Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove, Bacon Time, Flappr and The Daley Gator for the Rule Five links!

And again for the week I was out!  The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove,   Flappr and The Daley Gator.

Now then: An “influential ecologist” predicts humanity may be on the way to a population crash.  He may be right, but not for the reasons he lists.

How bad will it be? (eminent ecologist William E.) Rees cites estimates suggesting that the number of humans that Earth can support for the long term is between 100 million and 3 billion people. So, the population and civilization collapse he forecasts will be quite bad, indeed. He even briefly painted a bleak picture of how it might happen.

“As parts of the planet become uninhabitable, we should expect faltering agriculture, food shortages, and possibly extended famines. Rising sea levels over the next century will flood many coastal cities; with the breakdown of national highway and marine transportation networks other cities are likely to be cut off from food-lands, energy, and other essential resources. Some large metropolitan areas will become unsupportable and not survive the century.”

After the population correction, Rees portends a more primitive future.

“It may well be that the best-case future will, in fact, be powered by renewable energy, but in the form of human muscle, draft horses, mules, and oxen supplemented by mechanical water-wheels and wind-mills.”

It’s doubtful that the inhabitable land area on the planet shrink in any measurable amount.  Even if the earth does warm up, areas in the tropics that become unpleasant will be offset by areas that will become more temperate, including the vast northern taiga forests that encompass much of the northern hemisphere.

But the population correction is already happening, and it’s largely due to a collapse in birth rates. For whatever reasons, people in the developed world, including he Americas, Europe, and even much of Asia (China and Japan) just aren’t having babies.

And, if we concede the accuracy of William E. Rees’s scenario – I don’t – wouldn’t a naturally decreasing human population reduce many of the nasty climate effects he is worried about?

The earth generally self-corrects.  65 million years ago a rock the size of Mt. Everest crashed into the Gulf of Mexico just off the Yucatan, killing everything much larger than a rat and plunging the planet into a few decades of cold and dark. The planet recovered. It always does. We aren’t that big a part of it.