Destroying Paradise

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Asian Journal of Experimental Sciences


The day will probably come when descendants of the human race will look back at the planet their ancestors lived on and view it as a paradise compared to the hostile, alien planet they will inhabit then. The genus Homo has been on the planet for about two million years and Homo sapiens for about 160,000 years. Both existed as a small group species spread thinly over Earth. In the last two centuries, explosive population growth has occurred in Homo sapiens, far exceeding Earth's carrying capacity (i.e., ecological overshoot). The human population in 2008 is approximately 6.6 billion and is still growing at about 1.5 million individuals each week. This growth in population has been made possible by fossil fuel, which fostered technological development that enabled extraction of natural resources much more rapidly than Earth could regenerate them. The Agricultural Revolution provided abundant food, partly because of domestication of plants and animals and partly because of the development of agribusiness based on abundant, cheap energy. The belief in perpetual economic growth was based on the assumption that depletion of a resource was not a crucial problem because human ingenuity and creativity would always provide a substitute. Economic growth almost always took precedence over preservation of the biospheric life support system, which maintains conditions favorable to Homo sapiens. Anyone who thinks these trends can continue on a finite planet is delusional. Global climate change (e.g., droughts, disease transmission, melting glaciers) has already caused hardship in many different geographic locations on the planet. The present era is clearly an evolutionarily defining one for the human species, but, the precautionary measures currently being undertaken are not congruent with the scale of the problem.



posterity, carrying capacity, ecological overshoot, economic growth, overpopulation, resource depletion, Sustainability, Klimakatastrophe