The Population Bomb

A hipster’s guide to Malthusian limits

UPDATE – Thread is closed. Steven has made his point.

Comments:

  1. Why is the unanswered question.

    What is true, real and somehow right cannot do harm to anyone. Truth is never trivial. And yet 'the brightest and best' ignore, avoid and willfully refuse to examine, discuss and report on all as well as, perhaps, the best scientific research on the subject of human population dynamics. Knowledge of the population dynamics of the human species remains off limits, a taboo even among those in the newly established 'Scientific Consensus on...Humanity...', the relatively 'ancient' Royal Society, the modern American Academy for the Advancement of Science, other national academies of science, the Union of Concerned Scientists, demographers and economists everywhere. When and where are the self-proclaimed experts in population biology, other sciences and relevant disciplines going to openly acknowledge the uncontested scientific evidence of human population dynamics that appears to disclose simply and elegantly how human population dynamics is essentially common to, not different from, the population dynamics of other species; how human population numbers appear as a function of an available food supply? How more food equals more people; less food equals less people; and no food, no people.

    Are the overproduction, overconsumption and overpopulation activities of many too many people not the primary problem confronting humankind in our time? Scientists have been seeing what is happening during the past 70 years as human population numbers skyrocketed worldwide. Scientists have been regularly reporting this widely shared and consensually validated scientific knowledge. But that is not the end of the story. There is at least one other question to ask that calls out to us for an answer, a question that any reasonable and sensible person would ask, I suppose. And that question is, “Why is the human population on Earth exploding? Why?” The question is straightforward. Where are the scientists with knowledge concerning why the global human population is skyrocketing on our watch? They are electively mute. Their conscious and deliberate collusion makes it possible for silence to prevail over science. This cannot be construed as correct behavior, especially by top-rank scientists. In diametrical opposition to the evolution of science extant, uncontested research related to the question of ‘why' has been ubiquitously avoided or denied by many too many of the very experts on human population matters who are in agreement about ‘what is happening’ regarding the unbridled colossal growth of the human population on Earth. If science of ‘why global human population numbers are exploding’ is willfully ignored, how is the human community ever to respond ably to emergent and convergent human-induced threats to future human well being and environmental health? How can we speak about the necessity for advances in science, for fidelity to scientific facts and truth, for the individual and collective will to go wheresoever the evidence leads while first class scientists with appropriate expertise deny scientific evidence of human population dynamics/overpopulation? For self-proclaimed experts to refuse to examine and share findings of scientific research regarding ‘why the human population is exploding’ has got to be overcome, fast. Such a breach of one’s duty to science & humanity is a personal and collective betrayal of both.

  2. What is true, real and somehow right cannot do harm to anyone. Truth is never trivial. And yet 'the brightest and best' ignore, avoid and willfully refuse to examine, discuss and report on all as well as, perhaps, the best scientific research on the subject of human population dynamics. Knowledge of the population dynamics of the human species remains off limits, a taboo even among those in the newly established 'Scientific Consensus on...Humanity...', the relatively 'ancient' Royal Society, the modern American Academy for the Advancement of Science, other national academies of science, the Union of Concerned Scientists, demographers and economists everywhere. When and where are the self-proclaimed experts in population biology, other sciences and relevant disciplines going to openly acknowledge the uncontested scientific evidence of human population dynamics that appears to disclose simply and elegantly how human population dynamics is essentially common to, not different from, the population dynamics of other species; how human population numbers appear as a function of an available food supply? How more food equals more people; less food equals less people; and no food, no people.

    Are the overproduction, overconsumption and overpopulation activities of many too many people not the primary problem confronting humankind in our time? Scientists have been seeing what is happening during the past 70 years as human population numbers skyrocketed worldwide. Scientists have been regularly reporting this widely shared and consensually validated scientific knowledge. But that is not the end of the story. There is at least one other question to ask that calls out to us for an answer, a question that any reasonable and sensible person would ask, I suppose. And that question is, “Why is the human population on Earth exploding? Why?” The question is straightforward. Where are the scientists with knowledge concerning why the global human population is skyrocketing on our watch? They are electively mute.Their conscious and deliberate collusion makes it possible for silence to prevail over science. This cannot be construed as correct behavior, especially by top-rank scientists. In diametrical opposition to the evolution of science extant, uncontested research related to the question of ‘why' has been ubiquitously avoided or denied by many too many of the very experts on human population matters who are in agreement about ‘what is happening’ regarding the unbridled colossal growth of the human population on Earth. If science of ‘why global human population numbers are exploding’ is willfully ignored, how is the human community ever to respond ably to emergent and convergent human-induced threats to future human well being and environmental health? How can we speak about the necessity for advances in science, for fidelity to scientific facts and truth, for the individual and collective will to go wheresoever the evidence leads while first class scientists with appropriate expertise deny scientific evidence of human population dynamics/overpopulation? For self-proclaimed experts to refuse to examine and share findings of scientific research regarding ‘why the human population is exploding’ has got to be overcome, fast. Such a breach of one’s duty to science & humanity is a personal and collective betrayal of both.

  3. Stuck in the 60s a bit, aren't we Mr. Salmony? Human population growth is not at all like that of most other species (and there is considerable diversity between other species, you might note.)

    In 1972 the UN predicted that population would reach 15 billion by 2100. They now predict at most 10 billion. Their original prediction followed your logic. Their 2012 prediction acknowledged our differences.

  4. Excellent! Well, depressing ...

    SciShow does a good job on a variety of subjects, in addition to providing an accurate song about particles that would be obscure to non-scientists. (also for another day)

    I found their exposition of climate dangers elsewhere - finishing up with hydrogen sulfide - about as scary as it gets, including the human touch at the end: admitting that knowing all this does not change our behavior. (I'll look it out another time.)

    My choice to post here today is this history of climate, which includes Marcott et al., thorny topic that is among the proud ignoranti:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC_2WXyORGA

  5. Human population dynamics seems indeed different to most other species.

    It is stunningly dumb and suigenocidal. Classic example: Rwanda and the big machete massacre of 1994. A major incentive was food and land (Jared Diamond, Collapse, p.328.) as Rwanda got "full". Meanwhile, population in Rwanda is increasing again at 3%/y - "a visitor's sense is of being surrounded by a sea of children" (loc. cit.). There are many other examples of the poorest and hungriest breeding most offspring, not only in Africa. E.g. in the good catholic Phillipines, rural human surplus is sent to the cities, with girls ending up in Russian brothels and the boys killing each other in street gangs. Recently on radio, Gaza maternity clinic chief: "By Allah, we still don't produce enough babies."

    No higher life form is reacting that way to scarcity. We're even dumber that yeast - yeast cells don't kill each other.

    The other thing that distinguishes the Late Homo S "Sapiens" from other life forms is artificial food and extrasomatic energy. Our current food system is unthinkable without artificial input like Haber-Bosch nitrogen or mined phosphorus. The N in our bodies is 50-70% industrial N (numbers vary with source). Add to that an effectively shrinking global ecosystem. So, we might be on a population overshoot like no other species before.

    Note that this applies to the Late Homo S "Sapiens". There are still a few more sapient hominids around, e.g. the hunter-gatherers of the San bushmen. The mock racist in me finds them very interesting, for they have some very old (less degenerated?) genes. Perhaps the now dominating hominds evolved their madness with the advent of agriculture and cities.

  6. Pingback: Another Week of Global Warming News, June 2, 2013 – A Few Things Ill Considered

  7. I'm currently staying in and probably relocating permanently to a city of 26 million human souls. Remarkably, they are not crazy due to overcrowding, they are not starving or worrying about their next meal. They live, work, go to school and seem to be no more or less satisfied with their existence than people in suburban or rural environments.

    The population of the world (land only, excluding Antarctica) is 53 people per square kilometer. That is the same population density as countries like Yemen or Tajikstan. The population of this city is 3,600 per square kilometer.

    Global food production has been increasing for decades. There are now more overweight people on this planet than those who are underweight.

    The actual annual growth in the number of humans fell from its peak of 88.0 million in 1989, to a low of 73.9 million in 2003, after which it rose again to 75.2 million in 2006. Since then, annual growth has declined. In 2009, the human population increased by 74.6 million, which is projected to fall steadily to about 41 million per annum in 2050, at which time the population will have increased to about 9.2 billion.

    Don't you just love Wikipedia?

  8. There are still 870 million (12% of total pop.) undernourished. While this is down from 1000 million (19%) in 1990, the absolute number is stagnating since 2007. While grain production is still rising linearly (cf. Malthus), consumption has exceeded production in 8 of the last 13 years. The reserves are dangerously low.

    Since 2007 the FAO food price index went up quite a bit, with extreme spikes during extreme weather events in grain producers such as Russia and the U.S. The rise of food prices was one cause of the Arab spring. Egypt, formerly the bread basket of the Roman emire, is now one of the world's largest importer of wheat, which until recently could be easily financed with oil exports. But now there's peak oil and all of a sudden Egypt has a huge population overshoot that can not be fed with locally produced food. In Syria 800,000 farmers were ruined by historical drought. Syria also is beyond peak oil. Likewise, Mexico...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunger
    http://www.fao.org/worldfoodsituation/wfs-home/foodpricesindex/en/
    http://www.earth-policy.org/indicators/C54/grain_2013
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2013/mar/06/food-riots-new-normal
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007%E2%80%9308_world_food_price_crisis

  9. "The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 presents new estimates of undernourishment based on a revised and improved methodology. The new estimates show that progress in reducing hunger during the past 20 years has been better than previously believed, and that, given renewed efforts, it may be possible to reach the MDG hunger target at the global level by 2015." Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

    http://www.fao.org/publications/sofi/en/

  10. FAO is what I (wikipedia) cited: 870 million. To reduce that significantly is possible in theory, just like significant fossil carbon emissions reductions are well possible in theory. Problem is money and will.

    I don't see any exponential growth in food production. And if, there's the problem of the shape of the planet: It is round, hence finite. Also, soil is a finite and overstressed system. Plus, you can meanwhile forget about the oceans as a significant protein source.

    Let's see how 2013 ends. The grain reserves will almost surely not increase significantly. Market speculation will predate on that, driving up global food prices. (We might not care, but someone living off 1$/d will very much care.) So, climate disturbance is meanwhile a significant factor of global food (price) fluctuations.

  11. "Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is solvable by means we have discovered and with resources we possess. What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem.”

    -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  12. "We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood- it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilization are written the words, “Too late.”"

    -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  13. On poverty, the smug assumption that since one does not confront it every day it does not exist is belied by the facts. Here:

    http://www.onedayswages.org/about/what-extreme-global-poverty

    ... the numbers are staggering. 2.4 billion people live on less than $2/day (USD), and roughly 1.2 billion people live on less than $1.25/day (USD) - the definition of "extreme global poverty."

    Consider the following:

    Water
    3.4 million people die every year from water related diseases around the world, and roughly 780 million people do not have access to clean water.

    Health
    Nearly 11,700 people die every day from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Close to two-thirds of these people are living in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Education
    61 million children of primary school age were out of school. More than half of them (33 million) were in sub-Saharan Africa and a further one fifth (13 million) in Southern Asia....

    Then there are the working poor. Have you looked at the costs of housing, food, health care (and those benefits are being pulled), school expenses, and the like, and totted up the total? Have you then compared it by multiplying $10 (or even $15 or $20) per hour for a 40 hour week 52 weeks a year, probably with minimum benefits, and multiple jobs (so no overtime)? Try Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickeled and Dimed in America. Schools are scrounging as goverment dominated by those who only find welfare for the wealthy acceptable (banksters, CEO salaries, deregulation, don't tread on me, etc.) cut back on all necessary services.

    In addition, there's an all-out push to make birth control less accessible to the poor. How stupid is that? If they can't afford a car and car repairs, how expensive is public transit (a bundle, I can tell you, and services are inefficient and going downhill, another "how stupid is that" moment). The demographics for the working poor in the US are staggering.

    Take a look at this:
    http://tinypic.com/view.php?pic=o77m7q&s=5

    It's a bit outdated: things have gotten worse.

  14. Simple: overpopulation is more than the planet can sustain. And before ignore anyone out of signt/out of mind, consider that our expanded standard of living means that many of the world's poor will increase their consumption an order or magnitude or two (tenfold to a hundredfold) just to catch up (noticed what's happening in China? multiply that; Pakistan is having more and more trouble with the power grid, for example). The worlds water supply is already a problem, and food is not far behind.

    We left that behind some time ago.

  15. Ms. Anderson, it pains me to always be on the opposite side of the fence but surely you must know that your statement is not accurate? That the human condition has improved immeasurably since 1949, when President Truman quite accurately said that half of all the human race lived in abject poverty?

    Things have gotten so much better so rapidly that it just astonishes me that you can make such a statement.

    As for carrying capacity, we have land enough for all. We produce enough food for all. There is water enough for all. Both now and in the future. That logistics issues,storage and transportation, are not perfect yet is certainly true. But that should spur us on to finish the job, not re-evaluate if the job is worth doing. Come on, please.

  16. It pains me too; I'm sure you're a generous guy in your personal life but just as you think I am blind I feel you are shutting out a whole lot of information. I do see the problem. One of the reasons I persist here at Planet3.0 is that I respect Michael Tobis's effort to open up the conversation in a polarized world. I do see that all the approval I get from "my side" is matched by others who are so angry they won't even take a look at what we say, and more polarizing attitudes can reinforce the barrier. I am a "verified" commenter on the NYTimes and have to resist the temptation to court approval by making stronger and less nuanced assertions.

    I think we've hit that barrier where we see the same thing and define it differently, and I'm afraid you, unless you are quite old, will come to see what I'm talking about all too soon in the weather/climate part of the equation. For me, I feel dread as events play out just as the best science has been telling us for decades. I also cannot convey to you the overall visible change that is currently being explained by the likes of Jennifer Francis (two links included are a water vapor animation and a short talk by Dr. Francis):
    http://weather.unisys.com/satellite/sat_wv_hem_loop-12.gif
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nzwJg4Ebzo

    I have been looking at the water vapor daily for about five years, and I can assure you that while the daily patterns are eccentric and unpredictable, and the coriolis forces fascinating, there is a noticeable trend over time. There is more chaos and there are more extremes. If you start looking at this over time, and comparing it to weather reports, you will begin to see what I see for yourself. Besides, water vapor maps are appealing at the purely aesthetic levels.

    I see what you see too, but find your focus too narrow. I cannot convey to you my tendency to imagine myself in other people's shoes. Can you imagine yourself one in a refugee camp in Africa or the middle east? Do you really think that living on $1.50 a day (that's a study too - money is valued differently in different places) is OK for anyone at all? Pakistan used to have daily blackouts of 2 or 3 hours - now it's more like 10 or more.

    Clean running water, preferably with hot on tap as well, is something I give thanks for every day. How can you not know that billions don't have this? How many of the conveniences of modern life is that worth?

    You seem to put a wall around all the benefits of modern life that you and I take for granted.

    In addition, in my mother's caregiving, I work in close quarters with low SES people, and their grace and courage in the face of a grinding and impossible challenge, making a living in an increasingly expensive culture, brings close to home and tests my generosity. I'd love to take over and fix it all for them, after all they fix a lot of stuff for me by caring for my mother, but I too put up walls around the differences between their circumstances and mine and limit how much I help them. The fact that they have to eat their pride and accept my help speaks volumes. But I don't pretend they aren't there.

  17. That's well and good, Susan, but Tom seems to be convinced that I'm an extremist.

    Anyway, Planet3.0 is not about me, or at least shouldn't be. I could just keep blogging on In It for the Gold if that were the idea. Stay tuned, we hope to make progress toward a more community-centric site this summer.

    Finally, I think both of you have good points in the present case. There has been enormous progress, and there remain enormous risks. I don't see how those claims are mutually contradictory at all.

  18. Tom's dismissal, to put it kindly, ignored what I said completely:

    surely you must know that your statement is not accurate? That the human condition has improved immeasurably since 1949

    I was willing to provide more evidence without calling out this omission, but that things have not improved for most of the world's population is a fact that "progress ... risks" ignores. In fact, with the increase in climate extremes a major culprit, they are continuing to get worse, not better. I would like you both to actually read the specifics I provided and get a sense of where the global statistics actually stand. If that makes us "extremists" than I would not like to be called anything else. Compassion and empathy are qualities that might just pull us through, if the We-humans can persuade the Me-humans it's in their best interest to do so.

    http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

    The link provides sources for these statistics and more:

    At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.

    More than 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where income differentials are widening.

    The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.

    According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”

    Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
    ....
    For economic growth and almost all of the other indicators, the last 20 years [of the current form of globalization, from 1980 - 2000] have shown a very clear decline in progress as compared with the previous two decades [1960 - 1980].... Among the findings:

    - The fall in economic growth rates was most pronounced and across the board for all groups or countries.
    - Progress in life expectancy was also reduced for 4 out of the 5 groups of countries, with the exception of the highest group (life expectancy 69-76 years).
    - Infant and Child Mortality: Progress in reducing infant mortality was also considerably slower during the period of globalization (1980-1998) than over the previous two decades.
    - Education and literacy: Progress in education also slowed during the period of globalization.

  19. Hans Rosling. 80% living on less than $10/day. What to believe? Or is it just a case of selecting a context that makes the facts of daily life for the majority of the world's population more palatable?

    Ted talks presents some interesting stuff, but it's a very elite organization and the pay is good. I am a Ted heretic, having seen that it's a good racket but exclusive, self-promoting, hewing to the "white European male" model of condescension and isolated from real working-class challenges.

    In my view, a whole lot of people are ignored. If the unfortunates are only 3 billion instead of 6 billion, that means we can go on patting ourselves on the backs?

    Source:
    http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats#src1

  20. The idea of living without clean running water, hot for preference, should give us all furiously to think. Particularly since the water wars are already upon us, and all the forms of extreme fuel and enhanced food production require a lot of it, not to mention the West's most durable icons, Coke and Pepsi et al. The fact that people who cannot afford children are discouraged from not producing them should also give us pause.

  21. I'm a TED heretic too, but I remain a Hans Rosling acolyte nonetheless. That is because Rosling doesn't just wave his hands. He provides windows into data.

    $10 per day is per capita, not per household, and money buys more in poorer countries. I am not saying $10 is great of course. But that isn't the question at hand.

    The question at hand is whether it is better than it used to be for most people in most countries. The evidence I have seen is overwhelmingly that it is indeed better. Your $10 per day is not evidence one way or the other unless and until you get a comparable statistic from a previous time.

    Can we sustain this progress? I believe that it is possible, but not automatic. Most scientists, I think, hold this position. But it is a minority position. Most people believe that the progress is somehow already built into the system. And we see that those who reject the system altogether tend to want to disbelieve in the progress at all.

    The hope for the world is in evidence-based decision-making, not the other way around. Good hearts are necessary but so are good eyes and ears and minds.

    The recent advance in China alone is an overwhelming factor in human history, and will dominate the history books for our time. India's progress, being a democracy, is perhaps messier and more equivocal, but nonetheless real enough. And while it seems that grave injustices continue in both countries, the emergence of hundreds of millions of middle class people in those vast countries alone is no small feat and nothing to sniff at.

  22. Let us assume that Dr. Tobis is correct above (it could happen...) when he says that both Ms. Anderson's and my own position on these issues are mutually compatible and neither do violence to the facts.

    In other words, let's assume that it is true that the human race has made more material progress and lifted more people out of extreme poverty in the past few decades than at any time in human history--and that the job is far from done, with 1.5 billion without access to electricity, 800 million without enough food to eat, and all the other miserable metrics that remind us of the road ahead.

    I would submit that lauding our efforts to date, talking of statues to be constructed and medallions to be struck for those who have contributed to our success to date is highly preferable to maintaining the demeanor of someone sucking on a lemon drop and rubbishing the accomplishments of the recent past. Which approach is likelier to inspire?

    We can claim pride at living in the age of Norman Borlaug, Bill Gates and even Warren Buffet and urge others to take the baton for the final leg, rather than ignoring all that has been done simply because it hasn't all been done.

    Or we can cling to the discredited neo-Malthusians who prophesy doom from any number of modern horsemen of the apocalypse-a doom that never arrives but is held to be ever-looming.

    As Rosling so effortlessly points out, optimism about our future is the logical response to our past. I know which world I want to live in. And I think it's closer to the real world than that of the pessimists.

  23. 'Collapsitarians?' And that is the name chosen by themselves? Hmm. Well, you all just keep thinking what you're thinking. But anyone who considers a tectonic shift releasing methane into the oceans is a positive feedback of human activity is well, welcome to rejoin reality at any point...

  24. Comment from a friend to many, Chris G....

    "Our elites see science as being subservient to economics. Science is to increase the return on investment only. Any other result will be ignored.

    And so economics rules all aspects of our lives. Food, medicine, education, politics, religion; nothing can stand against the almighty dollar. More people meant bigger markets, so investigation into the inevitable results of this policy was manufactured out of the conversation.

    My feeling is that those at the top know. They have known for a long time and they have a plan that would see them safe in a "new world", without all of us pesky useless eaters. I think that they miscalculated though. The effects of global heating were supposed to be somewhere far off in the future, after we had burned all of the high EROEI oil. The recent tipping points were supposed to be five or six decades safely off into the future. Now it turns out that the highest of walls around the gated communities will not preserve them. Paraguayan ranches will not preserve them. No amount of money will preserve for them the way of life that our world now affords.

    The plan now appears to be to try to keep the masses from waking up. If everyone suddenly realized that the end truly was near, then how many of us would continue to go to work every day?"

  25. We are neither acknowledging all of the extant science of the human species nor ‘connecting the dots’ between the skyrocketing global growth of the human population and the cascading evidence of climate destabilization, declining TFRs in many overdeveloped countries notwithstanding. Many too many experts continue to eschew ecological science of human population dynamics. Something is happening in our time that appears to be directly driven by seven billion (to become 9 billion by 2050) human beings overconsuming, overproducing and overpopulating. These activities of humankind threaten the very future of life on Earth. Some of us overconsume; some overproduce and some overpopulate in our planetary home. And many of us do all of the above. All of this distinctly human-driven activity is soon to become patently unsustainable on a planet with the size, composition and ecology of Earth. Well established scientific knowledge, human intuition and common sense are in agreement that the colossal current scale and fully anticipated growth of unrestrained overconsumption, unbridled overproduction and unregulated overpopulation activities of the human species cannot continue much longer, much less indefinitely.

    Let us begin getting serious about the global predicament humanity faces by responding ably to the planetary emergency the human species appears to have recklessly precipitated and relentlessly exacerbated on the surface of Earth. This means we are to search for adequate solutions to the huge, emerging and converging global challenges that can be seen threatening the future of children everywhere while there is still some time to act in ways intended to move the human community toward sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises.

  26. The number 1.5 is in my opinion not very rigorous and is rather contingent. However, it is a useful concept.

    It's entirely clear that we cannot sustain many more doublings of impact, and it's equally clear that our decision-making processes fail utterly to account for that.

  27. Human population is not "skyrocketing"; the second derivative is negative and there are solid demographic reasons to expect it to plateau at the very round number of ten billion. Admittedly, this is not a guarantee, but it means that footprint, not population, dominates the sustainability problem for our time.

    Ten billion is surely too many, but there is no reason to overstate the problem.

  28. http://www.countercurrents.org/jensen090613.htm

    ..... The good old days were never as good as we imagined, and they are now gone for good.

    If that seems crazy, let me try again: The central illusion of the industrial world's extractive economy—propped up by a technological fundamentalism that is as irrational as all fundamentalisms—is that we can maintain indefinitely a large-scale human presence on the earth at something like current First-World levels of consumption. The task for those with critical sensibilities is not just to resist oppressive social arrangements, but to speak a simple truth that almost no one wants to acknowledge: This high-energy/high-technology life of affluent societies is a dead end. We can't predict with precision how resource competition and ecological degradation will play out in the coming decades, but it is ecocidal to treat the planet as nothing more than a mine from which we extract and a landfill into which we dump. We cannot know for sure what time the party will end, but the party's over. ----- Robert Jensen

  29. Dear Michael Tobis,

    My deployment of the word, skyrocketing, is in no way an hyperbole. In the year of my birth (1945) there were 2.3 billion human beings on the planet. Now there are 7+ billion. And you speak of 10 billion people, perhaps by 2050. If that growth does look like it is skyrocketing to you, then please look at any graph that tracks the growth of absolute global human population for the past 100,000 years.

    Michael, you often call for more rigor in the presentations of others. Would you mind taking a moment to point out precisely what scientific research indicates the likelihood of "population plateau" or "population stabilization" or "an end to population growth soon" around the midpoint of the 21st century? Is demography science? How about economics?

    Sincerely,

    Steve

  30. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_transition and especially the population projection figure http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:World_population_(UN).svg shown therein.

    Maybe it's a skyrocket, but if so it is approaching the peak of its trajectory.

  31. I can only say after charting patent activity and academic publications in the fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology and robotics that I think the party is just starting. And as we focus on the real process of extraction--extracting value--our impact on this planet will decrease even as our material well-being soars.

    We Cornucopians are a happy lot!

  32. This diatribe is remarkably fact-free and ignores almost every trend that can be charted, ranging from population to longevity to pollution to forest growth to energy intensity to maternal and infant mortality rates to literacy and much more besides.

    With all the evidence pointing towards an improved lot for the human race with a lower impact on this planet, what inspires this type of sentiment? How many facts on the ground do you have to step carefully around to adhere to this point of view?

  33. How are we to begin talking about real issues regarding the human population, much less meaningfully acknowledge the formidable, emerging and converging global problems posed to the human family by skyrocketing absolute global human population numbers if experts consciously refuse to speak out about either the science of human population dynamics or the unscientific theory of the demographic transition? The former is assiduously ignored, even though it appears to explain why human population numbers have been exploding in our time, while the latter has been broadcast ubiquitously during my lifetime, even though demographic transition theory could be misleading all of us by giving rise to a false promise that human population growth is somehow about to come benignly to an end soon. The silence with regard to human population science as well as the broadcasts of preternatural thought regarding the demographic transition in the foreseeable future are significant forces with which we have to reckon, I suppose.

    Let us consider that we are currently confronting the denial of science as well as the steady, relentless broadcasts of what is pseudoscientific thought. We note that desire-driven, ideologically based, logically contrived, unscientific thought is seen and heard everywhere, thanks to a mainstream media that defends political convenience, economic expediency and the status quo. We also see that science is eschewed. Is this not the sum and substance of mass media 'ecology'?

    How is it possible for top rank experts with responsibilities to science and duties to humanity to be adamantly advocating for more "food production to feed a growing population" and yet be failing to mention the profound implications of skyrocketing absolute global human population numbers? For such a thing to be occurring in 2011 appears preposterous. It is morally outrageous and dangerous both to future human well being and environmental health, I believe, for well established experts to be reporting ubiquitously in high-level discussions and the mass media such things as are directly contradicted by unchallenged scientific research of human population dynamics and human overpopulation. Is it possible that population experts are not aware of peer-reviewed, published research in their area of expertise which indicates the food supply is the independent variable and human population numbers is the dependent variable in the relationship between human population numbers and food supply? It appears to me that many too many experts are regularly reporting attractive preternatural theory regarding the human population that is directly contradicted by scientific evidence.

    According to consciously ignored research of two outstanding scientists, Russell Hopfenberg and David Pimentel, the food supply is the independent variable not the dependent variable. Human population numbers is the dependent variable not the independent variable. The advocates of demographic transition theory and the idea that "we must increase food production to feed a growing population" could be mistaken. The false promises of the demographic transition theory, that population stabilization will somehow occur naturally and automatically a mere four decades from now as well as the upside down thinking that human population numbers is the independent variable and food supply is the dependent variable, present crucial misunderstandings which are being deployed by self-proclaimed masters of the universe among us for the purpose of protecting their self interests as well as for directing the human community down a patently unsustainable "primrose path" no human being with feet of clay would ever choose to go, much less send unaware and unprepared children.

    The uncontested scientific finding of the relationship between food supply and human population numbers is being obscured and denied by the very experts upon whom the human community relies for guidance and direction. Denial by 'the brightest and best' of what appears to be the best available science regarding the relationship between food supply and human population numbers has been occurring for too long a time. This failure of many experts has to be acknowledged and put behind us so that momentum can gather to move the human family in a new direction; so that we can begin making necessary changes toward sustainability.

  34. You will be happy with your tech toys only as long as you get enough to eat. They won't help much feeding 10 billion on a shrinking planet. There are physical and biological limits to growth.

    We have discussed some numbers here, and they don't look good for some people's taste: Almost a billion malnourished (number stagnating), agricultural reserves stagnating at dangerously low level (if not shrinking), prices wildly fluctuating and trending up due to climate disrution, growing demand, rising costs of fuel/chemicals/logistics. Given the trends of climate disruption, demand growth, topsoil erosion, fertilizer/agrochemicals prices, the future is not looking rosy. The still rising productivity has a price, as it is based on liquidating natural capital at a highly unsustainable rate. E.g. phosphorus and soil are finite and essentially nonrenewable.

    The productivity (and small reserves) is just a global statistical figment that doesn't help those who can't afford real food or are living at a place without pizza delivery. This has implications for social stability, e.g. Egypt, Syria, Darfur, Rwanda, Somalia, etc. and will very likely have global social implications "soon" (e.g. Europe overrun by refugees). Give or take a decade or two.

    Well, soil could be slowly replenished by switching to labor intensive intelligent organic farming plus working with char coal and lots of manure and slurry. So there is a good future in theory. Alas not very attractive for techno cornucopians and big money. They prefer soil eroding techno toy agriculture, with erosion rates 10-100x natural soil reproduction. Meanwhile, German soil gets 300t uranium per year from mined P fertilizer and folks' bodies incarnate mostly industrial N. Soil is the key to life. It was in the last half billion years, and we will find out the hard way soon that it still is.

    Enough said.

  35. Mr. Gisser, let's return to the FAO, which tells us that in 2002 global production of cereals was 1,850 million tonnes. In 2012 it was 2,200 million tonnes. Stocks in reserve were 500 million tonnes, the third highest total in history.

    As I noted above, the FAO projects growth in production for the products they cover to be 1.5% per year through 2020. Growth in human population, as I noted above, is 1.1% and falling.

    Do facts mean nothing?

    http://www.oecd.org/site/oecd-faoagriculturaloutlook/

  36. You forgot factor in that consumption/consumers is also the highest in history.

    The global reserves of wheat, rice, corn, and other food grains are at the tightest levels since 2007-2008, according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data.

    The data show that the current amount of grain held in storage is less than 20 percent of the amount consumed by the world in a year — a critical measure of the world’s capacity to feed itself known as the “stocks-to-use ratio” — and would last just 71 days.

    The comparatively low grain stocks this year follow the 2012 U.S. drought, and a decade-long pattern of smaller than expected harvests that are making 21st century world food markets more vulnerable to supply shocks.

    (Source- June 2013)

    World grain reserves are so dangerously low that severe weather in the United States or other food-exporting countries could trigger a major hunger crisis next year, the United Nations has warned.

    Failing harvests in the US, Ukraine and other countries this year have eroded reserves to their lowest level since 1974. The US, which has experienced record heatwaves and droughts in 2012, now holds in reserve a historically low 6.5% of the maize that it expects to consume in the next year, says the UN.

    (Source - Oct. 2012)

    Note that 2008 had food riots in 25 countries.

    Your production growth number seems to have no effect. Possibly because consumption is growing faster than population. (Haven't you said that ever more people are better off?)

    Perhaps we should all turn vegetarian. Not only because beef prices are skyrocketing.

  37. Mr. Gisser, 20% of annual consumption in reserve is more than the world has had the luxury of maintaining for 99.9% of our existence on this planet. If we were not pouring so much corn into our fuel tanks it would be considerably higher.

    How is it you can spend so much time looking at the FAO website and miss their Food Outlook report?

    June 13, 2013: "Prospects for abundant domestic crops in the least developed countries (LDCs), low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs) and countries in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to limit their import needs.

    With the world cereal harvest forecast to surge to a record 2,460 million tonnes in 2013, cereal prices could ease, with markets becoming calmer, Food Outlook said.

    Latest indications point to a more comfortable world cereal supply-and-demand balance in the new 2013/14 marketing season. After a relatively tight situation and high prices in 2012/13, "good production prospects and a likely replenishment in world stocks could pave the way for calmer markets and some easing of prices in the new season," the report said.

    This year's forecast record cereal production would represent a 6.5% increase on last year's reduced level, supported by higher global wheat output and a sharp expected rebound of maize production in the United States. Rice production is also set to increase in 2013, although concerns over diminishing prices may dampen growth.

    Utilisation growth
    Global cereal utilisation is forecast to reach 2,402 million tonnes in 2013/14, which is 3% above 2012/13. Much of the growth would stem from higher use of maize for feed and industrial purposes in the United States.

    Total feed use of coarse grains is forecast to be greater in developing than in developed countries for the second consecutive season.

    Based on current prospects, by the end of seasons in 2014, world cereal stocks could register an 11% recovery to 569 million tonnes, the highest level in 12 years."

    http://www.allaboutfeed.net/Home/General/2013/6/FAO-report-predicts-more-balanced-201314-cereal-market-1283242W/

    [ad hom snipped]

  38. A bit of humor from me.....

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/advanced-alien-civilization-discovers-uninhabitabl,32808/

    CONSTELLATION HYDRA—Dashing the hopes of those among them who believed the faraway world would surely prove habitable, astronomers from the Terxus II star system announced Thursday that a recently discovered planet remarkably like their own is in fact completely hostile to life.

    According to scientists from the advanced alien civilization, despite possessing liquid water and a position just the right distance from its sun, the bluish-green terrestrial planet they have named RP-26 cannot sustain life due to its eroding landmasses, rapidly thinning atmosphere, and increasingly harsh climate.

    “Theoretically, this place ought to be perfect,” leading Terxus astrobiologist Dr. Srin Xanarth said of the reportedly blighted planet located at the edge of a spiral arm in the Milky Way galaxy. “When our long-range satellites first picked it up, we honestly thought we’d hit the jackpot. We just assumed it would be a lush, green world filled with abundant natural resources. But unfortunately, its damaged biosphere makes it wholly unsuitable for living creatures of any kind.”

    “It’s basically a dead planet,” she added. “We give it another 200 years, tops.”

    The alien researchers stated that the dramatically warming atmosphere of RP-26 contains alarming amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, as well as an ozone layer that—for reasons they cannot begin to fathom—has been allowed to develop a gaping hole. They also noted the presence of melting polar icecaps, floods, and enough pollutants to poison “every last drop of the planet’s fresh water, if you can even call it that.”

    Given the extreme toxicity of its environment, the Terxus scientists said they did not yet understand how the planet ever came to support single-cell organisms, let alone more complex species and intelligent life.

    “Essentially, you have this entire world that’s a deathbed for everything still managing to live there,” said Dr. Xanarth, who estimates that tens of thousands of species on RP-26 go extinct every year. “And for whatever reason, members of its most dominant species choose to live above ground, where they are exposed to deadly ultraviolet rays and weather patterns that grow more and more violent all the time.”

    “The majority of them live in crowded, dirty clusters along heavily contaminated bodies of water,” she continued. “It’s really all very sad.”

    Alien scientists acknowledged that for all practical purposes, RP-26 is now little more than a giant ball of dirt emitting noxious fumes. But they also shared an artist’s rendering that depicts how the planet might have appeared in its recent past, when it reportedly contained flourishing ecosystems able to sustain an impressive diversity of species, and an atmosphere that was actually hospitable to organisms that breathe oxygen.

    The advanced beings said they have concluded that any attempt to colonize or even travel to RP-26 would be a futile endeavor, because by the time they reached the distant planet its coastlines would have washed away, and the remaining landmasses would be plagued by widespread drought and famine.

    “Frankly, it would be pretty pointless to explore it any further unless we wanted to study how things die,” Dr. Xanarth said. “It’s basically going to be an ugly, befouled rock covered in a thick soup of deadly chemicals. It would need to be terraformed before we could even walk on its surface, which, let’s face it, I don’t think anyone in their right mind would be willing to do.”

    “As for the intelligent life-forms inhabiting that planet right now, God help them, because that whole place is going to hell,” she added. “It’s really a shame, too, because all our data suggests they would have made for really good eating.”

  39. I started last week to tot up the income of one of our home health aides, who works 60 hours a week (we insist on paying her in a way that means she gets overtime) and how much about 12/hour with overtime adds up to, and what her expenses might be. Of course, this is not $10 per day in some other country where money is counted differently, but does indicate that as expenses go up, hardworking individuals are stuck buying more with less (housing is not cheap, and schools are recapping their shortfalls as government cuts back with fees for everything). I decided the detail was too much, but it is important to remember that stark poverty is what is counted but real poverty includes a whole lot of people who are not counted.

    In addition, I think the intervals one chooses can be used to distort. Counting the years since about 1950 does not give a complete picture, as things went downhill fast starting about 1980 (wonder what happened then? Was there some kind of idea that if some people got much wealthier it would trickle down? And has it? Simple answer, no).

    However, here's what got me going:
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/06/15/business/living-on-minimum-wage.html

    At least one part of the labor force has expanded significantly since the recession hit: the low-wage part, made up of burger flippers, home health aides and the like.

    Put simply, the recession took middle-class jobs, and the recovery has replaced them with low-income ones, a trend that has exacerbated income inequality. According to Labor Department data, about 1.7 million workers earned the minimum wage or less in 2007. By 2011, the total had surged to 3.8 million, with millions of others earning just a few cents or dollars more.

    Now this is the supposed "first world". While plenty of international situations have glossy surfaces, the billions in poverty and near-poverty, while invisible to those who don't want to look beneath those surfaces, are in quite a plight. Consider, for example, the "Arab Spring". Friedman (not my favorite reporter) talks about this today:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/opinion/sunday/friedman-egypts-perilous-drift.html

    You cannot tell me that water is not becoming a serious problem worldwide, because it would not be true. Sure, in New Jersey and Boston where I care and live, it is not a problem.

    It seems to be easy to hide behind statistics, but to me every one of those people in desperate straits is real. Now exactly what I think I could do about it is another question, and there's where you could put me on the razor's edge.

  40. Ms. Anderson, you might take comfort in the SRES published by the IPCC, the most plausible of which take as a given that the children of Vietnamese or Peruvian peasants today will have an annual income of $88,000 per year. In this assessment they are joined by the World Bank, the IMF, the UN and the U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy.

    Of course they might be wrong. But if they are wrong, then the world will not emit the levels of CO2 that are frightening people everywhere (including me).

    As for water, the solutions for water issues have been available and commonly constructed for over 2,000 years. The Chinese Great Canal is very old, as are Hoakham Indian canals, as are Roman viaducts. There is enough water for all. The challenge is getting it from where it sits to where it is needed. And this problem can be solved even in rich, developed countries with all the attendant regulatory and legal issues--Pat Brown's canal piping water from Northern to Southern California is very recent.

  41. How are we to instruct the children; how are they not to repeat our mistakes; how are all of us at a minimum to try and go forward sustainably, if those elders with knowledge refuse to share an understanding of what the best available science tells us about the population dynamics of the human species that is causing us to grow exponentially in a patently unsustainble way and by so doing, to destroy everything we claim to be protecting and preserving for those who come after us?

  42. This is an excellent point regardless of whether the numerical value of $88K is numerically correct. I intend to respond at some point.

    However, I would like a reference for that number, please.

  43. Mr. Salmony, how can we expect our children not to repeat our mistakes when we repeat them ourselves? Population is not growing exponentially--it is leveling off. It is not unsustainable--we are producing about 50% more food than we can eat and there is three times more fresh water available than is needed per person at a population of 9.1 billion. The area of forest is growing as marginal land falls out of agricultural use and the area of human impact is falling as we migrate to the great urban conglomerations as fast as our feet can carry us.

    Our children will pity us for our baseless fears rather than mimic us. They will make their own mistakes, God bless 'em.

  44. Dear Thomas Fuller

    Imagine for a moment that we are looking at a huge ocean wave, watching it move toward the shore. Think of a tsunami. The wave is moving toward us; however, at the same time, there are many molecules in the wave that are moving in the opposite direction, against the tide. If we observe that the propagation of the global human population is like the wave, and the reproduction numbers of individuals or certain locales are like the molecules, it may be inaccurate for the latter to be looked at as if it tells us something meaningful about the former.

    Abundant research indicates that countries like Italy and Tunisia, among many others, have recently shown a decline in human population growth. These geographically localized data need not blind us to overwhelming facts that the absolute global population is still growing and may reach 12 billion by the end of this century. Data from many sources indicate that global numbers will be above 9 billion by 2050. As suggested above, the world population is like a wave; individual or localized reproduction numbers are like the molecules.

    Put another way, human propagation data and evidence of reproduction numbers among individuals, even in many places, may be pointing in different directions. Choosing the scope of observation is like deciding to look at either the forest or the individual trees, at either the wave or its molecules. Thus, the global challenge before us is a species propagation problem, in a way unrelated to individual or local counts.

    For too long a time, human population growth has been viewed as being somehow outside the course of nature. The possible reasons behind population growth rates and numbers have seemed complex, obscure, numerous, or even unknowable, so that a strategy to address what could be a clear and present danger has been thought to be all but impossible to develop, let alone implement. To have suggested, as many scientists have done, that understanding the dynamics of human population does not matter, that the human population problem is not about numbers, or that human population dynamics have so dizzying an array of variables as not to be suitable for scientific investigation, in a way seems not quite right. Dr. Russell P. Hopfenberg has made it possible for us to grasp human population dynamics as a natural phenomenon and to liberate vital understanding of skyrocketing global population growth from the discombobulated realm of the preternatural.

    Hopfenberg gives us empirical data of a non-recursive biological problem that is independent of ethical, social, legal, religious, and cultural considerations. This means human population dynamics are essentially like the population dynamics of other species. It also means that world human population growth is a rapidly cycling positive feedback loop, a relationship between food and population in which food availability drives population growth, and population growth fuels the impression that food production needs to be increased. The data indicate that as we increase food production every year, the number of people goes up, too.

    With every passing year, as food production is increased, leading to a population increase, millions go hungry. Why are those hungry millions not getting fed year after year after year... and future generationl of poor people may not ever be fed? Every year the human population grows. All segments of it grow. Every year there are more people growing up well fed and more people growing up hungry. The hungry segment of the global population goes up just like all the other segments of the population. We are not bringing hunger to an end by increasing food production; we are giving rise to more hungry people.

    Perhaps a new biological understanding is emerging with Russell Hopfenberg's research. It is simply this: human population numbers, as is the case with other species, are primarily a function of food availability. Although the human population "explosion" appears to be a huge problem, we can take the measure of it and find a remedy that is consonant with universally shared human values.

  45. I got as specific as I could, and my point was dismissed with some hypothetical next generation making $88K per year. My effort to make my point about the working poor in our own backyards is something that is apparently infinitely ignorable. My mistake.

    fwiw, at 40 hours per week, $10/hour is $20,800. As noted in my cite, a lot of people who used to make more are putting up with these kinds of wages. They also mostly don't get benefits or health care any more. There may be places where one can pay for housing and food and a few basic necessities on that amount, but I don't know of them. If you adjust for inflation I guess you could get to over 4 times that amount in some hypothetical scenario. Those are not real people but imaginary. Your secretary doesn't make that much.

    I did look up the SRES but was unable to isolate the most recent, and in any case "Emissions Scenarios" does not seem to be about income, though I trust that factoid is in there somewhere, comforting people who don't want to notice what is going on all around them.

  46. Tom Fuller:

    I'm hoping at some point you and your colleagues will start regarding "those people" as real people rather than statistics. That's why I keep getting more specific about the real face of poverty.

    Whether it's people suffering from enhanced droughts, floods, and storms, and getting by without help or clean water, or people in your own community trying to get by on less than a living wage, not one of these people is a statistic. They are working too hard for too little, and our habits of looking at our prerogatives rather than regarding them as part of our wholeness is, starkly put, selfish. I don't leave myself out of this, but we are getting our ideas from a buyer's market rather than the hard school of reality the less fortunate face every day.

    I don't agree that your statistics tell the whole story, but I don't care how many billions are suffering, or how many millions in the USA. Each one of those people is real and as worthy as I am in the scheme of eternity.

    Climate change is going to be most horrible for them as the delaying machine continues to prevent any concerted action to meet the challenge of slowing down rather than accelerating the marketplace of I I me me mine.

  47. Ms. Anderson, I live in Shanghai. Poor people are not a statistic to me. They are my neighbors. I grew up poor. I joined the Navy because my family couldn't afford to send me to college.

    My neighbors here in Shanghai have hope. They also have problems. One doesn't get in the way of the other.

    This part of China has serious environmental problems, ranging from thousands of pigs getting thrown in the river to fraudulent ingredients in medicine and food that kill people.

    They are busy solving these problems.

    Last week Shanghai announced an initiative to replace 2,000 coal-fired boilers with natural gas or renewable energy sources. They didn't say a word about global warming and it didn't receive an inch worth of column space outside of Shanghai.

    [ Contentious text snipped. See borehole if you want to read it. -mt ]

    If you want to help them, get them air conditioning. They can take care of the rest.

  48. Mr. Salmony, no credible organization--not one, anywhere--estimates 12 billion for human population over the next 300 years. Not one. Many think the peak will be 9.2 billion. Some think 10 billion. Nobody--nobody--who has run the numbers comes up with 12 billion. Not since Paul Ehrlich back in the 70s, anyways.

    China peaks in population around 2050. Almost all of Eastern Europe has already peaked. Japan has lost 6 million in population, Russia about 3 million.

    You are ignoring reality. My question is why? Why would you do this to yourself, let alone anyone you try and communicate with?

    I really don't get it.

  49. Well, at least I tried. The "let them eat cake"ness of suggesting their needs would be met by getting air conditioning, let alone my paying for it (assuming I were that kind of wealthy, which I'm not) misses the point altogether.

    Thanks to mt's goodwill, I am willing to assume in your personal interactions you are wholly compassionate, and I see no evidence that you are not.

    However, your idea that a low wage with lots of overtime buys poor people the bare necessities of life is strange if it translates into a requirement for air conditioning.

    They need housing, food, transportation, communication, clothing, schooling, and no doubt a few other things. They are dependent on good luck and emergency rooms for health care. Air conditioning is something in this part of the world we might like to have but can live without, unless we are fragile.

    I am not talking about those in extreme distress, but ordinary working stiffs, who can no longer survive in our world without working several jobs.

  50. Here is my compassionate suggestion: Let them grow their own food (and perhaps even make cake). Of course, that doesn't work for city folk who don't have much space for their own...

    Here we are again at the population question: How many could (utopically) grow their own food? In a balanced number (and possibly in utter relative poverty (yet well-fed)) and with right farming technique that could (theoretically) contribute to stabilizing biogeosphere and climate. (My suggestion actually is: Let them billions produce char coal. Start in Haiti. Learn from Cuba.)

  51. I haven't dug out the UNFPA report "The State of World Population 2011", but according to this reporting it has an upper number of 15bn by 2100.

    Professor Jack Goldstone of George Mason University, author of The [New] Population Bomb [2010], said that he thought world leaders would act to ensure the Earth's population would start to plateau below that higher level. "The means and the desire to reduce the number of children people have is spreading around the world," he said, adding that he thought a level of 10-12 billion would be more likely by 2100.

    (loc. link) Haven't read the book, but it's on my list now.
    BTW, "What If Experts Are Wrong On World Population Growth?":

    Population projections most often use a pattern of demographic change called the demographic transition. This model is based on the way in which high birth and death rates changed over the centuries in Europe, declining to the low birth and death rates of today. Thus, projections assume that the European experience will be replicated in developing countries. These projections take for granted three key things about fertility in developing countries.

  52. Creating Sustainable Communities under Ecological Limits to Growth
    By Gabor Zovanyi

    More than two decades of mounting evidence confirms that the existing scale of the human enterprise has surpassed global ecological limits to growth. Based on such limits,The No-Growth Imperative discounts current efforts to maintain growth through eco-efficiency initiatives and smart-growth programs, and argues growth is inherently unsustainable and that the true nature of the challenge confronting us now is one of replacing the current growth imperative with a no-growth imperative.
    Gabor Zovanyi asserts that anything less than stopping growth would merely slow today’s dramatic degradation and destruction of ecosystems and their critical life-support services. Zovanyi makes the case that local communities must take action to stop their unsustainable demographic, economic, and urban increases, as an essential prerequisite to the realization of sustainable states.
    The book presents rationales and legally defensible strategies for stopping growth in local jurisdictions, and portrays the viability of no-growth communities by outlining their likely economic, social, political, and physical features. It will serve as a resource for those interested in shifting the focus of planning from growth accommodation to the creation of stable, sustainable communities... Zovanyi concludes by presenting evidence that suggests that prospects for realizing states of no growth are greater than might be assumed.

  53. IT's happening. IT is happening now here. I am scared of people who cannot see IT as well as frightened of people who do see IT and yet consciously and deliberately refuse to speak out about what is occurring on our watch. Truly, what is happening is tragic. 'The brightest and best' are failing all the rest, all that exists.

  54. The Economic Expansion and Population Growth Ponzi Schemes:

    The human predicament may well be one for which humankind collectively bears responsibility, but each one of us has to engage in an intellectually honest and morally courageous way in the global conversation offered here. The work at hand for “the collective” has got to be done by individuals speaking out, but also by people working within organizations and institutions so that instrumentalities of governance adopt sustainable practices. Because there is so much to be done, we have no time to waste. Ideas are good but actions are what matter now. We need action not only at the individual level, but also at the local, state, national and international level. This necessary work is impeded because many too many responsible people have chosen willful blindness and elective mutism regarding “the human predicament” confronting all of us rather than electing to speak out about what could somehow be true, according to the lights and scientific knowledge they possess. What is happening, and more importantly “Why it is happening?” now here, is not being sensibly acknowledged and reasonably addressed by virtually all organizations, including the predominant environmental organizations. The limits of the natural world and the necessity for human behavioral changes toward sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises are everywhere passively ignored and actively denied. Business-as-usual activities that are marked by seemingly endless economic and population growth…at all levels… are extolled as virtuous. Consequently, human institutions cannot be changed and the distinctly human-driven global challenges before “the collective of the human species” cannot be overcome.

    Individuals in large numbers must begin to speak out regarding what they see. Most are not doing so. I have become scared of people who cannot see what is obvious as well as frightened of people who do see what is happening and yet consciously and deliberately refuse to speak out about what is occurring on our watch. Many too many smart and well-education people are playing stupid by acting as if they do not know what is happening and why.

  55. Even if human overpopulation is most colossal of the human-driven global challenge looming ominously before humankind, it is only one of a number of wicked problems we are called upon to acknowledge and address. The Fukushima nuclear reactors disaster is another. If Japan cannot handle it alone, then an international team needs to be assembled to confront this cataclysm. Ignoring a big problem like this nuclear wreckage only results in a bigger, ever more wicked problem to overcome. My generation is simply not stepping up to the challenges before us. The consequences of our failures appear incalculably harmful and profound with regard to prospects for a good enough future for children everywhere on Earth. The very last thing a responsible person is to do in such circumstances is consciously and deliberately choose to remain silent, I believe. Are we not participants in and witnesses to a colossal failure of nerve? When are the leaders and followers alike going to speak out in an intellectually honest way and act with a sense of moral courage? How terrible are global challenges posed by nuclear disasters, overpopulation, climate destabilization, pollution, biodiversity loss, among other threats to future human well being and environmental health going to have to become on Earth before TPTB begin to talk about and do the right things, according to the lights and best available knowledge all of them and each of us possess?

  56. I sympathize with your thrust, but have to question your specific example.

    How do you estimate the damage from Fukushima as "cataclysmic"? What would happen in the event of a total release of all radioactive materials from the reactor?

  57. The current release of radiation should seem cataclysmic to those who tried hard to deny any problem. The buildup of contaminated groundwater is meanwhile (Aug. 10 2013) officially out of control.

    Meanwhile contaminated bluefin tuna is caught near California. I'm sorry for the Japanese small family-business fishermen, but the Japanese fishery industry as a whole is one of the most criminal, destructive and bloodthirsty (Dolphin butchery) on the planet. They deserve a multi-billion cataclysmo economic hit. Lets hope they collapse now, before the last fish populations do.

    Fukushima = (radio-) active environmental protection

    If Jeremy Jackson's talk isn't enough to spoil our appetite for sea food, perhaps Fukushima can help.

  58. If people get scared off sea fish I suppose that is a silver lining. There are de facto environmental refuges around Chernobyl and the Rocky Mountain weapons site.

    3 % increase in radiation is astonishing but not enough by itself to dissuade me from tuna. It's just like eating an extra sashimi after eating 32 pieces, which is perhaps a few months' consumption for most sushi eaters.

    It's definitely not good news. I certainly wouldn't shrug it off. We could try to work out expected impact in terms of epidemiology, perhaps.

    Similarly, I would like to see the worst case from Fukushima discussed in detail and compared with the present situation using actual numbers.

    In general I for one would like people to be cool and quantitative first, before getting excited.

  59. In the BBC video article that Martin Gisser's link links, Nicholas Fisher -- one of the Madigan, Baumann, and Fisher, I guess, the authors of the 2012 radioactive tuna paper -- is quoted in Gisser's link as anticipating increasingly cesium-lit tuna. But Madigan, Baumann, and three new alia came out with a 2013 update that finds radiocesium levels down.

    The three-percent thing can be seen by looking at both papers' tables 1: they have 40-K columns along with their 134-Cs and 137-Cs columns.

  60. http://enenews.com/reuters-corrosion-from-salt-has-weakened-fukushima-no-4-fuel-pool-concern-quake-to-topple-building-14000-hiroshima-bombs-worth-of-cesium-137-inside

    Please consider an expert opinion: Perhaps the release of that amount of Cs 137 would be a disaster on a scale that modern humans have never experienced. That would make the eruption of a caldera volcano look like an elementary school science experience. But it wouldn't be explosive it would be silent, deadlier than the Black Plague in the Middle Ages and it could not be cleaned up.

  61. If you imagine a special strontium-90 generator that keeps, next to itself, a constant amount of 90Sr in being, and then is shut off, the amount will no longer be constant, rather it will begin diminishing by half every, of course, half-life.

    Now, if you imagine a pre-tsunami Fukushima reactor being turned on at the moment the special generator is turned off, and thereafter producing 90Sr at the same rate the generator formerly maintained, you should see that after two half-lives, when the pile next to the generator is down to a quarter, the amount in the reactor is up to three-quarters.

    And after 0.27 half-lives, the generator pile is at 2^(-0.27) and the amount in the reactor is at 1-2^(-0.27); etc.

    Since its half-life is three decades, and fuel rods serve for only about two years, strontium-90 builds up to an equilibrium that is spread over many generations of fuel rod, but only the rods that had been still in service on 3/11 were able, in the meltdowns, to overheat themselves.

    Strontium-89 has a half-life of 50.53 days, and so it gets very close to equilibrium within the service lifetime of a fuel rod, and from that rod's predecessors it is essentially gone. And so in the ocean near Fukushima they measured

    19±6 to 265±74 Bq m^(-3)

    of 89Sr, versus

    0.8±0.2 to 85±3 Bq m^(-3)

    of 90Sr. All should be compared to 11800 Bq/m^(-3) of 40K everywhere in the world ocean.

  62. There's another silent disaster never experienced by mankind (and by Life since a few dozen million years) happening "right now" (a biogeological Now incomprehensible to mortals). No radiation, but heat, to the equivalent of 4 Hiroshima bombs per second, or a few billion little Hiroshima bombs since that Now began a few decades ago. And soon an overpopulated mankind will run into that disaster (look at Egypt or Syria for a preview), multiplying it with human desperation and rage against reality. I'm looking forward to the Cs 137 washed into the ocean. A nice additional serving to that other Japanese seafood specialty, mercury...

    What's worse, starvation or cancer? Cancer at least causes no violence (unless it's metaphysical brain cancer).

  63. Somehow we have got to do many things differently, do them much more ably, and do all of them simultaneously, collaboratively, better and fast. Ready or not, like it or not, we are presented with a planetary emergency.This is the time for making necessary behavioral changes by thinking globally and acting locally. Science and common sense will give us direction. What we cannot do is sit on the sidelines. No, we cannot afford to sit this one out. All hand are needed on the deck at this critical moment in the history of our planetary home. Our generation is simply not stepping up to the challenges before us. The consequences of our failures appear colossal and profound with regard to the prospects for future human well being and environmental health. The very last thing a responsible person is to do in such circumstances is consciously and deliberately choose to remain silent, I believe. Are we not participants in and witnesses to yet another preposterous failure of nerve? When are the leaders going to speak out in an intellectually honest way and act with a sense of moral courage? How terrible are things going to have to become on Earth before the-powers-that-be begin to talk about and do the right things, according to the lights and best available knowledge they possess? Whatsoever is real and true must be acknowledged if we are to respond ably to climate destabilization, pollution, biodiversity loss, resource dissipation, environmental degradation and overpopulation,but the manufactured 'nothing is wrong' reality is well-established and those who speak truth to power are consistently marginalized and ignored. It is difficult even to imagine how much can be done in such unfavorable circumstances. Still our efforts are vital because the-powers-that-be are living in a fool's paradise, and the stakes are such that the things that are not being acknowledged will likely destroy life as we know it on Earth. We know how to stop overpopulation humanely.The gravity of this and other looming human-driven global threats are understood and could be confronted with a long overdue determination to do what is necessary. All of the world's human resources, including overrated intelligence and technology, need to be deployed in order to overcome the emerging and converging wicked problems looming ominously on the horizon.The-powers-that-be could save the world if they acted with the intellectual honesty, moral courage and power they possess to sound alarm bells, forcefully warn the world, and call out loudly and clearly for changes toward sustainable lifestyles and right-sized corporate enterprises. But most of the necessary changes are unlikely to happen, The-powers-that-be want to maintain the status quo, come what may. They lack the moral courage and the imagination to save the world we are blessed to inhabit as a fit place for habitation by children everywhere and coming generations.

  64. If human population dynamics is essentially common to the propulation dynamics of other species and, consequently, if food supply is the independent not the dependent variable in the relationship between food and population, then a lot of what has been reported over many months within the CoF could be distractions that serve to dismiss rather than disclose vital but unwelcome science of what could somehow be real regarding the human population and, more importantly, why our behavior is so utterly destructive of everything we claim to be protecting and preserving. May I make a request? Could we focus now, here, on whether or not human exceptionalism applies to its population dynamics alone or is the dynamics of all species, including human beings, similar? Whatever your response, please make reference to scientific research that supports your point of view.

    It seems to me that if we keep engaging in and hotly pursuing worldwide overproduction, overconsumption and overpopulation activities, distinctly human activities that cannot be sustained much longer on a planet with size, compostion and ecology of Earth, then the human species is a clear and present danger on our watch to future human well being, life as we know it, and environmental health. If we can see ourselves to be 'the problem', then it is incumbent upon us to bring forward the best available evidence from science, especially when that evidence happens to relate directly to why we are pursuing a soon to become, patently unsustainable (superhigh)way of life. A tip of the hat is due Rachel Carson for making me aware of the superhighway. Should humankind emerge from 'the bottleneck' E.O. Wilson imagines for us in the future and somehow escape the precipitation of our near-term extinction, how are those survivors to organize life sustainably and not repeat the mistakes we are making now... and have been making for a long time? Without knowledge of why we are doing what we are doing, every one of us is forever trapped in an eternal recurrence of unsustainable life cycles, I suppose.

    Sincerely yours,

    Steve Salmony

    PS: Rachel Carson's quote,

    We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost's familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road—the one "less traveled by"—offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.
    Rachel Carson (1907 - 1964)

  65. Too many bodies? The return and disavowal of the population question

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09644016.2012.730268#tabModule

    Abstract

    During the 1960s and early 1970s population growth was regarded as an urgent environmental issue. Since then the topic has fallen into abeyance. Despite continuing demographic expansion and anxieties about a range of socio-ecological problems - from the stresses of high-density urban living to climate change, water, energy and food insecurity and loss of biodiversity - there is currently scant consideration of the benefits of population stabilisation or decline. Indeed, the problematisation of population numbers is widely disavowed or regarded with profound suspicion. Why have we become so reluctant to ask whether we are too many or to countenance policies that might discourage further growth? I identify five discourses - population-shaming, population-scepticism, population-declinism, population-decomposing and population-fatalism - that foreclose public debate and subject them to critical analysis. I end by eliciting signs of a hesitant revival of the population question alongside the enduring potency of silencing discourses.

    Main article

    In 1950 world population had recently exceeded 2.5 billion. By 1990 it had doubled and by 2020 it will have tripled. October 2011 marked one among numerous demographic milestones on this expansive journey as the 7 billion threshold was crossed. This is in line with conclusions to the United Nations' 2010 revision that 'world population is expected to keep rising during the 21st century', albeit more slowly during the latter part. It projects some 9.3 billion of us by 2050 and over 10 billion by the century's end (United Nations 2010). Such an ongoing increase surely conveys an alarming story to anyone concerned about environmental sustainability and social wellbeing. Or does it? I ask why concerns about population growth and over-population have virtually disappeared from the political agenda of developed countries, especially, since the mid-1970s. Have they simply forgotten about, even resolved, the issue? Or is it rather, as my analysis suggests, that problematising it has been foreclosed? For despite periodic eruptions of concern among democratic publics, members of the policy community have been noticeably reluctant to address these anxieties. Even among critical theorists and Greens, scant attention has been paid to the topic over recent decades. Indeed, it is noticeable that insofar as population numbers are mooted as a contributor to socio-ecological problems - from environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity to food and water insecurity or deteriorating wellbeing - pre-emptive dismissals swiftly follow.

    The analysis that follows identifies five categories of silencing discourse: population-shaming; population-scepticism; population-declinism; population-decomposing and population-fatalism. These are analytic distinctions. In practice the discourses overlap or work in conjunction, the most obvious factor they share being antipathy to the Malthusian equation between population growth and resource shortages. But these are not merely analytic categories; they are also profoundly political. Each has a distinctive genealogy in terms of its ideological and professional investments, the political interests it serves and the narratives in which it is embedded........

  66. The Ehrlich-Simon bet

    The gambling that occurred between a scientist and an economist was idiotic. Even though the scientist has been proven to be correct in many respects, the scientist lost the bet. Perversions of science such as those by economists have served to distract, mislead and set back the science of human population dynamics and overpopulation for too long. Similarly, a widely shared and consensually validated, preter-natural demographic transition theory (DTT) promulgated by demographers served a common purpose. This theoretical perversion of science ignored, avoided and denied apparently unforeseen and admittedly unwelcome research related to the diminishing prospects for future human wellbeing and environmental health on a planet with the size, composition and ecology of a finite and frangible planet like Earth.

    On our watch many too many people listen to and act upon what the economists and demographers say because their pseudoscience is politically convenient, economically expedient, legally rationalized, socially accepted, religiously tolerated and culturally syntonic. Their fabrications and optical delusions have acquired the imprimatur of science at least in large part because too many people with scientific knowledge refuse to stand up and speak out in affirmation of the best available scientific evidence. Too many scientists will not speak truth, according to the lights and science they possess, to those with the great wealth and power.

    All that is actively and wrongheadedly being done by those who are few in number to massively extirpate global biodiversity, to recklessly dissipate finite resources, to relentlessly degrade the environment and to threaten the future of children everywhere is bad enough. The elective mutism perpetrated by so many knowledgeable people is even worse. The masters of the universe along with their sycophants and minions, all of whom act as if "greed is good" and money rules the world, are but a few; those with 'feet of clay' are many. Thank you to everyone here in PMC community and elsewhere with feet of clay for speaking out as if you are a million voices. By so doing we educate one another to what science discloses to all of us about the placement of the human species within the order of living things on Earth and the way the blessed world we inhabit works. Otherwise, the silence of so many and the greedmongering of so few kill the world.

  67. The AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population was founded in 2001. Since that moment I have seen it as a moral imperative to continue the work I’ve been doing for many years now: getting the message out and explaining to as many people as possible that human overpopulation of the Earth is occurring on our watch, that it poses profound existential risks for future human well being, life as we know it and environmental health, and that robust action is required starting here, starting now to honestly acknowledge, humanely address and eventually overcome.

  68. "What’s wrong? Everybody on Earth is in denial about our biggest problem ... population growth. Too many new babies, a net of 75 million a year. And we’re all closet deniers — leaders, investors, billionaires, the 99%, everybody. Yes, even Bill McKibben’s 350.org global team. The U.N.’s 2,000 scientists know overpopulation is Earth’s only real problem.
    Get it? Earth has only one real problem, there’s the one main dependent variable in the scientific equation. But we refuse to focus on it. So, yes, even scientists are science deniers too. They know population growth is the killer issue, but are avoiding it too. Thousands of scientists have brilliant technical solutions to reducing the impact of global warming. But avoid the root cause. They keep solving the dependent variables in their climate-change science equation. But population growth is the cause of the Earth’s problem, not the result." Paul Farrell

  69. It seems to me that as long as experts willfully ignore the "system causation factor" of the human population explosion, that is to say, the increasing food supply which is literally fueling the explosion, we will continue to see the promulgation of politically convenient thought and economically expedient policymaking. Science regarding 'why the human population is exploding' will continue to be denied and endless preternatural, ideologically-driven chatter about 'what is happening' will pass for a complete sharing of knowledge. We are in a sad state of affairs.

    Just for a moment, let us imagine that now we have all the greatest population experts speaking with one voice. They tell us that we are headed rapidly for 8 billion people on the surface of Earth, declining TFRs in many western European countries notwithstanding. When that number is reached in the foreseeable future, we will have too much food, too little water and clean air, and no decent environment to speak of. Pollution will be visible to all, everywhere. In the meantime many species of birds and wildlife will go extinct because of the destruction of their habitat from land clearance to grow more food to support an exploding human population. What is happening is made evident. Why this situation is occurring with a vengeance of our watch is avoided at all cost. All this is good, they say.

    All these top rank population experts, inside and outside the scientific community, then go on to say that in order to have more and more happy people we need more and more people who can be counted upon to increase the depletion and degradation that will rapidly subtract from the source of that happiness, our planetary home, until such time as Earth is no longer able to function as a source of happiness. More importantly, because we self-proclaimed experts are 'free to know' and then speak of what is determined by the powers that be to be best for the rest of us to know, some scientific research can be and will be denied. While these experts do not lie, they deliberately refuse to give voice to the whole of what is true to them, according to the lights and knowledge they possess. By their conscious silence, these experts will ensure that the unsustainable growth of the human species, the reckless depletion of resources and the irreversible degradation of ecology of the planet happens as soon and efficiently as possible. All this is good, they say, because we are making things better.

  70. Dear Friends, Could someone kindly focus on "original research" and "new knowledge" regarding the human species? Take the example of human population dynamics/overpopulation. The 'science of the anthropocene' appears to be ignoring the elephant in our planetary home. After all, human beings are a part of, not apart from, Earth systems, are we not? The way this matter is 'overlooked' is incredible. http://www.panearth.org/ Extraordinary claims call out for extraordinary evidence. I get that. Let's discuss the research and the extant knowledge. Thank you. Always, Steve

  71. Human population dynamics are essentially similar to, not different from, the population dynamics of other species. If you can see this phenomenon, then speak out about it. How are we to do anything with regard to the global predicament spawned by skyrocketing human population numbers if we cannot widely share and consensually validate an adequate understanding, based upon the best available science, of why human numbers have been growing so rapidly? Scientists have got to speak out because silence is vanquishing science. The science of human population dynamics has been a taboo topic for too long. I have come to believe that top rank scientists and other self-proclaimed experts are acting as gatekeepers of current, conventional, preternatural thought and deniers of new scientific research, especially when that science regards the human population. That you are willing to say something about what you see regarding human population dynamics takes intellectual honesty and uncommon courage.

    http://www.panearth.org/

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001
    Chapel Hill, NC

  72. We appear to live in a time in which humankind's perception has fractured schizophrenogenically and clarity of vision has been lost; when incoherent minds determine what was real; a period of abject intellectual dishonesty and the absence of moral courage. Political convenience, economic expediency, specious demographics, ideological idiocy, social status quo, religious dogma, cultural prescription and incomprehensible greed rule the world, reign supreme, darken the surface of Earth and threaten future human well being and environmental health.

  73. In response to Dame Jane Goodall...

    Yes, hope is vital. But so is being intellectually honest and morally courageous enough to speak out loudly, clearly and often about what is real, according to the lights and science we possess. We cannot make a difference that makes a difference if we continue not to question the ubiquitously broadcasted delusions by the leaders of my generation who are leading our youth down a 'primrose path' to surely precipitate the utter extirpation of global biodiversity, the irreversible degradation of Earth's environs, the reckless dissipation of its limited resources and the destruction of life as we know it. The very thing our leaders claim to be protecting and preserving for children everywhere and coming generations.

    “The greatest danger to our planet is that we lose hope – especially if our youth loses hope. Because, if we have no hope, we give up and stop trying to do our bit to make a difference.” - Dr. Jane Goodall

  74. I cannot help but wonder what knowledgeable people are to do when a species like Homo sapiens is confronted with a colossal planetary emergency that it appears to have induced. Do human beings not have an original, overarching obligation or perhaps an absolute duty to warn of such a dire situation? What honor should be bestowed on first rank scientists and other esteemed professionals in possession of well-established science who pose as if they "see no truth, hear no truth and speak no truth" regarding known causes of the clear and present danger while mainstreamed, false (preternatural, pseudoscientific) knowledge is deliberately allowed to stand unchallenged as if it represented the best available science?

  75. We celebrated the 450th birthday of Galileo Galilei on February 15, 2014. I cannot help but wonder what is Galileo is doing tonight? My hope would be that the great man is resting in peace and that his head is not spinning in his grave. How, now, can Galileo possibly have peace? So few scientists speak out clearly and loudly regarding whatsoever they believe to be true about at least one root cause of the distinctly human-driven global predicament looming so ominously before humanity: human population dynamics/overpopulation of Earth. The human community could soon be confronted by multiple global ecological threats to future human wellbeing and environmental health that appear to result directly from the unbridled overproduction, overconsumption and overpopulation activities of the human species now overspreading the Earth and threatening to ravage the planetary home we are blessed us to inhabit? Many too many leaders and a predominant coterie of the 'brightest and best’ experts are choosing to remain silent rather than acknowledge science. Please consider how the elective mutism of so many of the most fortunate and knowledgeable elders among us could be contributing mightily to the ruination of Earth and its environs as a fit place for human habitation.

    Where are the intelligent leaders and established professionals with appropriate expertise who will stop colluding in silence, who are willing to examine and report on science that exists in the form of solid, uncontested research? Look at the dismaying disarray in which we find ourselves now and how far we have to travel in a short time to move the human family away from precipitating some unimaginable sort of global ecological wreckage. What would the world we inhabit look like if scientists like Galileo had chosen not to disclose science and instead adopt a code of silence? In such circumstances Galileo as well as scientists today would speak only about scientific evidence that the super-rich and most powerful people of the day believe to be politically convenient, religiously tolerable, economically expedient, socially correct and culturally prescribed. By so doing, Galileo and modern-day scientists would effectively breach their responsibilities to science and duties to humanity to tell the truth as they see it, as best they can report it.

    Heretofore hesitant and inert scientists are called upon now to follow the good example of Galileo. The politically correct silence of so many knowledgeable but apparently dumbstruck experts on one hand as well as the incessant mass media jabber of sycophants and other minions of wealthy power brokers on the other hand could be killing the world we inhabit as well as life as we know it. Most scientists have not actively engaged in inimical ‘sins of commission’, as have many too many deceitful, chattering experts; and yet too many scientists on our watch have chosen to maintain their silence by not speaking out ‘as if each one was a million voices’. It appears scientists have been and continue willfully to deny the best available scientific evidence that specifically relates to human population dynamics. Is their collusion to remain electively mute correctly described as a sin of omission or a lie of silence? If science does not overcome silence, then much of the world the human community believes we are preserving and protecting will be irreversibly degraded and relentlessly dissipated, if not destroyed outright. Surely, truthful empirical reports from intellectually honest and moral courageous scientists regarding the population dynamics of the human species and the human overpopulation of Earth will give Galileo Galilei peace.

  76. Jeebus, Salmony, please give yourself some mental relief and read what science actually has to say about population.

    "Long-range population projections are reported
    to 2300, covering twice as long a period as ever
    covered in previous United Nations projections.
    These projections are not done by major area and
    for selected large countries (China and India), as
    was the previous practice, but for all countries of
    the world, providing greater detail.
    In these projections, world population peaks at
    9.22 billion in 2075. Population therefore grows
    slightly beyond the level of 8.92 billion projected
    for 2050 in the 2002 Revision, on which these projections
    are based. However, after reaching its
    maximum, world population declines slightly and
    then resumes increasing, slowly, to reach a level
    of 8.97 billion by 2300, not much different from
    the projected 2050 figure."

    http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/longrange2/WorldPop2300final.pdf

  77. Is it not science, and science alone, that allows us to confirm our perceptions as objective correlates of reality and truth? Without science, thought leaders and power brokers in cultures everywhere are free to transmit memes at will, regardless of the extent to which the memes bear a meaningful relationship to what could be real and true. For example, a preternatural factoid or meme like "food must be produced in order to meet the needs of a growing population" is falsely given credence as a scientific idea although it reflects the opposite of the actual relationship between food supply and human numbers. Findings from science indicate population numbers are the dependent variable and food the independent variable, just like the population dynamics of other species. By increasing the food supply, we are in fact growing the human population, are we not? That human exceptionalism applies to its population dynamics and therefore is essentially different from (not similar to) the population dynamics of other species is a pseudoscientific factoid, bereft of an adequate foundation in science. Overwhelming science regarding the human population indicates that human population numbers appear as a function of food supply. For many this scientific idea is on the one hand irrefutable and on the other hand unbelievable. So completely are we enthralled by the notion of human exceptionalism. Exploding human numbers are the natural result of the Industrial and later Green Revolutions, are they not?

  78. Salmony, you ask the question but ignore the answer (which is yes, obviously).

    You write that increasing the food supply is causing an increase in the population. This is not true, except for the *statistically* minor decrease in deaths due to malnutrition.

    What has caused this temporary increase in the population is not in fact an increase in the food supply. It is 'not that we are breeding like rabbits. It is that we are no longer dying like flies.' (Tim Dyson, Population and Development — The Demographic Transition).

    This bulge in our population is due to improvements in medicine, food supply, water quality and peacekeeping. Child mortality is falling like a stone. The number of healthy adults sacrificed to the god of war is also plummeting. And those of us who make it to 60 are more likely to do so without the executioner's song of tobacco, alchohol and poverty hanging over our head.

    Salmony, you are wrong. I am not writing this because I am afraid that you will convince others. The facts are easy to find and the rest of the world is assimilating them. I am writing to ease your burden. You don't have to keep this in front of you as the cause that will doom the world. It won't. And we have enough real problems to deal with without confronting phantoms.

  79. Dear Thomas Fuller,

    With all due respect, the work to which you refer us, which is presented under the direction of Joseph Chamie of the UN Population Division, is not science. The numbers, graphs, charts and theories regarding human population dynamics/overpopulation to which I am drawing attention are derived from science. You offer us so many numbers, so many graphs, so many charts, so many theories from demographers. Demography is not a science. Neither is economics for that matter. Demography and economics provide us with preternatural pseudoscience...... both are academic repositories of false knowledge that mimic science.

    Always,

    Steve

  80. Dear Thomas Fuller,

    You appear not to like what science is telling us. I do not either. But I refuse to be duped by clever vendors of words and overly educated sycophants of the rich and powerful who falsely claim they are scientists and then promulgate preternatural theories they pass off as products of scientific research. Demographers and economists are not scientists. Is there any question about that fact? These pseudoscientists are presenting false knowledge that is appealing because it presents us with what we wish to believe about the way the world we inhabit works as well as about the placement of the human species within the natural order of living things. Their false knowledge happens simultaneously to be politically convenient, economically expedient, socially desirable, religiously acceptable and culturally syntonic. This is 'the standard' for determining what is real among the economists and demographers.

    Thomas Fuller, you have evidently come across false knowledge from Neoclassical Cornucopian Economics and the Demographic Transition Theory. These theories are bereft of a foundation in science. Is there any question about the speciousness of what is presented ubiquitously by demographers and economists? Endless resources in a finite world? Indestructible ecology that is in fact frangible? Automatic population stabilization? A benign end to population growth soon? A glorious world by 2050 when the entire human community will reap the benefits you and I enjoy now because everyone will have entered Stage 4 of the demographic transition?

    What say you?

    Always,

    Steve Salmony

  81. Well, Mr. Salmony, if demographics and economics are now nothing but voodoo, you do realize that we have nothing left to say about the climate of the future, don't you? For the largest drivers of estimates of future CO2 emissions are a) demographics coupled with b) economics.

    I suppose if we know nothing we can live forever in fear, led by those who cry the loudest. However I think we have alternatives...

  82. My last missive may not have made my point of view clear. Please bear with me while I elaborate. Science must to be our guide because it stands alone as the best method by far for comprehending what could be real and true. Science needs to be categorically distinguished from all that is not science. Then, perhaps, we will be able to see more clearly how the world we inhabit works and more accurately our placement within the natural order of living things. The 'imprimatur' of science has been not so surreptitiously usurped by pseudoscientific disciplines in which professional research is primarily underwritten by wealthy power brokers. The research is designed and the findings presented so as to comport with the transparent self interests of the rich and powerful. Where in the research is intellectual honesty to be found? Where are the scientists who will speak out to correct this widespread wrongdoing? The conscious and deliberate silence of scientists that gives consent to such unethical professional behavior cannot be longer tolerated because of the confusion it willfully engenders among those who are seeking direction from the best available scientific research. Would anyone object to having the findings of demographic and economics research described as preternatural results? Demography and economics are prime examples of what science is not.

  83. Dear Thomas Fuller,

    It is evident that you have no idea about who I am or what I think and feel. Why do you believe I am in misery? Your thinking acknowledges a complete misunderstanding of the human predicament we confront. Let me give you an idea about what I mean and why I am hopeful. My hope springs from those who come after us, like the 14 year old boy who wrote the following poem. Can you discern what he perceives?

    14 Year Old Boy Just Wrote The Most Significant Poem This Decade
    Published: February 28, 2014

    Derek Nichols recently tweeted a poem written by his 14-year-old brother Jordan. Clearly, Jordan, is quite insightful for his young age.

    Here's what the poem said:
    Our generation will be known for nothing.
    Never will anybody say,
    We were the peak of mankind.
    That is wrong, the truth is
    Our generation was a failure.
    Thinking that
    We actually succeeded
    Is a waste. And we know
    Living only for money and power
    Is the way to go.
    Being loving, respectful, and kind
    Is a dumb thing to do.
    Forgetting about that time,
    Will not be easy, but we will try.
    Changing our world for the better
    Is something we never did.
    Giving up
    Was how we handled our problems.
    Working hard
    Was a joke.
    We knew that
    People thought we couldn't come back
    That might be true,
    Unless we turn things around
    (Read from bottom to top now)

    Reading from bottom to top, the poem reads:

    Unless we turn things around
    That might be true,
    People thought we couldn't come back
    We knew that
    Was a joke.
    Working hard
    Was how we handled our problems.
    Giving up
    Is something we never did.
    Changing our world for the better
    Will not be easy, but we will try.
    Forgetting about that time,
    Is a dumb thing to do.
    Being loving, respectful, and kind
    Is the way to go.
    Living only for money and power
    Is a waste. And we know
    We actually succeeded
    Thinking that
    Our generation was a failure.
    That is wrong, the truth is
    We were the peak of mankind.
    Never will anybody say,
    Our generation will be known for nothing.

    Out of the mouths of babes.......

    Do you get it, Thomas Fuller?

    Always,

    Steve Salmony

    PS: In this context it does deeply concern me that this boy's generation will look back in anger and utter disbelief at the way our generation has ravaged this good Earth and irreversibly degraded its ecology. In our time you, Michael Tobis, I and many others are beginning to see so clearly that never in the course of human events have so few greed mongers in one generation recklessly devoured, hoarded and stole outright so much from so many others, and left so little of survival value for Jordan Nichols and the others in his generation.

  84. Ah, Salmony...

    What you're describing happened to England. They cut down the forests, killed most of the wild game, fouled the rivers and polluted the air. Edinburgh was called Auld Reekie in the 18th Century, long before the age of the Boomers. Read your Dickens, man.

    But it cleaned up quite nicely. The harm which was thought to be irreparable in fact was not. And the English experience has been replicated across the developed world.

    I'm writing this at 9:00 a.m. here in Shanghai. The first website I open is not Planet 3, but http://aqicn.org/city/shanghai/, which shows the level of air pollution. The first decision I make is whether or not to wear a mask when I go outside. For the second year in a row, farmers have dumped the corpses of thousands of pigs with foot and mouth into the river that runs through Shanghai. The level of heavy metals found in fish and vegetables may turn us all into Marvel supervillains. Shanghai is replicating the experience of the developed world--but in fast motion.

    Forests are recovering across the world, except in the developing countries where the wood is sold, mostly to China. Water quality is improving. So is the air.

    The damage you lay at the doorstep of the Boomer generation in fact stopped with us. Damning with faint praise and all, but the denudation of the landscape and pollution of the environment started 250 years ago. The Boomers stopped that, although they were greatly aided by circumstance, as well as the preceding and succeeding generations.

    The greatest (but not the only) pity of the AGW debate is how it has taken so much wind from the sails of the environmental movement. The pity stems from the fact that the environmentalists' task is not yet done.

    But I am pleased that we are no longer talking about mythical overpopulation.

  85. Mr. Fuller, Hans Rosling and other Pollyannas fail to distinguish between the our civilization's ability to grow and improve per capita levels of well being and its ability to sustain such improvement and avoid collapse. One need look no further than the Standard World Model in Limits to Growth, 1972. In this model levels of well being improve for 40 years, and then there is collapse.

    This is also explained by the field of systems ecology. See the work of H.T. Odum, especially his last book, A Prosperous Way Down, 2002.

    Google also Olduvai Theory, formerly called Transient Pulse Theory. The theory suggested that an industrial age on this planet can be expected to thrive for only about 100 years.

    Key to understanding why this is so is simply that population growth and other human "progress" increasingly require depleting non renewable resources and depleting renewables faster than they can renew. This is no one's fault. And there is probably little reason to have expected anything different from us or for us. We can't "have it all."

    Note: Imperial powers are not exceptions to the above trade off. England was able to reforest, because it switched to depleting the resources of other countries, i.e., its colonies.

    So, the more dramatic the pulse (growth in population and consumption, e.g. an industrial age) the shorter the expected time before decline/collapse. Again, it's no one's fault. And I guess I can't blame anybody for wanting to deny the trade off. Acceptance of the truth is similar to but I guess a bit tougher on the psyche than accepting one's own mortality and steadily decreasing life expectancy.

    So, for example, the green revolution is less sustainable than agricultural methods that are less dependent on fossil fuels, synthetic fertilizers and too slowly recharging aquifers.

  86. So, if the Romies built a model that said things could only get better for 40 years, how come things are still getting better 42 years later?

    If Transient Pulse says an industrial age can only last 100 years, how come ours has lasted 260?

    And why do people keep using Pollyanna as an insult? Doesn't Hayley Mills deserve any respect at all? I'm happy to be a Pollyanna. I'm happy to be a Cornucopian. And living in China, I am surrounded by people powered by optimism. Most of them have advanced degrees and seem a bit smarter than the people surrounding me when I lived in the West. I have never yet had the feeling here that I was the smartest person in the room. And they all think that the future, challenges and all, will be better than the present. And they certainly do not romanticize the past.

    It's that whole 'will to believe' in nonsense again. There are no facts to support your opinion, but that just doesn't seem to matter.

  87. 63% of all human-generated carbon emissions have been produced in the past 25 yrs
    http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/22400-by-the-way-your-home-is-on-fire-the-climate-of-change-and-the-dangers-of-stasis
    By the Way, Your Home Is on Fire: The Climate of Change and the Dangers of Stasis
    www.truth-out.org

    Right now, you can think of the way we're living as an office tower and the fossil fuel economy as a plane crashing into it in very, very,...
    http://www.theguardian.com/.../nasa-civilisation...
    Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'? | Nafeez Ahmed
    www.theguardian.com
    Nafeez Ahmed: Natural and social scientists develop new model of how 'perfect storm' of crises could unravel global system

    http://www.theguardian.com/.../elizabeth-kolbert-whole...
    Elizabeth Kolbert: 'The whole world is becoming a kind of zoo'
    www.theguardian.com
    Q&A: The US environmental journalist tells Andrew Anthony how we are wiping out ...

    http://sunweber.blogspot.com/2011/03/do-lemmings-grieve.html

  88. Mr. Salmony

    I was actually (I believe... plenty of possibilities I missed someone beating me) the first to point out CDIAC's site showing that we had emitted a third of all human emissions since 1998. I did so in an argument against high values of atmospheric sensitivity to a doubling of concentrations of CO2.

    You can also think of us as living on a planet, one in transition, as the poor climb the energy ladder from burning dung and trees to an eventual end state where we are powered by nuclear and renewables. Why would you choose to adopt a 9/11 terror pose? What does it gain you?

    As the world's population transitions to urban living, our impact on the 97% of the land surface that is not urban is decreasing. This is documented extensively. Our major environmental concern right now should be the state of the oceans. Over fishing and pollution are very damaging, as protein from fish is both superior to the human diet and the source of a large portion of protein for the developing world.

    You are using a microscope where you should be using a telescope--and vice versa.

  89. I've been staying out of this, but "As the world’s population transitions to urban living, our impact on the 97% of the land surface that is not urban is decreasing." seems a bit peculiar of a claim to me. For one thing, there is no place that is not touched by the shifting climate and few untouched by pollution. For another, the recovery time of a bit of land is rather dependent on the bits of land around it. And for another, the recovery time of an ecosystem is long. I agree with you that the oceans are particularly problematic from an ecological point of view, but everything is not hunky-dory because a bit of land is left alone and some scrub grows on it. The best way to really understand this is to get into the natural history of the place you happen to find yourself. Leaving a piece of land fallow does not restore it to ecological health in short order.

  90. Yeah. Plus, lots of land of these "97%" is used for destructive (did I say suigenocidal?) agriculture to feed the urban dwellers. Agricultural land is meanwhile maxed out, and quite a bit of this is getting unproductive due to soil depletion.

    E.g. look at the England soil flushed into the ocean last "winter" (there's a spectacular satellite photo of brown seas). E.g. the recent urbanisation in Syria happened because an overpopulation of farmers (and their overgrazing goats) suddenly found themselves on wasted land without water and soil.

  91. "As of the year 2000, about 37 percent of Earth's land area was agricultural land. About one-third of this area, or 11 percent of Earth's total land, is used for crops. The balance, roughly one-fourth of Earth's land area, is pastureland, which includes cultivated or wild forage crops for animals and open land used for grazing." (http://www.learner.org/courses/envsci/unit/text.php?unit=7&secNum=2)

    "At present some 11 percent (1.5 billion ha) of the globe's land surface (13.4 billion ha) is used in crop production (arable land and land under permanent crops). This area represents slightly over a third (36 percent) of the land estimated to be to some degree suitable for crop production. The fact that there remain some 2.7 billion ha with crop production potential suggests that there is still scope for further expansion of agricultural land. However, there is also a perception, at least in some quarters, that there is no more, or very little, land to bring under cultivation.

    ..."There is a widespread perception that there is no more, or very little, new land to bring under cultivation. Some of this perception may be well grounded in the specific situations of land-scarce countries and regions such as Japan, South Asia and the Near East/North Africa. Yet this perception may not apply, or may apply with much less force, to other parts of the world. As discussed above, there are large tracts of land with varying degrees of agricultural potential in several countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, with some in East Asia. However, this land may lack infrastructure, be partly under forest cover or be in wetlands that have to be protected for environmental reasons, or the people who would exploit it for agriculture lack access to appropriate technological packages or the economic incentives to adopt them." (http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y4252e/y4252e06.htm)

    As for recovery, this paper is very interesting: http://www.agroparistech.fr/geeft/Downloads/Training/TropEcol/Archives_2009/4.2f.pdf

  92. We are very far from global food shortage, at least unless and until climate change gets dramatically worse. I agree with that, and find some of the claims of imminent global famine implausible in the extreme.

    My explanation of why people still starve takes me into economics, where I must tread lightly, but I'm thinking about it. I find the standard explanations on the left and the right unconvincing and if I live long and prosper, I may someday have the temerity to proffer a radically different explanation.

    But the availability of agricultural land is a separate question from ecological damage, and it is of little merit to conflate them.

    The abstract of the paper you send is interesting; a light perusal finds text that supports my claim:

    "There are limits to recovery in tropical forests. Following
    abandonment of agricultural land on degraded, infertile
    soils with no residual vegetation and no local
    sources of seed dispersal, forest recovery fails to initiate
    within the expected time frame of 5–10 years. Forest
    recovery following logging can also fail due to insufficient
    seedling regeneration of commercially exploited
    species (Guariguata & Pinard 1998). Recovery
    of native vegetation can fail if exotic species become
    competitively or numerically superior (Vitousek et al.
    1997; Horvitz et al. 1998; Denslow et al. 2001). Repeated
    cycles of burning can reduce tropical forests to
    savannas (Swaine et al. 1997).

    Uncontrolled livestock grazing, logging, fuel wood
    collection, erosion, unsustainable agricultural practices,
    and fires cause significant degradation of tropical
    forests and woodlands. Recent estimates indicate
    that degraded forest land covers 350 million ha of
    tropical Asia, America, and Africa, with an additional
    500 million ha of degraded primary forest and secondary
    forest (ITTO 2002). Restoration efforts are
    needed to recover at least some of the functions and
    diversity of heavily degraded tropical forests. Restoration
    approaches vary widely in cost and intervention,
    depending on goals and expectations for particular recovery
    projects."

  93. There is considerable text there that supports your claim. However, the paper also estimates a recovery period of 200 years for degraded forest area suffering from both natural and man-made depredations. They also note that humans can kickstart recovery quite easily and cheaply.

    No-one should minimize the extent of the damage and the period needed to recover from it. Neither should we pretend that damage is irreparable. 200 years is really not that long.

    I remember the example of the Exxon Valdez--people thought that area would be blighted for generations. Didn't work out that way, although I don't believe recovery is complete.

  94. We are very far from global food shortage, at least unless and until climate change gets dramatically worse.

    Plus, "Peak" Oil. At some point it will get dramatically uneconomic to haul foodstuff from one end of the world to some other end which can't compensate the cost.

    I'm sorry, this reminds me of Pielke Jr. and the question of U.S. droughts. The problem is local food shortages, not the total global amount of food produced (or potentially produceable, ignoring global ecologic boundaries).

    And it doesn't need starvation to make poor folks riot when they can't afford their bread or tortillas anymore. We have that already, e.g. Egypt, Syria, etc. A more peaceful extreme case: The Mexican Tortilla Riot 2007. Mexico is right next to a major global corn producer. Mexican oil production is following the Egyptian trajectory (need to look for latest numbers) and at some point it will get dramatically uneconomic to subsidize tortilla prizes for the poor.

    Anyhow, it looks climate change is already bad enough. Every few years there's a major disruption of industrial agriculture somewhere. E.g. Russia 2010, California 2014. Oh, and recently a major local disruption: The Great Indian Hail Storm 2014. Now they have no veggies anymore.

  95. Well, "local" famine is not about food, it is about money. Many people live just fine in Alberta, for instance, which grows very little food other than wheat.

    As for shipping, the cost of moving things horizontally is absurdly overestimated by people. Getting fresh fruit by air freight from across the world is one thing - that's energy intensive and will become more of a luxury. But foods that store reasonably well are not sensitive to the price of shipping.

    Ask yourself why bananas are so cheap.

    On the other hand, local food producers are already at grave and growing risk. Climate change benefits agribusiness over conventional farming, as they can spread their losses. If I were a small farmer I'd be looking into forming partnerships with other small farms in different climate zones, but I haven't heard of anyone trying to do that.

  96. Well, "local" famine is not about food, it is about money. Many people live just fine in Alberta, for instance, which grows very little food other than wheat.

    As for shipping, the cost of moving things horizontally is absurdly overestimated by people. Getting fresh fruit by air freight from across the world is one thing - that's energy intensive and will become more of a luxury. But foods that store reasonably well are not sensitive to the price of shipping.

    Ask yourself why bananas are so cheap.

  97. Science is essential; but pseudoscience is dominating science in the mass media. Politicians, economists and demographers are framing the discussion about how humankind is exceptional with regard to its population dynamics as well as about how the world we inhabit actually works. Science tells us human population dynamics is similar to the population dynamics of other species. Science helps us see that the Earth is finite and its ecology is frangible. Science indicates to us how billions of human beings are recklessly dissipating Earth's limited resources, relentlessly degrading its environs and resoundingly destabilizing its climate. The discussion about the human species and the world in which we live needs to be reframed, based upon the best available science. Population scientists can assist with the work of reframing the debate about the nature of Homo sapiens and other scientists with appropriate expertise can make clear how the world actually works.

    http://bravenewworld.in/2014/04/13/science-pseudoscience-silent-scientists/


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  1. Our deafening silence about what is happening and why it is happening with regard to the unbridled growth of the human population on our watch serves to give consent to preternatural pseudoscience of economists and demographers that is broadcast in the mainstream media without objection. By not speaking truth to the powerful, according to the best available science and ‘lights’ we possess, we become accomplices to their ubiquitous abuses.
    Extant scientific research regarding the population dynamics of Homo sapiens has to be openly acknowledged, objectively examined and honestly reported. Population scientists and ecologists have been shown to be as vulnerable to denial of apparently unforeseen and unfortunately unwelcome scientific evidence as well as to capitulation to the entreaties of all who choose favorable unscientific research to be spread by the mass media without meaningful objection from many too many members of the scientific community. It is a deliberate breach of responsibility to science and humanity for population scientists and ecologists not to object to the spreading of false knowledge and thereby, to fail in the performance of the fundamental duty of disclosing what could somehow be real and true about Homo sapiens and the workings of the existential world we inhabit, according to the best available scientific research.
    Let us recognize the willful denial of the ecological science of human population dynamics. Where are the population scientists and ecologists who are ready, willing and able to attest to or refute empirical evidence that human population dynamics is essentially similar to, not different from, the population dynamics of other species; that human population numbers appear as a function of food supply; that more food for human consumption equals more people, less available food to consume equals less people and no food equals no people? No exceptions! Are these scientists blind, deaf and electively mute in the face of new scientific knowledge. Most reprehensibly, their refusal to accept responsibilities and perform duties as scientists has made it possible for pseudoscientists to fill the mainstream media with false knowledge about the way the world we inhabit works as well as about the placement of the human species within the natural order of living things
    .
    Is it not science, and science alone, that most accurately allows us to confirm our perceptions as objective correlates of reality and truth? Without science, thought leaders and power brokers in cultures everywhere are free to widely transmit attractive ideas at will, regardless of the extent to which the ideas bear a meaningful relationship to what could be real and true. For example, a preternatural factoid like “food must be produced in order to meet the needs of a growing population” is deceitfully given credence as a scientific idea although it reflects the opposite of the actual relationship between food supply and human numbers. Findings from science indicate population numbers are the dependent variable and food the independent variable, just like the population dynamics of other species. By increasing the food supply, we are in fact growing the human population, are we not?
    The idea that human exceptionalism applies to the population dynamics of Homo sapiens, that human population dynamics is different from (not essentially similar to) the population dynamics of other species, is a pseudoscientific factoid, bereft of an adequate foundation in science. Overwhelming scientific research regarding the human population indicates that human population numbers appear as a function of food supply. For many this scientific idea is on the one hand irrefutable and on the other hand unbelievable. So completely are many too many professionals enthralled by the notion of human exceptionalism. Exploding human numbers in the past 200 years are the natural result of the dramatically increasing production and distribution capabilities of food for human consumption that occurred with the onset of the Industrial Revolution and later on during the Green Revolution.
    Please consider that demographers and economists are not scientists. They are presenting false knowledge that is appealing because it presents what all of us wish to believe about the way the world in which we live works as well as about the exceptional nature of the human species. Human beings are mistakenly believed to be outside (not within) the natural order of living things. The false knowledge regarding human species’ exceptionalism with regard to its population dynamics is determined de facto by whatsoever is politically convenient, economically expedient, socially desirable, religiously acceptable and culturally syntonic. Such de facto determinations of what is real about human nature and the existential world are based primarily upon ideology, not science.
    Refuse to be duped by clever, absurdly enriched vendors of words and highly educated sycophants. These ‘talking heads’ duplicitously claim they are scientists and then promulgate preternatural ideas and pseudoscientific theories that are passed off as well-established results of scientific research without objection from scientists.
    Let us examine the false knowledge from conventional, Neoclassical Cornucopian Economics and the Demographic Transition Theory. These theoretical perspectives are not connected to the foundation of science. The speciousness of what is presented by demographers and economists and then broadcast ubiquitously by the mainstream media is in need of correction by scientists. Ideas of endless resources availability in a finite world and an indestructible ecology that is in fact frangible are fabricated. Automatic population stabilization; a benign end to population growth soon; a glorious world by 2050 when the entire human community will reap the benefits you and I enjoy now because everyone in the human community will have entered the fourth and last stage of the demographic transition, all of these notions are fanciful and ideologically-driven. Such false knowledge as we find in the pseudoscientific disciplines of economics and demography needs to be eschewed. The best available scientific evidence must to be our guide because science stands alone as the best method by far for apprehending what could be real and true. Science needs to be categorically distinguished from all that is not science. Then, perhaps, we will be able to see more clearly how the existential world we inhabit actually works and more accurately perceive the placement of Homo sapiens within the natural order of all living things.
    The imprimatur of science has been not so surreptitiously usurped by pseudoscientific disciplines in which professional research is primarily underwritten by wealthy power brokers and corporations. Economic and demographic research is designed and the findings presented so as to comport with the transparent self interests of the rich and powerful. Where are the scientists who will speak out to correct such widespread misunderstanding and reckless wrongdoing? The conscious silence of scientists serves to give consent to ubiquitous unethical professional behavior that cannot be tolerated any longer because of the confusion it engenders among those in the human community who are rightly seeking an intellectually honest understanding of the global predicament we face and a path to a sustainable future that can only be derived from the best available scientific research. The disciplines of demography and economics are prime examples of what science is not. Perhaps the findings of demographic and economics research will soon be widely recognized and consensually validated as preternatural pseudoscience.
    “Speak out as if you were a million voices. It is silence that kills the world.” — St. Catherine of Siena, 1347-1380

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