mkwin wrote: MonteQuest wrote:
mkwin wrote: While the optimists believe we are in for economic depressions but will get though the other side the doomers believe we are in for a break down of society and the mass die-off of 4 billion people.
No, the optimists deny and are ignorant of biology/ecology and overshoot, and the doomers are not.
We've had this conversation before. You take an extremely reductionist view of the human race and compare our current condition to other species. However, we are fundamentally different from other species and predicting trends or absolute natural laws like overshoot from these comparisons is unreliable.
Yes we need to stabilise and reduce populations in the third world, but we have the opposite problem in the industrialised world!! Just look at Japan, much of Europe and Russia - here the problem is the birth-rate that is too little to sustain the population at current levels.
Die-off in the third world…sadly yes. In the developed world…no.
And here we have a classic example of that denial and ignorance of biology/ecology.
First, "we are different" than other species. A hubris that says we are above nature and not subject to her laws in the same way that all
other species are.
In Daniel Quinn's book series Ishmael, he points out the difference between man and all
other species is that they practice "limited competition" while humans wage all out war.
The "law of limited competition" means you may compete for food, but you may not hunt down your competitors or destroy their food or deny them access to food...but you cannot wage war on them.
Our practice of agriculture is totaliatarian. We subordinate all
life-froms to the relentless, single-minded production of human food. It is one of the chief causes of the loss of biodiversity. Either we destroy the species' habitat or we destroy them outright through pesticides, herbicides, or hunting. Our use of DDT caused Rachel Carson to write Silent Spring
Malthus' warning was about the failure of agriculture to meet the human demands for food. However, it's continued success
to do so, poses an even greater threat to mankind.
Second: That the population problem is in the third world and not the first.
Carrying capacity is not about a certain number of any given species, it is about per capita consumption and waste realtive to that capacity.
In terms of environmental overshoot, (which is the only true measure) the most overpopulated country in the world is the USA. Even if that wasn't the case, the US is still the third most populous country in the world in sheer numbers.
With the world population billions beyond carrying capacity, it is pure folly to think in terms of regions. Global climate change, loss of biodiversity, environmental sink toxicity, etc are not, nor ever will be, local problems.
Not only do population levels world-wide need to come down, so does the per capita consumption and waste produced by those, like the USA, who have taken more than their share and set it up as a standard of living.