Monday, September 28, 2015

What if Each Family Only Had One Acre?

Why are people considering living on Mars?

The answer is simple; it is because we are overpopulating and destroying our own planet and need more room! 

Imagine if each couple were delegated 1 acre of land to live on, and could only use resources from that plot of land (catching rain water as needed).  All their food had to come from that acre, all their waste had to be disposed of on that acre.

They build a house using all the trees and rocks.  They plant a garden and have some chickens.  They have a goat for milk.  If they are lucky they have a pond for fish.  They are perfectly sustainable on their land.  Then one day they have a baby.  That baby needs things.  They re-purpose older clothes for baby clothes, but food eventually becomes an issue.  At first they can produce enough to feed the child, but eventually the child needs more food and it gets tough with the parents eating a bit less just so the child can have more.  Then they have another child.

At one point their small house starts to feel crowded, but they have no more trees to use to expand their home, and do not wish to take away any more land from what they need to produce food.

On land that previously supported two people, they are now trying to support four.  What do they do?

Vege patties, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes.  A meal for two.

They find ways to cheat on food production.  They pump the goat with hormones so it produces more milk.  They water the garden more so it produces larger vegetables and fruits, but even though the fruit is larger it contains only the same nutrition as would be in a smaller vegetable.  Combined with the fact that the land has been used so much that it contains less nutrients than in earlier years, and we see how the family has barely enough food but the food itself has less value. 

This is where the human population is now.  Although we feel like we have unlimited space and we technically produce enough food for everyone, the food we are producing today has less nutritional value than it did even 20 years ago.  Dairy animals in some nations are pumped with hormones to produce more milk but the side effect of the hormones on the humans that drink the milk are dangerous, and the dairy animals themselves have shorter lives as a result of being stressed in that way.

Our farmers are producing big strawberries, but have you tasted one or compared it to the small strawberries that grow wild?  The huge berries have little taste in comparison.  

Think of the earth as the one acre homestead.  We cannot expand it.  If we keep adding people to it, and resources are limited, we have to find ways to cope.  We can cope by cheating with the resources, but to what end?

Additional problems come about in that some people are not happy with their meager one acre and insist on having more, thus forcing others to get by on less space, or poorer land. 

If you had to live on one acre, and could only produce enough food for two people, would you have kids?  How many?

I should note too that food is not the only issue we need to consider in regards to human overpopulation.

Sending people to live on Mars is not the answer.  Killing people off is not the answer either!

The answer is for people to be more responsible.  Having children at a later age (no younger than 25) and limiting oneself to only having one child is a good solution to prevent further population growth.  It is also vital that people adapt sustainable skills, and stop demanding unnecessary things (useless home decor items, and other luxury items). 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How Do We Know if the World is Overpopulated

Agreeing on if the world is overpopulated or not is based on more than if we produce enough food for all the people on the planet. Indeed deciding if there are are too many humans is not just about the humans, but is about all other species as well as the earth itself.

For thousands of years the human population stayed pretty steady around 1 to 2 billion people, shooting up only recently with improvements to health care and industrialization. When the human population was lower we were still causing some impact on the planet but in no way as great as we are doing now that our human population numbers over 7 billion.

If you talk to somebody who is in their 50's or older they will probably tell you how they can remember farms in areas that are now built up and urbanized. Indeed the human population has more than doubled in the last 50 years and we have lost a lot of farm land as well as natural forests due to the growth rate. Farms have become more “efficient” at producing more food on less land, and typically this results in food that has less nutrition, but again food is not the focus...

The oceans all have gyres of human garbage, large pits and quarries destroy the landscapes in many areas. Deforestation has lead to landslides on many mountains. Toxic ponds of industrial waste pollute many areas. Giant mounds of human garbage occupy many acres of land worldwide. Thousands of species of animals have gone extinct in the past 200 years and yet some people still claim that the human population is not too high.

Studies done on rats and mice years ago by John B. Calhoun suggested that many social problems are the result of overpopulation. In his experiments the animals were cared for medically and were well fed but their population was allowed to grow. At a certain point the formerly social animals became anti-social, random acts of violence became common, and parenting skills declined drastically to the point that eventually the young animals did not survive.

Humans have long been known to be violent towards one and other but the acts of violence were rarely random as they are today. People walk down busy streets without making eye contact, they walk past those who are suffering (homeless) as though they did not exist. Compassion to our fellow man is being lost as we become more and more overpopulated.

This development (in Edmonton) used to be farm land, and prior to being farm land it was a forest.  How is this "better" than a forest?   How is this being in harmony with the planet?

Although some people have suggested a sustainable human population is 5 billion (and others have suggested 500 million) there is probably no definite number of what the maximum sustainable population is. In part it relates to how sustainable we chose to live our lives. Five billion people who live lives of excess are not nearly as sustainable as 5 billion people who live modestly (small homes, consuming only what they need, few luxuries).

Sadly it is impossible, therefore, to give an exact number at which the human population is considered to be overpopulated. Most certainly, due to our impact on the environment, and other species, we have surpassed that number. As long as we rely on non-renewable resources, and consume renewable ones up faster than they can be renewed, and as long as we displace, or destroy, other species, we are overpopulated.