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Jake Maddox

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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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  • Sep 18 2012: There is an interesting documentary by Lester Brown on this topic (narrated by Matt Damon). This is a link to the free online book: http://www.earth-policy.org/images/uploads/book_files/wotebook.pdf

    Myself, I think there is a tipping point that the world will reach, beyond which it will be impossible to recover. However, I do not think that humanity's course to this point will be very direct. When things go wrong, people will try to fix them. If people somehow determine that life is sustainable at current population levels, I don't think that maintaining the status quo will be very straightforward either. The worst case scenario is that we have passed the tipping point and that humanity is currently in decline and on the way to extinction. That would not be straightforward either (barring some kind of cataclysmic event), and outright extinction (i.e., zero human beings) is pretty unlikely I would think.

    The question does not center on the survival of humanity so much as on the quality of life we and our progeny enjoy while on this earth. How do we want to live before our star explodes? An interesting question: Considered as a single organism, how far is it even possible that humanity is in charge of its own fate? How much sentience and self-awareness can we attribute to the human organism?
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      Sep 20 2012: Yes.
      Not far, humankind will be in charge of its own fate if it knows what the invalid happiness is.

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