As an old person who has seen this happening and been dismayed -
I can only present to you the same conundrum that was presented to me:
If there are too many people on this planet - which ones are the too many? And how would YOU reduce the population.
Sorry, to a large degree, Malthusianism has been discredited.
Stating the truth (we are expanding to the limit of immediately available resources, and depleting past sustainability) does not correlate to having a solution that can be made a mandate.
There is only one option for reducing the population. Reverse population growth (Birth rate). Idiots see "Reduce population" and assume that means "kill people off". It will happen, one way or another. Most likely, there will be a crash, and the very old and very young will suffer. It would have been far better if folks were intelligent, far-sighted, and earnest. They could say "Oh, it makes great sense for each woman to only have one child, since our progenitors bred beyond sense as well as consumed beyond sense. That is what we shall do!" -Yeah, right. It would be nice. It only took us 70 years to go from 2 billion to 7 billion. Why could we not be back to 5 billion (and dropping ever faster) by the end of the century, and down to 2 billion in 2150? Using available known resources, we might not even have to turn old people out in the snow. (Yes, I am not young myself).
The population of Africa has increased by more than 55% since 1990. Many countries (well not that many) such as Russia actually have negative population growth, so it is not unfeasible.
Malthusianism as such is not based on what we would call "relevant algorithm", but only due to the capacity of the food system in the SHORT TERM, and only due to the availability of fossil fuels for feedstocks/nitrogen/fuel etc... The other limits that Malthus did NOT know about seem to play more to the basic agreement that there is indeed a limit. Crop yields go up, but will reverse when fuel gets scarce. Available arable land, water, and sustainability will eventually limit or even offset what seems like an ever expanding breadbasket...one that even now does not cover us.
Just like a Ponzi scheme, you need population growth to support the ideology of retirement, pension, and all that end of life stuff outside of a family group. The math just doesn't work when you have fewer people in the successive generations. Quoting "Malthusianism has been largely discredited" does not discredit statistics just because it seems that way in our current privileged resource spending spree. Thirty percent world pop growth in the last 20 years...get it? I really don't believe anyone thinks that is sustainable for another hundred years.
All this because of 2 reasons:
1. Monotheists don't want people jerking off.
2. Sex is the only entertainment poor folks can afford.
Anyone here ever watch the movie "Idiocracy"?
Idiocracy, yes! Great comedy. It captured much, but posited a benevolent computer system taking care of the population. They couldn't repair a roof but managed to keep a sophisticated computer system going. Yeah, right. *pfft* Starbucks, LOL a hand job with every coffee, that would work.
The laws inherent in ecology will eventually “solve” our population problem. The law in question is when a population, of any animal or plant exceeds the carrying capacity of their environment then the species will experience a massive die off. As intelligent and inventive critters our technology can extend that capacity – oft times dramatically. Sadly, our tech can only save us for a while and there is tragic evidence that we have stretched the carrying capacity as far as our technology can compensate.
If the people of the first world economies have a sudden surge of self sacrifice so that others can survive we might buy more time – not a likely scenario. I believe that before the turn of the century natural laws will “solve” the population problem with brutal efficiency.
Agree completely. The only purpose in even discussing this at our level of influence (or anyone's?) is to...well just understand the situation for our own edification. Same thing for death or the discontinuation of your favorite NPR program.
While I look on the history of predictions, saying "before the end of the century" might not be a safe place to bet today's lunch money, it does indeed seem that 80 years is a reasonable time frame to see some sort of ecological correction, despite our ability to cheat the dice. Predicting technology is not a good business to be in, but on issues related to math and thermodynamics, it seems likely that technology will not provide protection against mass misery, just against complete devastation of society.
The situation has pretty well added up to a "done deal" or humans would not be thinking about considering to talk about discussing weather the problem is real or not. :)
The only purpose in even discussing this at our level of influence (or anyone's?) is to...well just understand the situation for our own edification.
Our discussions might have a nonzero effect. The main problem to change isn't technology, or even corporate structure, it's psychology. People can't face the greatest challenge to humanity, in part, because they can't even imagine how it might be solved. We might be able to imagine the transition, how to cope. If together we can articulate a range of solution scenarios, some might become options eventually taken seriously. Remember that our discussion and image tags yield results in Google searches. Someday, people will desperately scour for constructive solutions.
Think of our conversation as part of global communication effort, groping for a way out, fragmented now but coming together into a rigorous debate in the future. We are outliers, early thinkers, so what we say could be taken up and have influence over time.
There's a vestigial group Think in the Future Tense, where we could brainstorm and toss around ideas on the entire range of issues, not just overpopulation. I'm a member, join us.
BTW, I've been posting for a while here using the tag "Climate Destabilization". A Google search just now turned up two of my discussions on the first page, and an image search yielded 11 images from discussions here, one LOLcat I'd made with that tag, and one LOLcat Steph used here in a discussion, on the first image page. Of course there are lots more images on the first page than links on that first page. Images lead viewers to your discussions, so it's always helpful to add an image.
This not only gives you a greater voice, it can bring people to look at Atheist Nexus.
Trust me, I have a far wider range of knowledge of the planetary sciences than I need to for making basic conclusions. I have probably known more than you know now for 30 years. I really don't need more discussion (at this point) to coalesce my thoughts. I merely need to continue taking, sharing and gathering observations to provide arguments against previous conclusions. The paradigm hasn't shifted much in those 30 years.
Here is the issue: If you have an educational message you wish to share, avoid anything but hard data. I can find well intended overstatements, understatements, mistakes, misquotes, errors and mass oversimplifications in most of the materials I find quoted here. That is a problem. When you make a long speech, you make gaffs that folks can use to "support" contrary opinions. When you make sensationalist statements, or even emotive concise summaries, you invite idiots to participate and present their "feelings" on an equally low level.
I observe there are 36 AN/SM-3 missiles approaching our position from every 10 degree gradient vector surrounding us. Our radar indicates they will close our position in 98 seconds. Reports from my sources (see footnote#3 certified encrypted transmission from the USS Al Gore and plain language transmission from the JDF ship Guygin) concur with our data +/- 3%. It is my impression that due to the lack of motion of our ship, the visual data showing our throttle is in the Flank Speed position, and the heavy black smoke coming from the exhaust that we are not able to maneuver in any way to avoid a bad outcome. Therefore, I tentatively present to you the statement: "We are totally screwed".
Separate your feelings from the data, however intense the feelings are, if you wish to make hard facts speak for you.
Using the great gift of knowledge presented in the Awesome Documentary "Idiocracy", you may also use a much more effective approach for gaining support from a certain segment of the population:
Don't tell them that electrolytes are bad for the plants! Tell them that you can TALK to plants, and they are telling you that they want WATER! If they question you at all say "What?! Can't you hear them too? What are you? Dumb or something???"
This has the unfortunate side effect of getting you ostracized by the...oh...three percent of the population that can actually conceptualize a portion of the big picture. Use a pseudonym when you give your "No Brawndo" speeches.
The statement that I do not understand the extent of the problem is patently wrong. I would present that the opposite may very well be true. I am one of the folks that helped design and deploy ARGOS elements that bring you the data you get digested data from. I am also a very outside guy, and I see and feel the pulse of these changes directly. I would like to assure you that these things affect me heavily on a very personal level. I am sure you feel very strongly about this stuff, but really, how much time do you spend out in the weather? How much time do you spend far out on the ocean, out in the middle of the everglades, or watching the changes on your local rivers and estuaries from your rowboat year after year?
Yeah, I feel entitled to the title "Aware".
In response to
The statement that I do not understand the extent of the problem is patently wrong. I would present that the opposite may very well be true.
It was not in this discussion about overpopulation where I said I thought you did not understand the extent of a problem. I don't question your knowledge of overpopulation. I said
Perhaps you, like most people, are unaware of the true dimensions of our Planetary Emergency.
specifically in reference to the synergistic multiplication of risk that climate change poses to nuclear power plant safety.
I certainly didn't paste the label "Unaware" on you, as a general put down. I admire your connection to nature and minimizing your carbon footprint.
I appreciate your attempt to give me feedback on my communication techniques. However, I find your advice somewhat unclear, or at least it confuses me. Perhaps if you gave particular examples where you see me contaminating hard data that I quote with my feelings, we could address those cases. I appreciate that at least you recognize I'm well intentioned. It would be helpful to address "overstatements, understatements, mistakes, misquotes, errors and mass oversimplifications" on a case by case basis.
When you make a long speech, you make gaffs that folks can use to "support" contrary opinions.
I probably do make gaffs. Feel free to call me on them.
When you make sensationalist statements, or even emotive concise summaries, you invite idiots to participate and present their "feelings" on an equally low level.
It's my take that you see statements such as "survival is at stake" as sensationalism because you don't take the threats to civilization and species survival as seriously as I. When I take the long view, I see climate destabilization triggering not only very serious climate change but also very many nuclear power plant accidents. The cumulative challenge to species survival involves an accumulating mutation rate burden to future generations. There's a threshold where the ability of evolution to remove deleterious mutations is exceeded by their generation, which leads to extinction. Herman Muller warned about this threat decades ago, but most people ignored him. You and I may have very different estimates of the chances that our species will survive the next few thousand years. But do not assume that difference arises from my allowing emotions to distort fact. I think we pay attention to different facts and put them together differently.
I think expressing our feelings about serious issues like these is helpful. Even people who are less informed and who disagree have a right to express emotion in non-blaming respectful language. They deserve a voice. If we do not include others in debate, how will we learn form one another?
As to your use of "idiots", I'm just now learning how ableist my own language has been. I'm making an effort to avoid ableist words.
Definitions: An idiot, dolt, or dullard is a mentally deficient person, or someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way.
Liable: Both liable and apt when followed by an infinitive are used nearly interchangeably with likely
So yes, I make likely statements about people acting in self-defeating manner.
Human species...meaning THIS human species is not in danger of extinction, though it is progressing down the pathway normally associated with species transmogrification.
Example: Virus becomes so virulent and capable of reproduction that it spreads wildly along many vectors, attacking and killing every available host. Eventually as a species or variant, only the less virulent actually survive.
Sounds like a good thing in the long run doesn't it?
Thank goodness for nuclear power. Some of our species might get to last out in subterranean bastions huddled against a nuclear power plant in Tropical Antarctica eating algae and meat rabbits for a few thousand years until everything blows over. Maybe the society they create will breed fewer tailgaters and self centered Idiots. With a population collapse, we can then undergo a few beneficial changes in our much smaller more mutable genetic pool, as we did long ago when early hominids were almost wiped out.
No, I don't see survival as being at stake, and the planet doesn't need "saving". Our supposed bicameral legislature and the local shoe boutique need saving. The human species (and hominids) lived just fine in a hand-to-mouth disease-ridden condition for a couple of million years. I'm not all THAT wrapped up in the current mayfly population spike that I happen to be part of.
This may simply be because I am an engineer, and we are born without souls. I posit that no-one else is either, but....
An once again, there have not been "a lot of nuclear power plant accidents". The meningitis-laced steroids in the news currently have done a LOT more damage than Fukushima ever will in real terms, but we will hear about Fuku long after this epidemic is last week's news. You see, it's less sensational.
Paper mills have and continue to do hundreds of thousands of times the environmental damage that nuclear power plants have, but they are the cornerstone of our society, and are not sensational!
You could indeed drop a nuclear weapon on NYC every year and not equal the damage to the environment that having the city there currently causes. This is a fact. Powering it with nuclear power is a beneficial step.
Chernobyl is now a nature preserve....where before, it was a cesspit.
Art, you appear fully aware of the hazards and limitations of a wide range of industries. True paper mills are among the most polluting industries, right up there with cement production and coal plants. But hundreds of thousands of times more environmental damage in real terms than nuclear power plants? Show me that data please!
When I make claims similar in structure to "The meningitis-laced steroids in the news currently have done a LOT more damage than Fukushima ever will in real terms" you ask for a published comparative study. This isn't a straightforward comparison.
We might eventually know exactly how many patients were killed by tainted spinal medication, once the incubation for meningitis passes. Patient deaths are damage, of course. But a meningitis outbreak doesn't permanently render a parcel of land useless to future generations. It's more difficult to quantify the damage from Fukushima. We may never be able to quantify the radioactive contamination which bioconcentrates in Pacific Ocean food chains, and the disease burden to wildlife and human consumers which ensues, now and through all future generations. Long term damage such as to habitable land must be also be considered.
Our planet has limited habitable zones. Toxic chemical spills, erosion down to bedrock, and radiation hot zones remove useable land, irreversibly for practical purposes. For millions of years our hand-to-mouth disease-ridden ancestors lived here and left habitable land behind for us. In the past few hundred years we've wantonly destroyed, for the foreseeable future, habitable territory worldwide. With climate destabilization, soil depletion, pollution and nuclear proliferation, this destruction seems to be rising exponentially to me.
When the Japanese "clean up" Fukushima they move the radioactive waste somewhere else in Japan, with the logic that all provinces should "share the pain".
Two dreadful commercial nuclear power plant accidents, two noncommercial meltdowns, a close call at Three Mile Island, and numerous ongoing safety issues such as flooding at Calhoun count as "a lot" of accidents to me.
In sum, it's my impression that you focus more on present damage and I focus more on very long term damage. This may be part of why we diverge on risk assessment.
Did my thesis on the migration of radioactinides in groundwater...so Yes, I am familiar with the long view of handling waste made from weapons, ancient first generation plants, and all that crap. I have done term papers on Yukka mountain and studied welded egnimbrite geologic formations and all that...and I base my opinions on that, political experience, personal experience, anthopological studies, planetary science... and I have NOT ONCE asked you for any kind of "comparative study...nothing like that! I'm not trying to prove anything to you, except my stance that your methods are really good at driving away anyone that isn't exactly *perfectly* in your camp, undermining your ability to actually deal with the situation at all. I would think that is very important to you, as I am sure you must have a plan for implementing a real world amelioration scheme...otherwise you would not need so many converts to your way of thinking so that you can act immediately. Here is reality as I see it: If you were elected High-Muck-a-Muck Emperess Plenipotentiary at noon today, you would not have the resources or technology to implement a solar/wind economy within the next 50 years. You couldn't do it. Mind you, that is based on a mere regional study that I am familiar with (having taken part in the study as a lowly researcher). You need these: http://energy.sc.gov/publications/Roger%20Schonewald%20-%20GE%20Ene... You need 4000 of them to power NYC alone. We only have a few sets of heavy lift equipment, and no-were near enough expansion capacity in that regard. You need 22 years to complete the job for NYC. You can achieve 20% Wind power, if the population stopped growing immediately. Otherwise, we could not do even a war-time economy that could catch up to the cumulative requirements. The infrastructure requirements are simply too great in terms of distributing that power, and there really are not that many places that can use wind (see links). You cannot do this anytime near our lifetimes, which is obviously what is required. I strongly recommend you take a REAL look at nuclear power options and realities. The STRONGEST PROPONENTS of Nuclear power in this day and age are Rotor blade shot for you.....
You need 12,000 of these for NYC, with other plants to back them up and a completely new set of grid facilities...and a new grid installed in the city andddddd....
WWF made an interesting case for getting off fossil fuels without nuclear power by 2050....problem is, it requires 6,000 exajoules of energy from biomass....basically converting all our agricultural output into burnable biomass that causes tons of pollution (which might reach a state of equilibrium after about 250 years but leaves us with a 9000ppm CO2 debit...not good for the climate or hydrological cycle or anything else in the water. Not to mention that the algae-based biofuel production technology to date has created 1.4 grams of biodiesel. Feasibly, we COULD replace (as high mucky-muck) all the current plants with nuclear in 35 years...all 15,000. Carbon output could drop to an acceptable level and extra capacity could start producing electric railway transport, further reducing greenhouse emissions. ...of course, if you are totally against taking a deeper look at nuclear power in a scientific and unbiased light, then there is little I can do for you. You can't convert all the Baptists.