A Brave New World

Since the dawn of human history, the population has been growing.  At first it did so exceedingly slowly, with seemingly endless resources at our disposal.  Over the last few centuries population growth has rapidly accelerated.  Many people believe that this growth is exponential, and if you isolate the last century or 2, it is. However, we are reaching the carrying capacity of the earth, and the curve is actually beginning to level off.  This is logistical population growth, following a sigmoidal or S-Shaped curve (For example).  The population is projected to reach a stable level of somewhere around 10 billion people by around 2050.

The mechanism of this leveling off is called the demographic transition.  In the developing world, birth rates are high, as are death rates.  First death rates decrease, mostly through improved sanitation.  This creates a population bulge for a few generations.  Once people realize they don’t need to have 8 children for 3 to survive, the birth rate also decreases. This happened in the US at around the turn of the 20th century.  This process is currently happening around the world.  Incidentally, the most surefire way to decrease birth rates more quickly is educating women.

So we are living in an historically unprecedented time for our species.  The panoply of world problems facing us is almost too terrifying to consider.  However, if we are able to live through this time of population stabilization, we may actually be able to craft a world that works for everyone.   I optimistically envision a fair distribution of resources, a managed ecosphere for maximum food production with minimum impact (for example, permaculture), and preservation of wild places.  At minimum, all people need clean water, ample healthy food, shelter, access to medical care.  This would largely end the call for warfare (if we can silence or ignore warmongering profiteers).  Like it or not, we are living through this critical time in the evolution of our humanity.  I don’t think it is too melodramatic to say that survival will require an evolution of our collective heart-mind, rather than our physical bodies.


About kathysyear

Happily married mother of 2 young girls. A SAHM for the moment. Medical Qigong Practitioner, mandolin player... Aspiring energetic and spiritual warrior for the planet!
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3 Responses to A Brave New World

  1. Amanda King says:

    Hey kathy, read your blog. You brougt up a lot of interesting points. It’s crazy that so many people live on this planet. Looking at places like Cina and India where there are so many people. Many living in poverty and like you said dying young or reproducing like mad. Cina has implemented there own human population control program and it isn’t pretty. Many women are forced to have abortions up to 8 months in term. All the hospitals are carefully watched for women who are pregnant and are harrassed if they don’t have a permit. Unfortuantely, the people are so poor that they can’t afford a permit or are denied a permt if they already have more than one child. If the women is too scared to go to the hospital, then they are left to their own unsafe methods. Stabalizing the population is going to have to be forced and it would mean diminishing peoples rights. In addition, I don’t think that we could or would want to live in a “fair distribution of goods” world. I don’t think it would ever work. The word Fair is fantasy not a reality. Nothing in life is fair. Also, people are greedy and would alway’s want more than there share. Crime would be just as strong. People alway’s want more than what they have. Also, people are never content with having the same as every body else. Plus, people would become more dependent on a so called Government or a universal Ideoligy. Giving that man made organization power. Man does not do well with power. If we gave peole are the basic necessities to survive, they would just expect more services. No one would be appreciative. Also, there will alway’s be your Stalins, Hitlers, and all the other tyrants in this world who want to to harm and enforce there own self will agenda on others. What if we had a World Wide Government who was in charge of everything and became corrupted? who would stop them? There needs to be some kind of check and balance in power. God would be a good overseere, but not everyone can agree on one Religion with the same principals. We are too divided of a world for everyone to go home happy. And eventhough we all have brains and hearts, we still fall short of our pure potential.

    P.s. sorry for my Spelling!

  2. kathysyear says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I certainly don’t advocate for a top down, government controlled population reduction program, or 1 world government. I was summarizing some of what I learned as a student of ecology and population dynamics in college. What I was trying to say is that the population IS stabilizing NATURALLY. For instance, we citizens of the US can have as many children as we like, but many people choose to have none, 1 or 2. Some have 6, or even 20, but it is rare. Apart from immigration, the population in the US wouldn’t be growing. In many countries in western Europe and Japan the population is shrinking. (This is considered a problem by economists- labor becomes more expensive when there is a smaller labor pool.) When I was in elementary school I remember being told that at sometime in the near future there would be so many people on earth that we would be standing shoulder to shoulder, stacked 3 high, and covering the entire surface of the globe, including the oceans. This is obviously absurd! There is a natural limit to the amount of life the earth can support, for humans, animals, plants…

    By a “fair” distribution of wealth, I didn’t mean equal. There will always be inequality, and people around the globe should be free to practice their own cultural values, religions etc. If you look at history, despots generally arise in extreme situations. For instance, Germany in the 30s was impoverished from WWI, and paying reparations to the victors of that war. Inflation ran rampant, and peoples money lost all value. They were angry and looking for a scape goat. So when Hitler came along, there was fertile ground for his message of antisemitism to take root. I don’t think everyone in the world needs to drive an SUV, but we will never have peace when 1 in 7 people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. I’m talking basic human needs.

  3. Amanda King says:

    I agree, you would think that this is something that we could accomplish by now. The sad reality is many of these Leaders don’t care about their own people’s suffering. I know that there are good country’s and private orgainizations that want to help and expose the suffering to the World, and yet nobody is doing anything about it. Justin’s brother helps the people in Afganistan and sets up medical aid for the locals and trys to educate the people not to wash their clothes in their own bathroom waste. You can only imagine how frusterating it is when they don’t even know that. Many of the people take the medicine that they are given and sell it instead of taking it for themselves or for their children. They just deal with the pain. It is really sad. Inform, educate, supply medical care, train locals so they can take over and continue to help their people- It’s a long road ahead. Especially when there’s tension already. Peace out. Love you!

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