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Is it possible for our planet to "crash" due to being a closed biological system?

After watching a wonderful video by Mike deGruy, I was very impressed by the illustrations he used regarding closed biological systems.

Please take the time to watch the TED event talk below, and chime in with your insight and/or opinion, on whether our Earth will eventually end up like the other three examples given in the video.

Some feel this is a very big problem, and offer many different solutions.

What is your take on this issue? Is it an issue? Or is the Earth able to continue producing indefinitely?



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  • Feb 20 2012: My answer is yes, irrespective of how you define crash, a sudden change, or otherwise. I could just point to limits to growth book, but it's basic thermodynamics. Collapse will happen once the energy flows that sustain the considerably complex human structures stop, or when the climate system driven by energy flows shifts to a new dynamic equilibrium as has done so many times in the past in our planet and in others. A subsequent question you might want to ask is the extent to which humans drive this process.
    • W T 100+

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      Feb 20 2012: So in your opinion "crash" is inevitable......it can just maybe be accelerated by the way we humans are acting.

      Hmm.....I really find this hard to believe.....well, of course, I am no expert. But it's just what I have seen as far as the Earth's ability to come back from devastating volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, fires, and the like...

      My curiosity is mostly dealing with what I saw in the deGruy video....I really do not agree with his premise...that like the three examples he gave prior to speaking of the Earth, he considered us to be a closed biological system headed for destruction because the Earth can only produce so much....Although a powerful delivery....I found it to be inaccurate.

      Perhaps we will have to wait and see.
      • Feb 20 2012: Of course Earth is still here, with us... having come back from every single catastrophe.
        Homeostasis as is referred to in the video. Us however, like the algae in the video we use the nutrients and face the odds. Increases in efficiency will only delay this, if the same consumption patterns and processes are kept in place. One caveat is the so called demographic shift where the birth rate of countries decreases as the living conditions and well being of their inhabitants increases.
        Now, having said that the vast majority of people, more than 4 billion have not gone through this transition, hence their rates of multiplication are high and exacerbate the problem of resource or nutrient depletion. This places us in the following conundrum, in order to control population growth by lowering population increase rates we have to raise standards of living, and this of course requires that an unbearable burden to the planet's resources if all of us are to live like Europeans do, let alone the Americans...
        Finally, contrary to the video we can use something outside the petri dish, namely solar energy instead of the closed system's nutrients.
        Of course as is the case often, this is more easily said than done...so all bets are off as to how this plays out...
        • W T 100+

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          Feb 20 2012: Thank you very much for elaborating....I will chew on what you said....

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