Saturday, January 22, 2011
Depressing news for Planet Earth
That’s an astonishing statistic, especially when you extrapolate it against the projected population of our planet by the middle of this century. Which, by the way, is projected to be at 9 billion people, another two more Chinas.
Safina relates this to the fiscal deficit our country is running and reports that this kind of natural deficit is also one that simply can’t be sustained even over the short term, let alone the long term. It’s not just that we’re destroying the planet’s plants and animals, it’s that soon there won’t be anything left to destroy (or sustain our soon-to-be huge population, depending on your world view). Between needing more land for agriculture and more water for that agriculture and for us to drink, he believes it would take nearly two planet Earths to meet the projected demand, and that’s assuming this large population doesn’t all want to live like Americans. If they do, add in another half a planet earth. In other words, we are already borrowing (or stealing, again depending on your world view) heavily from people not yet born. And we’ve already overreached a level of sustainability on this planet.
As a species, he says, we are good at solving puzzles, but not so good at solving problems. I hope he is wrong, but I fear he isn’t. And if he is right, we are already pretty much behind the eight-ball on this one.