Prominent among these mistakes is the notion that the carrying capacity for humans and their livestock has been permanently expanded. This is an error which can only be seen as tragic. In fact, irrespective of how many are alive, the non-fossil-energy-supercharged carrying capacity of Earth has been degraded severely, even before CO2 heating and ocean acidification kick into high gear. Your topsoil is a fraction of prior depths, and the irrigation aquifers largely depleted, the oceans overfished to the point many species aren’t bouncing back, and each year you’re making it worse instead of better. The saving grace is that ecosystems, when left alone, CAN rebuild their non-human populations and own carrying capacities. I could include here the results of human calculations on how many people the planet can sust ainably support, but for reasons of tact won’t do so, except to generally state that among those who understand energy, it’s at least an order of magnitude fewer than you now have. The answer has important implications, so I invite you to do your own estimate based on what you’re learning in this book. Far from being an esoteric exercise, it’s the central question for the human race this century. The Bottom Line: Human population is now 7.8 billion, apparently en route to over 11 billion this century. This is mostly on the backs of fossil slaves many of which will be retiring this century.
Powered by FlippingBook