Global Population Issues

Intended for constructive conversations. Exhibits of polarizing tribalism will be deleted.
Chad
Posts: 3845
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by Chad »

Those photos are depressing. The surfing one really is due to the contrast between paradise and garbage. The Mexico City photo is startling given it's scope.

Dragline
Posts: 4436
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:50 am

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by Dragline »

I found this interesting -- particularly the gap between what people in the developed world believe about the rest of the world and what is actually going on in places like Bangladesh. And more educated people appear to be more ignorant -- or at least more confident in what they don't know.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UbmG8gtBPM

First time I heard someone talk about the world reaching "peak child", but apparently we are over that hump.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12979
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by jacob »

@Dragline - Rates are very deceptive when it comes to the magnitude. Peak child doesn't mean that world population doesn't have quite a bit to grow still due to demographic inertia. It'll take a human lifetime of steady state reproduction in order for the demographic distribution to become stable. Because the world population was much smaller even 20 years ago, there weren't there was less people at that time (age 40 say) to grow up and become age 60 today. In order words, the massive amount of children in the world today will grow up over the next 50-70 years and replace the much smaller number of old people (who will die of age).

So the positive news here is that "the rate of things going bad has stopped increasing". Doesn't mean that it's decreasing or that things have even started going well.

I guess optimists will take what they can get, but this is similar to being happy that "at least we're not increasing the amount of additional money we're adding to our debt each year anymore".

Also, people don't eat dollars or annual incomes---something economists and apparently statisticians don't recognize. They eat the total food production as it was over the past 3-5 weeks (the world has no food reserves anymore, only what's in transit). The dollars and incomes just determine how it's distributed. Not so much whether it's available.

Peak child arrived roughly 150 years too late if the goal was to avoid "breaking things". Here's how broken things currently are .. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planetary_boundaries ... as the demographics stabilize over the next 60 years, it'll break some more. It is what it is ...

User avatar
jennypenny
Posts: 6618
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by jennypenny »

Not to sound alarmist, but I wonder if a virus like Zika will take care of any overpopulation issues. The most recent reports are a little scary. The map below shows the area of concern, but now that they've determined that the disease can spread through sexual contact, I don't know how they expect to contain it. And of course, the best way to spread a virus around the globe as quickly as possible is to invite people from every country to the epicenter for a few weeks of outdoor athletic competitions. Bonus points for inviting mostly young people of reproductive age since the virus targets reproduction. I wonder if we'll all look back in 20 years and wonder why they insisted on going forward with the Olympics in Brazil this year.

Image

vexed87
Posts: 1493
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:02 am
Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by vexed87 »

Zika may be a threat in hotter climates, and its particularly scary because of the ongoing burden it places on families, but influenza like viruses would be far more effective at culling both young and old and spreads outside the tropics, without sexual intercourse. Zika isn't deadly, and the immune response will kick in over time. The greatest impact is only on those who are already or get pregnant shortly after infection.

A deadly flu virus would be far more devastating than Zika, and let's not forget there's precedent, IIRC this one infected 1/3 of the global population, and around of 3-6% of those infected died: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic.

Still, these numbers are too low to have any long term effects on plantery boundaries mentioned above but would perhaps provide short term relief for the survivors. Far more likely it would take a succession of catastrophes like war, famine and disease to seriously knock the global population down a few pegs.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12979
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by jacob »

Zika is mainly a problem in countries where abortion is not an option. Unfortunately, those two overlap strongly. Otherwise that's a pretty easy solution that's available to a lot of the world, especially ones from developed nations that are rich enough to travel to Brazil. Very likely the athletes are not pregnant and nor do they have any immediate plans to become so. Zika is only a problem if it infects a female who's pregnant or about to become so; it's not permanent.

I see two/three outcomes/solutions.
* Change the law/morals and allow the easy fix.
* Stop having sex (also the way to avoid almost all STDs); that's probably the hard fix.
* Alternatively, nature's fix is that an increasing number of severely disabled people will be born and put pressure on the infrastructure/cost and thus make the population poorer. Epidemics do much much better in countries where the hygienic (sewer, etc. ) infrastructure + medical infrastructure (access to drugs and IC) are lacking. This could(*) then allow other diseases to take root well enough to have a material population impact.

(*) I haven't done any math to see what the actual impact would be as a function of infection rates and impact, etc. However, note that poverty has to be even more widespread than what we saw during the Ebola crises for this to have a material population impact.

Riggerjack
Posts: 2993
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:09 am

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by Riggerjack »

@theanimal
The pics from the guardian link are, misleading.

The clear cut in BC, clear cutting is common forestry practice, not just because it's easier, but because commercial timber species in this area grow better from a clear-cut. The clear cut is replanted, same year, and there are many rainforest species that need clear cuts to thrive. In 10 years, it's a short forest again. Now cutting down trees near cities, those trees never come back.

The " old growth destroyed by reservoir in Willamette national forest " shot is of a stump from the 50's or 60's. All the reservoirs have em. You see them when the water level drops, for a few weeks or months. Most of the year, that is lake bottom, and that's why the stumps look so fresh, and the ground looks devastated. It'll look like that this time, next century, too.you can still commonly find old growth cedar stumps cut down over a century ago in most small towns around here. Cedar breaks down slowly, even exposed to weather and bugs. Most city folk couldn't tell the difference between old growth and send growth forest, anyway. And environmentalists lied about spotted owls, spotted owls are just fine in second growth forest.

I'm no fan of logging, particularly logging of state and federal land, but if someone has to lie to make their point, they have no point. It causes me to wonder if there's any truth to anything that they say.

I don't know about the rest of the pics, but I have doubts about the smoking rainforest and cows shot.

enigmaT120
Posts: 1221
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:14 pm
Location: Falls City, OR

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by enigmaT120 »

At least I got a kick out of this line, from the picture of that fancy shopping mall:

"South City Mall in Kolkata, India

Consumer culture spreads to the global south"

It made me go check my map.

Regarding the forest, here's the satellite view of the coast range west of me:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Falls ... 57eb243d7b

So yeah, lots of clear cuts like Riggerjack said. Douglas fir is not shade tolerant and won't regrow under other trees, that's why clear cutting works for it. The species in our old growth patches (no forests left) are usually dominant Douglas fir, with western red ceder and hemlock growing up under it and replacing it when the firs finally die after hundreds of years. The dark, forested squares are square mile patches of BLM land, which is no longer clear cut very often and has much older trees in general.

A second growth forest can be a hundred years old, so yes the spotted owls can do fine in that area, but they certainly can't make it in the far more common 40 year cut cycle used by the large industrial timber land owners. The owls are not the only species that does best in older types of forest but they made a good poster child.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12979
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by jacob »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seral_community ... with human input, it's possible to maintain an eco-system in a [for humans] desirable sere. For example, it's my understanding that deer-hunting is not very compatible with the climax community sere i.e. old growth forest. However, other species are. Ditto timber harvesting.

Permaculture is a deliberate attempt to create an eco-system where the climax community is optimal for humans. However, randomculture (or natural culture) tends to be rather harsh when it comes to humans which is why natural systems can't support nearly as many hunter-gatherers as the same area can if it is farmed or "permacultured".

George the original one
Posts: 5364
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by George the original one »

And here's corporate forest land near my Seaside, Oregon backyard:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Seasi ... f4541bfd22

Primarily sitka spruce and douglas fir.

Corporate timberland clear cuts are more timed to the market. Due to the age of Google maps, what you don't see is the increased logging activity in that shot. The land was mostly held in reserve by one company through the great recession, sold, then full logging operations began about 2 years ago and anything that's mature is being cut. I expect, in about 2 years, logging activity will slow to a crawl as there won't be enough left to cut until more is grown.

Riggerjack
Posts: 2993
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:09 am

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by Riggerjack »

Well, there's all kinds of influencing factors. For instance, in the Puget Sound, there is only one sawmill that will accept logs over 24". All the others are either specialty hardwood, or studmills. So you can't let your trees get too big, or you can't sell em.

I have trees up to 40 years old on my property, but transport costs are high enough that they have more value as firewood. Now part of that is the former owners' passive neglect, part only having 10 acres, and part is being on an island, after the nearest paper mill closed. Kimberly Clark closing dropped local log prices quite a bit.

Also, modern forestry practice includes crop rotation, planting alder after fir, then going with cedar or fir next rotation.

My objection to activists is, timberland is cheap, around $2k/acre plus timber value. If you care, buy it and you pay the taxes. Or buy it, and donate it to a conservation group. If you don't care enough to pay, then why should the current landowner have to pay?

7Wannabe5
Posts: 6832
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

jacob said: Permaculture is a deliberate attempt to create an eco-system where the climax community is optimal for humans. However, randomculture (or natural culture) tends to be rather harsh when it comes to humans which is why natural systems can't support nearly as many hunter-gatherers as the same area can if it is farmed or "permacultured".
Right. Humans need more "edge." I think more evidence is coming to light that most humans have engaged in more manipulation of environment than a simplistic hunter/gatherer model would suggest. For instance, burning small clearings in climax forests in which to plant or maintain more edible species. Many species that provide food that humans like to gather evolved and thrive in forest edge environments which provide highly-developed fungal soil and sunlight. When apples are grown in open orchards, they get more than enough sunshine, but they are subject to disease due to the depleted nature of the soil. I am planting some of my fruit trees on compost berms filled with wood of the type most likely to be found at forest edge in the hopes of fostering appropriate fungal growth. I'm also intermixing natives such as American Plum with more productive modern varieties such as Honeycrisp and underplanting with nitrogen fixing legumes mixed with daffodils. I think it's actually going to be quite pretty when I am done.

enigmaT120
Posts: 1221
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:14 pm
Location: Falls City, OR

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by enigmaT120 »

Riggerjack wrote:Well, there's all kinds of influencing factors. For instance, in the Puget Sound, there is only one sawmill that will accept logs over 24". All the others are either specialty hardwood, or studmills. So you can't let your trees get too big, or you can't sell em.

Yeah, that's becoming more common. I'm lucky (though since my place was a clear cut when I bought it in 1991 I guess I shouldn't worry too much) because there are still 3 mills in the Willamette Valley that have no upper diameter limit for logs.

I have trees up to 40 years old on my property, but transport costs are high enough that they have more value as firewood. Now part of that is the former owners' passive neglect, part only having 10 acres, and part is being on an island, after the nearest paper mill closed. Kimberly Clark closing dropped local log prices quite a bit.
And if you don't do your own logging, it's tough to find anybody who'll come do little jobs. And you won't make money on it. I'm going to do a cruise after I retire and see if I have enough ready for a commercial thinning, enough to pay for a tractor/winch to pull the logs to my landing. The trees are getting too big for me to keep doing all that by hand as I've been doing! So much for my plans to grow stronger at the same rate my trees grew bigger.

Also, modern forestry practice includes crop rotation, planting alder after fir, then going with cedar or fir next rotation.

That's interesting -- nobody does that around here even though alder grows well and is frequently worth more than Douglas-fir. I have seen a few mixed-species new plantings, which I like. It makes me wonder if the owner is prepping for Swiss Needle Cast disease to cross over from George's area to mine. It affects Douglas fir.

enigmaT120
Posts: 1221
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:14 pm
Location: Falls City, OR

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by enigmaT120 »

7Wannabe5 wrote: Right. Humans need more "edge." I think more evidence is coming to light that most humans have engaged in more manipulation of environment than a simplistic hunter/gatherer model would suggest. For instance, burning small clearings in climax forests in which to plant or maintain more edible species.
Yeah, it's pretty obvious around here that the Calapooia used to burn most of the Willamette Valley in the late summers. It's partially why I got such a kick about the city people complaining about the air quality when the grass seed farmers were burning their fields, though admittedly it was pretty bad. But they should have seen it before white people showed up!

They didn't do as much burning in the coast range. Those mature forests don't burn that easily, but when it happens it is usually a big fire. The main thing about back then, though, was that the human population was so small that they were existing without exterminating the rest of the native species. Unless (as I like to wonder) they did finish off the giant sloths, mastodons, and other mega fauna that was here in America. Probably the little horses, too.

Dragline
Posts: 4436
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:50 am

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by Dragline »

If you are interested in how people molded the North American environment pre-European, I found "1491" to be really interesting:

http://www.amazon.com/1491-Revelations- ... 8&qid=&sr=

It discusses the practice of burning large areas periodically, among many other practices.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12979
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by jacob »

@Dragline - Slash and burn is the standard method of neolithic subsistence farming. It emulates natural wildfires in clearing a climax stage and leaving nutrients on the ground for plants that are more appetizing to humans than fir trees. Once the population is too large and runs out of forests to burn, it's replaced with the fallow system. Running out of that, fertilizer is then mined out of the ground, and once there's no more land to plant, plants are bred to accept more fertilizer. And here we are. The next step is genetic engineering. After that, the problem becomes one of running out of fertilizer to mine.

workathome
Posts: 1298
Joined: Sat Jun 29, 2013 3:06 pm

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by workathome »

Does anyone have a conservative religious response to overpopulation that treats it as a real issue? I tried searching "Catholic overpopulation", but all I find are articles arguing that it may be a myth (e.g. to counter pro-abortion arguments). I think I understand there is a gut reaction to say "it's not a real problem!" because it's such a difficult problem from a ethical standpoint, especially a response that traditionally focused on preventing abortion and feeding all hungry mouths.

I was hoping to find a response or an address to an issues that 1) recognized it as a real issue, and 2) responded to it from a conservative/traditionally (moral, warm-hearted) religious standpoint.

(e.g. We could just keep the status-quo, or trying to do the best, and probably disease, world war 3, etc. will make the problem non-existant, but if those don't then we have to face the issue that our immediate assistance appears to lead to more net-suffering in the long-run - especially areas like Africa where it seems to not make a huge difference, but the growing population increases ethnic conflicts, more starvation).

GandK
Posts: 1995
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:00 pm

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by GandK »

workathome wrote:Does anyone have a conservative religious response to overpopulation that treats it as a real issue?
Are you looking for something official like a published position, or just an opinion on the matter from a conservative religious person?

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 12979
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by jacob »

@workathome - Like this? viewtopic.php?t=6544

Noided

Re: Global Population Issues

Post by Noided »

In some european countries (including Portugal, where I'm from), many people voice concerns that we have a demographic problem (of the decreasing and aging kind of problem, not overpopulation). And now it is politically popular to talk about incentives for people to have more kids.

The thing is, when asked about what the actual problem is, most people talk about social security (mainly pensions) and economic growth. My thoughts are:
Economic growth by population growth is futile
Social security system should be changed to depend less on demographics
Other countries who adopted pro-fertility measures all have fertility rates below the 2.1 sustainability level - if their objective is to achieve sustainability, they are futile. Also, I would prefer direct the costs of such measures to "fix" social security or pay additional debt (Portugal has a lot of it).

My idea is that if you create a prosperous and sustainable country, people will eventually have the number of kids they like. And in think that the new norm is below the 2.1 per woman, so there is no use trying to go back to the past and force prosperity by popping out more babies.

Thoughts?

Post Reply