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Re: The elephant in the living room...

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  • papp20032000
    Exponential human population growth. Some basic hints: Living things have always an exponential growth pattern. The grounds in which they live are squared
    Message 1 of 21 , Nov 26, 2006
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      Exponential human population growth.

      Some basic hints:

      Living things have always an exponential growth pattern.

      The grounds in which they live are squared surfaces; their growth,
      being exponential, always end exhausting the resource.

      Nature, predators, fights among living elements of the same species
      on a given environment, exhaustion of the resources in a given
      territory, help cutting the growth and keeping back the equilibrium
      to a certain level.

      This has been like this for millions of years, with no major impact
      on Nature or disappearance of a significant living species, except
      for exogenous reasons, i.e. asteroid.

      Nature has had millions of years of test and error improving
      practices to find beautiful (some may think brutal) and quite stable
      balances.

      And now, going to the equation shown many times here: I = TAP, where
      I = impact; T = Technology; A = Affluence and P = Population, the
      three elements are of influence to the impact on Nature, of course,
      but I would differentiate.

      P should be, in any case, a follower of the Resource Availability
      (which is an obvious driver) and specially the technology that makes
      a given resource to be more available (another obvious driver),or
      exhaustible at faster rates. And finally, besides these parameters,
      the possibility of accumulation of resources, beyond the strict
      current living necessity (something that may have started in the
      Neolithic and I will call the "unlimited hamster cheek syndrome")
      and specially the invention of capitalism, with its unique form of
      cumulating wealth without apparent physical limits and without any
      apparent reason for the individual that cumulates or the species
      he/she belongs to, has been a formidable booster to both the drivers
      of Technology, put at the disposal of human beings, and the driver
      of the subsequent Increase of a given Resource Availability.

      Being obsessed with the population growth only or mainly, and
      leaving aside or in a second row the technology and subsequent
      increase of resource availability and the limitless cummulation
      systems created, is a mistake and an ignorance on the nature of the
      living things and their inevitable exponential growth.

      In New Orleans, immediately after the Katrina hurricane, many
      thousands of citizens founds themselves blocked in the motorways
      trying to escape from the city. The media said, in this occasion
      that the queues were of about 70 miles and collapsed the evacuation
      for a while.

      Two weeks ago, a single crane had an accident in a tunnel in a
      periphery motorway in Madrid, blocking for three critical hours two
      of the three lanes there. It was a rainy day. The whole city
      collapsed and the traffics jams reached this day 100 miles. I was
      trapped for a couple of hours and I could only drive 1 mile. All the
      radios were insisting that the CAUSE of the traffic huge collapse
      was...guess what: THE RAIN. The rain, a natural element, a very
      normal, not exceptional day of rain. A very positive and essential
      atmospheric agent, very desirable in a country that had had the
      longest drought in many years. An atmospheric element present since
      the dawn of humanity, an element that has made humanity viable and
      possible; that makes living things possible. No one single speaker
      mentioned the system, the stupidity of vomiting more than one
      million new private cars every passing year to the roads from the
      factories and the demented obsession to vomit a 3% more every year.
      Nobody mentioned the absolutely inefficient system of
      transportation, in a city where 90% of people travel alone in a
      2,000 kg private car. No one. The problem was the rain.
      Similar minds those of people accusing population growth of being
      the driver (not a simple follower) in the transformation of nature.
      Fingers pointing to the moon and eyes looking to the finger.

      Pedro from Madrid
    • Frank Holland
      ... Very interesting post, Jeff, thanks. But lets cut to the final decisions, if it is agreed that the world is overpopulated vis a vis the available resources
      Message 2 of 21 , Nov 26, 2006
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        On Sun, 2006-11-26 at 00:23 +0000, Jeff Clark wrote:
        > Apparently a robust discussion about exponential human population
        > growth beyond carrying capacity and what, if anything, might be done
        > about it is a topic too controversial, or a step too far over the
        > limits of acceptable discussion for the moderators of ROE2.

        Very interesting post, Jeff, thanks.

        But lets cut to the final decisions, if it is agreed that the world is
        overpopulated vis a vis the available resources and carrying capacity,
        how do we go about the cull?

        Democratically? Which version of democracy? Hopefully not the American
        version. On a points system, rather like Neville Shute's idea for
        democracy (each voter getting points for citizenship (1), education (2), travel (1) etc).....so clearly White Anglo Saxons start off with 20 points (tongue in cheek).

        But therein lies the rub, as Shakespeare would say, nobody would agree, and they would instead start to fight for the remaining resources (Bush like into Iraq, Iran, Saudi etc). The fights would escalate into WW3 and nukes, and that would solve the problem.

        Gaia would shake of the pestilence of humanity and start again lower
        down the evolutionary scale.

        Cheering thought!

        --
        Frank
        53.22N 2.07W

        ~~~~~~~ EnergyResources Moderator Comment ~~~~~~~~

        And maybe, just maybe, there are some humans who see all that coming, find ways to avoid it, and taking advantage of lessons learned, go on to an new start at building a human culture that has a far better idea of how systems of nature and human cultue work, and lives accordingly.

        ~~~~~ EnergyResources Moderator Tom Robertson ~~~~~~
      • Stuart Johnson
        Pedro-- Having read your post twice, I still don t understand the message. Are you saying we should: 1) yield to inevitable exponential human growth and not
        Message 3 of 21 , Nov 26, 2006
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          Pedro--
          Having read your post twice, I still don't understand the message.
          Are you saying we should:
          1) yield to inevitable exponential human growth and not worry?
          2) shoot the car manufacturers?
          3) relax because we are causing "no major impact on Nature or
          disappearance of a significant living species"?
          Surely you mean something else?
          Stuart Johnson, OR

          On Nov 26, 2006, at 3:31 AM, papp20032000 wrote:

          > Exponential human population growth.
          >
          > Some basic hints:
          >
          > Living things have always an exponential growth pattern.
          >
          > The grounds in which they live are squared surfaces; their growth,
          > being exponential, always end exhausting the resource.
          >
          > Nature, predators, fights among living elements of the same species
          > on a given environment, exhaustion of the resources in a given
          > territory, help cutting the growth and keeping back the equilibrium
          > to a certain level.
          >
          > This has been like this for millions of years, with no major impact
          > on Nature or disappearance of a significant living species, except
          > for exogenous reasons, i.e. asteroid.
          >
          > Nature has had millions of years of test and error improving
          > practices to find beautiful (some may think brutal) and quite stable
          > balances.
          >
          > And now, going to the equation shown many times here: I = TAP, where
          > I = impact; T = Technology; A = Affluence and P = Population, the
          > three elements are of influence to the impact on Nature, of course,
          > but I would differentiate.
          >
          > P should be, in any case, a follower of the Resource Availability
          > (which is an obvious driver) and specially the technology that makes
          > a given resource to be more available (another obvious driver),or
          > exhaustible at faster rates. And finally, besides these parameters,
          > the possibility of accumulation of resources, beyond the strict
          > current living necessity (something that may have started in the
          > Neolithic and I will call the "unlimited hamster cheek syndrome")
          > and specially the invention of capitalism, with its unique form of
          > cumulating wealth without apparent physical limits and without any
          > apparent reason for the individual that cumulates or the species
          > he/she belongs to, has been a formidable booster to both the drivers
          > of Technology, put at the disposal of human beings, and the driver
          > of the subsequent Increase of a given Resource Availability.
          >
          > Being obsessed with the population growth only or mainly, and
          > leaving aside or in a second row the technology and subsequent
          > increase of resource availability and the limitless cummulation
          > systems created, is a mistake and an ignorance on the nature of the
          > living things and their inevitable exponential growth.
          >
          > In New Orleans, immediately after the Katrina hurricane, many
          > thousands of citizens founds themselves blocked in the motorways
          > trying to escape from the city. The media said, in this occasion
          > that the queues were of about 70 miles and collapsed the evacuation
          > for a while.
          >
          > Two weeks ago, a single crane had an accident in a tunnel in a
          > periphery motorway in Madrid, blocking for three critical hours two
          > of the three lanes there. It was a rainy day. The whole city
          > collapsed and the traffics jams reached this day 100 miles. I was
          > trapped for a couple of hours and I could only drive 1 mile. All the
          > radios were insisting that the CAUSE of the traffic huge collapse
          > was...guess what: THE RAIN. The rain, a natural element, a very
          > normal, not exceptional day of rain. A very positive and essential
          > atmospheric agent, very desirable in a country that had had the
          > longest drought in many years. An atmospheric element present since
          > the dawn of humanity, an element that has made humanity viable and
          > possible; that makes living things possible. No one single speaker
          > mentioned the system, the stupidity of vomiting more than one
          > million new private cars every passing year to the roads from the
          > factories and the demented obsession to vomit a 3% more every year.
          > Nobody mentioned the absolutely inefficient system of
          > transportation, in a city where 90% of people travel alone in a
          > 2,000 kg private car. No one. The problem was the rain.
          > Similar minds those of people accusing population growth of being
          > the driver (not a simple follower) in the transformation of nature.
          > Fingers pointing to the moon and eyes looking to the finger.
          >
          > Pedro from Madrid
        • joedoves
          And maybe, just maybe, there are some humans who see all that coming, find ways to avoid it, and taking advantage of lessons learned, go on to an new start at
          Message 4 of 21 , Nov 26, 2006
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            And maybe, just maybe, there are some humans who see all that
            coming, find ways to avoid it, and taking advantage of lessons
            learned, go on to an new start at building a human culture that has
            a far better idea of how systems of nature and human cultue work,
            and lives accordingly.
            >
            > ~~~~~ EnergyResources Moderator Tom Robertson ~~~~~~

            How is it that our illustrious moderator has not succumbed to the
            siren song of mass murder (to maintain an extravagent, unsustainable
            lifestyle).

            Since moderate forms of population control are anathema on moral-
            religious grounds( abortion, voluntary suicide, even birth control),
            by all means let us move onto nuclear bombs, man-made plagues,
            religious wars,etc.

            Right now, in the West we are seeing people voluntarily reducing
            their breeding to maintain a quality of life. In developing
            countries, rates are falling as well.

            The question is, with the onset of Peak Oil what level will prove to
            be sustainable. In terms of food supply, I think we can probably
            maintain 2500 kcals per person for 12 billion people in definitely,
            assuming we can keep the same amount of arable land under
            production. As far as energy use goes, I would maintain that the
            planet can maintain 12 billion people with low yield renewable
            energy in definitely at a modest level of consumption.

            Maybe we should debate this instead of the megadeath option.
          • Jeff Clark
            ... If it must be a cull , then it will only be horror, and I m not wanting to be a party to any active and intentional form of that, even if only in my
            Message 5 of 21 , Nov 26, 2006
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              --- In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, Frank Holland
              <frankholland3@...> wrote:

              > But lets cut to the final decisions, if it is agreed that the world is
              > overpopulated vis a vis the available resources and carrying capacity,
              > how do we go about the cull?

              If it must be a "cull", then it will only be horror, and I'm not
              wanting to be a party to any active and intentional form of that, even
              if only in my thoughts. The more palatable approach is to find a way
              to severely limit the birthrate now. Lower the rate of increase and
              you bring the human "peak" in earlier in time and at a lower maximum.

              Our current default path is perhaps summed up as the ultimate game of
              "social darwinism". As we strip our environment clean of that which
              sustains us like a plague of locusts, or like a vat of fermenting
              yeast in the last hour, people will fall into acute need for essential
              life support resources. The "strong" few will somehow have reserved a
              capacity to carry on even while witnessing the many "weak" die in a
              population bottleneck. Of course there always remains the possibility
              that we will have choked our own species off entirely during the death
              throes of the many, and there will be no "evolutionary winners" when
              it is all over. But I'm an "optimist". Gaia will most certainly
              survive us, and recover over time, and a few of our descendants might
              even get to hang on for that ride too.

              The only other category of palatable possibility (as compared to
              active culling that is) is to submit ourselves to some form of social
              control over reproduction. This could be as benign as "the more you
              know" bits on the media, cultivating social pressure to not reproduce
              too much, and free contraception, including sterilization, widely
              available to everyone. It could become more assertive with
              "voluntary" sterilizations required in trade for fullfilling requests
              for social services that by their very nature indicate an inability to
              adequately provide for and care for children. It could become
              aggressive with highly regulated reproduction where people first need
              to obtain a permit before having a legal child. From there enforcement
              might grow sinister as in China where birthing quotas have sometimes
              been strictly enforced by non-voluntary abortions and sterilizations
              of the transgressors.

              I beleive it is this kind of either-or setup, which is better,
              nature's way?, or social engineering? that led to Jack Parsons
              provocative question. Which will provide the most freedom and
              happiness for those already alive. Passively allowing the natural
              consequences of overshoot -- dieoff to solve the over population
              problem? or Somehow restrict back to one or at most two children per
              breeding pair to arrest the exponential growth, and then allow the
              population to shrink back down to carrying capacity by natural
              attrition over time?

              As I mentioned in my opening on this thread. There are currently all
              kinds of people wanting to control population growth by limiting
              immigration. No one outside of lists like this one seems to be
              talking about why we need to limit population growth from all sources.
              This greater perspective identifies immigration as only a fractional
              part of the problem, and action towards it therefore at best only a
              fractional part of the solution. But as is human nature, it is much
              easier to blame outsiders than scrutinize ourselves.

              It is indeed the elephant in the living room. People know it is there,
              yet they just don't know how to talk about it, or whether or not it is
              "safe" to talk about it. But I do know this, if we don't talk about
              it, we are not going to do anything about it, and in the end that
              elephant will most certainly crush us even as we sit comfortably in
              our easy chairs.

              Jeff Clark
              Oregon
            • Abernethy, Virginia Deane
              Welcome to Jeff Clark. I d offer assurances that this list is no stranger to controversy. And I ll start by saying he is quite wrong in the statement warning
              Message 6 of 21 , Nov 26, 2006
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                Welcome to Jeff Clark.

                I'd offer assurances that this list is no stranger to controversy. And I'll start by saying he is quite wrong in the statement warning of further US population growth, "... most of that increase indigenous."

                The growth is not indigenous unless one includes the inane, insane policy that emerged from the disordered brains of the framers of the1965 immigration "reform" and the current crop that fail to enforce existing law to stop the invasion by illegal aliens.

                THe Center for Immigration Studies concludes that nearly 90 percent of US population growth can be traced to the annual flow of immigrants and the children born to recent immigrants.

                Net births over deaths among native-born Americans and pre-1970 immigrants accounts for barely ten percent of US population growth.

                Jeff, hop right into the fray. This would be fun if it weren't so deadly serious!
                V.

                ________________________________

                From: energyresources@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Jeff Clark
                Sent: Sat 11/25/2006 6:23 PM
                To: energyresources@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [energyresources] The elephant in the living room...



                Apparently a robust discussion about exponential human population
                growth beyond carrying capacity and what, if anything, might be done
                about it is a topic too controversial, or a step too far over the
                limits of acceptable discussion for the moderators of ROE2. I have to
                respect the list owner's right to run his list how he sees fit. But
                I'm left unsatiated by the muted discussion on the topic that was
                allowed to occur there. So I'm interested to see what views might
                turn up from the heavy thinkers on this list.

                The exponential growth of Earth's human population truly is an
                "elephant in the living room". It seems everyone who has spent any
                serious thought on the subjects of energy and other resource
                depletions, climate change, and environmental degradation has come to
                realize that in one way or another, exponential growth of the human
                population has been a primary driver of the problem. So as the USA
                passes 300 million human inhabitants and the Earth 6.5 billion we find
                there is political discussion about how best to prevent migrating
                populations from other countries to enter the USA. But there seems to
                be little or no open discussion about how we are going to deal with
                yet another 100 million within the USA within 30 years, most of that
                increase indigenous. Nor what is going to happen along the way as the
                momentum in the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of the humans on Earth
                seeks to not flatten out before accumulating 12-14 billion humans. Is
                it the best course to simply hunker down and let the processes of
                overshoot and die-off take care of the problem? Or should we attempt
                to prove that we collectively have some amount of intelligence beyond
                a colony of yeast, and attempt to manage our population growth before
                we reach a most preciptious tipping point?

                I spent some time recently exploring various points of view on the
                subject of managing or controlling human population growth. There is a
                lot out there from the Singapore experiment that led to the government
                ultimately coaxing the better educated women to "please have a baby!",
                to the very heavy handed Chinese "one child policy" with forced
                abortions and sterilizations.

                There is the Cato Institute that seems to believe that there is no
                overpopulation problem ever, and that increased population only leads
                to increased prosperity in the Western experiment -- the one article
                of theirs I looked at a bit longer than others points out that Britain
                was at one time considered "overpopulated" at 6 million residents and
                yet has no population problem and only prosperity now with 50 million
                inhabitants. They also dismiss the entire premise of PO on the basis
                that those who have said we were running out of oil before have always
                been wrong.

                There are people in the "abstinence only" group who are against sexual
                education and birth control because it sponsors sexual "sin",
                particularly among the unmarried. And who are most definitely against
                all forms of abortion including "emergency contraception" because for
                them abortion is "murder". Emergency contraception prevents
                implantation in the uterus of any fertilized egg that might have been
                produced when taken within 72 hours after intercourse -- so if you
                believe soul filled life starts at conception in an unimplanted
                zygote, preventing uterine implantation is a preemptive abortion.

                There are others out there that think it a reasonable step for people
                to consider not reproducing at all for the sake of the Earth and the
                environment. Others promote having no children simply as a
                lifestyle choice so they may spend all of their resources on
                themselves and not children.

                All of those concerned with overpopulation seem to be countered by
                "eugenics-watch" who appear to view all attempts at organized
                population restriction/control/regulation as an assault on people's
                inherent right to reproduce. Their main focus is on violations of
                human rights of women, with China being the undisputed bad-boy poster
                child. Yet at the same time they give zero consideration to the
                reasons why humans might need to at least consider muting their
                population growth by some means.

                After all of that, I came across a most interesting page where the
                views of 17 academics are summarized regarding the concern of human
                overpopulation and whether or not it is something that we should be
                concerned about and trying to manage. They outline most of the issues
                for why overpopulation might be a problem, environmental destruction,
                finite resources including energy, human rights, social justice,
                reproductive rights, whether or not there even is a problem, the
                politics, the current taboo against talking openly about most aspects
                of the subject, and the frog in the slowly heating pot effect as more
                and more people becomes more and more "normal".

                The link to the full summary of these views can be found at the page:
                "The Case For Dramatically Reducing Human Numbers"
                http://eco.gn.apc.org/pubs/smail.html <http://eco.gn.apc.org/pubs/smail.html>

                To me one of the most provocative statements on this subject is
                attributed to Jack Parsons who posed the question "Would population
                control reduce individual liberty more than unrestricted population
                growth?"

                Below are text bites from the views of each of the different academics
                summarized on the page:

                "1. Kenneth Smail - The Case For Dramatically Reducing Human Numbers

                Prof. of Anthropology, Kenyon College, USA.

                Smail identifies two irreconcilable trends of thought: first the
                predictions that the human population will grow to some 10 to 12
                billion in 50 year's time; second, scientific estimates that only
                2-3 billion people can be sustainably supported at a comfortable
                level. "

                "2. Virginia Abernethy
                Professor of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, USA.

                Abernethy agrees with Smail except that she sees individual motivation
                as the main issue."

                "3. Tim Dyson
                Professor of Population Studies London School of Economics, UK.

                Prof. Dyson both agrees with Smail - and disagrees profoundly. He
                believes that world food prospects will improve through the next few
                decades, and that Smail pays insufficient regard to the 'trees'
                (ideological goals) using over-sensational vocabulary. "

                "4. Timothy Flannery
                Author of The Future Eaters: an Ecological History of the Australian
                Lands .

                There are few, if any, frontiers left to be exploited by a growing
                global population, Flannery says."

                "5. Lindsay Grant
                US China specialist and co-ordinator of the Global 2000 Report to
                the President.

                Grant reminds us that Smail's target population of 2 - 3 billion
                was 'normal' in 1950 and yet it seems so outrageous compared to the
                projected total of 10 - 12 billion - a good example of our ability to
                forget and adapt. Where there is concern it centres on declines! "

                "6. Betsy Hartman
                Director, Population and Development Program, Hampshire College, USA

                Hartman is unhappy with Smail's forcast for the end of the next
                century because birth rates are dropping much faster than predicted."

                "7. Carl Haub
                Population Reference Bureau, Washington, USA

                Haub's contribution is as a demographer. He is worried by current
                dwindling concern about population growth. He supposes that because
                birth rates have come down dramatically in some developing countries,
                people think that the population crisis is over. He assures us it
                is not. "

                "8. Richard D. Lamm
                Director of the Center for Public Policy and Contemporary Issues,
                University of Denver, USA

                Lamm essentially agrees with Smail, but sees the need to be realistic
                in terms of the political process. He quotes Mayor La Guardia: "A
                politician can't be so far ahead of the band that he can't hear the
                music." "

                "9. Wolfgang Lutz
                International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria.

                Lutz's is another highly critical response. Smail's wish for
                humanity to "err on the side of prudence" is endorsed, but with the
                question - what is prudent? Lutz sees nothing but misery in the
                violation of individual human rights that might be involved in
                realising Smail's "collective reproductive responsibility".

                "10. Norman Myers
                Consultant in environment and development, UK.

                Myers regrets that so few scientists are prepared to speak out about
                population in the way that Smail has done. However he considers
                Smail may not be pessimistic enough. "

                "11. Jack Parsons
                Consultant and author on population issues, UK. Former Deputy
                Director of the Sir David Owen Population Centre at Cardiff
                University. Parsons broadly endorses Smail but offers some further ideas:"

                "12. David and Marcia Pimentel
                Professor of Ecology and Agricultural Science, and Senior Lecturer
                in Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, USA.

                The Pimentels enthusiastically endorse Smail, but suggest that optimum
                global population should be even lower than his 2 to 3 billion. Set
                against this view is the stark fact that, based on current growth
                rates, the USA population is projected to double in the next 60 years
                to 520 billion. "

                "13. M.S. Swaminathan
                UNESCO Cousteau Professor of Ecotechnology for Asia.

                Although he agrees that human numbers should go down, Swaminathan
                regrets that Smail did not address two key issues:
                a) the unsustainable life-styles of more than 1 billion people;
                b) the utter poverty and despair of another 1 billion. "

                "14. Tang Re-Feng
                Assistant Professor in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

                Re-Feng sketches the differences in attitude to population growth in
                developing and developed countries, the former sensing the negative
                impacts of overpopulation in every aspect of daily life, the latter
                not seeing the problems because in general the standard of living is
                good."

                "15. Bruce Wallace
                Professor of Genetics and Biology, Virginia State University, USA.

                Wallace endorses Smail's assertion that the earth can only adequately
                sustain some 2 to 3 billion people. He expands on the multidimensional
                nature of population/environment problems and regrets the number of
                unidimensional specialists who look at the problems we face just in
                that specialised way."

                "16. Charles F. Westoff
                Professor of Demography and Sociolgy, Princeton University USA.

                Westoff first questions why the huge problem of population growth is
                so invisible."

                "17. David Willey
                Chairman of Optimum Population Trust, UK

                Willey declares his complete agreement with Smail and deplores the
                fact that those who disagree with the often apocalyptic conclusions of
                pherologists (students of carrying capacity) rarely provide detailed
                rebuttals."

                "Another key criterion for Willey is the degree of liberty and
                mobility that people want. He echoes Jack Parson's classic question:

                "Would population control reduce individual liberty more than
                unrestricted population growth?", agreeing with him that population
                control is needed in order to preserve individual liberty."

                "Response and summary - Kenneth Smail
                Smail identifies the key propositions which he believes the sixteen
                commentators would agree on: that there are finite limits to global
                human numbers; that these limits may already have been reached (or
                soon will be); and that a halt to growth is desirable and/or
                inevitable. The disagreements lie in what might be the right means
                to this end. One difficulty is causation - for example, is high
                fertility a cause of poverty or does poverty cause high fertility?
                Probably the reality is hugely complex and synergistic."

                Again, if you want to read the full set of summaries:
                http://eco.gn.apc.org/pubs/smail.html <http://eco.gn.apc.org/pubs/smail.html>

                Jeff Clark
                Oregon






                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Frith, Denis
                Pedro I feel bound to butt in here because there is a basic flaw in your argument. You present the conventional view of the limitations to growth as it applies
                Message 7 of 21 , Nov 26, 2006
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                  Pedro
                  I feel bound to butt in here because there is a basic flaw in your argument. You present the conventional view of the limitations to growth as it applies to living things. The growth of industrialized civilization, however, has an additional feature that is generally ignored. Some of the natural resources consumed are exhaustible and irreplaceable. Oil is the outstanding example. Continual growth will only exacerbate the rate of exhaustion of these resources. You present the undoubted craziness of growth but what about the debilitating impact of declining natural resources.

                  Denis Frith
                  Melbourne
                  Australia



                  papp20032000 <papp20032000@...> wrote: Exponential human population growth.

                  Some basic hints:

                  Living things have always an exponential growth pattern.

                  The grounds in which they live are squared surfaces; their growth,
                  being exponential, always end exhausting the resource.

                  Nature, predators, fights among living elements of the same species
                  on a given environment, exhaustion of the resources in a given
                  territory, help cutting the growth and keeping back the equilibrium
                  to a certain level.

                  This has been like this for millions of years, with no major impact
                  on Nature or disappearance of a significant living species, except
                  for exogenous reasons, i.e. asteroid.

                  Nature has had millions of years of test and error improving
                  practices to find beautiful (some may think brutal) and quite stable
                  balances.

                  And now, going to the equation shown many times here: I = TAP, where
                  I = impact; T = Technology; A = Affluence and P = Population, the
                  three elements are of influence to the impact on Nature, of course,
                  but I would differentiate.

                  P should be, in any case, a follower of the Resource Availability
                  (which is an obvious driver) and specially the technology that makes
                  a given resource to be more available (another obvious driver),or
                  exhaustible at faster rates. And finally, besides these parameters,
                  the possibility of accumulation of resources, beyond the strict
                  current living necessity (something that may have started in the
                  Neolithic and I will call the "unlimited hamster cheek syndrome")
                  and specially the invention of capitalism, with its unique form of
                  cumulating wealth without apparent physical limits and without any
                  apparent reason for the individual that cumulates or the species
                  he/she belongs to, has been a formidable booster to both the drivers
                  of Technology, put at the disposal of human beings, and the driver
                  of the subsequent Increase of a given Resource Availability.

                  Being obsessed with the population growth only or mainly, and
                  leaving aside or in a second row the technology and subsequent
                  increase of resource availability and the limitless cummulation
                  systems created, is a mistake and an ignorance on the nature of the
                  living things and their inevitable exponential growth.

                  In New Orleans, immediately after the Katrina hurricane, many
                  thousands of citizens founds themselves blocked in the motorways
                  trying to escape from the city. The media said, in this occasion
                  that the queues were of about 70 miles and collapsed the evacuation
                  for a while.

                  Two weeks ago, a single crane had an accident in a tunnel in a
                  periphery motorway in Madrid, blocking for three critical hours two
                  of the three lanes there. It was a rainy day. The whole city
                  collapsed and the traffics jams reached this day 100 miles. I was
                  trapped for a couple of hours and I could only drive 1 mile. All the
                  radios were insisting that the CAUSE of the traffic huge collapse
                  was...guess what: THE RAIN. The rain, a natural element, a very
                  normal, not exceptional day of rain. A very positive and essential
                  atmospheric agent, very desirable in a country that had had the
                  longest drought in many years. An atmospheric element present since
                  the dawn of humanity, an element that has made humanity viable and
                  possible; that makes living things possible. No one single speaker
                  mentioned the system, the stupidity of vomiting more than one
                  million new private cars every passing year to the roads from the
                  factories and the demented obsession to vomit a 3% more every year.
                  Nobody mentioned the absolutely inefficient system of
                  transportation, in a city where 90% of people travel alone in a
                  2,000 kg private car. No one. The problem was the rain.
                  Similar minds those of people accusing population growth of being
                  the driver (not a simple follower) in the transformation of nature.
                  Fingers pointing to the moon and eyes looking to the finger.

                  Pedro from Madrid






                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • papp20032000
                  Stuart: It is very easy. The clue is the RAIN. The rain is guilty of most of the big human traffic problems. Not the car manufacturing continuous cascades.
                  Message 8 of 21 , Nov 26, 2006
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                    Stuart:

                    It is very easy. The clue is the RAIN. The rain is guilty of most of
                    the big human traffic problems. Not the car manufacturing continuous
                    cascades. Human reproduction is guilty also. Therefore, what I am
                    suggesting is that in order to solve the problem of the traffic in
                    the cities, the best thing is to shoot the rain, and then to solve
                    the problem of overpopulation, the best thing is to shoot or
                    castrate the people (specially the "others"), but not to the
                    consumerist system; the gluttony, the processes of infinite
                    accumulation of wealth in the hands of few. These behaviours and the
                    overproduction of private cars or infinite types of useless goods,
                    seem to be innocuous procedures and behaviours, in what concerns the
                    Earth transformation and resources exhaustion accelerated rate, as
                    far as I can see, if I read some Energy Resources postings or listen
                    some radios in Madrid in rainy days.

                    Drivers and followers. The key is who is driving or what is a driver
                    and who is following or what is a follower.

                    Pedro from Madrid

                    --- In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, Stuart Johnson
                    <leedelmar@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Pedro--
                    > Having read your post twice, I still don't understand the message.
                    > Are you saying we should:
                    > 1) yield to inevitable exponential human growth and not worry?
                    > 2) shoot the car manufacturers?
                    > 3) relax because we are causing "no major impact on Nature or
                    > disappearance of a significant living species"?
                    > Surely you mean something else?
                    > Stuart Johnson, OR
                    >
                    > On Nov 26, 2006, at 3:31 AM, papp20032000 wrote:
                    >
                    > > Exponential human population growth.
                    > >
                    > > Some basic hints:
                    > >
                    > > Living things have always an exponential growth pattern.
                    > >
                    > > The grounds in which they live are squared surfaces; their
                    growth,
                    > > being exponential, always end exhausting the resource.
                    > >
                    > > Nature, predators, fights among living elements of the same
                    species
                    > > on a given environment, exhaustion of the resources in a given
                    > > territory, help cutting the growth and keeping back the
                    equilibrium
                    > > to a certain level.
                    > >
                    > > This has been like this for millions of years, with no major
                    impact
                    > > on Nature or disappearance of a significant living species,
                    except
                    > > for exogenous reasons, i.e. asteroid.
                    > >
                    > > Nature has had millions of years of test and error improving
                    > > practices to find beautiful (some may think brutal) and quite
                    stable
                    > > balances.
                    > >
                    > > And now, going to the equation shown many times here: I = TAP,
                    where
                    > > I = impact; T = Technology; A = Affluence and P = Population, the
                    > > three elements are of influence to the impact on Nature, of
                    course,
                    > > but I would differentiate.
                    > >
                    > > P should be, in any case, a follower of the Resource Availability
                    > > (which is an obvious driver) and specially the technology that
                    makes
                    > > a given resource to be more available (another obvious driver),or
                    > > exhaustible at faster rates. And finally, besides these
                    parameters,
                    > > the possibility of accumulation of resources, beyond the strict
                    > > current living necessity (something that may have started in the
                    > > Neolithic and I will call the "unlimited hamster cheek syndrome")
                    > > and specially the invention of capitalism, with its unique form
                    of
                    > > cumulating wealth without apparent physical limits and without
                    any
                    > > apparent reason for the individual that cumulates or the species
                    > > he/she belongs to, has been a formidable booster to both the
                    drivers
                    > > of Technology, put at the disposal of human beings, and the
                    driver
                    > > of the subsequent Increase of a given Resource Availability.
                    > >
                    > > Being obsessed with the population growth only or mainly, and
                    > > leaving aside or in a second row the technology and subsequent
                    > > increase of resource availability and the limitless cummulation
                    > > systems created, is a mistake and an ignorance on the nature of
                    the
                    > > living things and their inevitable exponential growth.
                    > >
                    > > In New Orleans, immediately after the Katrina hurricane, many
                    > > thousands of citizens founds themselves blocked in the motorways
                    > > trying to escape from the city. The media said, in this occasion
                    > > that the queues were of about 70 miles and collapsed the
                    evacuation
                    > > for a while.
                    > >
                    > > Two weeks ago, a single crane had an accident in a tunnel in a
                    > > periphery motorway in Madrid, blocking for three critical hours
                    two
                    > > of the three lanes there. It was a rainy day. The whole city
                    > > collapsed and the traffics jams reached this day 100 miles. I was
                    > > trapped for a couple of hours and I could only drive 1 mile. All
                    the
                    > > radios were insisting that the CAUSE of the traffic huge collapse
                    > > was...guess what: THE RAIN. The rain, a natural element, a very
                    > > normal, not exceptional day of rain. A very positive and
                    essential
                    > > atmospheric agent, very desirable in a country that had had the
                    > > longest drought in many years. An atmospheric element present
                    since
                    > > the dawn of humanity, an element that has made humanity viable
                    and
                    > > possible; that makes living things possible. No one single
                    speaker
                    > > mentioned the system, the stupidity of vomiting more than one
                    > > million new private cars every passing year to the roads from the
                    > > factories and the demented obsession to vomit a 3% more every
                    year.
                    > > Nobody mentioned the absolutely inefficient system of
                    > > transportation, in a city where 90% of people travel alone in a
                    > > 2,000 kg private car. No one. The problem was the rain.
                    > > Similar minds those of people accusing population growth of being
                    > > the driver (not a simple follower) in the transformation of
                    nature.
                    > > Fingers pointing to the moon and eyes looking to the finger.
                    > >
                    > > Pedro from Madrid
                    >
                  • Jeff Clark
                    ... And I ll start by saying he is quite wrong in the statement warning of further US population growth, ... most of that increase indigenous. ... policy
                    Message 9 of 21 , Nov 26, 2006
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                      --- In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, "Abernethy, Virginia Deane"
                      <virginia.abernethy@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Welcome to Jeff Clark.
                      >
                      > I'd offer assurances that this list is no stranger to controversy.
                      And I'll start by saying he is quite wrong in the statement warning of
                      further US population growth, "... most of that increase indigenous."
                      >
                      > The growth is not indigenous unless one includes the inane, insane
                      policy that emerged from the disordered brains of the framers of
                      the1965 immigration "reform" and the current crop that fail to enforce
                      existing law to stop the invasion by illegal aliens.
                      >
                      > THe Center for Immigration Studies concludes that nearly 90 percent
                      of US population growth can be traced to the annual flow of immigrants
                      and the children born to recent immigrants.

                      Thanks for the welcome, though I've long been a lurker and only
                      occasionally have made a posting or two here in the past. I've posted
                      much more often on ROE2 over the last 4+ years since I've become PO
                      aware and convinced. This particular topic just needed more airing
                      out for me than was comfortable over on ROE2. I do not come with a
                      full set of predetermined conclusions other than a strong need to be
                      looking after the future of me and mine.

                      I'm open to the idea that most of the recent population growth in the
                      USA is coming from immigrants and recent immigrant's procreation, but
                      would appreciate a link or two that I can followup to review on my
                      own. But just to prove you can find support for nearly any point of
                      view, here is the link to the Cato article that proclaims
                      overpopulation just doesn't have a basis in historical fact.
                      http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj5n1/cj5n1-5.pdf
                      Nor for that matter does the theory of PO, based on the previous
                      historical predictions of impending petroleum shortages being, umm,
                      grossly premature. One might call this logic "the villager's
                      perspective" in the "boy calling wolf" story -- just before the wolf
                      finally did come to pay a visit.

                      What I have seen frequently published is that the USA, unlike most of
                      Western Europe, is still birthing indigenously at a rate higher than
                      the replacement level of 2.1/female, before immigration is figured in.
                      My hunch is that even if we stop all immigration immediately, we are
                      still in big trouble with overpopulation in the face of PO and the
                      environmental degradations already underway. The clay feet of the USA
                      is that very few still know how to live close to the Earth, nor have
                      the resources to do so even if they chose. We have now divided labor
                      and capital and specialized it all to the point that the majority only
                      know food as it appears in the supermarket or food service.
                      Increasingly fewer and fewer have time or inclination to cook beyond
                      following microwave heating directions. Perhaps we are living the
                      "Jetson" future even now. But the decline of the fossil energy
                      underpinnings to this way of life most certainly threaten to have it
                      all come unhinged over the next half a lifetime.

                      The rate the problem unfolds and the reaction time to set it right are
                      both well beyond the day to day, week to week planning horizons that
                      most of us live in. The chances of very many of us doing anything to
                      positively effect 10 years out is slim, 20-50 years? forget-a-bout-it!

                      Jeff Clark
                      Oregon
                    • Frank Holland
                      ... Joe, I really hope you are correct, at least my granddaughter would have a life. But can you support your hypothesis with some numbers and some
                      Message 10 of 21 , Nov 27, 2006
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                        On Sun, 2006-11-26 at 18:18 +0000, joedoves wrote:
                        > The question is, with the onset of Peak Oil what level will prove to
                        > be sustainable. In terms of food supply, I think we can probably
                        > maintain 2500 kcals per person for 12 billion people in definitely,
                        > assuming we can keep the same amount of arable land under
                        > production. As far as energy use goes, I would maintain that the
                        > planet can maintain 12 billion people with low yield renewable
                        > energy in definitely at a modest level of consumption.

                        Joe,

                        I really hope you are correct, at least my granddaughter would have a
                        life. But can you support your hypothesis with some numbers and some
                        consideration for human greed. Do you really think the greedy West,
                        particularly the USA, will drop their life styles all the way down to
                        sustainable levels. I don't (the American way of life is non negotiable
                        etc), and present events in the Middle East support my doubt.


                        --
                        Frank
                        53.22N 2.07W
                      • Frank Holland
                        ... Jeff, Wouldn t that be wonderful? But this implies so much altruism on the part of all nations that it is very hard to envisage happening. What sort of
                        Message 11 of 21 , Nov 27, 2006
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                          On Sun, 2006-11-26 at 18:41 +0000, Jeff Clark wrote:
                          > I beleive it is this kind of either-or setup, which is better,
                          > nature's way?, or social engineering? that led to Jack Parsons
                          > provocative question. Which will provide the most freedom and
                          > happiness for those already alive. Passively allowing the natural
                          > consequences of overshoot -- dieoff to solve the over population
                          > problem? or Somehow restrict back to one or at most two children per
                          > breeding pair to arrest the exponential growth, and then allow the
                          > population to shrink back down to carrying capacity by natural
                          > attrition over time?

                          Jeff,

                          Wouldn't that be wonderful? But this implies so much altruism on the
                          part of all nations that it is very hard to envisage happening. What
                          sort of revolution would be required world wide to achieve this? China
                          ruling the world, enforcing birth control? How who and what decides on
                          resource allocation..back to Joe's even distribution of 2500 cal per day
                          per person.


                          --
                          Frank
                          53.22N 2.07W
                        • hugh spencer
                          Sorry for being on the soapbox- but the internet is working so i might as well take advantage of the window of opportunity! Tom - yes we MAY be able to ... BUT
                          Message 12 of 21 , Nov 27, 2006
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                            Sorry for being on the soapbox- but the internet is working so i might as
                            well take advantage of the window of opportunity!

                            Tom -

                            yes we MAY be able to


                            >maintain 2500 kcals per person for 12 billion people in definitely,
                            >assuming we can keep the same amount of arable land under
                            >production. As far as energy use goes, I would maintain that the
                            >planet can maintain 12 billion people with low yield renewable
                            >energy in definitely at a modest level of consumption.

                            BUT - we have to factor in 12 billion egos, 12 billion bored shitless, you
                            can't (in my humble estimation) have populations of that size (in our
                            present cultural and political climate) and expect that they will behave
                            quietly - they won't.

                            The Australian Aboriginals were here for arguably greater periods than
                            50,000 years. OK for the first couple of thousand they really upset the
                            environmental apple cart (mega faunal extinctions and fire stick farming
                            causing the massive speciation of Eucalyptus)- see Flannery's 'The Future
                            Eaters' - but then they went into a mode in which the amount of social
                            change in one thousand years was, for all practical purposes, the amount of
                            social change that we'd experience in a day in our present culture. They
                            (probably became a tribal hunter-gathering culture of story dance, and
                            spirituality). population 300,000-1 million est.

                            If you want a long lasting culture - and a high population density (such as
                            10 billion) , you have to have a very rigid culture, with almost no
                            opportunity for innovation, and the intrinsic value of each member would be
                            very low. If we could have a world human population of say 10 million (!!)
                            - then conceivably, we could maintain our rate of innovation (multiplied
                            by the *per-capita* innovation rate we have now) - with the degree of
                            personal freedolm we expect - but the dynamics would be very different, and
                            the intrinsic value of each member of the population would be very high.

                            Bears thinking about.

                            hugh





                            >And maybe, just maybe, there are some humans who see all that
                            >coming, find ways to avoid it, and taking advantage of lessons
                            >learned, go on to an new start at building a human culture that has
                            >a far better idea of how systems of nature and human cultue work,
                            >and lives accordingly.
                            >>
                            >> ~~~~~ EnergyResources Moderator Tom Robertson ~~~~~~
                            >
                            >How is it that our illustrious moderator has not succumbed to the
                            >siren song of mass murder (to maintain an extravagent, unsustainable
                            >lifestyle).
                            >
                            >Since moderate forms of population control are anathema on moral-
                            >religious grounds( abortion, voluntary suicide, even birth control),
                            >by all means let us move onto nuclear bombs, man-made plagues,
                            >religious wars,etc.
                            >
                            >Right now, in the West we are seeing people voluntarily reducing
                            >their breeding to maintain a quality of life. In developing
                            >countries, rates are falling as well.
                            >
                            >The question is, with the onset of Peak Oil what level will prove to
                            >be sustainable. In terms of food supply, I think we can probably
                            >maintain 2500 kcals per person for 12 billion people in definitely,
                            >assuming we can keep the same amount of arable land under
                            >production. As far as energy use goes, I would maintain that the
                            >planet can maintain 12 billion people with low yield renewable
                            >energy in definitely at a modest level of consumption.
                            >
                            >Maybe we should debate this instead of the megadeath option.
                          • joedoves
                            Sheesh, Frank! 3000 kcal x 12 billion x 365/854000 kcal per ton of cereal =15.4 billion tons. There are 8 billion hectares of arable land. If we could raise
                            Message 13 of 21 , Nov 27, 2006
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                              Sheesh, Frank!

                              3000 kcal x 12 billion x 365/854000 kcal per ton of cereal =15.4
                              billion tons. There are 8 billion hectares of arable land. If we could
                              raise productivity to 2 tons per hectare(below the US average) that's
                              16 billion tons of food. Current worldwide production of cereals is 2
                              billion tons.
                              http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/x0262e/x0262e05.htm

                              Energy-Electricity 12 billion people x 5mwh per person=60000TWh versus
                              the current 15000TWh. Wind energy alone calculated at 12000Twh, solar
                              at 127000TWh and biomass at 3960 Twh.
                              http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/research/imcp/sano.pdf

                              Political will..? You gotta have faith!
                            • Abernethy, Virginia Deane
                              Jeff, the link to the Center for Immigration Studies is www.cis.org Address inquiries to Steve Camarota, who does much of the research. Mark Krikorian is the
                              Message 14 of 21 , Nov 27, 2006
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                                Jeff, the link to the Center for Immigration Studies is www.cis.org
                                Address inquiries to Steve Camarota, who does much of the research.
                                Mark Krikorian is the Director.

                                You can get a beautiful chart and the specific CIS reference to
                                immigration's impact on US population growth from my paper, "Census
                                Bureau Gyrations...." Chart and paper are on the website www.balance.org

                                V.
                                .....................

                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: energyresources@yahoogroups.com
                                [mailto:energyresources@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Jeff Clark
                                Sent: Sunday, November 26, 2006 11:20 PM
                                To: energyresources@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: [energyresources] Re: The elephant in the living
                                room...



                                --- In energyresources@yahoogroups.com
                                <mailto:energyresources%40yahoogroups.com> , "Abernethy, Virginia Deane"
                                <virginia.abernethy@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Welcome to Jeff Clark.
                                >
                                > I'd offer assurances that this list is no stranger to
                                controversy.
                                And I'll start by saying he is quite wrong in the statement
                                warning of
                                further US population growth, "... most of that increase
                                indigenous."
                                >
                                > The growth is not indigenous unless one includes the inane,
                                insane
                                policy that emerged from the disordered brains of the framers of
                                the1965 immigration "reform" and the current crop that fail to
                                enforce
                                existing law to stop the invasion by illegal aliens.
                                >
                                > THe Center for Immigration Studies concludes that nearly 90
                                percent
                                of US population growth can be traced to the annual flow of
                                immigrants
                                and the children born to recent immigrants.

                                Thanks for the welcome, though I've long been a lurker and only
                                occasionally have made a posting or two here in the past. I've
                                posted
                                much more often on ROE2 over the last 4+ years since I've become
                                PO
                                aware and convinced. This particular topic just needed more
                                airing
                                out for me than was comfortable over on ROE2. I do not come with
                                a
                                full set of predetermined conclusions other than a strong need
                                to be
                                looking after the future of me and mine.

                                I'm open to the idea that most of the recent population growth
                                in the
                                USA is coming from immigrants and recent immigrant's
                                procreation, but
                                would appreciate a link or two that I can followup to review on
                                my
                                own. But just to prove you can find support for nearly any point
                                of
                                view, here is the link to the Cato article that proclaims
                                overpopulation just doesn't have a basis in historical fact.
                                http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj5n1/cj5n1-5.pdf
                                <http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj5n1/cj5n1-5.pdf>
                                Nor for that matter does the theory of PO, based on the previous
                                historical predictions of impending petroleum shortages being,
                                umm,
                                grossly premature. One might call this logic "the villager's
                                perspective" in the "boy calling wolf" story -- just before the
                                wolf
                                finally did come to pay a visit.

                                What I have seen frequently published is that the USA, unlike
                                most of
                                Western Europe, is still birthing indigenously at a rate higher
                                than
                                the replacement level of 2.1/female, before immigration is
                                figured in.
                                My hunch is that even if we stop all immigration immediately, we
                                are
                                still in big trouble with overpopulation in the face of PO and
                                the
                                environmental degradations already underway. The clay feet of
                                the USA
                                is that very few still know how to live close to the Earth, nor
                                have
                                the resources to do so even if they chose. We have now divided
                                labor
                                and capital and specialized it all to the point that the
                                majority only
                                know food as it appears in the supermarket or food service.
                                Increasingly fewer and fewer have time or inclination to cook
                                beyond
                                following microwave heating directions. Perhaps we are living
                                the
                                "Jetson" future even now. But the decline of the fossil energy
                                underpinnings to this way of life most certainly threaten to
                                have it
                                all come unhinged over the next half a lifetime.

                                The rate the problem unfolds and the reaction time to set it
                                right are
                                both well beyond the day to day, week to week planning horizons
                                that
                                most of us live in. The chances of very many of us doing
                                anything to
                                positively effect 10 years out is slim, 20-50 years?
                                forget-a-bout-it!

                                Jeff Clark
                                Oregon







                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • conmaher
                                ... done ... have to ... Jeff, Thank you for a most intersting post. Liked the sound bites from the specialists. If there were a god, he would surely save us
                                Message 15 of 21 , Nov 27, 2006
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                                  --- In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff Clark" <jeff@...>
                                  wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Apparently a robust discussion about exponential human population
                                  > growth beyond carrying capacity and what, if anything, might be
                                  done
                                  > about it is a topic too controversial, or a step too far over the
                                  > limits of acceptable discussion for the moderators of ROE2. I
                                  have to
                                  >
                                  Jeff,

                                  Thank you for a most intersting post. Liked the sound bites from
                                  the specialists. If there were a god, he would surely save us from
                                  this kind of expertise.

                                  The elephant in the living room is present for lots of subjects
                                  these days,i.e., peak oil, greed, rich wanting more, rapidly
                                  diminishing resources of all kinds, especially soil and fresh water,
                                  population growth out of control, medical costs to keep people
                                  alive beyond a point where it bridges on insanity, medical costs in
                                  general (why worry, the government pays and they own the printing
                                  presses), etc.

                                  On a trip to Alaska in 2005, my wife and I saw a short film about
                                  some of the work that Professor David M. Hopkins had done during his
                                  life time working on the land bridge from Asia to Alaska. He seemed
                                  such a knowledgable and kind person in the film, I was particularly
                                  struck with his reply to a question about what we could do about
                                  global warming.

                                  Firstly, I should say that I am a geologist and am not convinced
                                  that global warming is caused by what man has been doing for the
                                  last million years or so. I think that it would be good if I could
                                  find more discussion on Professor Robert Essenhigh's (Ohio State
                                  University) ideas that 160 billion tons of carbon dioxide enter the
                                  atmosphere each year from the land and surface waters and only about
                                  6 billion tons are generated by burning fossiel fuels. He thinks we
                                  are simply nearing the end of an interglacial period.

                                  Back to Professor Hopkins.

                                  The question was something like, "What do you think we can and
                                  should do about global warming"?

                                  He replied in a very soft, sad, but firm voice something like
                                  this: "Man cannot argree on anything. We must wait for catastrophe
                                  to overtake us and then deal with the consequences".

                                  My wife came to find out what had happened to me because I sat in
                                  this small theater in the vistors center in Fairbanks, Alaska and
                                  thought about the tragic consequences of this statement for my
                                  children, my grandchildren and all of humanity.

                                  Because we cannot agree, we are doomed to over populate, run out of
                                  essential resources (clean water already missing for most of the
                                  population of the earth), wars will ensue, mass starvation is a
                                  certainty, we will resort to cannibalism and disappear. The rats
                                  (who have been with us since our little beginning a few million
                                  years ago) will flourish and as someone has written, they will grow
                                  huge and the bigger ones will eat the smaller ones.

                                  Not a nice ending, but I don't see it going any other way because
                                  man is simply unable to agree to anything about the problems facing
                                  the man even if there are solutions. Personally, I don't think
                                  there are solutions, it is only a matter of how long it will take to
                                  get to the end of our existence. It could be long, slow and painful
                                  (hundreds maybe even thousands of year) or it could be swift and
                                  brutal (hundreds of years maximum).
                                • Jeff Clark
                                  ... Frank, just so I m clear... Are you advocating some kind of pogrom to rid the country of its excess and undesirable people (by your definitions of
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Nov 27, 2006
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                                    --- In energyresources@yahoogroups.com, Frank Holland
                                    <frankholland3@...> wrote:

                                    > Jeff,
                                    >
                                    > Wouldn't that be wonderful? But this implies so much altruism on the
                                    > part of all nations that it is very hard to envisage happening. What
                                    > sort of revolution would be required world wide to achieve this? China
                                    > ruling the world, enforcing birth control? How who and what decides on
                                    > resource allocation..back to Joe's even distribution of 2500 cal per day
                                    > per person.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > --
                                    > Frank
                                    > 53.22N 2.07W
                                    >

                                    Frank,

                                    just so I'm clear...

                                    Are you advocating some kind of pogrom to rid the country of its
                                    excess and undesirable people (by your definitions of course!)? or are
                                    you simply stating that the human suffering and die-off subsequent to
                                    overshoot, allocated by Social Darwinism, is a necessary step the
                                    current human population must go through?

                                    I'm willing to admit that voluntary reduction of population growth is
                                    presently difficult to envision politically. Most people are left to
                                    reproductive decisions on their own. There seem to be as many examples
                                    of irresponsible reproduction as there are people who choose no
                                    reproduction at all. If the overall goal is 1-2 per breeding pair,
                                    then it only takes one family of 6 to offset 3-4 couples having none.

                                    Working towards population reduction by curbing reproduction may not
                                    be enough too avoid a die-off at this point, but certainly it has the
                                    potential to mitigate some of the worst of it, don't you think?

                                    Jeff Clark
                                    Oregon
                                  • Paul Strohm, Bookseller
                                    ... Hi Joe, Your cited source above does not claim 2 B ha of arable land. Sources I can find put the figure at 2 B arable, with another 4 B in pasture and
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Nov 27, 2006
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                                      On Mon, 27 Nov 2006 14:56:52 -0000, you wrote:

                                      >Sheesh, Frank!
                                      >
                                      >3000 kcal x 12 billion x 365/854000 kcal per ton of cereal =15.4
                                      >billion tons. There are 8 billion hectares of arable land. If we could
                                      >raise productivity to 2 tons per hectare(below the US average) that's
                                      >16 billion tons of food. Current worldwide production of cereals is 2
                                      >billion tons.
                                      >http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/x0262e/x0262e05.htm

                                      Hi Joe,

                                      Your cited source above does not claim 2 B ha of arable land. Sources
                                      I can find put the figure at 2 B arable, with another 4 B in pasture
                                      and permanent crops. Indeed 2 B ton divided 8 B ha produces 0.25
                                      ton/ha, much lower than the numbers cited on the fao web site.

                                      "Wheat yields in the ten most productive countries jumped from 2.65 to
                                      5.12 tonnes per hectare. But average yields among countries at the
                                      other end of the scale edged up only from 0.47 to 0.76 tonnes per
                                      hectare."

                                      Where will the extra 6 B ha come from?

                                      Paul
                                      >
                                      >Energy-Electricity 12 billion people x 5mwh per person=60000TWh versus
                                      >the current 15000TWh. Wind energy alone calculated at 12000Twh, solar
                                      >at 127000TWh and biomass at 3960 Twh.
                                      >http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/research/imcp/sano.pdf
                                      >
                                      >Political will..? You gotta have faith!
                                    • Stuart Johnson
                                      ... Yes. Also, Pimentels (_Food, Energy, and Society_, 96) say: Worldwide, about 1.5 billion hectares of arable land are cultivated to produce food which
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Nov 27, 2006
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                                        On Nov 27, 2006, at 7:34 PM, Paul Strohm, Bookseller wrote:

                                        > On Mon, 27 Nov 2006 14:56:52 -0000, you wrote:
                                        > >Sheesh, Frank!
                                        > There are 8 billion hectares of arable land.

                                        > Hi Joe,
                                        >
                                        > Your cited source above does not claim 2 B ha of arable land. Sources
                                        > I can find put the figure at 2 B arable, with another 4 B in pasture
                                        > and permanent crops. Indeed 2 B ton divided 8 B ha produces 0.25
                                        > ton/ha, much lower than the numbers cited on the fao web site.

                                        Yes.
                                        Also, Pimentels' (_Food, Energy, and Society_, '96) say:
                                        "Worldwide, about 1.5 billion hectares of arable
                                        land are cultivated to produce food" which sounds like
                                        the US term "harvested acres," cited in state productivity
                                        reports.

                                        And elsewhere Pimentel says ~0.5 hectare/person is required
                                        to provide US-European lifestyle, in "Impact of Population
                                        Growth on Food Supplies and Environment," paper presented
                                        to AAAS, 9-2-96

                                        Which would argue carrying capacity at that lifestyle to be
                                        1.5 bil ha /(0.5 ha / person) = 3 billion people.

                                        Sounds too high to me, but those are the cited figures.
                                        Stuart Johnson, OR
                                      • Richard Pelto
                                        conmaher wrote: Personally, I don t think there are solutions, it is only a matter of how long it will take to get to the end of our existence. Am involved
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Nov 28, 2006
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                                          "conmaher" wrote: "Personally, I don't think there are solutions, it is only a matter of how long it will take to get to the end of our existence."

                                          Am involved in interesting thought-exercise as I am now putting together an essay that starts from here: Given mankind's declared pride in discovering the depths of the microscopic and macroscopic universes we live in, why is it that everyone just resignedly shakes his/her head negatively when asked "Can anything be done about population growth?" Especially, given the fact that mankind's relatively immediate future essentially is dependent on finding an answer to that question. One major reason in West is that its societies are built on capitalism, and the life blood of that economic system is ubiquitous promotion of "unlimited" growth.
                                          Richard Pelto



                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        • joedoves
                                          Your cited source above does not claim 2 B ha of arable land. Sources I can find put the figure at 2 B arable, with another 4 B in pasture and permanent crops.
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Nov 30, 2006
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                                            Your cited source above does not claim 2 B ha of arable land. Sources
                                            I can find put the figure at 2 B arable, with another 4 B in pasture
                                            and permanent crops. Indeed 2 B ton divided 8 B ha produces 0.25
                                            ton/ha, much lower than the numbers cited on the fao web site.
                                            Where will the extra 6 B ha come from?-ps

                                            Wikipedia gives 12 million square miles~3.1 billion hectares.
                                            University of Michigan gives 15 million km2~1.5 billion hectares
                                            currently under cultivation, 36 million km2 for pasture~3.6 billion
                                            ha and 45 million km2 in forests~4.5 billion ha totaling 9.6 billion
                                            ha.
                                            I am talking about up to 9.6 billion ha being the total amount of
                                            land that will support vegetation.
                                            51 million square kilometers of the earth land surface(34%) is
                                            totally without vegetation.
                                            http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/food
                                            _supply/food.htm

                                            I'm giving an upper limit for food acreage with the maximum
                                            sustained political will.
                                            The Green Revolution has been working in Asia fairly well. I don't
                                            see things shutting down at 1.5 billion hectares as Pimental says.
                                            Outside Africa we still haven't seen massive famines. Global warming
                                            will likely do that eventually but maybe we'll hit population dieoff
                                            first?

                                            I would guess that with the enzymes that break cellulose into starch
                                            to make ethanol, you could turn prairie grasses and pine trees into
                                            starches for human consumption. They already have a commercial fungi
                                            substitute for meat at some grocery stores called Quorn.

                                            With enough political will I would say we could feed 12 billion
                                            indefinitely(and not one more). I think Peak Food is analogous to
                                            Peak Oil. If you determine could determine the correct carrying
                                            capacity you could determine the correct population growth to meet
                                            it and come up with a population policy. Previous attempts have not
                                            followed the Malthusian predictions.
                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logistic_function

                                            Unfortunately, if a world wide average birth rate of 20 per 1000 (it
                                            is supposed to fall) and a death rate of 8.8 per 1000 (also supposed
                                            to fall)continues we are set to see 12 billion around 2066.
                                            In 20 years the world population will be close to 8 billion people:
                                            Will we see regular worldwide famines(Africa excepted) in 20 years
                                            due to agriculture limits (there should still be a good deal of oil
                                            around in 2026)?
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