HUMANS: AN ENDANGERED SPECIES BY JASON G. BRENT
Copyright by Jason G. Brent
Jan. 1, 2008, Jan.1, 2009, and July 17, 2010
THE EXHAUSTION OF OIL—A DEATH SENTENCE FOR BILLIONS
At this point I want to discuss the relationship between the exhaustion of oil and the future of humanity. First, I want to define “exhaustion of oil” for the purpose of these paragraphs. Exhaustion of oil can be defined in two ways—by price and thermodynamically. If it takes more energy to find, produce, refine and distribute a gallon of oil than the energy it produces where it is used, the supply of oil is exhausted even though there may be oil in the ground. For example, if it takes 10,000 units of energy to find, ETC., a gallon of oil and the gallon of oil only produces 1,000 units of energy when it is used, then the supply of oil is exhausted. Under those circumstances it would illogical to find, ETC., oil as every gallon used would result in a loss of energy. I will also define oil exhausted when the price of food rises by any amount resulting from an increase in the price of oil such that 25% of humanity cannot afford food resulting in massive starvation. In this case as well, there may be oil in the ground, but it is useless to 25% of humanity.
I will define the exhaustion of all fossil fuels similarly—thermodynamically and when other fossil fuels replace oil, to the extent that they can replace oil, but increase the price of food is such that 25% of humanity cannot afford food resulting in massive starvation.
Since the amount of oil, including oil made from oil shale and oil sands, on the planet is finite, it will be exhausted. Once a gallon of oil is used, no matter how it is used, it is lost and gone forever. It can never be recaptured and used again. Two questions then must be answered—when will oil be exhausted and when it is exhausted can anything or any groups of things replace oil in all its uses by humanity? There is a method/process, the Fischer/Tropsch process, by which other forms of fossil fuels can be converted into usable oil. The Germans used that process in World War II to make fuel for their airplanes and tanks. However, at this time it is clear that this process will not produce a sufficient amount of oil which would be necessary for humanity to function and, therefore, I will not discuss it. Also when all fossil fuels are exhausted the process would be useless. As with oil, fossil fuels are finite and not infinite and, therefore, will be exhausted. When any fossil fuel is used it is lost and gone forever. It cannot be reused.
What are the alternative sources of energy humankind can use to replace fossil fuels? There are three alternative sources of energy—a) the sun including wind, the tides, flowing water (rivers and dams), biomass, the heat difference between warm and cooler water, and photo-voltaic; b) nuclear including fission and fusion; and c) geothermal/volcanic. None of the sources produce the equivalent of oil—they only produce electricity. And electricity is very hard to store. None of those sources produce a liquid fuel which can replace oil except for biomass conversion and that process is highly inefficient, as the USA is learning in converting corn to fuel. None of these sources produce the complex chemical molecules which oil provides to humanity and which humanity uses in many areas. Except for the burning of biomass almost all the energy which the sun produces is intermittent and that fact makes it very difficult to use—no sun no energy. In many cases even if there is sun, the energy is intermittent—tides change, river flow changes, winds are not steady, etc. In almost every case in which the sun’s energy has been used, back-up sources of energy are required.
Since geothermal/volcanic sources are far from the places where energy is needed, except for Iceland, no significant use has ever been made of those sources. No expert predicts that geothermal and/or volcanic will ever provide more than a very insignificant amount of the energy needs of humanity. Nuclear can and does provide significant amount of alternative energy to humanity. However, there are a number of significant problems with nuclear which make it highly unlikely that nuclear will ever totally replace oil and other fossil fuels. Among the problems are waste disposal of radioactive material, security concerns, limited amount of nuclear fuel, and the cost of construction of nuclear power plants. Neither energy from the sun nor nuclear produces the complex molecules needed by humanity for plastics, pesticides, and the numerous other products essential for the survival of our civilization and the survival of humanity as we know it.
While most people talk of electrical energy, electricity is not a source of energy. You need energy—a coal or oil or nuclear power plant or a dam, etc., to produce what most people call electricity or electrical energy. Electricity is merely a means to transfer energy from one place to another place. And it takes energy to transfer electricity from one point to another point—if a dam or power plant produces electricity at one point and the electricity is used at a plant that produces cars 100 away miles you have less usable energy at the car plant than was produced at the power plant
You need energy to obtain hydrogen in a form in which it can be burned. Hydrogen is merely a means to transfer energy from one point to another point. For example, a dam generates energy which is used to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen—the hydrogen is placed into a cylinder which can be transferred from one point to a second point where it can be burned to produce energy that is useful for humankind. The energy you get from burning the hydrogen in the cylinder at the second point is less than the energy used to produce the hydrogen at the first point. The laws of physics require that result.
World energy consumption grew by 11 per cent between 1989 and 1999. According to the research of British Petroleum (BP), the demand for energy will increase by an additional 60% by 2030 and double by 2050. And it will not stop growing in 2050. The most important concept to understand is that so long as the human population continues to grow, the demand for energy will grow. While humanity can reduce the amount of energy used for a unit of economic output, that reduction will always be offset by an increase in population. To put it in simple terms—population increase will always increase the demand for energy faster than efficiency or new technologies can reduce the demand for energy. If by efficiency humanity were to use only 70% of the present energy used to produce a unit of economic output, but if population were to double the total demand for energy would increase.
When will the supply of oil be exhausted such that it can no longer be used effectively by humanity? While no one can predict the date of exhaustion with 100% certainty, any prediction must take into account the exploding demand for oil by China, India and the rest of the nations of the world due to the increasing standard of living and the rapidly growing population of humanity. For the first three months of the year 2009, China purchased more new cars that did the USA. With China’s huge population and with its surging economy it is almost certain that China will continue to buy more new cars than the USA or any other nation on the planet. That gives you some idea of the rapidly increasing standard of living of the Chinese people. It is estimated that China will require more oil by the year 2030 than the entire world’s production of oil in the year 2009 due to its expanding economy and its exploding car ownership. The year 2030 is just 20 years into the future.
The best estimates of which I am aware predict that the supply of oil, including oil made from shale or oil sands, will be exhausted in less than 150 years and the supply of coal and all other fossil fuels will be exhausted in less than 250 years. Professor David Rutledge of the California Institute of Technology recently made a compelling case for the peak of all fossil fuel energy production occurring in 2021 and for 90% of all the fossil fuels that humanity will ever extract being consumed by 2076 and 2076 is a very short time in the future—in the lifetimes of my grandchildren. To put his position in slightly different words, he has written that the supply of energy provided to humanity by all fossil fuels will start to decrease after 2021 requiring humanity to obtain and use other sources of energy after that date to offset the decline in energy produced by all fossil fuels. He has also written that 90% of all the energy that will ever be provided to humanity by all fossil fuels—oil, coal, natural gas, etc.—will be used up by 2076 and only 10% of that energy will be available for future use by humanity after 2076.
To be on the conservative side, assume that Professor Rutledge is wrong by about 74 years—that humanity will have used 90% of all fossil fuel energy it will ever use by 2150 For the purpose of the survival of humanity it makes no difference if our species uses 90% by 2076 or 2150 or even the year 2200. Humanity must plan today to run its civilization without fossil fuels. Of course, the numbers and times set forth above are nothing more than estimates. However, humanity must base its future actions on the best scientific information presently available.
Let us look at oil usage in another way. According to the US Government, demand for oil on a world-wide basis increased from 46.808 million barrels per day (bpd) in 1970 to 85.542 million bpd in 2007, an increase of 38.734 million bpd or an annual average increase of 1.046 million bpd over 37 years. This represents an increase of 82.7% in just 37 years. If the same rate of increase were to continue for 43 years from 2007 to 2050, the world would use 130.520 million bpd in 2050. For the period 2007 to 2050 the world would use almost 1.7 trillion barrels of oil. Of course, no one knows if the rate of increase in oil usage will remain the same in the future. However, since there will be explosive economic growth in China and India a strong argument can be made that the increase of oil will be far in excess of 1.046 million bpd in the future. However, to be on the conservative side in the above calculation I used the rate of growth of 1.046 million bpd per year for the period 2007 to 2050. If oil usage did not increase, but remained at the 2007 level of 85.542 million barrels per day for the period 2007 to 2100 humanity would use almost three trillion barrels of oil. If oil usage averaged 100 million bpd (an extremely low average) for the period 2007 to 2100 humanity would use a total of almost 3.4 trillion barrels of oil And according to the experts the earth only has 3.0 trillion barrels of recoverable oil!
The estimates I used in the previous paragraph are supported by the estimates of the International Energy Agency of Paris which predicts the demand for oil will increase to 116 million bpd by 2030. In the 70 years from 2030 to 2100 at that rate of usage a total of 2.964 trillion barrels of oil would be used. That usage does not take into account the usage from 2008 to 2030 and any increase in usage during the period of those 70 years. It would be the height of folly for humanity to assume that oil will last beyond the year 2100.
While there may be many causes of the increasing price of oil, there cannot be any doubt that increasing demand is one of the major, if not the major, cause of price increases. During the time I have written this book the price of a barrel of oil have fluctuated between about $35.00 and to in excess of $140.00 a barrel. The demand for oil will continue to increase—China, India and the rest of the third world will have an additional 300-600 million cars and trucks in the near future; more cars and trucks in the USA; the population of the entire world is estimated to reach 9.5 billion in 2050—more cars and trucks. More, more and more—more houses to heat, more airplanes will fly, more international trade, more food to produce, more food to transport, more electric to produce! The demand for oil and other fossil fuels is insatiable and will continue to be insatiable. Nothing will stop the increase in the price of oil and other fossil fuels. The only question is– how high?
Environmentalism and new technologies will not solve the problem of the increase in demand and the increase in the price of oil. It would be the height of folly for humanity to bet its survival on new technologies, environmentalism to reduce the demand for oil and other fossil fuels. As the price of oil increases the price of food and other items needed by humanity will increase and a very large portion of humanity will not be able to pay the price. Remember that a large portion of humanity (best estimate about 2 billion) today survives on less than one or two dollars a day. Social unrest, resource wars, collapse of the social order and revolution and war must occur when 20%, 30% or 40% of the population of the world is starving to death because they cannot afford food or the other items needed to survive. A more horrible scenario—as humanity fiddles with environmentalism, fiddles with possible new technologies, and fiddles with alternatives to oil, the population of the planet continues to grow at over 200,000 human beings every day.
It must be noted and understood that many countries subsidize the cost of oil so that the toiling masses can afford the oil they need to survive. Not if, but when those countries no longer are able to subsidize the cost of oil, social unrest and the collapse the social order is sure to follow. A few rhetorical questions! What price of a gallon of gas in the USA would cause riots in the streets—$5.00 per gallon, $10.00 per gallon, $50.00 per gallon? Can the citizens of the USA be sure that the price which will cause riots in the streets of the USA will never be reached in their life times, in the life times of their children, in the life times of their grandchildren, never?
As with all resources, humanity has already used the easiest oil to obtain. In the future humanity will have to spend more effort, time, money, manpower and will have to develop new technologies to obtain the oil that remains on the planet. And those efforts will increase the price of oil and the price of all resources.
Those readers who stay aware of current events will ask—what about natural gas from the Marcellus Shale geological formation that exists in under the earth in the Eastern United States? The Marcellus Shale geological formation is about 54,000 square miles of shale under various states from New York to Kentucky and west to Ohio. Numerous companies are drilling into the shale and extracting natural gas which is expected to provide natural gas energy for decades. However, energy for decades will not provide a long term solution for humankind and will not supply the energy needed for the ever growing population. The natural gas from that formation is also finite and will be exhausted in a relatively short period of time. Depending on which estimate you believe, the US population is expected to increase from the current 306 million to 430-450 million by 2050. And the natural gas from the shale geological formation will not supply the energy needs of the rest of humanity.
Without oil the airline industry will collapse. No other source of energy can consistently and over a lengthy period of time provide the combination of power and weight which is necessary for the airline industry to function. A short while ago a number of planes flew with fuel made from a combination of regular oil and from biomass. However, that was just a stunt and does not represent the future of the airline industry. It is important to note that every acre of biomass converted to fuel is an acre that no longer produces food for humanity and every day population is growing by 200,000. No airline industry, no tourism industry, no tourism industry therefore massive unemployment in every part of the world as that industry collapses. No airline industry no air freight/cargo industry which will dramatically affect every industry in the world that depends on air freight/cargo. While the water transportation industry and the cruise industry can switch to other sources of power, all of those other sources have problems which probably do not permit their use for any length of time. Coal could be used to power ocean freighters. However, if all freighters were converted to coal it would be an ecological disaster for all of humanity. Coal probably could not be used for river freighters. Coal probably could not be used to power ocean going fishing vessels. The cruise industry probably could not prosper with coal fired ships. And what happens when coal and all other fossil fuels are exhausted?
Powering ocean going vessels by hydrogen would probably be too dangerous. A few ocean-going vessels could be powered by nuclear reactors, but it is highly unlikely that a sufficient number of ships could be nuclear powered to maintain any reasonable level of international trade. It is highly unlikely that electric batteries could be made light enough and powerful enough to power ocean-going vessels. While sailing ships and ships powered by photo-voltaic cells could be used, they would not be able to handle even a fraction of the present international trade. It would appear that when the oil supply is exhausted, international ocean trade would be dramatically reduced and the consequences of that fact would have a very, very substantial affect on humankind. Most importantly, substantial amounts of food and other raw materials (resources) would not be shipped from those countries that had excess amounts, if any countries had excess, to those countries in need of food and other resources. Also those countries which manufactured goods would/could not ship those goods to countries in need of them. In effect, each country and/or each continent would have to become completely self sufficient. More than having a substantial affect on humanity, a substantial reduction in international trade would probably destroy civilization as we know it. Society would collapse and collapse catastrophically in those countries that needed to import food to avoid massive starvation, but could not obtain the food they needed due to the fact that international trade was substantially reduced.
Trains could be propelled by either coal or electric. However, trains do not reach every village, town and hamlet. Therefore, trains are not the solution. If all trains were powered by coal, the environmental effects would be harmful for all of humanity. Again what would happen when coal and all other fossil fuels are exhausted? Electric and/or hydrogen powered cars could be used for the people. The question becomes—could electric and/or hydrogen power trucks haul heavy goods to and from the train stations to places where the goods were needed and used. Could enough electricity be produced for the needs of humanity over the entire world? Could humanity create the necessary infrastructure to make and distribute hydrogen throughout the entire world in time to permit hydrogen to replace oil in cars? How would the lack of oil affect the production and distribution of food? Farm tractors demand a great deal of power. Irrigation pumps demand a great deal of power. Could those items be powered by electric batteries? Could a sufficient amount of electric be brought to the farms? Could those items be powered by hydrogen? It takes energy to obtain hydrogen from water or other sources. All of these problems and other problems too numerous to count would have to be solved on a world wide basis. And most importantly oil has many ancillary uses—pesticides, fertilizers, other chemicals. Could coal or other hydrocarbons provide the necessary raw materials to replace those other items made from, or partially made from, oil and what would happen when coal and the other hydrocarbons were exhausted? To sum up this paragraph, the exhaustion of oil would be a catastrophe for humanity which humanity would find very hard to survive, if it could survive at all.
Let us look at the fossil fuel problem another way. Since there cannot be any dispute that eventually humanity will exhaust the supply of fossil fuels, (the amount of fossil fuels is finite) what would be in the best interest of humankind—face the problem today, face the problem some time in the future when the population of humanity is much larger or bet the survival of humanity that science will develop things in the future that will replace fossil fuels? The answer is very simple, make population growth negative—immediately start to reduce population. Anyone who disagrees with what is written in this paragraph must assume either those fossil fuels are infinite (that humanity will never run out of fossil fuels) or before humanity exhausts the supply of fossil fuels humanity will find alternative energy sources that do not require a substantial reduction in the human population. Since no rational person can believe that the supply of fossil fuels is infinite, a rational person who disagrees with what is written in this paragraph must take the position than the genius of our species will find alternative energy sources which can be substituted for fossil fuels such that a dramatic decrease in population would not be necessary. The substitute energy sources must be able to replace fossil fuels in every area in which humanity uses fossil fuels. Any person who disagrees with what is written in this paragraph is betting the lives of billions of people that humanity will find alternative energy sources which can replace all of the uses of fossils fuels before they are exhausted. I do not believe any person can present a convincing case that when the supply of fossil fuels is exhausted (and it must be exhausted some time in the future, since it is finite) and if alternative energy sources are not found that there will not be a dramatic, precipitous, and violent decline in human population. To bet what is essentially the survival of humankind that humanity will find alternative sources of energy which could replace fossil fuels in the very near future is an irrational bet.
Let me see if I can put the entire fossil fuels problem into perspective. If India and China (forget about the rest of humanity) used oil on the same per capita basis as the USA, the demand for oil would exceed 200 million bpd. The production of oil at that level is not only impossible, it is inconceivable. And not only is it inconceivable, it would exhaust the supply of oil in a very, very short period of time. Throw in the demand for oil made by the rest of humanity and the demand for oil would reach—who knows. Americans must understand that the rest of humanity has the same per capita right to oil usage as the citizens of the USA. Not only must Americans realize that fact, but every person living in every industrialized country must realize that people of China and India will demand and get the right to use oil at the same per capita level. Americans must be prepared to immediately reduce their standard of living or face the deaths of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Americans must work with the rest of humanity to immediately reduce population and reduce population by artificial birth control and abortion.
In summary humanity will very shortly exhaust the supply of oil and will have to find one or more substitutes for the energy, chemicals and other necessities provided by oil. The substitutes will have to have no destructive affects on the environment and be able to last a minimum of 5,000 years. Remember that the dinosaurs ruled the earth for about 160 million years and that 5,000 years compared to 160 million years is an infinitely short period of time. If humanity were to exhaust the supply of oil by 2100 and if humanity did not have substitutes in place which could replace oil in all its uses, our modern civilization would collapse and, in my opinion, collapse in a ball of very destructive fire.
You must ask yourself two questions—what are the chances of humanity exhausting the supply of oil by 2100 and if the supply of oil is exhausted, what are the chances that humanity will have substitutes for oil, in all its uses, available in sufficient quantities and at prices which will prevent the destruction of our species and our civilization. Consider the fact that the answer to those two questions will determine if your great grandchildren die horrible deaths in 2100.
The most difficult problem facing humanity is to establish a fair, just, moral and equitable method to determine those who will be permitted to reproduce and those who will not be permitted to reproduce. Without exception, everyone is disgusted by the concept of dividing humanity into two groups. However, that cannot be helped. The problem must be faced and faced now by all of humanity, if we are to survive as a species. Every species or sub-species that ever existed on this planet had to have its gene pool modified to conform to the demands of the environment in which the species existed or the species did not survive. Example—assume that the predators ran at an average speed of eight miles per hour and the prey ran at the same speed. Under those circumstances there would be a balance between predator and prey. Now assume that due to evolution the prey ran at an average speed of twelve miles per hour. If the gene pool of the predators did not change so that they ran at twelve miles per hour, the predators would cease to exist after a few generations—they could not catch the prey. Another example—assume a plant species needed two inches of rain to survive and if there were a change in the rainfall pattern such that only one inch of rain fell, the species would cease to exist after a few generations unless the gene pool changed such that the species could survive on one inch of rain. Everyone must understand the simple fact that the environment controls the genes of every species and that includes the human species. The gene pool changes as the environment changes and no moral precept of humanity will change that fact. The failure of humanity to understand and act upon that fact will lead to the destruction of humanity. Even though the human species has intelligence, the same fate awaits it unless it adapts.
I am genetically handicapped. If I had to compete with an African Bushman in a survival contest in the Kalahari Desert in Africa, my genes would not let me compete. No amount of education and training could overcome the fact that I would be unable to survive in the Kalahari Desert. If survival required me to run a four minute mile, broad jump twenty feet and pole vault fifteen feet, I could never perform those functions no matter the education or training I received. It is the height of arrogance to believe that everyone will have the genetic skills or could be trained or educated to have the skills necessary to survive into the future. Even if humanity reduces its population growth to zero and it remains at zero, only those genetically able to perform the functions demanded by society will survive and reproduce. That has been the case for every species that ever existed and will be the case for humankind. Those who will survive to reproduce will be determined by the intelligence of humanity or by violence. It is that simple. And the struggle for survival will become more and more violent the closer humanity comes to exceeding the carrying capacity of the earth. If the earth can support 100 people and there are only 50 people on the earth, those that do not have the necessary skills to function can be supported by those that have the skills to function. Morality and justice require that those that are able support those that are not able. However, if the resources of the earth can support 100 people and there are 100 people on the earth, then those that are able to function will not permit those that are unable to function to reproduce and no sense of morality and justice will change that outcome. This determination will be made either by the intelligence of humanity or by war, death and destruction. Without a single exception, since life started on this planet, when the maximum number of individuals which the niche could support was reached a struggle for survival ensued and that will be the case for humanity—the hell with the concepts of morality and justice.
Many people have argued that society will need the less able to perform menial tasks that the elite will not perform, but which are needed for society to function. Of course, that is true. However, the definition of the less able will be determined in relation to the needs of society, the population and the description of the elite. A simple example— in the future to clean toilets a person may need a college degree and to get a good job a person may need two college degrees and anyone without a college degree would never get a job. Under that example a person with only one college degree will either clean toilets or starve to death and the person without a college degree will always starve to death. In this example by using a college degree it is not my intention to claim that a college degree will be the deciding factor—it is just an example. The problem for humanity is that we, collectively, may be unable to determine the necessary skills so that we can determine who reproduces and who does not. Humanity may be unable to determine which skills are genetic and which skills are the results of the environment or of prejudice. No other species that ever existed needed to make that determination; it was always made by nature and made by nature in a violent and deadly manner. With the availability of weapons of mass destruction, we cannot let that determination be made by nature. We must try to establish a value neutral, just and equitable method of determining who reproduces. The alternative is death on a scale which humanity cannot even imagine.
Alfred North Whitehead, the famous mathematician and philosopher, wrote in 1916 —”In the conditions of modern life, the rule is absolute: the race which does not value trained intelligence is doomed. Not all your heroism, not all your social charm, not all your wit, not all your victories on land or sea, can move back the finger of fate. Today we maintain ourselves. Tomorrow science will have moved forward yet one more step, and there will be no appeal from the judgment which will be pronounced on the uneducated.” What does that quotation have to do with the exploding population?
Whitehead understood and made clear that there will be two groups—those that were intelligent and educated and those who were not educated. While we can debate who will be the reproducers and what qualities the reproducers will have, we can be certain that to be a member of the reproducers will require a minimum level of intelligence and a minimum level of education. And to be very blunt, those individuals who live in countries with exploding populations and inadequate resources to provide educational opportunities will find it extremely hard to become members of the reproducers. That may not be moral, but that is a fact which all of humanity must understand. As much as humanity may try, the division of humankind into two groups cannot be 100% moral
A moralist will argue that humanity will, by the means of charity and other methods, take care of the less able. Up to a point that is true. However, when the choice is between survival and charity, survival wins and when the maximum population is reached any charity will reduce the chance of survival. Portions of families have been on welfare, non-productive citizens, for three or four generations. Arguments can and have been made that this is the result of environmental factors and prejudice and not as the result of a genetic inability to function. Arguments can and have been made that this is the result of factors beyond the control of those on welfare for generations. All of humanity will never agree on the resolution of those arguments. However, no matter the reason—genetics or environment and/or prejudice—in the future those who have been unable to contribute or function in society for generations will be eliminated from the population. How they will be eliminated is the question—by violence or by the intelligence of humankind..
Those that would argue that humanity does not have to be divided into two groups are implying that evolution does not apply to the human species. If humankind is subject to evolution, then the human species must be divided into two groups. The only way an intelligent argument can be made that every human being has the right to reproduce is to state explicitly and directly that our species is the ultimate living species and humankind will never evolve, never change no matter the circumstances or needs of our species. The fact that humankind has intelligence does not change the fact that humanity is subject to evolution and will change no matter how immoral that concept is and no matter how disgusting and hateful most people see that position. As indicated above, every species in every generation in every environmental niche has been divided into two groups when the maximum number of individuals that could be supported by the niche has been reached. Humanity is not and will not be an exception. Humankind’s population will continue to grow until the maximum number of individuals that can be supported by the planet has been reached, if it has not already been reached. The determination of those that survive is a continuous process, as the environment and the needs of society change, so do the skills of those that will survive change. It is not and cannot be a direct linear process.
If left to chance, those that survive may not be the best for humanity as a whole. Examples—if left to chance those that survive could be those that are prepared to kill anyone who opposes them; if left to chance those that survive could be the religious fanatics who produce the most children and spread like a cancer over the face of the earth.
Assume that the human population of the world stabilizes at one billion and assume further that 800 million have the skills to function in the society at it exists at that time and that 200 million do not have the skills to function. Those are reasonable assumptions because in every population in every niche there were a portion of the individuals that did not have the necessary skills to survive in the environment occupied by the species. Under those assumptions the 200 million who did not have the necessary skills would be parasites on the 800 million that had the necessary skills. A situation in which a large, or even a small, percentage of the people are parasites is not stable and will not exist for any length of time. Either the underclass, those without the skills, will revolt, become terrorists and use weapons of mass destruction because they have nothing to lose or those that have the skills will kill off the underclass because they are parasites. I have used the word “parasites” because those without the necessary skills would use resources without producing anything. Charity could permit this unstable situation to exist for a period of time. However, this unstable situation would not exist for a lengthy period of time.
Let us examine the problem in a different way. I never have read or seen anything which sets forth cogent/valid reasons why Darwinism does not apply to the human species. Anyone who disagrees with what I have written so far should /must set forth cogent/valid reasons why Darwinism never applied to humanity, does not apply to humanity today, will never apply to humanity in the future. Anyone who opposes what I have written must either assume that both population and economic growth can continue forever on the finite earth or set forth a very valid argument that Darwinism will never apply to humanity when both population and economic growth stop or become negative.
Humanity will have to understand that as society changes, and society does change and will continue to change, the skills necessary to become part of the reproducers will change. At any particular time no one will know what those skills are. To establish a method when the demands of society change to require those that are part of the reproducers to give up their privileged positions will be a very difficult problem. Also because a person has the necessary skills does not mean that person’s child or children will have the necessary skills. That means that the laws of inheritance will have to be changed so that each person competes on his or her own ability and not because he or she inherited money or other assets from his/her parents or from others.
Inherent in the assumption that population growth will voluntarily be reduced to zero or made negative is the additional assumption that everyone will have the right to reproduce without regard to the ability of that person to function in society. Those two assumptions require that evolution stop with humanity, that humankind is not subject to evolution, and that the gene pool of humankind will never change no matter the environment in which the human species exists. Since life began on the earth, the environment controlled the genetic development of every species, without a single exception. To take the position that because humanity has some degree of intelligence our species is not subject to evolution and that the gene pool of humankind will not change is just plain wrong. Even with a stable population only some people can be permitted to reproduce.
Anyone who opposes what is written in this book has two major intellectual and logical problems to overcome. First, that person must take the position that the earth can support an infinitely large population and infinitely growing economy. If he does not take that position, he is agreeing with me that growth must cease—all we are doing is debating when it must cease. There are only two choices—growth will cease at some point in time or it will go on forever. There aren’t any other choices. Second, once we agree that both population and economic growth must cease, he must describe the manner of cessation other than the one I proposed. He must show how both population and economic growth will cease without the division of humanity into two groups —he must show that both economic and population growth will voluntarily be reduced to zero—he must show that both population and economic growth will remain at zero for as long as humanity exists on the earth—he must show that every group, nation, religion, etc. will maintain the delicate balance necessary to prevent a runaway population explosion.
Implicit in what I have written is the assumption that having a child is not a private act. Rather, it is the most public act that can be imagined. Since all of humanity resides on the one earth and shares all of the resources of the one earth, a child born anywhere on the earth competes for resources with any other child born on the earth. We can debate the amount of resources used by a child born in the USA versus the amount of resources used by a child born in a poor third world country, but that does not change the fact that both children are competing for the same resources. Since pollution does not know any artificial country boundaries, a child born anywhere causes pollution around the entire planet. Because you are a devout Catholic, Jew or a devout anything else you do not have a right to kill me and that is what you are doing when you reproduce by having in excess of one or two children—one child if I have convinced you that population must be reduced below the current 6.7 billion or two children if I have convinced you that population cannot be permitted to grow. Unless humankind understands and acts upon the fact that having a child is the most public act, we are all doomed. Since giving birth to a child is the most public act possible, society must have the right to control that act. The decision to have a child cannot be made solely by the male and female involved. Let me put the idea into simple words—anyone fathering or giving birth to a second or third child is condemning everyone else on the planet to a horrible death.
For those of you who object to a two group solution and are disgusted by the concept, I will set forth an example. How would society function in any city in the world if 80% of the people in that city could not use a flush toilet because they did not have the genes which let them understand how to operate that device and could not be trained or educated to operate that device. Based on their inability to operate a flush toilet they used the streets, parks, and boulevards to perform their bodily functions. Admittedly a ridiculous example! However, something similar could and will happen in the future as society will become more complex and not everyone will have the genetic skills and could not be trained to function in that society.
A number of those who believe that the earth can support substantially more people than presently live on our planet point out that the entire world’s population could reside in the State of Texas at a density that would be less than the density of New York City. The density of the location of the population is unimportant and really meaningless. The important determination to be made is the relationship between the population and the resources available to support that population. The question which must be answered is—-does the entire planet have enough resources to support the estimated 9.5 billion people who will be alive in 2050 for a reasonable length of time at a standard of living that does not result in resource wars? Those who point out that the entire world’s population can fit into the State of Texas have no understanding of the problems facing humanity. More importantly, a second question must be answered—-if population growth continues after 2050 is there a limit to the population that can be supported by the resources of the planet? Clearly the answer is yes. Those who believe population can continue to grow have not come to grips with the problem of continued growth. There isn’t any logical or other connection between the number of people who can live in Texas and the need to control population growth. If all of humanity resided in Texas they would need the resources of the entire planet and those resources would not be able to permit all of humanity to exist for any length of time at a reasonable standard of living.
When population growth is reduced to zero or attains negative status, as it must, either through war or by the intelligence of humanity, humanity will have to cope with a completely revised economic paradigm. Almost nothing has been written by economists or others about how the entire world’s economy would function when population is static or reducing for an extended period of time. Every economic concept up until the present has been based on growth—growth of population and the growth of the economy. There would be substantial economic hardship with a great deal of suffering as the necessary changes were made from a growing economy to a static or reducing economy on a world wide basis. Society must be prepared to cope with that situation. As bad as that situation may become, it is nothing compared to the suffering which will happen to humanity if population and economic growth are permitted to continue. There could be a great deal of pain and suffering unless our leaders plan for the inevitable situation of a stoppage of economic and population growth. Attempts to stimulate the economy remind me of a person blowing up a balloon—as the person blows a pin hole develops and the person puts a patch on the pin hole and continues to blow, a second pin hole develops and he again patches the pin hole. This occurs a few more times. Suddenly the balloon bursts and nothing is left. Our governments are doing all they can to stimulate population and economic growth and a time will come when the balloon bursts resulting in massive death and destruction. Governments cannot change the inevitable and create jobs for people who do not have the skills and cannot be trained to have the skills necessary to function and survive in our ever exceedingly complex and technical society. Attempts by governments to create such jobs are not only doomed to failure, but are extremely harmful.
Many who are opposed to what is written here and who are familiar with the population problem will point to a bet made some years ago between Professors Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University and Julian Simon of The University of Maryland about the price of minerals. Professor Ehrlich took the position that the price of those materials would increase because minerals were limited and demand was increasing and Professor Simon took the position that they would go down or remain the same because of humanity’s genius and ingenuity. Simon won the bet and Ehrlich’s loss caused a great deal of harm to those who had taken the position that the earth was finite and an exploding population was using up the finite resources. The problem with the bet is that it was based on a limited period of time and not based on a long enough period of time for the effect of exploding population and a finite amount of materials to prove Ehrlich correct in his position. A more recent examination of the price of various important minerals shows that Ehrlich was correct:
|Aluminum ($/metric ton)
Corn ($/metric ton)
Steel ($/metric ton)
(Since I started to write this book the price of oil reached a high of over $140 per barrel and then came down to about $35 per barrel)
To those readers who agree with Professor Simon, I ask them to consider resource prices if population continues to grow and the human population reaches 15 billion, 20 billion, 50 billion or 100 billion. I ask those readers to consider resource prices if the economy of the world grew by a factor of two, five, fifty, or fifty thousand. Is there any number I can write that will be large enough for those that agree with the position taken by Professor Simon to change their position and agree with Professor Ehrlich? If they say that there isn’t any number large enough for them to agree with Professor Ehrlich, then I say they are wrong. If those that agree with Professor Simon agree that at some point, if population and/or the economy continue to grow, the prices of resources will increase in real terms and not due to inflation, then I say all we are debating is when the price of resources will increase dramatically. If the population and the economy continue to grow the price of resources must increase. No one on the face of the earth can present a logical and factually supported argument that if the economy were 500 times as large as the current economy and the population of the world were 200 billion people the price of resources would not increase.
Humanity does not understand economic law — price is determined by supply and demand— applies to it and that no action by government or any other human entity can change that law. The history of price controls shows that over the long run they are a failure. No matter how efficiently humanity uses fossil fuel, particularly oil, the demand for fossil fuel and oil will increase for the reasons set forth herein. No matter what humanity does, humanity cannot change the fact that there is a limited amount of fossil fuel on the planet—human ingenuity cannot increase the number of fossil fuel atoms. No, that is not correct! The amount of fossil fuel on the planet is decreasing—every time a gallon of oil is taken from the ground and used there is less fossil fuel on the planet, every time a ton of coal is mined and burned there is less fossil fuel on the planet. Humankind cannot change the fact that the amount of fossil fuel available for human use is decreasing every second. Based on increasing demand and decreasing supply, the cost in real terms of fossil fuel must increase in the long run. Humanity cannot repeal or change the law of supply and demand. Yes, humanity can use fossil fuel more efficiently and yes, humanity can attempt to use substitutes for fossil fuel, but in the long term the supply of fossil fuel must be exhausted. No matter how efficiently humanity uses fossil fuel and no matter the attempts made by humanity to use substitutes, the price of fossil fuel will increase and the price of everything which uses fossil fuel will increase. Eventually the cost of fossil fuel will cause the price of food to increase beyond the ability of a substantial number of human beings to afford food, causing massive social unrest and the collapse of the social order—causing revolution and terrorism. When there is massive starvation and the collapse of the social order, a person or a group of people have nothing to lose by the irrational and complete destruction of everything around them.
The economic law of supply and demand applies to every resource on the planet and since the demand is increasing every day due to the increasing population and the exploding world economy and since the supply is finite because no resource is infinitely large or because the supply is decreasing due to the usage by humanity, the cost of every resource must eventually increase no matter the intelligence or creativity of humankind. This effect is compounded by the fact, set forth above, that every day it is becoming more difficult and expensive to obtain the resources as humanity has already used the easiest and cheapest resources available.
Many people disagree with the concept that only humanity can control the population growth of our species. They argue that disease or something else would reduce population and save humankind from its destruction. They do not understand compound growth. Assume that a new horrible disease afflicts humanity reducing population by 99%, leaving only 1% surviving. After population is reduced to 1% of its present number, assume that population growth again starts at the compound rate of 2% per year. At that rate something doubles about every 36 years. That means that at the end of 36 years population will double and that there will now be 2% of the original population alive; at the end of 72 years there will be two doublings and population will reach 4% of the original number; and at the end of 108 years the percentage will reach 8% of the original population. If population continued to grow at the compound rate of 2% per year, it would take eight doublings or 288 years for population to reach 128% of the original number of individuals who were alive before the disease started. You don’t like my using a growth rate of 2% per year, let us try 1% per year. At that rate of growth it would take 576 years for population to reach 128% of the original number of individuals who were alive before the disease started.
Disease and starvation or anything else which reduced human population will not solve the problems facing humankind, unless population growth was reduced to zero after the original reduction.
While not liking the idea of separating humanity into two groups any reader must realize that every act of sexual intercourse which has taken place and which will take place in the future between a man and a woman determines who will be a reproducer and who will be a non-reproducer. Every act of intercourse determines which genes are or are not transmitted to the next generation. By the use of birth control a couple may choose not to have their genes or only a limited amount of their genes transmitted to the next generation. If a couple has five children more of their genes will be transmitted to the next generation than if they had only one child. Since each human being has a different set of genes and, therefore, has different skills to some degree, the genes that are transmitted to the next generation determine the course humankind will take. The future of humanity is determined by the genes transmitted to the next generation and the relationship of those genes to the skills necessary to survive in the next generation. As set forth herein, not everyone can or will be trained to have the skills necessary to function as the environment and needs of society change. While education and training can help a person obtain the necessary skills, there is a genetic component to the skills and those individuals who received the appropriate genes from their parents will be in a better position to survive and reproduce than those that did not receive the appropriate genes. Today every person who has sexual intercourse is determining who will survive and reproduce and who will not reproduce. Today humanity is doing it in a random manner.
The random determination of which member of a species could or could not reproduce has been acceptable for every other species because they did not have weapons of mass destruction. Nature selected who would survive and reproduce and who would not survive and not reproduce and nature performed this feat by violence. The law of natural selection, survival of the fittest, evolution, Darwinism, worked for every other species. The random determination of which human beings will reproduce and which humans being will not reproduce will not work for humanity because humanity has weapons of mass destruction. If a sizable portion of a species, other than the human species, died because they did not have enough food to eat, the survivors would continue the species. If a sizable portion of humanity were to die because there isn’t a sufficient amount of food or other resources, it is highly likely that group “A” or nation “B” would attempt to obtain the necessary food or other resources from its neighbors resulting in resource wars with weapons of mass destruction. No one knows at what exact point the lack of food or resources would trigger a war. But that is unimportant. At some point as population expanded, that point will be reached. For all species, except the human species, the random determination of the reproducers will occur when population exceeds the carrying capacity of the environment or niche occupied by the species and those genetically superior will survive. Humanity is different. When the carrying capacity of the earth is exceeded and resource wars occur atomic war will determine who survives, if anyone. There isn’t a place to hide that is or will be safe. Humanity must be smart enough to create two groups—those that reproduce and those that do not reproduce so that our species can survive. The question is—can we create the two group solution so that humanity does not destroy itself? That is the toughest question that ever has faced humanity or will ever face humanity in the future.
While I have written above about the fact that humanity will shortly exhaust the supply of oil and other fossil fuels, many experts believe that problem of water availability will be more devastating to humanity, both in the short term and in the long term. A substantial portion of the increased food supply over the last 40 or 50 years is due to the fact that the percentage of food grown on irrigated fields has increased dramatically. Humankind has used its ability to modify the environment so that a substantial portion of its food supply is no longer dependent on rain fall. Growing food requires very large amounts of water, on the average 1,000 tons of water are needed to grow one ton of grain. While humanity has the ability to desalinate water, the cost of doing so for food is not now and will not be for the foreseeable future economical. In addition, many or most of the major food growing areas are hundreds, if not thousands of miles, from the nearest place where sea water could be desalinated and then pumped to them. Almost every expert agrees that the cost in dollars and in fuel of pumping desalinated sea water to areas where food is grown prevents the use of desalinated sea water to grow crops. While humanity can try to genetically modify many of the food crops used by humanity to use sea water rather then fresh water, humankind cannot bet its survival on that occurring in time to prevent the destruction of our species. Even if sea water could be used to grow some crops, the energy cost of pumping the sea water to the food growing areas would prohibit the usage of sea water to solve the food growing problem. To summarize, humanity should not and cannot depend on sea water to provide the water necessary to grow the food needed for the exploding human population.
Fresh irrigation water can be obtained from only three sources—a) rivers fed by rain, natural springs, or melting glaciers; b) stored fresh water such as water behind dams or other artificial barriers; and c) aquifers. While I do not want to get into a discussion/debate about the cause of global warming, almost every expert believes that the earth is undergoing a period of warming and that will affect glaciers in a manner which will reduce their ability to provide irrigation water for food crops. Many rivers are now being used to the maximum to provide irrigation water— the Colorado in the USA barely reaches the sea. Many rivers in China run dry before they reach the sea. In fact, within the last few months a number of reports have been issued which discuss the chance/possibility/probability that Lake Mead, the very large man-made lake created by Hoover Dam and the flow of the Colorado River near Las Vegas, Nevada, will become a dry mud hole by 2021. The level of Lake Mead is down over 125 feet and the government is spending about $700 million to tunnel below the and add another “straw” so that water can be withdrawn from the lake and used by the residents of Las Vegas and the Southern United States.
The Colorado River serves, in one form or another, about 27 million people in the Southwest United States plus enormous amounts of agricultural land. If Lake Mead were to become a dry mud hole, the social upheaval would beyond the imagination of anyone. If Lake Mead were to become a dry mud hole caused by the lack of water flow of the Colorado River, all of the resources of the US Government probably could not solve the problems that would arise from that catastrophe. No one knows what will happen in the future, but these reports have been issued by respectable scientists and/or respectable scientific institutions and must not be tossed aside without consideration.
Most importantly, the aquifers under the grain growing areas of the USA, the Middle East, Mexico, and China are being depleted at a rate which will prevent their usage for the irrigation of food crops in the very near future. Once those major aquifers are no longer able to provide the necessary water to irrigate those crop growing areas nothing can prevent massive human starvation on a global scale from happening. Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute has written—“Fossil aquifers, however, are not replenishable. For these—including the vast U.S. Ogallala aquifer, the deep aquifer under the North China Plain, or the Saudi aquifer, for example-depletion brings pumping to an end. Farmers who lose their irrigation water have the option of returning to lower-yield dry land farming if rainfall permits. But in the more arid regions, such as in the southwestern United States or the Middle East, the loss of irrigation water means the end of agriculture.” If population growth continues, the question of starvation due to the lack of food due to the lack of water becomes not if, but when. And very soon!
The following are countries that are over-pumping their aquifers in 2009—the population column does not total due to rounding;
|Country||Population in the millions|
(The above table is from a book written by Lester Brown—Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization published by W.W. Norton & Company, 2009)
Unknown to the people of many poor countries, those countries are selling their water to countries which are able to pay for it. This is done by permitting the buying countries to buy or enter into long term leases for very large parcels of land—hundreds of thousands of acres. The buying countries use the land to produce food which is shipped to the buying countries. The food is not produced for the benefit of the poor people who live in the selling countries. Since food takes very large amount of water to grow, the selling countries are, in effect, selling their water to the detriment of their poor citizens. In addition poor farmers are being thrown off their land. These situations will lead to massive social unrest in the selling countries.
EASTER ISLAND—A LESSON WHICH HUMANITY MUST HEED
The ecological devastation caused by the exploding human population on Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean should provide a warning and guidance to all of humankind. Easter Island is an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that until recent times had no interaction with other land masses and whose population had no interaction with other human beings. To put it in simple terms, the inhabitants of Easter Island were alone in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and were forced to live or die based upon the limited resources of the island. Our planet, the earth, is in exactly the same situation—all of humankind exists on the earth in the middle of space and is and will be forced to live or die based on the limited resources of our planet.
According to the experts, a few human beings arrived on Easter Island and found a vacant island paradise. Population grew and grew until humanity destroyed the island paradise, until all or almost all of the resources of the island paradise were destroyed and resource wars followed which resulted in the deaths of almost all of the humans who had inhabited the island. While no one has made a scientific analysis of the intelligence of the inhabitants of Easter Island, there isn’t any reason to presume that, on the average, they were any less or more intelligent than the rest of humanity. According to those who have studied Easter Island, the situation became so bad that those who remained alive resorted to cannibalism and to make the situation even worse were forced to eat those they killed raw because there wasn’t any fuel on the island to cook those to be eaten. Again the cause of the death, destruction, and cannibalism was the excess population in relation to the resources which could be provided by the island. The very same thing will occur to the rest of humanity on the planet earth. If humanity uses more resources than can be provided by the planet on an annual basis, our species is doomed. While the entire planet is larger than Easter Island, there isn’t any difference between Easter Island and our planet. They both are finite in size and both have resources which have been or will be exhausted. The intelligence of humankind will not change the result. The intelligence of those who lived on Easter Island did not change the result.
The inhabitants of Easter Island refused to see the future and take appropriate action to prevent their destruction. The human species is refusing to see the future and take the appropriate action. Humanity cannot afford to gamble that what occurred on Easter Island will happen to our planet. In evaluating the applicability of the scenario of Easter Island to the entire planet, consideration must be given to the island of Tikopia. Tikopia is an island similar to Easter Island—it is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and its inhabitants were forced to live or die based on the limited resources of the island. However, the residents of Tikopia used population control mechanisms and survived. Those mechanisms included celibacy, contraception, abortion, infanticide and sending young males out to sea on what were, in effect, suicide missions. I cannot and will not dispute that the population control mechanisms themselves were horrible, but the society survived. With the better methods of birth control available today to humanity, the population control mechanisms used today will not be as horrible as those used on Tikopia. The population control methods available to humanity today are very benign and inexpensive.
Some experts disagree with the concept that overpopulation in relation to the resources of the island was the cause of the catastrophic decease in the population of Easter Island. They argue that the rats that were brought by those that populated Easter Island were the cause of the catastrophic decline in population—the rats destroyed the ecological base of the island which was necessary to support those inhabiting the island. Which group of experts is correct is unimportant. In either case human activity was the cause of the decline and the lesson is the same for all of humanity presently living on the earth.
DESTRUCTION OF PRODUCTIVE LAND AND DESTRUCTION OF FISHERIES
While some people believe that there can be a debate about whether global warming is caused by human activity or a part of a natural cycle, there cannot be a debate that humankind is destroying the resources of the planet which will lead to the destruction of our species. What is desertification? It is the destruction of valuable productive land to useless desert by overuse. A few examples! Nigeria’s population has grown from 33 million in 1950 to 132 million in 2005 and is expected to reach 258 million in 2050—a population growth of close to eight times (7.82) in just 100 years. (A side comment—if that rate of growth were to continue for just an additional 100 years from 2050 to 2150 the population of Nigeria would exceed 2 billion people and their isn’t any reason to believe that the rate of population growth will decrease.) The Pope goes to Africa and demands that the inhabitants of that continent, including the people of Nigeria, have sex without a condom on the pain of eternal damnation even if one of the parties has HIV/AIDS. During the period from 1950 to 2000, Nigeria’s animal load on the land increased 11 fold from 6 million animals to 66 million animals. That increased load caused overuse of the land and lead directly to the desertification of over 351,000 hectares (over 867,000 acres) of land each year. That land is no longer productive and cannot support either animal or any type of plant growth beneficial to humanity. Extrapolating that destruction, when Nigeria’s population goes from 132 million in 2005 to an estimated 258 million in 2050 and the animal load on the land increases proportionally the entire situation becomes frightening beyond words.
According to the last estimates published by the Chinese Government, China lost 1,560 square kilometers of land each year to desertification from 1950 to 1975; 2,100 square kilometers each year from 1975 to 1987; and from 1987 to the present the number increased to 3,600 square kilometers per year. During the period 1950-2008 China, just one of the countries on the planet, lost 143,400 square kilometers of productive land to desertification. Humanity cannot afford to lose productive land to desertification, cannot afford to turn good agricultural land into waste land, especially when population is increasing at the rate of about 200,000 human beings every single day. And no day is exempt from the increase of population. The desertification in Nigeria, China and the rest of the world is continuing and continuing at an accelerating rate. Don’t be fooled into believing that the population of China is stable or decreasing in size due to the “one child policy”. The best estimate is that the population of China will continue to increase to at least 2050. As pointed out else ware in this book, after a nation reduces its fertility level to replacement value the population will increase for about 70 years and not stabilize until the population was 50% greater than the starting value.
It should be noted that desertification is not the only way to destroy valuable food producing land. Ancient empires in the Middle East were destroyed when excess irrigation cause the salinization of the food growing land. While I do not have any numbers about the current salinization of land, humanity should be aware of the possibility of that occurring as humanity increases the amount of irrigated land.
Humanity is destroying the oceans as a source of food not only for the current generation, but for all future generations, by over-fishing and by causing “dead zones”. Almost everyone can understand that huge commercial fishing vessels use modern technology to harvest huge amounts of fish every day destroying the ability of many fish species to reproduce and survive. Few of us understand that fertilizer run off causes algae in the ocean to bloom far beyond what would be considered normal. The algae bloom sucks oxygen the from the ocean below it such that fish will, in effect, suffocate because the ocean does not contain enough oxygen to support fish life. No fish, no food for humanity! Dead zones in the ocean are growing larger every day. As of the year 2006, according to the experts one-third of the seafood species have collapsed. That means their catch has declined 90% below the historic maximum. Of these sea species seven percent have become extinct. If the human population continues to grow and if humanity does not change how it manages the oceans of the world and does not change the amount of fish it takes from the oceans there is a possibility/probability that 100 percent of the species will collapse by the year 2048. Fish will no longer be a part of the human diet and those nations which depend on seafood for a large part of their diet will suffer massive starvation. And, of course, that part of the world’s economy which depends on fishing will collapse causing massive social upheavals. Many of the species will be so depleted that they will never recover sufficiently to ever become a source of food for humanity. While no one knows if the possibility/probability of a 100% collapse will occur by 2048 or by any other year, but humanity cannot afford to take the chance that fish will no longer be a part of humanity’s food or be reduced by at least 50%. The main force causing the decline in fish stocks is the exploding human population demanding fish for food and not caring about the future survival of the human species. If I am starving today and my family is starving today I want food today and do not care if there isn’t any food in the future.
THE COMPOUND EFFECT OF EXTENDED LIFE EXPECTANCIES
In evaluating the need for the control of population growth few people realize that extending the average life expectancy has a compound effect. Not only does the average person live longer, but due to the extended life span more people are alive to use the resources of the earth. For example, assume that there are 10 people alive and that their life expectancy is, on the average, 40 years. Based on those assumptions the earth has to support 400 man years (ten times forty). If life expectancy were increased to 80 years, two additional generations would be born and be alive for the average life expectancy. It would mean that population would double at least to 20 persons and that they would live, on average to 80 years. Therefore, the earth would have to support 1,600 man years, (20 times 80) or four times the original number of man years the earth would have been required to support, if life expectancy did not increase. While it is the obligation to extend the life expectancy of every human being, humanity must understand by doing so it is placing an enormous burden on the earth. A thought for you to consider—what would happen to humanity if medical science were able to increase the average life expectancy, in good health, to the age of 150? Such an increase would lead in an ultra short period of time to the destruction of humankind due to the compounding effect described above. To put it very directly, every increase in the average life expectancy of all of humanity, no matter how small an increase, must lead to the destruction of humankind, unless an offsetting reduction is made in the population.
Now to a much more horrifying situation! Assume that population goes from the present estimate of 6.7 billion to the estimate of 9.5 billion in 2050 and assume that the average life expectancy increases by ten years from 60 to 70 years in 2050 and then assume that the average per capita usage of resources increases by 25% by 2050 due to the increased standard of living in China, India, and the rest of humanity. That would be the “perfect storm”, to use the words taken from a recent movie. First, I challenge anyone to present a logical argument that the assumptions I made (an increase in population from 6.7 to 9.5 billion, an increase in life expectancy of ten years, and an increase of 25% in the average per capita usage of resources) can never happen by 2050. Unless humanity can be absolutely sure, and I mean absolutely sure, that the perfect storm will not occur, humanity must determine what course of action it must take today to prevent its total or almost total destruction. I challenge anyone to present a logical argument that if the perfect storm were to occur humanity would not run out of resources prior to 2050 and that due to the exhaustion of resources the social order would collapse by 2050. If the perfect storm were to occur, the burden on the resources of the earth would more than double by 2050—more people alive, each person living longer and each person using more resources. A doubling of the burden would probably be beyond the ability of the earth to furnish the resources necessary to maintain civilization as we know it and a doubling of the burden would probably result in the immediate destruction of almost all of humanity. Humanity today has probably exceeded the carrying capacity of the earth and if it has not already exceeded the carrying capacity it will do so in the very near future. For humanity to demand that the earth produce twice the resources on an annual basis than it presently produces is the height of folly and stupidity. You may want to go back to the short list of the problems facing humanity today and consider those problems anew if the demand for resources were to double by 2050. A question for you to consider—how would humanity function in 2100 if population were to reach 11 billion, average life expectancy were to reach 80 and if the average per capita usage of resources increased by 50% over the per capita usage of resources in 2008?