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Will man destroy himself?

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And? Other species give us constant reminders that conditions which allow their rapid growth in population eventually reach a tipping point and mass die offs follow.

I was not aware of other species who could develop technology to increase the carrying capacity of the planet.

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I was not aware of other species who could develop technology to increase the carrying capacity of the planet.

We can't increase the carrying capacity of the planet, we can only increase our capacity to use the finite resources it contains.

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We can't increase the carrying capacity of the planet, we can only increase our capacity to use the finite resources it contains.

Yes we can. 100 years ago there was no way to support 7 billion people with the technology available. Now it is possible thanks to a better understanding of biology.

More importantly:

It took 12 years to go from 5 billion to 6 billion.

It took 13 years to go from 6 billion to 7 billion.

That is the first sign that population growth is leveling off.

Eventually it will start to decline.

Edited by TimG

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Fears of Climate Change and Nuclear War are secular versions of the Rapture? I suppose.

Fear is a very effective tool for survival. Fat species get eaten.

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Yes we can. 100 years ago there was no way to support 7 billion people with the technology available. Now it is possible thanks to a better understanding of biology.

More importantly:

It took 12 years to go from 5 billion to 6 billion.

It took 13 years to go from 6 billion to 7 billion.

That is the first sign that population growth is leveling off.

Eventually it will start to decline.

Oh, there is no doubt it will start to decline, the question is how and why.

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Yes we can. 100 years ago there was no way to support 7 billion people with the technology available. Now it is possible thanks to a better understanding of biology.

Despite massive efficiency gains we are only able to support our current population with ever increasing resource use. The quality of our fields are being severely weakened through monoculture and the dumping of toxic sewage sludge. These fields are accumulating toxins and heavy metals, that at present we don't know how to feasibly remove. To achieve the yields we require on increasingly deteriorating lands we use an extreme amount of fertilizers and chemicals, which in turn are harming other beneficial species and our fresh water systems. Many of the fertilizers we rely on are also non-renewable mined resources.

So yes, we are feeding many of the people on the planet but only by increasing the use of non-renewables and hastening the decline of our land and water systems. That is a sign that we are currently over the sustainable carrying capacity.

The earth is currently like a car doing 140 km/h down the highway. It is already exceeding the limit and even though it could be pushed to 150 or 160 it would just further strain the engine and empty the tank even faster.

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It's interesting, in regards to population. It's the developing world that leads the population growth.

In the first world or developed world, population is actually declining.

So what do we do? Tell the Third World to stop reproducing?

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The quality of our fields are being severely weakened through monoculture and the dumping of toxic sewage sludge.

Evidence? Or is this simply an article of your faith? Everything I have read about Saskatchewan farming is that it is sustainable over the long run.

So yes, we are feeding many of the people on the planet but only by increasing the use of non-renewables and hastening the decline of our land and water systems. That is a sign that we are currently over the sustainable carrying capacity.

Pollution is a serious problem in places like China. If they fail to deal with the issues then they will face problems. But in the developed world these problems don't exist and a lot of the world's food comes from developed countries.

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Evidence? Or is this simply an article of your faith? Everything I have read about Saskatchewan farming is that it is sustainable over the long run.

Most aren't even aware of what happens to the immense quantities of toxic sludge produced by our waste systems. It has to go somewhere, but unfortunately we don't even know all of the chemicals, toxins and heavy metals that are in it...and what we do know about isn't good. Here is an article and a documentary if you're interested. Sewage Sludge as Fertilizer: Safe? Crapshoot: The Gamble With Our Wastes

Pollution is a serious problem in places like China. If they fail to deal with the issues then they will face problems. But in the developed world these problems don't exist and a lot of the world's food comes from developed countries.

Pollution is a serious problem in many places, but a more pressing issue is staggering rate of resource use required to meet our current level of agricultural output. We are accelerating down the highway on a tank that can't be refilled. The game has to be changed, quickly.

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So what do we do? Tell the Third World to stop reproducing?

Better to just wait until nature takes it course. Any suggestion we might make will seem self-serving, but yes the boat we're all in is way way to overloaded.

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Despite massive efficiency gains we are only able to support our current population with ever increasing resource use. The quality of our fields are being severely weakened through monoculture and the dumping of toxic sewage sludge. These fields are accumulating toxins and heavy metals, that at present we don't know how to feasibly remove. To achieve the yields we require on increasingly deteriorating lands we use an extreme amount of fertilizers and chemicals, which in turn are harming other beneficial species and our fresh water systems. Many of the fertilizers we rely on are also non-renewable mined resources.

So yes, we are feeding many of the people on the planet but only by increasing the use of non-renewables and hastening the decline of our land and water systems. That is a sign that we are currently over the sustainable carrying capacity.

The earth is currently like a car doing 140 km/h down the highway. It is already exceeding the limit and even though it could be pushed to 150 or 160 it would just further strain the engine and empty the tank even faster.

Crop outputs are rising - where is the evidence that: "The quality of our fields are being severely weakened through monoculture and the dumping of toxic sewage sludge. These fields are accumulating toxins and heavy metals"?

We are not running out of fertilizer: http://vaclavsmil.com/wp-content/uploads/Jeremy-Grantham-Starving-for-Facts-—-The-American-Magazine.pdf

We certainly are wasting too many resources, including food:

"Roughly one-third of the edible parts of food produced for human consumption, gets lost or wasted

globally, which is about 1.3 billion ton per year."

http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/suistainability/pdf/Global_Food_Losses_and_Food_Waste.pdf

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Crop outputs are rising - where is the evidence that: "The quality of our fields are being severely weakened through monoculture and the dumping of toxic sewage sludge. These fields are accumulating toxins and heavy metals"?

We are not running out of fertilizer: http://vaclavsmil.com/wp-content/uploads/Jeremy-Grantham-Starving-for-Facts-—-The-American-Magazine.pdf

I included two links in my response to TimG here. If you have time I recommend the National Film Board documentary. Here is another link about sludge use if you're interested. http://www.usludgefree.org/risk.html It's a serious problem that very few are aware of. Even those at the waste plants don't know exactly what is in the sludge being used as "fertilizer". We only know about the stuff we specifically test for and that list is already pretty scary. There are scads of chemicals and toxins we don't look for.

Crop outputs are rising but through increased resource use. Despite massive efficiency gains over the years we are not reducing our total resource use in agriculture. We are guzzling more water, oil, fertilizers and chemicals than ever before. This ties back into the study cited in the OP. Immense resource strain like we're seeing now is one of the factors used in predicting a societal collapse.

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Natural systems are cyclical and thus sustainable. Think about the water, carbon and nitrogen cycles as examples. Resources are continually recycled. Human processes tend to be linear. Raw materials are mined, processed, shaped, packaged, used and discarded. If we want to create a long term sustainable future for humans on earth, all of our production processes need to become cyclical. Plans for the reuse of each component and waste product involved during the entire life cycle of a product or system must be planned for during the design and approval phase.

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Natural systems are cyclical and thus sustainable. Think about the water, carbon and nitrogen cycles as examples. Resources are continually recycled. Human processes tend to be linear. Raw materials are mined, processed, shaped, packaged, used and discarded. If we want to create a long term sustainable future for humans on earth, all of our production processes need to become cyclical. Plans for the reuse of each component and waste product involved during the entire life cycle of a product or system must be planned for during the design and approval phase.

Are humans part of nature?

I mostly agree - forestry in NA and Europe is a good example of an industry becoming sustainable.

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Natural systems are cyclical and thus sustainable. Think about the water, carbon and nitrogen cycles as examples. Resources are continually recycled. Human processes tend to be linear. Raw materials are mined, processed, shaped, packaged, used and discarded. If we want to create a long term sustainable future for humans on earth, all of our production processes need to become cyclical. Plans for the reuse of each component and waste product involved during the entire life cycle of a product or system must be planned for during the design and approval phase.

Isn't that the point of recycling?

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Isn't that the point of recycling?

Sort of. We do recycle a tiny portion of our refuse with an after the fact attempt to reclaim some materials. I'm saying the entire life cycle of each component of a product or system should be planned for from the start.

Right now many of the containers and materials we put in our recycle bins cannot be adequately recycled because they contain a blend of materials that cannot be feasibly separated. Think of cardboard containers that also have plastic inserts, or multiple different plastics used within the same container.

Also think of our sewage system. One stream collects and mixes, human wastes, water run offs, gas, oil, chemicals, medications, detergents, salts, fertilizers, industrial wastes, paints, solvents, make ups, hygiene products, etc. that get sent down the various drains. To this we then waste fresh, clean water to wash it along. At the end of the line some places attempt to clean up this mess of blended substances while others simply pump it directly into rivers. Even when cleaned we are left with a sludge mixture of organic wastes that contain some useful nutrients, but also host of known and unknown chemicals and metals.

What if in both cases the system was build with the end in mind? Containers would not contain a mixture of materials. Only the most recyclable packages could be used. Packaging in general would be reduced to the bare requirements. Sewage wastes would have separate streams so that clean disposal is possible.

That same idea should used while planning the production of everything. Products need to be engineered so that the manufacturing waste products can be reclaimed and reused, even if by another process or industry.

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