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World Population Expected To Hit 7 Billion In Late October

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the where-do-you-get-a-nice-malthus-mask? dept.

Earth 522

kkleiner writes "A new report documents the prodigious rate at which the world's population is growing. It was just 1999 when we reached 6 billion. And now within the next month or two we will have surpassed 7 billion. What does the continued increase in world population mean for humanity and for the the planet?"

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7 Billion Zombies (2, Interesting)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317226)


7 BILLION PEOPLE. That's an insane amount of people putting an extreme burden on our delicate ecosystem. Earth is already at the brink of death, it's been estimated that when we hit 10 billion, there's no turning back.

We're killing our planet and all its lifeforms in multiple ways:
- Burning fossil fuels is poisoning the air
- Chemicals fertilizers are poisoning the soil.
- Chemicals in the animal food supply are filling us with antibiotics, growth hormones and other garbage.
- Nuclear power plants are flooding entire cities with high energy radiation
- Wind farms are killing birds with their razor sharp blades.
... etc. etc.

All the chemicals and radiation we're pumping into the environment along with the garbage we eat is turning us into a population of cancerous, fat, subluxated zombies. Many of us are the walking dead: zombies eating fast food and pumping Big Pharma toxins into our bodies just to keep us alive. Vaccines, the 'wonder child' of the Big Pharma industry is causing autism and other mental disorders at epidemic rates.

Want to live to be 100? It's easy:
- Maintain an organic, vegan diet.
- Swim only in non-chlorinated pools.
- Exercise in fresh country air, not in a city or near downramps (asbestos exposure).
- Have your spine assessed and adjusted regularily by a reputable Chiropractor. This will ensure proper nervous system function.
- Avoid the Big Med "Health Industry". MDs are in the pockets of Big Pharma. They don't care about you, they just want more money.

Bob

Re:7 Billion Zombies (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317350)

I was going to say "in before eugenics"but that's not possible anymore.

Re:7 Billion Zombies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317368)

Oh, go smoke another bowl and STFU, hippy.

Re:7 Billion Zombies (1, Offtopic)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317412)

No way. The stuff today isn't like what I had growing up. It was all natural back then. Now it's full of hydroponic chemical fertilizers and selective breeding. No longer natural: man-made cancer.

Re:7 Billion Zombies (3, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317594)

- People are dying from eating organic foods because organic foods have much higher rates of e.coli
- Non-chlorinated pools are also bacteria farms.
- Most studies have shown life expectancy is higher in urban areas than rural areas, though I don't think we understand why currently
- Chiropractors have really come under fire in recent years as charlatans with little to no medical evidence of their claims
- Drug companies certainly have their faults, but avoiding medicine is a good way to die young.

Your five points of advice are absolutely fantastic.

So let's make fossil fuels MORE expensive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317258)

That way, we can cause food prices to go up even more, and starve a few hundred millions to death!

It'll be GOOD FOR THE PLANET!

Re:So let's make fossil fuels MORE expensive! (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317430)

Contrary to what your cereal box would have you believe, there are forces of nature stronger than government policies.

The supply of oil is what it is, and governments who subsidize the costs will eventually run out of either money or will.

Re:So let's make fossil fuels MORE expensive! (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317492)

You know, those fossil fuels might be expensive because, well, we are bloody running out of them? Not like there is an endless amount, dig?

Re:So let's make fossil fuels MORE expensive! (1)

gregor-e (136142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317666)

But if gas casts more, more people will just stay at home where one of the biggest sources of entertainment is making more people.

Re:So let's make fossil fuels MORE expensive! (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317750)

As far as the SPECIES is concerned, mass starvation really doesn't matter.

What's missing from the debate (it's taboo to discuss it) is we have no "collective" good and the ONLY limiting factors on human population are Famine, War, Pestilence and Death.

I benefit from the Third World consuming fewer resources, and approve when its denizens kill each other. I don't hear of any mass Slashdotter exodus to go sort out Africa etc, so I'll venture none of you give a shit either.

Nature (hey kids, we don't exist outside it!) is COMPETITIVE and the slow zebra should get eaten.

Canada's mostly unused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317268)

I'm sure we can stick another billion people up there. If some die, well, more food and fuel for the survivors.

Re:Canada's mostly unused (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317466)

I'm sure we can stick another billion people up there. If some die, well, more food and fuel for the survivors.

I don't think Canadians burn well. Agreed about the food though.

The Texas Myth (3, Informative)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317628)

I know you were kidding, but I got tired of people talking about 'unused land' back when the world population hit six billion, and I did the math to show how stupid an idea it is [homeunix.net] .

And for our lucky winner! (3, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317270)

Child #7,000,000,000 gets the prize of officially being recognized as "Not actually a bundle of joy" and, on average, a harsh subsistence existence. Congratulations!

Re:And for our lucky winner! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317464)

Too bad it's not actually child number 7 billion. It's "person currently in existence # 7 billion", you probably have to add a zero or two for over all count.
Sorry No constellation prize for you.

Re:And for our lucky winner! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317504)

Sorry No constellation prize for you.

Protip: If you're going to call someone out for making a dumb mistake, don't follow up by saying "constellation" when you mean "consolation".

Re:And for our lucky winner! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317688)

Nah, I am pretty sure he really meant 'constellation'. As in, the prize is a group of stars which vaguely resemble something else.

Re:And for our lucky winner! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317802)

Oh thank you great omnipotent AC

Re:And for our lucky winner! (1)

rdpratt (1854096) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317494)

Child #7,000,000,000 gets the prize of officially being recognized as "Not actually a bundle of joy" and, on average, a harsh subsistence existence. Congratulations!

Sounds like a great pop-up ad to me.

Times are tough (-1, Troll)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317272)

people are board and dont have a lot of money to spend, so they stay at home

Re:Times are tough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317322)

Thanks for your insightful post. Not only did you miss first post, not make an intelligent comment, but you also misspelled two words. Very tough to top that kind of fail with only one "sentence".

Re:Times are tough (-1, Flamebait)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317390)

I did not know I was being graded by some chicken shit hiding behind AC, fuck off and die

Re:Times are tough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317498)

Another Anon Coward comments:

He's right, you know. Even in the Youtube comments section you would get pulled up for being so inane. Your UID suggests that you are a new user. Kindly put more thought into your comments. I bet you don't even know about Natalie Portman's love of hot grits!

Re:Times are tough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317500)

Another brilliant retort. I am overwhelmed by your genius.

Re:Times are tough (2)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317506)

> I did not know I was being graded
Now you do. Everybody who reads your post evaluates it, and in this case that evaluation doesn't take long.

> fuck off and die
If he does that, you'll still have to deal with his offspring.

Re:Times are tough (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317622)

Well, only the toughest, most self-sufficient babies survive without anybody taking care of them, so we probably won't have too...

Re:Times are tough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317708)

Learn your own freaking language. Get someone to help you if you cannot figure it out for yourself.

Re:Times are tough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317520)

When you're too lazy to punctuate, you fail at life.

Re:Times are tough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317652)

Can somebody mod this crap down so that it doesn't appear any more?

Slashdot is tolerant, but if you are plain stupid there are many many sites out there who can cater for your needs. Stop messing things up for the rest of us with your inarticulate drivel.

Re:Times are tough (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317366)

people are board and dont have a lot of money to spend, so they stay at home

I think having kids means you're planking wrong.

Re:Times are tough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317574)

In first world countries, reproduction drops durring economic downturns. This increase in population is almost entirely because or third world countries.

What it means (2)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317280)

What does the continued increase in world population mean for humanity and for the the planet?"

More quarrelling, more hunger, more poverty, etc.

Re:What it means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317410)

Mother Nature has a way of dealing with imbalance. Black Plague ruled EU back in the day, soon we may get to see the sequel.

Re:What it means (1)

flightmaker (1844046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317418)

What it means is, all it takes is one catastrophic event such as Yellowstone Park erupting, and everybody will die of starvation.

Or, population will be so dense that a pandemic will wipe out 90%. Not that that would be a bad thing in the long run.

Re:What it means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317648)

...everybody will die of starvation

Don't be silly. All those dead people would constitute lots of food. If all the humans starve to death while flies and creatures of "less intelligence" engorge themselves, we deserve to go extinct.

Re:What it means (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317888)

Actually, not really. Yellowstone isn't that powerful. Hell, we survived it before in the stupid ages, I think we will be more than capable this time.
Well, except America of course, a good chunk of that will be wrecked. But it won't really matter anyway, it already is wrecked now. Tidy chaos.

The Siberian Rapids would probably wipe us out. That thing practically restarted evolutionary history when it came about last time.
Or Russia and their crazy need to want to capture Apophis in Earth orbit... one slip-up and SMASH. While it isn't that big, it'll still do a hellish amount of damage.
Pandemic is most likely going to be the next big "clean-up" though. That swine flu was a wake-up call, all it would have taken (took) is for that thing to evolve just the right way, or combine with another, and it would have been considerably more deadly.
And with people experimenting on the black plague virus, or one close to it... yeah

BAU (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317446)

Business as usual then.

Re:What it means (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317766)

Nope. Pres'dent Parry will have a prayer meetin. All true Americunz will pray for less and we will get it.

What does the continued increase... (2)

Krau Ming (1620473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317294)

...in world population mean for humanity and for the the planet?

It means we're all fucked.

Re: What does the continued increase... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317442)

I would mod you up if I could.. ..but I am so fucked I cant be bothered to login.

Re: What does the continued increase... (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317536)

...in world population mean for humanity and for the the planet?

It means we're all fucked.

No, it does not. It means that some of us fucked, but basement dwellers most certainly were not fucked nor ever had the opportunity to be fucked, and thus feel fucking left out.

Re: What does the continued increase... (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317804)

I bet /.'rs that thought they were going to die a virgin are relieved.

Re: What does the continued increase... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317874)

"It means we're all fucked."

Who are this "we" of which you speak?

Implications (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317320)

"What does the continued increase in world population mean for humanity and for the the planet?"

It means war.
The system is out of equilibrium. There will be a correction.

Re:Implications (1)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317402)

Don't forget about the massive disease outbreaks. With so many more people living in squalor, there's going to be a lot more death by disease than ever before. A major outbreak of a new strain of influenza could wipe out millions all on its own.

Facing facts (1)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317334)

Mostly, it means that we are ever the more closer to facing the facts that we can't all live consuming as much resources as the "developed" parts of the world are. Sooner or later the shit will hit the fan, one way or the other.

(Not that I claim to have a solution, or be any better myself...)

A lot of hungry people (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317338)

And here's where they are http://www.indexmundi.com/map.aspx?v=Birth+rate%28births%2F1%2C000+population%29

It seems promising that PRC is not among the worst.

Cognitive Dissonance (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317372)

Psychologically, like most people, I stopped sensibly digesting the numbers when we crossed 4 billion. The best video on the subject remains Hans Rosling's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo [youtube.com] 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes (BBC)

Re:Cognitive Dissonance (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317444)

like most people, I stopped sensibly digesting the numbers when we crossed 4 billion.

Still using 32-bit ints?

Re:Cognitive Dissonance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317898)

You should upgrade to 64-bit already.

Okay, who is responsible for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317376)

Shitting out children like this really isn't going to help anyone. Though I would expect certain areas to churn them out like no tomorrow, 1 billion in a little more than a decade is not an insignificant amount. Its an absolutely insane amount when you consider infant mortality and life-span rates of some areas.

Duh (4, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317384)

What does the continued increase in world population mean for humanity and for the the planet?"

War

Re:Duh (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317610)

And lots of sex!

Genesis 1:28 (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317386)

Turns out to be disingenuous then...

Ehrlich was right, just a little early. (2)

eparker05 (1738842) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317388)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon%E2%80%93Ehrlich_wager [wikipedia.org]

Paul Ehrlich, famous for writing the population bomb, entered a wager with Julian L. Simon that used the price of some indicator comodidy metals to gauge resource scarcity as a predicted result of overpopulation. Anyways, historically speaking, Simon came out the winner when the index prices fell between 1980 and 1990.

That being said, and my own personal admiration for the free market being laid out in the open, I do believe that there will be a decade where the proverbial Ehrlich's will come out on top. It is simple physics; the high concentration deposits of minerals will be depleted and we will all be left wondering what to do. It is certainly scary that in 13 years the population can rise by 1 billion.

Re:Ehrlich was right, just a little early. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317438)

Paul Ehrlich has been dead wrong for a long time. Please don't quote an obvious shyster who spreads FUD.

The world pop. will stablize at around 9 billion. Sorry all you survivalists and peak theory idiots.

Re:Ehrlich was right, just a little early. (4, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317540)

And, for some miraculous reason, coincidental with the stabilization of world population, oil will replenish, as will the aquifers, the fisheries will certainly recover and the eroded topsoil will miraculously be blown back on the land, the salt water invading the coastal fertile lands will draw back, energy will be plenty all of a sudden once more, and, of course, idiots will stop spewing bullshit on slashdot, yes?

Re:Ehrlich was right, just a little early. (-1, Flamebait)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317596)

You, sir, are a NIGGER ! Bill Gates wants to vaccinate these useless niggers and allow more genocide in Africa, apparently you are the same kind of douche bag nigger. Fuck off and die, and ALL of your relatives!

Re:Ehrlich was right, just a little early. (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317544)

One word: recycling. Most resources are recyclable, but simply end up in trash heaps because (for now) the energy and sorting costs of recycling makes it inefficient. That will change when easily mineable deposits shrink. That combined with (hopefully) space-based mining means we should be able to continue expanding for quite some time yet. The reality is, every time someone thinks the world is getting overpopulated (and this is not new, people have been saying that for at least a hundred years) they are proved wrong. Doesn't mean they always will be, true, but they keep crying "wolf" and they keep being wrong.

Now, as for oil and non-renewables: we'll have to find something else, but that is true no matter how large the population grows or doesn't. Growth just means we'll have to do it sooner.

Note I am not mentioning food: eventually, we will probably have to switch to a hydroponics or similar solution, but that is a very long way away yet. There is a lot of arable land unused. The main reason people go hungry today is mostly local economics and government. We could feed everyone in the world easily: it's just a matter of transporting food to local areas that need it, and getting rid of the warlords/ governments that restrict it. Hell, in the US we pay farmers to either not grow crops or to grow crops for ethanol (a total and complete waste in oh so many ways.) On a related note, Monsanto should die a swift death... but that is somewhat tangential.

Re:Ehrlich was right, just a little early. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317704)

One word: recycling. Most resources are recyclable, but simply end up in trash heaps because (for now) the energy and sorting costs of recycling makes it inefficient. That will change when easily mineable deposits shrink.

Energy isn't getting any cheaper.

Now, as for oil and non-renewables: we'll have to find something else, but that is true no matter how large the population grows or doesn't.

There is nothing else. Fossil fuels were a one time windfall for humanity. We squandered it and there's nothing we can do about it.

Re:Ehrlich was right, just a little early. (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317812)

We won't stop until we finally burned every last available bit of fossil carbon. They are talking about in-situ gasification of coal now - you know, for the several thousand meter deep reservoirs that can't be mined conventionally. Yeah. Fun times ahead.

Re:Ehrlich was right, just a little early. (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317778)

Most resources are recyclable, but simply end up in trash heaps because (for now) the energy and sorting costs of recycling makes it inefficient.

Personally, I like the idea of 21st century miners working in old landfills to get metals instead of chopping off mountaintops.

Malthus was right, just 220 years late (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317662)

Some of us are still waiting :-)

Re:Ehrlich was right, just a little early. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317824)

1B every 13 years? if that's scary, it's been scary my entire life. According to this

http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_pop_totl&tdim=true&dl=en&hl=en&q=world+population+graph#ctype=l&strail=false&nselm=h&met_y=sp_pop_totl&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=country&ifdim=country&tdim=true&hl=en&dl=en

we've been adding 1B about every 12-14 years. 1960-1974, 3B->4B; 1974-1987, 4B->5B; 1987-1999, 5B->6B; 1999-201x, 6B->7B.

On the other hand, this

http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_pop_grow&tdim=true&dl=en&hl=en&q=world+population+growth+graph#ctype=l&strail=false&nselm=h&met_y=sp_pop_grow&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=country&ifdim=country&tdim=true&hl=en&dl=en

shows that population _growth_ is declining.

Growth equals disaster (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317406)

Anyone that has ever seen a photo of the Earth from orbit knows resources and even space on the Earth are limited. This idea of constant growth is inherently insane. Space travel isn't the solution to the population problem since it would require moving nearly a billion people a decade just to keep up with the current growth rate. Space is about long term survival not growth. Most of the fisheries have already collapsed and much of the world is facing water shortages. Civilization existed for thousands of years without gasoline but it can't survive without water. Either we limit population or mother nature will do it for us. We can't high tech our way through the mess since we are already running short of things as basic as copper. The two biggest critical shortages are water and land suitable for growing crops. Extracting water is expensive and they aren't making more land. We change or change gets forced on us.

Let the Alien Harvest begin... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317434)

Just saying.

We're already seeing the effects (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317450)

This enormous wave of young people -- kids born in the 80s, 90s, 00s -- are going to topple established trends in ways we cannot imagine. This population increase of one billion people in ten years means that one in every seven people on this planet is under the age of majority. In ten years you'll start seeing change on the scale of the Arab Spring like you wouldn't believe.

Think of the children, and religious doctrine. (1)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317452)

This is why all those sob-story TV ads imploring me to donate to help children in poor countries piss me off. Not because I'm a cold-hearted bastard who doesn't want to help, but knowing that such help will make the overall situation worse.

Add in religious-mandated foreign policies from the former Bush administration and the current Harper-led Canadian government, which in part required that any funding to humanitarian NGOs must not promote or even mention any birth control other than abstinence (never mind abortion), and you have a classic snowball effect where there will be even more impoverished children being born, with the same or fewer people back home able to donate their own money, and less tax dollars to fund the foreign aid.

3rd world population is increasing exponentially while developed countries' populations are steady or even declining except for immigration--this isn't rocket or climate science, it's simple, indisputable math.

They want the babies for the most part (2)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317700)

Our industrialized society makes large families less important -- in fact kids are a monetary drain. But to non-mechanized farmers as are common in the third world, kids mean more hands working in the field, more likelihood of survival.

Then there's death. A family here with one kid will actually see an improvement in finances if that kid were to die. That farmer family's kid dying means they might not be able to tend the crops and produce enough to eat.

Then by old age if you and your kids haven't each produced lots of kids, there's nobody to take care of you.

In related news (4, Informative)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317454)

Around 40% of the corn produced in the US goes to ethanol [columbiatribune.com] .

It's obviously not a question of whether we can support 7 billion people, since we basically are, but whether we can support the increasing growth rate. If you look at this graph, [google.com] you can see the population is projected to level off around 10billion or so. And if you look even closer, you can see it's really a question for India (and to a lesser degree, Africa): can India handle its massive population growth? If so, then the world can handle it, too. If not, then they are going to suffer a lot.

Re:In related news (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317578)

At the momentary agricultural production rates, yes we probably can supply 10 billion people. But can we do it sustainably? Without depleting oil, drinking water, the top soil, the fisheries? We can't do that right now.

Re:In related news (5, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317650)

It's obviously not a question of whether we can support 7 billion people, since we basically are, but whether we can support the increasing growth rate.

Increasing growth rate?

Growth rate over this last billion was 1.3% per year.

Growth rate over the immediately previous billion was 1.5% per year.

When we went from three billion to four billion, population growth rate was 2.1% per year.

Looks like a steadily declining growth rate to me....

Re:In related news (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317770)

It's obviously not a question of whether we can support 7 billion people, since we basically are

Sustainable? That's the big question, if we start running out of various non-renewable resources - oil just being one of them - can we? Deforestation, topsoil erosion, overfishing, lots of resources can maximize production for a short while but afterwards they go into sharp decline. And if you start running into famine conditions, don't think anyone is willing to die to let nature recover. Don't be surprised if this is the cause of war in the late 21st century...

Re:In related news (1)

ilguido (1704434) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317794)

We can support 10 billion people, but not 10 billion rich people. That makes a lot of difference being from a rich country.

Re:In related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317858)

Around 40% of the corn produced in the US goes to ethanol [columbiatribune.com].

Good. Corn sucks as food. It's good for some things, but we shouldn't be putting it into everything like we tend to do. Our largest crop should be something better for humans like wheat or soy.

Population Growth Areas.. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317468)

Unfortunately the areas that are experiencing the highest population growth are not first world countries. They are the countries which are unable to sustain their population, and depend on government (usually not available), or international hand-outs to survive.

If we want to solve this problem, we must cut aid to areas which cannot sustain itself. I realize that's harsh, but creating a life does not entitle it to live. There's a reason we fight to survive, and getting hand-outs (for the long term, not just some short-term disaster) due to unsustainable population areas means we're just making it worse.

Cut off the aid, and let the population re-balance itself on what can be sustained by these 3rd world areas. This will lower demand on resources as well, and allow the world to grow at a more moderate pace.

Well, duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317482)

What does the continued increase in world population mean for humanity and for the the planet?

It means we're all fucked. That's what. When more and more people compete for the same resources, somebody or somebodies starts dying. Or we all make do with less. You figure out which one.

Alarmism (2, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317510)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Population_Bomb [wikipedia.org]

Back in 1968, this book was published talking about how there was going to mass starvation across the globe and everyone would die because the globe couldn't handle the population of the 1970s. Obviously, there is always hunger around the globe and that shouldn't be discounted, but the UN report notes that the percentage of the world's population who qualify as "undernourished" has fallen by more than half, from 33 percent to about 16 percent, since Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. That was when the population was around 3.5 billion, or half of what we're about to hit.

So I'm skeptical of alarmism.

Re:Alarmism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317572)

I'm skeptical of alarmism

So how exactly do you wake up on time?

Re:Alarmism (4, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317658)

Ehrlich didn't forsee the massive productivity increase in the agricultural sector in the seventies - however, this increase had an unintended consequence. We now use 9 kJ of oil to produce 1 kJ of food. And guess what - well, don't just guess, just have a look at the oil prices and the production rates of the major fields. We are not starting to drill off-shore in the deep arctic ocean because easily available oil is aplenty.

Re:Alarmism (2)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317902)

That wasn't his prediction though. He predicted that we wouldn't be able to keep up with food demand, and that we'd all starve to death. The exact opposite happened and a lower percentage of the population is undernourished, even though the population has doubled since his predictions. And he predicted almost immediate problems that didn't come to pass.

It wasn't like he was a single voice that no one payed attention to. That book was widely praised and cited.

Re:Alarmism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317676)

So I'm skeptical of alarmism.

That's basically saying that you don't think it will be a problem anytime soon. Of course, some day, people will be wrong about that. It cannot be denied that with dwindling energy, arable land, clean water, clean air, fisheries, and forests, coupled with increasing pollution and demand for resources will spell eventual calamity. The only question is when.

Re:Alarmism (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317850)

I'm not saying there shouldn't be reasonable concern. But we're looking at a very complex problem. For what it is worth, I don't think food will be the issue. We have a handful of farmers who are vastly more efficient than others and people are just starting to catch on.

http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/magazine/17-01/mf_extreme_farming [wired.com]

And we've got programs where agriculture experts have been travelling to Africa, Haiti, etc. and doubling/tripling their crop yields by teaching them to farm smarter.

http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1009&context=ageconfacpub [unl.edu]
http://haitirewired.wired.com/profiles/blogs/sri-taught-to-haitian-farmers [wired.com]

So I think we have considerable room to grow when it comes to agricultural efficiency. And it isn't like we're currently using every available inch of available land for farming.

The big concern is safe, drinkable water. Because alarmists have been so busy screaming that the world is all going to starve and that we'd all die, it seems like we weren't really prepared for the population to keep growing. Fewer people are starving today. People are living longer. The alarmists were all completely wrong. So we haven't invested in the infrastructure to process drinking water for the exploding population. Thankfully, that is a manageable, if expensive crisis.

Re:Alarmism (2)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317890)

Neo-malthusianism is like a millennarian cult. It doesn't matter that their doomsdays are proved wrong over and over and over again, they keep harboring this near-religious belief that civilization is going to self-destruct in a matter of years. When it keeps proving not to be true, they ignore the fact that nothing happened and invent a new prophetic date and new prophetic threshold when everything is supposed to collapse. It gets so old, and it seems like the majority ascribe to it in some way or another, at least whenever the topic comes up it seems to be 80% neo-malthusians.

I've gotten too tired of explaining how for four decades the number of children each woman produces has gone down steadily on every continent, and that many nations have population growth below replacement. The statistical reality doesn't show runaway growth, it shows a leveling off, but that doesn't sell to the crowd that wants to believe in impending disaster for no other purpose than to feel like moral heroes when they put out the recycling.

It's not all bad.. (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317512)

More people means more capacity to produce. Love them or hate them Japan, russia and china are showing the world how to manage (or how to not manage) demographic shifts. Places with money are taking steps to reduce massive overpopulation, places without it are still growing.

For decades we all assumed chinas vast population was their great weakness, not enough resources for everyone etc etc etc. As it turns out the most valuable resource is people, with energy (not electrical energy, more personal ability to work energy) and education, because everything else can be created from those two things. Not enough coal, uranium, oil etc? No problem, we'll invent something else. Too many people? No problem, we'll figure out how to make birth control.

Yes, it means more people, especially in africa, will probably starve to death. That's another problem we can solve if we bother to.

The biggest problem we face isn't 7 billion people, it's politicians who are unwilling or unable to make tough choices about how to deal with whatever specific challenges that creates in the long ru. I don't think anyone is really fond of chinas 1 child policy (or moreover its implementation), but the alternative is the mess that is india, where children are legally obliged to support parents, and there's no incentive, to have less children. Education and food production can catch up, or keep up, with the people we have, if we create reasonable incentives to limit family sizes and solve problems. And if governments aren't willing or able to make choices like that the people in those states are beyond anyones ability to meaningfully help in the long run anyway, so we'll try, and fail.

Limits; the simple over pop models don't apply (3, Insightful)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317820)

Humans are complex social creatures. When we over populate some people will not notice or care while others will suffer. Going even further, we will create methods by which more people can feel at ease and even some of the suffering people can create an incorrect context to feel better about it. We can lower statistical thresholds on just how bad poverty is... among other things.

We still have an influential amount of people who refuse to admit and another who refuse to adapt to the climate crisis we are in-- which is CAUSED by over population... sure, blame technology for it-- if there were fewer people wasting and polluting the climate could handle it better.

If you think a quality of life on par with the EU is a good goal, then you've already picked something impossible because the planet can only sustain about 2 billion people at those living standards; and possibly over the longer term the climate may not handle that either (but likely it would be slow enough we could adapt?)

JOBS: the big deal is jobs. there may be enough food to go around even today and we can ignore the fact it'll not keep up with population growth; because we don't have economically viable means to distribute the food / resources to WORKING peoples of the world who deserve equal right of access. We don't have enough gainful employment for the world; we have far far less meaningful jobs because we must create consumerism in order to prop up pointless jobs; this increases the resource consumption at a higher rate than population growth in order to maintain continual economic growth (which isn't sustainable either.) After we remove the cheap exploited labor and replace it with robotics there will be even more people unable to find work and we will have to invent even more meaningless jobs... something which seems unsustainable as well.

It means it's growing! (1)

afortaleza (791264) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317522)

What does the continued increase in world population mean for humanity and for the the planet?

For humanity it means that there are more humans, for the planet? FUCK THE PLANET !

Obligatory Monty Python (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317532)

Bloody Catholics having bloody children they can't bloody afford to bloody feed...

Will be ready to fly (1)

J Ira Rabinowitz (1163187) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317590)

I wonder if the rule that a new aircraft is ready to fly when the weight of its documentation equals the weight of the aircraft applies to the weight of all humans compared to the weight of the earth?

What humanity? (0)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317618)

The one that keep having children forcing them into a life of suffering, poverty, slavery, or famine?, or the ones having the means, but doing nothing to prevent that (i wonder for how many centuries would be eradicated famine from the planet with the banks bailout money), or the ones that or the ones that even know how much will suffer the childs born in certain conditions, still ban abortion, or the ones with the best intentions that ends making things worse for most, or...

1.2% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317644)

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function." - Albert Bartlett

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9znsuCphHUU

Two Words: (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317716)

Soylent Green

Re:Two Words: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37317810)

Yep, there's more than one way to recycle.

Statistical Map? (1)

smoothnorman (1670542) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317776)

though made mention of in the article; i think it would be generally instructive to visualize where on the planet are the populations rising significantly. it's overly optimistic, i'm sure, but it might help to drive some international efforts to promote basic birth control measures.

How to interpret this... (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317852)

Interestingly, the article sticks with generalities and doesn't go into the specifics of where population growth is occurring and what impact it is having. What we don't want is for a less developed nation to be in a zero sum game for resources and have an expanding population. It's also not good if this growth occurs in poor nations, but is supported by highly developed nations, either directly through international aid or indirectly through immigration (e.g. the US's population growth).

Obviously every life is important, but is the increase in productive members of society or in impoverished people needing support? I.e. are they net producers or net consumers of the world's resources? If it's the former then it's cause to celebrate, but if it's the latter then conditions are going to deteriorate for most people, especially said poor.

No more natural selection (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317854)

With all the rules, interdictions, health care and all, we are directly tampering with "natural selection", so more people, who would otherwise die, continue to live after diseases or accidents that should have left them dead. Of course, we improve our life expectancy with the more and more sophitiscated health care that we provide, but we artificially increase our life expectancy, and our birthrate with the survival of more and more premature born babies. I am not saying this is bad, but this is certainly one of the reasons that makes the population grow faster and faster.

"What does the continued increase in world...?" (1)

oDDmON oUT (231200) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317872)

That Dominion 'igions and other religious shibboleths are alive, well and still spreading their dogmas.

Be fruitful and multiply (1)

atarione (601740) | more than 2 years ago | (#37317880)

perhaps when God told us to go forth and populate the Earth.... he had made the (mistaken) assumption we'd know when to stop.

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