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Thread: Carrying Capacity Question

  1. #1 Carrying Capacity Question 
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    Would the issue of pandemics and global warming be related to earth's carrying capacity .. i dont think so since a pandemic isn't really a resource per say, but then again if earth's limit is reached then our ability to make medicines are hindered .. which COULD lead to a pandemic...
    With global warming (whether it's true or not is not part of the question) ... it might destroy earth resources but im not sure.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D. stander-j's Avatar
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    Maybe what I'm about to link you to doesn't really address your question.. But give it a gander all the same.

    The Sixth Extinction (ActionBioscience)

    To answer your question about pandemics, in my opinion it is possible for it to be related to the carrying capacity. If the Earth reaches, or exceeds, its capacity it would only be natural that attaining nourishment would become a problem. A lack of a healthy diet increases one's susceptibility to disease. Climate change? Well I don't know about that one, no comment.

    Note: I am engaging in hypotheticals: Whether or not it is POSSIBLE to link pandemics to carrying capacity.


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  4. #3  
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    Carrying capacity? All you have to do is look at the many instances of other animals overrunning the carrying capacity of their environment. And it doesn't have to be natural - look at mismanaged pastoral activity.

    Once you have overcrowding - in a technical rather than a comfort sense - there are all sorts of consequences. If we exclude running out of food, as happens on properties where too many animals have been grazed for too long, and also exclude expansion into another area or pollution of the environment in question as well as violence among themselves or predation by others, then animals will succumb to transmissible disease. Because they must. Some of them must die out and if starvation, relocation, poisoning by polluted water or violence or culling is out as a mechanism, then disease will do the job.

    For humans? Pandemics happen even when we're not overcrowded in any technical sense. Plagues and pestilence have been with us forever. Remember influenza in 1918-19 killed more people than the whole of WW1. Just because we've not had such a pandemic in the last few decades doesn't mean there won't be another one. The simple fact is, there will be one some time that we can't vaccinate against fast enough. Some form of influenza looks to be the likely candidate, but there's no guarantee of that. And because there are now so many of us, the numbers killed and injured will be much bigger than ever before.

    Just hope you're not the head honcho of a national or international disease control organisation when it hits. If you think the howls of outrage when planes couldn't fly around Europe because of the eruption of the how-do-you-spell-that volcano were a problem - think about being responsible for shutting down all international travel indefinitely or loong quarantine on arrival in most countries. Not a pretty scenario.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  5. #4  
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    Pandemics is a density-dependent factor so yes it is related to the carrying capacity. Global warming... maybe. You could probably look at it a couple of different ways. I think global warming is human caused and more people equates to more contribution to the problem which will eventually lead to slower growth rates.
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  6. #5  
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    What do you mean by carrying capacity? I think we're way past sustainble capacity already
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
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  7. #6  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    it's what happened on a smaller scale to the Navajo : population growth during the good times, becoming very inventive to maintain their lifestyle in an increasingly hostile environment, and then, when it all became too much, collapse of the population
    it's what happens when populations maintain their levels above the carrying capacity - it can be done for some time, but when the bad times return things fall apart

    and, as Lynx_Fox said, it's only technology that keeps us way above the carrying capacity of the earth for a large mammal of our size
    the question is for how much longer
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  8. #7  
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    Historicly the collapse of civilizations is usually due to the collapse of the agricutural bases. That is when it is not the result of direct military action.

    Mono croping is a frequent contributing cause. At least if a civilization is supported from several food sources of approximately equal importance then it is unlikely to face a food crisis. However if it is predominently dependent on a single food source then it is at risk. The higher the population the greater the tendencey to concentrate on the most efficient source of food production.
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