Thursday, December 21, 2006

Alternative Futures

Preliminary curve fitting of data in the WWF’s Living Planet Report 2006 indicates that the populations of other species will decline rapidly by the end of the next decade. This may be accompanied by a major drop in our own population, but the data indicates that our population may instead undergo a rapid increase.

If our population does increase as dramatically as the projections show, then we will have to be able to live without the services that Nature has provided for free. This literally means processing mass directly into sustenance. Before the end of this century, most mass we consumed would be turned directly into people (dead and alive), and before the middle of the next century, we would have to consume the mass of all the planets in our Solar System (including Pluto). By the end of the next century, our consumption would have to slow down because we couldn’t reach additional mass any faster than the laws of physics allow.

Such a scenario is of course, totally implausible. What is most likely is that we will hang on for a short while after we have decimated other species, and then endure the proper execution for our crimes.

We may have time to redeem ourselves, but it is short. Reducing the damage we are doing to the environment could extend the amount of time available to create a sustainable society. If my projections are right, we have already exceeded the regenerative capacity of the Earth’s resources by nearly 40 percent, and will reach double that capacity when the populations of other species totally crash in 2019. We should already be in crisis mode.

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