Sunday, March 9, 2008

Signs that the Human Population is Too Large

Several organizations, including the United Nations, have scientifically calculated that human beings have exceeded the carrying capacity of this good planet—that we are now using (considerably) more resources than the Earth is creating. In other words, since about 1980, we have not been living off the interest, we have been drawing down the bank balance. This is definitely not sustainable.

I also look at this issue from an emotional (qualitative) view. Here are some images and experiences that are not proof, but vivid signs or symbols to me that the population is simply too large.
  • A crowded swimming pool in China (click on photo to enlarge it). Is this really a fun way to spend a sunny day?
  • Gridlock across all 16 lanes of Highway 401 across the top of Toronto every rush hour.
  • The ozone hole over the poles. This was the first major environmental problem on a global scale. It was caused by too many people using spray cans and air-conditioning.
  • Professional "pushers" shoving people into a crowded Tokyo subway car (photo thanks to Scott-5x5)
  • Haze ruining the view at the Grand Canyon. This shouldn't happen in a remote area far from factories and cities.
  • That almost all commercial fisheries will be wiped out by 2050. We are ransacking a huge larder of self-replenishing protein.
  • Oil is $100 per barrel or more.
  • Global warming and our inability (or unwillingness) to deal with it.

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