TED Conversations

High School Student,

This conversation is closed.

Should humanity bend to nature or should nature bend to humanity?

Thomas Malthus theorized that there is a limit to the size of the human population on Earth based on essential resources like food and water and on the prevalence of diseases, war and other things that cause mass death among humans. Throughout the course of history we have pushed this limit (called the Malthusian limit) back with our advances in agriculture, medicine, cleanliness, etc. However, I see our popuation quickly approaching this limit. For example, there are water shortages world wide and much of in fact most of the human population lives in a country where starvation is rampant. But it doesn't have to be that way, we have the technology to yet again push back the Malthusian limit. We can push it back farther than we ever have before using technology like vertical farming and desalination. Also, we are curing and treating diseases at a rate that has never before been seen in human history.

Unfortunately, as I see it, humans will eventually reach a point where we will have to choose to tame nature so that its sole purpose is to allow for the increase of our population or to let nature remain untamed and force the human population to reach the Malthusian limit thus causing starvation, dehydration, epidemics, etc.

My view is that eventually nature will have to bend to humanity otherwise there will be death on epic proportions. However, I want to believe otherwise so please convince me that I'm wrong or if you agree with me help me fight back the hordes of optimists.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jul 14 2012: Wow. I'm really glad you asked. People in the renewable energy business are trying to convice us we can. that nature should be humanity. Even imagining that we as a creation of nature could become it's master is psychotic. Nature is not. I think nature has been quite tolerant by allowing us to hang around. I'd be getting pretty pissed by now. Nature has an an interesting way of balancing things out. Humans, on the other hand, have messed with Nature enough to cause some imbalance. Will be survive the rebalancing?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.