Why is it that nobody talks about the one trillion, fifty billion pound gorilla in the room? If the average human weighs 150 lbs, then seven billion of them would weigh 1,050,000,000,000 lbs, and the one billion fifty trillion pound gorilla is hungry! That's a lot of need to satisfy. Maybe there are just too darn many humans on the planet. Most of Earth's critters live in symbiotic balance with nature, they give and take. The ones that took more than they gave, or gave more than they took became extinct. If they were in anyway incompatible with their surrounding they became extinct. It isn't so much that Mother Nature takes care of herself, as it is a balancing act. The dinosaurs became extinct because a comet hit the earth and caused the climate to become incompatible with dinosaur life. Some species became extinct. Some of the hardier saurians went on to be today's crocodiles, alligators and birds.
They say that the people that lived on Easter Island once lived on a land of plenty. The Islands had massive pine forests and abundant wildlife. The tribal inhabitants did quite good. They lived well in their land of abundance. They eventually cut down their forests and utilized them for their personal needs, with no regard for conservation or replanting. Some the critters, that the Island people depended upon for food disappeared, because the critters depended upon the forest for survival. As the tribe stripped their small island of all of it's resources, the island people died out or moved onto the mainland. But, their Island paradise was gone.
If Easter Island was a test sample of humanity, what should we have learned? Should we have learned to try harder to live within the resources provided? Or should we have learned to limit our population through birth control? If the island people had tried to manage their resources, but continued to breed and outstrip the islands ability to take care of their growing needs, the society would still have failed with over-population. Nobody is really sure how hard they might have tried to live within their small microcosm. I think that the end result is self-evident, the island is stripped bare of it's once abundant forests, and the indigenous people are gone. I'm just sure that there is a big lesson there!
The largest generator of CO2 is still termites, but they are in balance with nature. The trees thrive on CO2, when the trees die, the termites eat the trees and release the CO2 back in nature. It is a closed cycle, if the trees disappear, so do the termites. However, man has been adding CO2 to the atmosphere, from fossil fuel and plant material from eons past. We are adding many past generations of CO2 back into the atmosphere while at the same time we are limiting plant growth through industrialization. That makes for better growing conditions for trees and plants. So, in theory that should just add to a larger CO2/plant/termite cycle. All is well right?... Right?
If you want to feel better about us Humans, termites contribute more CO2 into the atmosphere than ALL living things combined... And, scientists have calculated that termites alone produce ten times as much carbon dioxide as all the fossil fuels burned in the whole world in a year.
Scientists estimate that, worldwide, termites may release over 150 million tons of methane gas into the atmosphere annually. In our lower atmosphere this methane then reacts to form carbon dioxide and ozone.
It is estimated that for every human on Earth there may be 1000 pounds of termites.
If Easter island teaches us anything, we should assume that at some point no mater how hard we try, we are going to crash our fragile balance, and we will become the new extinct species. I know that the world will probably be better off without us, but I have that foolish "survival thing" going on. Everything around me tells me that we are on the brink of extinction right now! (Okay, within a few hundred years, but on the grand scale, that's a blink of an eye)
We are using up all of the arable land. We can no longer eat crops from the once fertile San Jose Valley, it is solid wall-to-wall houses and other buildings. San Jose used to be the walnut and prune capitol of the world. Now the only thing that they grow there are microchips for computers. We made our choices and decided that land was more valuable as real estate. After all, there are still plenty of places in the world to grow food... For now... unless we have more children, and start running out of food. I don't know about you, but now that I know about termites, I will probably eat them. I understand that they are filled with protein, and have a lot of moisture in their slime. So, you may starve, but I won't.
It's a good thing that my new termite type food is high in moisture, because we are also running out of fresh water in the world. The Sacramento Valley is becoming polluted with saline and selenium. The Chinese just bought the Watsonville area. They must be planning for their future. They have a lot of mouths to feed.
Why is it that, even with all the lessons that we have been able to witness, we never seem to learn. The world will, at some point become unstably over-populated with humans, and we will find ourselves like the Easter Islanders did, with no food and no way to feed ourselves or quench or thirsts. Oh well, it probably won't be something that we have to worry about. Our smart-alec kids, that think that they know everything, can figure out how to feed themselves. Maybe they can figure out how to get jobs back to America while they are at it.
Anyway, I don't think that they can depend on the old folks to help them out, we made a killing sending their jobs away, ruining their farmland, and water supplies. But, they are the ones over populating the world. The way I figure its their problem, not mine.