billions of humans too many: one planet’s not enough

too many humans

Sure, it's been convenient to turn first to tech for answers to humans' planetary overshoot.

We'll just trim our footprint, we promise (and this may even be possible...many nations headed to Bali seem to think so).

Yet, it's no longer just the pundits who notice that the best way to trim our human footprint is for a bunch of us to die.

Straight away, there are about 2 billion more humans on-planet at the moment than our 'biocapacity' can support (via SciAm).

Not to advocate mass suicide...yet that's effectively what's in the cards...whether by pandemic or war or disruption.

Lots of folks are gonna die in the decades ahead, and there's no ethical basis for denying this eventuality any longer.

Lots of folks are gonna die in the decades ahead, and there's no ethical basis for denying this eventuality any longer.

It's significant, IMHO, that Scientific American weighs in on this crucial point just days before the Bali bash begins. Who better to put population growth challenges squarely in the Bali radar?

And, actually, the Optimum Population Trust calculates that the planet could best hold only 2-3 billion.

From a systems thinking perspective, however, it's not obvious that we humans should or could now attempt to do something about any of this.

For one thang, we're almost certain to grab the wrong lever. Our human track record suggests that our biggest problem is our solutions, to paraphrase Amory Lovins.

For another, the inter-locked exponentialities we've already set in motion are spinning off new positive feedback loops, and it would be sheer luck to stumble onto enough 'eco tipping points" to ever get out in front of these trajectories.

Oh, and, we gotta add projected population growth to the list of challenges for the US. By 2050, only 3 other countries will add more people than the US: India, Pakistan and Nigeria.

True, this is only 4% of the projected global population growth, yet, yup, there's gonna be over 100 million more Americans in just 4 decades. Meanwhile, the EU will add only 9 million.

Or not.

Published by Ken on November 28th, 2007 tagged Climate Change, Systems Thinking

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