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Archive for the ‘Population crash’ Category

A great article: read “How Relocalization Worked

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A few recent links about the possible future course of humankind on Earth if we do not begin to change our unsustainable ways:

+ “Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?” by Lester Brown (in Scientific American – May 2009) – this article posits that the increasing fragility of the world’s food supply could lead to shortages that would further destabilize many developing (as well as developed) countries
– Also see: “RETHINKING FOOD PRODUCTION FOR A WORLD OF EIGHT BILLION” by Brown (July 2009)

+ “What the future looks like” by Martin Rees (in The Guardian – May 2009) – a rather gloomy assessment of the socio-environmental situation that could lead to major problems by 2050.  In relation to the burgeoning world population and the impact that this is having on the environment, the article states:

“But there are some trends that we can predict with confidence. There will, barring a global catastrophe, be far more people on Earth than today. Fifty years ago the world population was below 3 billion. It has more than doubled since then, to 6.7 billion. The percentage growth rate has slowed, but it is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050. The excess will almost all be in the developing world where the young hugely outnumber the old.

If population growth were to continue beyond 2050, one can’t be other than exceedingly gloomy about the prospects. And the challenge of feeding such a rapidly growing population will be aggravated by climate change.

The world will be warmer than today in 2050; the patterns of rainfall and drought across the world will be different. If we pursue “business as usual”,

CO2 concentration levels will reach twice the pre-industrial level by around 2050. The higher its concentration, the greater the warming – and, more important still, the greater the chance of triggering something grave and irreversible: rising sea levels due to the melting of Greenland’s icecap; runaway release of methane in the tundra.”

+ ABC News ran the TV special “Earth 2100” back in early June 2009 – it also paints a grim portrait of Earth overwhelmed by major economic, political, and socio-environmental problems by the year 2100 if humanity does not soon change course and begin upon a more ecologically/environmentally sustainable path. I didn’t hear about or get to watch the program when it first aired, but I hope to watch a rerun of it on the internet sometime soon when I find the time.
– Also see the following related links:
“Earth 2100: the Final Century of Civilization? – Planet At Risk: Experts Warn Population Growth, Resource Depletion, Climate Change Could Bring Catastrophe in Next Century”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_2100

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If we do not begin to change course within the coming decades and start taking better care of our Earth, we might face problems which may eventually become insurmountable and or even fatal to our species. Some areas or regions could be forced to confront a full or partial environmental/ecological collapse, which may trigger even more widespread chaos outside of the affected area(s) as people flee the desolation they have wrought in search of new habitats.

Resource depletion/exhaustion is another distinct possibility, with humanity eventually running out of resources with which to ‘keep the motors of civilization running’ so to speak. This would surely cause human culture as we have come to know it to grind mostly to a halt as we find ourselves mostly stranded or marooned in our local areas which may not provide all that is needed to maintain life. Rising nationalistic and/or ethnic-racial tensions will likely reach a fever-pitch as different groups fight non-stop for the scraps of a gradually more resource-scarce planet. Regional, continental, or even worldwide wars over scant resources could also break out, leading to further interruptions of human civilization.

In the worst of all scenarios, a major population crash could occur, causing the death of untold millions or billions of humans and thus the utter decimation of our evolutionary success as an advanced species on Earth. Even the near-total extinction of humanity might result from this catastrophic chain-of-events, meaning all of what we humans worked so hard for in the last few hundred thousand years of evolution might all come to naught. This is clearly unacceptable and must be prevented. Therefore, as stated, we must start now in order to build a more secure and sustainable future for humanity on planet Earth.

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Many obstacles, hurdles, and setbacks will confront humankind in our quest to build a better world. Foremost among these is going to be social, political, and economic disorganization, which is obviously no surprise considering it was/is rampant disorganization that has likely contributed the most to the modern socio-environmental crisis. We are going to have to do much better in this regard – no more excuses or dissimulation, no more procrastination or lollygagging, no more avoidance of difficult decisions, no more arguing and disagreeing over petty and ultimately inconsequential issues. In some respects we are going to have to force change upon ourselves whether we are willing to accept it or not. We must realize that the environmental future of Earth is at stake, and thus to continue to delay the inevitable changes we must make could spell the end of modern human civilization.

Removing language-related hurtles would help to expedite the processes of planning and enactment of the agreed-to plans – a universal world language or global lingua franca (likely English given its current international ubiquity) will need to be utilized as much as is achievable so that as many people as possible can remain on the same linguistic wavelength in terms of the widely accepted vision, as well as stay united during the planning and enactment stages. This would in no way necessitate people abandoning their local language(s) or dialect(s), only supplementing them with a universally-recognized global language so that all can listen as well as speak and be heard during the planning and enactment/execution stages.

We must not let political, economic, religious, and/or other socio-cultural complications stand in the way of ultimate success. All people must be made to understand that the health of our planet, which is so vital to the continued existence of the human species, depends on accepting the non-debatable primacy of our environmental requirements, i.e. the maintaining of a stable, clean, and sustainable Earth capable of supporting and nourishing the permanent survival of our species. All must accept the fact that without a livable Earth to support a healthy humanity no other issues matter…not cultural beliefs, or political opinions, nor even religious doctrines – for who will be on Earth to support various political parties or follow certain religions if we eventually render the Earth uninhabitable?

Humankind must come to the blunt realization that nothing else matters if we do not have a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment in which to live and thrive – to repeat: without a decent/habitable environment in which to live nothing else matters because without the environment humanity has nothing. Must it be stated again? To wit: all of the secondary and/or tertiary issues which so preoccupy us will not mean anything unless we have an environment in which to live because our environment (the Earth) contains all other things.

A major complication is that humans seem to have not yet to evolved quickly enough (both mentally and possibly even physiologically) to cope with the radically different living conditions we now find ourselves in ever since the dawn of the Industrial Age and the spread of its associated socio-environmental shifts. Many of us in the most technologically ‘advanced’ nations have become little more than over-consuming automatons almost completely dependent upon the hyperindustrial and hypertechnological system for our most basic/everyday needs. This overdependency clearly reveals a major weakness of these most ‘advanced’ nations, for we have slowly become too far too reliant on unsustainable forms of technology to support and maintain our way of life. It is still going to take quite a bit more time for humans to evolve the necessary skills and coping-mechanisms that will help us to better deal with our drastically changed world.

Over-competitiveness, non-cooperation, and the ongoing tensions/ belligerence between all of the various peoples, groups, regions, and nations will have to be minimized as much as possible in order for humanity to move forward and work fruitfully together in the formation of a better world for everyone. As stated, the spread of a universal or near-universal language will likely assist in bringing people together much closer than they have ever been before and should help to resolve many of the issues which will arise between all of the groups and nations which inhabit the world. We should have faith that the creativity, resourcefulness, hardiness, and intelligence of our species will help to lead us through these problems.

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I.    Working Toward a More Sustainable and Stable Future
a.  Must start NOW or else we’ll likely enter in to a very unstable period of civilizational decline

II.   Obstacles Likely to be Encountered Along the Way To a Better World
a.  Social/political/economic disorganization
b.  Over-competitiveness, non-cooperation, and ongoing belligerence between various groups, regions, or nations
c.  Rising nationalistic and/or ethnic-racial tensions: the never-ending competition for resources
d.  Unknown variables

III.  The Dire Consequences for Humanity and the Earth if We Do Not Begin to Change Course
a.  Partial ecological collapse?
b.  Resource exhaustion?  Worldwide wars over scarce resources?
c.  Population crash?  Near-total human extinction?

IV.  Utopian Visions: Humanity’s Innate Willpower, Idealism, and Intelligence Will Hopefully Persevere in the Future

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Though the discussion of overpopulation is taboo in many quarters, understanding the pivotal role that population and demographics plays in relation to the advancement (or contraction) of human civilization is essential.  To be frank, it is clear that many parts of the world are overpopulated to a frightening extent and as such we must begin to take various steps that will eventually lead to the stabilization and normalization of population levels.

The best step we can currently take is to make birth-control options more easily available for everyone, i.e. either very inexpensive or even entirely free of cost.  We also must start to educate and inform every single person on the extreme importance of maintaining healthy, sustainable, and stable population levels in relation to their local environment as well as in the world at large.

These are sensitive issues to many people – despite that, humanity can no longer afford to continue to brush them aside as too controversial because the very future of Earth’s environment hinges on humanity reaching stable and sustainable population levels.  The most reasonable opinion is likely that everyone has the right to replace themselves (replacement level fertility), but everyone does not have the right to have a large number of children they cannot take care of and thus must rely on governmental assistance or other means of support.

The heated debate surrounding overpopulation as well as human population issues in general will of course continue to rage on, but we must realize that the debate cannot continue forever lest we fail to take some kind of definitive measures sooner rather than later.  If we wait too long we might be forced to take severe or drastic actions that could have been averted had we acted earlier.

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I. The Current Human and Environmental Crisis: A Call to Action and Overview of Major Problems

II. Population and Demographic Issues
a. Overpopulation and the resultant overstraining of vital resources

III. Water: The Basis of All Life on Earth
a. Increasing freshwater depletion/pollution
b. Massive wasting of valuable freshwater
c. Ocean pollution and overfishing

IV. Soil: The Foundation of Human Civilizations
a. Topsoil loss: widespread erosion and soil mismanagement
b. Soil contamination/pollution
c. Over-farming/soil exhaustion
d. Over-reliance on fertilizers/pesticides/chemicals/etc

V. Food: Everyone Has To Eat
a. Very unstable food supplies
b. Industrial agriculture/factory-farming is cruel to the inhabitants of Earth (both humans and animals) and is entirely unsustainable
c. The widespread loss of knowledge regarding food production due to overdependence on automation and machinery for food production

VI. Air: We All Breathe
a. Air pollution
b. Weather/ozone problems: climate change/global warming, etc
c. Deforestation: the collapsing lungs of our Earth

VII. Living Patterns: They’re Going to Have to Change…Drastically
a. Unsustainable overconsumption/waste
b. Social (dis)organization is reaching near-anarchic levels in some countries
c. Widespread disconnection/alienation from nature is fueling nihilism and other pathological behaviors

VIII. Energy: It’s What Makes the Modern World Work
a. Soiling our own nest: too much dirty energy (oil, coal, natural gas, etc)
b. Increasing depletion of oil/nat-gas/coal/etc: peak oil?
c. Widespread energy inefficiency/waste

IX. Transportation: Moving People and Stuff Around
a. Increasingly obsolete transportation networks for the current (and still growing) world population
b. Fragile, polluting, and unsustainable supply chains for necessary resources and consumer goods

X. How Long Does Humanity Have to Start On a More Sustainable Path?
a. Is so-called ‘globalization’ sustainable or even desirable?
b. The danger of over-contentment, procrastination, neglecting to act, and general human laziness
c. The specter of regional, national, or even global collapse/disintegration

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