The consequences of overpopulation of the planet and what development path should you choose mankind to survive.
By 2050, the Earth will be about 10 billion people. Science journalist Charles C. Mann examines the current forecasts of how the population of the planet will provide for our basic needs and how we can avoid disastrous climate change.
What is the problem
For many millennia, natural selection, parasites and the lack of resources hindered the excessive growth of populations of all animals, including humans. But with the development of technology humans have disrupted this balance. The world population is increasing too sharply, and in the near future may be a shortage of water, food and energy.
What are the future scenarios
Opinions of scientists as to how to prevent these problems are varied: researchers are divided on the so-called magicians and prophets. The first believe that science with the proper use will help to avoid collapse. The second does not agree with this and in favor of strict control of the main ecological processes, disturbances in which can put the life of all living things at risk.
The development towards wizards
Technomage imagine hyperattentive glittering mega-cities surrounded by large areas of untouched lands, and independence from natural resources. The energy they provide a compact nuclear power station, food — robotic ekofarma ultraproductive with GMO crops, and water desalination plants.
All 10 billion people Packed into a super dense, but easily walkable cities — urbanized world as of human aspirations and freedom.
The development of the path of the prophets
The prophets dream of a small, interrelated communities with the most humane relations and minimal corporate control. Most people there live in rural areas, use local solar and wind installations. Water collected from rain and use it again. Food supply population a small farm with gardens and roots, but not unproductive cereals.
But first and foremost these people to change their habits. Instead they get to work on eco-friendly train. Do not stand under the shower for half an hour, eat little and mostly vegetarian food. The prophets believe that respect for natural limits will lead to a more free, democratic and healthy lifestyle.
What is wrong with current forecasts
Both sides casts doubt on approaches of his opponents.
The arguments of the prophets
- Industrial agriculture causes soil erosion and creates coastal dead zones and destroys the microbiomes in the soil.
- Giant desalination plants produce huge mountains of toxic salts that cannot be disposed of.
- Security super productive GM crops, which is planned to feed humanity, scientists can't prove it for 20 years. Their is still hostility.
- The readiness of the society to the construction of nuclear power stations smaller, therefore, the use of clean carbon-free energy that must stop climate change, a big question.
The arguments of wizards
- This way of life will lead to limitations, the decline and widespread poverty.
- Agriculture will only exacerbate the impact on the environment and will force people to work for pennies.
- The technology needed to create a local solar power plants, do not yet exist.
- Water reuse will slow down the development. Her savings will mean nothing, since even in developed cities, a quarter of fresh water is lost through leaking pipes.
To create a social movement need to unite the efforts of the magicians and prophets that both parties have accepted the fundamental ideas of each other.
We must recognize that nuclear energy is harmless and does not emit carbon, and uranium mines are terrible. You need to accept the safety of GMO crops and to realize that industrial agriculture is causing environmental problems. Need to develop the selection of tree and root crops that are much more productive crops, but require less water and do not cause erosion.
Only by joint efforts of wizards and prophets can survive a population explosion, to keep the biomes and to provide the world population with enough water, food and energy.