Denial is not a River

We have gotten use to peak resources denial from the plutocrats of the Republican party and the people of the western world who simply can’t imagine a world without growth.  But we have this from the United Nations:

The population of the world, long expected to stabilize just above 9 billion in the middle of the century, will instead keep growing and may hit 10.1 billion by the year 2100, the United Nations projected in a report released Tuesday.

Of course this projection completely ignores:

  • Peak Oil
  • Peak Phosphorus
  • Peak Water
  • Peak Iron
  • Peak Copper
  • etc.

As Richard Heinberg points out in The End Of Growth our society/economy is dependent on cheap liquid fuels for continued growth and the cheap oil is exhausted.  If the economy can’t grow the population can’t grow.

Norman Borlaug won the Nobel prize for his “green revolution”  which fed billions of people.  Well his green revolution” was not all that green but more importantly was not sustainable – it was dependent on cheap oil, plentiful groundwater and phosphorus,  Oil is no longer cheap, the aquifers are running dry and we have reached peak phosphorus.

As the price of oil increases the price of food increases.   More importantly the price to ship food from regions that have excess to regions that have shortages increases.  The uprisings in the Middle East were not so much about a desire for freedom and Democracy but rising food prices.  Lester R. Brown explains in The New Geopolitics Of Food.

Welcome to the new food economics of 2011: Prices are climbing, but the impact is not at all being felt equally. For Americans, who spend less than one-tenth of their income in the supermarket, the soaring food prices we’ve seen so far this year are an annoyance, not a calamity. But for the planet’s poorest 2 billion people, who spend 50 to 70 percent of their income on food, these soaring prices may mean going from two meals a day to one. Those who are barely hanging on to the lower rungs of the global economic ladder risk losing their grip entirely. This can contribute — and it has — to revolutions and upheaval.

We have peak cheap oil and global climate change combined with a shortage of phosphorus and water.  We have reached the point where we will be unable to feed the population we have.  Expect a decline not a growth.  Some will starve, some will die in the inevitable resources wars and most of those wars will be over water not oil.  I feel confident in predicting there will be less people on this planet in 20 years not more.  We have reached peak people!

Cross posted at Newshoggers

         

Author: RON BEASLEY

Share This Post On

5 Comments

  1. This was just chilling. Interesting. But chilling.

  2. When organisms overpopulate their environments, they tend to die from their own waste. You can see it in large mammal populations all the way down to cells in a petri dish.

    Eventually, a major disease will wipe out a large portion of the population. The weakest, ie the poorest, will be the first to go and in the largest numbers. HIV in Africa is a perfect example.

    Our evolution will be interesting.

  3. I hate to be the optimist here, but thing really aren’t that bad.

    A) We know how to control population growth without resorting to tyrannical tactics: Female education & Social Security…
    B) Small Scale Intensive farming is far more productive than current US farming techniques…
    C) It takes 14 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat, we can all eat less meat…
    D) There is a large supply of landfills waiting to be mined…
    F) All metal are recyclable…
    G) We have built train Networks in the past and there is no good reason we can’t build them again…
    H) We also know how to do Urban Planning and there is no reason why we shouldn’t do it again…
    I) We are not even close to the limits of what can be done with computers/robots…
    J) We have barely begun to do any biological engineering (bugs that eat waste and shit natural resources)…
    H) We have barely begun to do any genetic engineering (cross breed different grains & legumes to produce crops that can survive droughts, heat waves, floods, etc)

    Now for the pessimist in me, none of these things are particularly profitable for the oligarchy and many of those things are anathema to Conservatives, particularly education, social security, urban planning, trains…

    You’re right, we’re screwed…

  4. A) Females now dominate the university scene, but Social Security was so sustainable, it was grown to the point where it’s not.
    B) Farm subsidies are proven small-scale farming killers. Large-scale farmers make better lobbyists.
    C) Actually, grass is better for cows. Before the market manipulations and fertilizers, poor soil was used for grazing animals.
    D) There are some other problems there (for instance, there’s a lot of methane trapped in those landfills), but it’s starting to get some interest.
    E) Hey! What do you have against E?
    F) … and most metals are recycled.
    G) Bridges will be more expensive this time. Getting people out of their cars will be harder.
    H) I never realized that it stopped. Or do you mean for the benefit of the people?
    I) Wait, I thought you hated robots because they replace workers.
    J) I’ll give that’s a possibility. But there’s some …bugs… to be worked out.
    H[2]) People are already getting a little upset with what’s been done already.

    Liberals are in love with the Fed, but not law, since they prefer broadly-powered agencies, which are easily taken over, so they don’t scare the oligarchy (but libertarians do!). They also have a tendency to push unsustainable programs way past the point where they could be rescued.

    Yeah, we’re screwed.

  5. E) E stands for evil…

Submit a Comment