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Seven Billion And Counting

The human population is just about to reach seven billion. Yikes! We talk to the experts — Polyannas, Cassandras and in between — about how many of us Mother Earth can handle.

The earth at night. (NASA)

The earth at night. (NASA)

The UN says next week, maybe on Halloween, the world population will hit seven billion humans. That’s a whole lot of homo sapiens. It took us forever to hit the first billion, just after 1800. We’ve added four billion in just the last fifty years. Now, seven.

Can the planet manage this population of us? Doomsayers have long been wrong, but now some of the very things that saved us – fossil fuels – are croaking the environment. So what about eight billion? Nine? Ten?

This hour On Point: seven billion humans, and the planet we share.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Mark Lynas, author of The God Species: Saving The Planet In The Age Of Humans. He is a visiting research scholar at Oxford University’s School of Geography and the Environment.

Joe Romm, a physicist and climate expert, he is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and editor of the blog climateprogress.org. He served in the U.S. Department of Energy in the Clinton Administration.

Highlights

Some day this month, the estimated population of the world will top seven billion. But the numerical success of the human species has caused major strained on the planet and human infrastructure.

“We are pushing against the ability of the planet to feed the seven billion people that we have,” said Joe Romm, a physicist and climate expert editor of the blog climateprogress.org. “Food prices have been soaring. We’ve had the second major food price spike in the past three years, and now food prices are as high globally as they’ve been since the late 1970s.”

We’re not facing mass starvation, cautioned Romm. But adapting to the new realities will mean a change in behavior for the world’s most developed—and wasteful – countries.

“We’re certainly going to see a population of nine billion by 2050 – and that’s a mid-range estimate,” said Mark Lynas, author of The God Species: Saving The Planet In The Age Of Humans.

The challenge for the future, he said, won’t just be feeding those people, but feeding them even as they grow richer and demand better and more resource-intensive foods from a planet that is being seriously impacted by climate change.

Despite the daunting challenges, Lynas noted, “we need to have a fairly strong dose of humility when we make these long-term projections, particularly because we don’t know what technologies will be doing.”

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “Because censuses are infrequent and incomplete, no one knows the precise date — the Census Bureau puts it somewhere next March — but there can be no doubt that humanity is approaching a milestone.”

The Atlantic “The United Nations Population Fund estimates that in one week, on October 31, 2011, the world’s population will reach 7 billion. Just 200 years ago, there were only 1 billion people on the planet, and over the next 150 years, that number grew to 3 billion. But in the past 50 years, the global population has more than doubled, and the UN projects that it could possibly grow to 15 billion by the year 2100.”

Practical Ethics “One example is the rapidly growing information economy. If someone makes a hammer, only a few people get the benefit, but if someone records a new song, writes a computer program, or invents a new technology, everyone can benefit. These activities thus produce more value the more people we have. With twice as many people doing jobs like these, we could all get roughly twice the benefits (more art, culture, science, technology), or they could work roughly half as many hours. A larger population thus has the potential to make life much better, so long as we can find the resources to support it.”

The Economist “In 1950 the whole population of the earth—2.5 billion—could have squeezed, shoulder to shoulder, onto the Isle of Wight, a 381-square-kilometre rock off southern England. By 1968 John Brunner, a British novelist, observed that the earth’s people—by then 3.5 billion—would have required the Isle of Man, 572 square kilometres in the Irish Sea, for its standing room. Brunner forecast that by 2010 the world’s population would have reached 7 billion, and would need a bigger island.”

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  • Chuck

    Advice to the hung niggas impregnating those AIDS infested African hoes:

    Slit their throats then yours.

  • Ecomsites

    There is still way more than enough resources for a relatively small population – it is just a matter of getting the current extremely corrupt politicians out of office to allow implementing a FREE MARKET ECONOMY so that resources could be used equitably – fairly, and then, if this were the case, everyone would have at least everything that they needed and much more for most of the population (more like 60% instead of about 10% as it is now). 

  • Drew You Too

    This is really getting ridiculous On Point…Have another great day full of comments like the two posted prior to this one. I won’t be listening or participating again tomorrow.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t understand your criticism.

      Are you saying that a discussion of the earth’s population and the resources necessary to sustain it is not a suitable topic of discussion for a public affairs program?  

      Or are you suggesting that the comments we readers post represent the views of On Point?

      Because the existence of your comment rather neatly disproves that theory.

    • Brett

      …Two comments to tell the forum that you aren’t going to listen in and are not going to comment/participate in the forum? 

      Talk about ridiculousness! 

    • nj

      How can we miss you when you won’t go away?

  • Wm. James from Missouri

    Mr. Ashbrook and NPR,Thank you for having this show. I wish that every media outlet took the time to discuss the population issue. My view is simple, “There is NO people shortage” ! Why must the human race continue to create suffering ? Have we been hypnotized by history ?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      To create more victims for molesters and abusers!!

  • Wm. James from Missouri

    Mr. Ashbrook,

    I am sorry but I felt compelled to reply to your post from “Practical Ethics”, in your lead-in to these comments ( “One example is the rapidly growing information economy…” ) . These kinds of ideas are totally out of  touch with the realities of the effects of “Moore’s Law”. If the “Moore’s Law” phenomena holds up over the next 20 years, computer power will increase by a factor of one million for the same cost. This means that any program that takes a million seconds to run, today, will take one second to run in 20 years. Also, it is a known fact that any algorithm requires at most, three types of  algorithmic structures to run ( not including list boxes, variables, etc.); they are: 1: A “ Do Loop” 2: “An “If Then” statement: 3: and/or ;  a “ For -Next loop. Knowing this, plus the fact that any logic circuit can be created ( in large part) by using something called a “NAND” gate and also knowing that Neural Networks can simulate the human brains activity, ( The exact configurations of these networks are still being worked out. I add, at ever increasing speeds.) It will soon be made obvious that humans are not needed in the literal sense, to create knowledge, build things, … and in general; to do anything ! A machine that is fast enough or engineered enough can do anything that a human can do, period. Sorry, this is reality. The powers that are, are nowhere !

  • Yar

    If our world has the possibility to support 1 billion, or 7 billion, or even 15 billion we will have to find a replacement for carbon based energy.  This is the reality of a polarizing fight over the EPA, big oil, big coal and our current state of political discourse.  We have 7 billion reasons to find a new source of energy.  Please, we cannot simply stick our head in the tar sands. 

    It is quite possible that in 200 years that there will be less than 1 billion people on the planet.  I see that as more likely than 15 billion by 2100.  Both are still a possibility.  

    What causes populations to crash? In 1918 50 million people died in a flu pandemic.  That was 3 percent of the world population.  Over a million people died from the great potato famine from 1845 to 1852.
    What percentage of the worlds population is reliant on a few strains of rice, corn, wheat, and soybeans to live.  A significant crop failure in any one of these crops will change the carrying capacity significantly.  Another population limiter is nitrogen fertilizer, it is currently made from of natural gas.  Our current population carrying capacity is based on using 100 million years worth of stored fossil fuel every year, and yet enough solar energy is received to generate the amount of energy we consume each day.  What role does the US have in preparing for the future?  We point out problems with high birth rate countries, saying that isn’t sustainable, and yet the United States makes up only 2 percent of world population while consuming 20 percent of world energy production. I see the problem, it is us.

    • josh-omaha

      we have a solution for carbon based energy. google Nicola Tesla, wireless electricity, Tesla tower, etc.  It has been proven to work. It can help to solve every tangible problem we have. But It was tossed aside for the more profitable idea of oil dependence. So until we eliminate greed, we will be slaves to our own system, destined to self destruct.

  • BalanceOfTrade

    7 billion people, huh?

    Let’s see there are 3.79 million square miles of land in the US.

    So that would translate into about 1850 people per square mile.

    Let’s see, New Jersey is about 1170 people per square mile and DC is about 9600 people per square mile.

    I think we can do that… ‘Give us your tired, your poor…”

    Let them work for almost nothing and have them pay taxes…

    We’ll find a way for it to all work out.

    • nj

      Space is, perhaps, the least restrictive factor for human population.

      Water, food, energy, the ability of the planet to absorb byproducts, etc. are much more important in the overall picture.

      • BalanceOfTrade

        Understand…

        The point of land/square mile was to demonstrate we don’t have a over-population problem. 

        We have a problem with who controls the resources, money and the technology that delivers them. 

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          We have a problem of too many people in relation to our current resources.

          • BalanceOfTrade

            Not at all.  That’s what the ‘architects of control’ want you to think.

            Limits on resources are created by cartels to provide unlimited profit opportunities.

    • Frosty

      Where do you propose we grow the food people we need to eat if every square mile is filled with people?

      • BalanceOfTrade

        South America like we are doing already.

  • Markus

    I feel like we’re playing Whack a Mole with the planet’s problems while number of moles keep increasing. Water shortages? Try conservation, dams, pipes. Air pollutions gets scrubbers, cleaner sources. Unemployment gets government spending, tax cuts, whatever. Warming gets … well, we haven’t figured that out yet. And, with a little time, I could probably name 100 other problems that have overpopulation as a major contributor. Too few vaccines, inadequate housing, fish extinction,  light pollution, dead zones in the ocean, etc.  Feels like overpopulation provides the constant pressure for all these.
     
    Closest to a solution I’ve heard is reduce death in newborns in developing countries. Once poor people know their kids will make it to adulthood, the stop having so many. But I’ve also heard best cases of topping out at 11 billion, if this can be implemented.
     
    Pretty depressing.

  • JustSayin

    The planet passed it’s natural carrying capacity long ago, and fossil fuels (aka stored solar energy) is supporting the rest.

    How Many People Should the Earth Support?:
    http://www.ecofuture.org/pop/rpts/mccluney_maxpop.html

    “…We are now testing the
    world to see how far the premise [population density] can be pushed before consequences start
    happening that are generally considered undesirable. (Of course, with
    better public education, this point could be reached sooner rather than
    later, but this is too broad a subject to be considered here.)…”

    • JustSayin

      “…Probably what people are really
      contemplating is the maximum population the Earth can sustain
      indefinitely in some sort of steady-state. Or perhaps they really mean
      how many people can the Earth support until fossil fuels are depleted. I
      have been working on the steady-state problem for over a decade now,
      but considering mainly topsoil as the limiting resource. I now have
      annotated reviews of the global literature on topsoil loss, forest land
      degradation, grazing land degradation, irrigated land degradation, and
      fishery degradation. It has become clear that there is no need to worry
      about energy– agricultural top soil and those dependent on it will
      vanish long before the last barrel of liquefied coal is gone.

       The lifetime of past civilizations correlates well with their topsoil resources….””…This contribution illustrates
      how difficult it is to pin down an exact number for the carrying
      capacity of the Earth for humans, and illustrates how complex the human
      life-support system is and shows the kinds of assumptions that must be
      made to produce an estimated maximum
      population figure. The energy component of population estimates cannot
      be ignored. In the United States, for every calorie of food energy
      consumed by humans, on the average it takes 10 calories of fossil fuel
      energy to grow the food transport it to the table and prepare and
      package it. In
      the United States the ratio of fossil fuel to solar energy in the food
      you consume is 10 to 1! We don’t eat solar energy–we eat fossil fuel.
      As that is depleted, it doesn’t take a genius to anticipate the
      consequences for the average U.S. diet…”

    • JustSayin

      “… Of course the point of this
      exercise is to point out that if we wish to grow the world population to
      the UN projection of about 12 billion near the middle of the next
      century, such growth will have to come at the expense of many things,
      not the least of which is compassion for people less fortunate than we
      in the U.S.

       It also shows somewhat clearly what I have been saying for over
      30 years, that increasing population density is inextricably linked to
      loss of freedom and losses of choice. In the worst of the above
      scenarios, we can forget the Bill of Rights. … This exercise also leads to Paul Jindra’s conclusion that
      “Ultimately, there is no such thing as the rule of law, only the rule of
      numbers.” By this he means that as the population grows, freedoms of
      behavior and choice, and niceties such as human rights, take a back seat
      to more primordial struggles of humans to survive, by whatever means
      possible. …”

      • Margbi

        Read “Camp of the Saints” by Jean Raspail for a “what-if” novel illustrating your point about “primordial struggle of humans to survive, by whatever means possible…” as clearly as anything ever written. l

  • Ed

    As they like to say, everyone in the world could have a house and a small piece of land in a family of four on a land mass the size of Texas. The problems we’re facing are now not enough people: see the video Demographic Winter.

    • Yar

      Please don’t feed the trolls, it only encourages them.  Logic nor physics explain the world of Ed.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Aren’t trolls people too?   If we continue to feed them with irrefutable truth, they may get enough attention, and start to see the truth.  If not, what is really lost?

        • Yar

          Terry, you are using logic.  I told you it doesn’t work in the world of Ed. Trolls only see truth when they are hungry, if you feed them logic, they eat it with dogma.  Any response you make is troll food, truth can only come from not being baited.  Even if you  scare away one troll another will take his place.  It is better to simply think, Ed, I am happy you are here.

          • Anonymous

            Ed is more a zealot than a troll.  He has a few pet issues but he isn’t malicious.  Wait until around 10:00 for that barrage to start.

          • Anonymous

            Let’s try not to encourage him.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Would 7 Billion people even have standing room in Texas?  I doubt it!  That’s like saying that religions that have long histories of molesting and abusing children, know best how to deal with children and the population problem!

    • Anonymous

      Who likes to say this?  The planet has too many people for its finite resources. 

    • Anonymous

      I’m sure you mean 7 billion Lilliputians might fit on a land mass the size of Texas. I doubt 7 billion could fit on the largest Continent of Asia. 

      • Anonymous

        Certainly not Texas-sized people.

        • TFRX

          “Texas-sized” used to mean something a quarter century ago. With today’s obesity rates, doesn’t most every state qualify for that?

          (And that does go back to resources. We are literally growing so many calories in this country’s farmland that we don’t have a good use for all of it, so we cram it into animals who’d rather eat grass, etc…)

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Excellent observation!!

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Good One!!

    • Ellen Dibble

      Cite, please.  “They” like to say?

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        His claim is unrealistic.  Yes, we can fit everyone into the land of Texas, but humans require more than just room.  They also need board–food, water, energy, etc.–and that demands a whole lot more space than the claim allows for.

        • JustSayin

          Disregarding support and comfort…If everyone was turned to ash they would all fit into a single supertanker.

        • TFRX

          In the western US, isn’t water the one thing that’s already short now (as the guest has alluded to)?

          I mean, I read Cadillac Desert a number of years ago, and nothing I’ve picked up on tells me otherwise. The Ogallala isn’t going to last forever.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Exactly.

        • Ellen Dibble

          You also need to educate them, unless you mean to use them as slaves, by whatever name. 

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            That’s ideal, although the longer I spend in education, the less hope I have for it.

  • Pmsinotte

    Here’s the comment [below]  I sent to the BBC following their piece on this topic. Tom, I hope you’ll do a better job than they.

    Your discussion was disappointingly anthropocentric, with no mention of how the explosion of the human population is impacting this planet’s plants and animals. To quote Chris Hedges, “…an estimated 8,760 species die off per year – because, simply put, there are too many people.” 

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Education seems to be the best way of restricting the population increases.  More educated people know that they can make enough money to support a small family, instead of relying on more children to be a form of supporting the family.
        Religions that resist contraception, in order to have more victims for the religious leaders to molest and abuse, need to be honest with themselves, and the public.  Continued protection and hiding of those molesters and abusers, proves that is the basis of those religions!!

    • Anonymous

      I agree with the premise that religion is the problem regarding population control, but it does that in order to increase its numbers.  The purpose isn’t to increase the number of children for the priests to rape. 

  • Anonymous

    I fear that humanity will continue to multiply until like yeast, drowns when our waste products reach lethal levels.

    I recall a scene in the movie ‘Freedom, a History of Us’ when Sitting Bull addresses a number of Lakota regarding the terms of the treaty which dooms the tribe to privation and misery – “For what kind of man would take a wife and have children he cannot feed?”

    Disregard for the lessons of history, hubris haunts the human race in this and countless other ways. In the past this has manifested in war, famine and folly that has kept our populations in check. Modernity has insulated us from many of these forces, but I fear, only to delay an inevitable correction the likes of which has not been serioulsy addressed except in medical journals and dark works of fiction.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    It is stupid to load ANY object or system to the breaking point, just to see if it can handle the extreme load!  Modelling and test-engineering are designed for that purpose!

    • Anonymous

      Under who’s parameters?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        The Biosphere projects, for one.
            My point is that if you load a bridge to the breaking point, to see how much it can support, you broke the bridge, and it is useless as a bridge!

  • Anonymous

    While the planet is having population problems here in the US we have states such as Mississippi who are trying to pass a State amendment that would outlaw abortion and some forms of birth control.
    What amazes me is that Mississippi has some of the worst poverty in the nation, one of the highest for children and the worst services for them.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/us/politics/personhood-amendments-would-ban-nearly-all-abortions.html

    • Terry Tree Tree

      They are  buying up all the watersheds and water resources they can, for more control and profit!

  • Guest

    Technology is getting miniaturized.  Why not us?  Genetic engineering can save us!  It can make our kids all 3 feet tall!!!  We’d eat and drink less, and take less to cloth us, and will double the capacity of sky scrapers of the same height!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Evolution and our consumption lifestyles are going the other way!

    • Franchittod

      you’re joking, right ,Guest?

  • Jerry

      It is hard to keep the number 7 billion in perspective, but Sarah Palin helped me when she said: “If a caribou needs to be sacrificed for the sake of energy independence, I say, ‘Mr. Caribou, maybe you need to take one for the team’” .

    A quite peculiar looking “team” we have on planet Earth. There are about 7 billion humans and 5 million caribou (adfg.alaska.gov). There also about 1.3 million bears, 400,000 great apes, 20,000 lions, and 3,200 tigers (iucn.org), to name just a few iconic members of this team.

    To put this in perspective, if you were to represent on a graph the number of caribou by 11 inches –and bears by 3 inches, apes by one inch, and large cats by a couple of millimeters –then the number of humans would be represented by the height of the Empire State Building.

    Now I know what 7 billion means.

  • Gregg

    Undoubtedly the subject of wealth inequality will be raised. I’ve never understood the hub bub. The myth’s of the alleged detriments are slain one after another on, of all places…. wait for it…. PBS.

    http://video.pbs.org/video/2160792049

    • Anonymous

      Well spoken theoretical BS totally contradicted by facts.  What were the marginal tax rates when Gates and Jobs began their ventures?

       The next person who refuses to make more money because of high taxes on that extra income will be the first.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Thanks for raising the subject!   How people acquire and use their wealth, and lie to acquire MORE, is the problem!

  • notafeminista

    We don’t know what the breaking point is.  Ehrlich was wrong.

    • Anonymous

      I guess you have never been on a Tokyo subway at rush hour.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    I saw another Documentary last night it is called “The Inconvenient Tax”

    It so informative and so complicated the income tax.
    Do you know all the Tax Code?

    “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Irrelevancy alert!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      That was my topic yesterday. 7 Trillion and counting and now One Point got a show titled from my own topic. “sigh”

      • Terry Tree Tree

        You should feel FLATTERED, that you raised a subject that was shown to be this important!  Obviously, they didn’t react to your post this fast.

  • a Stone
  • Anonymous

    In terms of technology, we can handle many more than 7 billion.

    Economically? We’ve gone past the golden age. We’re going to be looking at increased famine, disease, displacement of populations -= largely driven by speculation and profit seeking. I expect in a few we won’t be able to support 6 billion anymore, much less numbers above 7 billion.

  • Lucian Nicholson

    Maybe we need to stop breeding so much. The general mentality of the population is to breed so that, for example, our grandparents will have someone to take to the park to play.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I think older people need a warmth of human closeness that is separate from the sexual drive, and grandchildren, assuming the extended family is reasonably close, can provide that.  In tribal cultures, children might be more generally shared around.
         However, “the general mentality” seems to be that don’t voters vote on the basis of what will benefit my children and grandchildren, as if the children and grandchildren of other people were irrelevant.  
          When did we inhale that attitude?  What if the genes of the folks across the street are actually more adaptable to the environment as we have created it?  Why not try to foster the futures of everyone?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Good Point!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      I can still practice, but cannot reproduce for the past 33 years!  Guys have a VERY unfounded fear of vasectomy!!

  • Lauren Kaskey

    Isn’t overpopulation already causing starvation and death? As a student of the food system and agriculture, I wonder why we think this world can support more people when we are not feeding people well right now.

    • Franchittod

      yes, and it’s also causing habitat destruction . other animals and plants live here too in case the “Antropocine’s” have forgotten.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Is there a carrying limit? Absolutely.
    There are plenty of people starving now.
    Thank goodness I won’t be around at the end of the century to see 10 billion people. Doesn’t bode well for my kids though.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      i hear you. thinking the same thing.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Ditto!!

  • Ellen Dibble

    It’s one thing to have lots of people if they are tending the planet, stewards of this creation that sustains life of so many sorts.  
       It’s another thing altogether if the people on the planet are counterproductive, are not nurturing the environment in every way they can.  So I see scientists as trying to figure out how to undo some of the damage people have done, and it’s not clear yet whether science can stabilize things, and if so at what human level.

  • Gregg

    At the risk of sounding insensitive, what’s the point of the discussion? I can’t imagine a humane solution.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Birth control

      • Gregg

        Mandatory and enforced throughout the world?

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Let’s hope not, but strongly encouraged.  You want our help?  It comes with this price.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            Do you want to pollute the world water supplies with prescription drugs or birth controls?

      • Anonymous

        Duh!!  Isn’t it illustrative of the blindered thinking of many that such an obvious suggestion would be met with either surprise or opposition?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      There is no point just take it for a ride.

      • Gregg

        Anything to avoid “Fast and Furious”. 

        • Terry Tree Tree

          You think this subject isn’t as important as “Fast and Furious”, which was started under the ‘W’ administration, under a different name?
              The guns of “Fast and Furious”, are being used, in a minor way, to lower the world population.  No, I am NOT endorsing, NOR condoning the actual effects of “Fast and Furious”.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        ???

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Brown/1227104716 Tim Brown

      Technological advancement could allow us to support more people. I mean, the moon has plenty of water on it, we could move a billion people there! Plus there’s always Mars.

      Earth is old news, occupy the solar system!

      • nj

        One hopes this is sarcasm.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Why? 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        If we overload the planet, we won’t be able to occupy the solar system!  If we occupy space, we won’t have to overload the planet!

      • Franchittod

        Tim assuming ,your’e serious, our “occupying extraterrestrial bodies is nt the answer. we, as aspecies are like a spoiled brat who desn’t tkae care of his toys. toy broken? No problem. Mommy and daddy will buy me a new one. This consumptive view of natural resources is dangerous and arrogant.

    • nj

      That happens when one is unimaginative. Don’t worry, no one is counting on you.

    • Anonymous

      There is no humane solution when dealing with humans.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Many have been used, many are available, many more are possible!!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Education!!  The benefits of Vasectomies, birth control, smaller families, adoption, foster-parenting, ad infinitum!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    7 Billion and Counting? Where will they GET JOBS. America cannot even offer jobs for the 25 million Americans unemployed. how about the other countries like Greece or Iceland with economies are already down the drain. Where will those people find jobs?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      That increase in population will require increased production and services, thus an increase in jobs.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        OH Really!!! tell that to the 25 million or more unemployed Americans. Even China cannot guarantee employment for the 1.5 Billion Chinese or 1.2 billion Indians.
        Production and services are another misconception of Capitalism.
        the root of all evil.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          I submit that the lust for power is the root of all evil.

      • nj

        Production of stuff that requires exploitation of finite inputs.

        Maybe Mr Camp has a magic wand of some sort.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          We can do a lot with renewable energy.

          • nj

            We can, but energy is only one contributor to materials use. All kinds of stuff is needed for vehicles, buildings, consumer products, food.

            And even within the energy realm, photovoltaic panels require large amounts of relatively rare, mined materials. Windmills require mined, manufactured materials. Rebuilding the grid will require energy and materials.

             

          • Modavations

            so!

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Coal-fired , nuclear, natural gas-fired, and ALL other fossil-based power plants require MORE, plus the fuel, plus disposal of the by-products!

  • Ellen Dibble

    You also need to educate them, unless you mean to use them as slaves, by whatever name.

  • Dave in CT

    I hope we aren’t going to take the Larry Summers technocratic dream approach to this.

  • nj

    Cognitive dissonance alert!

    The lead in the top-of-the-hour “news” brief leading into this segment was heralding some level of perceived “growth” in some segments of the economy.

    Economic growth, even to keep up with population growth, is based on limited resources, and limited ability of the earth to absorb the human footprint.

    We can either control population, or Nature will do it for us.

  • Anonymous

    We all know about the famines in Africa, but there are other tragic events that don’t go noticed as over population, but as natural disasters.  The Indian Ocean tsunami disaster had inflated death rates due to overcrowding of vulnerable coastal area where most of the poor 3rd world live to subsist on fishing.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Good point !

  • loc

    Why haven’t we made progress in dealing with climate change, overpopulation and more? Corporate greed and power, that’s why. These CEO’s know that these are getting worse. Despite that, what comes first? Making a profit and satisfying the shareholders. 

    • Ellen Dibble

      I expect the uberrich know they’ll need a castle in the Himalayas and an army of lackeys to protect them and feed them, and therefore they think in terms of needing oh maybe 20,000 times the wealth of the average citizen in order to create a kind of master-race, of genetically designed heirs to live in those sheltered, gated places.

  • Dismal Troll

    I know we are not bacteria but the growth/death curves are similar. Lets face it , so fare humans are showing the same behavior as bacteria or mice.

  • Lee

    Species which have exponential population growth also have significant population crashes.  It is basic population dynamics.  Crash is usually caused by an external factor such as crash in critical food supply.  Our manipulation of the environment just makes the peak of growth higher before the crash comes.  I don’t have any confidence that our national or international governing bodies are up to the task.

  • BG

    The question isn’t “How are we going to FEED all these people?” the question is “How are we going to stop PRODUCING all these people?”

    Technically, we may be able to keep feeding more and more people but as we increase food production we also increase population and on it goes at an unsustainable cost.

    War, crime, famine, plague, exploited labor, drug abuse, slavery, rebellion and genocide are all byproducts of over-produced food and an over-crowded population.

  • Anonymous

    A steady state economy is the only way we can survive.  No matter what the human population is.

    Look up Richard Heinberg’s presentation called “Peak Everything”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybRz91eimTg

    Read Paul Gilding’s “The Great Disruption”.

    We passed the sustainable use of the Earth’s resources in about 1986.

    Neil

  • Carroll12

    What about the psychological impact of over crowding? Do we all want to live in a Tokyo-like world? Will there be pressure to develop national parks and preserves?

    • Dh001g

      See the thing is when you live in a well designed city it doesn’t feel cramped. I will take the city over sitting in traffic on a feeder road any day. I know that formally country roads get just as congested when every one moves to the country. Pretty soon the bulldozers come and build another 4 lane highway and more feeder roads. Then you have to find a “castle” further out. Live in the city and go camping in the country on the weekends. Give a chance and you will love it.

  • Dh001g

    If we are going to survive people need to start living in denser cities and taking mass transit. Living on a castle on a hill and driving to work doesn’t make you an environmentalist.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Disgusting idea–trapped in one vast rabbit warren.

      • JustSayin

        I guess he hasn’t seen Soylent Green.

        • Steve

          Tatses like chicken

    • Steve

      Please tell Mr. Gore

    • Anonymous

      You keep your big city’s I hate them.

       I don’t live on a hill in a castle. But my home is my castle and I won’t give it up to live in an apartment with a bunch of people.
      Or in a house so close to another, when I look out my window all I see is yours, I need my elbow room.

      • Dh001g

        Me, I love the country too…that is why I stay out of it. I used to live in the suburbs. That barren plain of over fertilized grass didn’t give me all that much privacy.

  • nj

    I hope someone challenges Mr Lynus’ faith in techno-salvation.

    The Green Revolution he praises is not sustainable. It is based on intensive use of fossil fuels, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, economies of scale. 

    Genetic engineering of food production is fraught with problems, and it does not appreciably increase yields.

  • Tim Weiskel

       While Mark Lynas has been correct on a number of topics in the past — especially about climate change, his confidence in “biotechnology” is simply misplaced.  It is an enormously petro-intensive approach to the problem of production, and therefore it will be suicidal in the face of “peak oil.”
       This kind of mindless “techno-scientific salvationism” is now guiding much of public policy, but like other forms of fundamentalism it will collapse as soon as we come to realize how destructive and unsustainable (not productive) this technology is in the very near run. http://food-matters.tv makes this clear.
       Mark is not alone in this misplaced confidence in “technology uber alles.”  In this country Stewart Brand is going the same route, but this is a sadly misplaced fundamentalism, a tragic collapse of vision in the face of the need to create a sober ethic of sustainability. 

        Tim Weiskel

    • JustSayin

      Nicely stated. Its the old faith in the unknown that many are taught as kids but refuse to relinquish to join the rational adult population.

  • Dave in CT

    Moderate, bankrupt, European style?

    • Anonymous

      What do you suggest: Extremist, wealth, at any cost, American style?

      • Modavations

        so!

  • margaret, Omaha

    With 7 Billion People, World Has a Poop Problem http://www.livescience.com/16713-7-billion-people-world-poop-problem.html via @LiveScience

    • Gregg

      That stinks.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Amen!

  • Ysimdl

    Another part of this problem is the MSM’s unwillingness to have a serious and factual discussion about it. Almost always, the guest on the right is from some neocon think tank (Heritage Foundation AEI, etc.). On the other side is a professor from ______ who’s the author of _________. Then, it’s like two little kids screaming at each other. Meanwhile the host is saying isn’t this great!

    No it’s not. If you won’t take this seriously, no solution will happen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=759863563 Margaret Green

    With 7 Billion People, World Has a Poop Problem http://www.livescience.com/16713-7-billion-people-world-poop-problem.html via @LiveScience

  • Casey Carbonneau

    The elephant in the room is bearing children, literally. We can address how to sustain an ever increasing population or we can address the increasing population itself.

    The majority of the world, mostly with religious justification, treats women like chattel. They are impoverished, chained to the birthing bed and, in large part, not employed. Millions of women who are not allowed to contribute to their society or the world at large beyond bearing more children.

    The empowerment of women is the best known cure for poverty and famine.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Education!  REAL education!!

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Your guests who think it is in the future are utterly clueless. Right now Extreme Poverty (Poverty that kills) is already killing more than 17,000 children everyday. That is over 100,000 per week, over 5,000,000 a year. Wake up guys, it is already here.

    We are on a limited resource in the middle of nowhere.

  • publican

    7 Billion people will fit in the state of Texas, families of six each on a 50 by 100 foot lot, approx size of suburban house lots.

    What about possible poulation collapse in China and India (extreme over emphasis on boy babies over girls.  current declines in poulation in Japan, Italy, Russia & other European countries.

    It is almost as equally possible that we will hit 6 bill going the other way as 10 bill in growth.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Your error is to calculate only the physical space that a person can occupy.  Add in the space required to produce food, water, energy, and supplies, and then recalculate.

  • Paul

    A great number of the problems with the earth could be resolved by reducing world population by a factor of 10 or so.

    This could be achieved in a few generations of “one child per family”.

  • mark

    The limiting factor will be (and perhaps already is) water.
    Humans can live with very little commercially grown food, but require an intake of a specific amount of potable water for survival. Starvation will make a person weak, dehydration will kill.

  • Katherine in CT

    Women rich and poor all over the world want birth control.
    Let’s get it to them.

    • JustSayin

      Let’s get a birth control pill for Men…. Then we will really see a decline in population.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Is there such a thing?

      • JustSayin

        It’s in its experimental stage… of course a one time chemical or viral treatment to cause reduced fertility or sterility in men is easier, but less desirable. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Vasectomies already exist, are pretty safe, inexpensive, little pain, fast, and have a few good points too!

  • Valda, Esse, MA

    China and it’s one child policy was ahead of the curve.  In-vitro fertilization is going to have to become a thing of the past so that people are not having 6-7-8 kids at a time. Valda, Essex, MA

    • Dave in CT

      Scary.

      What else do you want to control for us?  Please don’t run me over with your tank if I disagree.

      Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions.

      Have less kids and encourage others to voluntarily do the same, for valid ecological reasons.

      But go down the central planning and coercion path at our peril.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        Banning in vitro fertilization isn’t a tyrannical solution.  It’s a reasonable answer.  If you can’t have children, adopt those who need parents.  We aren’t obliged to provide technological solutions to boost reproduction.

    • Modavations

      In China and iNDIA,they grease the female infants,now it’s 5 men per
      WOMAN(?)

  • Adam Novitt

    Death Shortage

    The birth rate may drop but people now live forever.   It’s normal for people to live 60-70 years now.  Infant mortality is down.  The birth rate is a false indicator.

    • Steve

      Please gather your assumptions and do the math.

  • Ysimdl

    Isn’t it hypocritical for us to be telling other countries how to control their population growth and how they use their resources? We’re roughly 300 million people who use a disproportionate amount of resources. Why? Because we are “superior” Americans. That alone entitles us to do whatever we please.

    Has Obama or any other politician done anything to change that mentality?

    • Dave in CT

      Of course not. How can we growth for growths sake, and maintain the Keynesian illusion, if we start calling for auste…. uh, moderation?

  • Dave in CT

    Have you seen Contagion yet?

    Our arrogance aside, we are not masters of our universe, any more than our economy.

    The illusion of control and “management” is almost funny.

    Its also where tyranny comes from. Well-meaning, empowered “problem solvers”.

    This is kind of like the Long Term Care show.

    Thinking we can spend away or technologically evade, entropy and mortality.

    • Modavations

      Didn’t like it.Go check the Brad Pitt movie.3.5 stars.Did you see Cloverfield

  • Dave in CT

    Here comes the “management” answer……

  • Modavations

    Sweet Jesus.The life of the leftist is moving from one crisis to another.Everytime I get in a jet,all I see is wide open range.Try taking a jet from Cape Town to Brazaville.Nothing ,but wide open speces.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Did you note that the land you describe isn’t suitable for agriculture?

      • Anonymous

        Don’t feed the troll.

        • Anonymous

          Especially with the food shortage.

        • Modavations

          so!

      • Modavations

        Are you kidding.Zimbabwe used to the Bread Basket of Africa.S.Africa is so arable, they export everywhere.Congo,Zaire,etc, are friggin jungles.Some biologist went to northern Vietmnam and discovered hubdreds odf unkown species.From Philipines to Hawaii are 1000′s of islands.No ones even explored them.Being a world traveler,I know what’s out there:King Kong

    • Franchittod

      tis a gift to be simple, Moda. but simplistic…?

  • Anonymous

    The next famine is more likely to be driven by speculators on Wall Street driving up prices than any lack of supply.

  • Wendyinvt

    All evidence is that a totally plant-based diet is much more healthful for human beings and the planet. Yet here we are, exporting our Western meat-heavy diet to the rest of the world. If instead, we concentrated on changing the dialogue, we would have a much better chance of everyone surviving healthily than we do trying to figure out how to change other countries’ food economies to reflect ours.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Plants are what food eats.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Cute!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    7 Billion I think Humans are too horney.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Since my vasectomy, I can enjoy that condition, without contributing to the problem!!  Women can enjoy it too, along with other benefits!

      • Modavations

        Are we talking Strapacocktomies.I’m very confused

  • Al Hansen

    We can’t take care of the people who exist now! There is no more room in Bangladesh. They are running out of water in Jordan. Bangkok is flooding because people got richer, there was a hosing boom, they filled the marshes and built on them. 30 mile drift nets. Humans don’t get along.

  • Anonymous

    Why is the idea of disease not being discussed. Is there not a possibility of some kind of pathogen that will wipe out billions coming into this scenario. 

    I also think war and famine are going to also play into this.
    In the large scheme of things the earth will still be here and we might not.

    • Modavations

      so!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      EXACTLY!!

  • Modavations

    I’ve traveled the world and the only place I ever saw starvation ,was Maputo.Not India,not Mexico,not Hong Kong,Not Bali.I laugh when they have the “march for Hunger”, in Boston.Even the Crack Heads are fat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elijah-Binney/1093755234 Elijah Binney

    Between peal oil, peak coal, peak phosphorus, deforestation, desertification, sea level rise, ocean acidification… I don’t have much hope for the future.

    • Anonymous

      Elijah, it will be tough.  But humans are pretty smart (at least when we know what we are up against and we are trying to do the right thing!) and we are adaptable.

      We’ll see how things go…

      Neil

  • Beth

    My question about population growth and sustainability is, is it inevitable that we lose all of our wild spaces? Will we need all land space for agriculture, and/or will climate change cause the loss of uncultivated spaces? As a corollary, do wild species cease to exist?

    • Beth

      And one more thought, how can we make the changes necessary to sustain the population with our current political system? The change we need requires people to act against their immediate best interests (from the macro levels of companies making decisions not driven by profit margins to individuals choosing to modify their diets), which we seems so crushingly unwilling to do.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Beth,

      We are part of the earth’s environment, and we depend on *all* the other life, and all life has transformed the environment over the millenniums; and vis versa.  We humans cannot survive alone, and diversity is incredibly important.

      Our economy is a subset of the environment.

      Renewable energy is the only way we can continue.  Nuclear is not sustainable.

      Neil 

      • Modavations

        Drill down 10 miles ,we’re living on a Nuclear reactor.

        • Anonymous

          Kinda’, sorta’ — it is called geothermal heat, and as I understand it, the heat comes from the gravitational pressure.

          The sun is ready-made fusion reactor at a safe distance.  The Great Big Fusion Reactor In The Sky.

          Neil

    • Steve

      Science may be able to harness the oceansfor agiculture

    • Franchittod

      good question, Beth. seems that this discussion on and off the air has been way too anthropocentric

  • Ellen Dibble

    When these guests hear the economists say we have to consume more, we have to increase the GDP, all those things (cars, houses, stuff) that basically consume the earth, its capacity to sustain us — how would he speak to the politicians about this? 
        How would he speak to Occupy Wall Street?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Too many ways to list!!

    • Modavations

      Do it during the day.The Brits are flying helicoptors, with heat sensors, at night and evidently,no one’s home

  • Gloomy

    In the opinion of the distinguished scientist C.P. Snow, the optimum carrying capacity of the earth is around 200 million humans.

    At that level, all humans could exist for the long term  at a comfortable level without the destruction to the planet and to other living species that we are now seeing escalate.

    The 1% oligarchy that is now consolidating their wealth can still have it all as long as they can hire their uniformed goons to protect them.  For the rest of us in the other 99%,  the life-style that we enjoyed is OVER for us and for all the other species of life that we are pushing to extinction.

    No matter what the pollyanna optimists on your show will tell us – IT IS OVER!

      

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      We can do better than a mere 200 million.

    • Modavations

      another one of the “woe is me crowd”

  • Modavations

    In the 70′s Paul Ehrlich wrote the “Population Bomb”.He said we’d all die.He forget about the ingenuity of mankind and the development of the hybrid seed.Resistant to disease,less water,etc,..In Time magazine, in 1974, they were writing about the impending Nuclear Winter.Even though Herr Ehrlich was totally wrong,he is a tenured Professor at Standford.Why does the Left reward failure?

    • Anonymous

      Where are we going to conjure up more water?

      • Gregg

        Desalinization. 

        • Anonymous

          That is expensive and energy intensive and would require government subsidies that would dwarf the money spent on wind and solar power.

          • Modavations

            Excuses,excuses,excuses.The prices start high,then the competitors move in,then the prices drop.If you guys went to college,get your money back

          • nj

            They must have gone to Standford.

            [[ earlier Moda-troll prattle: Even though Herr Ehrlich was totally wrong,he is a tenured Professor at Standford. ]]

      • Modavations

        Desalinization.Humankind is ingenious.

    • Anonymous

      meh.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The same reason that the Right rewards failure!  $20 Billion dollar BONUSES for bankrupting the company that one was hired to lead!

      • Modavations

        Those are stock options,not salaries,not bonuses.They should,however, lose their as–s, when profits arn’t made.I’m sure some Leftist professor came up with this model.Probably Professor Frankie Raines,or Professorette Gorelik ,from Fannie Mae

  • Paula

    I am in 100% agreement with Richard.  I think “we have got to do our best” but the political will isn’t there, in the States at least.  Until our lobbyists realize that is important there won’t be any movement on this issue.  Sorry to sound so pessimistic.

  • Franchittod

    THe “God Species”? The title ,itself reflects the history of human arrogance that has polluted air, water and pushed many species to the brink of extinction. NO amount of so-called-”human ingenuity” or “engineering” is going to solve our food and ecoogiacl crises until humankind as a species learns humility in the face of Nature and the Cosmos. I wish there was a way we could humanely enforce a ten year moratotium on all human birth save for aborginal peoples across the Earth.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      What’s so good about aboriginal peoples?

      • TFRX

        “Humanely enforce a ten year moratorium on all human birth” sounds like an unproduced Richard Matheson script.

        • Modavations

          Just reopen the socialist gulags and gas chambers

      • Franchittod

        it’s not “what’s so good” about them, greg, it’s that their cultires are being encroached upon to the brink of extinction. They’re not increasing population numbers nor using the Earth’s resources at the rate ,we in the west are.

        • Dave in CT

          Didn’t Native American warfare keep numbers at a low enough level to sustain their hunter-gathering, light agriculture model?

          The warpath and vengeance were noble and accepted part of that culture.

          We on the other hand want everything, and immortality.

          No easy answers.

          • Modavations

            Davey,they were tourists from Mogolia.They crossed the land bridge 19,000 yrs.ago

    • Anonymous

      Well aren’t you glad no one implemented that just before you were born?

      • Franchittod

        if they did how owuld I ever know i was “denied life” ?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      I, personally and voluntarily, have enforced a moratorium on human birth for over 33 years!  Still enforcing it!  Still enjoying it!

  • Ellen Dibble

    Our consumption — self-consumption — reminds me of a piece I heard on All Things Considered, that the newly elected Republican congresspeople are not raising enough money, and don’t understand that is a major part of their “job,” and $115,000 a quarter is a failing grade, failing for the Republican Party, for starters.  They have to have more fundraisers.  (Meanwhile I’m wondering what are we the People paying them for anyway?  To be out there raising money?  And what are we burning fossil fuels for anyway?  In order to make the planet inhospitable, contentious, and dangerous?)

  • Dave in CT

    If you didn’t like Larry Summers and the DC cronies management of our economy, you should think their management of our planet will be any better.

    Sad, but true.

    Oh, but we will put the RIGHT people in power next time. The SMARTER people…..

    We CAN technocratically manage our world, really!

    It’s like controlling the weather.  After a few degrees out, its chaos theory. Control is an illusion.

  • loc

    If you tried to limit population growth, how would you enforce that? Here in the States, the two main parties can’t agree on anything. What would the President say? You must have only one child because that’s the “patriotic thing to do for the Homeland”? What about families with more than one child? Are you going to fine them in some way? Who’s going to enforce all of these rules?

    • Anonymous

      What about twins? which one do you kill? This whole discussion is ridiculous. 

      • Franchittod

        who said anything about ‘killing”?

      • Modavations

        Ask Solomon

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Educate!!

  • Dave in CT

    Glad to hear Communist societies don’t use any energy.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      you forgot China.

      • Dave in CT

        Somehow that got lumped into free market capitalism by Tom this morning….. yikes.

        Par for the course around here. Free market, Centrally Managed markets, whats the difference! What’s in a word?!

  • TCW

        “It’s up to us…” logic, is a remarkably short-sighted and equally arrogant framework for approaching the problem of limit in a finite system.

       In biological systems all r-selected species move through successive overshoot and collapse phases, and they are not anywhere near “in control” of their own population dynamics.  The thought that humans — with their large brains, “ingenuity” and technology might be able to overcome (with these assets) the fundamental dynamics of r-selected species is myopic in the extreme. 

       The problem of “The God Species” is not so much that its science is wrong, it is that its theology is pitifully inadequate.  Theology is defined as a “theory of human limit.”  In fact, Mark appears to have no theory of human limit.  At some point (very soon) we need to come to terms with the species appropriate theory of limit or we are headed for collapse in the dynamics of what Joe Romm has properly identified as the global Ponzi scheme underway.
     
      Cambridge Climate Research Associates
       http://Climate-Research.Com
       http://Climate-Research.TV
       http://Cambridge-Climate.ning.com

    Cambridge Community Television
       http://www.cctvcambridge.org/ccra/

    Harvard Extension School
    Global Climate Change

       http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130

    Environmental Justice

       http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
    Environment Ethics
       http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

    Food-Matters
        http://Food-Matters.TV

  • Zack

    Every time we discover new ways to produce food the population explodes.  The birth of agriculture resulted is the first population explosion, then fertilizers, followed by the ’70s the “Green Revolution”.  Each time we reach the max of our production the population levels off, only to take off like a rocket as soon as we discover a new food production.  Why will the next time be any different?

  • Cynthia

    What about our increasing life expectancies and the fact that we are the only species who keep our weakest alive – life support, etc?

  • Akfaka

    Starting today all new born male babies should have their penis cut off.
    How in the world the mother nature can support so many of us?

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Uh huh, you go propose that. . .

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Vasectomies are less repulsive, and a LOT more fun!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    One good documentary film about food supplies is “Food, Inc.”

  • Modavations

    Our planet is self regulating.When populations grow too large, we have wars,or plagues.Remember the Lemmings.The reason Climate Models don’t work is that there are so many invisible vaiables

    • Anonymous

      So?

    • nj

      ZZZzzzzzzzz…

    • Franchittod

      oversimplification Moda. Wars are often started by elites who stand to benefit from them, at the expense of the rest of us. They’re not nature’s way fo “self-regulation” ,nor are plagues.

  • Michiganjf

    THANK YOU to your guest!

    This isn’t ONLY about human population!

    We are in the midst of a man-made MASS EXTINCTION that will likely claim between 70-90 percent of the world’s species. The implications of this are farther reaching than anyone will admit due to the absurd political environment hampering global, and especially American, sensibility.

    We are dependent on the world’s species for absolutely everything that allows life on our planet, and billions of years of symbiosis have made every species dependent on nearly every other species, in far-reaching and critical ways which scientists are only beginning to comprehend, yet already understand enough to clarify the crucial web of species inter-dependence.

    We are already a diseased planetary bio-system which likely will never again be healthy, but with extensive critical care, we may just manage to survive on life support indefinitely.

    We are now at the point where we are basically going to have to terraform the planet, doing everything we can create life sustaining biosystems which are utterly concieved and managed by man.

    Certain super-survivor species are going to swarm the planet in this scenario, making the survival of the rest ever more difficult, sort of the same way introduced species (like rabbits in Australia, for instance) compete so effectively that they wipe out survivial chance for numerous other species.

    Good luck everybody!

    • Michiganjf

      sorry for the quick, sloppy typing

  • Dennis of Omaha

    The key word is DECENTRALIZE.  We need more tools in our toolbox than centralizing around polluting energy.

    We correctly won the cold war because the Soviet Union had an economy centralized around government subsidized oil companies.  Russians still suffer from everything, including the press, being controlled by Gazprom, the giant Russian oil company.

    When our own government subsidizes oil with tax deductions, and putting combat troops at greater risk, it starts to look a little similar – especially when the Koch brothers and Fox news start to control the discussion.

    We need to decentralize the economy away from tax subsidized pollution.

    • Ellen Dibble

      There are a lot of things, beginning with settlements at Plymouth, on to the Revolutionary War, where centralizing our efforts proves efficient.  Hang together or hang apart.  Now it’s hang together or doom the human species.  It does seem, presently, that the only way to address mal-treatment of the environment is locally — one by one, community by community.  However, this would not be so, and we would have a better chance, much better chance, at success if we could coordinate our efforts, in short use the government that we have.  It seems, for sure, that the government dances to the tunes written for and by the polluters, the ones who are ruining the prospects for the future.  However, this is because the voice of the people has somehow morphed into the Voice of the Corporations, i.e., of those with the most money.  And the effect of that loud Voice is drowning out reason and hope and so on and so forth.

  • Modavations

    USA Today did a poll a few days ago.It is not the 99% at the OWS demonstartions,rather the 47%.

    • Anonymous

      So?

    • nj

      ZZzzzzzz…

  • T Larson

    While the human population explosion is indeed a cause for deep concern, Richard’s application of his research on population growth in other species to the human case is an oversimplification. There are already well defined segments of the human population, e.g., the native population of Western Europe, in which population growth has leveled off, or even reversed. From Richard’s research, it sounds like this never happens in other species. Now, there may be specific reasons to worry that this leveling-off won’t spread to the rest of the human population before it’s too late, but to say bluntly that it can’t happen just because in never happens in other species is a dubious inference.

  • Dave in CT

    Biotech pipe dreams can’t defy entropy.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Entropy doesn’t apply to globally to Earth, since we’re not in a closed system.

      • Dave in CT

        Entropy is a law of thermodynamics, and always applies.

        We can temporarily resist it, like eddies in a river running downstream.

        We have the sun, and our DNA has evolved to use its energy to create order for our lifetimes.

        But until we can become photosynthetic ourselves, our start living VASTLY smaller, we can’t sustain so many people. The planet couldn’t give 2 sh!ts, but it matters to us life lovers.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Entropy applies in a closed system.  The universe is closed.  An internal combustion engine is one.  The Earth is not–we get energy added constantly by the Sun.

          • Dave in CT

            The sun and earth are in the universe. No free lunch. We do have a nice energy eddy to play with, agreed.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Yes, it will last till our Sun dies–another five billion years or so.

          • Anonymous

            Greg,

            I’m fairly sure that our sun will last another billion years or so, before it expands to incinerate just about everything in the solar system.  5 billion is not the estimate I have heard.  It has already lasted about 4 billion, I think, so maybe you are thinking of the total lifespan?

            Neil

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            The total lifespan of a star like ours is around ten billion years.

          • Anonymous

            As Bill McKibben wrote: oil has been our economy’s Viagra.

            Neil

          • Dave in CT

            It sure has, regardless of political party or socio-economic system, short of lack of access.

            Think Globally Act Locally

  • Erin

    I just finished reading “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen, published in 2010.  The main character’s main cause is raising awareness of overpopulation as the root cause of all the world’s problems.  Franzen gives many “soapbox speeches” through the character, with very convincing arguments.  His solution is to go grass roots, using a cult rock figure to lure the young people to the cause.  worth a look if you’re interested in this topic, although the overpopulation stuff is buried in a very thick novel.

  • Joe

    What is not being commented on is technologies (algae growth to create bio fuel) to make current energy plants CO2 natural as a tie over to allow future power sources to be all carbon natural and mainly renewable.   Also, there should be a boom in space technology (if we fund it) opening up an import of resources to our planet to sustain a huge population.

    • Yar

      Earth first, we will destroy other planets later.

  • Dave in CT

    Think Globally, Act Locally.

    Live and Let Live.

    Help your neighbors.

    Stop looking for silver bullets and magic bailouts.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      But these are problems that are bigger than a local solution.  Libertarianism is a great solution, except when it isn’t.

      • JustSayin

        Funny. In that article I cited, Libertarianism was a greater population reducer than all the other methods. The unregulated free market is a killer in many ways.

        • Dave in CT

          Freedom’s a real killer.

          What nonsense is trying to be peddled now?

          If anything, freedom, and an inability of tyrants or Stalinists or Maoists or Nazis to just wipe out millions of humans, is part of the overpopulation problem, if you really want to be a sicko.

          • JustSayin

            I think the point is that those who would remove rule of law (Ie kill the EPA, and other protections to public health), and among other free market freedoms, like owning slaves, would cause lifespans to shorten dramatically as well as increase infant mortality. 

            But you are an ideologue… you see freedom as beneficial with no downsides. Its why you try in vain to enjoin “rule of law” with “liberty”. They are not the same.

          • Dave in CT

            Good lord. Google the words “liberty” and “rule of law” together, spend an afternoon reading, and come back and tell us all the terrible and heinous things you find. 

            Ideologue.  Ok. give up your freedom. Its a terrible idea.

            You  guys love that copout, and to conjure you liberty bogeyman and tell us how horrible it is.

            How’s that Republican idea? Hows that Democrat idea? How’s that Communism idea? Hows that Crony Capitalism idea, Hows that lack of Rule of Law idea, highlighted by Black and Greenwald?

            How are those ideas working out for us?

            You really don’t believe in a shared vision that we can agree on and put into effect as a civilized people?  We can’t base our self-governance on an ideal we work each day to try and achieve, imperfectly as we can a humans?

            Lets give that Anarchy a try. No sticky “ideas” to get in our way there….

            But maybe I presume too much in thinking you are in favor of self-government.

          • JustSayin

            If one wants to give up their freedom, just follow the Ideologues.  Oh! let history not be a teacher for the new “ism” that will solve all of our problems and deliver us unto the new utopia… So said all the tyrants of the past…and so say you now.

            I guess this time it will be different, right. Your revolution will make the people free. 

            If a law is broken the ideologue states that the entire system must be discarded…it cannot be fixed…we will give you justice. 

            America should try ALL that juvenile Ayn Rand nonsense…

            Or we can just put things back to where they were when crimes were punished, and the rule of law was written by the people for the people. Hey it worked before the corruption outweighed the just.

             
             

          • Dave in CT

            Bring on the Anarchy!  Or JustSayinism.

            You’re not saying anything.

            America, in its best ideal, is an ism?  Or since its an ideal- a strived for idea- it should be abandoned?

            Next time you get the idea of eating lunch, you shouldn’t submit to that libertarian tyranny?   

            Liberty, Self-Government, Rule of Law.

            You have no reply or alternative. Or don’t care to share it.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            I don’t know about everyone else here, but I do recognize that some liberties have to be limited to live in a society.  The tradeoff is that we gain many advantages from that.  (Please don’t quote Franklin here.)  I agree with you that we must have a prinicple of valuing individual liberty, but I also know that short-sighted liberty ends up destroying itself.

          • Dave in CT

            Lets encourage each other not to be too short sighted.

          • josh-omaha

            Liberty, Self-Government, Rule of Law- they are shortsighted ideals that will not solve the problem of population unsustainability. Solve the infectious problem of greed by solving the enormous problem of need. If no one is in need, they have no reason to lust for more and more. Power comes from the need of the people for basic rights. Grant everyone the ability to meet their basic needs and you eliminate the power that comes with having more than someone else. people are attracted to money/power because people who can’t meet their basic needs have to comply with their demands in order to survive. The answers are here. We need to open our eyes and minds as a whole and start think about the future, not the present if we want the human race to survive indefinetly, it would be a shame if we let the problems created by a few to destroy our entire race.

          • Dave in CT

            “Solve the infectious problem of greed by solving the enormous problem of need. If no one is in need, they have no reason to lust for more and more.” 

            Its a fine, age-old Utopian vision, but since drawing the lines between want and need and defining “enough” and how much to work for it, let alone being told what to do and think, etc etc…. it just never works.
            But in the meantime, maybe we could line up for some electric dog-collar thingys that give us a zap when we are too greedy, and to be sure we roll our lazy asses out of bed in the morning.

            You get to set the gauge.

          • JustSayin

            “Liberty, Self-Government, Rule of Law.”  Marx promised the same things. What makes Libertarians any different from the communists… Oh Yeah, that whole unregulated free market thing…

          • Dave in CT

            Unregulated free market.  You wouldn’t know what the Law part of Rule of Law means, if it was branded on your keister.

          • JustSayin

            The classical reaction of confronting an ideologue with reality is: First they try to reverse the points, then they attack the poster rather than answer the points, then they try to discredit the opponent. 

            Dave relax and confront the reality of the world before you get your mind so twisted with libertarian nonsense that you set out to blow up a building full of people like me.

            How does a once rational person become so entangled and brainwashed into an Ideology to the point that rational points of reality cause so much anger that they post 50 times a day to just this one blog in the hope of converting the ignorant masses.

            When you hear about those Islamic kids strapping bombs to themselves to make a point, do you ever wonder how they got there…how it began?

            Get some help. Go outside and talk to REAL people. Get a life.

          • Dave in CT

            It is the definition of insanity trying to get a substantive response, and not some blanket ideology charge, out of you.

            Thanks, I feel better.

            You’ve never responded to my points, and try to use that charge on me. Talk about reversing……

            You are pretty good at goading me though, I admit.

          • TFRX

            The people of Bhopal, India, and Union Carbide each enjoyed copious amounts of freedom long ’bout 1986.

            I’m jes sayin’.

          • Dave in CT

            Odd. That seemed more like Crony, fixed, imperialistic markets working against the People.   I didn’t realize the people chose that.

          • Dave in CT

            But of course, as you guys have shown so eloquently, liberty and self-government and Rule of Law doesn’t REALLY MEAN liberty and self-government and Rule of Law. 

            It REALLY means whatever bogey-man you can cook up and then smack down, while you fumble around for a utopian alternative to what is empirically one of the greatest products of the Enlightenment.

            Or because your too lazy to uphold the rule of law.

            If you DO want a non-corrupt rule of law, to allow people’s efforts to be rewarded, and the ability of people to trade what is worth it for them to trade, we’re on the same page.

          • ThreeQuestions

            Please explain how we implement the ‘Rule of Law’. 

            We have thousands of statutes and codes on the books that have nothing to do with the ‘Rule of Law’:

            By whom or how are those eliminated or abolished?

            How or what prevents corrupt systems like courts, judges, attorney generals and prosecutors from occurring within the ‘Rule of Law’ framework?

            Is there an example of when and where the ‘Rule of Law has actually been enacted and thrived?

          • Dave in CT

            Thats our challenge.  Don’t blame the messenger.  Too hard so throw out the idea?

            Bill Black and Glenn Greenwald were a great help in focusing.

            http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=7502

          • Modavations

            5 years ago Jaipur was full of elephants,giant camels and motor scooters.Now you rarely see an animal and everyone has a compact car.Dehli is a non-stop traffic jam.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Which is worse, the smell of animal dung, or the killing, toxic, stench of fossil fuels in such numbers?  Which gives the worse headaches?  Which has the longest-term detrimental effects?

          • Modavations

            Now young lady,my point is India,as Mexico ain’t what they used to be..Now go check Camden,and Oakland,Trenton,and Hartford,and….

        • Modavations

          Socialism-Communism is the bane of mankind.Look at the ghettos you administer.The business of the Dem.Party is keeping poor people poor

          • JustSayin

            “Look at the ghettos you administer.” 

            I don’t even own a ghetto. WTF, I don’t even own a cell phone!

          • Modavations

            Show me a Rep.administered Ghetto

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Indian reservations

          • Anonymous

            Where they take their children trough social services and give them to white families to raise (indoctrinate)

          • JustSayin

            Show me the Ghetto you say I own.  I wanna be rich!

    • Anonymous

      I agree with you Dave.  We also have to realize that we are a part of the environment, and we can no longer treat the resources of the earth as ours for the taking.

      Our economy is totally dependent on the environment.

      Neil

      • Dave in CT

        Yes, we need to come to those conclusions ourselves, and in our communities through discussion, education and voluntary changes in lifestyle. The companies feed our choices. Systemic coercion, however well-meaning, will always create backlash and often fail. Just as much human nature as our propensity to reproduce. 

        • nj

          Yep, we should have worked out the slavery thing, sweat shops, civil rights, rivers catching on fire in the 1960s, etc., etc. with community discussions and voluntary changes in lifestyle.

  • Amy

    Check out Catherine Badgley’s work on feeding the human population with organic agriculture. Her macro/global analysis shows we can. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    Given growing tensions on global food supply and the increasing migration into urban areas across the planet, are advancements such as rooftop gardening and vertical farms viable options to help alleviate mitigate these problems?

  • Amy

    What do your guests think of Amory Lovins’ new book “Reinventing Fire” where he illustrates the opportunity that the U.S. has to transition to renewables completely (all energy sectors) by 2050?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    The Maya said that humans used the sea,land and air enough and the earth will claim those back from us in 2012.

    The world will start all over again after 2012.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      I bet you a thousand dollars that the world won’t end in 2012.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        I hope you keep your word about your bet, better than Gregg kept his about paying me to listen to a speech, for a few $hundred!!

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          I’m Greg; that guy is Gregg.  Do you see the difference?

  • Rachelle

    What hasn’t been mentioned yet is the impact of immunizations, other medical advancements, the recent ‘contest’ of breaking the genome of centenarians, and the growing of replacement organs.  By medical breakthroughs and advancements we will be extending life spans long after their normal expectancies.  Birth control is one way of controlling population, however are we setting ourselves up to control the length of life and who will be and not allowed to be go longer ‘than’ normal, etc. (Logan run like society). 

  • Ellen Dibble

    Maybe someone should sue the government for not protecting them from a climate-related disaster, and get it appealed to the Supreme Court, and get the SJC to “rule” that global warming is not pseudo-science, then the lobbyists for the wealthy energy interests (behind both Republican and  Democrat parties, in my humble opinion) would have to take that into consideration.  The guest is saying in the USA “one party” absolutely does not credit this science.  Yeah, but wait till Obama signs onto the frakking pipeline going down the spine like the Mississippi — probably because of jobs.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Too many seniles and/or corrupt ones in Black Robes of the Supreme Court!!   They gave SUPER-CITIZENSHIP  to foreign nationals, and people that already had citizenship!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Stopping at a restaurant in the midwest, I noticed the stark difference in physiology, between Europe and even Eastern cities in the USA. 

    A common site in the heartland is HUGE people,  entire families of over 6 foot, 250 to 300 pounds: kids, mother and father, eating amazing amounts of food and then getting into this huge Chevy Suburban SUV.  And imagine they eat three of those meals…plus snacks.  I would imagine they live in pretty large homes as well.  

    People in Europe where sweaters and scarfs in own homes during the winter.   Americans walk around in shorts and tshirts eating doritos.

    I see many of these huge americans going the way of the dinosaur during the crises that these experts predict.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Why don’t you refrain from visiting the red states?

      • TFRX

        Yeah, there are plenty of obese people in many of our states, and that’s from a guy who’s spent his whole life in the winter-having-part of the Eastern time zone. The stratification may be more correlated to income levels instead of political leanings.

        But that’s another show.

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Il Signori Caruso has hinted in the past that he’s from somewhere else, but he is rather smug in his attitude about those of us that he flies over.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Greg,  Regarding you….I’m smug.

        • Modavations

          so!

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Hey Moda,   Did I hit a little too close to home with you?? 

            You may think you are superior to those little brown peoples,  because you can drink and eat them under the rug.   But when it comes to desperate lean times, they’ll starve you under the rug and still be standing.

          • Modavations

            I’ve consulated my dictionary of Leftist”Gobble de Gook”and haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about.Rephrase please.I speak Spanish and French ,if English isn’t your mother tongue

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Hey Moda,  je parle touts de ces langues aussi, aussi bien italien et des autres.  Je pense que peut etre, vous avez du probleme de comprehension.

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Your smugness is showing.  We don’t have a problem with comprehension.  We have a problem with agreeing with you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            You apparently disagree summarily with me out of reflex. 

            Tell me Greg,  do you disagree that american-born mid-westerners have a much larger carbon footprint than southern Europeans ?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Greg ?

          • Modavations

            Aqui es la respuesta.No

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Aparentemente, Modavations y Greg son los gemelos, o quiza la misma persona.  Pesar de todo, su respuesta es obviamente incorrecta.

            Greg ???

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            Apparently, you think that I have nothing better to do than to hang around here all day responding to your remarks.  But I have work to do.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Take a break Greg,  go down to the Dairy Queen and get yourself a corn dog.   You still didnt answer about he carbon footprint,  unless you are really Moda, your alter-ego.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            More likely, that is Gregg, not Greg Camp.  Comparing the responses of each, and the defense of one for the other.

          • Modavations

            Crei que estoy Arnoldo.La respuesta fue correcto chavo,tengo mas 30 anos viajando en Italia.Que quieres la paz o la guerra

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Discurso honrado es bastante.

          • Modavations

            A sus ordenes senor

          • Modavations

            Je comprend monsieur,mais je n’aime pas les hommes “anti-semitic”..Que quieres chavo mio,una guerra?Soy listo

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Yo soy siempre listo tambien…para el discurso cortes.  

          • Modavations

            No quieres platicar,tu quieres pelear.Donde es su pais Argelis,o tunez,o Libia?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

            Io sono italiano.

          • Modavations

            Mi famalia viven afuera Bologna.Fue a Italia
            en Septiembre.Puedo vivir alla,pero no me gusta el T.V..Necessito O’reilly y Hannity.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            ???

          • Modavations

            It was a Peace Treaty Madam

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      mmmm.

        Huge people + the Soylent Green solution == sustainability .

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

        Maybe some fava beans and chianti….

      • Modavations

        I loved that movie.Recently saw Boy and His Dog.A true classic

        • Modavations

          How about Wild in the Streets

          • Brett

            Was that the one about a twenty-something becoming president  during 1960′s America? 

          • Modavations

            .At the end the gangs of little kids were saying, don’t trust anyone over 20.

  • Modavations

    Google Proffessor Lindzer, from MIT.He’s the Sloan Chair ,Climate guy and a skeptic of Global Warming.The judge in the UK.said of Inconvenient Truth,you can’t show the film without qualifiers,it’s propaganda.Proff.Mann from Penn.was caught in the East Anglia embroglio saying “hide the decline”.I’m can be convinced,but am skeptical.Leif Erikson and Eric the Red, discovered Greenland because the seas lanes opened up.The warming was natural.There were no cars.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Actually, we’ve been warming the planet since the development of agriculture.  That creates a spike in methane release.

    • nj

      Beware troll exhortations that can’t even spell the references they cite.

      • Modavations

        So!

    • Anonymous

      Please look into this — you are misinterpreting the situation with the emails.  And all scientists are skeptical, until our understanding fits the data.

      Anthropogenic climate change is well established science, and we ignore it at our peril.

      Neil

      • Modavations

        I’m agnostic, that’s all.The planet is 4.5bill.years old.We’ve only kept records for 100.East Anglia was using Tree Rings

        • Anonymous

          They used a lot more than just tree rings.  Please investigate this more.

          Are you agnostic about the Theory of Gravity?  How do you feel about plate tectonics?  Do you think that scientists are right they say all materials are made up of really small particles called atoms, and those are made up of particles that are smaller still?

          These are all settled science, as well.

          Neil

          • Modavations

            nEIL,i’M A COLLEGE KID,THESE ARE devices to grab attention.

          • Modavations

            Explain to the class Mr.Mann’s infamous, “Hide the Decline”.Explain the British magistrates enjoinder of Inconvenient truth.Prof.Lindzer and I, remain skeptical.Copernicus and Gallileo were fellow skeptics(the earth is flat,the Earth of the center of the universe)

          • Anonymous

            Watch this series of videos, and report back to the class:

            http://www.youtube.com/user/potholer54#p/c/A4F0994AFB057BB8/0/52KLGqDSAjo

            Neil

          • Anonymous

            Copernicus and Galileo were scientists, and the people who disagreed with them were officials in the Catholic Church.  Hardly the same situation.

            Ignoring the data is not being skeptical.

            Neil

    • Brett

      Yeah, and the Dust Bowl was caused purely by a drought…

  • TCW

    The planet WILL survive the human moment, but humans won’t

    • Yar

      It is pretty hard to kill all of the roaches.  I expect more than a few will survive the collapse.  
      The earth doesn’t care if it is as cold as Mars or as hot as Venus, but we do.
      We have the potential to turn the earth into a super-organism.  I have wondered how several single cell organisms came together to form a more complex and adaptable being.

  • OnPointFan

    Some faiths, especially Protestant ones, see these catastrophes as prophecy that must occur in order for them to reach a better existence. If some people see these disasters as their destiny, why do we expect them to do something to prevent it? Unfortunately, some of these people in in decision making roles and their fatalism prevents action.

  • josh-omaha

    My perspective is that this planet is capable of sustaining a much larger population than what we currently have. The technology has been available to sustain the world without the devastating effects that we have been dealing with. The problem holding us back is the rampant greed that infects this planet.  in the early 1900s, JP Morgan consinged a project with Nicola Tesla to produce unlimited wireless polution-free electricity. Tesla developed this successfully but Morgan pulled the funding when Tesla could not or would not come up with a metering sytem for charging for this electricity. As far as I can tell, the United States government bought the patent, confiscated the technology, and has kept it a secret since. With this one piece of technology we can stop the worldwide pollution we are creating by burning fossil fuels. we can solve the food shortage, and we can dramatically advance our current rate of inovation. wish I had more time to expand, have to go. Josh-Omaha

    • Anonymous

      We are already using way too many resources, and we have already caused a very rapid and large change to our environment.  We are eating oil, in effect.  We are pumping fossil water out from deep in the earth, and we are eroding soil, and causing depletion of species at a rate that is already having huge effect.

      We simply must move to a steady state economy, and we have to change over to renewable energy as quickly as we can; whether or not the human population continues to grow.

      Neil

      • josh-omaha

        Thats why we need to take this problem seriously. These issues are curable. Its going to take a fundamental change in the way the world operates. Money has become the goal of almost everyone. Money creates problems, it doesn’t solve them. A stable economy will not solve our problems, it would only be a bandaide on a mortal wound.  We need to exploit the technology we have available to ensure everyone has a fair and equal chance to survive. The population that is keeping technology from the rest of us is effectively destroying our planet, population, and our chances of ensuring the human race still exists in 500 years. All so they can live beyond what most people can even dream.

  • Dave in CT

    Blame DNA. It wants to keep going.

    Then accept it, be civil, and help your friends and neighbors, and let people enjoy their life and pursue their distracting interests as best they can, as long as they aren’t directly harming your ability to do the same.

    Or paralyze us in a quixotic quest to microregulate everyones life to try and avoid calamities that will arrive regardless.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      But can’t you see that if the population is too large for the resources available, we have a problem?  Can you see that we can work together to create a solution?

      We can’t be free if we can’t eat and drink.

      • Dave in CT

        We are not free from scarcity. That is the point of work, of prices and markets, the liberty to participate in them, and the rule of law to keep them from being corrupted.

        Its called the American Experiment.

        What failed was our vigilance and prevention of it being corrupted, as the consumerism and material allures that it allowed, proved too much for us.

        So now what? Admit we can’t control ourselves and hand over control to some better, smarter, magically incorruptible power? Or learn from our mistakes and try and do a better job?

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          But do you acknowledge that there are problems that require all of us to work together to solve?

          • Dave in CT

            Yes, with humility and without coercion of the many by a few. 

          • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

            O.K., then, let’s work out a solution to the problem.  That’s what we’re talking about here.

          • josh-omaha

            Electro-dynamic induction. A solution for providing unlimited energy to the world for free.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Maybe we should blame George Bush and Bill Gates since they ramped up vaccines in the undeveloped world.

  • Jcampbell

    The answer to many of humanities challenges has arrived just in time…

    Tomorrow in Bologna Italy, he first commercial ‘cold fusion’ device is to be tested by it’s U. S. customer.

    It’s first uses will be for clean water and to displace coal fired electricity generation.

    Tomorrow is the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era. 

    • josh-omaha

      unfortunately, as long as our resources are divied out to the masses for the profit of a few, we will always have famine and shortages. the driving force behind capitalism is demand. If you take away demand, there is no reason to keep providing a service or commodity, such as electricity. the desire for profit drives the system that keeps demand high. As i said in my earlier post, technology is and has been available for at least 90 years that would solve our corporation made ‘energy crisis’. But because its not profitable, those who have the power to bring it to fruitation will not.  Thats why JP morgan scrapped Tesla’s project in favor of Edison’s in 1917. Do some research, cold fusion is just a new fad designed to fatten the wallets of a few.

  • NHDemocrat

    Mark Lynas wants to sound optimistic about our future, but he knows what direction the human race is headed in.  Think of civilization as a huge ship heading toward a collision with giant iceberg and total destruction, unable to turn on a dime; we humans must redirect that ship, but it will take decades….do we have enough time?  In the meantime, our energy use grows each year as the population grows.  The atmosphere doesn’t care that some of us are trying to reduce our emissions.  The climate catastrophes have just begun.  Our children and grandchildren will live in a world that is much different than the past.  Their challenges will be great, and we are to blame.  

    Sorry to say that I don’t hold out much hope for life on earth.  Humans are just too stupid and selfish.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      SOME humans, that are controlled by their LUST for power!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Brown/1227104716 Tim Brown

    People should try to use what we know about human development to make sure people grow up to be as small as possible. Down the road we should also consider genetic engineering to help shrink our species.

    I bet we could get the average height of a human down to like 2 feet 3 inches. Then we would need a mere fraction of the calories we do now. We could live in houses less than half the current size, and we’d have to heat or air condition far less space. We need to shrink to expand!

    I mean, at 20 inches tall our cars could be far smaller. All our posessions would be smaller and weigh less as well. Scaling things down means we could literally cut our energy needs in less than half with no new technology.

    Ok, it sounds laughable, but it really would have a gigantic impact on global energy use. Everything from how much food we need to grow to the size of our cars to how much cotton we need for clothes would be effected. People half the size need half the resources!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Huh?

      • Anonymous

        Easier to get fat than grow an inch,

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Brown/1227104716 Tim Brown

        I’m just saying,  if in two or three generations we could get people down to like 3 or 4 feet tall and 80lbs on average that would do a ton to cut our energy use. People today are over a foot taller than our ice age ancestors and much heavier.

        More realistically, cut out the meat. All food from higher trophic levels have higher energy costs, often at exponential levels. If we all eat meat once every week or two that would do a lot for cutting down energy use.

        We could also stop producing cheap throw away consumer goods and make products to last. For example my Target jeans last 2 years at best and then I throw them out after sewing them back together becomes impossible. I have canvass and sythetic backpacking pants that I’ve worn every day at work and on month + trips out in the elements that are still around after 4 years. Durability is essential to sustainability!

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Durability is a good idea, but notice what you said about how long it took us to grow one foot in average height.  You think that we could shrink by half in two or three generations?  Oy vey schmeer!

          • JustSayin

            Hey they do it with horses and dogs. Its a good engineering solution for limited resources. Like elephants on an island. 

            But, I don’t think women would agree at all. They are the ones making people bigger.

          • Brett

            In fact women are 100% responsible for making people bigger and 50% responsible for the entire over-population problem! I will never buy into their female colonialism views!  

          • Terry Tree Tree

            ???

          • Terry Tree Tree

            ???

    • Anonymous

      Width is easier to change than height.

    • Dave in CT

      The Department of Human Shrinkage is already on it.

      • Brett

        Okay, now that was funny! Good to see that even libertarians have a sense of humor! And not an “oligarchy,” “liberty,” or “crony capitalism” in the entire post!) ;-)

        • Dave in CT

          If Tom keeps up with his Bill Black and Glenn Greenwald shows, and throws in a Ron-Paul type now and then, I can hang up my hat.

    • Brett

      Naw, see, but then there would be this huge “gray” market created and some people would keep “dosing” on whatever food/supplement of choice to get bigger, and the world would be divided into BIG and LITTLE people battling it out. Big people would see an increase in kneecap assaults and little people would all have to audition for the next dinner theatre’s production of The Wizard of Oz to keep money coming in…I don’t see this as working at all! ;-) 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      FAR EASIER to educate people, that will voluntarily lessen the population, ease the over-use of resources, lessen waste, and help solve the over-all problem!

      • notafeminista

        And if people don’t voluntarily “lessen the population” fast enough….what then?

  • josh-omaha

    How about some actual solutions to the problem at hand. Electro-dynamic induction-the solution to our second problem, after we eliminate greed

  • Zakster

    The Economist magazine is sanguine about 7 billion people on Earth, based on their assumption that rampant population growth is over and we can now enter a new era of stability. They also believe in laissez faire economics and the benefits of globalization.

  • Lori

    Everyone seemed to focus on lowering populations by reducing birthrates. This ,of course, is a very real and necessary action .The world cannot handle the unrestricted production of large numbers of children currently practiced by many people who are either unaware of the problems they are creating or do not care. The joy of unlimited reproduction is perceived as an unquestionable right by many and a soley God given decision by numerous others .
     Birth and renewal are the natural order of life if it is to continue , but it must be pursued with well considered regard for the welfare of the world and the children we bring into the world .
     That said , I noticed no-one addressed the other more natural process of population control . We have become obsessed with keeping everyone alive . We must learn to let people die. There are thousands of people who are forced to ” live ” long past what would be a natural and dignified  departure from the world by overextended medical intervention and the refusal of families to accept the inevitable death they fear having to deal with . People are forcibly sustained ,often in a state of terrible pain and suffering with little or no functionable life and with no hope of recovery for agonizing useless months and even years. The medical profession benefits from the erasure of all financial wealth, but the end is the same . People die . They are supposed to die . We all will die . I do not espouse euthanasia, although that mercy is certainly beneficial for suffering animals , but life should be permitted to run its course and end .If more of us were allowed to die we would not be using up resourses intended to support the new lives that follow . Instead , all we talk about is preventing new people from being born lest we have to face the reality of our predictable mortality .

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      I don’t know about you, but no one is forcing me to live.  I want to live, and I don’t see you as having any business telling me how long I get to do that.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        you always seems to have an opinion in every comments. You want to live are you afraid to die?

        There is an Asian saying that. “You rather fear the living than the dead”

    • Anonymous

      Everyone seemed to focus on lowering populations by reducing birthrates. This ,of course, is a very real and necessary action

      NO IT”S NOT

      We all will die . I do not espouse euthanasia, although that mercy is
      certainly beneficial for suffering animals , but life should be
      permitted to run its course and end .If more of us were allowed to die
      we would not be using up resources intended to support the new lives
      that follow . Instead , all we talk about is preventing new people from
      being born lest we have to face the reality of our predictable mortality
      .

      That I can agree with but you have to make up your mind.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Education again!!

  • josh-omaha

    Liberty, Self-Government, Rule of Law- they are shortsighted ideals that will not solve the problem of population unsustainability. Solve the infectious problem of greed by solving the enormous problem of need. If no one is in need, they have no reason to lust for more and more. Power comes from the need of the people for basic rights. Grant everyone the ability to meet their basic needs and you eliminate the power that comes with having more than someone else. people are attracted to money/power because people who can’t meet their basic needs have to comply with their demands in order to survive. The answers are here. We need to open our eyes and minds as a whole and start think about the future, not the present if we want the human race to survive indefinetly, it would be a shame if we let the problems created by a few to destroy our entire race.

    • Dave in CT

      “Liberty, Self-Government, Rule of Law- they are shortsighted ideals”

      What?  Who are you?

      You might argue that we don’t have the above, that the above has been corrupted, that we are too dumb and lazy to achieve it….. but are you saying they are not good ideals?

      I’m all for Cosmic Consciousness, but we have to live within our mortal, human reality.

      I guess we could try, Imprisonment, Autocratic Rule, Anarchy if you really want to.

    • notafeminista

      Except there is no “one size fits all” for everyone’s need.  You need differently than I.    Then what?

  • pbuck50

    The upcoming year of the Dragon in the Chinese Zodiac is a very popular time to have a child…can you imagine the leap in only one year if only 1/4th of the populace of China were to do that? Another 1 billion in just one year!

  • bookish

    I’m glad this caller brought up birth control and condoms. It’s frustrating to me that so many people won’t talk about family planning or sending contraceptives to other parts of the world.

  • josh-omaha

    we have a solution for carbon based energy. google Nicola Tesla, wireless electricity, Tesla tower, etc.  It has been proven to work. It can help to solve every tangible problem we have. But It was tossed aside for the more profitable idea of oil dependence. So until we eliminate greed, we will be slaves to our own system, destined to self destruct.

  • Adrian from RI

    In view of the dire subject of this program it is interesting to dream of and contemplate the good old days. When were these good old days? These days were before the discovery of Human rights, before the Declaration of Independence, before the birth of America in 1776, before the time that the individual was set free to think and act for his own benefit. This freedom to think and act unleashed the greatest of all natural recourses: the human mind. This freedom brought us the Industrial Revolution with its associated prosperity and wealth creation never before seen in history.

    In these good old days, before the discovery of individual rights, the world population was about 700 million and most people were teetering on the brink of starvation with an average lifespan of not even 30 years. The Industrial Revolution in the West enabled the world population to multiply by a factor of ten to 7 billion; and the average lifespan more than doubled.

    It is interesting to contemplate that had we had presidents like Bush or Obama around 1800 there would have been no industrial revolution, but we would have had one Solyndra Solar like disaster after another and we would still use candles and wale oil for lightning; and we in the West would still be teetering on the brink of starvation as much of the world still is. Much of the world is still fruitful and keeps multiplying like in the good old days, but thanks to the West they no longer die like in the good old days.

    Tom, do you remember the 1960th Club of Rome predictions? Some club members might still be alive. Invite them to your OnPoint program and ask them why everything and I mean everything they predicted has been proven completely wrong by the facts of history. These club members, like present day intellectuals, fail to understand that the greatest unlimited natural recourse is the human mind. Set it free again as was done in 1776.
     
    I am sorry to say that those who yearn for a return to the good old days have every reason to be rejoicing. The multiculturalists and the environmentalists are winning the intellectual and moral battle. The result will inevitable be a world as described in “Atlas Shrugged,” but without the happy ending.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    I read a lot of comments. I don’t see any answers to solve the population growth.

    • josh-omaha

      Population growth is not the problem. the problem is resource management.

      • Dave in CT

        We need to legislate mandatory vegetarianism now. Squirrel eating will not be tolerated.

        Because we said so and its the right thing to do.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    If Animals can be extinct I think humans will have the same path.

  • Brian

    World population is the brontosaurus in the room. It’s hardly considered widely anymore. Why? The corporate world has no interest in population management (I won’t use the ‘coercive’ term ‘control’ here). Indeed, I believe the corporate world represses population issues. What is desired is infinite expansion of markets, not shrinkage. This is a factor that is not considered today, but it may be handily joined with many of the Occupy issues facing us right now.

    What can help: completely revised educational approaches that instill a consciousness about responsible propagation of the species. Population issues are certainly incendiary in their implications, but they need not be, if assertive education is applied.

    Personally, I have no children, but I’m not on a high horse here. I’ve traveled in high population countries (India, China), and while those countries have traditionally coped, there are limits that will be passed, and many nations will not want to experience the conditions that really high population concentrations bring with them.

    Education is the only path to management.

  • AndreaMitch

    Cutting government spending would seem to help.

    • josh-omaha

      would help what exactly?

    • AndreaMitch

      Reduce overpopulation.

  • Marka

    With regards to fresh water. Desalination! We have the money! And the Great Lakes. All the water flows out from the lakes into the salt of the oceans! Why not devert some of this water and send it back to us? It’s getting wasted going out into the ocean!

    • Franchittod

      Not ,it is NOT wasted. it’s been going out into the ocean long beofre humanity arrived on the scene. diverting that water could cause some sort of ecological imbalance. We are NOT entitled to it becasuewere human. I feel, we should curb our population numbers.

      • http://twitter.com/aloysiusokon Aloysius Okon

        like the developed world has been doing for decades through its lower birthrates? of course I have a right to water, thank you very much! if anyone thinks the human population should be drastically reduced, let him off himself first, and save the world such Malthusian drivel.

      • Marka

        I wish I could agree but I don’t! The ocean doesn’t need any more fresh water! Ocean waters are rising anyway with the melting of ice caps so it wouldn’t make a difference!

  • Thomasmmurray3

    Re: “Seven Billion & Counting.”  FANTASTIC SHOW!  I’m glad someone’s finally talking about this.  But as the only hippie on the planet who thinks nuclear energy is good (I’ve seen wind farms & my father was a heavy solar panel advocate but what happens if it’s cloudy and the wind don’t blow), I’m surprised no one raised the geothermal energy option; dig a well deep enough &, voila, free steam.  As for curbing the population, we REALLY should lose the dependent child tax credit on our income tax; we simply can’t keep rewarding people for poping out more children.  And finally somebody pointed out the moral depravity of using food grains (or arable land (if the biofuel advocates claim the grain is inedible)) in a starving world.  Here’s my pullquote:  In a world where half of Africa is in a permanent state of malnutrition, the biofuels people are adamant that we turn our corn into gasohol so we Marie Antoinettes can drive our fat asses to Piggly-Wiggly to pick up more pork rinds and sugar soda.  Good show.  Peace out, –Tom in Louisville.   

  • dm

     I loved how this program included some political overtones, the wealthy, big oil and a hint that republicans are to blame for some of this problem.

  • Dave in CT

    For anyone interested, this is a debate about role of a relationship between libertarianism and the right, or GOP.

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/07/27/reasontv-where-do-libertarians

    • nj

      Because Dave can shill for Libertarianism enough even when it’s not totally off-topic.

      • Dave in CT

        One child policies or not. Economic ramifications of population size. How to deal with scarcity.

  • Shepardsalzer

    Check out this new movie.  www.growthbusters.org/

  • ridesisapis

    Check out this video about exponential population growth and sustainability. Lecture by Prof. Albert Bartlett.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY

  • your listener

    People wake up!  There’s no magical technology can save us, nada!  The most current advanced energy technology all have downsides.  What?  they’re just going to grow out of nothing?  They all require tremendous energy to produce so called sustainable energy.  Not that I’m against technology, I think we should do both, encourage all business and private resident to “CONSERVE” energy, while conserving, using those energy for transition of implementing future sustainable infrastructures.  IT IS the jobs of all levels of governments to come up with a public education program how to conserve energy, then extends to schools.  There’s NO SOFT SMOOTH transition, there has to have SACRIFICE, it’s simply a matter of CHOICE.  

    The biggest conflict right now is “growth of economy” is going the against the direction from “slowing down climate change”.  They are like 2 ends of ropes pulling each other.  I so agree with one of the callers, he put it down right, depending technology will ONLY DELAY the disaster, a TIPPING POINT tilts the scales, then we will wake up asking WHAT JUST HAPPEN??

    Reality is, people, including my family and friends, still believe this philosophical cliche, they like to say “hey, life’s too short, why worry, enjoy today, why so seriously”, so they still go on about consuming, living the lifestyle they are familiar to, no inconvenience for them.

    • Dave in CT

      ” IT IS the jobs of all levels of governments to come up with a public education program how to conserve energy, then extends to schools.  There’s NO SOFT SMOOTH transition, there has to have SACRIFICE, it’s simply a matter of CHOICE.”

      Thanks for the…..choice?

      All good points in your post. As long as its a persuasion piece, and not something you want to legislate on to your family and friends, let alone your “enemies”.

      For all of us with the answers to the ENDS we think are right today, are we ready to throw away the MEANS of deciding and choosing those ends as individuals, and start throwing those who disagree in jail or just gas them to help the overpopulation issue?

      So many of our issues today are not black and white, like murder or someone stealing your car or insider trading, but involve all sorts of philosophical and values judgements.

      When does “life” begin?  What is “life”? Why can I eat broccoli but not squirrels or monkeys? If our actions are influencing the climate, and will cause changes, is it 100% wrong?

      Of course we have opinions, and even very logical and rational thoughts, leading to judgements about these things.   But there is not always, necessarily a “right” answer.

      Of course we can vote as a majority to make dumping PCBs in the water supply illegal and harshly punishable.

      We just need to recognize, at least, the idea that we cannot, or should not, expect to force everyone to see the world the same way (before you cry foul, the whole point of the “liberty” view is protecting peoples rights to different choices and viewpoints and value judgements, NOT prescribing them, so put that red herring back fellas).

      What is worse, the sea level rising 6 inches or fighting another civil war against your friends and family? (Oh don’t tell me your whole family/social circle shares the same political-economic-philosophical-spirtitual views; you need to get out more.)

      http://www.thefreemanonline.org/headline/diversity-ends-rules/

      • your listener

        I wrote a very long response to your post, but decided not to post.

        Anyhow, in short, we don’t want to confine issues with right or wrong, it’s not going to help to deal with problems with this kind of mindset.  I can’t speak for others’ motivation to change, but for me is simple, when today’s science is able to present so much evidence to us, showing our foreseeable future, human/animals will face a lot of turmoils, suffer, pains, I want change to minimize the suffer, simple as that.

        ….and no, I don’t argue for the sake of argument, I know my intent and cause, I’m on this blog for reasons.

        I focus on subject matter when I speak up on those issues, no personal attack or disrespect, and if people view me as enemy when I speak up, not my choice and control.

  • Frank TheUnderemployedProfessi

     I find the optimistic claims that humanity will be able to come together and solve this daunting Malthusian problem and avoid mass calamities laughable.  Let’s take a look at the United States and the other first world countries.  We have large amounts of wealth disparity between the economic classes.  We can’t figure out how to produce enough wealth for our citizens nor how to distribute it properly.  In the United States, we can’t even figure out how to provide the population with health care in spite of other nation’s having already laid out numerous models for doing so much less expensively than our current system.

    In the past century tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of people were killed in world wars.  The vast majority of the world’s populace believe in primitive mystical philosophies and non-existent magic God-beings.

    These same societies and cultures are supposed to be able to solve daunting global problems like overpopulation, water shortages, energy problems, and global warming?  Get real.

    • Dave in CT

      “We can’t figure out how to produce enough wealth for our citizens nor how to distribute it properly.  In the United States, we can’t even figure out how to provide the population with health care in spite of other nation’s having already laid out numerous models for doing so much less expensively than our current system.”

      Although it’s interesting times when there is likely an iPhone app for food stamps.  This tough caveman life of modern America.

      Mostly a joke, I’m all for food stamp and a basic safety net for truly needy, but there is a point there….

  • Amanda

    Education, particularly of women, is key to reducing our populations. As education of women increases, populations tend to go down and standard of living is increased. The current population level and rate of growth are both unsustainable. Populations in absolute number MUST go down in order for our population to survive. Technology is not the answer, because it enables only further exploitation of resources and greater consumption.

  • Amanda

    I for one AM choosing not to reproduce. I intend to foster or adopt, and I think that this is one of the most eco-conscious decisions that someone of child-bearing age can make. I agree with the teacher who says that it is up to the current generation of teenagers and twenty-somethings to make the choice to decrease our population and promote the sustainability of life on our planet. Birth control and condoms all around!

  • your listener

    Yes, education goes up, so does their resource consumption goes up.  Lower education reproduce rate higher, but lower consumption.  Probably need to go with the direction of higher education, less reproduction, less consumption, then there’s hope for even out wealth and consumption.

  • your listener

    It’s funny that we keep developing this resistant, that resistant bio engineers, at the end of day, we caught ourselves just chasing our own tails, hasn’t this been approved with strong evidence on antibiotics and antimicrobials? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brennan-Moriarty/100000655771831 Brennan Moriarty

    We’re in a nurture vs nature paradigm. When a population has a required need, it’s nurture is turned against nature and we get deep thoughts.
    If we simply arrange and activate the stars of the constellation and follow them, we’ll create the nurture exposure vacuum [EASY]{p.g.=Post General Happines!!} the nature of our existence will project {focus lence} that nurture …into the soil, like so many windmills, where the happy people live, comfortably.
    We build health care [nurture] for 5 billion, low chemicals [storage for the molecular future -not $.99 fertilizer but flow that solves stellar poverty. 5 billion and we make it fit with grace and hope... [glass box solindra-calIF condo] The future is bright! we need high quality distractions of Try-olithic circuits, flowing rite the flower blooms from safe and happy fertilizer and no drugs/vitamins sept sun moon.

  • Ben Millstein

    Increased human population leads to decreased populations of other species period.  An increasingly impoverished earth is inevitable as we continue to grow.  (Thank you for mentioning biodiversity.)  We are headed for a terrible crash.  I don’t mention it around my kids.

  • Viacheslav Garmash

    I’ve listened the show yesterday and I was surprised how some callers looked at the issue. Somebody suggested stop reproduction by will. Why? It is not our right to decide how many kids we have. Look how many infertile people on the planet. We have a lot of reproduction issues mostly because our living environment is heavily damaged by mass food production (pesticides, modified genes, pollution).

    I totally agree with those who said that we need to be more gentle and smart when we consume Earth resources. If we do that there will be no problem to feed 7, 8 or 13 billion people.

    People in Africa starve not because they lazy or dumb, but because humans don’t want to share resources with those who live in more difficult areas.  If people of USA will eat more reasonable portions everyday we can send all excess of the food to those who need it. And we solve another issue: obesity. But now look how much food being wasted in USA only. USA has invented food disposers because food is so cheap that we cook more that we need and just dump the waste. What a shame!

    And we should not give away condoms to limit the population. It is just stupid. I wish everybody who suggest that should just go an jump from the roof. They forgot that their parents gave birth them because everybody deserve to live on that planet. It is not our right to decide who should live and who should not. Let nature to regulate that naturally: earthquakes, floods, mud slides, diseases. 

    And don’t worry: human population will not grow endlessly. Our top is about 12 billion and population will stay on this level continuously. You can read about it in the book of Sergei Kapitsa: “GLOBAL POPULATION BLOWUP AND AFTER”, ISBN 3-9809723-5-6. 

    All we need is to share more resources and reduce our greed for money. World don’t need another smartphone, world need more people working in agriculture and food production and distribution. And we need more smart people in education system who can teach our kids how to respect each other, love each other and get married and have kids and raise them into good and responsible people. And then humans will figure out better way to live together on the planet without artificial ways to control reproduction. Everything should go naturally and then everybody will not be hungry anymore and become happy. 

    • notafeminista

      If it’s not our right to decide, who’s is it?

      What happened to “my body, my choice”?

      • notafeminista

        Dang…”whose” …not who’s.  sheesh.

    • Slipstream

      I disagree with much of what you say.  While I think it is good to share and help each other out, and you are right that there is a lot of poor resource management in the USA, it is not realistic to expect richer nations to endlessly provide food and other things to poorer nations so that they can continue to increase their populations.  A lot of these countries already cannot produce enough food to feed their own populations – there is a clear indicator that it is time for them to reduce their human reproduction.  I agree that the West should give aid and other support, and in exchange these other nations should take steps to reduce population growth. 

    • Thomasmmurray3

      Alas, people in Africa are not lazy or dumb.  And we Americans try assiduously not to waste food or resources on our side of the pond.

      The problem is that much of Africa, and the Middle East, possess populations larger than their local resources can sustain.  China and Japan are facing this problem very well.  And we Americans and Europeans (that is, those of us who face facts and behave responsibly) at least make an attempt to restrain ourselves from popping more babies into the world.

      I realize that this sounds hard-hearted, but those of us in the West, and East, can’t keep sustaining 3-world countries who won’t face up to the real cause of their actions.  And it’s not the US.  We’re having our own problems with diminishing resourse.

  • Pingback: The Meaning of Seven Billion « Georgetown International Environmental Law Review

  • David Gurk

    Just listened to this show online.  It was an interesting and important show, but it was not “as advertised”.  The show was supposed to be about population trends, but neither guest was a demographer and precious little was said about population.  Joe Romm is my favorite writer about climate change issues, but he’s not a demographer.  Every time Tom asked him a question about population, he gave an answer about climate change.  Please do another program on this topic, but please have a demographer and a social demographer on the program.  Also, someone like Lester Brown who could tie together demographic trends with resource consumption patterns and environmental consequences would be a good guest.

  • Fredlinskip

    More unnecesary wars will help considerably.
    Let’s nuke’ em next time and ask questions later.

  • Kathy02001

     your right we should be told  were only allow to have one child there really since our immgrations of all these forgeiners we have been blow  up it got to stop goverment and the wall street protester are doing no good it just going get worst   im sorry havent tons of babies what that about next a food shortages

  • http://www.dogoodgauge.org The Do Good Gauge

    The Humanity of Problem Solving

    Why take the time to methodically describe a problem? Why seek the advice of others to clarify a working solution? The desire comes from the human spirit’s need to be heard and understood.

    Life expectancy is 67.2 years in a humanity of 7 billion. Let’s say within one’s lifetime 3 problems fester for resolution. Let’s then cut a little off life expectancy for maturity and degradation to come up with 51 years to express knowledge. 51 divided by 3 is 17. 17 years to
    describe a coherent solution to a perplexing problem. If everyone did their part 412 million coherent points of view would be described on a
    yearly basis.

    “What a crazy notion, you could only hope to get a small percentage of participation!” I disagree, but .25% still leaves 1.03 million points of view per year. “A fraction of the populace can produce an intelligent point of view!” I  agree, but suggest the fraction approaches 1. Even if the remaining 1/2 percent is capable, that leaves 5,147 quality solutions added to a repository of knowledge
    on a yearly basis. That’s 14.1 refined expressions of intelligence, from a humanity of thought, to read on a daily basis. 14.1 intelligent opinions nears the daily equivalent of the number absorbed from a media of a few thousand privileged individuals.

    7 billion people! 67.2 years per existence! Oh, the potential for knowledge, understanding, and humanity!

  • Pingback: Seven Billion And Counting: On Point NPR | Ecosophic Turn

  • Slipstream

    This 7 billion figure is staggering and troubling.  When I was a schoolboy, I learned that the world contained 3 billion people.  Now it is 7 – and I’m not an old-timer yet.   would propose a few steps, here in the USA, to help us counter out of control population growth.

    1.  Increase taxes on people who have more than 2 children.  Their kids will be using a lot more of the world’s resources and government services (like Medicaid and jail) than the children of other families.  They should be required to pay for some of it.

    2.  Look at what immigrant groups have the most children when they immigrate to the USA, and reduce the numbers of immigrants from those places, and say why we are doing it.  This would send the message that the government is willing to take material steps to address the issue.

    3.  Have some of our elected officials say something about this problem.  So far none of our spineless, bought and paid for politicians have had anything to say about this.  Both the Left and the Right would oppose any action for different reasons.  This is incredibly stupid.  I would seriously consider supporting any major politician who takes up this issue, regardless of his party or other positions.

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SHOWS
Jul 28, 2014
U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker watches as wounded American soldiers arrive at an American hospital near the front during World War I. (AP Photo)

Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One. We’ll look at lessons learned and our uneasy peace right now.

 
Jul 28, 2014
This June 4, 2014 photo shows a Walgreens retail store in Boston. Walgreen Co. _ which bills itself as “America’s premier pharmacy” _ is among many companies considering combining operations with foreign businesses to trim their tax bills. (AP)

American companies bailing out on America. They call it inversion. Is it desertion?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

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The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

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