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Jeffrey Fadness

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Are we as a species like a viral infection that will eventually destroy its host...?

Modern man can trace its origins back some 200,000 years, at least anatomically, and 50,000 years back in behavioral modernity. Yet in just 211 years, from 1800 to 2011, human population grew from 1 billion to 7 billion souls. In the year 2011 alone, it's estimate that 135 million human beings were born, 57 million died, resulting in a net population increase of 78 million people in just one year! That's an average increase of nearly 214 thousand people daily, or ~8,900 per hour.

Assuming the rate of population growth stays constant, at this pace global population will double to more than 14 billion people in just the next 10 years. And then what? Do we double once again to 30 billion+ by the year 2033?

And will population growth actually continue to accelerate, with less attrition from continued gains in life expectancy through better health care and medical science?

Clearly, all these folks are going to need food, shelter, and things to do. More cars, streets, shopping and entertainment centers, business centers, government centers, learning centers, clothing, homes and the list goes on and on!

We as a species have been incredibly successful; much of which has come at the expense and impact upon other species, and our environment.

The Earth is a finite space with finite resources. How does this all play out? Do we eventually deplete and destroy our Host -- Mother Earth? What are the implications and what are the solutions...?


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    Mar 7 2013: I read your article and agree that the primary initiative of our programming is to guard and protect our DNA and propagate our species through procreation. As a complex living organism, the human race is thus far unrivaled in its success at this task.

    The basic premise of my question for debate, is are we as a species able to look at the bigger picture? Do we understand our interdependence on the earth, its natural resources, and other species with which we share the planet? And will we act accordingly and appropriately to ensure that our desire and success in propagating our species doesn't destroy the biosphere that supports us...?
    • Mar 11 2013: Our awareness of how much we rely on the resources given to us from the world is there. We understand this interdependence, but sometimes, it doesn't affect our actions. The culture we've grown in is demanding. We demand results now, products now, and those desires trump the importance of protecting our planet. I fear that no matter how much we search for a solution to gain sustainability, human self-interest will overshadow it until we are about to crash.

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