virus: Hyperbolic Growth

Eric Hardison (
Thu, 23 Nov 1995 02:44:28 -0500

On 20 Nov 95 at 11:34, Tyson Vaughan wrote:

> While I do think that the easiest solution to the problem of human
> over-population would be to reduce the population, that is not realistic
> goal -- at least not in the near future (the next 50 years or so). It
> sounds like a good goal for the longer future, however.

Plans for population control need to be implemented as soon as possible.
Population decrease would work the same as increase. For the first few
decades it wouldn't be noticeable, but rather quickly after that, the
population would begin to shrink noticeabally. A delay of five years now,
with populations increasing out of control like they are, will make the
next thirty years hell on this planet. That is a crucial time where tons
of land and water now used by free life on this planet will be consumed
by human farmland, housing and most important factories.

A huge problem is China. With its population growing at 1.1 percent, by
the year 2030 China's population will have grown from 1.2 to 1.6 billion.
Currently the average chinese person consumes 300 kg of grain per year
(in the form of rice, wheat, corn, meat, egg and dairy products). As
China's citizens become more affluent because of its booming economy
(currently the fastest gorwing economy), conservative estimates increase
the average to that of Taiwan: 400 kilograms per capita per year. That's
about half of what the average American uses currently. But with a
population of 1.6 billion, that means china will consume 641 million tons
of grain per year by the year 2030.

Currently china can only produce 340 million tons of grain per year, and
with population increases farmland and irrigation water will be lost. By
2030, it is projected that China's capacity to grow grain will be
reduced by 20 percent from 340 to 272 million. That means china will have
to import 369 million tons of grain each year just to feed its people
half as well as the average american eats now. 369 million tons of grain
is nearly double the sum of all annual grain exports today. Keep in mind
that grain output is expected to decline, not increase, for countires due
to increased deamand for housing and water. That means the market price
of grain will rise do to scarcity. Poor countries will be denied and
famine will be common. That's just 34 years from now. Not 50. It's no
joke. It's real. We're talking world-wide starvation.

> The thing is that our ecological impact is a function of much more than
> mere population. If the "scale is tipped" in the favor of humans over
> the environment, then there is an implicit rivalry between the two. That
> is part of the problem: the nature of our relationship with nature. That
> is largely a memetic problem.

We're not different in our direct realtionship with the environment from
any other form of life. Indirectly, however, our ability to survive and
increase our population out of balance makes us a threat to the stability
of the environment. The system only has so much mass and energy to spread
around. We're taking up a larger and larger share, decreasing what's
available for other forms of life. Hence we have extinction of animals,
deforestation etc. If we could just learn how to stabilize our population
(first decreasing it of course), humans could enjoy a life of luxury on
this planet. The environment can easliy absorb the effects of man on a
small scale, but the current scale is destroying the world.

> WHether that can realistically be changed in 50 years is a good
> question, but we'll have a better chance of that than reducing the
> population through smaller families and fewer children.

I hate draconian measures like government regulated abortion, but choice
is there? China has the only feasible answer. Current resources make it
impossible to educate people around the world (largely illiterate
currently) to the level where they can understand the ramifications of
their actions. A path of education will never solve the problem in time.
The disaster will hit. I really hope that I'm rich when I'm in my
forties-fifties, cause food is going to be expensive, even for a vegan
like me.

> And yes, I DO think the next 50 years are critical.

Everything I know points to the next thirty years. Twenty-five to thirty
years from now is the crucial turing point when the earth no longer has
the ability to feed all of humanity. If we don't work quickly to start
reducing population, mass starvation will be unavoidable. Think of the
terrible measures that will have to be taken once the problem is upon us.
It makes wht needs to be done now seem trivial. Stop the problem before
it starts. It's a simple logic that our world leaders desperately need to
both understand and act upon.

| Oceania: A New Country In Development |
| |
Finger for my PGP Public Encryption Key