THE LOOMING END OF MANKIND?

Every New Year’s Eve we  make resolutions and promises to ourselves that we won’t keep. Dreams are like that, unlikely illusions of  billions of Earthlings hoping against hope to prosper, live free and make the most of their limited time here on the planet. We are populating the globe at a pace which is unsustainable. At 7.5 billion and counting, how many humans can the planet support? Right now, at the beginning of 2019, humanity is the most populated large mammal species on Earth in geological history. Can our home support this kind of growth indefinitely? If we do nothing to manage future population growth, our resources will surely become depleted and we’ll all starve and perish due to dehydration. There is only so much fresh drinkable water on this little blue planet we call home. Even today, myriad countries face shortages of food, water, medicine and power. To conceptualize the argument, suppose Donald Trump gave every person on Earth a dime, then doubled it the following year and each year thereafter. How long do you suppose his ten-billion dollar net worth would last?  Not long! It’s the same with natural resources, there is only so much wood, gas, oil, food and water available. Once it is depleted, we would not survive as a species. Right now, 99-percent of all life on Earth is extinct. The oceans have been depleted, Earths ozone layer is burning off and greenhouse gasses are heating the planet to a point where soon… the Earth will be uninhabitable.
Our species hit a billion people in the 1800s, doubling that in 300 years. At two billion were here by 1927 and doubled in just 127 years. With four-billion in 1974, that number again doubled in just 47 years. As you can see, we are in serious trouble. The population of Earth is projected to reach eight billion by 2023 and is expected to reach twelve-billion by 2100. At the same time, we are consuming and polluting our own resources – the aquifers and ice caps, fertile soil, forests, fisheries and oceans. Think about this: the Earth has 1.9 hectares of land per person for growing food and textiles for clothing, supplying wood and absorbing waste. The average American uses about 9.7 hectares. This suggests that our planet can only support one-fifth of the present population, 1.5 billion people, at an American standard of living. Water is a life and death resource. Every living thing requires it and biologically, every adult needs a gallon of water daily. However, Americans use three-hundred and fifty-five billion gallons a year. Half is used in order to generate electricity, one-third goes to irrigation, and roughly one-tenth for flushing toilets, washing clothes and dishes, and watering lawns. If the current population of 7.5 billion people consumed water at American levels, usage would top 10,000 cubic kilometers per year. Total world supply – counting freshwater lakes and rivers – is more than ninety-thousand cubic kilometers. in ten years, Earth would run out of water. In current day, more than two-billion people on Earth lack clean drinking water. Close to five-billion lack sanitation which creates water supplies contaminated with pathogens, fertilizer, insecticide runoff, heavy metals. This is a scenario in some of  my below disaster movies. Water and food are immediate human necessities. Doubling food production would defer the problems of present-day birth rates for MAYBE a few decades. The Earth supports industrialized standards of living only because we are drawing down the “savings account” of non-renewable resources, including fertile topsoil, drinkable water, forests, fisheries and petroleum. Bottom line? It’s already too late to reverse our demise. Perhaps, if each country followed China’s “One Child Per Couple Legislation” we’d save ourselves from overpopulation. However, I don’t have to tell you, the need to reproduce is among the strongest of human desires. We cannot magically hope natural resources into existence. Adults, however, have to choose between the status quo or bravely undertake new measures to save mankind. Unfortunately, the only way to save our future generations is to limit reproduction. Once Earth’s population hits twelve-billion, the planet will fail to provide enough resources to sustain humanity. – RJ Smith

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Updated: 12 January 2018