Letter: Humanity's growth is unsustainable
Humanity's growth is unsustainable
Editor of the Reformer:
If I gave you a penny today and doubled the amount given every day for thirty days, how much would you receive on that last day? Day one, I give you one penny. Day two, two cents; day three, four cents; day four, eight cents. You get the idea. The answer is, on day 30 you would receive $5,368,709.12. That's right, almost $5.5 million. Do the math. It's called exponential growth.
In 1800, the global human population was about one billion. When I was born in 1958, it was just under three billion. Today, it's approaching eight billion and growing fast. Exponential growth.
While earning a degree in environmental studies, I conducted experiments on exponential growth. There is always a limiting factor which stops it - often quite suddenly.
Our Earth was at one time a somewhat infinite system. The fauna and flora lived in relative harmony with Nature. Until modern humans, the bulk of waste was recycled back to our Earth, with some exceptions. We are drinking the same water and breathing the same air that our progenitors did 200,000 years before us.
And we are burning oil produced by the decomposition of biomass which existed many millions of years ago. We're not polluting, we're recycling dinosaurs.
But exponential human population growth, combined with irresponsible economic and industrial policy, has morphed us into a an unsustainable cycle which has created a myriad of potential limiting factors to our continued existence.
We don't need to save Earth. She will save Herself. We are not the rulers of Earth — we are Her offspring And if we don't wise up real soon, Earth will vomit the bulk of humanity into early graves and continue the evolutionary process without us. That's called a limiting factor.
The limiting factor may manifest itself through pandemic disease, climatic anomalies, global warfare ... that's nature.
As the most intelligent species on Earth, we have a choice - learn to live in harmony with Nature, or try to outsmart Her.
Bottom line: the wealth of Earth needs to be more equitably shared, and Her human population brought under control. Because, if we don't do it, She will do it for us.
Nature has no conscience. We do.
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