodiversity loss, pollution and climate change.
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stuntcat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. righto!
it's weird how he's got it twisted.. Like, we've populated so much that it's harming our need to populate more? like duh
He's someone who's just this close to realizing the fact :p
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