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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated?
    #26820002 - 07/12/20 06:43 PM (1 month, 2 days ago)

Despite the “noble savage” myth, humans are not always natural conservationists. In Paleolithic and Neolithic times, there was plenty of environmental impact – but it didn’t matter because the populations were so small. Illegal logging, animal poaching, Amazonian destruction, air/water/soil pollution, species loss, toxic waste, climate change, etc., etc – these are some very catastrophic problems today, but if there were only, say, fifty million people on Earth, we could get away with the very same behaviors we have today, and it wouldn’t matter. But when people say that 8 billion is not too many and let’s add some more, it seems peculiar to me.

This planet is drastically overpopulated with humans, and if it weren’t, none of the above problems would have any meaning. Gentle use is quite a fantasy if we’re going to hit ten billion souls by 2050, anyway. Some say we can all live sustainably, but I am at a complete loss as to how. It is extremely unlikely that we will change our behaviors in time.

The point is: The population level is the fundamental variable here. There is no way to comprehensively and successfully adapt the global situation to it, and there is no real solution if people are to live, obviously. So an absolutely horrendous mess is what we’ve got here.

Humans cannot be trusted over time to live sustainably. So too many are too many.


I certainly do not advocate genocide in order to bring numbers down. I do advocate making every effort to give those alive the best shot possible. I also advocate taking responsibility for our species’ actions and limiting number of offspring produced. I am not under any illusions that much will change.

Let me be clear: I am not proposing there is a solution. I am just trying to give an honest diagnosis of the real crisis.


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Invisibleredgreenvines
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26820125 - 07/12/20 08:42 PM (1 month, 2 days ago)

oddly I feel new york is not too crowded, while toronto is too crowded


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OfflineBuster_Brown
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: DividedQuantum] * 1
    #26820548 - 07/13/20 06:50 AM (1 month, 2 days ago)

From a perspective of mold on a banana peel I wouldn't concern myself about sustainabity, we can't have our cake and eat it too. 'Carrying capacity' is the real issue (imo)


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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: Buster_Brown]
    #26820689 - 07/13/20 09:09 AM (1 month, 1 day ago)

You make an excellent point. And we are engaged in a tremendous mockery of everything carrying capacity means. Now, when population grows and pushes up against available resources, a society must intensify its production. Examples of this would be planting crops, domesticating animals, instituting an irrigation system, etc. So history is really the story of a series of major intensifications of the mode of production over time.

Now, in about 1830, the industrial revolution represented the greatest intensification project in history. This came right on the heels of a huge population explosion. This was like pouring kerosene on a fire.

Once you get to the twentieth century, and eventually to factory farming, it's like setting off an atomic bomb. It's sort of like what caused the economic crash in 2008. Everything was leveraged to the hilt, and the bottom dropped out. Well, modern civilization has everything leveraged to the hilt.

The carrying capacity of this planet, with no intensification, is something like a few tens of millions, they know what it is but I forget. It has been flaunted and violated for about 8,000 years. So, with the leveraging I talked about, any one of a number of major crises could break things up. And of course we know of several of these crises throughout history.

If, say, the soils started to fail for some unimaginable ecological reason, factory farming would fail, and literally billions of people would die. Now, a failure of the soil would ruin any society, true. But we wouldn't be talking about billions.

So you are quite right, carrying capacity is a fundamental variable, and we're so far beyond it that if some domino falls somewhere, we could be cooked. A pandemic would look like a picnic.


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OfflineBuster_Brown
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26820748 - 07/13/20 09:51 AM (1 month, 1 day ago)

Quote:

DividedQuantum said:

So you are quite right, carrying capacity is a fundamental variable, and we're so far beyond it...




U.S wheat production presently supports two or three times the U.S population. As it stands practically no one is involved in subsidising their daily rations with home-grown nutrients (present company excepted), so I think there is plenty of room for expansion.


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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: Buster_Brown]
    #26820971 - 07/13/20 11:49 AM (1 month, 1 day ago)

You're right, with sufficiently powerful technology we can give ourselves extraordinary powers to coerce nature. I say coerce because we do not really control nature. Which leads me to my next point: what if some unforeseen depletion occurs for which our technological methods cannot provide a solution? It's happened many times in history, and has been one of the reasons civilizations collapse.

I know I'm saying "what if," and you're pointing out existing successes. My only real point with modern intensification is that it's definitely a house of cards, and subject to crises. We have not risen above the ecology of the planet, we have only, as I say, drastically leveraged it. So the notion of natural carrying capacity is not dead yet.


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OfflineBuster_Brown
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26821120 - 07/13/20 01:23 PM (1 month, 1 day ago)

Expanded horizons produced by technology may prove to be the means by which this mold escapes this husk of banana peel and moves on to another one. Indeed the spread of our spores across the rest of the fruits in the Universe insures survival when unforeseen catastrophes occur.


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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: Buster_Brown]
    #26821459 - 07/13/20 04:45 PM (1 month, 1 day ago)

That's true, presuming that's what should happen. But the situation on Earth right now is extraordinarily complex, and nothing is guaranteed.


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OfflineGandalfSon
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26827781 - 07/16/20 08:31 PM (29 days, 11 hours ago)

I guess an important distinction is optimal vs maximum in terms of population. It’s like the chicken factory farms sure you can raise thousands of hens on top of each other but they aren’t living “fulfilling” chicken lives.


We could probably pack many many times our current population onto this planet if we are seeking efficiency but that may not be healthy for the overall human experience.

This video discusses a cool experiment with rats that might be worth bringing into the discussion. [url=http://https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5m7X-1V9nOs]http://
/url]


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OfflineBuster_Brown
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: GandalfSon]
    #26828393 - 07/17/20 08:08 AM (28 days, 23 hours ago)

An optimal life/condition is chemically dependent, as any psychiatrist will tell you.


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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: GandalfSon]
    #26828506 - 07/17/20 09:15 AM (28 days, 22 hours ago)

Interesting video. It seems like a mouse Lord of the Flies. I would point out that, despite all the rigorous protocols, this experiment is essentially an unnatural situation for mice. Mice evolved to live in burrows in the wild, so trying to get optimal behavioral patterns out of them in a laboratory setting may, logically, be doomed to failure anyway.

In precisely the same vein, our overcrowded modern cities and slums are about as far from natural as humans can get from their evolutionary setting. So in either case, I don't think we can expect a pristine situation or outcome for either humans or mice.

Imo, even if we could support everyone lavishly (which we cannot), 8 billion just seems like too many of a particular breed. Everywhere you go on Earth it's crowded now. Too many of one species, whatever that species be, is too many. I believe I read that only 23% of the planet is now wilderness, and that includes the oceans.

And of course there are a slew of other reasons why the population explosion is causing a lot of crises. But if the mice have anything to say about it, not only are we a very long way from utopia -- even in the most perfect conditions, utopia isn't possible in principle.


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InvisibleTulipslave
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: Buster_Brown]
    #26829490 - 07/17/20 05:40 PM (28 days, 13 hours ago)

Quote:

Buster_Brown said:
From a perspective of mold on a banana peel I wouldn't concern myself about sustainabity, we can't have our cake and eat it too. 'Carrying capacity' is the real issue (imo)






i like this.  everything dies, depending on the scale of time


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Invisiblepineninja
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26829497 - 07/17/20 05:47 PM (28 days, 13 hours ago)

Personally I don't think the earth is over populated with humans.

As far as a biomass goes we are but a speck of an organism with ample resource to maintain a population far greater.

The answers lay not in how many of us there are but how with so few of us we can create such a disaster.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vox.com/platform/amp/science-and-health/2018/5/29/17386112/all-life-on-earth-chart-weight-plants-animals-pnas


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Edited by pineninja (07/17/20 05:50 PM)


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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: pineninja]
    #26829555 - 07/17/20 06:28 PM (28 days, 13 hours ago)

So your argument is that we can raise the standard of living for everyone and host ten billion people sustainably at an ample standard of living.

I respectfully do not believe this is possible, and if it is possible, when is it going to be done and how?


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Invisiblepineninja
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: DividedQuantum] * 1
    #26829586 - 07/17/20 06:46 PM (28 days, 12 hours ago)

Defenitly not everyone.. there would be a few who would have  less... but many many more who would have more.

I think overpopulation is a convenient strawman placed atop a very tall stick.
An unassailable problem and a convenient excuse.

It is the minority that creates the majority of waste.
There are many examples of sustainable living around the world though they generate little media with little to sell.

We have more than enough resources to have a common standard of living across the globe.
Inequality means the true middle is not realised.

You're right that with unchecked behaviours and an inevitable increase in population were likely screwed.
Though you do seem to be looking for solutions.
The population increase is likely unchangeable and a distraction if looking for change.
Maybe focusing on the most fluid part of the problem...our behaviours could be an option.


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Edited by pineninja (07/17/20 06:49 PM)


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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: pineninja] * 1
    #26829650 - 07/17/20 07:29 PM (28 days, 12 hours ago)

Well said.


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OfflineBuster_Brown
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26829798 - 07/17/20 09:21 PM (28 days, 10 hours ago)

I get uneasy when 'Standard of Living' is compared to quality; after all a short disease free existence of a gadfly can be thought to have greater purpose and meaning than all of civilization with it's social orders that depend on living wages for auto workers and dairymen so that the cream can enjoy cottage cheese while inventing new ways of enslavement.

In what way does 'standard of living' improve the life experience of a gypsy for example other than to enslave them to what can amount to a pyramid scheme?


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OfflineBuster_Brown
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: Buster_Brown]
    #26829822 - 07/17/20 09:41 PM (28 days, 9 hours ago)

I don't think Standard of Living is a fair criteria when comparing apples and oranges, if you see what I mean.


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InvisibleDividedQuantumM
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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: Buster_Brown]
    #26830316 - 07/18/20 08:08 AM (27 days, 23 hours ago)

I have no quarrel with that point. As you say, there is no social or economic law tying standard of living to happiness. I guess I could revise my statement to say that everyone should at least have access to clean drinking water, a balanced diet and sanitary conditions. According to a statistic I just looked up, about 780 million people don't have access to a clean water source, and 2.5 billion are victims of inadequate sanitation, both of which of course routinely lead to serious health problems and diseases. So to that extent, I feel a satisfactory basic standard of living must be necessary.

So I agree with you, with a qualifier. There is no one to one relationship between material "standard of living" and happiness and well-being. On the other hand, we can also use the term to apply to basic health and sanitation factors, and I think we can all agree that these are sorely lacking in many places in the world. So it's a complicated picture.


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Re: Does it make any sense to say that Earth is not overpopulated? [Re: DividedQuantum]
    #26830466 - 07/18/20 09:47 AM (27 days, 21 hours ago)

Objectively, 'Clean' and 'Adequate' can be subject to verification. Personally I prefer sponging off with vinegar rather than bathing with water. That this method has prevented malaise that 40 years of soap & water could not prevail against is a matter of personal referenc. Personal or subjective estimates are then commonly held to be objectively true. Apparently filtered water whatever it's source is clean.


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General Interest >> Philosophy, Sociology & Psychology

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