*Pic: Increasing population places pressure on all forms of life on Earth – Pic Huffington Post
First published June 13
Regardless of what ethnic background we come from there is one consistent belief amongst us all, and that is there are too many of us on the planet now.
Human over-population, dwindling natural resources and increasing climate change impacts are marginalising all living things on Earth. So how long will it be before this unsustainable lifestyle we have created finally collapses?
A marginal existence in a dense nature-void urban jungle – Pic Google Earth
Industrial livestock farming uses massive amount of natural resources.
Like a plague on the environment, the plundering forestry practices in Tasmania are deeply entrenched, and indicative of greed and ignorance and flawed ideology. Nature destruction, water catchment disturbance, atmospheric pollution and environmental poisoning are rampant across the island. All this comes at a financial loss to the taxpayer, which can only be described in an understatement of blinded madness! – Pic Ted Mead.
Regardless of what ethnic background we come from there is one consistent belief amongst us all, and that is there are too many people on the planet now. Human over-population, dwindling natural resources and increasing climate change impacts are marginalising all living things on Earth. So how long will it be before this unsustainable lifestyle we have created finally collapses?
Human population is currently 7.6 billion and is expected to keep growing exponentially. Estimates have put the total population at 8.6 billion by 2030, 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100.
Exponential Human Population growth timeline.
So what is a sustainable level of population?
Many have claimed that we crossed the sustainable point a while ago when we passed the 4 billion mark. Though it has been stated that given all humans change their diet to vegetarian then the planet could sustain around 10 billion. This figure has factored in adequate water supply, though not the desertification effects from climate change.
According to the United Nations to live in a true utopian world, human population would need to be reduced to about 200 million. That is about a 97% reduction, such a figure would only come through a cataclysmic event.
The decimation of living things
Humans are just 0.01% of all life on Earth but have destroyed 83% of wild mammals.
Humans have been extremely efficient in exploiting natural resources, having heavily culled, and in some cases eradicated, wild mammals for food or pleasure across most continents.
The destruction of wild habitat for farming, logging and development has resulted in the rapid movement towards the sixth mass extinction of life to occur in the Earth’s four billion year history. About half the Earth’s animals are thought to have been lost in the last 50 years.
Climate change as a result of global warming will have the final say on human existence.
The exact impact from the warming of the earth over this century has been loosely predicted based on what that temperature increase ultimately becomes. Anything from 2 degrees Centigrade will impose a rising sea level of 800mm, to a 5+ degrees Centigrade increase, which would respectively see many metres of sea level rise, and most large mammalian live lost.
The later scenario would certainly create a world of dystopia. Human population would plummet due to the lack of water and food resources. The living environment as we know it would become untenable beyond artificial systems.
Will nature’s forces control human population to an acceptable and sustainable level?
There are many possible scenarios for the mass reduction in human population, though a cataclysmic event is most likely due to a broad scale environmental collapse. This collapse will be human induced from unsustainable resource extraction activity, fresh water and oceanic contaminations, and disseminations of atmospheric gas imbalances.
Human has essentially mutilated two thirds of the planet, and immediate conservation of the world’s remaining natural environments may not be enough to provide insulation from what has been set in motion.
A mass reduction in human population seems the only hope for humanity and the conservation of other species on earth.
As American wilderness philosopher Edward Abbey once unashamedly stated – “The only true act of conservation is to go out into the wilds and shoot oneself”
*Ted Mead greatly admires Edward Abbey’s philosophy, though is not about to take his advice on how to become a true conservationist, much to the disappointment of Tasmania’s conservatives he suspects. Ted has long held the view that human population is the biggest crisis facing the world regardless of what anyone’s political or religious make-up is. Had humans converted to vegetarianism centuries ago the world would most likely be in a completely different scenario now, yet even when the future wildfires, or rising seas or floods are lapping at our doorsteps humans will still be hoping for one last hamburger in the dying moments of self-induced annihilation.