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earth food production capacity



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"The power of population is so superior to the power of the Earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race."

The late-18th century philosopher Thomas Malthus wrote these ominous words in an essay on what he saw as the dire future of humanity. Humans' unquenchable urge to reproduce, Malthus argued, would ultimately lead us to overpopulate the planet, eat up all its resources and die in a mass famine.

But what is the maximum "power of the Earth to produce subsistence," and when will our numbers push the planet to its limit? More importantly, was Malthus' vision of the future correct?

Earth's capacity

Many scientists think Earth has a maximum carrying capacity of 9 billion to 10 billion people. [How Do You Count 7 Billion People?]

One such scientist, the eminent Harvard University sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, bases his estimate on calculations of the Earth's available resources. As Wilson pointed out in his book "The Future of Life" (Knopf, 2002), "The constraints of the biosphere are fixed."

Aside from the limited availability of freshwater, there are indeed constraints on the amount of food that Earth can produce, just as Malthus argued more than 200 years ago. Even in the case of maximum efficiency, in which all the grains grown are dedicated to feeding humans (instead of livestock, which is an inefficient way to convert plant energy into food energy), there's still a limit to how far the available quantities can stretch. "If everyone agreed to become vegetarian, leaving little or nothing for livestock, the present 1.4 billion hectares of arable land (3.5 billion acres) would support about 10 billion people," Wilson wrote.

The 3.5 billion acres would produce approximately 2 billion tons of grains annually, he explained. That's enough to feed 10 billion vegetarians, but would only feed 2.5 billion U.S. omnivores, because so much vegetation is dedicated to livestock and poultry in the United States.

So 10 billion people is the uppermost population limit where food is concerned. Because it's extremely unlikely that everyone will agree to stop eating meat, Wilson thinks the maximum carrying capacity of the Earth based on food resources will most likely fall short of 10 billion. [When Will Earth Run Out of Food?]

According to population biologist Joel Cohen of Columbia University, other environmental factors that limit the Earth's carrying capacity are the nitrogen cycle, available quantities of phosphorus, and atmospheric carbon concentrations, but there is a great amount of uncertainty in the impact of all of these factors. "In truth, no one knows when or at what level peak population will be reached," Cohen told Life's Little Mysteries.

Slowing growth

Fortunately, we may be spared from entering the end-times phase of overpopulation and starvation envisioned by Malthus. According to the United Nations Population Division, the human population will hit 7 billion on or around Oct. 31, and, if its projections are correct, we're en route to a population of 9 billion by 2050, and 10 billion by 2100. However, somewhere on the road between those milestones, scientists think we'll make a U-turn.

UN estimates of global population trends show that families are getting smaller. "Empirical data from 230 countries since 1950 shows that the great majority have fertility declines," said Gerhard Heilig, chief of population estimates and projections section at the UN.

Globally, the fertility rate is falling to the "replacement level" — 2.1 children per woman, the rate at which children replace their parents (and make up for those who die young). If the global fertility rate does indeed reach replacement level by the end of the century, then the human population will stabilize between 9 billion and 10 billion. As far as Earth's capacity is concerned, we'll have gone about as far as we can go, but no farther.

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www.livescience.com/16493-people-planet-earth-support.html

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I don't think that we can count on the optimistic view that population growth will take a U-turn just before we meet the absolutly non-sustainable number. I also don't think that we can count on the optimistic view that people currently eating meet will stop to do so and become vegetarians. And i think that the mass extinction of species during the last two decades indicates clearly that we have reached and passed the global sustainability maximum already with about 4 billion. Even IF earth population would stop growing miraculously reverting a 10.000 year old trend, the existing people would still have "growing needs" chineese people stepping out of "mao suit" and "bicicle traffic" want to drive cars, and live in 400 squaremeter apartments, indians in the slums of Bangalore want a better life - spoiled westener kids want a new gameboy every year new convers shoes and levis jeans every week. So the "overall load on the planet" will still grow even IF the miracle of population growth stopping should occur. The "optimistic view" might just be "fear of looking into the abyss" and asking "what happens then".

What we need is to tap into space and resources that have not been used so far - ocean colonization and domestication is the only possible answer. If we think we can handle that kind of population with "1.4 billion hectares of arable land" we are definitly on route to a mayor breakdown...



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Get a foothold in ocean colonization:

concretesubmarine.activeboard.com/t49529137/oceanic-frontier-develpment-investment-foothold-in-ocean-col/

The Captain Nemo Lifestyle:

concretesubmarine.activeboard.com/t43942461/the-captain-nemo-float-out-seasteading/

Why oceanic business is the next big thing to come:

concretesubmarine.activeboard.com/t56680633/the-reasons-why-oceanic-business-is-the-next-big-thing-to-co/

Ocean sphere fish farming:

concretesubmarine.activeboard.com/t55433095/ocean-sphere-the-next-wave-of-sustainable-fish-farming/

Ocean colonization gallery:

imulead.com/tolimared/concretesubmarine/picturegallery/concept/

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Why global sustainability requires rocket fast technological progress:
concretesubmarine.activeboard.com/t58921987/sustainability-population-growth-consumption-growth-ocean-co/

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earth food production capacity | concretesubmarine.activeboard.com/t58921987/sustainability-population-growth-consumption-growth-ocean-co/ |

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Need suggestion about the food processor.

migimax processor



-- Edited by jackaustin on Saturday 13th of February 2021 12:15:43 PM

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