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Author Topic: Overpopulation - do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?  (Read 10933 times)

Offline latebind

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My question is regarding our action towards overpopulation in the next few centuries.

I believe every human has a right to live a comfortable life, and a right to make babies, but what if this right 'conflicts' with itself by allowing overpopulation to lower the standard of living?

In essence we need to decide if the need of one man who wants to have a family is less then the need of the rest of the world who want to maintain a healthy population number, so as not to destroy earth's resources?



 

Offline glovesforfoxes

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This is more than science can answer.

Humans might have a right to have babies, just like they have a right to use electricity 24 hours a day if they want to. They should refrain from doing both right now. The sense of responsibility is felt by those that are aware that there will be, is currently, or has been a point where we can only replace ourselves and not have more than 2 children maximum in order to ensure the world remains a comfortable one.
 

Offline LeeE

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No one has any right to anything.  Who is there to allow or grant such a 'right', and upon what authority is anyone in a position to grant and enforce such rights?
 

Offline glovesforfoxes

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Offline LeeE

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I'm afraid that both the U.N. and U.S. constitutions have been so thoroughly abused that they hold no absolute authority, even amongst those that claim to recognise them.
 

Offline Don_1

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The human population of the world cannot continue to grow without doing great harm to the planet's ecology. Much of this harm may be irreversible. Our efforts to improve our quality of life will, one day, turn on us and be their very own undoing.

But it is not simply a matter of the total number of humans which is, and will continue to be, the cause of our problems. It is also the distribution of the population, in fact, at present it is more the distribution of the population which is causing problems than the total population.

London has a population of around 7 million, New York, over 8 million and in the emerging nations the figures are worse with Beijing at over 10 million and Mumbai nearly 14 million. Such concentrations of populations put an intolerable strain on rescourses. The cost of transporting produce to these city's, both in terms of hard cash and environmental damage, is putting the entire world at risk.

But nothing will happen to put this situation right, because we are all NIMBY's, we are all greedy (some far more so than others) and we are not prepared to give up anything for anyone.
 

Offline Nizzle

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Mother nature [or bioterrorists] will devise some kind of pandemic über-virus and the problem will be solved.
I'm thinking of the "Kongolese flu" or something which would be an Influenza with an interspecies fetish thingy fusing with an ebola virus and have 80% of the world die of hemorrhagic fever, which is not a nice way to pass on to the afterlife.

Just a matter of waiting on it to happen ;)
« Last Edit: 03/11/2009 08:45:12 by Nizzle »
 

Offline Karsten

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You kind of begin to wonder whether humans will be considered a successful species. Wide spread with incredible talent for technology but short-sighted and short-lived.
 

Offline Nizzle

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Well, if mankind lives on for a considerable amount of time they'll have no hard time to distantiate themselves from us.
They'll just invent a new species name like "Homo intellectus" or something and consider us to be the previous step in evolution ;)
 

Offline Karsten

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Well, if mankind lives on for a considerable amount of time they'll have no hard time to distantiate themselves from us.
They'll just invent a new species name like "Homo intellectus" or something and consider us to be the previous step in evolution ;)

What an excellent thought!
 

Offline latebind

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Well, if mankind lives on for a considerable amount of time they'll have no hard time to distantiate themselves from us.
They'll just invent a new species name like "Homo intellectus" or something and consider us to be the previous step in evolution ;)

Very insightful, and sadly probably true.

 

Offline theUnnamed

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Well, if mankind lives on for a considerable amount of time they'll have no hard time to distantiate themselves from us.
They'll just invent a new species name like "Homo intellectus" or something and consider us to be the previous step in evolution ;)
Insightful but it's "Homo Novus" don't you watch The Big Bang Theory.
Jokes aside, I must respectfully disagree with the idea that current species naming conventions will even be applicable to people after the amount of time has past for us to evolve into a new species.  If we survive much longer even another 2 to 3 hundred more years either one of or some combination of the following things will happen.
1. We will bio-engineer our selves to the point where what we once were means nothing to what we will have become.
2. We will continue to improve our interfacing to technology until the only way to improve is to directly interface it to the brain.  Then become cyborgs and eventually just become inelegant machines.  And honestly the cyborg stage have already started with the advent of prosthetic limbs.
3. The progress of medical science will halt evolution. (in my opinion the least likely.)
 

Offline Dimi

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The next major pandemic is Lamb Flu
 

Offline Nizzle

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...I must respectfully disagree with the idea that current species naming conventions will even be applicable...
1. We will bio-engineer our selves to the point where what we once were means nothing to what we will have become.
2. We will continue to improve our interfacing to technology until the only way to improve is to directly interface it to the brain.  Then become cyborgs and eventually just become inelegant machines.  And honestly the cyborg stage have already started with the advent of prosthetic limbs.
3. The progress of medical science will halt evolution. (in my opinion the least likely.)

Species naming is something that's invented by man, who's also capable of modifying conventions so species naming will continue in the future.
Maybe we'll see a bifurcation in the human species.
your 1. could become Homo adaptatus
your 2. could become Homo mechanicus
and 3.: Since evolution could be regarded as genetic mutations, i think future medical science will not halt evolution, but rather speed things up a little bit, introducing advantageous mutations in the babies of the rich and powerful of this world. This would in essence be your nr 1. "Homo adaptatus"

Then a big war between the homo adaptatus vs the homo mechanicus would make for a nice SciFi movie script ;)
« Last Edit: 13/11/2009 08:49:32 by Nizzle »
 

Offline peppercorn

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The next major pandemic is Lamb Flu
Poor Neil! [:-'(]
 

Offline Karsten

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3. The progress of medical science will halt evolution. (in my opinion the least likely.)

Yeah, until the survival of the fittest will become real again when we run out of energy to support our artificially human-friendly environments.
 

Offline destron

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London has a population of around 7 million, New York, over 8 million and in the emerging nations the figures are worse with Beijing at over 10 million and Mumbai nearly 14 million. Such concentrations of populations put an intolerable strain on rescourses. The cost of transporting produce to these city's, both in terms of hard cash and environmental damage, is putting the entire world at risk.

This may be true, but a rural lifestyle places more strain on the environment than an urban one. The cost of transporting food to NY is surely less than the costs associated with transportation in a rural setting, the land use, etc...

Perhaps there is an ideal city size that balances out the environmental costs.
 

Offline peppercorn

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a rural lifestyle places more strain on the environment than an urban one.
Is that so? Can you explain how?
Thanks in advance.
 

Offline Karsten

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a rural lifestyle places more strain on the environment than an urban one.
Is that so? Can you explain how?
Thanks in advance.

There are many reasons: Shorter distances to travel, everything you need is closer by, public transportation functions, heating homes is more efficient when they are wall-to-wall, waste management is more efficient, energy delivery is easier, you can chose to rent services you cannot rent in the country, no mowing of acres of grass, etc.

Check these:
http://www.urbancityarch.com/2009/09/city-dwellers-smaller-carbon-footprint/
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/06/urban-transit-less-emissions-suburbs.php
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/589973/why_city_living_is_better_than_country.html?cat=38

There are many more. The first link refers to a scientific study. As far as I can tell the study they refer to is this one:
"Blaming cities for climate change? An analysis of urban greenhouse gas emissions inventories" http://eau.sagepub.com/cgi/content/short/21/1/185

This one seems pretty reliable too: http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2008/05_carbon_footprint_sarzynski.aspx

What matters in this context is the energy consumption/pollution per person per acre, rather than the energy consumption/pollution per acre. And it depends on the city and its infrastructure. Not all cities are created equal and some perform better than others.
« Last Edit: 16/11/2009 21:22:53 by Karsten »
 

Offline peppercorn

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a rural lifestyle places more strain on the environment than an urban one.
Is that so? Can you explain how?
Thanks in advance.

There are many reasons...

Wow! That lot told me!
However, are these reason as true in, say rural China?
 

Offline Karsten

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a rural lifestyle places more strain on the environment than an urban one.
Is that so? Can you explain how?
Thanks in advance.

There are many reasons...

Wow! That lot told me!
However, are these reason as true in, say rural China?

I would guess, if you put two people with the same demands on help by machines in two places - one in a big city, the other in the country - the person in the city will be able to fulfill his demands with less energy overall.

But, yes, it is also a cultural thing. In the USA, people moved to the country because they could afford it and many cities were built for cars not people. The people moved far from work, bought big places that needed lots of maintenance by machines, and built big houses. Cheap oil made that possible and our dependence on the car is depressing. In developing countries moving into the cities seems to be the way out of poverty. Factory work may not be easily found in the country there. It probably was similar in the USA maybe 100 years ago.

On the other hand, but without really knowing their life, the traditional Amish farmer may still live more efficiently than the vast majority of US city dwellers. By choice or by lack of opportunity, "poor" people pollute less than more wealthy people. 
 

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