Increasingly insane rant about Earth's resoucre limitations

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Abelian Sea, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. Abelian Sea
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    Abelian Sea o_O

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    (remember kids, don't drink and post)
    (WARNING: profanity)


    The human population is growing exponentially. It has reached levels that are, as best as we can tell, completely unprecedented. It shows no signs of slowing down; no war or plague in history has put more than a tiny scratch in it (WWII made a blip but was promptly recovered from). Earth's resources, though vast and varied, are finite, and we are going at them with abandon.

    This raises an obvious concern. Someday, we will reach Earth's carrying capacity. This will be extremely Not Fun. To make our pop chart do a sharp turn and stop its growth because we've run out of room/resources to keep expanding will involve worldwide unpleasantness the likes of which we have so far only glimpsed.

    Of course, we can mitigate this pain by consciously achieving "sustainability," an exalted state in which we as a species will exist with, effectively, no net cost to the environment we live off of and, necessarily, no net population growth. To me this seems highly improbable. To reach true global sustainability would involve a lot more sacrifice and international cooperation than we as a species are realistically going to put up with. Knowing humans, we won't do it until we're forced to, either in the chaos of "oops, we ran out of stuff" or the order of an oppressive totalitarian world government to ruthlessly limit the vast majority of humanity. As I said, Not Fun. So what's my suggestion?

    We really need to get busy figuring out how to terraform other planets.

    It's the most natural solution to problems presented by growing population and never-ending consumption: spread! It's what (biological) life is all about; fill your container, then adapt to move beyond it or suffer and bend to some ruthless natural order.

    We alone of Earth's organisms have reached beyond the atmosphere. Let it be our destiny to lead the bizarre phenomenon of DNA-based life to other planets - because you know wherever we go, so go many many other species, even, inevitably, ones we'd rather leave behind.

    Upward and onward! Let life spread through the cosmos like the virus it physically is! Cloaked in the raiments of our biological brethren, armed with the artificial appendages known as "tools," LET US CONQUER AND FEAST UPON THE VERY HEAVENS!!!

    (a pulpit appears)

    FUCK the Garden of Eden!

    Though we be damned for it, though we suffer mightly and be cast into the outer darkness, we are REBELS!

    Remember, my friends and enemies, we humans are THIEVES and CHEATS and HACKERS!

    Adam and Eve saw the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and they straight STOLE THAT SHIT! Prometheus saw the fire of the gods, and he straight STOLE THAT SHIT! We saw before us the intricate food web of a self-sustaining ecology, which ultimately served to distribute the sun's raw energy to a diverse array of species, and we straight CHEATED THAT SHIT by creating artificial agricultural systems that funnel nearly all that yummy population-explosion-enabling energy right to our bellies. We dreamed of flying and shooting lightning and tapping into the unholy power of the very stars, and were stymied by the staggering complexity of physical reality, and we straight HACKED THAT SHIT to get what we wanted.

    FUCK Earth's limits!

    Are we mice or humans? MICE reproduce to the carrying capacity of their cage, and then start eating their fucking babies and gnawing eachother's nuts off to reach sustainability. HUMANS reproduce to their cage's carrying capacity, and then we invent fucking BOLT CUTTERS and BREAK THROUGH into the room, ignorant of the dangers. We plummet off the table, fry ourselves in the electrical outlets, starve in the carpet, and then, through the brutal method of trial and error and our devious little minds, we LEARN how to thrive in the room. And then, my friends and enemies, then we make WAR and kill eachother over the resources we've learned to access, and trade those resources, and some parts of our fractured population make peace, and there is prosperity - for some more than others - and in that prosperity we flourish, and in that flourishing we reach the carrying capacity of the room. And then, my friends and enemies, then

    Pick the lock!
    Unhinge the door!
    Crumble the walls!
    Tunnel through the floor!

    BREAKTHROUGH! Into the house, ignorant of the dangers. We drown in the tub, we cause a great explosion with the gas stove, we fry the wiring and enter a dark age, and then, through the brutal method of trial and error and our devious little minds, we LEARN how to thrive in the house. And then, my friends and enemies, then we make WAR and kill eachother over the resources we've learned to access, and trade those resources, and some parts of our fractured population make peace, and there is prosperity - for some more than others - and in that prosperity we flourish, and in that flourishing we reach the carrying capacity of the house. And then, my friends and enemies, then

    BREAKTHROUGH! Into the yard, across the countryside, throughout the continent, the planet, the solar system, the galaxy, and on and on.

    My friends and enemies, I say to you we WILL break through Earth's limitations. Not because we have a right to, not because we should, not because it is ordained, but because we CAN and we are CRAZY ENOUGH TO!!
     
  2. Abelian Sea
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    Abelian Sea o_O

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    *facepalm*

    I actually hit "submit" last night?

    Ah, sorry for this crazed preaching on an otherwise serious board. Drink and late hours sometimes make me unnecessarily dramatic.

    The basic point is heartfelt, though. There's no way we humans are going to voluntarily return to a truly sustainable existence now that we've tasted the wine of adapting our environment to us instead of the other way around. The next hurdle to our expansion is epic, but considering what we've already accomplished I don't think it's insurmountable.
     
  3. Shogun
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    Shogun Free: Mudholes Stomped

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    It's cool, dude.


    Besides... What do they say? in vino veritas?
     
  4. Diuretic
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    Diuretic Permanently confused

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    Bugger! You beat me to it :rofl:

    (Diureticus)
     
  5. AtlasShrieked
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    AtlasShrieked Member

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    :clap2:


    BBC - Radio 4 In Our Time - Have Your Say
     
  6. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    Great rant.

    While I am and always have been a supporter of space exploration, imagining that we are going to in any way solve the problem of overpopulation through expsion of mankind's domain into other planets seems highly unlikely to me.

    So unlikely in fact, that even calling for it as a goal is counter productive.

    The problem of overpopulation is upon us RIGHT NOW, the solution by space exploration and colonization is not.

    Space colonization wouldn't solve things here on earth, not if we knew that an earth like planet was waiting for us at the next closest star (and no such planet exists at the three closest stars from sol).

    SO...mankind needs to grow up and realize that for the forseeable future he has one planet that can sustain the species or mankind is going to make itself extinct.

    The solution to our SOCIAL PROBLEMS cannot be solved by the hard sciences, folks.

    It's time for social sciences to step up and solve a problem or two for a change.

    We have got to find the collective political will to limit and then reduce the popualtion on this plant, and we don't have fifty generations or ten generations, hell, we don't even have five generations to solve this rapidly developing problem.

    If we don't get earth's population under control in this generation I frankly doubt that any kind of civilized mankind will be around by 2100.

    There might be men on earth, but no civilized mankind that we understand as civilized will be here.
     
  7. RetiredGySgt
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    RetiredGySgt Platinum Member

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    And yet when I tell my shrink we are doomed and that it will be a break down of society, he tells me I am paranoid and delusional.

    Facts are that the earth can and will sustain a HELL of a lot more people then it does now. BUT I do not believe our societies will survive to accomplish it.
     
  8. AtlasShrieked
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    AtlasShrieked Member

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    yeah?

    well tell your shrink that you can be delusional and paranoid and still be right that we are doomed.
     
  9. AtlasShrieked
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    AtlasShrieked Member

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    We are trying to grow our way out of the problem just as we grow economies. lol

    We can try and increase the yield of crops until we figure out how to live without food.

    How much of the land mass is open to population? Can we build islands?

    we'll be alright. population is not threatening us as much as supplying the population with 'stuff' is.

    we'll survive for a while, if we don't poison the planet or blow it up.
     
  10. Abelian Sea
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    Abelian Sea o_O

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    Overpopulation will not lead to extinction; only to misery.

    I think population growth is more of a biological issue than a social one.

    That sounds incredibly ominous.

    There is never going to be a collective will to voluntarily limit/reduce population growth on the scale that would make a bit of difference globaly. No matter how much poverty and misery results from overpopulation.

    Such limits would have to imposed, and imposed ruthlessly. Like in China. And it would have to done by an organization with worldwide authority, enough authority to kill people. Like a true one-world government.

    I think the fall of all civilizations would, in the long run, be a healthier fate for our species than that bitter and stagnant scenario.

    Sure we do. It's just the longer we wait, the more suffering there will be and the lower the average standard of living will plumet.

    Maybe so. There will still be clusters of organizations, though, some of the quite large. My general hope is that some of them will be wealthy and insane enough to undertake the task of extraplanetary colonization.

    The way I see it, there are three basic responses available to the pressures of overpopulation: massive oppression, massive chaos, and expansion of territory.

    That last is the least feasible but we can do it, and it is in our defiant and crafty nature to do such a thing.
     

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