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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 24 2012: We can't sustain infinite growth on a finite planet, but I'm hopeful that the population growth will plateau, the ingenuity of humankind will come up with solutions to our resource problems and that all of this happens before we have pushed the ecosystem to its brink.

    I see mentioned below that the average number of kids a family has is diverging to two. This video by Hans Rosling makes a very strong case that population will eventually plateau as the standard of living and eduction is raised for the poor. http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_religions_and_babies.html

    We already have the technology to supply energy without the use of natural resources, but currently renewables are too expensive. We won't truly see them catch on until there is a shortage of natural resources, driving up their costs, or governments start taxing the use of natural resources. People will make decisions that financially benefit them.

    Again we have the capability to create clean water, it is just an energy intensive process.

    I'm no ecologist, but I do believe the environment is pretty resilient. I've seen some pretty impressive restoration projects. My only hope is that we can keep everything in check long enough for the population to plateau and for green technology to surpass the use of natural resources. I love the outdoors and I hate to see the damage we've caused.

    I don't like what I see, but I am optimistic...
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      Sep 24 2012: Yes. I think:

      (1) Two kids per couple is the optimal number today according to our instincts.
      (2) There will be more than plenty of resources and energy if we quit SILLY invalid happiness.

      Be happy validly!

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