By David Worboys •
Updated: 10 Aug 2023 • 10:12
Austria's Tirol has enough space for the world´s population. But it doesn´t work like that
DURING my lifetime the population of our planet has grown from 2.2 billion to 8 billion and is clearly out of control. it has been reduced by natural disasters and human actions (wars) but, in the past 252 million years, never really controlled. It seems inevitable that, in the future, at least one catastrophic event or development will occur in order to reduce the population drastically. But when?
First, why should this be necessary? There seems to be adequate space for many times our present population. But how much of this space is truly habitable? Conditions in Myanmar, Sudan and Yemen alone point the way. Even without war, the relentless heat, abject poverty, lethal insects and diseases in so many countries are unimaginable to us here in Spain. Millions have inadequate food and water, no medicine, no refrigerators, no fans and certainly no air-conditioning.
If left undisturbed, nature has always provided enough food for all of us yet millions starve to death. It may be possible to help everybody to forage and to fish; to grow, conserve and distribute food, but the terrain is becoming more arid and the oceans more polluted. Drought and floods play havoc with agriculture, leading to climate migration.
Second, the human race faces correction. In addition to neglect of the environment, increasing violence, decline of moral standards and serious health issues, social interaction is disappearing in large parts of the world as the computer, phone and conference calls replace face-to-face dialogue.
The “solution” could come from several sources, some more immediate than others. A global nuclear war could break out at any time. Unstable dictators need to be cleansed in the great correction; and they may be the ones to activate it. Hundreds of millions could be killed.
Artificial Intelligence could go badly wrong. Assuming that individuals or nations may soon be able to misuse it to control sections of humanity, it could – intentionally or accidentally – eliminate many of us; maybe hundreds of millions.
This could well happen before we are all destroyed by global warming which is a more gradual process. This could lead to starvation, heat-strokes and other fatal diseases, again causing the death of hundreds of millions. But, as the population declines so should the number of cars, flights, cattle, forest destroyers, factories, plastic and most of the causes of climate change.
An end to intensive farming could reduce methane emissions while, at the same time, reducing our dependence on meat, which should result in improvements in health – and ironically a further increase in population!
The long term and more gradual depletion (or demise) of the population could be the recent phenomena of transgender and confusion over sex. If the distinction between men and women continues to become more blurred, the already declining interest in sex could threaten future human procreation. We could have a new form of birth control – yet another example of man(kind) interfering with nature.
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