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Thread: Overpopulation is a myth

  1. #1 Overpopulation is a myth 
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    Overpopulation is a myth |


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    I see math but no science :-)


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  4. #3  
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    ANd a link with no comment is in VERY poor taste on a discussion forum.
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    The basic ideas behind that video are correct, but the actual numbers are out of date. Population growth rates are definitely falling, even while, in absolute numbers, the population continues to grow.

    The latest United Nations estimates are that fertility will reach 2.0 by 2050, which is less than replacement rate. But the population will keep climbing due to a slowing in death rate.

    By the years 2100, the population will have peaked at a level of 6 to 16 billion, but with a maximum probability of 10 billion. It should then be declining.
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    Besides being in poor style to just post a link though....the vid doesn't even address the issue of overpopulation because it just looks at the numbers and math of it. The idea of "overpopulation," it's assumptions and implications and differences of opinion about what it might mean are completely avoided.
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    I'm sorry for being lazy by only posting the link. I wasn't exactly sure at that time what to say about it, because I didn't know how reliable the video was.
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    Quote Originally Posted by redhaven View Post
    I'm sorry for being lazy by only posting the link. I wasn't exactly sure at that time what to say about it, because I didn't know how reliable the video was.
    As a thought for future occassions, you could have said. "I saw this video and thought it was interesting, but I'm not sure whether it is accurate or not. The basic argument is ..........<insert summary>...... What do you think? If you don't do that readers will think you wholly support the ideas in the video and are preaching rather than looking for a discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by redhaven View Post
    I so agree.

    We're just a chemical reaction limited by our envornment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ming View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by redhaven View Post
    I so agree.

    We're just a chemical reaction limited by our envornment.
    Really? So our emotions, hopes and dreams are nothing but chemical reactions and physics? I agree.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  11. #10  
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    Ok so

    1804 - 1 Billion

    1927 - 2 Billion

    1960 - 3 Billion

    I love how they say "that number had only grown by half" as if to make it sound like it was a smaller increase than previous years. Really what the numbers are saying is it took 123 years to go from 1 billion to 2 billion, and then only 33 years to go to 3 billion from there.

    1975 - 4 Billion

    2011 - 7 Billion Not quite a doubling.... yet. (36 years so far).

    Ok.... so really the population doubled between 1804 and 1927 (123 years) then doubled again between 1927 and 1975 (52 years), and if we add another billion in the next 15 years, it will have doubled again by 2026 (51 years).

    I'm just not seeing the video's point. Admittedly, 1 billion per 15 years, if it has been that consistent, represents a decrease in percentage growth over the course of the most recent doubling, but it still represents a dangerously large rate of growth. It's nice to know the numbers probably won't reach silly heights like 10 Trillion or something, at least.
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    Slavery is so crass. We should learn to control the crass.
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    Non sequiturs are so crass.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    If I have to make babies, I will go ballistic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ming View Post
    Slavery is so crass. We should learn to control the crass.
    The crass is always greener on the other side of offence.
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    I'm just not seeing the video's point. Admittedly, 1 billion per 15 years, if it has been that consistent, represents a decrease in percentage growth over the course of the most recent doubling, but it still represents a dangerously large rate of growth. It's nice to know the numbers probably won't reach silly heights like 10 Trillion or something, at least.
    The vid is ok making that point well enough. My big problem with it is it's failure to define what overpopulation means. If it means Earth's total ability to support humans assuming we continue to make technological agricultural advancements with without regard for the rest of the species on the planet the planet then human population will come FAR short of planet holding capacity. If, on the other hand, it's considered sustainable agriculture assuming few other agricultural improvements AND WITH regard to preserving biosphere diversity we passed holding capacity decades ago. The vids failure to even mention that, makes it and probably i's web-site a failure.
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    Irrelevent.

    That is an argument about what should happen, not what will happen.

    A good scientist works in the world of what is, not what some fantasy tells him/her it ought to be.

    What will be, is an increase in population till we reach about 10 billion, after which things will gradually reduce. No point wailing about how terrible that is. There is trivial to zero chance any of us can change that. Instead, as good scientists, with our feet rooted in reality, we should accept it and start to work on the consequences, and determine the best course of action to minimise the harm.
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    You are also avoiding the question what it means to be "overpopulated," unless you think the very term is useless. Do you?
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  19. #18  
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    The usefulness or otherwise of the term 'overpopulation' is moot.
    The point I am making is that the world will get to 10 billion, plus or minus a bit, by the year 2100 regardless. You can call that overpopulated, or call it calorificgranularium if you like. It will happen, and we will deal with it.
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    I'm so quick to dismiss the argument. We do have the ability to influence what we think will happen towards what we think should according to certain definitions of what overpopulation means. The UN estimates themselves contain use margins of error based on the combination of our ability to change things combined with uncertainty of disasters etc. You might not think so, but defining what overpopulation means is an important part of the discussion.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    I

    What will be, is an increase in population till we reach about 10 billion, after which things will gradually reduce.
    That is unless the increases themselves effect a change on the determining conditions those estimates are based on. Extremely impoverished countries tend to produce babies faster than wealthy ones, and overpopulation in general tends to cause poverty. On the other hand, widespread hunger or disease or poverty can also cause wars, which could go nuclear and reduce the population to zero.



    No point wailing about how terrible that is. There is trivial to zero chance any of us can change that. Instead, as good scientists, with our feet rooted in reality, we should accept it and start to work on the consequences, and determine the best course of action to minimise the harm.
    If you're so sure we can't change the projection of 10 billion...... what makes you so hopeful that we can do anything to minimize the harm?
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    We are already doing a hell of a lot to minimise harm.

    Some of that is in improving economies so that people can buy food and other things they need. For example : Bangla Desh has a rapid economic growth, of about 6% per year. Bangladesh GDP - real growth rate - Economy
    Ditto Indonesia, and many other previously impoverished nations. Continuing this process will make a more populated world into something with relatively high levels of human welfare.

    In the same way, much needs to be done, and has begun to be done, in relation to the natural environment. In most of the world, for example, reafforestation exceeds deforestation. This is particularly true for Europe, south Asia, and for China. More needs to be done, of course, with Indonesia and Brazil still killing too much forest, but we have made a good start. Many other initiatives to preserve the natural environment, too many to discuss, are under way all round the world.

    I accept that a lot more needs to be done, but we can do it, and we have begun to do it.
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    It's simple, really. We will run out of many vital resources. This will have two possible outcomes. The human race will go extinct, or the globalists will succeed in thinning the world's population to 15,000.
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    That is not going to happen, if we can continue to grow humanity's technology.

    Take minerals.
    We have, so far, barely scraped the surface of the world. Literally. Most mines are no more than 1 km deep. But the Earth's crust, under the continents, averages about 40 km thick. The total mass of untapped minerals outweighs what we have already taken by orders of magnitude. Every decade, our ability to extract from poorer ores and deeper ores increases.

    On top of that, we are developing better and better methods of recycling. The time will come, within decades, when robotic sorters will be able, with tiny lasers and spectroscopes, to sort valuable minerals from junk with great efficiency. The first such devices are already on the laboratory bench.

    There is absolutely no reason why the world cannot grow to the predicted 10 billion, followed by a slow decline, and maintain all those people with a high level of human welfare.
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    In the same way, much needs to be done, and has begun to be done, in relation to the natural environment. In most of the world, for example, reafforestation exceeds deforestation. This is particularly true for Europe, south Asia, and for China.
    Tree farms and seeded plantations are not forests.

    Most types of forest, once destroyed, take at least a couple of hundred years merely to regrow comparable trees.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Kojax

    We are already doing a hell of a lot to minimise harm.

    Some of that is in improving economies so that people can buy food and other things they need. For example : Bangla Desh has a rapid economic growth, of about 6% per year. Bangladesh GDP - real growth rate - Economy
    Ditto Indonesia, and many other previously impoverished nations. Continuing this process will make a more populated world into something with relatively high levels of human welfare.

    In the same way, much needs to be done, and has begun to be done, in relation to the natural environment. In most of the world, for example, reafforestation exceeds deforestation. This is particularly true for Europe, south Asia, and for China. More needs to be done, of course, with Indonesia and Brazil still killing too much forest, but we have made a good start. Many other initiatives to preserve the natural environment, too many to discuss, are under way all round the world.

    I accept that a lot more needs to be done, but we can do it, and we have begun to do it.
    Just think how much better it will be if we did both. Then a smaller number of people could share those extra forests.

    I like the idea of living in a world where cooperation isn't absolutely necessary all the time. It would shift our political position toward freedom and away from tyranny. Having uncultivated lands makes it so that people who don't like the existing order are free to just head out into the frontier and fend for themselves, unoppressed by the demands of society. It puts a check on rulers, who may soon find that they have nobody over whom to rule if they start acting like jerks.

    But, only underpopulated societies are capable of enjoying that kind of freedom.
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  27. #26  
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    How can this be accurate that from 1804 and 1927 that the population grew by one billion people when it wasn't until the 1918 flu epidemic that they decided to begin a census of the population?
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    There are many ways a reasonable accurate estimate can be made beyond formal censuses.
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    What is the optimal human population? What is the minimum necessary to maintain technological society? At what point do our numbers negativly impact our quality of life? My personal guess is between 1 and 3 billion is optimal.
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    If you're so sure we can't change the projection of 10 billion...... what makes you so hopeful that we can do anything to minimize the harm?
    Kojax, I am always giving you a hard time for talking bollocks - well not always, as it's so difficult to keep up. But here you have made a pertinent, elegant thrust that wholly undermines skeptic's argument. I love it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    What is the optimal human population? What is the minimum necessary to maintain technological society? At what point do our numbers negativly impact our quality of life? My personal guess is between 1 and 3 billion is optimal.
    Irrelevent.

    As good science people, we do not deal with the world of "what I think should be." Instead, we deal with the world as it is. the world as it is, is a world of growing population at a steadily decreasing rate, that will end with (maximum probability) about 10 billion people, after which the population will slowly decrease.

    Saying that 1 to 3 billion would be better is kinda pointless. That is not what you will deal with.

    On Kojax's question, and to John Galt.

    This is the same bullsh!t. It is not a case of being hopeful that we can minimise harm. It is a necessity. Again, get out of that fantasy world of what you think 'should be', and get into reality. What is. We must do what we must do. Get on with it, instead of talking crap about stuff we can do nothing about.
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    On Kojax's question, and to John Galt.

    This is the same bullsh!t. It is not a case of being hopeful that we can minimise harm. It is a necessity. Again, get out of that fantasy world of what you think 'should be', and get into reality. What is. We must do what we must do. Get on with it, instead of talking crap about stuff we can do nothing about.
    Your contention is that we can do nothing to halt the rise in population. That its rise and eventual plateau and subsequent fall are fixed in timing and magnitude. You appear to accept these projections. Please confirm.

    Assuming you do - and it would be strange if you did not, else why would you think them inevitable - here are some consequent points.

    We know why the population will level off and it is basically down to wealth and education and security.
    1. People have children later in life.
    2. People have fewer children.

    Paradoxically improving child mortality rates will reduce the birth rate. Educating people in birth control and providing the means to practice it will reduce the birth rate. Helping people to rise aoove susbsistence level will reduce the birth rate and delay births. The range of options open to us is huge. All these can be carried on at the same time as we seek to mitigate the effects of overpopulation.

    You have created a false dichotomy. This is not an either/or situation. So I have been getting on with it in a very small way, while you have been .... well, I don't know - and I wouldn't presume.
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    It is like trying to stop a tsunami.
    obviously, there are some things that work to some degree. The Fukushima plant would not have had a melt down if their sea walls were 12 metres high instead of the paltry few metres they were. So yes, it can be done. But no, it cannot be done easily.

    On population growth, the overall changes come from a major change in global society, not from some minor tweaks here and there. You can attempt to change things, and succeed in a small way. For example ; if the developed nations set up a big time, substantial aid effort to reduce population growth by dispensing free contraceptives, then we would end up with a peak population a little less than the 10 billion maximum probability estimate we have today. Don't forget that the UN estimates were 6 billion to 16 billion by 2100. However, the probabilities fall off drastically towards the extremes.

    So yes, things can be done. And no, it is very, very unlikely that the developed nations with the power to do those things ever will. After all, none of them even agree to leave coal in the ground to slow down global warming. So you can dream on about controlling overpopulation. Or you can be a realist.
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  34. #33  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sealeaf View Post
    What is the optimal human population? What is the minimum necessary to maintain technological society? At what point do our numbers negativly impact our quality of life? My personal guess is between 1 and 3 billion is optimal.
    Irrelevent.

    As good science people, we do not deal with the world of "what I think should be." Instead, we deal with the world as it is. the world as it is, is a world of growing population at a steadily decreasing rate, that will end with (maximum probability) about 10 billion people, after which the population will slowly decrease.

    Saying that 1 to 3 billion would be better is kinda pointless. That is not what you will deal with.
    It's good to know where you want to end up before you set course. In the long run, even if it were 200 years from now or later, getting the population down to 1-3 billion would give our distant descendants (assuming our 1 child each keeps having 1 child.... etc until then so we each have any descendants) would live in ideal economic conditions.

    A 200 year number like 8 billion might happen on its own, but that number isn't what we want.


    On Kojax's question, and to John Galt.

    This is the same bullsh!t. It is not a case of being hopeful that we can minimise harm. It is a necessity. Again, get out of that fantasy world of what you think 'should be', and get into reality. What is. We must do what we must do. Get on with it, instead of talking crap about stuff we can do nothing about.
    When a problem admits of two solutions, I see no good reason not to look into both of them. Unless there's some kind of huge tactical advantage to be gained by putting all of our eggs in one basket (sometimes there is.)

    However, I'm pessimistic about increasing the world's carrying capacity. I think people make a lot of very optimistic projections based on perfect levels of cooperation (above the levels I perceive to be possible in a world of individuals governed by free will.)




    So yes, things can be done. And no, it is very, very unlikely that the developed nations with the power to do those things ever will. After all, none of them even agree to leave coal in the ground to slow down global warming. So you can dream on about controlling overpopulation. Or you can be a realist.
    I don't think contraception initiatives suffer from the same profit impediment as stopping coal consumption does. With coal consumption, there's the problem that you've got all these big investors who've sunk billions of dollars into coal bearing real estate, and if we stopped consuming coal, those holdings would suddenly become worthless. The land owners get all fussy, and pay "experts" to cast doubt on all the renewable options.

    With contraception, nobody's really invested any money in population growth (at least I like to hope they haven't.) It's just a very personal issue, and people feel fidgety about telling people their (potential) children will be unwanted. China's done an amazing job of taking the first step. They just need to focus on giving their people an incentive to value female babies the same as male babies, and they'd be all set.

    From a physical standpoint, there's actually zero question of our ability to trim population. There is some question as to the physical ability to extend our biosphere.
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    Being a realist or you can dream on about controlling the population gives me the impression that you accept that our species is incapable of ever being responsible for the future health of this planet that sustains us. All of the environmental problems concerning global warming stems from our already over population of our species that needs that "coal in the ground" plus all of the needed land area that has and is replacing natural ecosystems with concrete buildings and the many necessities that people require to sustain their living standards.


    We can't possibly attempt to reduce our demands from the global environment that contributes to global environmental destruction without dealing with the main reason which is over population for its cause. I do not understand why anyone here thinks that if we get to 10 billion people that the planet would have no problem in allowing us the ability to feed all those people plus the needed land space for expansion without eliminating the rest of the species we share this planet with. There is a very good reason why so much biodiversity exists and is needed to maintain a stable global environment and by fooling ourselves that think we can expand our species at the expense of all the others, that we alone can maintain the stability of the planet's ability to sustain us is not realistic and is a pipe dream.
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    The chances that we can stop the planet getting to 10 billion people are remote. I have no objection to anyone trying to get contraceptive programs going where they are most needed. Current global fertility is about 2.5 children per woman, and dropping. However, there are still some nations where it is much higher.

    The highest fertility levels are all in countries with extreme poverty.
    Niger 7.5
    Uganda 6.6
    Mali 6.4
    Somalia 6.2
    Burundi 6

    If you can persuade your government to set up a contraceptive aid program for those countries, then you may do some good. I am a realist, though, and I know that politicians kowtow to religious idiots, who hate the idea of contraceptive aid. So please, try hard. Prove me wrong.

    As long as those countries have corrupt leadership and government, the people will live in poverty, and a side effect of that poverty will be babies popping out all over. No-one has managed to ever solve any such problem. It appears that only natural cultural evolution has a chance. Education helps. Access to the internet helps. But there is no easy solution.

    However, we can prepare for a future of 10 billion with proper science and technology. We need to develop a range of technologies, ranging from agriculture and water supply, to medicine, to energy, to communications and so on. Based on how the world has developed over the last 100 years, and assuming continuing development, then humanity can develop a new world in which population disaster is averted, and 10 billion can have some kind of reasonable life.
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    Based on how the world has developed over the last 100 years, and assuming continuing development
    Considering that we'll probably blow right past peak oil long before we hit 10 billion population, how are we going to feed any of the increased numbers, let alone the current population, with no oil-based fertilisers affordable for broadscale applications. I know perfectly well that I and other lucky suburbanites can manage our own soil fertility with worm farms and chooks. And I even have a bit of a hankering for one of those nifty self sustaining fish-vegetable-hydroponics outfits. These, alongside indoor mushroom farms, could probably be managed even in some communal apartment complexes.

    But for the great majority of the world's populations, this is unattainable. If we can't manage and increase soil fertility with something other than oil-based fertilisers, human fertility could become a sideshow.
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    Crop failures on a grand scale will occur in the coming years. Disruption of normal Seasonal patterns will account for this. When I was a child at Primary School one History lesson stuck in my vivid memory. It concerned Drought in Egypt in the Old Kingdom. Storehouses were built to store the surpluses of the good Seasons as against expected Famine. When the famine came the storehouses were under seige and there was a breakdown in society. Rolls Royce Seasonal conditions we will be OK, look out for the big Famine. westwind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    So yes, things can be done. And no, it is very, very unlikely that the developed nations with the power to do those things ever will. After all, none of them even agree to leave coal in the ground to slow down global warming. So you can dream on about controlling overpopulation. Or you can be a realist.
    Demonstrate with material from peer reviewed journals that attempting to control overpopulation while at the same time seeking to mitigate the effects of overpopulation is nothing more than a dream. When you fail to do so have the integrity to admit you are spouting an unsubstantiated opinion and are simply to weak willed to tackle all of the serious issues.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Based on how the world has developed over the last 100 years, and assuming continuing development
    Considering that we'll probably blow right past peak oil long before we hit 10 billion population, how are we going to feed any of the increased numbers, let alone the current population, with no oil-based fertilisers affordable for broadscale applications. I know perfectly well that I and other lucky suburbanites can manage our own soil fertility with worm farms and chooks. And I even have a bit of a hankering for one of those nifty self sustaining fish-vegetable-hydroponics outfits. These, alongside indoor mushroom farms, could probably be managed even in some communal apartment complexes.

    But for the great majority of the world's populations, this is unattainable. If we can't manage and increase soil fertility with something other than oil-based fertilisers, human fertility could become a sideshow.
    It will be those lucky individuals that have the means to sustain themselves but unleast you build a protective wall to protect yourself and your food so the masses of people that are hungry don't take everything from you, you would be still be struggling to survive like everyone else.
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    This one is true: the world is saved once during the "Green Revolution" in which nations across the world obtained a strain of rice that can yield twice in a year + the technology to support them... Food crops in which we have now (eg. rice, wheat, bananas) is a clones of a mix of species that has good taste and good yield & can withstand the known climate and is resistant to some diseases, but it is still under constant research for improvement by local official government bodies that has interest in food security of their region. -This shows how much we have relied on technology to survive, and we shouldn't forget this and we should always be careful...
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    a protective wall to protect yourself and your food
    The only effective way to do this would be to make it a cooperative effort. A suburban street, or collection of streets, and the extended families of those residents could disperse production, processing and storage of foods so that there is no single cache of hoarded produce to be protected. A bag of potatoes alongside a couple of dozen bottles of preserved fruit or tomatoes and a few pumpkins in each of 40 or 50 households is a lot safer than the whole lot in a single cellar or shed - no matter how good the locks are.

    If everyone has their own small patch or pots of herbs and greens, that's also hard to 'attack'. And easy for others to top up from their patch if one or two are lost to poachers. Let's face it, growing spinach, silverbeet and lettuces to the stage of picking small leaves for sandwiches or salads or stir-fries takes very little time or effort. If you got into the habit of picking every bite size leaf every couple of days, there wouldn't be anything to steal anyway.
    Last edited by adelady; March 29th, 2012 at 11:43 PM. Reason: typo
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Barbi

    The chances that we can stop the planet getting to 10 billion people are remote. I have no objection to anyone trying to get contraceptive programs going where they are most needed. Current global fertility is about 2.5 children per woman, and dropping. However, there are still some nations where it is much higher.

    The highest fertility levels are all in countries with extreme poverty.
    Niger 7.5
    Uganda 6.6
    Mali 6.4
    Somalia 6.2
    Burundi 6

    If you can persuade your government to set up a contraceptive aid program for those countries, then you may do some good. I am a realist, though, and I know that politicians kowtow to religious idiots, who hate the idea of contraceptive aid. So please, try hard. Prove me wrong.

    As long as those countries have corrupt leadership and government, the people will live in poverty, and a side effect of that poverty will be babies popping out all over. No-one has managed to ever solve any such problem. It appears that only natural cultural evolution has a chance. Education helps. Access to the internet helps. But there is no easy solution.

    However, we can prepare for a future of 10 billion with proper science and technology. We need to develop a range of technologies, ranging from agriculture and water supply, to medicine, to energy, to communications and so on. Based on how the world has developed over the last 100 years, and assuming continuing development, then humanity can develop a new world in which population disaster is averted, and 10 billion can have some kind of reasonable life.

    The technology we have now is not capable of doing precisely as it is done in nature and I seriously doubt it can ever achieve the same exact process with an outcome that could possibly feed 10 billion people with the necessary nutrients needed for development and proper growth. Our technology right now in agriculture is giving us less in nutritional concentration in our produce to yield more produce to feed more people at the cost of each individual getting less then 1/2 its nutrient content.

    We are the first species that has the ability to control their birthrates with various birthcontrol methods. We have no excuse as a species to justify allowing our numbers to grow to a point that disrupts the planet's ability to sustain stability for all that depend on it for survival. What a disgrace to boast of our high intelligence, have the ability to control our reproductive system but end up going extinct because we refused to take responsibility and allowed our species to grow so big then we wiped ourselves out.
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    The reason why no political system globally will focus on the root cause of all our environmental problems which is our refusal to accept that we must reduce the populations globally if we wish to sustain the longevity of our species is due to fear of retaliation from the masses that don't get we cannot keep on exhausting and pushing the limits of global resources. Attempted to enforce control on reproduction has never been experienced in the history of this planet for any species until humans.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    Attempted to enforce control on reproduction has never been experienced in the history of this planet for any species until humans.
    Do you mean application of self control, or application of external control. The former is certainly to be found and I would not be surprised if there were examples of the latter.
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    Wow!

    I go away for a few hours, and the thread is inundated with catastrophism.

    On population. What most of you seem to have overlooked, is that we are already very successfully bringing this under control. Fifty years ago, average fertility was 5.5 as a global average. Today it is 2.5. By 2050 it will be 2.0 which is less than replacement. Yet there are a mass of posters screaming for population control. News for you guys. We already got it, and it is most successful. It is just a total lack of patience and a total lack of ability to accept reality that keeps people screaming - "overpopulation, overpopulation!"

    The population explosion is now in the past. The present day situation is barely above replacement value. The only reason the population keeps growing is due to the fact that people are living a lot longer, which to me is a very good thing. People now have time to make a good life for themselves, instead of half dying in their first year, and most of the rest not making 30.

    On food.
    The most efficient food making process is hydroponics. Using this method, it is possible to feed the average adult on 100 square metres of cultivation. Hydroponics does not need arable land. It can be set up anywhere you can pump water to. You could probably feed 100 billion people, let alone 10 billion, and not fill all available potential farm land.

    Even without hydroponics, feeding 10 billion is eminently do-able. Africa is the main area of need. We already know that the average African farm, with better techniques, can at least triple food output.

    Energy.
    Certainly peak oil is just around the corner. Various countries are already instigating cheap and dirty alternatives, including diesel from coal, shale oil, natural gas etc. This means that the real crunch will not hit for, probably, at least 50 years. In the mean time researchers are working on oil from growing algae, synthetic fuel, fuel from waste biomass, and a raft of other technologies.

    Nuclear energy, properly used, can supply abundant energy for a long time to come. Both China and India have plants developing thorium as a nuclear fuel. If our need for electricity increased ten fold, there would still be enough easily mined thorium for 1,000 years. By then, I rather suspect we would be able to use deuterium from the oceans for nuclear fusion power. There is enough of that for at least 100 million years.

    Face it, guys.
    A pessimistic outlook for the future of humanity is mostly just the current fashion. Within a decade or three, when the real developments hit home, the opposite will become the fashion. Debaters then will be talking of the marvellous future ahead for humanity.
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    Do you mean application of self control, or application of external control. The former is certainly to be found and I would not be surprised if there were examples of the latter.
    There can certainly be cultural controls. Ireland had a stable population for quite a long time. The central reason being land/farm ownership. A man couldn't or wouldn't marry until he had the means of supporting a family. That generally meant waiting until his father died or retired and he could take over. (Or he'd find a way to save up and buy land of his own - took just as long.) So most couple were in their late twenties or more likely their 30s before they married. Cut down the number of children (and generations) considerably.

    Might I point to my very large hobby horse over there. If everyone had exactly the same number of children as they now do, but did it at 10 (or 15) years average age later than currently, there would be a huge impact on population. Simply by reducing the number of generations alive at one time, rather than the number of children born. And the impact would be greatest in the countries which are currently the poorest. If teenagers were getting educated and helping their families and communities rather than marrying and producing children, not just the teenagers would benefit. The whole community would be better off, both in health and in wealth.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    In the future earth will be populated by old people who are struggling to stay alive, because as the time passes more and more people around the world can not reproduce...
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    Quote Originally Posted by risto View Post
    In the future earth will be populated by old people who are struggling to stay alive, because as the time passes more and more people around the world can not reproduce...
    Do you have a reference for that?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by risto View Post
    In the future earth will be populated by old people who are struggling to stay alive, because as the time passes more and more people around the world can not reproduce...
    LOL... this is a movie, not reality. Its a movie called "Children Of Men". Its quite an amazing movie because it has the longest continuous shot (no camera cut) that I've ever seen... giving it a superb realism.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Face it, guys.
    A pessimistic outlook for the future of humanity is mostly just the current fashion. Within a decade or three, when the real developments hit home, the opposite will become the fashion. Debaters then will be talking of the marvellous future ahead for humanity.
    Pessimism is actually a logical point-of-view... its right to have this view because catastrophism is a stuff that will happen if the world never changes, but positivism actually happen because some miracles happen once a while and make pessimist look idiot for not seeing its coming (which is no doubt a good news!).

    Take this for example: how do desert bloom with food? Nasa sees fields of green spring up in Saudi Arabia Did you ever expect people found 50 years worth of water in the desert like they found oil? (isn't that funny?! hahaha)

    Nuclear energy, properly used, can supply abundant energy for a long time to come. Both China and India have plants developing thorium as a nuclear fuel. If our need for electricity increased ten fold, there would still be enough easily mined thorium for 1,000 years. By then, I rather suspect we would be able to use deuterium from the oceans for nuclear fusion power. There is enough of that for at least 100 million years.
    We could invest in something else: like solar panel or geothermal...? Nuclear energy seems too scary/uncontrollable when accident happens. For example: did you know that when Fukushima failed the contaiment team never had any plan that work? leakage here, explosion there, and finally they have to dump 1 million litre of radioactive sea water back to sea because there's no where to put them (source: Fukushima 1 year later, NatGeo), and the Chernobly's contaiment sarcophagus aren't even finished yet (whose going to finish them? when?)...
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Wow!

    I go away for a few hours, and the thread is inundated with catastrophism.

    On population. What most of you seem to have overlooked, is that we are already very successfully bringing this under control. Fifty years ago, average fertility was 5.5 as a global average. Today it is 2.5. By 2050 it will be 2.0 which is less than replacement. Yet there are a mass of posters screaming for population control. News for you guys. We already got it, and it is most successful. It is just a total lack of patience and a total lack of ability to accept reality that keeps people screaming - "overpopulation, overpopulation!"

    The population explosion is now in the past. The present day situation is barely above replacement value. The only reason the population keeps growing is due to the fact that people are living a lot longer, which to me is a very good thing. People now have time to make a good life for themselves, instead of half dying in their first year, and most of the rest not making 30.

    On food.
    The most efficient food making process is hydroponics. Using this method, it is possible to feed the average adult on 100 square metres of cultivation. Hydroponics does not need arable land. It can be set up anywhere you can pump water to. You could probably feed 100 billion people, let alone 10 billion, and not fill all available potential farm land.

    Even without hydroponics, feeding 10 billion is eminently do-able. Africa is the main area of need. We already know that the average African farm, with better techniques, can at least triple food output.

    Energy.
    Certainly peak oil is just around the corner. Various countries are already instigating cheap and dirty alternatives, including diesel from coal, shale oil, natural gas etc. This means that the real crunch will not hit for, probably, at least 50 years. In the mean time researchers are working on oil from growing algae, synthetic fuel, fuel from waste biomass, and a raft of other technologies.

    Nuclear energy, properly used, can supply abundant energy for a long time to come. Both China and India have plants developing thorium as a nuclear fuel. If our need for electricity increased ten fold, there would still be enough easily mined thorium for 1,000 years. By then, I rather suspect we would be able to use deuterium from the oceans for nuclear fusion power. There is enough of that for at least 100 million years.

    Face it, guys.
    A pessimistic outlook for the future of humanity is mostly just the current fashion. Within a decade or three, when the real developments hit home, the opposite will become the fashion. Debaters then will be talking of the marvellous future ahead for humanity.
    How is living longer a benefit to society when the workforce makes it extremely difficult to want to hire someone over 50 years old? Modern medicine has allowed to extend their lives but it can't restore the energy and endurance that you had in youth to be able keep up with the demands of a workforce that is designed for younger people. Now, we are heading into a situation of reduced percentage of able bodied individuals with a larger percentage of older individuals that becomes a liability to society.

    The educated now have less children while the uneducated are having more children that grow up and repeat the cycle that put a tremendous burden on society that ends up supporting them. Population control is definitely needed for our uneducated population who are smart enough to realize having more children means more government aid to them. Continuing with this failed system is creating an unbalance in a society that requires a large percentage of individuals contributing by working and being productive in society.


    There is a very good reason why in the natural environment, the majority of individuals in a species group do not survive to old age, The combined energy of a younger stronger population is necessary for the species to survive for a long duration of time for their existence. It also reduces the number of individuals that can't or won't contribute in their daily work activities that is necessary towards keeping our environment in a stable condition.

    Our advanced technology has made life easier for us but at a cost, it no longer requires a large pool of individuals to generate production. Our advancements in medicine with antibiotics has allowed the majority of our offspring to survive to adulthood and is largely responsible for extended our lifespan into old age long after we are no longer able to contribute to society by working. How can our species remain stable for the long endurance of time if our advancements in technology have not allowed our gene pool to be weeded out of bad mutations in individuals that should have died before they could reproduce another weakened generation of individuals?

    My point is our technology has reduced the need for a larger population of working individuals but didn't take into account the increasing numbers that no longer can find work to be productive that is necessary for our species to survive in the long term. We are enabling the poor to take no responsibility for their productive rates and are in an environment that makes it difficult to ever become a productive valuable member in society. All of our advancements without paying attention to the vitality of our gene pool will produce catastrophic consequences in our future.
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    Barbi

    Your arguments are a perfect example of what I call "fashionably pessimistic." There is a kind of box, inside which all fashionable ideas about the human future are carefully placed. Fashionable non thinkers regurgitate those ideas on demand.

    The challenge is to let your thinking process slip outside the suffocatingly restrictive boundaries of that box. It is not hard. Look at the long term trends and project them forward.

    For example : you talk of old people becoming a burden on society. What is the reality? What is really happening? The data is there. Lifespan is increasing, but in parallel with that trend, so is health in old age. Older people are stronger, fitter, and more competent than ever in the past. Of course, there are exceptions - people who become useless lumps after age 60, but they are a minority, and there are useless lumps also after age 20. Where once your average older person could no longer maintain a day's work after 65, they now perform superbly after age 70. I know a guy who is running a company at age 81. And he is really, really good at it!

    I am 63, and I am fit and healthy. I have no doubt that I could keep working very effectively for another 10 years at least. Old age for me is a substantial benefit. I can continue to live a life of great satisfaction. Humans are pretty much unique, in that the majority of us are able to keep our brains working into quite a great age.

    Nor do we any longer need what you call 'the combined energy of the young.' What drives society today is brain power, not muscle power. And the brain power of the elderly is a massive asset. Often the older people, with their accumulated experience, are far more useful than the brash and reckless miscalculations of the young.

    So my advice is to get your thoughts out of that "fashionably pessimistic" box that limits your perceptions, and think outside of it. The world is changing. It is changing fast. New Scientist magazine claims that the sum total of human knowledge will double in the next 40 years. Capability depends on knowledge, and that will also double. We are going to be able to do amazing things within 40 years. If you do not take that into account in your 'predictions', you can only fall into error.
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    How is living longer a benefit to society when the workforce makes it extremely difficult to want to hire someone over 50 years old?
    And 40 years ago, women who married were 'sacked' and taken on again, if at all, as temporary workers. Things change. It may take a while, but they do.

    But it's always been a bit of a myth about older people 'not working'. My grandfather retired as an army officer at the compulsory age of 55. Got a civilian job until compulsory usual retiring age of 65. Then worked, full-time, another 10 years - and lost that job only when it finally dawned on someone that he was 75. Then lived until he was 93 - supplying half the neighbourhood with pumpkins and cabbages for several of those years. And many of the women in that neighbourhood who were 'out of the workforce' both before and after the official retiring age put in a couple of days a week or near enough to full-time on voluntary work. My husband's father was still getting work as a mine manager when he was over 70.

    And now? My husband will be 70 this year. The only reason he's not working as a teacher is that he's fully occupied working at learning. His original science degree was in chemistry (obtained in the 60s just before he started work as a teacher for the first time) but he's now indulging his long held desire to do physics - and the associated maths. He's a bit fed up with classrooms so he'll probably just work afterwards as a tutor - maybe till he's 80 or 85. Maybe till he dies with his boots still on. In my mother's retirement community mostly people in their 80s, there are plenty of people who get up early every day. Some get in a round of golf before doing other things. Others need to get to the kitchens of the local volunteer organisation to work at Meals on Wheels.

    It's sensible to have retirement options for people in demanding physical occupations. Shearing, carpet laying, soldiering are really a young man's game and there are other demanding occupations, police, nursing and teaching would be prime candidates here.

    Workforce participation will just become more flexible - unless the attitude continues that over 50 means over the hill. Though there's always the card I got for my 40th birthday. It read "Over the hill ...... and picking up speed". Seeing as I had a preschool child, another in junior primary, a full-time job and a senior union role at the time, it was appropriate.
    Last edited by adelady; March 30th, 2012 at 05:52 PM. Reason: grammar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    We could invest in something else: like solar panel or geothermal...? Nuclear energy seems too scary/uncontrollable when accident happens
    There is a basic principle in science and engineering that should be tattooed across the forebrain of everyone. Before you make any decision, get the numbers.

    On nuclear power, I see people telling me how dangerous it is with no data to back them up. Get the bloody numbers!!

    The relevant numbers in this case are the number of people who have or will be killed by nuclear power, relative to other sources of electricity generation. We do not always know exactly, but usually some kind of reasonable estimate is made available by genuine experts.

    The world's top experts on nuclear power are probably the people in the International Atomic Energy Agency. A couple decades after Chernobyl, they set up a detailed computer model to give them the best possible estimate of how many people died, or will die as a result of that accident, including all long term cancers etc. Their estimate was 4,000. Now, this may not be exactly accurate, but it will be as close as we can come to it. It is also very close to the total number of people world wide who have died or will die as a result of nuclear power problems up to the present, including Fukushima.


    So, how does that compare?
    Well, hydroelectricity kills large numbers through the failure of dams. The Banqiao Dam disaster in the 1970's killed 200,000 people in China. That was the worst, but there have been other disasters with dams and the total is at least 500,000 deaths.

    Burning coal kills vast numbers of people through the air pollution generated. Only estimates are available, but it would appear that at least a million people per year die from this source.

    You may say that wind power is safer. Sorry, not true. The thing about wind power is that, to get any appreciable output, literally tens of thousands of wind turbines on towers are needed. In the construction and maintenance of those towers, numerous people have died in industrial accidents. If these deaths are listed in relation to amount of electricity generated, wind power kills a lot more people per terawatt year of power compare to nuclear.

    What about solar power?
    The irony here is that ladder accident make this one of the worst. People decide to install solar cells on their house roofs, and the 'do it yourselfers' have accidents, falling off ladders and killing themselves. While total numbers of fatalities are not that high (yet), when this is converted to fatalities per terawatt year of power generated, because so little power is generated this way, the numbers are horrendous.

    To the best of my knowledge, the only form of generation of electricity that is safer than nuclear, in terms of fatalities per terawatt year, is burning natural gas. And that is not good in terms of global warming.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    We could invest in something else: like solar panel or geothermal...? Nuclear energy seems too scary/uncontrollable when accident happens
    There is a basic principle in science and engineering that should be tattooed across the forebrain of everyone. Before you make any decision, get the numbers.

    On nuclear power, I see people telling me how dangerous it is with no data to back them up. Get the bloody numbers!!

    The relevant numbers in this case are the number of people who have or will be killed by nuclear power, relative to other sources of electricity generation. We do not always know exactly, but usually some kind of reasonable estimate is made available by genuine experts.

    The world's top experts on nuclear power are probably the people in the International Atomic Energy Agency. A couple decades after Chernobyl, they set up a detailed computer model to give them the best possible estimate of how many people died, or will die as a result of that accident, including all long term cancers etc. Their estimate was 4,000. Now, this may not be exactly accurate, but it will be as close as we can come to it. It is also very close to the total number of people world wide who have died or will die as a result of nuclear power problems up to the present, including Fukushima.


    So, how does that compare?
    Well, hydroelectricity kills large numbers through the failure of dams. The Banqiao Dam disaster in the 1970's killed 200,000 people in China. That was the worst, but there have been other disasters with dams and the total is at least 500,000 deaths.

    Burning coal kills vast numbers of people through the air pollution generated. Only estimates are available, but it would appear that at least a million people per year die from this source.

    You may say that wind power is safer. Sorry, not true. The thing about wind power is that, to get any appreciable output, literally tens of thousands of wind turbines on towers are needed. In the construction and maintenance of those towers, numerous people have died in industrial accidents. If these deaths are listed in relation to amount of electricity generated, wind power kills a lot more people per terawatt year of power compare to nuclear.

    What about solar power?
    The irony here is that ladder accident make this one of the worst. People decide to install solar cells on their house roofs, and the 'do it yourselfers' have accidents, falling off ladders and killing themselves. While total numbers of fatalities are not that high (yet), when this is converted to fatalities per terawatt year of power generated, because so little power is generated this way, the numbers are horrendous.

    To the best of my knowledge, the only form of generation of electricity that is safer than nuclear, in terms of fatalities per terawatt year, is burning natural gas. And that is not good in terms of global warming.
    Skeptic,
    You say get the bloody numbers??? Those numbers you mentioned above could not be in the United States regarding coal producing air pollutants that kill a million per year. Our healthcare system uses diagnostic codes for everything a person is diagnosed with and no where is there a diagnostic code for deaths due to coal polution. We use over 50% of coal to light our homes, etc so if they did blame all respiratory diseases to this specific pollutant, it would create endless lawsuits. So whoever comes up with these numbers you mentioned above, I would really like to know how this information was obtained from all the diagnostic codes that are submitted on our population.
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    Barbi

    As I said, the coal problem is an estimate only, and it is for the world as a whole. It is impossible to ascribe a single fatality to coal smoke, which makes the lawsuit situation moot. Estimates for the number of people killed by coal smoke each year vary enormously, and I have seen suggestions of 10 million per year, globally. Take that as you will.

    The other problem is that coal smoke is unlikely to be the sole agent of a fatality. It is more likely to push a respiratory illness to the point of fatality, rather than being the sole cause of the respiratory illness.

    You can argue these numbers all you like. You might even be correct. As I said, estimates only, and the estimates vary. The coal smoke deaths are also more likely to happen in countries where coal smoke stacks lack scrubbers and precipitators.

    The point I was making is that coal burning power stations kill a hell of a lot more people than nuclear power does. That remains true.
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    Every world problem can be attributed to overpopulation. Give me any problem and I will trace it back directly to overpopulation.
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    Here are several

    Malaria.
    Schistosomiasis
    Sleeping sickness
    Cancer
    Smallpox (whoops - no longer exists - went extinct before overpopulation got started)
    Tuberculosis
    etc.

    Since all these existed way before the population reached any overpopulated level, I think you might be hard pressed to blame them on overpopulation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    puoko

    Here are several

    Malaria.
    Schistosomiasis
    Sleeping sickness
    Cancer
    Smallpox (whoops - no longer exists - went extinct before overpopulation got started)
    Tuberculosis
    etc.

    Since all these existed way before the population reached any overpopulated level, I think you might be hard pressed to blame them on overpopulation.
    Those are all diseases. Why are you sticking to such a small selection of topics? But I shall answer - cancer is a problem because there is overpopulation. Too many people to cure or treat. If there was less people, they would get better treatment for all those things you listed. Hence I stand by my claim that any world problem is a result of overpopulation.
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    I hope you are smart enough to see that argument is stretching credulity way beyond snapping point. Overpopulation has nothing to do with how well people get treated. In fact, more people mean more doctors and more resources for treatment.


    Try again.
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    As I said, the coal problem is an estimate only, and it is for the world as a whole.
    One number you didn't quote for coal is the number directly attributable to mining the filthy stuff. The accumulated death toll there from lung disease, underground accidents and from mine collapses / explosions is horrible.

    The other number is illness, maiming and death from construction of coal, nuclear and hydro plants. These numbers are not so significant now in advanced economies with sensible health and safety regimes. Unfortunately the same can't be said for the rest of the world - fatalities and permanent disability injuries in such construction are at least as common there as they used to be 40 or 50+ years ago for us fortunate ones. This is only relevant because you raise the issue of wind tower construction and solar PV installation. To me, that means that other construction deaths and injuries must be taken into account.
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    Good points adelady.

    The reason wind power has a much higher construction death toll is simply because so many have to be erected. A single nuclear power plant can generate 10 GW. it takes about 30,000 wind turbines to produce as much electricity. This means a lot more opportunity for death from industrial accidents during construction, and this is most definitely the case.
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    This is the reality:
    if you want to sustain more growth/more population, then you need to supply more energy & supply more resource, causing us to do more mining & create more consumption... and this will inevitable cost the environment and strain the existing system (there's no way around this). If you're advocating uncontrolled-population-growth then you must accept such compromise (which is bad position IMO). -You better accept a controlled growth...

    Solar vs Nuclear:
    With extra cost you can buy extra security... What I mean is: with solar you don't carry the catastrophic fear far into the future. The extra money you paid for solar is not for nothing, it bought you security.
    Last edited by msafwan; March 31st, 2012 at 02:53 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Solar vs Nuclear:
    With extra cost you can buy extra security... What I mean is: with solar you don't carry the catastrophic fear far into the future. The extra money you paid for solar is not for nothing, it bought you security.
    You need to be more specific.
    This is a science forum. It demands real arguments, not vague intimations of paranoia.
    "catastrophic fear into the future". What does that mean? I suspect, very little.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Barbi

    The chances that we can stop the planet getting to 10 billion people are remote. I have no objection to anyone trying to get contraceptive programs going where they are most needed. Current global fertility is about 2.5 children per woman, and dropping. However, there are still some nations where it is much higher.
    I can see the problem being that, in order to prevent the 10 billion number we'd have to do something fast, and as our economies continue to crumble under the strain of so many people, our power to slow the growth rate also diminishes.

    We could afford to give all these countries contraceptives a lot better 15 years ago than we can now.


    The highest fertility levels are all in countries with extreme poverty.
    Niger 7.5
    Uganda 6.6
    Mali 6.4
    Somalia 6.2
    Burundi 6

    If you can persuade your government to set up a contraceptive aid program for those countries, then you may do some good. I am a realist, though, and I know that politicians kowtow to religious idiots, who hate the idea of contraceptive aid. So please, try hard. Prove me wrong.
    An alternative is to just put up a sort of protective wall around these countries (regular border patrols by UN peacekeepers or some such), and then stop interfering in their genocides. No economic aid, just leave them to themselves like a micro-planet. The outcome would be cruel, but not undeserved.

    Our problem right now is that morally we view reproduction as an absolute right. We need to adjust our morality, so that reproduction up to 2 children is an absolute right, 3 a privilege, and 4 a crime against humanity. Then add those countries who's citizens don't comply into the "axis of evil". Of course that's going to be very difficult since it would require someone to convince our religious leaders to do a 180 on their current stance about all that.



    As long as those countries have corrupt leadership and government, the people will live in poverty, and a side effect of that poverty will be babies popping out all over. No-one has managed to ever solve any such problem. It appears that only natural cultural evolution has a chance. Education helps. Access to the internet helps. But there is no easy solution.
    In fairness, nobody has ever previously been confronted by such a problem either. In the old days, you simply armed up your young men and threw them at your neighbor if they got to be too many to feed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    The outcome would be cruel, but not undeserved.
    I have to argue with that. The ordinary people from those countries are the ones who would suffer, and they are the ones who have done nothing to deserve it. Those countries are wracked with poverty due to corrupt governments. To turn them around requires good government. Not cruelty.
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    We need to adjust our morality, so that reproduction up to 2 children is an absolute right, 3 a privilege, and 4 a crime against humanity. Then add those countries who's citizens don't comply into the "axis of evil". Of course that's going to be very difficult since it would require someone to convince our religious leaders to do a 180 on their current stance about all that.
    This is just silly. And it's also morally warped. If you want a moral or rights based approach, you first think of what positive moral values you want to encourage in others and display in yourself. Then you work out what that overriding morality requires in terms of limitations and restrictions.

    So, to get started. 1) Everyone is equal. What you notice here is that countries with poor fertility rates violate this principle root and branch. The status of women is awful. The disparities in wealth, health and income are just as bad. Education is inadequate where it's delivered at all.

    At this point you realise that your first target is education. Specifically and explicitly of women and girls, but also about the usefulness of such education to communities as a whole. Right up front, people who can read are in a better position to deal with health information. If you can get the adult women onside first, education programs that include explicit advice about deferring marriage and childbearing until girls are physically mature are very appealing to boys as much as girls. Just think how you'd feel if you were 14 years old and knowing that you were expected to marry and support a family by the time you were eighteen - it's not only the girls who suffer bad effects from such social arrangements.

    Focusing on essentials like this in a positive way is more moral on the part of the instigators and the delivery of such programs. Trying the sort of scheme you're advancing would have even the most avid proponents of population reduction up in arms. I'd certainly be openly and actively against it.

    And we don't just value women. We also value children. Rather than saying the world would be a better place if you'd never been born, it's morally justifiable to say that you, your family and the whole of your community and the world at large would be better off if you'd just been born 10 (or more) years later. And when we look at the cascading effects of early marriage and child-bearing, you can see that hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people alive today would not have been born yet if their great-great-grandmothers, and every woman in the 4 following generations, had not had their first child until they were, say, 25+ years old. Even if they'd all had exactly the same number of children as they actually did. And then look at the population effect if you have the same later marriage, later child-bearing approach for the next 4 generations. We wouldn't be talking about children being born 10 years later than they were, we'd be talking 30-60 years later. And during all that time, even with longer life expectancy, there'd be far less overlap of generations. There would be no, nil, zilch, 5 generation families, and many fewer 4 generation families. That has a huge effect on aggregate population numbers.
    Last edited by adelady; March 31st, 2012 at 07:01 PM. Reason: typos
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    I agree with Adelady, but for a slightly different reason (her reasoning is good, though).

    We do not need to implement harsh rules. Fertility is dropping. Currently 2.5, which is barely replacement rate, and will drop to 2.0 by 2050, which is less than replacement rate. Why are so many people so keen on the idea of setting up systems that would put a smile of Josef Stalin's face, when the trend is already directly towards the desired outcome?

    Not only are harsh and cruel laws wrong, they are unnecessary.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    I agree with Adelady, but for a slightly different reason (her reasoning is good, though).

    We do not need to implement harsh rules. Fertility is dropping. Currently 2.5, which is barely replacement rate, and will drop to 2.0 by 2050, which is less than replacement rate. Why are so many people so keen on the idea of setting up systems that would put a smile of Josef Stalin's face, when the trend is already directly towards the desired outcome?

    Not only are harsh and cruel laws wrong, they are unnecessary.
    According to Wiki, replacement level is 2.33 which means the current global population stays at 7 billion people. It will be good for the global impact on the environment when it drops by 2050. The replacement rate or decrease will be uneven depending on the location.
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    The main reason the population is till increasing is because life span has increased. 2.5 is almost replacement rate (near enough, anyway) and is dropping. This is why I say the population explosion is over. It is a thing of the past. However, lifespan is growing, and those people who would previously have died off early are now living to a ripe old age, which is enough to keep the world population increasing, for now.

    You may think this a bad thing, but I disagree. I am 63 and expect to live another 20 to 30 years. I am very happy that I live in a time when I can expect to live so long, and I see no reason why we should wish short life on others. To accept long life ourselves, and hope for others to live short lives would be arrogant, hypocritical, and selfish.

    The world has many problems, but population explosion is not one of them. There will still be population increase, probably for another 40 to 50 years, till the effects of lifetime extension fade out. But that increase is at an ever diminishing rate, and if humanity cannot adapt, there is something seriously wrong with our ability to adapt.
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    Dear adelady, Thank you for providing that piece of information that has meaning for the logical thought producing part of my thinking process. Of course, born 10 years plus later. When woman had wrestled some semblance of equality by being needed in the workforce after the first, ( and during ), and second world wars, needed to help put this Nation of ours on its'feet. Being able to say ''no'' , being in command of their own fertility, looking men in the eye and saying not tonight Joe, I've work in the morning. Proving a point to men that would have taken 1000 years to dawn on them that these weired creatures are just not cooks and baby producing machines, but they are actually our partners in this struggle for existance. Having babies later is the way to go. Logic. Shows intelligence. Just don't leave it too late, but, if maturity has dawned on the male in the equasion, both participating parents then can add value to an emerging young life, putting very useful values in place for future understanding of their position in the brave new world. Does this make sense adelady? westwind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Barbi

    The main reason the population is till increasing is because life span has increased. 2.5 is almost replacement rate (near enough, anyway) and is dropping. This is why I say the population explosion is over. It is a thing of the past. However, lifespan is growing, and those people who would previously have died off early are now living to a ripe old age, which is enough to keep the world population increasing, for now.

    You may think this a bad thing, but I disagree. I am 63 and expect to live another 20 to 30 years. I am very happy that I live in a time when I can expect to live so long, and I see no reason why we should wish short life on others. To accept long life ourselves, and hope for others to live short lives would be arrogant, hypocritical, and selfish.

    The world has many problems, but population explosion is not one of them. There will still be population increase, probably for another 40 to 50 years, till the effects of lifetime extension fade out. But that increase is at an ever diminishing rate, and if humanity cannot adapt, there is something seriously wrong with our ability to adapt.
    Hi Skeptic,

    I hope you do live another 20 years and can remain physically fit. I am 50 years old and trying to get back in the workforce but here in the U.S. employers prefer to hire younger people since they cost less in insurance coverage and they can easily be trained to work how the employer wants them to work. I am older and have years of experience but I know I will be dealing with a manager that is much younger then me and I believe that it alone will become an issue. I am no longer as physically capable of jobs that require alot of lifting or physical work so that is no longer an option.

    Society needs to adapt to accepting an older workforce by becoming more flexible and I don't see that happening in my lifetime. It is practically impossible to save money since everything has become so expensive that most people live from paycheck to paycheck and I dread when I reach 65 and have to live on social security when that is not enough to meet basic expenses. This is why I don't share the same views with you regarding our population status.
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    I am retired now, but when I ran my own business, I had employees. I deliberately hired older people because older people are more stable, settled, and have more smarts, that come from hard earned years of experience. Older people appreciate being given a chance, and are subsequently more loyal to their employer.

    Anyone who refuses to hire an older worker, because they are older, is stupid!
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    There are a lot of stupid people out there!!
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    I agree with you in this subject. Antarctica alone holds enough land mass to accompany a majority of the people on earth. We shoud focus on how to busy the population more than keeping population down. An ant colony is always more productive with more ants.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessorX View Post
    I agree with you in this subject. Antarctica alone holds enough land mass to accompany a majority of the people on earth. We shoud focus on how to busy the population more than keeping population down. An ant colony is always more productive with more ants.
    Any economist will tell you, as you add workers to a given enterprise, the total productivity always increases yes.... but once you get past a certain point, it grows by less and less per each worker you add. However, consumption has no diminishing returns to it. If one thing has diminishing returns and the other doesn't, then as you add more and more "ants", sooner or later the one thing will fall below the level of the other.


    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post

    And we don't just value women. We also value children. Rather than saying the world would be a better place if you'd never been born, it's morally justifiable to say that you, your family and the whole of your community and the world at large would be better off if you'd just been born 10 (or more) years later. And when we look at the cascading effects of early marriage and child-bearing, you can see that hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people alive today would not have been born yet if their great-great-grandmothers, and every woman in the 4 following generations, had not had their first child until they were, say, 25+ years old. Even if they'd all had exactly the same number of children as they actually did. And then look at the population effect if you have the same later marriage, later child-bearing approach for the next 4 generations. We wouldn't be talking about children being born 10 years later than they were, we'd be talking 30-60 years later. And during all that time, even with longer life expectancy, there'd be far less overlap of generations. There would be no, nil, zilch, 5 generation families, and many fewer 4 generation families. That has a huge effect on aggregate population numbers.
    I like you pointing out that the problem isn't having too many people, it's having too many people at the same time . In a population reduced world, a basically infinite number of humans would still be born. One after the other.

    However, the benefit of legislating it is that you're not leaving it up to peoples' personal beliefs. If you leave it up to personal belief, then those who believe they ought to have lots of kids will ....um.... have lots of kids, thereby increasing the number of people who believe that. It's a belief that creates its own believers - literally. That's why no voluntary system can ever be self sustaining. Inevitably, the minority of obstinate people who can't or won't understand the problem becomes a majority.
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    If you leave it up to personal belief, then those who believe they ought to have lots of kids will ....um.... have lots of kids, thereby increasing the number of people who believe that
    But that's only a problem if those multitudes of children are alive at the same time - and for a long time - as the older generations of the family. When you delay marriage and child-bearing to an average age of 25+, then grandmothers cannot be less than 50+ when their first grandchild is born, and 75+ when the first great grandchild is born - and will have to live beyond 100 to see another generation born.

    I have no problem with grandmothers seeing a great-grandchild born, get walking, even go to school. I have a lot of problems with multitudes of greatgrannies seeing that young generation get married and have their own children.

    What we need to do is to cut down the overlap years. Families like mine who invariably live to 85+ could always see greatgrandchildren born. The question must be are we alive at the same time for 5, 10 or 25 years. Makes a bit of difference to us as a family. Makes a huge difference to populations if the overlap is 25 years more often than it's 5. So we don't tell the greatgrandparents to go off into the desert or the icy wastes to die when they get to be too old and healthy, we get young people to defer childbearing until a more sensible age.

    Under schemes like this we don't have to worry too much about anyone having 'too many' children. Deferral alone will ensure a reduced number of children for nearly everyone. And such arrangements mean that people have more appropriate spacing of the families they do have. There'll still be twins and oops! babies to enlarge some families beyond the usual one or two. Some people will want to have more regardless. If you want to go all regulatory on people and have control over 'bad' behaviour, you could perhaps have incentives. If you want to have more children, that'll be OK so long as you delay having the first one beyond ..... age.

    The most important thing you can do to reduce the number of children is to ensure good health, so that parents can be confident that they don't need to have half a dozen to ensure that one or two survive to adulthood. People throughout the world consistently reduce the number of children desired, and born, when they see that their children and those of the people around them survive. The best way is to have top-notch mother and child health services to give all babies the best start possible and then get through childhood without being killed or injured by communicable disease or other easily avoided problems.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Barbi

    I am retired now, but when I ran my own business, I had employees. I deliberately hired older people because older people are more stable, settled, and have more smarts, that come from hard earned years of experience. Older people appreciate being given a chance, and are subsequently more loyal to their employer.

    Anyone who refuses to hire an older worker, because they are older, is stupid!
    I agree with you, however we are a minority view when the majority indicate otherwise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    If you leave it up to personal belief, then those who believe they ought to have lots of kids will ....um.... have lots of kids, thereby increasing the number of people who believe that
    But that's only a problem if those multitudes of children are alive at the same time - and for a long time - as the older generations of the family. When you delay marriage and child-bearing to an average age of 25+, then grandmothers cannot be less than 50+ when their first grandchild is born, and 75+ when the first great grandchild is born - and will have to live beyond 100 to see another generation born.

    I have no problem with grandmothers seeing a great-grandchild born, get walking, even go to school. I have a lot of problems with multitudes of greatgrannies seeing that young generation get married and have their own children.

    What we need to do is to cut down the overlap years. Families like mine who invariably live to 85+ could always see greatgrandchildren born. The question must be are we alive at the same time for 5, 10 or 25 years. Makes a bit of difference to us as a family. Makes a huge difference to populations if the overlap is 25 years more often than it's 5. So we don't tell the greatgrandparents to go off into the desert or the icy wastes to die when they get to be too old and healthy, we get young people to defer childbearing until a more sensible age.

    Under schemes like this we don't have to worry too much about anyone having 'too many' children. Deferral alone will ensure a reduced number of children for nearly everyone. And such arrangements mean that people have more appropriate spacing of the families they do have. There'll still be twins and oops! babies to enlarge some families beyond the usual one or two. Some people will want to have more regardless. If you want to go all regulatory on people and have control over 'bad' behaviour, you could perhaps have incentives. If you want to have more children, that'll be OK so long as you delay having the first one beyond ..... age.

    The most important thing you can do to reduce the number of children is to ensure good health, so that parents can be confident that they don't need to have half a dozen to ensure that one or two survive to adulthood. People throughout the world consistently reduce the number of children desired, and born, when they see that their children and those of the people around them survive. The best way is to have top-notch mother and child health services to give all babies the best start possible and then get through childhood without being killed or injured by communicable disease or other easily avoided problems.
    In most of the developed countries they have reduced childhood death with communicable diseases and have made great advances on babies born prematurely able to survive. I agree that women should wait until they reach 25 years of age to reproduce. What I don't agree with is women having babies that are on welfare and believe that they don't have to be responsible if they get pregnant again because society will take care of them. If you know you can't afford to raise a child then you should be responsible in not getting pregnant. It is not fair to the child who has no control of being born by starting them out with many disadvantages in survival.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    If you leave it up to personal belief, then those who believe they ought to have lots of kids will ....um.... have lots of kids, thereby increasing the number of people who believe that
    But that's only a problem if those multitudes of children are alive at the same time - and for a long time - as the older generations of the family. When you delay marriage and child-bearing to an average age of 25+, then grandmothers cannot be less than 50+ when their first grandchild is born, and 75+ when the first great grandchild is born - and will have to live beyond 100 to see another generation born.
    The number of kids a person has does matter. For say, a six child family (quite common in Mormon families), we could assume 5 reproduce. So you started with 2 people, and now you have 5. Those 5 produce 12.5 (statistically.... nobody's having 1/2 of a child here.) Those 12.5 produce 31.25. By the third generation we have 15x as many people as we started with.

    Mormon population history in the USA is quite indicative of this. I'd be surprised if even half that church's growth within the USA in the last century came from people converting to it. (Admittedly, the conversion rate is much higher internationally.)



    Under schemes like this we don't have to worry too much about anyone having 'too many' children. Deferral alone will ensure a reduced number of children for nearly everyone. And such arrangements mean that people have more appropriate spacing of the families they do have. There'll still be twins and oops! babies to enlarge some families beyond the usual one or two. Some people will want to have more regardless. If you want to go all regulatory on people and have control over 'bad' behaviour, you could perhaps have incentives. If you want to have more children, that'll be OK so long as you delay having the first one beyond ..... age.
    Pretty good idea, actually. Incentives seem to work. China's one child laws are incentives. I'm pretty sure you don't go to jail if you have 2 kids, just don't get state support.

    Maybe we could define a legal child bearing age, and make it greater than 18? Naturally there would be lots of "right to privacy" concerns that have to be resolved first. I guess we could just jail the pregnant woman and her lover if there's a "mistake". No need to get the anti-abortion people up in arms by coercing a termination.


    The most important thing you can do to reduce the number of children is to ensure good health, so that parents can be confident that they don't need to have half a dozen to ensure that one or two survive to adulthood. People throughout the world consistently reduce the number of children desired, and born, when they see that their children and those of the people around them survive. The best way is to have top-notch mother and child health services to give all babies the best start possible and then get through childhood without being killed or injured by communicable disease or other easily avoided problems.
    Also a good pension/social security system, so they're not relying on their kids for retirement.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    The mechanics of preventing young women conceive is almost here. We now have 5 year contraceptive implants. If we can just raise that to 10 years, our new totalitarian government makes it compulsory for each 12 year old girl to receive her 10 year implant on her birthday. Then another for 5 years on her 22nd.

    No problem.

    Well. Perhaps a small one related to human rights, but .......
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    What I don't agree with is women having babies that are on welfare and believe that they don't have to be responsible if they get pregnant ....
    Well, a good education system can deal with most of that issue. Not only of women but of men. Cultural environments can be more, or less, supportive of responsible behaviour by men in creating and supporting children, and of women in ensuring they have better options for life and social recognition for productive work other than having children.

    It's truly, profoundly amazing when you come across people who feel they have no option other than having children and relying on government support. Knowing several schoolteachers, you find that even they are totally gobsmacked by the attitudes inculcated into kids by their families. I remember one bloke doing his six month stint as career/future choices advsor sort of counsellor in a school. After this particular incident, he understood more fully why everybody was given only 6 months at a time in this role. One year 11 girl came to ask him for advice. He had taught her in a few classes in earlier years and thought her fairly bright, she seemed capable and hard-working.

    What advice did she want? She couldn't make up her mind whether she should 'go on the dole' or have a baby in the next year. He tried every which way from everywhere to persuade her that she had lots and lots of options. Apprienticeship, hairdressing, tertiary education or certificate courses in various occupations. He saw her several times to continue the discussion. What he eventually worked out was that she had never known anyone in her family or her neighbourhood with any other choices but these. She was neither lazy nor stupid nor did she have any of those other undesirable moral shortcomings so often attributed to people like her. She just didn't know. And it had never occurred to anyone she knew to discuss options like careers or travel or working holidays. As far as she knew these were things that happened to 'other people' on television or in silly magazines - nothing to do with her.

    Broke his heart.
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    Whoops. Missed the culture and education link in that comment.

    We might think it's trite or silly or pointless when rellies and neighbours beam at 4 year old Jenny or Johnny and ask "And what do you want to be when you grow up?" It doesn't matter that their answers will be conventional and predictable, traindrivers and nurses. What matters is that, right from the start, children understand that they are going to learn stuff that will help them become something they cannot yet be. Once they understand it, they can feel it as a legitimate part of their life.

    And we should understand that some families and environments won't provide this stimulation to ambition in many children so it has to be done in schools. It isn't as effective, and we might find that some families actively oppose these foreign ideas - especially for girls, but schoolteachers and carers should do this routinely, especially in early years.
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    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    I believe some answers may be found in the explanation of the "exponential function" by Professor Bartlett, in a most entertaining and informative lecture.

    Video parts 1 through 4 of Arithmetic, Population and Energy - a talk by Al Bartlett on the impossibility of exponential growth on a finite planet
    and
    Video parts 5 through 8 of Arithmetic, Population and Energy - a talk by Al Bartlett on the impossibility of exponential growth on a finite planet

    and the proof is here.

    Worldometers - real time world statistics

    Within one generation the earth's population will face some hard questions.
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