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Human Population Growth & Overpopulation

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Anonymous

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Ok.

Recently this old cheastnut has reared it's ugly head on more than one thread.

Is there a problem with over population?

Answers on a post card...
 

NilesCalder

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There is no serious problem with Overpopulation. Our ability to cloth, feed and shelter people is keeping pace with the growth in population...
 
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Anonymous

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Niles Calder said:
There is no serious problem with Overpopulation. Our ability to cloth, feed and shelter people is keeping pace with the growth in population...

Though i agree wholehartedly with this there are meny on this forum who do not.

The world would be able to fead and cloth 5x it's present population if we alowed the spread of modern farming methords. Unfortunatly we do not.
 
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Anonymous

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Population is static or decreasing in most wealthy countries, (UK pop growth is 0.5% pa) but this is not true in many poorer countries.
The obvious cure for poverty is weath, as they used to say on the Goons.
Take this prescription for a five pound note to the chemists, dear boy.
Repressive governments in the third world, wars and the drug trade, and the policies of the World Bank all conspire to make the cure for poverty difficult to achieve.
Restrictions on movement mean that people are trapped in locally overcrowded countries, when half the world is empty.
With properly managed high technology, solar collectors, nanotech and geneered foods, the earth could support 10x the present population ...
but why should we want to?
Naturally occurring earth type worlds are probably very rare in the Galaxy, so they should be preserved---
Plenty of solid material and water in the solar system and elsewhere to accomodate people in comfortable (if artificial) surroundings, and keep the earth as a big nature reserve.
 
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Anonymous

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Overpopulation is a good old resources bugbear. If you follow the Malthusian line, then resources are limited and we'll eventually run out, at which time we'll start killing each other, starving, etc.

The counter-argument to this is that we keep coming up with Clever New Stuff - modern agribusiness, GM crops, desalination, nuclear power - which allow us to serve the needs of more and more people.

For my money, it seems quite obvious that we're on a finite ball of rock and can therefore only support a finite population. Whether we're close to that limit is a matter for debate. The "ideal" for supporting a high population looks a lot like Giedi Prime to me, and I don't want to live there!
 
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Anonymous

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AndyGates said:
Overpopulation is a good old resources bugbear. If you follow the Malthusian line, then resources are limited and we'll eventually run out, at which time we'll start killing each other, starving, etc.

The counter-argument to this is that we keep coming up with Clever New Stuff - modern agribusiness, GM crops, desalination, nuclear power - which allow us to serve the needs of more and more people.

For my money, it seems quite obvious that we're on a finite ball of rock and can therefore only support a finite population. Whether we're close to that limit is a matter for debate. The "ideal" for supporting a high population looks a lot like Giedi Prime to me, and I don't want to live there!

who desides who should propogate then?

Any moaning I hear about overpopulation is about Africa.

Is there not a touch of racism in this? 'It's OK if the developed world's population grows but not those nasty monkey f******.'
 
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Anonymous

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No racism at all: in the Malthusian model it comes down to war and disease. Not very uplifting, perhaps.
 
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Anonymous

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The Malthusian model is overly simplistic.

This is scientist speak for "It leaves out so many basic factors it's about as much use as a chocolate teapot" or more succinctly "It's crap"

Malthus basically assumed that agriculture could not improve and therefore poor people deserved to starve.

Given the current AIDS epidemic in Africa there's now a danger in some parts of underpopulation especially of thte productive age groups. Kids and old people can't keep an economy based on agriculture and raw materials going.
 

Pinklefish

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jamesveldon said:
Though i agree wholehartedly with this there are meny on this forum who do not.

Ah that would be me, then.
My views on the population are totally bigoted and unreasonable, most would think.
I think people should stop dropping sprogs all over the place then expecting the earth to just give it up for them.
Just because the trees, oil, etc are there doesn't mean they are free for the taking.
We shouldn't be multiplying just because we can.
We happen to have some form of intelligence, so we can't just say that it's nature anymore, because we've evolved beyond that - we are no longer unresponsible for our actions. We're not just animals anymore.

I understand the basic human need to procreate, but it's getting to the point where we're just wasting life the same way we waste resources. Kids in children's homes, kids living in poverty, kids being abused and used as cheap labour.
It's sick. And it's all down to this arrogance with which we're using the planet up, littering it with waste products and waste people.

If it wouldn't hurt my family, I'd remove myself from this whole charade, as I don't want to be a human being if this is what we're like.

pinkle
 
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Anonymous

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All I am saying is that there is a cure for overpopulation, and it is wealth. To provide themselves with support when they are too old to work, the poor multiply because they have to.
Given the choice, the rich don't bother with having kids unless they want them.
Plenty of people my age haven't bothered.
All this stuff about living within your means- appropriate technology-
it is an excuse for the west to perpetuate poverty and overpopulation/collapse cycles in the third world.
 
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Anonymous

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Eburacum45 said:
All I am saying is that there is a cure for overpopulation, and it is wealth.

I just love it when I hear people say things like that. I'm sorry but all the charity in the world, all the efforts at socialism and communism in the world - it does not stop people from procreating and it does not create new resources.

The three things that make an ever increasing population a problem are: #1 - a finite amount of oil - currently every developed nation is utterly dependent on oil. And the oil industries have a stranglehold on R&D that might free us of this dependency. #2 is a finite amount of clean water and similar unpolluted consumables. Again, we have bad technology that gives us a nice standard of living and has huge cost in toxic by-products, and #3 - education - education to the developing nations about birth control and education to the underclasses of the developed nations. Slowing or limiting by voluntary means the rate of reproduction would help, because if we have even a few additional years before experiencing a Malthusian disaster, we might get an energy breakthrough that could literally save the world.
 
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Fallen Angel said:
Slowing or limiting by voluntary means the rate of reproduction would help, because if we have even a few additional years before experiencing a Malthusian disaster, we might get an energy breakthrough that could literally save the world.


But we arn't facing a disaster: Malthus was wrong. He didn't see that as a country develops economicly the rate of population growth falls.

That is why:

All I am saying is that there is a cure for overpopulation, and it is wealth.

the problem many arias of the world (Sub-Saharan Africa for inatance) face just now is underpopulation due to AIDS.

If we alow them AIDs medicins and alow their economies to develop then we will see population growth fall sharply. Limiting population growt will only keep the population boom going for longer as it will limit the amount of labour in the countries and slow the development of their economies.
 
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Anonymous

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jamesveldon, you say Malthus was wrong but I don't think you read my post entirely -

we will reach a point, when the soil is robbed of nutrients and we can no longer pump in enough chemical fertilizers because our oil-based infrastructure fails due to lack of oil. Or we may still have food but dies in our own toxic wastes as our air and water are poisoned beyond recovery.

Malthus said that either starvation due to a simple overabundance of PEOPLE or disease pandemics would cull the earth's population. However, at that time ecology model were very simple. It's since been discovered that not only does Malthus' model not take into account new discoveries and technology advances, but his views of enviromnent/population interdependencies are simplistic in the extreme.
 
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Anonymous

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Fallen Angel said:
we will reach a point, when the soil is robbed of nutrients and we can no longer pump in enough chemical fertilizers because our oil-based infrastructure fails due to lack of oil. Or we may still have food but dies in our own toxic wastes as our air and water are poisoned beyond recovery.

Perhaps but that points a long way off.

For the moment we need to alow the economic development of the 3rd. world to take the place of the 1st. wich will be down and out due to depopulation in 100 years at the most.

I didn't mean to say you where ignoring the cries of AIDs victims or anything of the sort Fallen and I'm sorry if I came across that way.

Am I forgiven?
 
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Anonymous

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All I am saying is that there is a cure for overpopulation, and it is wealth

Fallen Angel said:
all the charity in the world, all the efforts at socialism and communism in the world - it does not stop people from procreating and it does not create new resources.
No, not socialism, or charity, but good sensible libertarianism-
the best market is one filled with wealthy consumers-
and wealthy consumers choose whether to increase their family size, wheras poor people have no choice.
 

mejane

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Eburacum45 said:
All I am saying is that there is a cure for overpopulation, and it is wealth. To provide themselves with support when they are too old to work, the poor multiply because they have to.

I agree to a large extent, but I don't think it's as simple as that.

I'm the youngest of seven children but my parents - and us kids - , though poor by Western standards, never went without food, clean water or shelter which, let's face it, are all humans really need to survive. By an odd twist of fate, it seems that I will now be responsible for bearing of the cost of the Old Dears' dotage, but I'm sure that wasn't their intention.

Getting back to the point, wealthy people do indeed have less children on average. But they also consume far more of the Earth's finite resouces with their demands for air-conditioning, central heating (often simultaneously), frozen chips etc etc.

The tragedy that is currently happening in Zimbabwe has far more to do with politics and idiotic govenments than it has to do with overpopulation.

Sorry for the rant.


Jane.
 
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Anonymous

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jamesveldon said:
Perhaps but that points a long way off.

For the moment we need to alow the economic development of the 3rd. world to take the place of the 1st. wich will be down and out due to depopulation in 100 years at the most.

I didn't mean to say you where ignoring the cries of AIDs victims or anything of the sort Fallen and I'm sorry if I came across that way.

Am I forgiven?

No offense taken, but I think you are overly optimistic when you say that the points at which we have energy crisises or toxic problems due to over use of pesticides, dumping of heavy metal residues and contaminating industrial practices is a long way off.

Look here

and here

and here site talks about envionmental problems associated with raising 3rd world nations out of debt: Deforestation, land degradation, desertification, soil erosion and salinization, biodiversity loss, and air and water pollution are only a few of the long-term environmental impacts of [the programs].

You might also want to investigate the desertification of the vast tracts of former rainforest in Brazil and Indonesia that were cleared for horticulture but have turned to barren wastelands after only a short time.

The environmental problems are just part of the picture. The oil-based industrial machine has a finite lifetime and we will possibly see that end.

There is information on that here

and here

and for a really pessimistic view: go here.
 

intaglio

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My own opinion - and I must stress that this is opinion only - is that the world is already overpopulated. I say this not based on any problems with food disease or water but on my belief that everyone needs more room than we have in populated areas at present. Moving into less populated areas is not an answer as we lose so much by that movement.

How we drop the population? Pass
 
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Anonymous

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Fallen Angel said:
The environmental problems are just part of the picture. The oil-based industrial machine has a finite lifetime and we will possibly see that end.

Speaking to friend working at Shell the other day, seems that there is plenty of oil out there, the main problem is we can't get to most of it due to the limits of our technology (we can access less than 15-20% of an oil field or something). But that technology is improving every year (as it has done for the last god knows how many years). Also, there is a major race on to develop an economically viable hydrogen fuel cell (the next logical step), which will replace the IC engine. This will relieve pressure on such resources, being more environmentally friendly and provide a stepping stone to more advanced technology.

Pressure on the market is exerting it's influence and more advanced technologies are being created. Business is promoting innovation and may give us hope yet(how strange it would be if capitalism saved the world? :) )

Slightly OT but supposedly the Bush administration is propping up Exxon. Food for thought.
 
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Anonymous

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Hydrogen fuel cell. Hmmm. So where is the free, easily accessible hydrogen? I'm sorry, I hear everyone say 'oh, you can extract hydrogen from water, easy'. Yes you can, however, TANSTAAFL. You need electricity or energy in some usable form to extract hydrogen. Where is that initial power going to come from?

Aye, there's the rub.

And back to the oil - it doesn't matter if it's there and we can't get to it. And counting on a technology breakthough is like betting on the ponies for your food and rent money. Go ahead if you want to but be prepared to be homeless and hungry sometimes. A lot of the time actually.

Plus, maintaining oil dependency is the shortsighted approach. 100 years or 200 years - it's bloody selfish to say the future can take care of itsself, we should be acknowledging the eventual end of the line now and taking appropriate steps.
 
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Anonymous

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Originally posted by Fallen Angel
TANSTAAFL.
Nope, got me there. I have no idea what this means
You need electricity or energy in some usable form to extract hydrogen. Where is that initial power going to come from?
OK the masterplan (hoping I dont get in trouble for this) is to extract the hydrogen from water. The processing plant will be setup in places such as the sub-sahara, running on steam produced by solar power (which we have the technology for). Distribution using hydrogen fuel cell driven vehicles delivered to your local hydrogen station. This is a realistic plan and from what I have heard oil companies aren't betting on anything, they know it's going to happen, just a matter of who breaks through first and becomes possible the biggest company ever.

The main problem as yet is the storage of the hydrogen, i.e. safety, practicality etc.

And back to the oil - it doesn't matter if it's there and we can't get to it. And counting on a technology breakthough is like betting on the ponies for your food and rent money. Go ahead if you want to but be prepared to be homeless and hungry sometimes. A lot of the time actually.

Every year they are improving their drilling methds etc. Exxon seem to be betting on this approach. Other companies are keeping their options firmly open.

{QUOTE]
Plus, maintaining oil dependency is the shortsighted approach. 100 years or 200 years - it's bloody selfish to say the future can take care of itsself, we should be acknowledging the eventual end of the line now and taking appropriate steps. [/quote]

Don't get me wrong I'm an environmentalist and would happily swap all the technology for our original garden of eden. But short of a miracle we are left with very few alternatives : armageddon, starvation, war or technological advance. Personally I am optimistic about the energy future. I do however feel pessimistic about many other e-issues e.g. the wildlife, toxins etc. I do not believe the future can take care of itself, and do what I can, as should every business.
 

intaglio

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TANSTAAFL - There ain't no such thing as a free lunch
TANJ - There ain't no justice
 
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TANSTAAFL

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

I'd like to note that building in the sub-sahara, in order to generate a product which has alternatives which may not be more sustainable but are cheaper and more readily available...sigh. Who exactly did you think would be purchasing this atrociously expensive fuel when they can lay their hands on oil? Don't get me started on trasporting water to the sub sahara - if that were practical, don't you think they'd be doing it NOW?

Once oil becomes so scarce as to make your solar powered hydrogen plant a truly feasible alternative, the world will be in bad shape and finding the resources to actually build a huge complex (which is what would be needed) and the pipeline, the start-up desalination plant, the power plant to burn your initial hydrogen to run the desalination plant and the pumps for the pipeline....

Who exactly will be writing this mega-billion dollar check? The developed nations? Who will be taking the lions share of the created product for n-decades while the now-starving formerly oil-dependent third world sinks back into famine and intercine wars?
 
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Anonymous

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Fallen Angel said:
TANSTAAFL

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
The whole Universe is a free lunch, mate. And don't you forget it.

Just because our current culture insists on staking claims on what it claims to real estate don't mean it is, necessarily, the "natural order of things."

Still, it is beginning to look like old Don van Vliet was right. We are going the way of the dinosaurs, because we are too greedy, stupid and slow to stop before we hit the tar pit.

:(
 
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Anonymous

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TANSTAAFL

PLEASE don't get me started on people who think that anything in this world besides love is free. Even that, sometimes your nerves end up paying. But TANSTAAFL. And if you disagree, prove me wrong. Start a thread where someone, somewhere, gets something and there is no cost involved to someone, somewhere.

I agree that we as a race are on the downhill skid unless we take steps but blue sky solutions that you will never in a million years actually get implemented is not the steps. Dreams are lovely and I hope we aas a race never stop, but I was thinking in practical terms - like maybe everyone on the board would promise to implement a program of recycling? And actually do it?

(we recycle in my household, and I try to buy products with minimal packaging.)
 
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AndroMan said:
Just because our current culture insists on staking claims on what it claims to real estate don't mean it is, necessarily, the "natural order of things."

Not to be rude but could you clarify where that comes into the picture? When did real estate come into the discussion?
 
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Anonymous

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Re: TANSTAAFL

Fallen Angel said:
like maybe everyone on the board would promise to implement a program of recycling? And actually do it?
Recycling of cloth, paper, glass, organic waste and other materials is standard in several 'old' European countries, particularly Germany and the Netherlands.

Of course, if you had to rely on a totally voluntary system, you'd need a new kind of society. And that won't be allowed to happen in the forseeable. ;)
 
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Anonymous

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Fallen Angel said:
Not to be rude but could you clarify where that comes into the picture? When did real estate come into the discussion?
Ask the aboriginal inhabitants of the Americas, or the Antipodes, about real estate. :p
 
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Anonymous

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Fallen Angel said:
TANSTAAFL

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

I'd like to note that building in the sub-sahara, in order to generate a product which has alternatives which may not be more sustainable but are cheaper and more readily available...sigh. Who exactly did you think would be purchasing this atrociously expensive fuel when they can lay their hands on oil? Don't get me started on trasporting water to the sub sahara - if that were practical, don't you think they'd be doing it NOW?

Once oil becomes so scarce as to make your solar powered hydrogen plant a truly feasible alternative, the world will be in bad shape and finding the resources to actually build a huge complex (which is what would be needed) and the pipeline, the start-up desalination plant, the power plant to burn your initial hydrogen to run the desalination plant and the pumps for the pipeline....

Who exactly will be writing this mega-billion dollar check? The developed nations? Who will be taking the lions share of the created product for n-decades while the now-starving formerly oil-dependent third world sinks back into famine and intercine wars?

Well I wish I could sit hear and type out the answer to every major problem the world has and appease your sighing and capitalisation, but I am neither intelligent enough to solve them myself or psychic enough to predict the future. I am just trying to tackle the one point.

I may have some of the minoir details wrong but this is plan that is being invested upon, is sound enough to convince my friend (himself a darn sight more intelligent than me and trained in the kind of area to appreciate the problems of the operation and yet remains highly confident/convinced of it).

Who will write the check? Well the multi-billion dollar company that set's it up. The fuel may be expensive but affordable, it is a business and has to be able to sell the product. In the end the consumers will pay for it, the company will make money and people will still drive. The third world? There is a huge market for solar powered vehicles in Africa tho, maybe that will drive the rise of new industries in such countries.

As for alternatives? Gas is dangerous, getting more expensive, finite and still polluting. Solar power is good if you have a lot of sun. Europe doesn't. Water a fallacy. Any other carbon based fuel less efficient and still polluting than petrol (i.e. diesel from rape seed etc). Goats? tend to eat everything, including the steering wheel.
 
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