Social Question

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

How many years until the planet earth is unable to sustain human life?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (21410points) May 3rd, 2017
61 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

Can unfortunately be a negative number? Humor most welcome.

Observing members: 0
Composing members: 0

Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I have read that the planet can only sustain 10 billion people. Link

We will reach that number by 2040.

MrGrimm888's avatar

It’s going to get pretty bad in the next 50–100 years. I don’t know about unsustainable, but it could be undesirable soon…

zenvelo's avatar

It depends on how you define “sustain”.

There is not a point in which the population or pollution exceeds a particular number, and then everything dies off.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Not in any of our lifetimes. Unless humans leave and spread elsewhere this planet will see us morph intoa new species before that happens

AmIMoreThanYouBargainedForYet's avatar

Steven Hawkings says that we need to leave earth within the next 100 years.

Patty_Melt's avatar

The human race has been almost completely wiped out a few times.
Because of that, and the high rate of infants not surviving birth until the last few decades, people celebrate life. We have birthdays, a celebration that simply makes a holiday of the fact we managed to be born.
We hold dear the belief that every new life is a precious gift because when we neared extinction, it was.
Now birth is just an exercise in redundancy.
People won’t tolerate culling the herd, because every life is precious, even the lives spent harming others.
At some point, we have to recognize the expendibility of some humans.
Does that sound awful? Yes. It sounds awful because we have spent centuries believing that even the worst human is more valuble than any other thing.

flutherother's avatar

Bits of it can’t sustain human life now. The way we are going those bits will become larger and more numerous due to global warming, pollution, flooding etc. It is unlikely the Earth will be unable to sustain human life at all in the foreseeable future but you never know.

kritiper's avatar

250 years, maximum, IMO. By then, any infection, no matter how slight, will be fatal.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Patty_Melt

Agreed. We need to start culling the herd by removing those who use up too many resources, thus contributing disproportionately to the unsustainable population.

kritiper's avatar

@Darth_Algar and @Patty_Melt How might the herd be culled? Any suggestions? (No matter how extreme??)
My idea? Cull all of the religious people first, then see how many are left to decide who or what group to cull next.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@kritiper

Anyone who uses up too many resources.

kritiper's avatar

@Darth_Algar That could be so many people. And so many would have to be culled, if that were actually to occur. “Anyone who uses up too many resources” could accurately describe almost all people who are non-third worlders who live by simple means sans any and all technology. Religion creates a lot of problems, IMO, and why I thought it could be considered, (considering how many of them there are,) although the concept would be very radical, extreme, and obviously unrealistic. And, except for the being religious part, undiscriminating. (Taking the world’s population from what it is reported to be, down to what is thought to be best, a ratio of about 15:1.)

kritiper's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake The population of the planet was about 7.5 billion in 2007, and the population doubles about every 20 years, so the population of the planet, by your 2040 numbers would be 22¼ billion. The population now, in 2017, is probably 11¾ billion, already exceeding your 2040 estimate. (By my calculations only, seeing as how the world population actually hit 2 billion in 1930.)

Darth_Algar's avatar

@kritiper

Well yes, it is harsh but it is necessary.

Coloma's avatar

I agree, the human herd needs to be culled. I say start with hardcore, prisoners. The repeat offenders, murderers, serial rapists, child molesters. Best place to start and go from there.
Also, start promoting dying at a reasonable age, not this insane drive for perfect health and to live to be 107. Everyone should die between 60 something and 80 something.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Nah, murders can do plenty of culling.

Coloma's avatar

@Darth_Algar Only if murderers murder other murderers. haha

Darth_Algar's avatar

The population needs to be culled, they do the culling. What’s the issue?

Coloma's avatar

Well…the culling should be the bad guys go first don’t ya think?

AmIMoreThanYouBargainedForYet's avatar

Lots of money is wasted on prisons every year, in the UK atleast. We could kill two birds with one stone and kill all the people in prison maybe?

LostInParadise's avatar

I am going to buck the trend here and take the wild eyed optimistic view that humans will figure out how to get through the current obstacles. Things may get really ugly in the short term, but faced with the choice of living sustainably or going extinct, I would like to believe that the former will be chosen. Here is Stephen Hawking’s take. Note that he ends on an optimistic note.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Coloma

But who would do the culling then? Would you be willing to end the lives of people who have done nothing wrong other than use up too much?

Coloma's avatar

@Darth_Algar As I said, I’d rather see the irredeemable criminals go first. I guess that would mean the system did the dirty work.

zenvelo's avatar

Let me get this straight:

@Coloma would terminate anyone with a felony conviction, or who passed the expiration point beyond a certain age.

@Darth_Algar would prefer to outsource the killing so it doesn’t dirty his hands.

@kritiper Wants to get rid of anyone with a spiritual belief system on the basis of that being inherently evil.

And all three want to “cull the herd” way below current population levels.

Meanwhile, 28% of Medicare costs are spend on patients in their last six months of life. Perhaps if we just had an automatic DNR/No Heroic Measures provision for anyone over the age of 50, we could let nature cull the herd naturally.

Coloma's avatar

@zenvelo That’s a good plan. Hey, I just turned in my advance directive, saying the same thing. No, I would not terminate anyone with a felony conviction just the hardcore, irredeemable violent offenders and child predators and sex offenders. Makes sense to me.

Thinning the herd of predators would be a good start as I mentioned. Not some 17 year old kid that robbed a 7–11. Besides, this is, basically a hypothetical question so just running with what showed up in my mind in the moment.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Coloma

The system isn’t some monolithic entity that is separate from people. The system is comprised of people. People, individuals like you and I, have to carry out the actions of the system.

So if we’re going to have large scale population cullings some one has to do it. I’d wager that very few people could find themselves capable of such work. You’d need folks that have absolutely no regard for human life whatsoever. The kind of irredeemable folks that you want to cull first.

kritiper's avatar

@zenvelo ”@Kritiper Wants to get rid of anyone with a spiritual belief system on the basis of that being inherently evil.” That is incorrect. There are lots of good religious people, but religion is a sickness that is past due to be eradicated. Like Catholics and Mormons wanting to have lots and lots of children, thus adding to the problems of overpopulation. And, like I said, since religious people cause so many problems, the vast amount of them, if culled, might just reduce the population to a acceptable level, that being less than 500 million. Who might you cull, if you had to, to get the Earth’s population down that far???

zenvelo's avatar

@kritiper Me? Off the top of my head, my reaction to you is Atheists- they have nothing to live for, and are often more strident in their beliefs and intolerance than most religionists.

Coloma's avatar

@Darth_Algar Disagree. The act of culling highly dangerous people is an act of compassion for the greater good.

LostInParadise's avatar

I don’t think there are any valid grounds for “culling” the population. All life is sacred, even that of those who one may deem unproductive or evil. I would hope that long before people start dying en masse due to lack of resources, that they would practice birth control to keep the population from growing too large.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Killing people doesn’t seem right. Maybe offering free university for people agreeing to be reversibly fixed .

Coloma's avatar

@LostInParadise I’d agree, in a perfect world, yes, if only everyone could and would use BC, that would be the highest choice, obviously. However, I don’t believe all life is sacred. I’d save a rattlesnake over a rapist any day of the week and consider the rattlesnakes life to be more sacred than the dangerous and disturbed human.

kritiper's avatar

@zenvelo There aren’t that many Atheists, just like there aren’t enough murderers to get the population down. Remember, it isn’t about hate, it’s about necessity! You gotta be practical! @Darth_Algar Made a valid point that murderers could be the cullers. VERY practical, @Darth_Algar ! GA!

Coloma's avatar

@kritiper Yes, it is about practicality, so, since we were asked, we have answered with what we consider the most practical. Atheist here, and while I am not religious I would only want the extreme, lunatic fanatics culled not all religious people.

LostInParadise's avatar

@Coloma , We are going to have to agree to disagree on this. The issue came up before on a question about capital punishment. I just don’t see how we can stand in judgment of someone and decide that it is okay to kill them. You obviously believe to the contrary, that there are people who do not deserve to live.

Coloma's avatar

@LostInParadise Only the worst of the worst as I have mentioned. Those that are so dangerous and predatory that they can never be released back into society, ever, again.
Just having to make a choice given the content of this question. I used to be staunchly against capitol punishment but yes, I have changed my position on that in the worst case scenarios. Agree to disagree. :-)

kritiper's avatar

These are attitudes that would probably doom the planet. If everybody can’t live, then all must die. And the planet, too.
So some might think their answers practical, (?), but not realistic, in this theoretical application.
There could be no other choice; some live, and the planet and mankind continue, or IT ALL goes down the toilet…

zenvelo's avatar

@kritiper This isn’t an all-or-none situation. There is a point where increasing population and its effects will be unsustainable, but it doesn’t mean all of mankind will be wiped out.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Coloma

The very nature of the question rules out compassion. We’re talking about ending millions (perhaps billions) of lives to reduce the human population to sustainable levels. Compassion has no place in this scenario.

Coloma's avatar

@Darth_Algar I understand, just saying that doing away with a heinous human IS an act of compassion for the greater good. That’s all. Kill one, save thousands, like Hitler.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Kinda defeats the purpose then.

Coloma's avatar

@Darth_Algar How? Wouldn’t the most practical methodology be to cull the non-human, violent, predatory animals first? Start there then down the line, next, politicians. lol

kritiper's avatar

@zenvelo That’s kind of beside the point: In this scenario, supposedly, the population of the planet must be culled to sustainable levels, that being under 500 million. So the excess MUST be culled! My idea was only a starting point, if enough people were not culled. And keep in mind that the longer you wait to act, the more traumatic the solution, or lack of action, becomes. So culling or not culling IS a all or none solution.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@Coloma

The point of this hypothetical exercise is to drastically reduce the human population. For this purpose moral values must be left at the door.

As far as practical methodology goes – selecting two groups of people who make up, together, only a negligible fraction of the human population is about as practical as draining the ocean with a coffee cup.

Coloma's avatar

@Darth_Algar I get it, just positing that we’d have to start somewhere so why not start with the worst then work your way up from there. The worst might as well be first, at least that gives the rest a little more time right? haha

flutherother's avatar

@Darth Algar Surely moral values are required and should never be left at the door.

Darth_Algar's avatar

For what we need to accomplish in this hypothetical moral hang-ups are a hinderance.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Ethics are, sometimes situational. I agree.

“Who would kill them?” The people who agreed that there should be a cull!!! Duh… Regardless of the “tool,” or manner of this culling, the outcome would be the same. Lots of dead people… Lots of innocent dead people. Women, children, and so on…That’s not a fair solution. That’s a cowardly act. The Earth is not a lifeboat, with no capabilities, beyond it’s beginning resources. They can be harvested/distributed in much better ways.

I would hope that humanity would consider options for more efficient use of the planets resources, and even space exploration, before considering whom should be put to death, so that ‘I’ can live.

We probably could have plenty of necessities to go around.
But, we can’t get along.
We can’t have a single government, without corruption.
We (humans) steal, kill, rape, murder, torture, enslave, oppress
etc. each other, too much to combine our global potential for running this planet, the right way ..

So, it’s our inability to coexist, that is our biggest obstacle.

I think…

Darth_Algar's avatar

Competition between individuals/groups/species is part of nature. Always has been. We are no different.

What separates us from other animals is that we’re the only species that has a large-scale impact on our environment. I think an argument can very much be made that there are too many people consuming too many resources, to the detriment of everything.

MrGrimm888's avatar

The only reason there are “too many,” is because the resources aren’t used wisely.

Most technologies that would make the world more sustainable, are already in existence. But they aren’t used enough.

Vertical farms are self sustained,for instance. If cities were full of vertical farm buildings, then food,water, and energy would be much more plentiful. And emissions would be reduced. I think there are only like two of them in the world though.

Many of the technologies that could feed,or help millions, are held back by leaders, and or wars. Think if Kim in North Korea used money to feed his people, rather than to oppress and starve them, so he and a small number of people can live like gods…

Darth_Algar's avatar

You’re talking about distribution, which is not at all the issue here. The hypothetical here isn’t to make sure more people are fed, it’s to make sure there are less people altogether.

kritiper's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Do a bit of math to see for yourself: If the population of the planet doubles every 20 years, and there were resources to support them, where would the population be in 100 years? 200 years? And I’ve heard it said that, due primarily to overfishing, that there will be no edible fish left in the oceans in 50 years.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Darth, and kririper . You are both correct, that it is inevitable, if growth rates continue.

But, with better “distribution,” or use of available technologies, the problem would be further down the road. The problem with that, is people cannot coexist. If there were a concentrated, combined effort, by the world’s people, to actually help each other, the problem with sustainability would be further in the future.
In the future, we will likely have more options. Like living on Mars, or some other planet with more resources.

People are a resource too. They can design, and build things. Cure diseases. Rescue/help others. Raise children.

The math isn’t the problem here. There’s enough universe out there, and resources for humans to expand almost indefinitely. But we have to learn how to play nice first. If we’re smart, and use what we have intelligently, we will eventually get better technology, to help us expand, and alleviate the resource problem.

With all these people, and many living in hygienically substandard, and crowded places, with poor nutrition, and poor health we’ll probably be looking at an epidemic soon. Disease is natural culling. And won’t need an executioner…

Darth_Algar's avatar

Sorry, but hanging the would-be solution to our planet’s problems on the hope that someday we’ll be able to make it farther in our Universe than our doorstep is, well, fantasy.

We cannot count on someday having other planets to live on. We can only count on this one. And we’re quickly ruining it for ourselves and for damn near everything else that lives here.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Is what we are looking for called Eugenics?. California and Alberta tried it. Hurt a lot of people in the long run, and got settled out of court for sterilizing people with low I.Q. scores.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Nah, nothing like that.

kritiper's avatar

@MrGrimm888 More than likely, to be realistic, your optimism about Man’s possible future possibilities are, as @Darth_Algar most accurately put it, fantasy. If left to it’s own end, sans any humane treatment, the purely natural result would be far more inhumane.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’ve said my piece. Let’s just say we agree with the problem, but not the solution.

sone's avatar

No one knows

kritiper's avatar

@MrGrimm888 Just recognizing that there is a problem is a good start!

Darth_Algar's avatar

Now to be serious, I don’t really advocate for culling any populations or anything like that. @Patty_Melt‘s post just planted a notion in my head and I just ran with it off-the-cuff. To be honest I kinda ran with it longer than I really intended to.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

Mobile | Desktop


Send Feedback   

`