/ Humans - the real threat to life on Earth

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Only a hill - on 30 Jun 2013
Well this makes depressing reading:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/30/population-growth-wipe-out-life-earth

What do we all think? Are we genuinely doomed, or is this just another version of the Malthusian crisis which failed to materialise?
The Lemming - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Only a hill:

Life will find a way to prevail. The human race may not though.

Such is life.

http://www.universetoday.com/13939/gaia-hypothesis-could-earth-really-be-a-single-organism/
wintertree - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Only a hill:

Sounds about right. The article misses the coming war over ownership off Siberia between Russia and China, the later having over a million plus illegal residents living there deforesting the place.

The problem is the breeders are in the majority - most people would seem determined to have at least 2 kids, and it's notable how many of them come out with various reasons why this is morally superior to those who breed little and late. Many people who preach veganism as a way of saving the world, or are staunch supporters of windmills and solar, are well set on the breeder path.

I wonder how the risk of a lethal global pandemic scales with population density and urban poverty?

Until we get some near-magical technologies, the more people living, the less enviroentally sustainable resources there are per person. Astoundingly simple really., but not simple enough for most people to act on it.

Solaria vs Trantor
Clint86 - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to wintertree:
> (In reply to Only a hill)
> Many people who preach veganism as a way of saving the world, or are staunch supporters of windmills and solar, are well set on the breeder path.
>
>
I don't see evidence of that. Most high birth rates are connected to third world countries where women don't have control of their lives.
Trevers - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to wintertree:
> (In reply to Only a hill)
>
> Sounds about right. The article misses the coming war over ownership off Siberia between Russia and China, the later having over a million plus illegal residents living there deforesting the place.
>
> The problem is the breeders are in the majority - most people would seem determined to have at least 2 kids, and it's notable how many of them come out with various reasons why this is morally superior to those who breed little and late. Many people who preach veganism as a way of saving the world, or are staunch supporters of windmills and solar, are well set on the breeder path.
>
> I wonder how the risk of a lethal global pandemic scales with population density and urban poverty?
>
> Until we get some near-magical technologies, the more people living, the less enviroentally sustainable resources there are per person. Astoundingly simple really., but not simple enough for most people to act on it.
>
> Solaria vs Trantor

If you ignore the manner in which it was implemented, and the bias towards boys, China's one child policy doesn't seem like such an awful idea.

Full child benefits for your first child, halved for your second child, none beyond that. That might shake some people up a bit.
Clint86 - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Only a hill: Do we think population pressure will be more serious than climate change. The weather patterns seem to be changing quickly. It wouldn't take a lot more to give a number of bad harvests in the next few years.
Timmd on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Clint86:
> (In reply to wintertree)
> [...]
> I don't see evidence of that. Most high birth rates are connected to third world countries where women don't have control of their lives.

That's true.
Timmd on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Trevers:
> (In reply to wintertree)
> [...]
>
> If you ignore the manner in which it was implemented, and the bias towards boys, China's one child policy doesn't seem like such an awful idea.
>
> Full child benefits for your first child, halved for your second child, none beyond that. That might shake some people up a bit.

It's had an effect on the children in China though, making them risk averse and (IIRC?) less trusting than other generations, more atomised and cautious essentially.
wintertree - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Clint86:
> (In reply to wintertree)
> [...]
> I don't see evidence of that. Most high birth rates are connected to third world countries where women don't have control of their lives.

It's 1.98 per woman in the UK. Combined with increasing life expectancy that puts us in net population growth, even before we add net inwards migration. As plenty of people have less than 2 kids that leaves a subset of people having more than 2. Selfishly over-breeding has far more environmental connetations that everything someone can do to reduce their footprint on the world, up to and including shooting themselves - your children will go on p use more resources than you, and their children etc.

We will all pay a heavy price for unchecked growth, even in the first world. Access to resources becoming more expensive, more people (by number and fraction) living on little boxes in cities, more curbs on freedom at the government level, more unrest etc

The problem seems to be an economic model based on a population ponzi scheme. It can't end well.

Timmd on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Trevers:
> (In reply to wintertree)
> [...]
>
> If you ignore the manner in which it was implemented, and the bias towards boys, China's one child policy doesn't seem like such an awful idea.
>
> Full child benefits for your first child, halved for your second child, none beyond that. That might shake some people up a bit.

It's had an effect on the children in China though, once they become adults, making them risk averse and (IIRC?) less trusting than other generations, more atomised and cautious essentially.
Clint86 - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to wintertree: I was only arguing about the detail. I agree with your thoughts. We have no children, and mix with plenty of others who have no children. It delights me to see families with two children, but three/four or more just seems a strange decision to make given what we know. it just makes all the problems that much harder to solve. It would be good if everyone took size of family seriously, perhaps with a bit of education on TV at prime time, and perhaps with a few inducements.
stonemaster - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Only a hill:
> Are we genuinely doomed

Humans are doomed and deservedly so....:(

Timmd on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to wintertree: With regard to resource usage and economics at least, the solution is the Circular Economy.

http://www.google.co.uk/#gs_rn=18&gs_ri=psy-ab&cp=11&gs_id=18&xhr=t&q=circular+e...

jack_44 - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Only a hill:

I think its a great opportunity to increase food production. I mean making land more productive per acre/hectare. Maybe a shift in global diet is necessary. More people/less land is a path to mass starvation, population decimation. Simple.
In reply to Only a hill: We're predators, the best predators earth has seen. Being the best predator also means we will become our own victim. Inevitable unfortunately!
In reply to Clint86:
> perhaps with a bit of education on TV at prime time, and perhaps with a few inducements.

I assume you are not actually thinking that would work?
stonemaster - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to jack_44:
> (In reply to Only a hill)
>
> I think its a great opportunity to increase food production.

...more a great opportunity for Gaia to reset/reboot

Totally-Normal - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to Only a hill: Yep.
Clint86 - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: I'm sure it would help. We all get to look at adverts wanting us to buy what we don't need. They work really well. So why not have public information messages instead of the adverts giving the reasons behind the message. Why don't you think it would work?
In reply to Clint86: Well for starters, I imagine you need to get your educational message to a wider population than prime time tv viewers, and of them, how many will already have passed the age of having babies anyway? It would reek of politics rather than anything else.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Clint86 - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: Adverts work amazingly well. Just replace adverts wanting us to buy things we don't need with a different message. Don't 98% of people have a tele? I agree its never going to happen!
In reply to Clint86: I'm sure if it was that simple it would have been done already with some other message
David Martin - on 30 Jun 2013
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

I think it was done with cigarettes and encouraging people to screen for illnesses. The difference here is that population growth is seen in the interests of each country, so is unlikely to be campaigned against by govt. Population only really becomes a problem when viewed globally.
stroppygob - on 01 Jul 2013
Pekkie - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Only a hill:

Those incredible forecasts of population growth are unlikely to happen because of:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_Transition

However there is still a need for governments to push family planning/contraception. There have been some surprising success stories apart from the obvious example of China, including Iran, Indonesia and Thailand. One of the biggest problems is the opposition of many Muslim clerics and the Catholic Church - eg in the Philippines.
Pekkie - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Pekkie:

Oops. try again.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_transition
Pekkie - on 01 Jul 2013
In reply to Pekkie:

Bollox. Why won't it highlight the link? Anyway, if you are interested just Google 'Demographic Transition' and choose the wikipedia option. It's the starting point for an informed debate on the subject.
Timmd on 01 Jul 2013

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