Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#41  Postby felltoearth » Apr 12, 2018 12:23 pm

minininja wrote:
Alan B wrote:I think the apparent reduction in the fertility rate shown in Hermit's post will have, in the long term, little effect and will be too late.

But other than horrific illiberal policies nothing can be done to end population growth faster. Moreover, if we did substantially reduce the number of new children being born further, we'd end up with a large population of old people with not enough young people to work to look after them.

There is no absolute limit on the number of people that the world can sustain. It depends on technology and how we use resources. The article you link to talks about a "European standard of living" but that doesn't actually mean quality of life, it means the amount of non-renewable resources we consume. But that's only so high because our current societies are horrifically wasteful. That's what needs to change.

Yep. You’ll have an easier time controlling resources than ever controlling population.
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#42  Postby Cito di Pense » Apr 12, 2018 12:43 pm

felltoearth wrote:
minininja wrote:
Alan B wrote:I think the apparent reduction in the fertility rate shown in Hermit's post will have, in the long term, little effect and will be too late.

But other than horrific illiberal policies nothing can be done to end population growth faster. Moreover, if we did substantially reduce the number of new children being born further, we'd end up with a large population of old people with not enough young people to work to look after them.

There is no absolute limit on the number of people that the world can sustain. It depends on technology and how we use resources. The article you link to talks about a "European standard of living" but that doesn't actually mean quality of life, it means the amount of non-renewable resources we consume. But that's only so high because our current societies are horrifically wasteful. That's what needs to change.

Yep. You’ll have an easier time controlling resources than ever controlling population.


It sounds great on paper. Other than the fact that nobody knows how to implement either sort of policy, the three of ya have saved the planet. Last I heard, only religious nuts were bent on salvation, and they don't know how to implement their brand, either, even though it only involves imaginary souls, even though an imaginary job is easier than a real one.

Yes, there may be no practical limit on the number of people the world can sustain, but this speculation is only useful for tossing out the implementation of 'illiberal policies', but these seem to develop naturally with overcrowding. Heaven forbid any illiberal policies, though, right? Fortunately, nobody knows how to implement those, either. As Alan B can testify, there's never been a better time to be OLD and living in the developed world.

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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#43  Postby laklak » Apr 12, 2018 2:20 pm

Soylent Green is one way forward.
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#44  Postby Thommo » Apr 12, 2018 2:53 pm

I'm pretty sure there is a practical limit on how many people the planet can sustain at anything like the kind of quality of life we currently demand in the developed world. I'm also pretty sure we're catastrophically past that point. There is nothing we can do that wouldn't be the most horrendous genocide the world has ever seen and that's almost certainly a far worse option.

Fortunately for us it's probably about 50 years before the first large chunk of the non renewables start to become severely depleted, but I'm not sure I'd fancy living in the generation of our grandchildren or great grandchildren (not that I have any children and this is a prime reason for it).

Just imagine how cross they'll be with us when they find out how we just chucked away our plastics, used electronics, and burnt all the fossil fuels (damaging the climate in the process) while depleting economically viable extraction of everything from indium and aluminium to oil and coal. Not to mention all those species we ate, hunted and fished out to extinction.

Probably best to make an exit before then. And be sure to recycle along the way, especially your computer.
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#45  Postby Sendraks » Apr 12, 2018 3:11 pm

Thommo wrote:I Not to mention all those species we ate, hunted and fished out to extinction.


In our defense, they were delicious.
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#46  Postby Thommo » Apr 12, 2018 3:12 pm

I'm probably just in a bad mood.

Some of them weren't though
http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1097283.shtml
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#47  Postby Sendraks » Apr 12, 2018 3:29 pm

I was struck by how muted the response was to the death of last Northern White Rhino. It was almost as if the enormity of what humanity had allowed to happen, left people bereft of any way to express how they felt. A feeling all too readily applied to every other species we've horrifically driven to the brink of extinction.

I saw Greenfinches for the first time in over a decade at the weekend. A bird that used to be regular feature of my day to day life, just disappeared from view, due to the effects of a disease that began ravaging the population in 2006. Seeing that bird again (there were three on my feeders) actually brought me to tears, because I hadn't fully realised how much I'd missed seeing them. How much human involvement, via bird feeders and bird friendly gardens, has helped the population recover I don't know. I like to think we helped.

There are species which humanity has nearly driven to extinction and, thanks to human intervention, have been saved. Were it not for the work of the WWT, in particular the staff at Martin Mere, then children today would probably have no idea what a NeNe looks like outside of stuffed specimens in the Natural History museum or pictures in books.

We're still at a tipping point as to whether we continue down the path of environmental destruction or whether we start to crawl back from the brink. I've seen positive changes in my lifetime. Not enough but, better than nothing.
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#48  Postby Thommo » Apr 12, 2018 3:39 pm

The basic problem that the OP asked remains. There are about 10 times too many people, and it's going to get about 50% worse in the best case estimate. There's no way from here to sustainability that isn't hideous beyond all human evil that's come before.

The sad thing is that when we talk about eco diversity, topsoil loss, fishing stocks, devastation of rainforests or coral reefs or even antibiotic resistance and so on, we aren't even looking at the actual depletable resources. Those were all renewables that we abused so badly they are either ceasing to be or having the level at which they can be renewed permanently reduced. We are so far off track it makes me genuinely sad to the point of sleepless nights.
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#49  Postby Sendraks » Apr 12, 2018 3:57 pm

I think that is a very pessimistic appraisal of the situation.

My view is that it is within humanity's gift to tackle these problems so we don't tip over the precipice.

By far the biggest barrier to this is overcoming the desire for profit at all costs.
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#50  Postby Thommo » Apr 12, 2018 4:07 pm

Not really, if everyone on Earth wants a desktop PC, a TV, an internet connection and so on and so forth then marginal gains in converting base resources into those products pretty much just scales to the number of people. Industry is actually pretty efficient on those fronts (not so great when it comes to avoiding pollution, not exploiting labour or division of the profits of course, but those aren't strictly relevant to resource depletion).

So you simply need enough silicon, enough gold, enough aluminium, enough plastics and so on for all those devices. Plus enough power generation to run them and so on and so forth. Bottom line is there isn't actually enough of a lot of those materials (that can realistically be extracted). Even if we started recycling pretty much everything now, we'd still have a massive problem. And we aren't going to, and it's not because of business, it's because of ordinary people.

It's a bummer and I really, really hope I'm wrong. I'm not going to be responsible for putting a child into that world though. And yes, that's just a me decision, I don't expect anyone to follow my thoughts, it's totally up to everyone to do what they think is right and good luck to them.

ETA: I had a look around for some info on when various resources, in various classes are forecast to run out (and that's not going to be the right term, it's when further extraction yields negligible benefit for the cost, and is subject to new discoveries) and found this one:
https://matadornetwork.com/life/resourc ... fographic/

And also this rather more (excessively) optimistic view of the future:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16536598

And a lot of nightmare fuel along the way:
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/20 ... umans.html
https://www.sciencealert.com/this-is-wh ... -100-years
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=MZ_ ... 00&f=false
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/arti ... l-be-wrong
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#51  Postby laklak » Apr 16, 2018 3:01 am

PCs, internet, TVs, cell phones, etc. are just the tip of the iceberg. There are literally billions of people chomping at the bit to have air conditioning, central heating, nice houses, lawn mowers, dishwashers, washing machines, cars. Fucking billions of them. What happens when those have-nots start getting, well, uppity, and the EU, USA, etc. has to give up all their nice shit so we can all live a nice, equal, grey concrete Soviet housing block type of life? Because there sure ain't enough stuff out there to give everybody what we've already got. Actually, grey concrete housing blocks are probably the best we can hope for, and only if everything goes absolutely swimmingly. It's going to get a lot uglier. I absolutely concur with your decision not to have kids, Thommo, and as much as I love mine I'd make the same decision if I had to do it over again.

But hey, I'll be dead by the time it all collapses, which is definitely a good thing. What? Me worry?
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#52  Postby TopCat » Apr 16, 2018 9:36 am

Thommo wrote:There is nothing we can do that wouldn't be the most horrendous genocide the world has ever seen and that's almost certainly a far worse option.

By far the best, IMO, of Dan Brown's novels is Inferno, which is about a mad scientist on a mission to release a genetically engineered, highly transmissible and infectious virus whose only effect is to reduce human fertility by a factor of about 2/3.

Once I managed to get over the obvious credulity barrier, I actually hugely enjoyed the story (possibly helped by the fact that I was poolside with muchos beeros at the time of reading).

With the coming Robotocene era likely to help with the declining youthful workforce, I reckon humanity is just about perfectly placed to release such a virus, once we get CRISPR and its successors tarted up a bit.

ETA: Damn. For a moment there I imagined I might have just invented the term 'Robotocene'. But sadly it's been a Twitter hashtag for a couple of years.
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#53  Postby Cito di Pense » Apr 16, 2018 12:07 pm

TopCat wrote:
ETA: Damn. For a moment there I imagined I might have just invented the term 'Robotocene'. But sadly it's been a Twitter hashtag for a couple of years.


If you hunt up its etymology, -cene signifies 'recent', and doesn't deliver unless you're talking about the past. Trust Twitter hashtags to immerse you in nonsense.
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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#54  Postby THWOTH » Apr 16, 2018 12:29 pm

"No-one is exempt from speaking nonsense – the only misfortune is to do it solemnly."
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#55  Postby TopCat » Apr 16, 2018 1:29 pm

The population is well over 7 billion now and we're already verging on completely fucked.

It's hardly reassuring that it's only going to go up by another 50%.
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#56  Postby TopCat » Apr 16, 2018 1:33 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
TopCat wrote:
ETA: Damn. For a moment there I imagined I might have just invented the term 'Robotocene'. But sadly it's been a Twitter hashtag for a couple of years.


If you hunt up its etymology, -cene signifies 'recent', and doesn't deliver unless you're talking about the past. Trust Twitter hashtags to immerse you in nonsense.

It'll be in the past soon enough, so such a distinction is worthless. But thank you for the education in etymology.
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#57  Postby Thommo » Apr 16, 2018 1:42 pm

TopCat wrote:
Thommo wrote:There is nothing we can do that wouldn't be the most horrendous genocide the world has ever seen and that's almost certainly a far worse option.

By far the best, IMO, of Dan Brown's novels is Inferno, which is about a mad scientist on a mission to release a genetically engineered, highly transmissible and infectious virus whose only effect is to reduce human fertility by a factor of about 2/3.


I've never actually read a Dan Brown, but that premise at least sounds more interesting than the others I've heard about.
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#58  Postby zulumoose » Apr 16, 2018 2:02 pm

a mad scientist on a mission to release a genetically engineered, highly transmissible and infectious virus whose only effect is to reduce human fertility by a factor of about 2/3


I'm not sure I would want to stop that virus, but it wasn't presented like that in the film version.
IIRC in the film version the virus was presented as akin to Dante's Inferno, a vision of hell, pain and suffering. it was to reduce the population through gruesome disease and genocide. Ties in with the book's title that way.
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#59  Postby Alan B » Apr 16, 2018 2:19 pm

Population Meter

At 14:13 GMT today it registered 7,615,719,100 This figure takes into account live births versus deaths. In the last six minutes (while writing this post) it has increased by about 800...
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Re: Human Over Population. How to Stem and Reduce.

#60  Postby Alan B » Apr 16, 2018 2:25 pm

I have heard of Dan Browns book, but I wasn't aware of its premise. If it were possible to reduce the fertility by 2/3 (without the gory details that the film portrays), how long would it take to reduce the population to, say, two billion (assuming the death-rate stays the same)?

Edit
Perhaps a mathematics clever-clogs could do an estimation (using the latest fertility in Hermits link as the starting point)?
Last edited by Alan B on Apr 16, 2018 2:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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