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Jake Maddox

Field Service Engineer,

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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 22 2012: By completely reconsidering our concept of growth.

    Instead of economic growth, what about the growth of the 'sustainability bubble' (not in the perjorative economic sense, but in terms of what the bubble grows to encapsulate)?

    That is, the more energy and the more materials and technologies we are able to bring under the banner of 100% sustainability, the more real growth we have.

    At this point in time, we're in a negative growth phase in those terms - because we're making things less sustainble through our actions.

    Another angle to consider growth from is experiential and information growth. Imagine high quality VR technology... essentially a maturation of visual/sensory computing technology found in games; it's a system that will provide experiences independent of material consumption.

    And ultimately, that's kinda what the human experience boils down to - a series of interlinked and interconnected sensory experiences. The experience of conspicuous consumption can be easily replicated in virtual space - and in doing so, it can reduce the importance of real conspicuous consumption.

    How much value is there in a boat, a big house, a fast car... when all these things are difficult and expensive to purchase and maintain - and there's an alternative where you can experience all these things and better at next to full sensory fidelity in VR?

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