Is human population growth really a problem?

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Vanityfox451's picture
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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

Pssst Ron,

... post 27 needs your urgent attention ... Cool...

This Is Very Worth Watching :-

Take Care,


Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

Hey Paul -

Good to be back.

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Full Moon
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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

 This forum is very informative indeed .  I can see midwife occupation will be growing .  Tiss the only  way to not be required to have to have social security number and be in the system .

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Full Moon
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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

 After rereading some of my posts I have come to a realization I was trying to get you to see my point .    I should not have , I do not care what your conviction is on this topic .   I do not care if you all have been sterilized , It is none of my business .  You answer for your own family and we will answer for ours .  I do not know one family with 1.8 children .  In fact I do not know any with less than three.     But I am thankful to have read what  way  some people are guided to believe and am glad we still have this one freedom of choice left .

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

in india its a big probs ..... the reason of india stl a devloping country shud be the population matters .......

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

I don't think we can look only at the numbers.  What population is growing?  Does this population have an agenda, or are they contributing members of a global society?  Are they being educated?  Are they subservient or self sustaining?  Do they have values that respect other established populations?  These questions seem to have more relevance when answering the question than a simple question of numbers.  I am not of the opinion that governments should control numbers.  I believe that  responsible individuals normally control the numbers based on their own ability to support their off-spring.  Major natural catastrophe sometimes intervenes and this is totally outside the realm of our control.   

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

Of course human population growth is really a problem.  First, it ensures, like nothing else, that justice remains a moving target.  Second, what enabled population growth is going, going....

Population growth in this time means growth and addition of cities.  Cities now are concentrations of consumers greatly dependent on stuff, even the fundamentals for life and health, from elsewhere.  As such, they are producers of waste, and hollow things, that must go somewhere else.  More and bigger cities force humanity farther out on that limb.

Human ingenuity has been and will be remarkable, for sure, but historically shone most significantly (substantially!) in the material realm, lately aided by ancient sunlight that will not be matched in energy density and availability by any fresh fuels.  Ingenuity must shift focus to unleashing energies of individual humans as never before, while making enormous investments in soils feasible and attractive.

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

Population growth is not exponential.

The video alleges that human population growth is simply exponential, and kept in check by disease and starvation once it exceeds capacities, which is simply factually incorrect. Actually human population growth adjusts to production capacity, rather than being uncontrolled:
The tool-using and tool-making revolution kicked off the rapid rise in population
around 1 million BCE. The aid of various implements "gave the food gatherer and hunter
access to the widest range of environments." But when the productivity gains from the use
of primitive tools had been exploited, the rate of population growth fell, and population
size again settled down near a plateau.
The next rapid jump in population started perhaps 10,000 years ago, when people began
to keep herds and cultivate the earth, rather than simply foraging for wild plants and
game. Once again the rate of population growth abated after the initial productivity
gains from the new technology had been exploited, and once again population size settled
down to a near-plateau, as compared with the rapid growth previously experienced. The
known methods of making a living constituted a constraint to further population growth
once the world's population reached a certain size.
These two previous episodes of sharp rise and subsequent fall in the rate of
population growth suggest that the present rapid growth - which began perhaps 300 or 350
years ago, in the 1600s - may settle down again when, or if, the benefits of the new
industrial and agricultural and other technical knowledge that followed the early
scientific and industrial revolutions begin to peter out. And population size may again
reach a near-plateau and remain there until another "revolution" due to another
breakthrough of knowledge again suddenly increases the productive capacity of mankind.
In this long-term view population size adjusts to productive conditions rather than being an
uncontrolled monster. (We should keep in mind, though, that our present, technical
knowledge will support vastly larger populations than at present.)

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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

Thanks to danhalmar for starting discussion on this topic.  I would like to ask the posters a critical question -  how many individuals can this planet support?   In my mind, there are 4 key items that will determine this.  (I'm probable missing a few)

1) Fossil fuels are finite and will be largely unavailable in the future.  We can all provide dates for each fuel type, but in the end I think most of us will agree that oil, natural gas, and coal will be consumed and not an active part of our lives at some point in the future.

2) How many calaries of energy does it require to produce 1 calarie of food?  Kunslter (The Long Emergency) states this ratio is 16/1 and provides a reference, but it is not pier reviewed.  The recent James Quinn posting states this ratio as 10/1.  I have not researched this in great detail, but the 10/1 ratio appears frequently from different sources.  I think we can assume that the vast majority of the energy producing food is fossil fuel.

3) What was this planets population prior to fossil fuel use?  Different links puts the worlds population at 1850 from 1 to 1.5 billion.  One can argue that this number will be more or less, but it does provide us with a starting point as to how many humans we can support in a post fossil fuel world.

4) About 1 year ago Chris wrote about driving in around New England and observing soil quality (dirt poor).  He indicated that historically it took about 1 calorie of energy to produce 1.2 calories of food.  Has this number changed? 

If we integrate these issues (and the handfull of ones I've missed) we can determine about how many humans this planet will have around 2050.  Fire away.


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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

Could, would, should,…


I have no idea what the ultimate post-carbon population of the world will be, but I can venture some observations and opinions, not based on my own scientific research.


..…Some areas of the world are already overpopulated.  The land is not fertile or the climate inhospitable;   farmers can barely feed themselves, so food is imported and distribution is inequitable.  If the delivery of food were interrupted, there would be famine , suffering, and mass migration if the population could relocate.   That could drive other areas into overpopulation.

..….If climate change does raise water levels and dry the areas it is projected to, then those areas also would become overpopulated and the population would be considering migration.  Canada and Russia would be among very few countries that would benefit from this.

…..Every country has land that is not used for agriculture for many reasons.  It may be covered with buildings or concrete, perhaps well landscaped into attractive lawns and public areas or left to grow out naturally.  At present it is not considered feasible or desirable to  plant food crops on these lands.

Some of these lands are not considered to be prime farmland, some were.


Shifting to the U.S., which I can observe directly:

…..In the U.S. , garbage and its disposal are huge problems.  Virtually no food remains are returned to the soil, but rather they are bagged up in plastic bags to be sent  to the landfill.  Very few families have any thought to improving the soil beyond buying another bag of Miracle Gro for the flower garden.

…..Where I live, almost all agricultural grunt work is done by immigrants, mostly Mexicans.  The orchard owners say that Americans are too lazy and won't take orders---and they won't show up at 6:00 every morning and work until sunset. 

…..Drive through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee and you will drive  by empty fields, many growing up in weeds.  You'll see some cattle and a few horses, but almost no sheep or goats.  There are very few large vegetable gardens now.    You will occasionally  pass a huge barn of a chicken house and all of those chickens are indoors.

…..The large agricultural companies have left this land alone.   The  soil is mostly heavy clay and can be difficult to work.  It never had the fertility  of the Midwest.  It is also not flat, so the large machines are not as efficient on it.  There is rain, but it is not always predictable.  Still, people used to grow food here, but don't any more.  Young people have not only abandoned the land, they have left their communities, and the vitality has been sapped out of their little towns.


…..The United States is already bread basket to the world, mass producing industrialized food products .  It is, however,  in no way meeting its capacity as a food producer .


Looking just at the United States, we definitely could feed ourselves post carbon.  Perhaps the large land holdings will be sold in smaller plots, and more people will be back on the land to tend it.   I bet we’ll close our borders to the world.  I can visualize us growing biomass for energy that could otherwise feed the refugees flooding into  faraway places. 

…..We could emulate the Cubans, and learn how to grow things on the land again.  They were forced to change, and there is no authority to force us to work.   I read that every Cuban lost about thirty pounds in those years while they learned how to grow things without fertilizers and farm equipment.  It would be a dramatic change for us, but it could be done.  But the rest of the world?    They are going to have to do the same thing.


When we begin working the land again, we will agree with Full  Moon that children are a blessing.   Farming is a lot of work and helping hands will be truly appreciated.

yoshhash's picture
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Re: Is human population growth really a problem?

very interesting info-comic strip on relevant topic

Damnthematrix's picture
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The Earth is full: Paul Gilding

Paul Gilding is one of my Australian Heroes......  enjoy, and share far and wide.


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Damnthematrix wrote: Paul
Damnthematrix wrote:

Paul Gilding is one of my Australian Heroes......  enjoy, and share far and wide.


Great video and thanks for posting. He's firmly rooted in reality and refreshing to listen to. Nice to hear someone who has completely stepped out of the matrix and is looking down at the Big Picture with no blinders or self-delusion.

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edward charette
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Population Boom

Yes it is the burning issue now. With extreme poverty in some parts of the world and with increasing rich poor disparity and diminishing natural resources I would say it is a matter of serious concern

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