Edge of Extinction: Population Bomb

Comments 86

  • i guess you’ll be wrapping up your European tour soon then, Guy. i’m confident that many people heard you and took your message to heart. Thanks for your continuing the fight for truth amid the sea of lies in which we’re embedded.

    Seemorerocks posted this video today:

    Russian Models Pose Next To Brown Bear

    Two scantily clad models pose with a giant brown bear – in a bizarre bid to raise awareness about the ferocious predator’s softer side.

    The strange scenes were pictured in a forest outside of Moscow, Russia, and have gone viral in the country.

    The series of photos show two models – Maria Sidorova and Lidia Fetisova – hugging, cuddling and kissing the 650kg bear, named Stephen.

    Photographer Olga Barantseva, who captured the dream-like series of snaps, said: “We wanted to show the natural harmony between humans and bears.

  • Imma bear, imma bear!

    Population is the number one driver of mass extinction.
    The methane bomb is merely the icing on the cake.
    Even without the methane bomb, mass extinction is guaranteed.
    Hunger and thirst in ten years will make your forget about methane.
    Fear and violence mitigates hunger and fear.
    Long before earth’s final big fart before slipping beneath the water,
    we will collapse in an orgy of violence.
    Even mass extinction will seem a dream.
    Permabuzzers take note.

  • Fear and violence mitigates hunger and thirst. sorry.

  • checking out! one less here. adios doomers. long may you run(just not in circles)

  • Guy and Paul, in the ~1.5 min. video clip, make a point that gives new meaning to “safety in numbers.”

    Religion and science can learn together on this one (Message of Science & Religion – Western – 3).

    The new meaning is “safety in balanced numbers.”

  • This is where I may get into trouble….. The Population Bomb is a myth is there was ever was one. Paul Ehrlich continues to support a 47 year old claim that there are too many people, but never addresses which people he is referring to.

    Sure! the poorest 2 or 3 billion people are indeed struggling to stay alive, almost starving, including their children. But that is not because we cannot grow enough food for them, but because of our economic foundations about food and its distribution, and everything else about our capitalist existence.

    In ‘America’ for instance, there are estimates that we just simply throw away half the food we grow. It does not take lot of food to nourish a starving child, but it does take a lot of apathy from the rest of us to let that happen.

    We fill thousands of military ships with military ordinance and feed about 25 million soldiers to make wars on each other. If we just filled these ships with the food we waste, we could probably feed all of the 800 million people who Mr. Ehrlich declares are starving as we write these lines. It’s not our ability to grow food that is the problem, but our attitude towards those who can’t afford to pay the food barons of the planet, most especially those of the political kind.

    Moreover, Paul conveniently omits to involve which half of the human race is destroying the Earth’s habitats. The poorest half for example don’t get to ride on a 747 and go to Naples for the weekend, or fly to Bali in the winter, or play golf in Florida in January.

    There is probably enough place on this planet to accommodate and double our present population, most especially if they choose to live the way the poorer half of humans live. If half of humanity were to do a Houdini Trick and suddenly vanish, the Earth’s environments would immediately reverse the on-going trend towards environmental collapse. This is not the case for those who can’t fly anywhere or drive their cars to a supermarket, an airport, or simply to work in one of Donald Trump’s ‘You’re fired’ towers which most people dream about owning.

    Oh yea…. I forgot… None of those poorest of the poorest are likely to launch the ballistic missiles sitting in the silos of ‘civilized’ nations….

    Sorry Paul, but you’ve been chasing the wrong bus for 47 years.

  • @Pauline – I understand you are sitting in for mo as blog monitor? If so, I have written a short essay for this blog. Should I just address it to you and send it as a comment, or is there another way to bring it to your attention?

  • Jean Turcot`s reasoning is a valid one, until one realizes that he is unable to understand or completely disregards the Bartlett ‘exponential function” situation . Because of that situation that these Turcots and the likes can endlessly preach to the very last seconds before the SHTF

  • There is a fact that a certain portion of the earth’s population is pursuing consumption and creating pollution at far more than it’s share of the total planetary population. No doubt. Certain people here ignore this fact.

    And there is also a fact that the planet has a carrying capacity. Turcot ignores this fact.

  • Jean, if we were able to double the present population, so what? Population growth would simply increase from there. It is proven that any time food production or supply is increased, population increases…then food supply dwindles…then food production is increased again to cover the extra people…then population inevitably increases again. This process continues, over and over again, until it crashes totally, no matter if some people are rich and fly in airplanes or use slash and burn agriculture.

    I think that our demise is a natural happening, brought about rapidly through the scourge of capitalism. Without capitalism we may have had a chance to control our destiny and stabilize. Wiser heads may have prevailed. But, once the feeding frenzy started, that was it, our doom was set.

  • @Jean Turcot,

    In my assessment of sustainability (available on my web site) I conclude that the world has between 100 and 1000 times too many people in it for long-term sustainability, no matter how frugally the other 99% to 99.9% were to live. A long meditation on Al Bartlett’s thoughts about the exponential function would be in order.

  • http://www.sott.net/article/295803-Enlightenment-Over-2000-wizards-and-witches-gather-to-hold-ritual-in-Kiev

    Enlightenment? Over 2,000 wizards and witches gather to hold ritual in Kiev

    “It will be a joint appeal to the higher forces. Each of us will do it in his own way. We will ask them to help people to recover from this bloody attack of anger and hatred and save those who found themselves in this wild bloodbath. The second ritual is a “charging up” of protective amulets for the warriors and residents in the conflict zone, which will then protect people from bullets, frags, knives and batons,” he says.

    [ends with]

    Neither the nearby Monastery nor the mayor’s office have officially acknowledged the planned ritual. The mayor’s office has not issues any permission for the planned event.

    The clergy has commented on the gathering, saying that the Church usually frowns upon the activity of magicians and psychics.

    “One does not forget that apart from the God, there is also the Devil, which through such people can perform what can be first seen as a good thing, but with the use of dark forces,” the website quotes the Deacon of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery, Father Ivan, as saying.

    meanwhile, someplace else:

    [Robert, take a look at this]


    A mile-wide tornado touched down in north-central Texas as a storm system swept through with large hail and damaging winds, the National Weather Service said, promising more severe weather on Monday.

    The storm knocked out power to more than 30,000 people in Texas, according to online reports compiled from local power companies. Austin Energy reported the most affected, with 7,600 without power.

    [2 short videos]

  • A global human population of about 7 million didn’t have too much effect on other species or the factors that make sustained life possible.

    A global human population of 70 about million had profound effect on other species and local environments but did not seriously affect global sustainability factors.

    A global human population of about 700 million was the upper limit for any kind of continued existence of human societies and a diverse and bountiful natural world.

    A global population of 7000 million is sufficient to bring about rapid species extinction and profound and eventually terminal changes to the natural systems that make life-as-we-know-it possible.

    Of particular relevance in the discussion of population overshoot is the fact that, following the partial population collapse of the fourteenth century, countries in Europe became increasingly dependent on food and other resources being imported from other sectors of the world, commencing most notably with sugar in the sixteenth century.

    The development of steam engines facilitated the transport of ever-greater quantities of food from places in the world that were being ravaged by humans to places that had already been ravaged by humans and were already into massive population overshoot.

    Bearing in mind that the bulk of food production and distribution is now totally dependent on the unsustainable use of liquid fuels derived from oil, and bearing in mind the global oil sector is on its last legs, we must anticipate population die-off to commence within one decade, and possibly as early as 2018.

    Isn’t it interesting that people like Jean Turcot manage to overlook all the facts when making assertions.

  • Add more food (ie: feed everybody, don’t waste any) will result in more people. Like any other system, human population growth won’t stop until the energy going in declines, which as others have pointed out, we are on the cusp of.

    Since the start of agriculture we have run this experiment 8-10,000 times with the same result.

    But of course this time will be different. We will distribute the food so everyone has plenty of calories, but not grow the population to the next level of misery. I’m thinking no.

  • Without science we could not have the means of self destruction by nuclear war or by fossil fuels.

    Holy science.

  • Here’s the link to the graphic that went misding from the above post:

  • 7-15-15 “Population Control” USA largest military exercise now in operation for this July – Sept in South West region. All branches involved in staging for maneuvers. Most weapons & equipment to be tested. Drill is focused on Texas as invaded war front territory. CIA actively recruiting college students at most Universities to train as “Event” undercover Intel ops. Thousands of active service members have been sharing info so we have to change current operation name. This drill will include simulated impacts on power plants and virtual 15kt nuclear precision bomb effects. New DARPA backpack precision nukes for swift undetectable release in target point areas. http://www.ready.gov

    Haydeus Monkey – I greatly appreciate all the extra info you provided on ITER fusion reactor. Your a humor on the dangerous project was classic!

  • Excellent comments by kevin moore and others. Our numbers tell a very interesting story indeed. How we have gone from 7 million to 70 million to 700 million to 7,000 million. That graph above posted by Paul Chefurka is a classic hockey stick exponential curve. Bartlett’s lectures get us face to face with the sobering reality of what these numbers mean. We’re well beyond the carrying capacity of the planet. Our current numbers are not sustainable, with due respect to permaculture enthusiasts. The reasons for this go beyond the numbers.

    In addition to the quantitative side, there are the qualitative aspects to this unprecedented trend. What kind of humans were we when we numbered in the low millions? What kind of humans are we today when we are a thousand times as many? Sure, we look roughly the same but the similarities in physical form hide the subtle yet critical differences in how we saw ourselves in relation to the creation around us. Changes in the subtle qualitative aspects proceeded at the same time as the changes in the quantitative. They fed each other – a disconnection and imbalance in how we relate to our environment being a cause of the rapid rise in numbers and the rise in numbers causing loss of connection. So it’s not a cause and effect relationship. If it is, both the quantitative trend and the qualitative trend are cause and effect of each other. They are inseparable.

    Any organism that’s taken out of the context in which it evolved displays similar growth characteristics. An oft-cited example is the jar of bacterial culture in a sugar solution that shows exponential growth characteristics. That’s the human story today, but our sugar solution is fast running out. The jar is fouled. Millions of bacteria are already dying and it’s a matter of time for the rest to downsize. But neither bacteria nor humans behave this way when they are part of the landscape they evolved in. For humans, this evolution is as much or more cultural as biological. There are mitigating factors that prevent runaway growth. It’s arguable if bacteria consciously maintain their numbers or if they are forced to (microbes have their own intelligence we tend not to understand fully, especially these days, when we ourselves fail to understand our own condition) but we humans did consciously maintain our numbers because we knew the consequences of failing to do that proactively. It wasn’t as difficult as we think it might have been. It’s hard for us to understand today but nature offered us plenty of help and we listened to it and her other children. We were careful and attentive observers. This came naturally to us as it comes to every other species. This is the subtle yet crucial difference between humans then and humans now. We are separated from our roots. We have become cancerous. The human tumor grows ever larger on the face of Mother Earth. This way of thinking is certainly off-putting to many of us, having been brought up in a culture that’s extremely anthropocentric, focusing on human rights, human this and human that, but it’s not necessarily so disgusting from the point of view of creation. We’re just another species. Not a special one, not even in our depravity. Animals in captivity have shown the same competitive and aggressive behavior that we humans display. It makes sense because we are largely domesticated today. We are in psychological captivity. So what we are looking at is a contrast between 7 million wild natural humans and 7,000 million domesticated artificial shells of former humans, even as a few million of us ranging from almost-assimilated indigenous peoples to un-contacted tribal people try to hang on for dear life, trying to preserve their time-tested customs and traditions that make less and less sense in a world ravaged by no-limits-to-growth progress-seeking Civilization. The tumor is growing and the last remaining healthy cells have few options left. Either they must assimilate and participate in the dominant story or they perish. Many times, no options are actually given to many of these last remaining tribes, our sole source of connection to what remains of our habitat. The last link between humanity and the Earth. Tribal people today represent that last strand of connection, at risk of being severed, to the planet we evolved on. It would be wise of us to listen to them but we don’t.

    When there were 7 million of us, we didn’t own the land, the land owned us. In fact, the idea of owning is a projection from current times. It’s hard for humans to relate to anything more than a few dozen square miles without resorting to abstraction and statistics and this is where the finer subtler qualitative ways of relating to the creation around us give way to the gross abstract symbolic quantitative ways. There’s so much going on in a few square miles of habitable land that we couldn’t keep up with noticing all the variety and change happening all the time. Small tribes of a dozen to 150 people are also just the size we can relate to on a personal basis without resorting to address books, census studies and databases.

    The mixing of the people of the world as is seen today is an indication of this lack of local connection to Land. The idea of the “mixing of the people”, with its hint of divisiveness based on race, nationality, culture, ethnicity, etc. is easily prone to misunderstanding. How dare I say we’re different from each other. No, we’re all one, we’re equal, we’re the same, goes the refrain. Certainly, we’re all similar to each other as can be seen from how people from hundreds or thousands of races, languages, cultures, are able to assimilate into the modern story and display the same penchant for serving Empire and believing in and propagating the stories of progress and Civilization. We couldn’t be more similar. So referring to the idea of “mixing of the people” is not to say we are one better than the other and we shouldn’t have come together to build the massive metropolises full of vibrant diversity, arts, culture, colors, cuisines, etc., but that such mixing is an indication of the loss of connection to Land. And connection to Land is key to understanding the cancer we have become. We didn’t mix as long as we were rooted to Land. (Nomadic tribes were still rooted to Land to some extent and so were delayed return hunter gatherers)

    What happens when people are uprooted from the environs that they evolved in (such evolution having been more cultural than biological since man left Africa) over time and suddenly transported elsewhere (or when they uproot themselves and transport themselves elsewhere) is similar to what happens on a daily basis with millions of aquatic species around the world today. Thousands of gallons of ballast water is transported from one part of the oceans to another by large ships and in the process species are uprooted from their local environment suddenly and put where they are usually not fit to survive but occasionally too fit for everyone’s good. The Zebra Mussel was transported from the Baltics to the Great Lakes where it simply overwhelmed the local ecosystem as it multiplied. When people mix, similar things happen, with one group taking over another occasionally and overwhelming the local habitat. Given enough time, we see what we have today, a large monoculture of 7,000 million humans devouring its land base at a hectic pace, its very foundation, its very home, having lost most of its connection with Land. A cancer like the planet hasn’t seen in millions of years. It’s with this perspective that mechanisms of mixing, like ancient trade routes such as the Silk Route take on a whole different kind of significance that is usually lacking in history textbooks. Today, with the Internet, mixing is accelerated and is proportional to the degree of centralization we see in the world today, with power being held by a few. The trend of mixing of the people went in lock step with the rise of the sociopath. The modern sociopath is a result of such mixing and at the same time, the sociopath causes more mixing in his quest for control over more people, land and resources. Constituting that part of humanity that is most separated from nature and Land, the sociopaths have led the rest of humanity along the path of disconnection and mixing at an accelerated pace. Contrast the sociopathic elite to the un-contacted tribesmen and we have two extremes among the 7 Billion people who are alive today. Extremes when it comes to sustainable living, power sharing, equality, egalitarianism, all of which are tightly related to connection with Land and the creation stories that go with it.

    What has happened to humanity has happened to the rest of nature. Mixing ain’t good for nobody :) There are few places on the planet that are free of invasive species, be it grasses, plants, trees, insects or larger animals. Although most species that are so supplanted don’t make it, it takes just one such species to overwhelm an entire ecosystem given the appropriate conditions. Like smallpox and other diseases of Civilization that wiped out Native Americans and other indigenous peoples over the last several centuries when the most mixing of the peoples happened, native species that are connected to the local ecosystems are under threat when mixing happens. Ultimately, it’s good neither for the invaded nor the invading species. The balance is lost.

    Sometimes I wonder about the times we live in, to be witness to such a grand story as that lies in front of us. Should we consider ourselves uniquely positioned to be here now in such critical a time as any other in the history of humanity? And then I go back to numbers to make sense of it. Some estimates say a 100 Billion human beings have lived on the planet so far. Today, we have 7 Billion living humans. Out of the 7 Billion, only a small fraction can size up things at the scale and magnitude as we do here on NBL and a few other places. Only a few are able to see the grand finale unfolding in the way we see it. That makes for a rather small percentage of all humans who have ever lived. It’s about being conscious of what we are conscious of. There’s a bit of non-attachment thrown in there, a bit of truth-seeking, a bit of systems-level thinking, a bit of meditation, and a bit of a whole bunch of other things that are discussed on this site and others like it.

    Thanks for reading!

  • I don’t think the number of humans who have lived throughout our history on the planet is as high as 100 Billion. An exponential curve is rather heavily weighted toward the end. It should be the area under the curve. Any ideas on this?

  • Satish,

    When you write about the cancer that is humanity, I do hope that you are writing about people you know, and not about humanity in general. Yes, we have problems, mostly self-imposed. But we also have each other, and that may, repeat, MAY, yet prove an indomitable quality, or perhaps our complete undoing. I for one am not ready to throw in the towel just yet. There are many people who are just waiting in the wings to fly us to the moon and beyond. I think they will be well rewarded.

  • Cancer. Isn’t cancer just another one of god’s magnificent creations just trying to make a living? Or is that make a killing?

  • Jean,

    I don’t understand… are you saying we can escape our current predicament by leaving this planet and settling other heavenly bodies? If you’re in fact saying what I think you’re saying, I’m a little more ready to throw in the towel :)

  • Satish,
    The words are meant figuratively, not literally. It’s just a manner of talking, writing and so on. There is no real meaning to it, just an expression which more or less states that humanity is not always the evil species which it is often portrayed to be. If we can somehow get our act together (figure of speech) we can probably do marvelous things, and why not? I liked the Star Trek series of the 70s…. it sort of took my imagination for a ride. Kinda cool! Sorry if I misled you.

    Apneaman…. You asked: ” Isn’t cancer just another one of god’s magnificent creations just trying to make a living?””or make a killing”? Good question…. I suppose cancer cells have as much right to live as other cells… Besides, I don’t much believe in whatever God you are referring to, and so your question should probably be directed to the proper source i.e., your parish priest, pastor, rabbi or whoever looks after your soul.

  • mike k – for article submissions, I think your best bet would be to email Guy directly. see the About link above for info.

  • Cancer is an incomplete reversion to the free-living state.

    Induitrialised society is comparable to a metazoan. Systemic controls dominate to maintain the system.

    A malignancy is an attempt to break free of the constraints imposed by the system, but it lacks the wherewithal to return to a free living state separate from the system. Carcer cells are a partial reversion to the primerdial natural state.

  • Satish said: “Interestingly, and paradoxically, utter belief is simply the flip-side of utter disbelief. When I strongly disbelieve that the stork makes babies, I strongly believe the stork doesn’t make babies. In a way, the ends of the continuum represent strong belief, one way or another. There is another similarity as well between the left and the right ends of the spectrum: we rarely think or talk about those things that we strongly disbelieve in or strongly believe in. They are so obvious and self-evident that they seldom arise in our consciousness and seldom demand any significant attention in public discourse. It’s as if life happens somewhere in the middle, between the extremes, where partial belief rules.”

    I could select better examples of SATISH articles with concern to any fixed form of thought. Never rule out going to the stars. In fact they are already inside you. We are all made of ancient cosmic particles.

    Back to Earth: Operation JADE HELM 15 is our biggest Inter Agency dark op this July. Unconventional warfare drill from Southern California to Texas. FEMA camps on high alert of this most “real” war simulation. Worried about cancer? Try thinking about the actual radiation EVENTS fully planned to start July 15.

  • @Satish

    I imagine that it would be a pleasant experience to sit around a campfire with you and have a yarn.
    I appreciate your thoughtful comments here at doom beach central.

  • Satish “almost no one can survive in the real world with a strictly rational worldview, not even the avowed rational, scientific, data-hungry person who is trained in formal logic and who wastes no opportunity to apply it in daily life. The world we live in is simply not amenable to rational deductions. We all have stories that don’t completely fit other stories in our worldview.” Even the OLIGARCHS of massive war profits, control plans & domination are caught in their “Elite” story believing they can escape. A distorted reality where Earth is dead and they are the highest powers. No matter what time contains the truth. Nearly a billion years ago (after snow ball earth was frozen all the way to the equator) when the great continent of Pangaea split the shallow seas overflowed with runaway bacteria. Yet that massive bacteria bloom gave us the exact Nitrogen-Oxygen mix encoded in the evolution of our lungs. Evolution on Earth may even include spectrum’s of light you will never see. Soul Evolution in the Spirits in atoms, electrons & vapors. Energy is never created nor destroyed. Energy forever transforms.

  • I propose that population be culled at a rate equal to their per capita emissions.

    Thus we would see practically the entire population of Canada removed and all land returned to governance by original indigenous owners. Frankly, I don’t give a dam if indigenous “were just as bad” as European imbeciles in their land stewardship, we are talking about a legal and moral issue, not dam archaeological theory.

    Practically the entire population of the States can be reduced to maybe the levels of say Rhode Island – hopefully all hippies.

    Ditto China and Europe and Australia, Korea, Japan, Brazil, entire OECD as well as few suck up developing countries who yearn to be maximally emissive.

    As long as the people who remain are living like upcountry Lao or Cambodians, or running their emissions for the rest of forever at say, the level of the Central African Republic and/or Botswana, then yeah, maybe it’s doable.

    Just think, this could also offer a solution to world hunger if those in non-emissive countries could eat the rich folks. Wha? You asked for solutions? C’mon. I’m just saying.

  • If this is really about overpopulation, and a lot of people here are adamant that there are too many of us, I don’t detect a lot of people offering a solution to the problem they perceive. Most of all, it seems that even fewer people volunteer to reduce the problem, unless of course they are not part of the overpopulation problem…


  • @ Jean
    People hate me for promoting this idea.
    Including some of Guy’s ‘converts’

  • Wester – The original indigenous owners are dead and so are their conquers. If I was to leave Canada and go back to Europe, which country should I go to? On my dads side they came from Ukraine and on my mothers it was Sweden. Maybe I should just go all the fucking way back to Africa, since the original “OWNERS” of Europe are the Neanderthals. Ya But I have 1-4% Neanderthal genes, so shouldn’t I at least be entitled to visitation rights for a yearly trip to Stockholm and Kiev? Fuck this terrestrial shit, I’ll jump back to the oceans. One of my great way back grandmas was a Trilobite. She was born, raised and died only a couple hours drive from Calgary where I was born; The Burgess shale. I guess I’m from around here after all.

  • If we are talking culling …
    How about first on the block are the ones responsible ie – the breeders.
    ‘We’ non breeders, being 80 or 8 seconds old, are the innocent victims of all this over population, so if the 3-4 billion parents could just leave, it might make these last few years more pleasant, for their children.

  • “exact Nitrogen-Oxygen mix encoded in the evolution of our lungs”

    The code was modified for those who spent millennia high (elevation-wise, not “necessarily” psychoactive neurochemical-wise) in the Andes and in Tibet.

    “I don’t detect a lot of people offering a solution to the problem they perceive”

    Albert Bartlett in his presensations had a list of solutions on one side of one of his charts, but as he sagely pointed out, most folks will find them unacceptable. The programming to seek enhancement of energy flows directed at creating more biomass is intrinsic at the physical level and continues through the chemical, biochemical, biological, societal and all levels.

    “People hate me for promoting this idea.”

    That’s because it goes counter to the programming. Emotions come from the so-called “heart” (actually the non-verbal, non-rational reptilian brain boss in the back seat), and intellectual ideas are from the rational, verbal mammalian-primate brain, the chauffeur in the driver’s seat.

    “If I was to leave Canada and go back to Europe, which country should I go to?”

    Good thing the wise King Solomon ain’t around to solve that problem…

    “One of my great way back grandmas was a Trilobite.”

    Trilobites were of the phylum Arthropoda, a distinct and different clade from the phylum Chordata, which includes Urochorda, Hemichorda, Cephaocorda and Vertebrata. The Burgess shale is so old, that it is believed that vertebrates were yet to evolve at that time. But there were chordates in the Burgess shale: just Google Burgess shale chordates.

    Sans clothes or nearly so, humans are not an invasive species. This is the so outside Africa perhaps only for the coastal migration from Africa along the southern coasts of Asia to Australia. Not so for the New World, since traversing the Bering land bridge required protection against Ice Age northern winters.

  • “Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot”…Stunning photography addresses these issues: http://issuu.com/globalpopulationspeakout/docs/final_over_book/1?e=12385403/10500444

  • Humans and livestock are 97% of land vertebrate biomass.
    10,000 years ago, we were 0.01% of land vertebrate biomass.
    We add 1,000,000 humans every 5 days. The size of San Francisco.
    We have to grow more food over the next 50 years than we grew over the last 500. Yet, in just 10 years, 4 billion humans will be short of water.
    Just because we can feed the whole world in theory has nothing to do with reality. Just because we waste half the food in the world, doesn’t mean we will stop anytime soon enough to mitigate soil degradation and loss. Just because you can make a logical argument has nothing to do with reality.

  • paul marcotte said:


    I imagine that it would be a pleasant experience to sit around a campfire with you and have a yarn.
    I appreciate your thoughtful comments here at doom beach central.


    Thank you, paul marcotte, do drop by my blog and leave a comment. It’s the closest thing to a fireside chat that I can offer at the moment :)


    Robin Datta said:

    A malignancy is an attempt to break free of the constraints imposed by the system, but it lacks the wherewithal to return to a free living state separate from the system. Carcer cells are a partial reversion to the primerdial natural state.


    Hi Robin, I’m not sure what a free living state would be. It’s hard for me to imagine it. We know things here on Earth are related to each other and although not always obvious, exist and evolve in the context of a deep interconnectedness. Such interconnectedness may not always manifest itself in physical measurable ways but plenty of the interconnections are indeed physical in nature. Like the fungal network that some plants apparently use to communicate with each other. The Earth itself exists in vacuum but is hardly free, and subject to the gravitational forces of the Sun and other planets and all manner of electromagnetic radiation. The Sun itself is connected to other heavenly bodies. The Universe seems to be set up this way. Even talking about something like we’re doing now assures a certain connection between the talker and the talked, if only it’s the simply presence of a subject or idea in one’s consciousness in the present moment.

    “A malignancy is an attempt to break free of the constraints imposed by the system”

    I believe a malignancy is a result of such an attempt, usually misguided, because the constraint is actually a helpful guide, and not something to be overcome and be freed of. As such, one can never be free of all “constraints”. To think of them as constraints is itself a modern idea, one that goes along with control. One who seeks control sees constraints and one who simply exists at peace with creation and adapts and evolves with it, for the creation around is ever changing, is free of the need to break free of constraints because they simply do not exist. Such was humanity’s condition in its primordial natural state. This isn’t to say that the seed of control wasn’t present in that state but it wasn’t watered by our watchful ancestors for a good long time.

    Cancer and control are artifacts of modern times. And they are related to each other.

  • I can’t believe you can ignore population, every single person on earth is a carbon emitter. Just because the poor emit so little, doesn’t mean we can ignore the cumulative carbon, which itself is cumulative. The fact that I’m reading this on a death-cult site (lol) means it is a strong notion among us.

    It says we can feed one and all and live in paradise in theory, but our nature will not allow it. The reality is that we are a bunch of greedy self-serving assholes driving over a cliff just because we are too lazy to walk. Being poor sucks the big one, there’s no dignity to it. Subsistence farming is hard work. That’s why billions have migrated to cities over the years. Santa Claus is a dirty old man who is crawling with bugs because he lives in the North Pole where it is too cold to take a bath. He is a slave driver who pushes Asian elves to make toys for billions of kids. Life in the hobbit shire is not as pleasant as it looks in the movies.

  • Cancer. The controls on humans have been undone, by technology which has also provided us with a nourishing nutrient medium of black hydrocarbons. Result….uncontrolled growth. Not a typical “overshoot” situation where a jackpot of new resource is discovered and eaten with existing tools. No, this is very different circumstance, but not unprecedented. Not going to end well.

  • @Satish,

    I’ve read estimates of 105 billion as the number of people who have ever lived.

    My own rough order of magnitude calcultion, done this morning, is that there have been ~75 billion births since Toba. Of those, 17 billion or so (~25%) have occurred since 1800.

    @Jean Turcot,

    Humans can’t solve every problem we get ourselves into. A good analogy is driving a car onto black ice. We’re driving on black ice when it comes to population, climate change, ocean acidification and soil degradation inter alia.

  • A family on death’s doorstep. The young couple loses their baby to famine. They pray for death to come for them,but food arrives from the sky. A monster angel of steel and noise gives them food. They survive, they live! In a few days they are strong enough to bathe. He repairs the hut, she washes the bedding. After a few more days with nourishment and rest, they take comfort in one another, they make love and a new baby is conceived.

    The joy! A sweet child! See her grow!

    Then again, famine. This time our child will not die! They give her every crumb, to the very last. They lie stiff and cold. The little girl wonders, ‘which way did everybody go?”


  • “I’m not sure what a free living state would be.”

    A non-metazoal state: a protozoal state. Each metazoan is a complex system of controls and feedbacks, constraining individual cells from what protozoa might do. There are things that protozoa can do, that metazoan cells can no longer do. Lot more at the link proffered.

  • Kirk launches another lead balloon! I’m hoping you can figure out which picture was intended to go with the above text…lol!

  • Now, the picture I intended is gone! I apologize for the sloppy job, but my grandson isn’t here to help me geek through this.

    The photo I intended showed a baby, collapsed in the dirt with a vulture waiting nearby. It’s famous, I’m sure you’ve seen it.

  • @Jean Turcot,

    As a grandmother who often unpacks childrens’ lunches at the end of the day, I would love to have a way to send their leftovers to starving people. Partially eaten cheese might last long enough to make it across the seas, but I worry that crushed berries and dressed salads, which look unpalatable to me after sitting in an uninsulated lunch bag for 8 hours, might not be of much use to you. Anyway, when you get your plan up and running, could you send me some Tupperware containers and ice packs? ;-)

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Carter

    Soon after the photo was published, in 1993, the photographer committed suicide.

  • Robert, “You wrote that you can’t believe that you can ignore population”. You’re right, we can’t “ignore it”? There is a difference however between ignoring it and trying to deal with it without everyone jumping over some cliffs.

    Obviously, a zero population would be the ideal number not to affect the earth’s environments, as opposed to 7 billion of us consuming everything we do. When you came into the world, you had no choice in being one of those billions. Life itself can only be maintained by eating something else that has lived before us, and so, like all that lives, you must consume something to stay alive. We didn’t invent nature, it invented us. Therefore it is our responsibility, as so-called intelligent beings, to do something about that population, but
    much more importantly, how that population can live in relative harmony with the Earth’s living organisms.

    If we sit back and observe, it can be surmised that the problem with humans is not as much our number, but rather what that number MUST do to stay alive. And so if we fix what we MUST do, providing we agree on what MUST be done to allow ourselves to do just that, live, then we can declare that our intellectual assets were a positive component of the nature of all things.

    Intelligence does not have to be a negative factor of evolution. For example, it has facilitated many species to deal with environments and take advantage of its unique advantages,as in the survival of the fittest. As Darwin pointed out, survival depends on being able to acquire the means of that survival, and for humans, being the fittest, whether in a ring or in a boardroom, guarantees that survival. The other side of that coin involves stupidity. If intelligence was coupled with wisdom, we would have by now used it that way, but unfortunately it’s more like a two-edged sword. If we look at what has been accomplished as the result of our intelligence, moon exploration for example, then wow!… but reality also points to
    the fact that nuclear weapons are also the result of those smarts, which therefore makes it a negative condition within the nature of things.

    Like it or not, although we loathe and blame the fossil fuel industry for all of our problems, none of us who are reading these comments would be here without oil. No one. And so we have to deal with it, or perish. So far, as you pointed out about this blog being a death cult, we are doing anything but dealing with it. So how do we deal with a problem that we did not create, i.e., how to live in peace with the Earth and survive without destroying everything we come in contact with, including ourselves?

    Perhaps a place to start dealing with our hang-ups is to look at what it is that requires us to be so destructive. Darwin looked at animals and plants to formulate his theories, and came up with some pretty good ones. In general, he observed that most animals, or plants for that matter, only take what they need to survive. The nature of things requires that any animal or plant will not be successful by taking over the place. They live in what we call an ecosystem, with none having more prominence than others within that ecosystem, hence the name. The key however to any ecosystem is for every member of any species is to take only what is needed to survive. Unless they are competing for territory, lions for instance will not kill unless they are hungry, and ants will not overstuff ant hills if they are full.

    The key to our longevity, and to the survival of our species, is to guarantee each other a place to live on the planet without having to fight for it. Otherwise, the end result is a nuclear arsenal which, if used, can literally spell doom for our species in less time that it would take you to write a reply to these comments. If there are no reasons to fight, we won’t. Then greed can truly be a punishable act for any member of our species, but if we don’t guarantee each other a place to live on earth, greed has a rightful place in our lives, if only to protect ourselves from others who would take what we need to survive.

    Life is all about survival. So it’s up to us either to make survival easy or difficult. If we make it an easy task, we can live in peace, if we make it difficult, as we do now, we will continue to live with nuclear weapons, but only so long as we don’t use them. If Brontosaurus had a big mouth, it was to eat more food and kill whatever was to be killed. If we don’t get rid of nuclear weapons, much like old Brutus used his jaws, we will use them. Perhaps realizing that Brutus is no longer around can help us realize that
    brute force is not always the best way to resolve things.

    Anyway, there are hundreds of examples that could be used to point out the human condition, as well as nature’s conditions. If we make it easy for each other to live, we will get rid of the things that can destroy us, and use the intelligence that our species received to our advantage. If not, as this blog clearly points out, we’re in deep s^*t.

  • Deb, If you want Tupperware from me, you must be among the 1%. Last time I looked at Tupperware I saw my bank account go into hiding…. If you settle for el-cheepo plastic, get ready for truckload.

  • Just thought I’d pop in,
    just to pop off,
    and to take a pop at,
    you know…
    popping the question
    (Sabine, I know you are married, but say yes anyway).
    If that doesn’t make your eyes pop out,
    I have some soda pop we can share,
    and popcorn too,
    while catching a pop fly at our children’s Pop Warner game,
    before we pop by,
    a pop up restaurant selling pop-overs,
    listen to some pop music, at a pop festival no less,
    and make some pop art.
    Pop-guns are fun too!
    While pop quizzes suck.
    But, really, all I want to say is:
    The Population Bomb is something that will go *Pop!*
    And that’s the end of that.

  • @ Kirk Hamilton Says:
    April 29th, 2015 at 6:31 am

    Is this the photo you were seeking? Note, the story below the photo is well worth the time to read.

    This thread may also be of interest to some.

    Does this not epitomize the absolute conflict of interests embodied and exhibited by too many “people?”

  • Satish- “There are few places on the planet that are free of invasive species, be it grasses, plants, trees, insects or larger animals. Although most species that are so supplanted don’t make it, it takes just one such species to overwhelm an entire ecosystem given the appropriate conditions. Like smallpox and other diseases of Civilization that wiped out Native Americans and other indigenous peoples over the last several centuries when the most mixing of the peoples happened, native species that are connected to the local ecosystems are under threat when mixing happens. Ultimately, it’s good neither for the invaded nor the invading species. The balance is lost.”
    Another take, humans are the catalyst for the great gaian dispersal of these many life forms we see “traveling” around the planet now. Gaian systems are so complex, there is no way we can even begin to understand what she is up to. Perhaps it is her way of distributing these species to survive the current situation we find ourselves. We have been discussing related topics for some time now over on the forum.

  • Should anyone want to delve further into free-living protozoa, here is one resource:

    Free Living Protozoa

  • @mo – Too much trouble to get in touch with Guy. My only motive for having it as an “essay” was to see if that would draw more responses that I could learn from. So I’ll just put it out as a comment now:

    A Funeral For Everyone

    I woke up this morning and realized that I needed to have a funeral
    for humankind and its civilization story. Since I will probably not be around to witness the last human’s death, I need to mourn our losses and celebrate our victories before I leave. On reflection I realize also that the last human will have no way of knowing that she/he is truly the last of our species. But for me or anyone to know by science and understanding that our collective time on Earth is now short should be sufficient reason to have a funeral before the fact.

    The funerals that I have attended that were deeply meaningful were those relatively small gatherings of friends where we recalled our loving relationship with the deceased and celebrated the good things we had shared together. Often people would share their feelings of grief and perplexity in the face of death, but also their more accepting and philosophical stances about the great mysteries of birth and death. There would be some humor and laughter about our departed friend to leaven the sadness we were also feeling. But the essence of these funeral sharings and remembrances would be that at their conclusion we all felt a sense of closure and were grateful to share our grief process within a supportive community of friends. Often afterward we would have a meal together at a really good restaurant in commemoration of our friend’s death and as a final tribute to the blessing of our friendship with him/her, and in gratitude to each other for giving her/him a proper and loving sendoff.

    But I have a problem. Even though I have tried to share my knowledge of the near certainty of our near term extinction with some close friends, none of them have really groked it at the level that I have. Often I get the feeling that they put up with my pronouncements in this regard out of friendship for me, but they don’t really buy into my “doomsday” thinking. I have finally had to accept from my side that they are not going to join me in my dark view of our common near future, and that my best course is to accept their puzzling attitudes, as they have been gracious enough to accept mine. So there is really no question of inviting them to civilization/humankind’s funeral.

    So I have decided to invite all you folks on this blog, who are gathered around a dying fire on the beach of doom, to join me in a funeral sharing dedicated to the dying of our species and many others we are taking with us. I will start off with my thoughts and feelings about the great dying we are witness to…..

    I have had a problematic relationship to my birth in this realm from the beginning. I am told that my mother’s milk “went sour” and I was weaned early. The philosophy I was subjected to as an infant was designed to make me “grow up” as quickly as possible with a minimum of mothering. I was often left to “cry myself out”. The idea being to make me strong and independent as early as possible, and prepare me for the arduous struggle my parents saw as my destiny in a harsh dog eat dog life ahead of me. This ill conceived treatment almost killed me.

    I was intellectually precocious as a child and was bullied at school and at home constantly; my life was a nightmare. I sought refuge in books and fantasies. By the time I entered the seventh grade I had withdrawn from talking to anyone, and constantly wished for death. I was taken to a child psychologist who became the first in a long series of benefactors, and gradually drew me out of my withdrawal, and encouraged my intellectual pursuits. Nevertheless I had many problems ahead of me including alcoholism and other addictions. When I arrived on the doorstep of AA at the age of 28 my life was a total disaster. In addition I was a complete atheist and did not really feel at home with what I took to be a bunch of ignorant believers.

    My route into recovery was facilitated by my intellectual curiosity, which had been a constant feature of my life since early childhood. I developed an interest in Zen Buddhism when I had been in AA for a while, and began to explore the vast field of spirituality with the same enthusiasm I had shown in discovering science, music, literature, psychology, and many other areas. I have read and studied thousands of books in my life, and reading is part of my daily routine still.

    What I have shared is in order to explain how deep is my love of the highest accomplishments of those best human products of civilization who have shared with us and enriched our lives immeasurably. This was the shrine I worshiped at. This gave me a meaning and a goal for my life. Of course I deeply wanted the best of our global culture to lead us to the highest possible realization of our potentials for knowledge, love, and a mutually shared utopia….
    I guess it is apparent that my bright hopes were in direct contrast to the dark years I suffered early on. This deepened the bitter disappointment of the growing realization that those dreams would never be realized.

    For again there was a problem: War, Auschwitz, Hiroshima, man’s inhumanity to man, capitalism, the destruction of nature, hubris, violence, lying, insanity…. And now the culmination in NTHE. I spent years getting deeper in touch with the dark side of our species. It drove me to despair again and again. Finally I have had to face our awful, total, tragic failure to create a mutual life based on love, truth, and beauty.

    So what can I say to this culture and my fellow humans who have succumbed to the worst possibilities within ourselves, and have doomed this beautiful planet to a barren and perhaps lifeless destiny in the near future? I have run the full gamut of dark emotions and dashed hopes about this unhappy affair of our planetary story. Now that it seems nearly over, I simply want to celebrate what was good and forgive what was not; rest in peace all my sisters and brothers….

    So if anyone should be moved to say some requiem words and share some feelings and remembrances of their time here on the late great planet Earth…feel free….

  • mike k. – That was a beautiful eulogy, borne out of your pain and enlightenment. I think that many of the entries here are an ongoing requiem for the dream of the blue turtle …. for all that was, and for all that could have been. So many thanks.
    Here’s a link to illustrate, if it works:

    jean turcot – The mindset that just because the earth could accomodate yet a few more humans, that it should, is the apex of hubristic anthropocentric rubbish.
    When searching for the litmus test of what is okay and what is Not okay, and figuring out the difference, the following quote stands as the Golden Rule:

    “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
    Aldo Leopold, 1949

  • mike k,

    Thanks for the pre-funeral idea.
    Couple of suggestions for the soundtrack.
    One celebrates life…the other commemorates death.

    Tried to get the lyrics for the first song, but the band’s website
    seems to have a persistent glitch in that regard.
    Lyrics for the second song are just below link #2.
    Follow the bouncing teardrop if you dare.

    Until the water runs out.

    You say you wanna be a cowboy, huh?.

    Yesterday morning the snow came at last
    The cattle all came down from the hills
    Barney, he’s been crippled for quite a long while now
    His old legs stiff and bare in the chill
    Since coming up from Texas he’s been owned by many
    And he’s been rodeoed and knocked all around
    So to bury him deep before the ground got to hard
    That morning I put Barney down
    We walked up the hill through the dead brown grass
    Barney, a rifle, and I
    And tying him quickly I took aim and I fired
    In the hopes he’d feel nothing and die
    But with a heart such as he had he clung so to life
    Bust his halter and staggered away
    He was coughing his blood still trying to stand
    When he pitched foreword and died where he lay
    As I drove into town I started to cry
    Where no one could see or could care
    The sadness cut through me as I stared through my tears
    At rush hour’s oncoming glare
    I wept for my seasons of youth past and done
    And for things that I thought I forgot
    But mostly I cried for an honest brown horse
    Who gave me much more than he got

  • Why travel around the world and tell people stuff?

    Will it change anything?


    Hmmm … what is wrong with this pichur?

    Ooops … yeah … ok … “I thought you you would like to know.”


    That is the ticket.

    Just sayin … and just askin …

    love and peace.

  • MIKE K. “Of course I deeply wanted the best of our global culture to lead us to the highest possible realization of our potentials for knowledge, love, and a mutually shared utopia.”

    I would like to post your entire requiem on http://www.goingkuku.com If you ever come join us there again please simply use the (Anonymous) choice so your comments are not lost by not being signed into g-mail or other options.

    Even here on NBL I doubt people want to hear the really ugly truth about our active plans with Pentagon military industrial complex contractors.

    So on the more hopeful side of CERN & NASA maybe the lessons of our destruction will transform a few souls like yours onward to another dimension. In our most advanced energy physics explorations we are convinced of parallel realities, Infinite space existing inside of atoms (imagine that!!!) spectrum’s beyond description. This old Atlantis cycle of rinse & repeat might produce a utopia somewhere in time. There’s a place for some. *it* goes beyond faith or belief. No language nor codes can describe. Quantum waves create the particles forming all realities. We were here. Physics is a bit queer. We will never get used to IT….All my very best ***

  • @M.J.”Fox” I tried to publish Funeral For Everyone at kuku using the anonymous key, but got this message –

    “Your HTML cannot be accepted: Must be at most 4,096 characters”

    I am a complete PC know-nothing. Foiled again! Feel free to copy and paste it there if you wish. Thanks for your kind comments.

  • One for the wake:


  • Mike K., that was a very moving funeral rite. I can feel the hope and pain you have experienced through your words, and through getting to know you through the comments you have been making here. I feel fortunate to be in your (virtual) company on these pages. Thank you.

    I’ve seen those programs on Discovery channel and National Geographic, where they show a lion chasing after deer. There’s that one deer that the lion has picked out from the herd and the chase is on. The deer gallops at full speed, weaves in and out but the lion isn’t fazed. The chase continues around the pond and away from it, dust kicked up, hearts pumping furiously, a question of life and death.

    Sometimes, I wonder if the chase is a necessary prelude, a pre-kill funeral rite that the predator offers its prey. If you’ve ever been chased around as a kid by a bully or a parent until you could run no more, you’d know the feeling of surrender that comes upon you as you collapse and give up, breathless, gasping for air. I wonder if the deer feels the same in its last moments, having run its course, with no end in sight, and with death as welcome as the next breath, a sense of freedom, a sense of surrender. A deep feeling of surrendering to the inevitable and the freedom it brings with it.

    They say the one who dies with wishes still in his heart will come back. Perhaps the chase is a way to reach a state of acceptance. And perhaps this is true of all living beings, in that they are better off surrendering to the moment when death knocks on the door. And take all the help they need to get there.

    A time like that might just come about in our species’ future when we collectively heave a sign of relief, having run our course, having escaped our final destiny for so long through means that have meant so much pain and suffering for so many of us and so many other beings. A time will perhaps come when we are ready to give up and surrender. A sense of meaning that has been lacking in our daily lives will finally dawn on us. There’s an agency involved in surrender that is the ultimate agency. It’s sometimes easier to go fighting than to accept and reach a sense of tranquility in the final moments. I hope those moments will come to our species too. I hope we don’t go down fighting, with hopes and regret and guilt still in our hearts. It’s up to us to orient ourselves and prepare psychologically and emotionally. It’s up to us. We have a choice. But a good chase by Mother Nature will definitely help. Thank you, Mother! We will give up soon, not just yet. But soon. Keep at it. We have a few more breaths remaining until we collapse like the deer. But once we collapse, make it quick, would you, just like the lion would?


    Mike K., please come chat with us on kuku. We’d be honored.

  • @ Jean Turcot

    Oh dear. I fear that in forgetting to use the sarcasm font, I inadvertently made my comment too subtle. You said:

    ‘In ‘America’ for instance, there are estimates that we just simply throw away half the food we grow. It does not take lot of food to nourish a starving child, but it does take a lot of apathy from the rest of us to let that happen.

    We fill thousands of military ships with military ordinance and feed about 25 million soldiers to make wars on each other. If we just filled these ships with the food we waste, we could probably feed all of the 800 million people who Mr. Ehrlich declares are starving as we write these lines.’

    What I was trying to say, in a slightly more humorous way, is that your idea of filling ships with the food we waste in order to feed the starving millions is not going to work, for several reasons: 1) Much of this food is wasted at the point where it is no longer edible, or wouldn’t be if it were shipped halfway across the world once it was no longer wanted. 2) Much of this food is wasted because it has been served to people who either didn’t like it or weren’t hungry enough to eat it all. 3) Much of this food is wasted in small quantities in individual households, and it would be logistically impossible to keep that food for collection, let alone actually collect it in time to make it useful as anything other than compost. 4) As you’ve pointed out yourself, Tupperware (which I use as a generic term as I do Kleenex; any actual Tupperware I own was purchased by my mother in the 1960’s) is expensive. The whole endeavor would be impossibly expensive. So, we won’t actually be sending our food waste to the starving millions, and it has little to do with apathy.

  • Mike K., your “requiem for humanity” appears here as a guest post!


    marty, thanks for the link to the conversation on the forum. Will check it out.

  • DEb,

    If we can fill military ships to feed soldiers, can we not fill them to feed hungry children? The logistics of using ships to feed people who are starving is a lot easier than the logistics of making war on each other. Instead of feeding 25 million soldiers and train them to kill people why not use that food to feed the masses who are starving?

    Perhaps it’s not your bag to make plans to feed hungry people, but then if you’re concerned on how to preserve food for the hungry, perhaps you can participate in that activity under someone else’s guidance. But it can be done…. Take my word for it….

    “Humans can’t solve every problem we get ourselves into.” And ???? What has that got to do with feeding hungry children, or adults for that matter, IF WE CAN? Do you think that is a worthy option if we can do it? And we can. Farmers have quotas, some are even fined for growing too much food, even dairy farmers can only produce so much milk. Isn’t that more an economic problem than a growing problem?

    Robert Atack: I wouldn’t worry too much about people on this blog hating you for promoting the idea that if they feel there are too many people, they should perhaps follow Gandhi’s advice of “Being the change they want to see in the world”. I don’t think people take too kindly to the proposition that they fix the problems that they themselves believe is there because of overpopulation. They always have the choice to do something about it if that is truly their concern. Hate is not my concern, it is theirs.

  • @Jean Turcot

    You said,

    If this is really about overpopulation, and a lot of people here are adamant that there are too many of us, I don’t detect a lot of people offering a solution to the problem they perceive. Most of all, it seems that even fewer people volunteer to reduce the problem, unless of course they are not part of the overpopulation problem…

    To which I said,

    Humans can’t solve every problem we get ourselves into. A good analogy is driving a car onto black ice. We’re driving on black ice when it comes to population, climate change, ocean acidification and soil degradation inter alia.

    My comment was not directed at whether or not we try to feed the hungry, it was just a response to your snark that the people who see a problem with overpopulation aren’t offering solutions. I do offer solutions, and I even lead by example (I can drop trou and show you my scars…), but my suggestions for universal 0-child families are unlikely to be adopted by enough people to make a damn bit of difference. We can’t even stabilize the human population, let alone begin reducing it through voluntary means.

    Many of us recognize the problem, but no one has an effective solution for it. There isn’t one, because all species including ours have a genetically enforced predisposition towards over-reproduction. People who say they have a solution seem not to have the faintest clue about evolutionary biology, human nature or non-equilibrium thermodynamics.

  • Jean Turcot,

    Thanks for your posts. I’ve really been enjoying them. :-)

  • I have nothing better to do so I’m going to try to talk to Jean. Jean, you continually insinuate that ‘we’, whoever ‘we’ are, are the scum of the earth for not loading ships with food and feeding the starving children of the world.

    Theoretically this can be done. All the food scraps from homes, restaurants, grocers and farms could be frozen at the point of origin then collected twice a week and transported to plants set up all over the place where it would be thawed and processed into pellets and fortified with vitamins and minerals, much like cat or dog food. Then it could be bagged and shipped worldwide.

    I want to ask you, is something like this even remotely possible seeing that there would be huge and ongoing expense and no profit to be made at all. Where is the money coming from? We live in a capitalistic society, unless you haven’t noticed. Not only that, the rich countries are all raciest/imperialist to the core. I suppose you think ‘we’ should also establish maternity centers to care for all the new babies and all the babies they make and all the babies they make.

    I feel that your good intentions are founded on wishful thinking and based on an utter lacking in the knowledge of how the world works. I do not mean to be insulting. But, we feed soldiers and make war because it shows a profit. Simple, get over it.

    Now, if you can think of a way to generate profits, hard cash, by feeding the poor children of the world then you may be able to get someone to take you seriously. Organ transplant is hugely profitable. Personally, I could use a new pair of lungs. The genetic engineering of super-soldiers is always on the drawing board. There would be unbelievable amounts of money to be made by creating and maintaining hoards of mutated cyborgs. Then there’s the sex trades. I think a lot of rich white men would love to have sex with a mutant, don’t you? Ah, slavery! Jean, do you intend to let those children you want to feed just lie around and get fat? Where’s the profit in that? Of course, once the earth is pretty much covered with your progeny, Jean, there won’t be room to grow any real food, so I suppose we’ll just have to eat all your babies. Well, unless they eat us first. HA HA HA!

    I think that promoting an increase in the live births of any human beings or supplying food industrially to the poor, is not only stupid but would be cruel beyond imagining. When collapse comes, and it is coming, stop being a fool! Children will suffer most of all. If you really love children, at this stage of the game, love them by not bringing them into this horror. And if they are already here and starving, they are the lucky ones to be gone from this place as soon as possible. I believe that this is the responsible and compassionate response to world hunger at this time.

  • @Jean Turcot: “If we can fill military ships to feed soldiers, can we not fill them to feed hungry children? The logistics of using ships to feed people who are starving is a lot easier than the logistics of making war on each other. ”

    We might, but we mayn’t. To feed those children is to conjure up 5x their number within couple of decades.

    Jean, you just don’t understand how fragile the natural food web—as well as the industrial food chain—is at this point. Elites may lay claim to industrial goods and digital zeros in Swiss accounts, but when the caviar isn’t there, it isn’t there, and when the tuna fish, or Spam, or textured soy protein isn’t there, it isn’t there, either.

    Historically there has never been a particular incentive among the elites to maintain large impoverished populations beyond their immediate utility. Those who control the military will steer resources towards their own cohort and will burn off (kill) the youth they can’t put to constructive use. That’s what’s obviously been taking place for almost the entire history of the USA… what Eisenhower warned against.

  • Kirk, a +1 comment.

  • As long ago as the 1960s Garrett Hardin highlighted the counterproductive nature of activities such as feeding those who were starving in regions that were in population overshoot but did not have access to the money or technology that allowed ‘oil to be turned into food’. Those who were starving got through a particular drought period, had more children, and exacerbated to the next drought-related catastrophe. I’m sure there were others who had the some concept decades before who did not have Hardin’s exposure.

    There is such a thing as carrying capacity, and most regions of the world are well past the local carrying capacity, overshoot being maintained by importation of food that is grown, fertilised, harvested, processed and distributed through the use of oil (and natural gas).

    Ignorance and delusion relating to the most basic facts causes uniformed fools to keep posting nonsense on websites.

  • Paul,

    You write that: “Many of us recognize the problem”… but what exactly is the problem? If you are writing that we are overpopulated, then that’s a matter of opinion. I wrote that I think there is plenty of food and places on this planet for all us, but I also wrote that the poorest half of the human population hardly matters in terms of climate change, as none of them can afford to fly on jets or drive autos and play golf in the Caribbean in winter. In fact if all they did was grow food and play at life, as all of us could do, we could easily add a few billion more of us on the planet.

    If every human family for example, (2 billion maybe) occupied a modest three bedroom home, the collective amount of acreage needed for the entire bunch would be about the size of France, give or take a few million acres or so.. Moreover, we have the technology to build homes in which we could grow some of our own food, heat through solar and/or geothermal sources, and do nothing but admire the sky or watch the clouds go by. And I repeat.. NOTHING!. Like a tree.

    We are slaves to one another however, which in fact is the principle cause of climate change, atomic arsenals, environmental destruction, and the on-going culling of other species.

    I’m still a Star Trek aficionado, and have always loved to travel in the imaginative minds of sci-fi writers, most especially that of Captain W.E. Johns whose space adventures allowed me to venture to ‘Outer Space and Beyond,’ way before Gene Roddenberry ever did in his ‘Enterprise Star-ships’.

    But that’s not the point. We have discovered through our little instruments that the universe in which we live probably contains trillions of stars, most of them with orbiting planets, so many planets it seems that the odds of there being Earth-like planets in this universe are such that there may be enough for every human being to have a few billion each, in this universe alone, and there may well be billions of universes.

    Such is the menu on our table. If one had advised Columbus that one day humans would be crossing the Atlantic above his head, he may never have sailed in a ship. So tomorrow’s trips may be made at warp speeds, with warp still an unknown quantity. If we can somehow manage to survive our kind (something like being our own worst enemy) our longevity as a species can be as long as that of a universe. If so, we can try to explore all there is using the greatest gift a species could ever develop, whatever the source of that gift, an ability to create its own destiny, which may very well include the ability to be star trek adventurers.

    I realize that the above is ‘out there’ and probably pushing some envelopes. Sorry if I am acting out of sorts… it’s the whiskey. Nevertheless, if some on this blog insist that our demise is inevitable, perhaps one who dissents from that conclusion can be allowed to dream a different dream, Paul Ehrlich notwithstanding.

    Thank you Artleads.

  • To to be too Irish, but since the pre-funeral is in order, why not include a pre-wake? I’ll be off to that one for sure.

  • Lidia,

    Some farmers are told NOT to grow more food than their quota. Some are even penalized for doing so. I think I would agree with you that food webs are fragile, but that does not imply that we can’t manage.

    This blog is mostly about climate change and the probable extinction of our species within a relatively short time. I don’t know if that will happen, but it’s certainly a possibility. And if that is so, then the issue of overpopulation is a moot point anyway isn’t it.

    So why even try to figure out if we will indeed need to reduce the human population when, as many here believe, we won’t be here anyway. It’s kind of a dichotomy.

    I will disagree with you on your comments regarding children. If we did save all the children of the world, (25,000 per day I am told) we would actually be saving ourselves. Terrorism would cease to exist, warships would become humanitarian ships, and we could learn to live together without enslaving each other. Remember that when and if your electricity is ever cut off, the people who will be your worst enemy will not be the 1%, but the 99%. I know.

    Anyway, c’est la vie.

  • Tom

    Thanks for that list of photos. It emphasized for me how dearly I LOVE that way of life–civilized, but sans fossil fuels. This is the world I was born into, including a printing business my family owned that was based entirely on moveable, hand placed type. Fossil fuels come with incredible burdens and corruptions. Oh for the simple life.


    I appreciate the more down to earth parts of your messages, but I suggest you check out ourfiniteplanet.com to see the problem with doing anything in the foreseeable future that would require using fossil fuels. :-) You are very courageous to maintain the “contrarian” stand you do on NBL. Thanks for that courage.

  • Artleads, Tom, Thanks again.

    Yes! I’ve had a few less than complimentary accolades on NBL but that’s nothing new for me. That’s where I usually find myself anyway just about anywhere I go, on the edges of issues. That’s my lot. I seem to feel comfortable there anyway.

    As much as some may disagree with others, me in many cases, I find that everyone here is pretty much on the same side. We are all trying to find reasons why things have gone so much sideways in the way we humans do things. In fact, I’ve written a manuscript which I hope one day will perhaps add to the mountains of ideas that we humans have brought forth in order to understand why we do the things we do.

    From my perspective Darwin did that the best. He chose nature as his model for the way we live, much like this blog suggests. Darwin had a knack for discovering and identifying simplicity, the most abundant factor of evolution.

    I think we’re all in the same boat on this planet, and that hopefully we can find a way to really go where no human has gone before, as my Star Trek characters do with great anticipation.

  • I think the Limits to Growth approach and predictions are among the best, on top of it, rigourously quantified the quality of life the remaining individuals would have as population continued to grow. Its predictions made in 1972 have held up well and there have been numerous metaanalytic studies and refinement of their original relatively simple world model. I think complex systems modelling is the way to go to estimate the effect of the population variable in relation to other resources. According to LtG, the human population around the year 1976 is what would’ve been “peak.”

    I think population naturally declines as conditions for increasing it improve – this is already happening with most western societies. As Jean points out, the reason we’re having issues with regards to GHG is not due to the vast majority of the population that are poor but because what the previously “poor” people in Western countries had to do to get “rich”. The global economic system is an interconnected beast: there’s a claim in certain conservative circles that capitalism has been the biggest contributor to alleviating poverty and in a sense it is true, but it has come at a great cost. Our (US) material consumption has enabled the rise of China’s middle class (as well as the middle class of a variety of other nations) and their consumption in turn is enabling the rise of other “less developed” countries. I’m not saying I agree with it, but that’s just the way I see it.

    So I do not think the problem is human biology which actually does seem to be self-limiting. It is human culture, and specifically the economic system of capitalism, which is the philosophy of a cancer cell (growth for growth’s sake).

    This is why conservatives oppose action against GHG generally – they are worried about the loss of markets. However, if the world economies stopped being based on exploitation of material goods, we may have another kind of economy, and while I’d say anything > 2 billion humans is too many, a population of 12 billion could be managed for a while and slowly decreased to a billion or two over a long period.

    In support of the claim that it’s not biologically intrinsic to humans to overpopulate as bacteria would in a petridish full of nutrients: not only have there been examples of human groups that have repopulated at subexponential replinishment rate in the past, even today, in the richest countries in the world, where you would expect the most growth if the “more resources/abundance == more growth” equation held, you see little or even negative growth. Japan is growing old and not replacing fast enough. Same goes for parts of Europe as well. Without immigration, the US would be in a similar situation. This is not the petridish situation.

    Even in a petridish, if you culture a bacterium a million times, a few colonies will not overshoot (though the vast majority will). However that I’d say is due to biology. There will be a strong correlation between the amount of growth and the local nutrients – the more the local availability of nutrients, the greater the local growth. I’ve observed this – you can even get colonies to grow in patterns if you wanted by plating appropriately. The human situation isn’t fully analogous since the greatest population growth is occurring in places with the worst conditions for growth (due to high mortality rates, greater chances of success of more offspring with fewer opportunities). As soon as conditions in a country improve, it seems that the population invariably starts to stabilise and reduce. If there is an exception to this at all, and off hand I don’t know of any particular locality/state like this, it is due to cultural reasons (avoidance of contraception, reproduction encouraged by societal reward systems, etc.). This is why I think it is a collective complex systems “choice” that has put us on this trajectory.

  • @ Ram Samudrala Says:
    April 30th, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Outstanding summary, Mr. Samudrala, and nice to hear from you again! :) Everything you note in that comment is spot-on, now you need to ask just one more(?) “Why?” That is, Why were “those” choices made which “put us on this trajectory?” I am sincerely interested in reading your answer(s) to that and, please, take as much time considering it as you deem appropriate.

  • Colin, thanks and it’s good to be back. Yeah, we’ve hammered the why and how of it, but I think I think chance plays a big role in determining the fate of particular trajectories. For this particular trajectory involving humans, we could say capitalism. For another involving dinosaurs, we could say it was asteroids. Of all the species and genuses and families that have arisen on this planet, only a small fraction have managed to survive for over a billon years. A small fraction (but larger than the previous one) probably dies off quickly after speciation too. What puts one species in one group over the other is usually to chance circumstances – it doesn’t mean that choices weren’t made and didn’t have consequences – they did, particularly in the case of humans where the choices seem to be possessed of a bit more agency than the petri dish scenario where a bacteria is just following its instincts,

    We’ve gone the other way: we’ve ignored the lessons of nature (including our own) and trusted in externalities. We initially looked inward, and then looked outward in extremes, instead of finding a balance between inward and outward. This is the why and how as far as I’m concerned. The specifics have to do with the worship of money, etc. all of which have been beaten to death.

  • Ram (I hope you don’t mind the familiar form of address), thank you for the thoughtful reply. However, I think your analysis has stopped too soon or, perhaps, just not gone deep enough. That’s totally understandable given the apparent passion you have for the research that you are undertaking. To clarify, I concur completely that, to a large(?) degree, “[w]hat puts one species in one group over the other is usually to chance circumstances.” Furthermore, and I am again in agreement, “it doesn’t mean that choices weren’t made and didn’t have consequences.” However, ass that I am, I continue to ask “Why?” nearly ad infinitum, usually resulting in denigration and ostracism. Nonetheless, “Why were particular choices made?” Were “consequences” even considered at all, let alone rationally, and, if so, by whom? By how many?

    For example, look at the evolution of testing in grades K-12 and beyond. More and more they have become “multiple choice” but, no matter how you slice it, those choices are constrained. I wish I had a nickel for every such question I’ve seen for which NONE of the answers were acceptable… and there was no choice for “None of the above.” Contextually, how many young people, regardless of ethnicity, who were by chance and chance alone, born into and “educated” in any “inner city,” have as many choices as those who were, again by chance, born into, say, The Hamptons? Are the choices of the former not constrained with respect to the latter? Is that constraint purely “by chance” or was it, to any degree, deliberately implemented for a particular effect? In other words, if one is only ever offered a partial (limited) list of potential choices, how would that person even be aware that other choices may be possible? I presume you are familiar with Adam Curtis’ “The Century of the Self” which elaborates the manipulative psychology Edward Bernays “sold” to the “aristocrats” in the early 1900s. I find it preposterous that he (or Freud) were the “first” to “discover” or employ those techniques. What percentage of the population of any one country, or the world, even has a clue at how they have been “manipulated?” Do they have any clue “why” the manipulations were used? Does anyone? I have to admit, to me, the possibilities seem nearly endless but I’d venture to guess that they were not meant to do anything more than benefit a very “select” few at the expense of everyone else. Alas, I fear that I’ve rambled too long and, please, feel free to deem any response as “optional.”

  • Colin, I think when we talk about the whys here, and state the reasons as capitalism, or greed, forgetting nature, etc. underlying that is the Matrix world that we call society (alternately a bread and circuses world). A world largely based on manipulation to further the capitalism machine.

    So why did we create the Matrix world instead of a more egalitarian and self-sustaining utopia? I believe both are capable by us. But we ended up with the former because it serves the interests of a particular group of people who benefit by this system. So you can indeed lay the blame on a relatively small and diffuse elite. I don’t think it’s an active conspiracy but rather has to do more with the issue of the cost of going against ideologies that determine the current winners. People are too invested in what makes them successful.

    Ultimately I think our brains aren’t wise enough to think about long term interests on average. If we were, even the capitalists would realise that killing off the goose that lays the golden eggs in the name of short term profit is self destructive.

    When we average humanity, we don’t tilt towards the greatest common denominator but rather towards the lowest common denominator. Statistically the odds of this happening are greater (easier to agree on what is bad than what is good), which is probably why most complex systems trajectory end up collapsing. In the ones that don’t, you can see that it’s the opposite and it’s regulated by well parametred feed back loops (all happening against a backdrop of evolution). If we valued diversity and considered longer term effects, then we’d not be in this predicament. We’re flying by the seat of our pants, and putting out local fires, when the forest is burning down.

    As I said in the other thread, and as I’ve said before, germ line genetic engineering will be attempted to stave off the worst effects, potentially creating new human species. It’s possible that these newer humanoids may be better and wiser forward thinkers than we are, but our record with regards to engineering other species is spotty at best and again is dismissive of the lessons learnt from observing biological evolution. Nonetheless, that ability is our defining trait from an evolutionary perspective. If/when we don’t make it, evolution will have another go. Of that I’m confident.

  • @Ram

    Unless we begin to understand and acknowledge the fundamental role that non-equilibrium thermodynamic dissipation plays in shaping the operation of life in general and the behaviour of social creatures in particular, any such engineering experiments will be doomed from the outset.

  • Paul, as scientist, I’m fully for understanding basic knowledge about any process that will help us understand the behaviour of complex systems. However, engineering people have done really well at times without understanding the science behind what they’re doing. So I think a lot could be accomplished by ruthless trial and error as the Chinese seem to have started. They may well be doomed, but it will be attempted and we’ll deal with the consequences.