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Jake Maddox

Field Service Engineer,

TEDCRED 10+

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How can we sustain infinite growth on a finite planet?

Human population growth is a serious problem that is growing by ridiculous geometric progression. Everyday approximately 200,000 people die, and in contrast 450,000 are born. That is a staggering 250,000 new mouths to feed everyday! We cannot support infinite growth on a finite planet! We're running out of land. Thousands of square miles of rain forest are gutted every year for palm plantations to produce palm oil so that masses can be sustained. Fresh water supplies are in limited quantities. Polution and contamination abound. Why do people ignore the realities of where we're headed? It frightens the crap outta me. It appears as though the discovery of oil is when things really took off. Oil ultimately led to the internal combustion engine so that huge amounts of land could be cultivated. Pesticides and fertilizers were also made possible via oil to enhance production yields. As well as affecting the pharmeceutical industry to produce vaccines. It's not natures way.

Check out this human population growth chart: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://worldhistoryforusall.sdsu.edu/images/Popn_Graph2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://worldhistoryforusall.sdsu.edu/themes/keytheme1.htm&h=324&w=524&sz=49&tbnid=YSJSr0mYU4gonM:&tbnh=77&tbnw=124&zoom=1&usg=__kIp3FdU9ydMckYq62HCWmiEmqXc=&hl=en&sa=X&ei=2nk9UOvmL8vsigKdhIGwDg&ved=0CCUQ9QEwAQ&dur=655

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  • Aug 31 2012: I believe the answer to this question lies in both technology and education.

    Technology is growing exponentially, allowing us to better use the resources available to us and also to help replace what we have used. Genetically modified crops are a good example, for the same area of land, we can increase the crop production by a significant amount. Technology allows us to tap into resources which were never an option before, such as offshore oil and renewable energy resources (name your favourite). Society is veering towards more sustainable energy resources, as our dependency on oil has made an impact on our economy and daily lives. In the distant future, we might look to inhabiting different planets and making life flourish. Take a look at this article:

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast09feb_1/

    That will remove our dependency on just one planet!! Where does education come into play? Education helps us realize the importance of our planet and its limited resources. More people today care about the planet than perhaps 200 years ago. As we move into the future, we will see more people fighting to sustain our planet and change our lifestyles to help sustain the planets. Have we ever had energy-saving light bulbs or recycling bins in shopping centres 50 years ago? The human culture is changing and now we think more of our planet than at any point in the past.

    I am sure there is plenty more points I have missed or left out (I am reaching my word limit!!), but let me add this: I try not to think of it as having 250,000 new mouths to feed everyday, but rather 450,000 better educated young leaders being born to lead the planet. They will definitely steer us in the right direction. Have faith in the human race, as part of this generation I too plan to do my best to move things in the right direction. We will not let our home planet die =)
    • Aug 31 2012: Are you aware of a Resource-Based Economy? Because for what I have read in your post, it certainly would interest you. It states to base and manage our resources directly, world-wide, and without the use of money or debt of any kind. If you haven't looked into it, here the link:

      www.thevenusproject.com

      I am all for technology and education. Only then can we move forwards instead of backwards into Dark Ages.
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      Aug 31 2012: Low gravity environments have been shown to cause problems in the way the human body grows and functions. There are negative effects.

      People born on the moon can never return to earth. People born on Mars can never return to earth.
      • Sep 1 2012: J: An excellent reason to make sure that your target planet has enough gravity. There are feasibility studies already about how to do that. Terraforming.
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          Sep 1 2012: Terraforming..... that's when you put the horse before the cart right?

          Interesting subject I wonder if another alien race invented a way to control the flight of comets? Apparently the earth was bombarded with at least one huge comet made of ice; perhaps more.

          I'm a huge fan of transforming the earth we live on. We should practice here first to see if we can get it right. The earth already has the proper gravity, right amount of water, lots of soil, etc. But we appear to be moving in the opposite direction for some reason.

          Hard to believe, in the 70's, Much of the technology we are using today was considered science fiction. Terra-forming will be in that realm for many years. First, we have to have a way to get to those planets, capitalists to invest, experts (after practicing on the earth), and of course, some very brave people. We could do it with robots I suppose.

          In a way, if any microbes survived the trip to Mars on the Rover, we could be Terra-forming Mars right now. I'm sure they are dying to Terra-Form the ice moon of Saturn. I hear the Germans have develop a drill just for this purpose.

          Didn't we have a problem with meeting the Indians in the North American Continent for the first time? Something about germs.

          These are all wonderful ideas in the long term but we should be very cautious.
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      Sep 6 2012: I prefer your education.
      It is much easier to educate people to quit silly INVALID HAPPINESS than to go into space.

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