Thursday, January 21, 2010

World Population 3: Carrying Capacity

World Population.

The Debate that Dare Not Show its Face.

We have seen that exponential growth is impossible within a finite system.

We have seen that it is not just down to consumption patterns.

Today we are going to look at a scientific fact:

Every biological population is limited by the carrying capacity of its habitat.

First, definitions:
Biological population means a population that is alive. We are alive, so we are a biological population.

Carrying Capacity:
The maximum number of persons or things that a vehicle or a receptacle can carry: a van with a carrying capacity of 12.
(Ecology) The maximum number of individuals that a given environment can support without detrimental effects.

OK? There is a limit. To live, we humans need air, water, food, warmth, shelter, and hygienic waste management. (Basically; we also need other humans, and music and dancing &c)
This requires a certain area of land. Any area of land can support only so many living creatures, be they oak trees, squirrels, or humans.

And the Earth can only support so many people.
There is a limit to the amount of people it can support.

There is a comfortable limit, where everyone has space to go out into the forest or the wilderness and have a think, and there is an uncomfortable limit, where there is not wilderness to speak of, because all land is used to grow food, support housing, or as a waste dump.

All OK? Agreed?

I didn't really need to put this in, it really only re-states the statement "The Earth is Finite". Really I am putting off the final argument, What to do?


thehoatzin said...

The carrying capacity (K) of the Earth has widely differing values depending on what you read and where. I do remeber a serious journal proposing 12 billion three or four years back.

I'll see if I can find a ref

weggis said...

Have you noticed how the word "population" is only one letter different to "copulation"?

DocRichard said...

Thank you Weggis, this is really helpful.
But I'm not sure if it is PC.

DocRichard said...

If anyone is puzzled why pop 3 is situated above pop4, it is because 4 was sitting there in draft, and when I published, it went there. Capisc'? No, neither do I.

Barkingside 21 said...

Pop into "Edit Post", click on "Post Options" and you can change the date and time of the post.

DocRichard said...

Oh. Thanks.
I'll do that.
What it is to be young...

Barkingside 21 said...

"Young" is a state of mind. If you can still learn new tricks, you are not yet an old dog!

DocRichard said...

Don'e use that word "trick" or the climate change sckepticks will be use it against us.