Discover more from Dr. John's Blog
People have various thoughts about there being so many people on earth, and exceeding the long-term carrying capacity for humans.
Nobody wants to volunteer to die.
Some people put the question off by claiming that it is not a real problem for one reason or another. There are support groups for these various non-problem scenario beliefs.
Some people find group-support around picking one particular threat, such as global-warming, and working on that to the exclusion of other threats, such as running out of diesel fuel for the trains and trucks that bring us our food, or heating fuel, or electricity.
Some people put their efforts towards global population reduction. Bill Gates advocated for that as early as the late 1990s, and liked vaccines as a means of fertility reduction in the early 2000s, along with social improvements like education for women, modern careers and good health care for children.
A common meme is that we humans have been bad and dirty, and should be ashamed for what we have done to the earth.
The upshot of that usually seems to be that we should buy solar-panels, a Prius or a Tesla, so I suspect such shaming is a form of niche-marketing.
People personify Earth, Gaia, as our mother, and I like that, but then they feel like we are more powerful than Mom and are hurting her.
I see that, but Mom has been around so much longer than we can begin to fathom, and has been through so much catastrophic destruction, yet Mom has still given rise to more and more forms of life, including us. We have not been here very long, and we just hit adolescence. We are driving sports cars, playing with guns and we keep playing with fire. Mom probably hopes that we will grow up, start gardening, and stop breaking so much stuff, but we show plenty of promise.
It is possible that Mom/Gaia finds adult humans seeking Divine guidance to be even more useful in her grand adaptations of planetary life. I think she provides guidance to those most receptive to it. Noah presents an archetypal example of an adult human who was extremely attuned to this kind of guidance.
Divine guidance from benevolent Gaia, or "God" could improve human survival odds against predation by our elite owners. (I'll refer to our elite owner-class as "Homo obliterans", if I may.) We may also read about animals fleeing to high ground when the waves suck out of the bay before a tsunami, while humans gawk. Mom could help us in those situations, too.
Is it bad that humans have brought fossil carbon and fossil water to the planetary surface? It might be a good thing, long term. A little too early to judge yet.
Some humans are capable of stewardship of life, as gardeners or diversified farmers. What if life-stewards preferentially survive a big cull by the owners, or a meteor strike, or a recurring micronova, ice age or flood?
Svet sent an academic update from Gaya Herrington, which puts fresh data into the updated version of the World-3 computer model, used in the 1972 Limits To Growth projections. Those projected graphic representations of how human industrial society might hit planetary limits in time. Limits of oil were already apparent in 1972. Pollution building up was also a big and obvious problem. The most recent update of The Limits To Growth was the 30 year update.
To compliment Gaya Harrington's paper, a PDF, I found this article about the paper from last year, so I can copy the graphs: https://www.resilience.org/stories/2021-08-16/revisiting-the-limits-to-growth/
BAU is the famous "Business As Usual" graph from 1972. It has tracked our unfolding reality pretty well over the years, though births and deaths were both down a bit from projections. The resulting human population has been quite close to projections. My read of that graph has always been that industrial output looked like it peaked just before 2020. I personally think industrial output peaked in late 2018, and that made for problems in the world of finance.
BAU2 is the answer to, "What if there is really a lot more oil, gas and coal?" "Business As Usual-2" doubles the fossil fuel estimated to exist. This projection starts to diverge from BAU right around 2020, when one looks at industrial output and pollution. Pollution rises and rises in this scenario. Population rises another decade before falling, but falls harder, and is lower by 2100 than in BAU. Double the oil lets the game go for 10 more years before it crashes, but it crashes worse in a more polluted world.
SW is "Stabilized World", a world where people across the world, rich and poor alike, cooperate to use less energy, make less plastic and waste, reduce family sizes and harmonize human needs with the needs of our Mother Planet. This model does not track the reality, which we are living. We're not doing that yet.
CT is "Comprehensive Technology" scenario. This model assumes both the doubling of fossil fuels and the use of technology to decrease industrial damage to the planetary ecosphere. It is sort of like getting twice as much fuel and a bit more time to accomplish SW, a second chance, using technology, not altruism.
BAU and BAU2 start to diverge around 2020. Why? It is the decline in fossil-fuel availability, assumed in BAU, right?
CT, the high-tech-solution world, also assumes double the resources, which is the BAU2 assumption, so those two, assuming double the oil/gas look very much alike until after 2030 when the pollution in BAU2 becomes more extreme.
BAU2 and CT looked more like the current state of affairs than did BAU in 2020 quite possibly because fracking pushed the decline of oil and gas a little bit farther out than was projected in 1972. In 2014 the original BAU model was still tracking reality best. Both BAU2 and CT assume double the resources estimated in 1972 for BAU. Since oil is the rate-limiting resource, it has the most effect as it declines. The assumption of more-fuel wouldn't cause divergence of the BAU2 and CT projections from the BAU projections until the oil and gas start to decline. I think oil+natural-gas-liquids are now in terminal-decline, so the observed measurements might well fall between BAU and BAU2 in the next few years. The fact that fracking technology got more oil out of some declining fields quickly, and is an expensive means of extraction, may mean that a few years of future oil were pulled-forward. Oil production should decline faster. That should cause the decline of both industrial output and food production to be more rapid. Human population would decline sooner and more rapidly, as a result. "Homo obliterans" is aware of these projected trends, but has other means of modifying them, other scenarios not presented here, such as drastic-population-reduction. Drastic-Population-Reduction is the specialty of our Homo obliterans elites. After decades of considering why we have sociopathic elites in the world, I believe that the reduction of human population during the overshoot of environmental carrying capacity for our species is the useful worldly function of Homo obliterans. Homo obliterans is the Apex-Predator's-Apex-Predator. I also postulate that there is an existing subset of humans, members of humanity who are helpfully guided by Gaia/Divinity. I'll call these guidance-accepting humans “Homo sapiens(+)”. Perhaps Homo sapiens(+) can steward a world which will no longer require the services of Homo obliterans. Homo sapiens(+) might make Homo obliterans redundant. Homo obliterans is notably impervious to spiritual guidance, and might fare poorly in an unforeseen catastrophe, compared to forewarned Homo sapiens(+). Homo obliterans working-groups might be preferentially predated by other Homo obliterans working-groups. (Homo sapiens(+) are typically non-threatening and their destruction could wait until later.) The improved survival of Homo sapiens(+) might be an important factor during a Selection-Event, but there is no reason to believe that Homo sapiens(+) would breed-true. All human subtypes would still be present during and after a selection-event. Selection events might last centuries or longer, like ice-ages. The mixture of learned and inherited traits in society could change over time. Human culture adapts, not just genetically, but also through "memes", useful patterns of thinking, living and socializing. Memes are passed down as customs, concepts and values.
There may be a rapid reduction of the total human population in this decade. I think Homo obliterans have made arrangements for population-reduction to take place through means such as bioweapons, famine, and impairment of industrial life-support systems through war.
The WEF has a project to control human behavior through "owning nothing" and "being happy" with smartphones, brain-implants, electronic currency and social credit scoring to tightly constrain human behavior, not leaving anything to guesswork. It looks like they are aiming for CT "comprehensive" technology world.
Some unmodified Homo obliterans would presumably still be in place to oversee the human population and make important decisions. They would still need to fly to meetings and nature preserves in private jets. The core capabilities of industrial economy would also need to remain intact, though reductions in output would be acceptable. Industry would primarily serve the owners, their essential human functionaries and technicians.
The rapid reduction of population in the 2020s could compensate for the reduction of available oil. Both reductions would contribute to falls in projected pollution, compared to BAU2. The fall in human population would obviate the requirement to invest more in cleaner industrial technology, a cost-saving for the owners. It looks like CT is the WEF-preferred model.
I personally don't think there is enough oil to run this scenario as depicted. Making people into cyborgs is a dead-end for our species. Hello Monsanto!
There are competing models, which we can also evaluate through The Limits To Growth. I am not sure of the Russian model. It is either a private secret, or it is what is publicized as the multipolar-world model of trade. Pollution is not much addressed, however fake plans to reduce pollution could be even worse.
Deng Xiaopeng, the modern visionary leader of 21st Century China, who somehow survived the Cultural Revolution, was very much inspired by The Limits To Growth, as I have read more than once. He set out a course for the rapid industrialization and modernization of China within the time-envelope remaining in the BAU projections regarding industrial production output and resource availability. Deng's goals for China appear to have been achieved.
Xi Jinping seems similarly practical, though his task does not require as radical a change in national trajectory.
Inside China, something like the centralized electronic control of each individual's human economy is already in place. China also allows for an entrepreneurial business model. Some humans must take initiative to accomplish economic expansion. Outside China, a multipolar-world of trade and transit is envisioned.
Human-rights issues will be compartmentalized locally, within nation-states, which are sovereign.
What might be gained through the multipolar-world model is better economic efficiency of fossil fuel use. We can expect the relative decline of the most carbon intensive economies of the collective west, and the growth of poorer economies, such as India and Cambodia, where baseline use of oil per capita is lower. Coal, though dirty and polluting, will probably be used until it is no longer economically accessible. Those societies which burn coal will have an economic advantage over those which do not. Coal is used to produce concrete, steel and electricity.
The increased fuel efficiency gained by the decline of the most fuel-intensive economies may trend towards the SW "stabilized world" projections, but with more pollution. The cost of reducing pollution must necessarily be borne by reducing the expenditures in production of food, goods and services per-capita.
Reduction of population faster than assumed in any of these pre-COVID models, and a fuel-starvation of western European economies, seem to have begun. There is still time for negotiation, but that time is slipping away.
North American economy is even more carbon intensive, but North America is militarily powerful, harder to control, and has substantial oil, gas and coal.
The progressive economic destruction of North America has been foreseen by many. North American industry has long languished for lack of investment, which went to China instead. There are groups within North America which would like to restore North American industry.
It is apparent that North America will have a lower fossil-energy budget going forward, but how low remains to be seen. A real oil shortage may occur in 2023, as has been predicted for over a year.
One of the principal assumptions of the World-3 model has been that the availability of things like fuel, water and industrial capacity, matters more than economic models. It is as if economic models provide stories about "reality" which we tell each other, but they are far less deterministic than we imagine.
I do not imagine that liquid-fuels which can be accessed by an economy will not be accessed. They may run a train or truck, or they may become plastic packaging or devices. Coal will be used to make concrete, steel and electricity.
Though it is more important for effective group function to have social cohesion than truth, it is possible to have both "the truth" and social cohesion.
It is possible to have leaders who are truthful, good leaders, and also spiritual-seekers, but these "philosopher-kings" are exceedingly rare.
Maybe "Mom" has some in mind. One can hope.
Meanwhile, we have lots of basic prepping for our food, water, fuel and family-group needs.
Philosopher Peasant (pictured with one of the 4 growing stalks of bananas)