environment and population

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In Hoots water/recycling thread I brought up the idea that because of our technology, machinery etc we're(humanity) capable of performing much more work than we would otherwise be able to do without it.

To reiterate the example given in my response to Hoots post; There are roughly 6 billion people in the world. We regularly use machinery that's capable of performing the same amount of work in a given period of time as 5, 10, 20 or even fifty people. Assume for the sake of discussion the global average is a factor of five. In that case we(humanity) have the productive capacity of 30 billion people. That of course gives us the environmental impact capacity of 30 billion people and the energy and material appetites of 30 billion people.

It would seem to me that this issue would have to play a part in our population considerations also. Comments?

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), December 28, 2000


I'm kinda slow, and have problems understanding what 6 billion people would look like let alone 30 billion.

I don't think there's a problem feeding that many people unless of course they don't have jobs to earn money to pay for their food. I can't understand why were so bent on having such a large population?

I know we can recycle our pee to drink,(yuk) and maybe we will be able to recycle our poop some day,(yuk,yuk) but I'm not ready to try this alternative life style.

We're running out of fresh water. we have used up so much of our topsoil that a lot of farmers have to add it to their fields in order to produce a crop. In another hundred years there will not be much topsoil left. What will you produce your crops on? Where will your crops get their nutrients to survive on? Chemicals? Absolutley!

They have been using chemicals for years to increase yields, Whoa, I said increase yields. Why? If you hadn't increased population you wouldn't have had to increase yields to feed them.

The planet can only support so much life Naturally. After that, then there is too many people. In Nature the stong survive and the week and the crippled or handicapped die or become food for the strong. This insures the survival of the species, Exception is man. Man thinks everyone should survive no matter the genenetic make up. Man is causing his own extintion and he doesn't yet know it.

The worst evolvolutionary thing that happened to man was his brain and it's our ability to think we can out smart mther nature that will do us in.

-- hillbilly (internethillbilly@hotmail.com), December 28, 2000.

Soylent Green, anybody?

-- Soni (thomkilroy@hotmail.com), December 28, 2000.


You seem to have fallen into the extrapolation trap. If the assumption was technology coupled with mechanization today everyone person in the world should be capable of doing the work of five. Sorry, most of the world's population doesn't quality.

Subtract out the young and the elderly. Subtract out the ones where technology and mechanization doesn't apply, such as I don't think native Eskimos do much farming or manufacturing. It doesn't apply to most third-world countries even if they had the technology and mechanization - what would they do with it. How much can it be applied to the most heavily populated countries, such as India, China and Mexico.

Yes, great strives have been made in some sectors. How did an acre come to be an acre? It was the amount of land one man and one ox could plow in one day. It was a standard used for planning purposes. If you had to have 40 acres plowed in four days, then you needed ten teams. One man with a tractor and plows or disks can now do several hundred acres in a day. Some for harvesting.

Technology and mechanization comes at a price. Say in 1950, 50,000 workers would produce 10,000 cars a day. In 2000, 10,000 workers can product 100,000 cars a day. One can make the argument had not technology and mechanization occured, the industry would be employing 500,000 workers today. It doesn't, so what impact does the loss of those 450,000 jobs have in the sense did they go elsewhere and produce the same type of productivity ratio. Likely not.

Increases in productivity due to technology and mechanization can be applied to certain sectors; however, not across the board.

As I noted in another thread I support population control since it provides a cushion for lessening the impact on the current population should any number of unplanned events occur.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), December 29, 2000.

Ken: Note I said "Assume for the sake of discussion the global average is a factor of five." By average I mean to take into account the large population that is not technologically advanced and to spread the impact of those that are across the board.

The main point I've tried to make is that its undeniable that (1) Machinery enables humanity to be more "productive". (2)Productivity in most cases neccessitates consumption during the manufacturing process (3) Increased production and consumption also results in accelerated waste due to inevitable, systemic inefficiencies (4) increased waste results in accelerated environmental loading.

Even if the factor is "only" 2, spread globally for the average, it is an increased impact of an additional 6 billion people.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), December 29, 2000.

Soni-"Fried Green Tomatoes" and pork BBQ.Similar and far more humerous treatment.

-- sharon wt (wildflower@ekyol.com), December 29, 2000.


Why stop at ribs? Brains and eggs. Head cheese. Tongue sausage. Jawls. Back fat. Bacon. Rump roasts. Hams. Hamburger. Sausage casings. Whole carcass sausage. Pickled feet. Lamp shades. Use everything but the - well - I don't know.


I admit I am t-totally confused. Will have to digest this thread further. I no longer think I understand the point so will have to backtrack.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), December 29, 2000.

Ken, what do you mean you are confused? We are men and are supposed to be confused, that is the point.

-- JLS in NW AZ (stalkingbull007@AOL.com), December 29, 2000.

I guess Ken its more of an observation than an effort to make a specific point.

6 billion people seems more than enuf to me but when coupled with the "productivity/consumption" multiplier, whatever it may actually be, our impact on the environment and resources becomes directly proportional to the population AND the multiplier.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), December 29, 2000.

Ahhhh. I think I have it now. As the population increases arithmetically, its impact on resources increases geometrically. A new version of the Mathius Law.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), December 30, 2000.


Article off the Internet:

Half the World Now Lives in Cities

By Harry Dunphy (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (Dec. 29) - Half of the world's 6 billion people now live in cities and more will join them in the next two decaded, putting pressure on governments to make urban areas more livable, according to a report released Friday.

Though most of this increase will occur in the world's oorer countries, industrialized nations will not escape the pressures of urbanization, The Population Institute said. Even in wealthier countries, more and ore educated people will move from rural areas to cities in search of better conditions.

"By 2050, an estimated two-thirds of the world's population will live in urban areas, imposing even more pressure on the space infrastructure and resoruces of cities, leading to social disintegration and horrific urban poverty," said Werner Fomos, president of the Washington-based institute, and an expert on population issues.

In 1900, the world's most populous cities were all in North America or Europe, the 18-page report said. At the end of the century, Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles were the only industrialized cities on the top ten list.

"By 2020, New York and Los Angeles no longer will be included in the top ten - pushed out by Dhaka, Bangladesh; Karachi, Pakistan and Jakarta, Indonesia," the report said. (I believe Mexico City will still be in the top ten.)

"And the only industrialized city among them, Tokyo, is projected to be replaced by Bombay, India, as the world's most populous city."

While the main attraction of cities is opportunity, their rapid growth leads to pressures on infrastructures, manifested in sanitary, health and crime problems, the report said.

Unskilled people arriving from rural areas frequently end up preforming menial jobs at low wages or resorting to begging and stealing.

In addition, an estimated 25-30 percent of the world's urban population lives in inadequate housing, squatter settlements or in the streets where they lack sanitation, waste disposal and running water.

"City slums are breeding grounds not only for waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid and gastroenteritis, but sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS," the report said.

To combat growing urbanization in developing countries, their governments must establish programs to dissuade rural inhabitants frommigrating to cities by improving infrastructure in the villages and encouraging industries to locate in rural areas and provide jobs, it said.

Industrialized countries can help by increasing aid they provide to poorer countries to help them ward of "the devastating problems associated with urbanization."

The institute is an independent nonprofit dedicated to achieving a more equitable balance between the world's population and environment resources. Established in 1969, it has members in 172 countries and receives funding from foundations, corporations and individuals.

----- Someone mentioned Soylent Green. Actually the original book for this was Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison in 1966. He set it in New York City in 1999 with a population of 35,000,000. When it was made into the movie, Soylent Green, in 1973, it was updated to New York City in 2,022 with a population of 40,000,000.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (scharabo@aol.com), December 30, 2000.

Oh my Ken,now I'm nauseous. Go ahead,might as well use that too.I think I'll go vegetarian tonight.I believe I've had enough.

-- sharon wt (wildflower@ekyol.com), December 30, 2000.

I am certainly glad that all these people are moving to the cities, leaves more room for us here in Mayberry RFD, and that's the way we like it!!!

-- Annie Miller in SE OH (annie@1st.net), January 03, 2001.

What needs to be taken into consideration is the fact that a lot of live forms are dissapearing at a very rapid rate. Mostly in single cell up to insect size. The problem is that they feed the upper levels of the food chain all the way to humans. By the time a larger life form dissapears the food chain has already been destroyed beyond repair. When enough of these smaller lifeforms dissapear then so shall we,since all is connected weather you like it or not. If anyone has ever read the books by Anne McCaffrey on the Dragon Riders of Pern, you can see the type of lifestyle that needs to be brought about to save the whole structure.It is an agriculture system that works with renewable resourses being predominate.Basicly low Tec. By the way we even discussed large families being a problem. Large families were a necessity due to high infant mortality. You had to have 5 or more kids to have 1 grow to adulthood. Also the labor of the individuals was needed to support the agriculture society at that time. Those things do not exist any longer. Also the rewards of the sea are growing less and less around the world due to polution and bad fishing practices. We have uses up almost 90% of what was there. There will be no return even with controls and protection. The actual habitat was destroyed.There will simply be less and less and less.

-- Nick (wildheart@ekyol.com), January 03, 2001.

All the moral issues of population control aside, and there are many. There is no sound arguement against the fact that this tired old planet just ain't what it used to be.The answers to these problems are hard to envision completely. There are some things I feel are important for all of us to do , whichever side of the moral equation you fall into.Whether you have 8 children or 2.3, teach them an appreciation for all the world around them. Lead by example at home, at work and in the community, be more energy efficient, be more self-reliant, be less taxing on the world around us.Things many on these boards probably all ready practice. One of many reasons I enjoy it . The longer WE Americans( and the world at large) continue to leave the lights on while we hop in the Lincoln Navigators to head to the local chainstore to buy some over packaged chemical infested/manufactured food and supplies that we can take home to our family of 2 .3 kids living in our 4000 sq. ft. home with forced air heat and eat while we idle away the hours in front of our 50" tv watching some mind-numbing garbage so we see the $1,000,000 ads for what we need next, and rant (paradoxically) about the price of gas or fuel oil, the cycle will never change. Remember, if your change for the better effects one more person, it's effected twice as many as it had to.

-- dan (dcbaker@2ki.net), January 03, 2001.

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