How much human life can planet Earth sustain?

September 23rd, 2006 BY Calvin Woo | 91 Comments


How much human life can planet Earth sustain? It’s a question scientists have been struggling with for hundreds of years. They have yet to agree on an answer.

Thomas Malthus kicked off the debate in the early nineteenth century when he predicted imminent doom for the human race. He believed that the population of the earth was increasing at a geometric rate, while food production was increasing only at an arithmetic rate. Human population would soon outstrip their own ability to produce food, and there would be a catastrophe by the mid-nineteenth century.

We’re still here, so that obviously didn’t happen. Technology allowed humans to produce far more food than Malthus anticipated. Even though Malthus was wrong, his ideas remain influential. The carrying capacity of the earth is a hotly contested subject. Many believe that we are at or near our capacity already. Others believe the earth can support far more people. It’s far too complicated to truly determine what the real limit is. And even if we could, the “real” limit would be meaningless without proper context.

The main context is lifestyle. Our planet can support many more people if we are living in near-starvation mode and consuming as little energy as possible, than if we are all living at North American levels of consumption. Practical considerations also matter. If we were all living in starvation mode, would we be able to survive, or would we be at war with one another, killing each other off so we can eat more food?
Distribution of resources has always been unequal, and continues to be an issue now and in the future.

Ignoring these considerations, can we reach some sort of estimate?
Important factors that determine how many people the earth can sustain include food, drinking water, and energy. Let’s look at each of these areas in more detail.

Food

The earth currently produces 2,264 million metric tons of cereals, which is the staple food of the world. If each person consumes 2,000 calories per day, 2,264 million metric tons of cereal will support a little bit over 10 billion people. Currently, around half of all arable land in the world is producing crops. If we clear-cut all the forests and jungles, we could double our theoretical food production. These calculations assume all we eat is cereal though. Most people want to eat more than just rice, bread and pasta. Vegetables and fruits are also produced on arable land. Most of this produces a higher calorie per area yield than cereals. But what about meat? Currently about one third of cereals produced in the world go towards feeding animals for meat production.
Meat production is very inefficient in terms of land use. The more meat is eaten, the less people the land can support.

Water

It’s hard to say much about water other than that we are in dire need.
There are 1,385 cubic kilometers on earth. Most of this water is salt water, and not suitable for human consumption. Most of the fresh water available…is locked inside polar ice caps. Only 0.26% of all water is available for human consumption. Most of this water is in clouds or in the ground though. Only 0.014% of water on the earth is actually available for drinking. Problem? Yes! There are already severe water shortages in Africa and parts of Asia. North Americans use 1,280 cubic meters of water annually. Africans use 186. If there isn’t enough water, such as is the case in many countries, disease and malnutrition are the result. This is already happening, and will continue to spread as population continues to increase. Water also affects food in a big way, as 70% of water used by humans irrigates crops.

  1. debrajean
    1

    You would think by now that a way to change the oceans water into drinking water would’ve been figured out.

    • Responses to debrajean
      2
      John says:
      June 1

      There has been. They have desalinization plants that are able to do this, but the cost in energy is enormous. So it makes it a last resort, but possible.

    • 3
      craig says:
      November 1

      it has been but you also can boil

    • 4
      justin says:
      November 18

      They have figured out ways to change ocean water into drinking water, the problem is that it takes so much energy thta it gets expensive and it’s worth it at this point in time.

    • 5
      Jose says:
      March 31

      Why would you use up the oceans water to become our drinking water. The fact is we are over-populating that the earth cannot sustain more life and we are transforming ourselves by capitalism to become more indeced with technology.

      However, I do agree with the salt water being desalinizised but how much will that last if we continue to grow? I’m at a stand still but I doubt this would be a good solution…

      • 6
        Heidi says:
        June 11

        You don’t ’use up’ water, you only change it’s state/polute it. What comes out of you is still mostly water. There is already technology that can recycle waste water.
        Then there is nuclear fusion. The power of the stars on earth. We can desalinate all the water we need/want that way and if we run out there is space, the original source of all our water. With water we have another supply of fuel and oxygen.
        If we don’t kill ourselves with our own technology or get wiped out by a comet then the future of the human race is in the stars. Capitalism/communism/fascism/totalatarianism/socialism-mere historical footnotes my friend.

    • 7
      hero2tech says:
      April 13

      They have!
      And on a nother note I can not read this guys blog it is all 1 big brick of text
      By scimming i know this is a greatblog but even scimming makes my head hurt!

      • 8
        FENHRIR says:
        April 28

        You woulkd end up making a huge impact on the oceans if they ever find a way to do it cheap…once again sacrificing earth for the humans. Killing species of fish that needs a minimum level of salty water…I don’t think it would be a good solution.
        There’s just too many humans…

        • 9
          ggggj says:
          May 5

          i need a dip

  2. mollyL
    10

    Thank you for such a comprehensive and enlightening article. The one point I would like to emphasize is how much of our cereal crops the and land is taken up with the production of meat. Not only do cattle use much of the land that could produce crops, but they also add the pollution of the water in their area. It seems unconscionable that the manufacture of meat continues in a world plagued by famine and water shortage.

  3. mike
    11

    Sometimes it comes to mind that people have a desire to keep each other from reaching their potential…If your current society has kept this from you… Welcome to the world…Economics is based off exploitation…people must not reach their potential for the majority to survive…ie life sucks…sorry for your middle class upbring

  4. Ben
    12

    I don’t know about you guys but the thought of cutting down the rest of the rain forests leaves me breathless.

    • Responses to Ben
      13
      Kaykay says:
      May 7

      i so agree with you. I think they chould stop building period. we have enough roads, we have enough buildings, enough parks and trees and land has been chopped down and covered over with conrette. I hate concrette and i honestly dont see the purpose of making more roads, or shopping malls. We can all survive with wat we have now, why do we need more,when in reality its leaving us with less.

  5. Steve
    14

    So what is the answer? It is an exceptionally important question. I am amazed at how world leaders skirt around this issue. At an acceptable lifestyle, what is the maximum population the Earth can sustain. Perhaps it would be useful to to see the figures for a range of lifestyles. I do not have evidence to back up these assertions, but I imagine that there are already more people on Earth than can be sustained at the lifestyle of an average person from the USA or the UK. On the other hand, if you would like to live the lifestyle of a nomad in egypt where there is plenty of empty space per person (unlike New York City), then similarly the Earth would already be overpopulated. So what is the happy medium? If you wish to live the lifestyle of a modest European, for example. Two adults, two children, a 3-bedroom house, one car, clean water for drinking and bathing, meat once a day, 5 fruit and veg a day, fish once a week and communal areas for recreation, then what would the maximum population be that the Earth could sustain? Give us a range to indicate uncertainty. It would probably be more than 100 million, but I strongly suspect that it would be less than the current ca 6 billion. So we have three options: 1) Accept the gross inequalities and work to maximise your own comfort, this would almost certainly entail ensuring that others have less so you can have more; 2) Decrease the expected standard of living, at the current population I suspect that this would mean accepting that you won’t eat meat more than once or twice a month, fish once or twice a year, don’t expect clean water, no cars, flats not houses, etc.; 3. Work to decrease the population to a sustainable level. Sooner or later we will address the issue of overpopulation, but the sooner we deal with it, the less painful the solution will be.

  6. Q
    15

    On the question of sustainability; it is not! Not without reversing exponential human population growth and resource consumption. If we don’t limit our population Nature will do it for us.

    It is said that man differs from other animals because of technology and self awareness. Many of us are aware enough to extrapolate what man kind will do to the planet and to itself through its relentless nature to grow it’s population exponentially as if there will never be any limits. The day man used up half the Earth’s fossil fuels, for which most of our economy, food supply, and population is utterly dependent; is the day man ran into such a limitation. And now it’s time to demonstrate that man is different in a new way; to intelligently control, self limit and reduce its own population to a level that can be sustained indefinitely at a high enough standard of living in order to have a meaningful future.

    Before someone brings it up; yes—this is like ‘playing God’. God is said to be observed in nature as the power of life and death; ultimately having the result of creating a stronger more sustainable species. And so for man to ‘best’ survive and prosper far into the future perhaps some of us will really need to become like gods.

    • Responses to Q
      16
      craig says:
      September 18

      i belive not everyone should be able to reproduce. only the people who can aford to suport their famils . I belive countries like america should restruture their populations to relocate people where work is and eatch country should be useing its own populations goods only useing others whe they cant produce.

  7. Uncle B
    17

    How much human life can planet Earth sustain?

    If they live like the folks in India, many more than you think.
    If they live like the folks in China, more than that!
    If they live like the folks in North America, well, what can I say?

    • Responses to Uncle B
      18
      BREANNA says:
      September 8

      how much life on earth can hold of humans ans how much humans can earth hold to fill up the earth?when u get this can you msg me?

      THANK YOU

    • 19
      CJ says:
      October 23

      In reply to Uncle B. Right on we Americians are like bugs and will consume ourselves to death.

      • 20
        SP says:
        March 16

        we americans are the best, but we need to limit and become like the rest.

    • 21
      craig says:
      October 23

      in india they have large #s of their population killed every few years chemical spills and work related deaths in china a family can produce only one child and most baby girls are put to death to produce a male child . witch country should we be more like

      • 22
        Jonathan, M. says:
        December 14

        Personally, I would like it, if the government and people would accept the fact, and please accept it, we must all be martyrs. around 4/5 of the population now, must die.
        how many people can this world hold? well there are only so many animals alive to withstand the abuse of human pollution and abuse, have you seen what humans do to animals, have you seen any animal, not out of defence do anything we do to us, do animals torture us for their own ”benifit?” How many people you ask? I say right now we are at 6.2 billion. there are countries starving already, my theory is, 2 more generations (160 years) and the world will be at war for the last amounts of resources left…and then what, we have killed all life, we have killed the earth, only leading ourselves to our demise

  8. Roguegal
    23

    Well, as an American I take offense. I don’t waste, not like other Americans. But I refuse to live like they do in India or China. What we need to do is educate the people of this world. Not just the privileged, but everyone. The people of the planet Earth need to work together and not against each other. If we work together we could solve anything!

  9. kirkmcquest
    24

    Interesting article, and here we are two years later beginning to see the effects of overpopulation with our fuel and food sources waining. Mike’s opinion regarding the exploitation of many in the population being necessary to sustain our standard of living is proving true, as the rise of industry in China is resulting in higher fuel demand and increased green house gases.
    Clearly the technology is available to allow us to live much more efficiently ( it has been available for a long time), but whether or not we choose to avail ourselves of it, and how quickly, will be the test. The established energy providers maintain a firm grip on our economy, one that will not be broken without a fight.

    I believe we are entering a transition period, one that will be painful for many. In the end, I must have faith in humanity to come out on top of this struggle. Or at the very least, we will be cresting the top of our ‘j-curve’ and leveling out to sustainable levels.

  10. munoz
    25

    This article is stupid. Its selfish and centered only around the idea that humans are the only ones that exist on earth. Clear cut the rain forest? WOW what an ignorant statement to make, its funny that the writer thinks the world will be able to sustain itself without these things. You need you oxygen dont you? last time i checked rainforest have been a source of many pharmaceutical drugs that have save many people. Its article like this that give people the weapons to be ignorant and think that we can keep going that way we are now and earths eco system wont pay the price.

    • Responses to munoz
      26
      Anjey says:
      May 25

      No, your stupid…he is just explaining the extreme extent of things we would need to do to be able to survive and increase our population, he is not saying that cutting down rainforests is a solution.

    • 27
      chris says:
      June 7

      the author has a point, as a american, I agree… everyone most americans need to adjust their live style, its a matter of time, if the world runs out of oil… the world also runs out of synthetic fertilizer.. In some areas water use is so high it is depleting the under lying aquifers of water 100’s of years old.. the biggest thing is efficiency.. sustainable practices like hydroponic farming save 90% of the water used, and grow more food in less space… powered with renewables, it would solve 2 problems at once for a area like africa

      • 28
        Casey says:
        June 12

        Everyone’s so worried about themselfs and humans, when really in fact were a very selfish species, taking this world for our self and disregarding every other being that lives here with us, as horrible as this sound we messed up and this planet would be amazingly beautiful and would flourish with agriculture and animals. Everyone can act like they care about other animals, but look at us we consider humans so much better then a cat or tiger when were not. I personally don’t believe in God, but i I know if he were real, he wouldn’t want this for ”his” planet.

    • 29
      Reader says:
      June 9

      Just a question: Don’t you know how to read an article or interprete readings? Read better, please. Thanks

  11. Z
    30

    Pretty good article

    If we want to start controlling how fast the human populations grow, we should be like China. Only one child per couple, or no children at all. I know it probably goes against everyones religious beliefs of “I can have as many children as I want as long as god wills me. It is gods way” OR “The more children to serve god the better, or the more to serve me, the better.”

    But think: If one couple has 5 children, then those 5 children all have 5 or more children, how many people are we up to now in just the 2nd generation? We can’t just keep reproducing like rabbits.

    All of us need to start recycling, no matter what our situations are. We need to figure out new things to do to conserve our resources. Figure out how to use natural resources more efficiently to power our world.

  12. Ren
    31

    To munoz – hear hear!!!
    Apart from the points you have already made, i would like to add a few more – Why is this such a new revelation to some people? Even if some have known, why do they insit on being ignorant? Why do issues like this get pushed aside? I just cant understand it. We are dealing with our very own survival – aswell as the survival of any life on earth. Nothing is more important than ensuring that there is a world left in years to come. And a half-decent world at that. Not just a world striped of its resaources, beauty and diversity.

  13. Robert Locihfer
    32

    In 2025 the study I read earlier estimates the sustainable population at 10 billion. If we start at 1900 A.D. or A.C.E. include no world wars and no plagues of disease the population of planet earth could be 90 billion. I don’t see this happening now. The arrangement was made 100 billion humans by 2012. The alternative reality being embraced will
    not participate in fulfilling the agreement. The Almighty
    does not discriminate. So could the Reptilian breeding
    be the answer? My take on fulfilling the prophesy of a new heaven and new earth is cloning mass RJFJR duplication triplication superization. Check Mate move made by earth core Satan. God will populate the Galaxy, only not with any of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Responses to Robert Locihfer
      33
      June 12

      What the hell are you talking about? Are you on acid?

  14. Jim
    34

    Okay, I suggest we cut the marajuana crops down and articles like the one above will have a chance at being understood.

    That said…

    My believe is; the earth will take care of itself…if we are the problem, we will be dealt with. The earth was around long before us and will be around long after us. If we learn to respect mother nature, she may give us a reprieve and let us live a few more years. If not — CIAO

    • Responses to Jim
      35
      jim2 says:
      June 17

      shut your mouth

  15. and
    36

    The question is simple, Ass I see plenty of people make there on little world like disneyland, GROW UP. Any way the year will be 745325AD don’t know the exact date but the year is good

  16. Patrick Loewen
    37

    Human population goes down when income goes up. 12 kids are a resource to poor grandparents in India. If we run low on a resource, the price goes up, and people use less, and new technology is released, the resource is used more efficiently, and the price goes down, or the resource changes. This happened to coal, it’ll happen to gas. A gas tax of 15% would only speed this up. Every 30 years, the prices in all raw materials drop to a new lows in comparison to inflation, because people are smart. Population control? Please bare in mind that these billions of people you’d brush off like dirt, or mud, they too have been given the inherent rights of mankind, to reason, and think, and judge their situations for them selves. This whole page started with Malthus….the most dismal biological philosopher ever. Have a little faith people. Imagine solar panels and wind generators stretched out around a 2oo foot tall hydroponic greenhouse filled with genetically modified food. That is right, I said it……GMO food, only not modified to be larger, or more resistant…. I would have it modified for higher yield of nutrients. Malthus I believe had something called the law of diminishing returns, where your land would always give you less and less every year….. well that did not take into account new technology or increased labour, or changes in the market for raw materials. As more and more countries specialize in certain productions, the global cost of living is all ready climbing down…… I f we were running out of space and resources, how come the price of tvs keeps going down. The price of flights is going down. The world is actually polluting less per capita, especially in the wealthier country’s. Wealth cleans rivers. Poor country’s have no garbage trucks. I battle hippies with economics, and fight economists with Socrates, and Alan Watts. Have faith in humanity, we are beautiful, and resourceful. Do not fall victim to dismal science.

    • Responses to Patrick Loewen
      38
      Trinidad says:
      September 29

      Hi Patrick Loewen,

      I am currently very interested in this topic of earth’s sustainablity to life because my son-in-law, who believe himself to be a ’nerd’ as he puts it, insists that there will come a time soon when there would not be enough food to feed earth’s population at their present rate of growth etc. etc.

      In my view he has left God out of the equation and deals only with what he call scientific facts. Any belief outside of this he concludes is airy-fairy thinking (my words to describe his opinion). So I was happy to read your take on the situation and would gladly welcome some sort of dialogue with you pertaining to these views.

  17. DJ
    39

    There are so many complications… Where I live, the land is unsuitable for cereal crops and most food crops, so livestock is the only thing we can raise with any efficiency. Also, without some livestock to produce manure, most arable land would quickly lose its fertility (without that constant stream of natural-gas-sourced fertilizer that corporate farms currently use).

    On the other hand, in the U.S. we raise far more meat– and beef is especially harmful to the environment– than is sustainable.

    Yet if you doubt that we’ve reached the planet’s carrying capacity, look at the numbers of people starving in the world today– more than at any time in human history. Some of this is due to poor distribution of food resoruces. But don’t forget that transporting food across the globe requires energy (and has a carbon footprint), too.

  18. Aerzia
    40

    Here’s a fun thought, by having children, you are killing your children’s children. Is that how you want your grandchildren to look back at you as? As a murderer? Oh wait, i forgot to tell you, they’re dead. Well, what did you expect? After all, you killed them. /encore /end sarcastic rant

    Oh, Robert Locihfer, it would seem you have , according to the majority of christians, misinterpreted your own texts, not that I care, but i thought you should know. Also do try to communicate in understandable language, I see your words, but the only impression on me is: Wall of text.

    PLEASE DO NOT POST UNLESS YOU HAVE SOMETHING LOGICAL, THOUGHT-OUT, AND READABLE.

    Also, I would like to add that it is impossible to prevent billions of people from death.

    an interesting quote from ‘Parasite Eve’: “The worst foe lies within thy self.”

  19. 3nrique
    41

    The part about the rain forest is purely hypothetical. He didn’t actually mean we should cut them down. if you read the article thoroughly like a good little boy you would know that. you took it way too literally and its obvious you didn’t read the article. next time before you start throwing accusations around maybe you should find out what the heck your talking about.

  20. 3nrique
    42

    my original comment was directed to munoz, sorry

  21. r c dohare
    43

    hello, i would like to say that earth can sustain only 8.5 billion only. if distrubution of food & other resources do properly. wastage food be zero.

    • Responses to r c dohare
      44
      SSHAK says:
      April 17

      Where does this number come from? As I have read through the article and the comments, I find this article to be very thoughtfully written as it engages the reader and makes us question our standards whether you live in north America, Europe, China, India or elsewhere in the world. The sustainability of earth cannot be determined from our standards today, that is what Malthus did, thus predicting our doom. With that said let us use this as an opportunity to improve our standards, find the flaws and correct them. Change one habit at a time, for example if you like leaving the water running when you brush your teeth or leaving the TV on when you are making dinner, leaving the porch light on, making multiple trips to the store with your vehicle instead of one or any efficiencies that you can think of, by the way these were based on my personal habits. I assure you this will make a difference. I grew up in one of the poorest country in the world where I believe there are more inefficiencies than you can ever imagine. For example all the infrastructure to sustain a healthy society os missing like a good sewer system, the garbage waste handling system, drinking water system, energy distribution and the list goes on. Most of this is due to poor leadership and the resistance to change. Most believe that India and China are able to sustain such large populations because they use less but that is not the truth, the more they have the more they will use, they just simply don’t have enough due inefficiencies in their system. If they had more they would too use it like the north Americans. I believe future sustainability cannot be measured with today’s data. At today’s rate the sustainability is only 6 billion, make a change to your lifestyle and your standard of living it can sustain billions more. Mahatma Gandhi said, ”If you want to see a change then you have to be the change”.

      • 45
        Quotations... says:
        June 15

        Actually Mahatma Ghandi said ’Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ Just for future reference =)

  22. stav
    46

    The earth can support us all.. and more.. we just need to learn to use all the resources more economically and with more sustainability.

    • Responses to stav
      47
      Patty danilchuk says:
      March 10

      It can NOT, and to foolishly believe so is beyond ignorant. The planet is already going through extreme physical changes that humans have little or no control over and when the land masses begin to shrink, and they are in the process, what then? There will be fewer resources, weather pattern changes will severely hamper crop production and there will be less of everything to sustain.

  23. Slarmas
    48

    Except that cattle are mostly grazed on marginal land. If it was more profitable to grow cereal crops as you say then farmers will do so due to profit motive. Cattle are frequently put on marginal land that will not support any real food crop; though your point is well taken.

  24. Micah Harless
    49

    after crunching numbers and dealing with variables– which there are many– I believe 10 billion is the magic number. I took the land mass available on Earth, approximetly 150 mill. sq. miles subtracted 20% for unusable lands = 120 mill. divided by a population of 10 bill. = .012 sq. miles = basicaly 1% of a sq. mile = about 54 sq. feet. I then asked the question, could 1 person grow enough food to sustain themself on that amount of land? and concluded yes, however very meagerly. This is a very crude way of looking at it, technology would have to jump in to save the day, but I think 10 bill. is close to the max # of what Earth can sustain given our current technologies. Its time to get ready to leave the planet, or learn to use the oceans vast underwater lands or both.

  25. sophie
    50

    ”You would think by now that a way to change the oceans water into drinking water would’ve been figured out.”
    do you actually know how stupid that sounds?

  26. noel nakato
    51

    i do not think its very easy perhaps it requires dedication.

  27. Jeff
    52

    If we all become vegans, many of humans will be in a state of malnutrition due to the fact that it’s quite hard to educate everyone on which vegetables are actually nutritious. If we never bathe, a lot of people will get diseases, so that’s somewhat out the window. As for people not driving would mean that traveling will take a long time, and everyone would decide to only develop in their local area.

    On the flip side, If we all were capable of becoming healthy and nutritious vegans then the earth will sustain more people than there could be now. If we were capable of developing a form of technology that would keep us clean without having to bathe then that would settle that issue. Lastly, if we instead of using oil, but use clean efficient solar energized vehicles, we can continue to live as we are.

  28. Bleh
    53

    I think we’re more likely to see a decline of both over population and crops based on everyday living, we will eventually start seeing a decline in human life whether we want to believe it or not. It will be no different than how other species on this planet have gone extinct, its all simple mathematics really. Our planet maybe large enough but the amount of living area and resources humans require is ridiculous, I think this article does a great number on explaining just that. If we could solely survive on cereal alone would that adaptation really be enough in the long run, personally I hope we start colonizing other planets and as it stands its actually quite viable its just a matter of technology becoming cheaper and politicians less greedy.

  29. sphokuhle
    54

    what sustains life on Earth

  30. Gaia
    55

    i need a cigarette…

  31. Giga
    56

    Me too

  32. Ignor
    57

    Personal opinion. Drop the birth-rate. Enforce it. Cause We will only learn when it is to late. We love the good life or we strive for it, it is in our genes. The education-and economic systems forces us too become what we are today. Call me ignorant.

  33. Zilph
    58

    Watch this video, it is about the matter on this article, specially the third chapter..
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY

    I sincerely Believe this planet is already over populated, we need to go back to 1 billion people or less to be in a sustanaible state.

    Every Goverment in the world needs to start controlling Birth Population.. we need to go from 1.3% average annual growth to -1.5% in less than 3 years.. Maybe its too late..

    Humans are like a cancer for Earth.. but Earth is Stronger than us.. It willy simply wipe out us in a few instant for its and our own good…

    I hope it’s not too late already.. but have you read about 2012 Prophecies?

  34. Rocky
    59

    I know many of you agree that the amount of cereal crops used to raise food for animals is very high. I rarely eat meat, but I do use dairy products and I eat eggs. If we were to use these animals for their ”produce” rather than their meat, our diets would be better (more varied than just vegan) and more varied. And the animals would not be so enzyme enhanced and overly exploited as they are today. We as a species have more knowledge to eradicate ourselves, than to feed each other. This war is over oil. Future ones will be over food.

  35. GOD has aplan ;)
    60

    Well, i hope they will start building stations out of space, or even better look out into the ocean with more space then we have here on land. Some have already started building housings for water, so that’s good :)

    But we don’t know, maybe Jesus will come tomorrow or today and give us more room then we can handle in heaven :)
    so dont worry, be happy.

    and who knows you might not even live long enough to see the earth overpopulated, we got a long way to go.

    GOD bless!

  36. Uncle B
    61

    Coming soon! Whole civilizations in the cool desert sands under the Solar collectors and machinery that provide power for them, and the world! People will tend to settle near the source of power, near the mirrors, and in the coolest spots, underground, buried in the sand, White people, who will work night shifts cleaning the mirrors, doing the maintenance, blue eyes flashing in the moonlight, and spend days beneath to hot surface sands, in cool sleep and peace and tending underground gardens as G d intended for them!

  37. Number guy
    62

    Why is it so hard to figure out it is only math number of people to number of food that has to be or can be grown?
    I feel we are at the limit as far as living comfortable the next generation will how ever feel the bit!!

  38. Darrell Whiter
    63

    Humans drive to have useless gadgets wasting energy, water, soil, trees and chemicals.
    The Ipod and other WANTS, will destroy us all.

    Thousands of years in the future, our relatives will dig us up, and discover our technological wants, will find our wasted creations, still working, with your skeleton, gadgets inside the coffin, and the human race creators of their own extinction.
    Remove gadgets that are unrequired WANTS, and replace them with NEEDS. Do you seriously NEED an IPOD, or the latest PS3, XBox 360, various toys that have only one purpose, to entertain people. They are the creations of a human race that see’s entertainment as a require NEED in life.
    Do we need to have weetabix shaped, or energy wasting advertisement, hung on building. The need to have the garbage of life, therefore we create garbage, thus creating more polution, thus destrtoying the air we breate, and destroy the trees we need to sustain life for all creatures.
    Computers and gadgets create an unhealthy world. Forget the IPod, mobile phones, Xbox, computer games, DVD players, TV, remote controls, dancing toys, cuddle toys. You understand, what I’m saying but you won’t give up the WANTS in life to make a difference. Undersatnd the creation of gadgets creates an army of gabbage and polution. Rid the world of crap gadgets, saves the world. Oh yes TV creates crap shows, maybe we should scrap entertainmet too.
    Remember energy, water and minerials are needed to create crap gadgets and entertainment, that has a little need to face survive day to day life.
    Luxuries are destroying us all, greed keeps people blind to the truth. Whilst we are blind the devil steals our life and our souls.
    Remember 1 percent of the world wealth creates 70 per cent of povery in other countries. Thus like I said, creating crap gadgets, kill people, harm the planet and destroys our own countries.

  39. Uncle B
    64

    Once the heavy yoke of the Americans is off of Mother Nature’s back, simpler civilizations will survive and grow. As long as Yankee Doodle chows down on 80% of the world’s resources and gives back so little, we can expect only fewer, richer, and fatter-assed, individuals with nuclear bomb support held over humanities heads to survive! Fact is, America breeds very successful survivors, who at all costs and through corporatism and capitalism, and even cannabalism, guard their own asses, even amongst themselves – In the end we will have one very fat, very rich, American orchestrating all! Save for the New Asian reality, the falling dollar, and Oil running out for all, this was the course the world was on! Even the cars the Americans built were worshiped world-wide. In one short decade, all this has turned around. Americans can no longer build cars at all! The paradigm shifts in America are astounding, and will be felt around the world. The dollar is falling! Even the poorest of countries will profit from a move away from the true ”Evil Empire” and as America falls to ”Third-World ship” in its next capital based economic system’s down cycle, and passes into the greater depression, other countries will rejoice, with less economic pressure on their food-crops and abundance at home. This relief may in fact trigger changes spelling the end for Capitalism and Corporatism in the world as the Great Red Dragon manipulates the weakened American economic forces into submission, making the ”Yuan” the international trading currency, and unlike the current ”fiat” effected American dollar, a fair and solid, unmanipulated and honest marker for trade – and Americans, poorer for this, will no longer ”skim” international trade, stealing at will, by dollar manipulations, pirates to the world, the ultimate parasites all these years. They will no longer dominate and control Oil trading, and politically they will be reduced to the realities of the day, loud mouths, saber rattlers to be certain, but unheard and unheeded, not influential in the real world, Asia and her trading partners. Without this great weight on the souls of mankind, they will flourish, in simple dignity, and populate a larger part of the earth, no longer obliged by the American Capitalist, not controlled by the corporatist, and free to live quiet modest lives of happiness. The World population will then grow, individual body weights will shrink, and a faster lighter vegan will dominate mankind, where once the mighty Neanderthal American, Philistine to the world ruled!

  40. Harry M. Bright
    65

    It’s nice to discover this question about the planet’s arable land has more than myself interested.
    The absolute equitability in sharing, as for sustainability of the human-kind would now ,
    I think, require total (radical)acceptance of a necessary parity for all; if you get my drift.

    Call it what you may, each living integer of us is now obliged to adapt such virtues as shall suffer mutually a most humane servant-hood for the good of all the numbered others, by the concomitant ideals set out as far back as the ancients when small clusters of human association found merit in agricultural endeavors-shared.

    Radical regionalism, if you will.

    These latter ages of radical exploitation are already having telling consequences that must be heeded; and, where radically possible, staved-off.

    The numbers of humanity across
    the margents of the world must be contained with
    peaceable good-will among all sustainabled mankind: so the Angels sang over that poster-child for human parity’s stabled-borning.

    By that, it is conceivable that one might give up one’s life for another.

    Perforce,the current tendencies toward a world of radically regional, reasonable, numbers of inclusivity, illucidated by the savvy-few must evince the requisite changes ~ or ~ in the future some traveler in another time and from another place shall view the wasteland of planet-earth, much as that traveler Percy Byshe Shelley lyricized in his poem ”Ozymandias.”
    To read that poem is to see ”the handwriting on the wall.”

    Harry M. Bright, Spokane, Washington
    hmbwrite@peoplepc.com

  41. v k
    66

    our mother earth has much to fulfill our NEEDS but not to fulfill our GREEDS

  42. Deidre
    67

    WE NEED RAINFOREST!! WE GOTTA BREATHE

  43. L3TY
    68

    W3LL I STILL DIDN’T FIND MY ANSWER FOR MY RESEARCH ON IS THE EARTH RUNNING OUT OF ENERGY??????????????????????? ALL THE OTHER WEBSITES GIVE ME THE SAME EXACT ANSWERS IF ANYONE HAS ANY IDEA PLEASE REPLY BACK TANKZ!!!!!

  44. hydroponics systems
    69

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  45. Indian
    70

    @ Craig: Stop this cramming of bullshit and passing statements that can pass only among Americans with the average size of brain comparable to worms. sorry for lashing out. ”large % ppl dying frequnetly in chemical spills”; have you gone mad, you even know 1 % of indian population is 120 mil. Large percent means the biggest ever mass-death in the history of the planet. Dont ever come down here, ppl will sell like yourself 5 times a day in the market each for a rupee. grrr

  46. Jay
    71

    If I could add to an almost 4 year old thread…I believe that as a human race we possess the intellect and ability to manage our planet and keep it suitable for human life as well as for other flora/fauna but the difficulty lies in the fact that we all have basic instincts for survival and reproduction. The goal is not to ENFORCE but to ENCOURAGE better living. If a certain way of life is beneficial and desirable as well at the same time harmonious to the ecosystem and the rest of the human population then people will naturally gravitate to it and problem solved. The only question is: what is that way of life? Is it perfected technology to maximize one’s health, freedom and intellectual growth in balance with everything on earth, or perfected psychological attitudes to allow everyone to survive together and achieve our maximum potential as a species? The only thing I do know is that our history on this planet is only a few words in a massive library of time. The Earth itself is not the fragile thing we need to save; we need to save a version of Earth that is compatible for pleasant human existence on it. I believe we are at the tide of change. I think with our recent jump in ease of communication we will bridge gaps as a global society and set ourselves up for the next stage in human evolution.

  47. Jaime
    72

    It only takes one person, to teach another person one lesson that could be understood and taught to the next person who would have the responsibility of teaching that to yet another person the same lesson, to actually make world change. Unfortunately, not one person yet has been capable of making a single other person that vital lesson so I don’t see any change in sight.

  48. Lev Murynets
    73

    first thing that comes to mind is deflation of resources as a currency, we cannot create more oil, and althought its an interesting idea, draining the drinkable arctic water would flood large sections of arable land, so thats out. irrigation of deserts could be undertaken in some nations as a desert serves no purpose-we have more than enough sand.

    population growth in Yemen is astounding, population projected to rise from five to SIXTY million, sorry iff im a peccimist but i dont beleive that is sustainable at a healthy level. fewer people, more resources. although socialy id consider myself a liberal, as far as nations with drouts are concerned, im with china

  49. jake
    74

    the earth is going to end eventually, religion science all say it will. the question is will humanity servive the earth. we have seen what happens when a species population out grows its resources. if we don’t control are population nature will.

    • Responses to jake
      75
      Lev Murynets says:
      January 29

      good point there Jake, however, mankind is awfully proud of beating nature from time to time

      Religion is vague on the topic, all religions mentioning a date have been wiped out, look at Byzantium, and there was a great programme about the solar system, showing how as the sun expands, mars should become habitable, so a stepping stone to human survival, forgot what it was called

  50. Sanj
    76

    i just watched Sunshine today and i was really shocked! coz the film is really a real scene that will ever happen to us one day! i don’t know if you agree but i think that it’s high time to not revenge but save humanity!

  51. Sanj
    77

    i just watched Sunshine today and i was really shocked! coz the film is really a real scene that will ever happen to us one day! i don’t know if you agree but i think that it’s high time to not revenge but save humanity!

  52. Kev
    78

    The problem of sustainability runs much deeper than simply population control. Economic thought has to account for not only what we gain through production and consumption, but what we lose in arable lands, natural resources, and biodiversity (to only name a few). We have to keep in mind the profound impacts we have on the natural order of things and how, in turn, that order affects us.

  53. Harry (spokane --above ~returning
    79

    Re: latest in the premise-statement above, ends suggesting energy itself may run out(?) Yet, solar energy as such in the universe beyond this system of ours is boundless. However, there are curently energies of earthly chemestry we do employ as stored in batteries of ever more sophisticated form(s). Such modalities of energy on this planet may be finite as ”things change.” Imagine now the possibility that the use of chemistries and the abuse of chemistries also, might in the long run run out. Consider too, that before the chemistries run out, the proliferation of their wasted utilities might preceed the prime availabilities of their original state for all such use. Although the prospects by these two
    suggestions seem most remote to all other considerations for the terminalities that could finalize life as we know it on this orb, the very thought that life, should it have to continue without the benefit of the plethora of batteries as we know it today, is most (and curiously refreshing) to this one who presently finds the towering use of energy cells that facilitates so much vain communications at every level to the dismantilling of what once was a civil-society norm. Is such chatter really a blessing to the ultimate human right-relatedness? Taken to the extreme, the planet and it’s human animal population is doomed to desist in abject misery when all the energy sources on it are expended and only the rot remains. But then, I happily consider, nature ever gestates and reinvents itself with results as dramatic as from primoridal soup to intelligences that can thoughtfully make themselves obsolete that make the mystery of the demise of the dinosaurs, mere child’s play.

    • Responses to Harry (spokane --above ~returning
      80
      June 16

      I like this post. Very well put.

  54. abdullah
    81

    this website is bakwas falto ha

  55. shelby.
    82

    they do know how to change ocean water to frest water, desalination. the problem is it is expensive and where is the salt going to go? not back in the ocean, it would disturb the ph balance and the fish would die. not on the ground, once there has been salt on the ground nothing can grow there.
    the best way is to use sewerage water, we can use the left overs as manuer. :) spelling mistakes i know. im twelve.

  56. Michelle Corby
    83

    We should pay families in developing countries a pension to have the choice to have fewer children- over a long term this could be supported by educating girls and thus families can have quality of life- rather than quantities of children that cant be cared for or educated.

  57. hmb spokane again
    84

    As to the essential facts to consider while there is time: allowing that the figure of six and a quarter acres of arabled land per sustainable person is correct; now, might we not ask what the volume per diem would have to be, considering acceptable qualities of life uniformly applied to all living creatures, and by the planet’s own processes to deliver per cyclic constraints so to extrapolate maximum e population quotient for earth, after which, draconian measures would perforce have to apply.
    Virtuously, after that, natural consequences, of course,must be factored in , as has been amply evident over the centuries in the various regions of earth where sustainabilities were ever the issue, as to who should have their advantages more than others. Modern technologic impactings to date have only exacerbated the consequences of imbalanced sustainabilities favoring the some over the whole of humanity, rendering the advantaged questionably the ideal of humanity, even as they keep themselves sustained at the expense of the alienated, as disadvantaged, and as now, thought competitively their just desserts. Until that future time of equitable sustainabilities this earth will be a kind of ”stew” in ferment until the next ice-age, and never again that legendary ”garden of eden.” With or without ”coupons” from the big-box store in the sky, is this planet ever to experience redemption for intelligent sustainable life?

  58. enlightened
    85

    eugenics

  59. heathndrich
    86

    i just can’t wait for the world to end, We wont be arguing then!

  60. arrowmaker
    87

    The solution is a simple one…reverse the population growth by limiting family size..so that the birth rate is less than the death rate..before modern meds,, plagues help to control the population or at least slow it…. but the problem now is politics,, they need more people to pay more taxes..so they won’t push the idea of one child or less per family..

  61. DZD
    88

    I think that the starving countries are starving because of bad governing. Think about it,our 300 years of of great governing have brought us to the top. If those people leading those countries weren’t so greedy, maybe we would have had less problems.I’m guessing since the world’s humans are greatly impacting the world, nature will take over,hopefully solving the Earth’s problems. If nature doent take over, technology will.

  62. real solutions for better tomorrow
    89

    why do so many of you ask what te answer is? Their are three of them. First we could all addopt the chinas salution and require only one child per family. Two we could just keep having children and wait tell we do run out of resorcess and make the enitre planet unihabital. Three do what twe have done through all of history and go to war over a resorce. But all your other solutions only work on paper your other ideas will only be short term solutions that will cause more problems down the road.

  63. says
    90

    I think we will all blow up from an asteroid changing its course because of Earths gravitatonal pull, then the Russians trying to save us by shooting a nuke at it….Killing us all :D

  64. Mr Dogbolter
    91

    I’m living in a state of morbid fascination over the beginning of the end of our civilization. The price of food and fuel and housing has been increasing beyond people’s salary increases for a few years now because of the impending oil apocalypse, and now more people are being made unemployed as companies struggle to cope with the financial consequences of global ecological mismanagement.

    When oil becomes so expensive that we cannot afford to travel to work or transport food from one part of the world to another then we will have to go back to working the land ourselves… except that there isn’t enough arable land to sustain everyone using organic farming techniques. The overpopulation issue will sort itself out when we reach that stage.


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